Where Have All the Good Men Gone?

Lately God has made me painfully aware of the lack of good men in our world.  I’m not sure when or how this trend started, but true masculinity is under severe attack in the world today.  Traditional manly traits and chivalry are scorned by feminists; a scandalous amount of children are growing up without fathers.

I was talking to one of my friends about how hard it is to be a man today and he confirmed that manhood is in critical danger.  We talked about the lack of good role models for men.  Women are generally internal learners, while men are thought to learn externally.  This means men are heavily influenced by what they observe.  This means that men desperately need good men to model their lives after.

I pointed out that despite that lack, Jesus always serves as the ultimate model, especially for men.  My friend said imitating Jesus is too high of a standard.  I was shocked by this response.  I’ve realized how this problem is perpetuating itself:  we women are not holding men to a higher standard.  We see all the men around us failing to protect and love us.  Instead of challenging them to be the men we need, we accept they will never be good enough and learn to live with out them.  This leads to divorce, broken homes and boys growing up without strong role models.

Lately I’ve been surrounded by great Catholic men and it’s not only refreshing, but flustering at times.  There is something so attractive about these kind of men(especially when you’re not used to being around them!).  I realize that it’s because Christ is shining through them in a unique way.  From little things like holding the door to pursuing our hearts in the way that we so desire, real men should lead us to the one with whom we will be united eternally.

As a side note, an awesome God-incidence is happening right now.  I’m watching the movie We’re No Angels.  There’s a character, Molly, who keeps lamenting the lack of men around her and it struck me as very relevant to this post.

So ladies, start holding the men in your life to a higher standard; men, seek out good role models and don’t tire of striving for the standard Christ set for you.

Here are some great sites about manhood:

Fathers for Good

The Man Who Would Be Knight

The King’s Men

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

 

Is it bad that amidst all this complaining about equality and rights, I want to remind people of what we tell little children – “life isn’t fair!”?  Now that is my knee-jerk snarky response.  Let me explain why I think all the whining about fairness and equal rights is getting us nowhere.

Firstly, what makes us equal is our human dignity.  No amount of anti-discrimination or equal rights laws  can force us to treat every human being with the dignity that they deserve.  What we really need is for our stony hearts to be replaced with living ones.  We need to start seeing things from God’s perspective.

As Christians, we need to realize that God’s vision of justice and fairness differs from what the world tells us.  God’s version of the world is hard to swallow sometimes.  It includes guidelines like:

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” – Ephesians 5:21-24

What God really desires is righteousness – this means living in right relationship with ourselves, others and Him.

Let’s just go right for a controversial topic and apply this to marriage.  People think that it is an issue of “fairness” that people with same-sex attractions cannot be married.  Yet God created marriage to be between a man and a woman.  For two men or two women to have a romantic relationship is a distortion of the way God meant for us to relate to each other.

I’ve already written about the different roles of men and women, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but this also applies to issues involving gender roles.  People who are not oriented around God’s point of view have a hard time understanding why women can’t be priests.  Again, it is made into an issue of “fairness” and discrimination.  In reality, the priesthood involves a certain kind of relationship that only a man can properly live out.  Inherently, women cannot be fathers, and men cannot be mothers.  In God’s reality, everyone is called to be their true selves and be in properly ordered relationship with each other.

I’m not sure how this fits in, but something recently clicked for me: while our Church is set up like a hierarchy, it should look different from earthly governments.  It is a community of people who have been given different roles and responsibilities.  Some members have more authority, but with that authority comes greater responsibility.  We hold to a counter cultural faith that says our leaders are servants and the weak will lead the strong.  Jesus built the Church upon Peter, he did not appoint him as some fancy steeple on top.

Jeremiah 9:23-24
This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.”

 

Updates!

I haven’t abandoned you my readers!  Life has gotten substantially busier in the last two weeks, but definitely in a good way.  I’m settling into a new routine and getting to know my housemates.  We get along really well and more importantly, everyone can cook delicious things.  It’s wonderful to have a community again – we pray together, challenge one another and hold each other accountable.  Not only do I have this small community, but the larger Catholic community in this area.  God is doing amazing things and I have been overflowing with joy these past two weeks.

As for the five-year olds – they’ve quickly captured my heart despite causing me to lose my voice.  I mean they’re always telling me that I’m pretty and that they love me – it’s hard to stay mad at even the worst trouble makers.  I wasn’t quite sure why God put me in an elementary school but I think he’s continuing to teach me the importance of being present to people.  Right now these children need my presence and I need theirs.  My afternoon may consist of playing frisbee with a six-year-old, but for some reason she needs me in that moment and I need her.

So I realize that this blog is going to become an interesting mixture of many topics.  There will be updates on my volunteer placement and Chi Rho.  Of course I’ll still be writing about my discernment with the TOR Sisters and fundraising efforts (less than a month till the half-marathon – please consider donating!).  Plus my normal thoughts on morality and matters of faith.

Bear with me – it’ll be an interesting year!

The Joy of Community and A New Beginning

Well folks I’ve moved once again.  Can I reiterate how much I hate packing and unpacking?  You would think that a future nun would be able to get by with a lot less stuff…

The place I’m living is quite close to my hometown, so I’ve been hanging out here for the past few weeks.  I have to keep reminding myself that I am here permanently now.  I start at my placement on Tuesday, so that’ll come up fast.

So after trudging up to the third floor and dumping all my stuff, my roommates and I discussed the plan for the day with the director of Chi Rho.  Our first task was to go grocery shopping.  He sent us off on our own with a strict budget of $150.  As one of my fellow volunteers pointed out, frugality will be the order of the day this year.  The three of us managed to get everything we needed and reach the limit almost exactly, with no permanent damages to egos or fists.

We’ll be taking turns cooking dinner, so the person whose turn it was got to work when we got home(I just called it home unconsciously).  He made delicious chicken and to-die-for pumpkin bread to usher in the Fall season.  Don’t worry Mom, I won’t be living on canned soup and peanut butter this year.

Just in time for dinner, our fourth roommate arrived and added some much needed estrogen to the mix.  She speaks fluent polish, which will come in handy with the Polish church right next door.

Dinner was followed by a riveting game of Pictionary, which brought out our competitive sides, but also brought us together.  We learned that none of us are skilled in the drawing department, but are not lacking in creativity.  I have a feeling we’ll get many more laughs out of that game in the weeks and months to come.

Now we’re sitting around watching a movie and I’m anticipating all of the experiences we’ll have.  We all have different placements and I can’t wait to hear everyone’s stories about the people they meet and the lessons they learn.  This year will bring struggles, joys, obstacles and growth.  God is going to ask us to be vulnerable and depend on each other more than we may be comfortable with.  I know that this taste of true Catholic community will be just what I need.  God made us to live in communion with each other – giving and receiving love.  I thank Him for the chance to truly live that out!