Mathew Block, writing for First Things here, http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/09/uprooting-the-christian-masculinity-complex, decries the extremities of a few modern Christian groups who push the modern stereotype of masculinity too far. I shared the article on Facebook and stated that I agreed with the article. I still do.

Mr. Block decries the notion that all men should be warriors, that we have a repressed warrior in us that needs battles. Well, I think he is correct in denouncing that notion. Of course, truths are rarely monolithic.

Greg Forster, also at First Things, here, http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/09/rescuing-warriors-from-muscular-christianity-1, takes exception, trying to achieve balance.

I think it quite significant that God established our creation mythos around agriculture and keeping garden, not conquest. Honestly, there is no reason God had to start with our first parents. HE could have started with the first conqueror that followed Him. Mr. Block’s points on it are quite well stated and full of truth.

Sure, as Dr. Forster points out, God’s command included subduing the earth in a militaristic sense, but Christ, our King, first sacrificed all for us. Jesus proclaimed peace, but also the sword. We must be careful of the context, but most of all we must focus on his example.

Before he paid in full every debt
Jesus wept

Dr. Forster suggests the whole point of creation was to battle darkness and establish the light. Well, I agree, and I see it as an established feature of Church history and orthodoxy. Most of all, the scripture leads us to that conclusion.

Consider I John 3:8 and all the statements of Jesus that we should follow him and do even greater works than he. John 16:33 is encouraging.

Jesus came to undo what the adversary has done. Jesus came to redeem all of creation. Romans 8 shows us that Christ has redeemed it, but it is still subjected until we, the children of God, are truly revealed in Him. How long is a mystery, but the point seems clear. We, through our conquering Lord, are to conquer evil and undo all the works of the devil. We do that by walking in love. We do that one person at a time. We do that by starting with the man in the mirror, focusing on keeping ourselves in Christ, following him, and remembering, “O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

This quote of Dr. Forster’s is worth repeating:

However, at the very least we must say that Adam is created to struggle against a world that is not yet in conformity to God’s final plan for it, and which resists his efforts to put into such conformity; Adam is to overcome the world’s resistance and wrench it into the shape God intends it to have.

You’re right that God made a gardener—or, in light of the full scope of Genesis 1–2, it might be more precise to say farmer. And I would be the last to slight the central importance of the farmerly virtues you point to. But being a farmer in a world like this one, even before the fall of Adam, involves being a warrior—and a prophet, and a priest.

I’ll conclude with saying it ain’t supposed to be easy. Everyone needs a warrior within. Battles will come. Each must keep ready to fight, but always paramount, do justly, love mercy, and hold fast to humility.

 

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