Well, what is the future for us guys? For men in general? And finally, since it naturally follows, society in general? I can’t get away from the subject. I just did a book review about a book that addresses the struggles of Christian men (Man Alive by Patrick Morley). Then I read a couple of interesting blog posts by Marc Cortez that brings to light some surprising information he gleaned from psychologist Philip Zimbardo, among others.
Would you believe that your daughter is now more likely to get a college degree of any level than your son as well as do excel in school from start to finish? If you view those stats from 1970 to the projected amounts for 2020, an alarming shift is underway. It’s nothing against daughters (I have 3 of them), but what does this bespeak of my sons’ future (I have 3 of them too)? I don’t want to be obsessed with the idea that manhood is under full-scale attack, but something is up!
What I read only got more disturbing. Beyond academic chaos, guys are “wiping out relationally with girls, and sexually with women.” Mr. Zimbardo is a little blunt in his remarks, but makes sense. To what does he attribute this downward slide? He says:
The real culprits are “excessive internet use, excessive video gaming, and ‘porning.’”
Mr. Cortez, in his fine blog post, focused on “arousal addictions” as the common thread of those 3 reasons. It’s the unreality of the virtual world overtaking the reality of life, the inability to find fun in real life activities, and the inability to distinguish an encounter from a relationship or what intimacy even is. For example, it’s much more work to make a relationship thrive than to satisfy a desire. The sad misunderstanding is that real relationship and intimacy even pays off in most thoroughly fulfilling desires.
The problem is “I want it now.” It wreaks its way through our society. We don’t want to invest time into anything no matter how worthwhile. I want arousal of my senses on every level. He even spoke of men spending more and more time together even if it costs them romance with a lady. (I’m for keeping the women myself, but that’s just me.) He said that there’s a trend of men preferring games over intimacy with a woman!
It takes effort to get a degree for your life’s work, but we are not into the long term. You know, that’s so non-arousing! This only serves to push men away from the very roles where they are most needed. Irresponsibility murders responsibility.
I suppose here you would expect a pastor to begin a list of do’s and don’t’s, but that will not be the case. Our high-speed, connected world is here to stay. To wax eloquent against it would be like carrying on about electricity a generation or so ago. Moderation, or a Spirit-led life, would, I suppose, be in order. I’ll not define that for you, and I’d prefer you not define it for me, but it is a fair question between me and the Lord.
Then there is what you watch. Pornography, I hope we all agree, is out of bounds and safeguards in our one-click age are a must. Beyond that, the need is not that I tell you what you can watch or where you watch it. The first issue is no help at all because you’d be stuck if I had never said if it were fine to watch or not. The second misses the point because it holds up the appearance of my reputation over the reality of my character. If I keep my character I’ll probably be able to hold on to my reputation to some degree.
We lament these trends among men. The best thing I can do is be a real man. Next I can raise my sons to be the opposite of the age. Finally, I can encourage many of you who are fighting to keep Biblical manhood where it should be. May the Lord help you and me.