What Then Should A Man Do?

Posted on April 16, 2012 by

By Chris, who blogs at Dark Brightness

Today has been about nursing bruises from cambering over rocks, driving too far, and generally seeking to play with light water and cameras. Son one and i slept in, ate sparingly, looked at tons of reviews of cameras online… and in the meantime I was considering tn the back of my mind a question that has been implied in conversations that Dalrock and Mr Darwin had, and has come up again in Orthopraxy today.

The question is what should a man do. Some options.

Engage the culture but remain apart from it.  This is harder than one thinks. You end up following those around you. Men do poorly by themselves, and the current culture is obsessed with appearances, and sexuality, The classicists used to call this effeminate, as Dale Nelson notes

As a college professor who will be 60 before very many more years have passed, I observe the demeanor of strapping young men who are, in fact, effeminate. Yes, for all their “masculinity.” First, a man who is led around by a seductress is effeminate. You get glimpses in pre-modern literature of the scorn felt for a man who is dominated by a loose woman’s sexuality. Second, they chatter (via text messages) like nothing so much as a teenage girl yakking on her phone in some Fifties sitcom. How is this masculine? Third, both whites and blacks seem to be obsessed with clothes and accessories:

Embrace a quest. This is what Kristor is advocating in his post “Let the dead bury the dead”. Embrace the physical disciplines of hard training and the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting, including celibacy. Do not go seeking women. Do not be a PUA. Instead do what you task at this time is. Kristor does, I think, over emphasize martial arts and military training… I would say that learning anything difficult is important, but remaining fit is also important. That means 6:30 runs with quiet time before… or similar. It means the gym. And it means mission, ministry. Your aim, as a man, is to fulfill your mission. Your second aim is to train those who follow: your children, and those who enter your trade.

You do not get distracted by this culture. You are doing your mission: you are perfecting your skill. Entertainment is for the effete.

Separation and/or isolation. This is a position that the anabaptists took many years ago, and they were not the first. The stylites and monastics left the corruption of the late Roman Empire to build holy communities. In more modern times, the Brethren have also separated themselves.  In doing this, you build a tight, enclosed community: often run by a man seen as a spiritual leader, and generally isolated from the mainstream of the church.

For the mainstream has to be engaged with the world. It is the mission of the church to preach the word, in season (when people want to hear it) and, more importantly, out of season (when people yell at us to be silent). The Anabaptist and Monastic does not want to go near the source of imperfection.

But we bring imperfections with us. We distort the rules of community, or the communities devolve into heresies — and over history, this has been more frequent than one would hope. Moreover, isolationism requires that the Vikings are not interested in you: if they are you better have more than a community of prayer.

Looking over the last 20 to 30 years, embracing the culture in the hope of remaining relevant has led to us losing our spine. In a similar way, isolationism is leading to distortions of teaching and a lack of accountability — the models that work are large enough to self correct, like the old order Amish, where leadership who abuses can be named, removed and if necessary, shunned.

We need to begin teaching thus our young men physical discipline, spiritual discipline, and the need for mission. We need to think more about the mission than being nice. And we need to… forget… and sacrifice the modern ideas of serial monogamy (married and divorced or a series of common-law relationships  instead making homes that are more righteous, less current, and more sustainable.

It seems that this is the task for men. Women, well, that is another conversation.