Week 47 in the year of our Lord 2020

Things unmarried men should especially know

9 minutes to read

Helpful advice from Owen Strachan for young men:

In your peer group, aspire to be the one who wears his God-given gifts lightly. Talent; learning; opportunities; credentials; skills; influential friends; wealth; praise. Wear it lightly. Humility is the best policy.

This is hard to learn. The more gifts you have, the more jealously you will want to hold them. But we follow Christ: when we offer up our gifts in faith, when we suffer deaths to them, God raises us back up and returns them to our hands more glorious than before (cf. Philippians 2:6-11).

Because this is the pattern that Jesus set, it is the pattern of our lives. To borrow a popular saying that borrowed from the original name for Christianity, “This is the Way.”


Most (not all) modern forms of courtship fail to produces strong marriages because:

  1. Many fathers are more interested in using the “courtship” as an opportunity to posture their toughness as a man (e.g., cleaning their gun when the young man shows up—effeminate nonsense), rather than building a low-key relationship with potential suitors. Thus, the only guys who are generally willing to stick around and put up with the shenanigans are weak, needy men with few options. All the high-quality guys have plenty of options and don’t have to put up with “little men.”
  2. It throws off the power equilibrium because the woman has all the power, either directly or by proxy through her father. For the young man to explore the relationship, he has to make an exclusive commitment to courting her. This commitment is usually premature and, once again, something a guy will only do if he has few options (or she greatly exceeds all the other options).

There are more reasons, but these two factors alone cause massive issues in marriages birthed from courtship. We know. They call and email us every week.

Given the societal situation, we prefer something that more closely aligns with the “dating” of the 30s and 40s. Get to know someone without commitment before you “go steady,” and then move into engagement with the permission of the parents. And obviously no sex until marriage.


Men insult each other and don’t mean it. Women compliment each other and don’t mean it.

This refers to tendencies; not absolute rules from which no one ever deviates. Essentially men bond by a process of exclusion; women by a process of inclusion.

Why? Because men and women are designed for different things.

Men are designed to work together to subdue the outward world (“build a house”). Thus, testing each other to establish a hierarchical structure is critical. Every man must ensure his place by competing somewhat with the rest of the group.

Women are designed to work together to fill the inward world (“build a home”). Thus, connecting with each other to establish social harmony is critical. Every woman must ensure her place by conforming somewhat to the rest of the group.

Because of this, meritocracies like true aristocracies, classical democracies, or biblical monarchies are masculine ideals. Feminine forms of government include flat democracies (everyone is equally competent), oligarchies (cliques), and committees (no one is responsible).

Despite what many people think, it’s very difficult for adult women to form tight and trustworthy friendships among each other. But they are an immense blessing worth working for. Even what both women might think is a tight and trustworthy friendship can turn out to collapse under pressure when one woman becomes socially ostracized by those with more social capital or authority. The friendship, though outwardly sound, doesn’t have the internal basis to bear the weight of peer pressure.

Male friendships can certainly be shallow too, but a tight and trustworthy friendship tends to be much more solid. Apollo and Rocky pushing each other to the absolute edge of their ability is a good depiction of the power of male friendship.

Men need men. Find each other. Take risks. It’s worth the reward.


Binging diminishes a commitment to quality.

If you binge drink, the quality of the alcohol matters less and less.

If you binge watch, the quality of the show matters less and less.

Binging creates a hunger that must always be fed, and after a while anything will do.


Men who are hooked up like junkies to the dopamine drip of virtual fornication (porn) and fake dominion (video games) are worthless for the task of being fruitful in real life, and imposing genuine order on their worlds. —From our upcoming book


Here are some good comments from one of our men in Tyrannus Hall, comparing effeminate men with the biblical ideal for masculinity:

How do men make themselves effeminate?

The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. (Matthew 23:2-7)

  • He is overly intellectual and inadequately action oriented (For they preach, but do not practice Matt 23)
  • He does not take responsibility for his actions (They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders)
  • He is lazy (but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger)
  • He is afraid to speak up for truth and censors himself to please others (They do all their deeds to be seen by others)
  • He is soft (For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long)
  • He wants to be liked by others and seen as a nice guy (they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.)

How does a man embrace his masculinity?

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:1-12)

  • He boldly exhorts others to obey the Lord. (In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea)
  • He is rough, rugged, and strong (Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.)
  • He commands authority and people follow them (Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.)
  • He protects and defends those he leads from dangerous people (But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?)
  • He holds others to high standards (Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.)
  • He speaks truth without shame (Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.)
  • His displays humility by confidently exalting Christ, not by shying away from taking a stand (“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.)
  • He communicates unsettling information plainly, not be covering it in suggestion and caveat (His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”)

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence. —Samuel Johnson (The Life Of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 4)


Until next week,

Bnonn & Michael

This email is archived, but you can receive new ones free every Saturday.

Subscribe to Notes on Manhood

You’ll get the newsletter every Saturday morning, Eastern time.


Success

You’re now subscribed to Notes on Manhood. You will get the next newsletter in your mailbox on Saturday.

You can safely close this dialog and keep browsing now.