"When Faith Gets Dangerous"
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Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:02:27 AM EST
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"A lot of guys out there wouldn't have the balls to be here. Are you ready to be a man? Are you ready to kick ass? Are you ready to grab your sword and say, `OK family, I'm going to lead you?' Buckle up. This is GodMen!"

As reported by Newsweek's Eileen Finan, "This wasn't your Daddy's religious revival."

We don't force men, Christian or otherwise, to wear "spiritual bras."
[T]he more dangerous parts of our faith are not well represented, the very parts that are most attractive to men.
This is our sacred place where women are not invited. We have a society where men are often demeaned for the sake of a joke. When boys or men behave consistent to their male nature, our society has a knee-jerk reaction and says men must tone it down. ... In GodMen NONE of our maleness is toned down because we believe, as the Bible states, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
We believe Jesus was in fact THE God Man: fully God and fully human simultaneously. He told us to emulate him, knowing that in our sinful and fallen condition we will never do so perfectly. Not to mention... we thought the name sounded cool.

Their Jesus isn't anybody's idea of a "nice" guy. Their Jesus is made in their own image. Their Jesus has balls.

"We connect men to their spiritual masculinity -- making them dangerous in a righteous way."

The church has been "feminized," and godly men -- GodMen -- are pushing back, ready to Grow a Pair!" [photo/audio link] for Jesus.

We've been beaten down
Feminized by the culture crowd,
No more nice guy, timid and ashamed
We've had enough, cowboy up
In the power of Jesus name
Welcome to the battle
A million men have got your back
Jump up in the saddle
Grab a sword, don't be scared
Be a man, grow a pair!

GodMen tells us that it "reflects a fresh movement among Christian men, a return to biblical patterns of masculinity. Its purpose is to create better disciples, citizens, husbands, and fathers." With the limited perspective afforded to them from down in the cheap seats, their manifesto for biblical patriarchy might sound like a groundbreaking approach. Were they to squint up at the sky boxes, Doug Phillips and his friends might claim primacy . . . but I digress.

The Los Angeles Times takes us inside the GodMen revival in Nashville.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe strobe lights pulse and the air vibrates to a killer rock beat. Giant screens show mayhem and gross-out pranks: a car wreck, a sucker punch, a flabby (and naked) rear end, sealed with duct tape.

Brad Stine runs onstage [video link] in ripped blue jeans, his shirt untucked, his long hair shaggy. He's a stand-up comic by trade, but he's here today as an evangelist, on a mission to build up a new Christian man -- one profanity at a time. "It's the wuss-ification of America that's getting us!" screeches Stine, 46.

A moment later he adds a fervent: "Thank you, Lord, for our testosterone!"

It's an apt anthem for a contrarian movement gaining momentum on the fringes of Christianity. In daybreak fraternity meetings and weekend paintball wars, in wilderness retreats and X-rated chats about lust, thousands of Christian men are reaching for more forceful, more rugged expressions of their faith.

They're reaching for what Jesus meant for them to have -- a Testosterone High [video link].

Forget the yin and the yang

I'll take the boom and the bang....

Don't need in touch with my feminine side!

All I want is my testosterone high.

The GodMen philosophy is a simple one:

  1. Men need a battle.
  2. Men need weapons/tools to fight with
  3. Men need to be taught how to use the weapons
  4. The most neglected element: Men need to be told "Ok guys, lets go fight."

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingChristian radio host Paul Coughlin, author of "No More Christian Nice Guy," takes the stage. His backdrop: a series of wanted posters featuring one Jesus of Nazareth.

"Jesus was a very bad Christian," Coughlin declares. After all, he says, the Son of God trashed a temple and even used profanity -- or the New Testament equivalent -- when he called Herod "that fox."

"The idea of Jesus as meek and mild is as fictitious as anything in Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code,' " says Coughlin, 40.

Yep -- no more Christian nice guy. Coughlin's Jesus is another breed of cat entirely.

I was told for decades to emulate this naïve and Gumby-like Jesus. And unfortunately for me and others, I succeeded. My life and ability to bless and lead my family suffered for lack of insight, power, and wisdom, among other profound virtues.
I'm encouraging ministers across the globe to give guys what we really need so we can really follow God into the dark corners of their hearts and the mysterious land of their faith: The shrewdness of serpents and all this ominous phrase represents.
Jesus commends shrewd behavior as found in the Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:8). The Message provides a clearer insight into this challenging parable: "Now here's a surprise: the master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way -- but for what is right -- using every adversity to stimulate you in creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you'll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior."
We can be grateful that contemporaries like Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson, and John Eldredge among others, did haven't fallen into the Christian Nice Guy fallacy and mistake niceness for wise goodness.

Roland Martinson is a professor of ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, who agrees that Jesus has been "domesticated" and that the "rough-hewn edges and courage ... got lopped off." He even concurs in the importance of engaging men's interest in the church, while worrying that testosterone-based worship will result in the usual, and entirely predictable, outcome: "Too often, it turns into the man being in charge of the woman. ... Christianity has been there before, and we learned how wrong it was."

But it looks as if the GodMen are going there again, just as fast as their dirt bikes can travel.

One new aficionado of "Macho Jesus" Christianity is 29 year-old Seth Kalb, who likens GodMen to "Promise Keepers on crack." Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but Dr. Freud would have a field day with Kalb's description of what attracts him to GodMen: "I wanted the real meat. ... They touch on real things here, like masturbation. That's something that would never be discussed in church, where you are supposed to keep your shame quiet."

No-holds-barred discussions about masturbation and porn addiction are probably a big part of the reason for the "No Girls Allowed" rule at GodMen rallies, where Brad Stine lays out his list of a real man's rules for his woman, beginning with "Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down."

Stine's wife, Desiree, says she supports manly leadership; it seems to her the natural and God-ordained order of things. As she puts it: "When the rubber hits the bat, I want to know my husband will protect me."

But some men at the conference run into trouble when they debut their new attitudes at home. Eric Miller, a construction worker, admits his wife is none too pleased when he takes off, alone, on a weekend camping trip a few weeks after the GodMen conference this fall.

"She was a little bit leery of it, as we have an infant," he reports. "She said, 'I need your help around here.' "

Miller, 26, refuses to yield: "I am supposed to be the leader of the family."

He's pretty sure his wife will come around once she recognizes he's modeling his life after Jesus', like a good Christian should. It'll just take a little explaining, because the Jesus he has in mind is the guy on the wanted poster: "confrontational and sarcastic when he needed to be," Miller says, and determined to use "whatever means was necessary to achieve his goal."

Apparently, being the leader of his family doesn't require Miller's actual presence, not when his camping buddies need him more. Writing at the GodMen blog, Brad Stine chides women who didn't understand why they weren't welcome at a Pennsylvania event.

Now folks, the last thing I am is anti-woman. I love women, need women, and respect women. Heck, my mom's one! But it really ticked me off that they would think it ok to enter our man cave. Men have very few events that the are allowed to have just for themselves w/o women feeling we are being insensitive. Women want to get into everything that used to be exclusively male including our sports. From little league, to fireMEN, women want in.

Women want to get into Augusta which is a private golf course where the Masters is held. ( I know you guys know this but this is for any women who have sneaked onto our site and are reading this. )
Funny how in our culture even that pragmatic, documented, truth, is
supposed to be censored for the sake of not hurting someones feelings. Saying
men are superior than women in certain areas isn't insensitive...it's true. Just like women are better at some things then men. You would have to be a tenured professor of sociology at Berkley to be too stupid to grasp that.

So all I am saying is women, do your best in everything you choose, rise as high as you can and shoot for the stars but please leave some things just for men. Godmen is such a sacred space. We'll even reciprocate. I hereby promise that no Godmen will EVER sneak into a Women of Faith conference. Trust me, we would rather be shopping for shoes at the mall on super bowl Sunday.

Nope, nothing insensitive about that. Still, if their wives and mothers were present, some men might feel a tad inhibited about full participation in GodMen discussion groups.

One forum, titled "Training the Penis," addressed struggles with masturbation and pornography. ... In another talk, Nate Larkin, a former pastor, told the crowd how he picked up his first prostitute on the way to preach at a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Larkin says that he only began to overcome his sex addiction when he stopped pretending to be a perfect Christian. "This group targets the guys who went to Promise Keepers once and didn't go back, the guys who believe in God, but relationships in church to them seem forced and fake," he says. "There is an underserved market and I think it is a rising tide."

A rising tide or lost at sea? Either way, GodMen probably shouldn't try to crash Vision Forum's Eleventh Annual Titanic Dinner to Remember the Doctrine of 'Women and Children First.'

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Unlike any dinners that actually took place aboard the Titanic, no females are allowed at the Vision Forum event, either -- first, second or last -- but Doug Phillips most likely still wouldn't permit any "Training the Penis" talk at the dinner table.

[Title image: GodMen.org]

They are also reinforcing a stereotype about gender.

The definition of gender (manness) is CULTURALLY driven.  IT IS NOT BIOLOGICAL.

I'd bet that this same group that considers something that is culturally driven to be biological, probably calls sexual orientation, (which is PROVEN to be biological)- to be a "choice".

Those idiots also sound like the types who ignore and demean over half of the population.

Indeed, I find some of the comments to BE demeaning towards women.

(SIGH!)  Those fundamentalists!

by ArchaeoBob on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 11:05:10 AM EST

When these guys get to Heaven, they'll be playing armpit farts rather than harps.....

They seem all worried that women want to attend their events. Huh? Truly, unless the women in question are journalists or sociologists of religion, I can't quite feature women thronging the gates to hear about men's issues with masturbation.

There's something profoundly defensive here. With all the other opportunities to serve using "manly" hobbies or characteristics ("big brother" program, fixing cars for poor folk, working to talk homeless folks into shelters on cold nights, Habitat for Humanity builds, etc), these folks need someone to tell them that they are men. Too bad their concept of manliness relies primarily on bashing something or somebody and then boasting.

by NancyP on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 12:43:43 PM EST

just in time to "cowboy up" in the War on Christmas.

Such in-your-face aggression at first troubles Howard Stephenson, who paid $68 for a day at GodMen in hopes of forging friendships with other Christian men. When Stine, a born-again Christian, shouts that it's OK to cuss -- and then demonstrates with a defiant "bull...." -- Stephenson shifts uneasily.

"This is so extreme for me," he says.

A few weeks later, Stephenson, 43, is still not sold on profanity. But he has ditched the nice-guy reflex of always turning the other cheek. When he spots a Wal-Mart clerk writing "Happy Holidays" on a window, he boldly complains: It should say "Merry Christmas."

The clerk erases the offending greeting. Chalk one up for Christian testosterone.

"I wouldn't have done that before," Stephenson says proudly. "I am no longer a doormat."

GodMen hold up Jesus' scourging of the moneychangers in the temple as their primary guiding example of manly Christian behavior.

Today's version of that action is the scourging of the clerks at their neighborhood Wal-Mart.

by moiv on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:14:18 AM EST

He wants to level entire Iraqi cities with nuclear weapons.

That's as God-Manly as it gets.

Bill Bennett, God-Man, is so God-Manly he believes in incinerating tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent people just to make an example out of them !

That's, like, so God-Manly.

Bill Bennett, God-Man, has balls so big that he endorses sex and age equality in mass killing. If Bill Bennett were in charge he wouldn't even spare women and children, he'd kill men, women, children, the elderly, and family pets too. By a mere God-Manly flick of his pen signing an executive order Bill Bennett, God-Man, would launch ICBMs and B-52s to turn entire cities into vitrified parking lots just like God leveled Sodom and Gomorrah in the Old Testament ! How God-Manly is that ? He's like Jehovah come to earth. He's Bill Bennett, God-Man.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:44:46 AM EST

That gay bodybuilders need to crash, dressed in drag, and turn into the next Rocky Horror Picture Show. We could make up songs, it could be a musical.  "God-Men and the little balls that could ?...." 'God Man' And The Angry One Inch Balls " ? ( ! ) "Balls! - It's God-Men !"

I could, obviously, go on.

On the "We're Gonna Grow Balls !" battle cry, what can be said about men who run around shouting "we're gonna grow balls !" except....

Hey "God-Men", if y'all can't find your balls you might want to consult a physician - you've probably got undescended testicles, and that condition can be fixed with a simple surgical procedure.

On the other hand, if y'all have small testicles and want to physically increase their size, then you won't get very far with that project no matter how much you stomp around beating your chests or play paintball games. Get used to it : you are stuck with the balls you've got and probably need to just get over your 'little balls' hangups and get on with your lives. You, not your balls, are the captain of your ship and the master of your fate. Name one male hero who publicly worried about his testicle size. Just one.  

Now, if you really don't have balls, even little or undescended ones, I'd guess that on the world market there are probably a few well paying gigs available for eunuchs, probably in Saudi Arabia and maybe in Kuwait too.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 12:04:36 PM EST

As one who also keeps tabs on the victims of testosterone poisoning and Calvinism, I think your research deserves the widest possible audience.

by nogodsnomasters on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 12:08:58 PM EST

I interpreted the story of Jesus in the temple as one of Jesus standing up to the corruption of religion by greed and marketing.  This cheesy form of marketing makes the problem worse.

Cindy Sheehan is more in that spirit than these bozos.

by strayroots on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 03:33:28 PM EST

Would this be justifying misogny and being a jerk by claiming it is "Christian?"

It's so convenient to make God in your image and it's also easier than actually thinking and changing and submitting.  
Heavens no, we can't have real men with real balls and real testerone submitting!!
Why everyone knows how Jesus kicked ass every day of His life and hated women to boot!

by nofundy on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 04:09:37 PM EST

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