Gospel Husbands

You Are Not Her Super-Hero?

John Eldredge popularized the notion that every man needs a beauty to rescue. Despite scathing critique from certain quarters of the Christian community, Wild At Heart remains popular with an average four star rating on Amazon.

The Wikipedia article notes that Eldredge calls men to masculinity without being egotistical,

He challenges Christian men to return to what he characterizes as authentic masculinity without resorting to a “macho man” mentality.(Wikipedia)

Let’s admit to the difficulty in distinguishing between masculinity and machismo. We too often see characters played or portrayed wherein a fellow’s behavior is excused for his abundant levels of testosterone, “He cannot help himself.” We are made to sympathize with the inevitable consequences of a lack of self-control. For a quick case study read some of the reactions to the recent youthful indiscretions out of Stubenville.

Maybe every man does not need a beauty to rescue. It is not that if we really saw someone in need we would refuse to help. Surely we would.

Eldredge’s assertion that every man needs a beauty to rescue requires a certain way men must understand their world – and the women in it. The idea that a man is incomplete until he rescues his beauty creates the necessity for distressed women. A man who subscribes to this premise must frame his potential spouse as a person needing rescue. Husbands who feel a sense of disequilibrium who buy into this notion will of necessity retell the story of their marriage as if he rescued her. What if the underlying story is the opposite? She rescued him!

Marriages seldom survive the cycle. Mutuality in super-hero marriages is oxymoronic. The trouble would remain even if the two took turns at heroism in their marriage. The energy to create crises, or to understand every encounter as a conflict in need of extraordinary solutions, is overwhelming. Eventually one or both will tire of the pretensions.

Human beings, husbands and wives, should steer clear of the impulse to magically rescue the other. We would be better served to share a life of love within the context of our own humanity. Kester Brewin, though he does not write on the subject of marriage, in his book After Magic, describes the very way our notions of the super-hero actually provide no place for love and its frequent companion sacrifice. He traces some of our favorite literary heroes and magical stories and illustrates the way our illusions often become the source of our trouble.

There is comfort in knowing husbands are not their wives super-heroes. It is an exhausting job that requires an alternative story to the long narrative of love and sacrifice between two human beings. You really are not her super-hero.

Featured Image Credit

This post first appeared at @gospelhusbands. I thought I would repost the piece here for two reasons. Some readers here do not know I write weekly for Josh over at www.gospelhusbands.com. And, I met Kester Brewin in the flesh this weekend and heard him speak twice. Maybe he will find this something of a compliment to his work.

Contributing to Gospel Husbands – Why?

In our most introspective moments husbands may question just how good we are at the role. My friend Mark Riddle described the lack of rites of passage young people experience in our culture. I know. There are milestones – puberty, driver’s license, high school graduation, registering for the draft, and reaching the legal age. But these are not the same as rites of passage.

Tribal cultures understand the need to provide direction and affirmation to young men and women to signal the community is with them and confident they will become participants in a given culture/society. I have often likened it to the “atta boy” signal a Dad gives a son or the “you will be fine” a mother signals to her daughter.

Absent rites of passage boys and girls look for signals from respected adults, if not their parents, that they are doing well. When boys and girls fail to either distinguish these signs or to receive them, we often enter marriage with an acute need to know we are doing well in our new found roles.

Joshua Breland invited me to write for a website he started, Gospel Husbands. Read More

What Would I Have Said Yesterday? Or, Rash-less

Classic irony. For a few weeks, I have weighed in on Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Over the past week I worked through the texts associated with the Proper Reading for Sunday, October 7, 2012 in the Revised Common Lectionary; our program of preaching at Snow Hill. It was also World Communion Sunday.

My choices were to endorse a political candidate for public office, or not. Or, I could point to the way in which gathered around the Table with the Bread and the Cup we celebrate Jesus’ death until he comes with all Christians every where. It seemed an easy choice.

The body would have none of it. My body that is. After nearly two weeks of taking Bactrim post two surgical procedures I succumbed to some of the more severe reactions to the antibiotic. The dizziness and nausea got me yesterday morning. By the evening I had a rash from head to toe. My eyes appeared to swell. Children might have been horrified. Who knows?

Pastors should avoid rash. I do not mean the pink, splotchy kind on my body; though avoiding that is to be preferred. I mean rash as in haste.

On Wednesday we shared our regular Staff Lunch. You do know we are Baptist and that all meetings center around a meal, correct? We chatted about the texts for the Sunday to come. Would there be a connection between the never-ending political provocations, a la Garlow et al, Communion, and the Gospel text from Mark 10 – Jesus’ teaching on marriage? Read More