Last week’s poll I asked if our society raised boys or men. This question is one of the most important questions facing our culture today, a question that the church may not be any better at answering than society at large. As I have been praying this week about the question I think the answer is evident. Our society raises guys to be boys, not men. Symptoms show up in the video game culture, the delaying of marriage and family, even in the continuing trend for young men to live at home past college age. Further the current economic state does not help things as jobs are harder and harder to come by.
What makes this trend occur? This can be answered in one word, responsibility. Let me examine with you three areas which lead to this area life of young men.
1) Excusing Sinfulness as Adolescence –
2) Sexual Freedom without Real Consequences –
3) Absence of A Definitive Launch into Adulthood –
Biblically each of these three areas have a clear principle that govern them. Parents are commanding in many places to train up children (Prov. 22:6), disciplining their young hearts to know right from wrong (Ephesians 6:4). Corporal punishment (spare the rod, spoil the child) is prescribed early in life because this punishment alone can be understood by even the youngest minds. As children grow fathers are told not to provoke their children to wrath, always pairing discipline with devotion and doctrine. Sex in all its forms God places solely in marriage (Hebrews 13:4). Our society on the other hand sees no problem with sex in all its forms, pornography, fooling around, and ultimately premarital sex is almost expected in the life of young men. A few generations ago the same activities were at least shunned as unseemly, and those caught having sex outside of marriage faced the consternation of parents which at times led to marriage. Finally we see as the largest symptom in society today the extension of adolescence longer and longer. College guys are not expected to train for a profession as much as they are expected to continue their high school behaviors until they enter the real world. Those who argue over this fact should consider one of the hot button healthcare issues is the coverage of twenty-something children by their parents. Judaism had the Bar Mitzvah which officially welcomed young boys into the community as young men. America up to a few decades ago welcomed boys into society as young men when they left home, got married, or were called into service either for the family or the country.
Some may say this is not serious since men will step up when the situation demands it. Unfortunately the expectation of guys is to live this type of lifestyle being boys as long as possible. Some guys simply trade moms in for wives and TV provides no better option in the role models it presents. Men on TV are either playboys, metro or homosexuals, or worst incompetent to do anything apart from the guidance of a mother or wife. This too should not surprise us as we see in Genesis Adam abrogate his responsibilities to lead and guard his family when the serpent comes to tempt his wife. As the passage reads Adam stands idly by as the serpent deceives and destroys perfection of Creation.
Can we raise boys into men? Yes, but only in the fashion the all Creation is redeemed from the fall. We must begin at birth placing before our boys the picture of the perfect man Christ. Christ took upon himself the responsibility for the entire world and sought to do all that he could to please his Father. Even when he went to the Temple for Passover as a boy he set about his Father’s business (Luke 2:41-52). We need to raise our boys to be like Christ concerned and active in pursuing the Father’s business.