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Is the fruit of the Spirit too sissy for 'real men'?


Real manliness is defined by Christlike character, and not just the Gentle-Jesus-meek-and-mild-style character, but the full-orbed fruit of the Spirit rounded out with strength, courage, conviction, strong passions, manly love, and a stout-hearted willingness to oppose error and fight for the truth—even to the point of laying down your life for the truth if necessary.

From TeamPyro's More on the Sissification of Church

Just the other day I was going to post on the fruit of the Spirit - wondering whether 'real men' would find Paul too feminized at this point.  All that girly 'patience and gentleness' and nothing about mechanical, athletic or barbecuing ability.  

Then I read the quote above. Now I think I agree with much of what the author says.  He himself is reacting against a kind of John Eldredge 'wild man' myth.  And who could disagree that manliness is defined by Christlike character?  But to say the fruit of the Spirit requires 'rounding out' when it's applied to real men....  ?? 

Does this mean that 'faith, hope and love' are a bit 'chickified'?  Perhaps they require rounding out with 'strength, honour and belching'?  Or maybe 'be joyful, pray and give thanks' (1 Thes 5:16-18) need augmenting with 'build, fix and kill.'

Oh look, I'm all for stout-hearted fighting spirit.  I know that men are cowards.  I know what a problem this is.  After all, the silence of Adam got us into this mess in the first place.

But when true, stout-hearted, courageous manhood is expressed, you know what it will look like?  Cheek-turning, cloak-giving, rights-yielding, foot-washing, burden-bearing, shame-absorbing, sacrificial love. 

It will look like the fruit of the Spirit.  And even though these qualities may look sissy to the world - well...  Real men don't care about looking sissy.


Other posts on men stuff:

Models of masculinity

Three thoughts on Headship

He said - She said



0 thoughts on “Is the fruit of the Spirit too sissy for 'real men'?

  1. Missy

    You don't know how much I needed to read this at just this moment. First, I laughed at "strength, honour and belching" - then I squeamed a bit.

    I lambasted my maturing to Christ-like Mr. Right for being this kind of "sissy" last night. Men aren't the only ones who get this wrong. Thanks. Now I shall go apologize...

  2. Matt

    Glen, I responded to the teampyro article in the same way.

    I do get confused about the 'real' man stuff though. What is the opposite, surely not an 'unreal' man? Is the issue perhaps the difference between a righteous and sinful man (and we know how many man are righteous - Romans 3:10)?

    Manhood is a gift of God's grace, not something that we attain by right performance. Otherwise, we set up doing 'real' masculinity as a work, as a means of achieving right standing before God. In calling people to 'man-up' we shouldn't call people to pull their socks up to meet a list of attributes derived from the example of men in Scripture but call people to the gospel, to reject sin (whether cowardice or domineering and so on) and pursue Christ.

    How do you get a man to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, faithful and self-controlled? Surely, not by working to position those things as manly but by him being in Christ, with the Spirit of Christ producing these things as fruit, not a work of self-effort based on some external (a perhaps only loosely scriptural) standard of masculinity.

  3. Si

    I totally agree with this whole anti-sissy thing going too far. Could it be something cultural in the American water? Mark Driscoll (jokingly, hopefully) talks about how his first church met his criteria:
    "Firstly, the pastor was a man who had been in the military and knew how to kill people in self-defence. Second he taught through the Bible verse by verse so that I could learn to trust the Scriptures and to love Jesus without feeling like we had a thinly veiled homosexual relationship." and then how his second church met the criteria: "First, the pastor (who looked like Mr. T) had been an NFL linebacker and knew how to kill people in self-defence. Second he taught through the Bible verse by verse in a real way, one that enabled me to have a relationship with Jesus that did not feel like he was my lifelong prom date." (Radical Reformission pp14-15).

    OK, the second one is good, though phrased clearly at manly men. The first is not so good, but is, I guess, trying to say "church isn't just for sissy men", or even "the church isn't for sissy geeks - it's for Jocks like you and me!".

  4. codepoke

    Keep after it, Glen.

    The issue is not a sissified church, but entitled men. Lundy Bancroft defines "nagging" as a woman's vain attempt to get her husband to do the things he should be doing. Abusers define nagging as an excuse to wage any kind of war they prefer against their spouses.

    I have a hard time distinguishing between these manly men's calls for respect and any other spoiled brat's defense of why no one understands him.

  5. Glen

    Hi Matt - yes real men are a third thing - not wimps, not jocks and not half way in between. And yes, masculinity is a gift of grace to be embraced, not a mantle to be earned. I'll hopefully write more on this. Thanks for the links on your blog - some interesting stuff to chase up.

  6. Glen

    Hey Si,
    Driscoll, Driscoll, Driscoll. It's hard to get away from him huh? Might write some more on this soon...

  7. Glen

    Hey Code,
    Exactly! Entitlement spirit courses through the veins of this teaching. "I have a Y chromosome therefore I get to swing a club, tear stuff down and bully."

    And it's scary to see how 'knights in shining armour' require their damsels to be in distress.

  8. Glen

    Well, Missy, us sissy guys have to stick together. Mr Right and I should catch up over a herbal tea sometime...

  9. Ernesto Tinajero

    The last of the fruit of the spirit, self-control, always separates the men from the boys. Also, I think that it is not the fruits of the spirit that has become feminized, but how we distinguish them. Love has become a feel good non-judgementalism, when biblically it is more about calling others to a life in God, an affirmation of life that both exposes sin and points the direction to God-not for the faint of heart. Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4 is the perfect example. The fruits of the Spirit is not for the weak.

  10. Glen

    Hi Ernesto - welcome to the comments. Good point about self-control. I'm reminded that in Titus 2 as Paul talks about what to teach the different groups, he advises that young men should be taught 'self-control' and adds nothing else! Apparently that will keep young men busy enough!

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