The Feminization of the American Male
Trust and Obey
For those of you who read Chapter 3, "Mans Never Ending Sin", you will recognize the beginning of this chapter, but it is worth repeating.
God gives us commandments, rules to live by. We begin in good faith, but struggle nonetheless. It is our nature to do what WE want, not what anyone else wants (including God). We find ourselves singing the song Frank Sinatra made famous, with the refrain--"I did it my way". We don't understand why God does things the way He does, and rather than trust Him and accept His will, we rationalize until we convince ourselves that to do it our way is "right".
God then lets us suffer the consequences of our choices. Sometimes we learn, sometimes we don't. When we don't learn, we sink deeper and deeper into our misunderstanding of what is "right" until there is no hope of finding our way back. Then God intervenes, punishes us as a learning experience, and the cycle starts all over again.
The pattern is thus:
- God makes His will known to us.
- We do not want to do it His way.
- We want to do it our way; what "feels" right.
- So we rationalize until we believe our will is His will.
It began with Adam and Eve.
Seems easy enough. Eat all you want of everything else, just not the fruit of this one tree. This was a no-brainer.
This was step 1 of the pattern. It is not always this obvious. Most times, God uses a prophet to convey the message, but since Adam and Eve were the only people, sending an intervening prophet was unlikely.
This was steps 2 and 3 wrapped up into one verse.
God gave them a simple command. Adam and Eve had only to trust Him and do as he commanded, and they would continue their heavenly relationship with Him. Note what Scripture shows was their response. They saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable. Ignoring God's command and relying solely on their own reasoning, they convinced themselves there was no harm in eating the fruit.
This is the essence of the nature of sin. We know what is right. We nonetheless challenge what is right. We use our limited human understanding to rationalize until we convince ourselves God didn't mean what we thought after all. Surely there is nothing wrong with eating the fruit of that one tree? It looked good. It probably smelled good. It no doubt tasted good. Maybe we misunderstood God; maybe He meant we couldn't eat it on that one day, but today it is OK; maybe He meant a different tree--after all this fruit is good. Why would God deny us something that is good? Isn't God good? Wouldn't He want us to have what is good? Unless God is hiding something from us?
Do you see how the human intellect works? We go from one position to the next using human logic. Just like our first parents. They wanted to do it their way. God knew better. He had His reasons for the command not to eat of it. In their limited understanding, our first parents did not know God's reason, so they reasoned for themselves.
Therein lies the problem. They needed to trust God and not reason for themselves. We call this pride. Pride is at the heart of all sin. We decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, and rationalize away whatever God made plain.
It's easy for us to look back on the situation with disdain for our first parents actions, knowing we would not have made that same mistake. Every generation since then said the same thing, and yet mankind kept making the same choice over and over again--not to trust God's simple commands and instead do what feels right. Each time they rationalized their positions; they saw no earthly reason to restrict their actions in the way God prescribed. And every time they had to learn the hard way that God has a reason for everything He does; we just need to trust Him.
This pattern continues for thousands of years until the time of Jesus. Reference Nehemiah 9:6-37 for a summary in the Bible itself. Prophets came and went, people mistrusted them, God dealt with each successive generation of stiff-necked peoples, and the people never learned to set aside their feelings and trust God. No matter how many prophets God sent, the people would always doubt the prophet. They never felt the prophet was truly from God. People like to choose their own prophets--ones who will tell them what they want to hear, not prophets God sends to tell them what God wants them to hear.
Jesus was the antithesis of Adam. Wherein Adam (and all of mankind after him) chose to do it his own way, Jesus chose to do it God's way.
Jesus did not want to endure the Passion, but He was determined to follow the will of His Father regardless. He is the perfect example of how we should be. Even if we don't want to do it God's way, we should remember Jesus' words "not as I will, but as you will". This is especially true if we don't understand why God is doing it the way He is.
We are told to pick up our crosses daily and follow Him. Thus, even if we don't understand God's will, even if we don't want to do it God's way, we should still trust Him and obey. That's what it means to pick up your cross.
Jesus told Peter:
He later said to the rest of the apostles:
Even if you are not familiar with the customs and idioms of the day, even if you don't understand the full significance of giving the keys, what Jesus says here is pretty clear. Jesus gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. He told all the apostles whatever they bind on earth will be bound in heaven. This is real power and authority, more so than any previous prophet received. We saw what happened to those who opposed the authority of the prophets of old. God warns any who would challenge the authority of His chosen apostles:
Peter, and the apostles with him, were God's prophets of the day. And just like all the prophets before them, they were not believed. It was hard to convince the people of God's will. Are you ready to trust Him and obey? Are you ready to obey the Church? Or are you already rationalizing He didn't mean what He said? That's what Adam did.
Don't ignore God in this. God is telling you plainly whom He is sending to represent Him on Earth. He sent the apostles. He said you must listen to them. They sent others to represent them, and the apostles said you must listen to these others also. Those others sent more whom you must listen to, and so on to this day. If you refuse to listen to God in this, then you are just like the Israelites throughout history; you doubt God's representatives at your own peril.
Which is what America is doing today. In his book Rediscover Catholicism, Matthew Kelly addresses three philosophies predominant in American society today: Individualism (what's in it for me?), Hedonism (if it feels good, do it) and Minimalism (what is the least I can do?). All three tear away at our relationship with God. Any one of them by itself could start our precipitous slide into steps 2&3 of the pattern; yet we suffer from all three.
Today's society has all but demolished the hierarchal authority of men. It is no more apparent than in the family. To suggest that a man is king of his own castle is sexist at best, and otherwise undeserving of a second consideration when stated. Men are no longer providers for the family first and foremost; indeed it is more frequent that women are the primary bread-winners. Some women prefer to have a partner to get them started with a family, then pursue a family life without a husband/father figure around (that is not to suggest most single-parent households fall into this stigma). Today, the view is more egalitarian, wherein both partners share in domestic/familial responsibilities and decision-making on an "equal" level. There is no assumption of roles, and no one has the ultimate authority to call the shots. There is dual-authority or no authority at all.
A natural consequence of the challenge of authority is the 'no authority at all' concept. If no spouse should be subjected to the authority of the other spouse, then why must the children be subjected to the authority of either parent? A child need only go to whichever parent is inclined to rule in their favor. If one spouse cannot make the decisions that bind the other spouse, why can either bind the children? Again, if Dad says "yes" and Mom says "no", who wins? With greater frequency, society tells children their parents have no authority to tell them what to do, what to believe, what to wear, what not to smoke, whether to have sex before marriage, and whether they have the right to keep it all secret from their parents. Schools dispense condoms without parents' knowledge. Young girls get abortion counseling without their parents even knowing they are pregnant. If their parents restrict their activities, the children can seek redress with school counselors and nurses. Parents can lose their legal rights to be parents if they are deemed too authoritarian with their kids (meaning they don't allow the kids to do what the counselors feel is alright).
And this spills out into social programs backed by government authorities (which are increasingly trying to usurp the family authority). Pregnancy and child-rearing are presented as avoidable burdens, so naturally abortion, sterilization and contraception are the preferred alternatives. If a heterosexual lifestyle is presented as stifling, then experimenting in homosexuality is the answer. Marriage itself is an experiment, not a commitment. If you find yourselves incompatible or even just bored, get a divorce. If you can challenge the morality of anything, then you can challenge the morality of everything.
The error in this evolution is the assumption it is somehow special or more important to be the one that calls the shots. God shows us time and time again how it is the one who is lowly in the eyes of the world who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. That which is important to the world is just not important to God. If we truly seek God, if we truly want to do His will, we will delight in that which pleases Him.
This is God's plan. It is balanced, complex yet simple, and it works. God does everything for a reason. In the long run, it always turns out to be the right thing to do. God shows us the way He set it up, and then patiently lets us depart from that way if we so choose. He wants men to fulfill certain tasks and women to fulfill other tasks for a reason. It is not because women are more important than men, or visa versa. It is not because women are smarter than men, or visa versa. It is not because women are more holy than men, or visa versa. It is not because of any earthly, vain reason--it is because He set it up that way. He gave each of us talents to do our tasks, and everything works best when we stick to His plan.
Sticking to His plan requires us to use our talents to further His will. If we use our talents for our own selfish gain, then we oppose His plan. If we abuse our authority by selfishly serving our own needs and desires at the expense of those of the family, then we oppose His plan. The reason the husband has credibility with the wife is because he submits himself to Christ first.
Sticking to His plan requires us to fulfill the roles He made for us. If we vainly prefer to do it our own way, then we oppose His plan. The burdens of pregnancy and child-rearing are not subordinated to enslaved wives so husbands can pursue their own chauvinistic lifestyle. The beauty of pregnancy and child-rearing are elevated to the enlightened wife so the husband can love and serve the family as provider and protector.
In any case, the family will suffer the consequences of our choices.
So it is with society as well. If God gives us the talents and opportunity to serve (which is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven), but we prefer instead to be served (which is greatest in the world), then we oppose His plan. We are seeking the wrong prize, and the community will suffer the consequences of our choices.
Do you follow God's plan now? What God makes plain, do you follow, or do you rationalize that surely He didn't mean what it appears to mean; surely what He says to do is really OK to not do? How about Ephesians 5?
This country is experiencing the same fate the Israelites experienced over and over and over again. We are deviating from God's plan, and we are suffering the consequences for it. How can we get back on track, or is it already too late?
I propose we start living the Catholic life. We need to learn our faith, promote our faith, renew our moral standards, pray, participate in the Catholic community and develop a missionary spirit. Bishops and priests need to support the Catholic position on everything--all of it. Catholic institutions of higher learning need to be first-and-foremost Catholic. Politicians who call themselves "Catholic" must honor the faith--all of it. Men and women of the congregation must honor the faith--all of it, including Ephesians 5, including mandates from the Magisterium. No sex outside of marriage; no divorce and remarriage; no birth control; no abortion; no homosexuality; no pornography; no drugs; no euthanasia; no cursing; no skipping Sunday Mass; no lying; no cheating; no stealing. You must love one another; you must care for the poor; you must tithe; you must be the Christians God wants us to be; you must remember Him in all you do.
The world in general, and this country in particular, sees Catholics as indecisive and not unified. That is because we are indecisive and not unified. If we are not willing to honor the faith, then everyone can challenge us. If we are determined to honor the faith, then no one can stop us. But you must honor all of it; you can't pick and choose what doctrines and dogmas you will follow.
Show that you are determined to honor the faith; not just on Sundays at Church, but in front of everyone. When others see you truly put your faith ahead of your Earthly status, you will gain their respect. Furthermore, indecisive Catholics will see you have something solid and righteous to believe in, and they will be drawn to it. It will spread like wildfire.
Then American men will become masculine once again.
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