The Narrowing Spectrum
| The Subrebuke |
...That awkward moment when somebody subrebukes you.
You're probably wondering what a subrebuke is. It's a word that I made up in my own head that works a lot like a subtweet. A subtweet is when you tweet about someone without directly mentioning them, typically to mock or criticize. Likewise, a subrebuke is when a fellow Christian rebukes or corrects you without doing it directly. Sometimes, it's by accident and sometimes it's on purpose. (Trust me. I know because I've done it before, and I'm about 87% sure it's been done to me.) This happens a lot from the pulpit under the guise of "if the shoe fits wear it" even though folks know it's about a specific person or group.
So, I was speaking to my brother in Christ about one of my recent S.O.L.I.D. Talk broadcasts on Toxic Masculinity. On that broadcast, I used the now notorious Gillette We Believe: The Best A Man Can Be commercial as a backdrop to highlight the social and spiritual attack on masculinity. I spoke about how the concept of "toxic masculinity" was nothing more than a Trojan horse that was masquerading as something noble, while only intending to destroy men. I explained how this virtue signaling by Gillette was nothing more than a kamikaze stunt that was willing to destroy itself and its consumer base for what it perceives as a greater good.
Thinking back on both the S.O.L.I.D. Talk and my conversation with my brother in Christ, I can hear the passion, bias, and stance that began to come out of me. It was at this moment that my brother in Christ had to hit me with the subrebuke, and I praise God for it. Much of the revelation that you'll read in the remainder of this blog is from brother Randy Draper, from That We Might Live Missions, but it was too good not to share.
| Hook, Line, and Sinker |
I fell for it. I took the bait. He got me hook, line, and sinker.
Those who follow the TMM YouTube channel know that I am the poster boy for abstaining from the affairs of the world. I believe in preaching the gospel, and encased within the gospel is the spiritual war between good and evil for people's souls. This means that the propaganda that divides people is nothing more than branches on the larger tree of evil. Black vs. white, male vs. female, wealthy vs. poor, republican vs. democrat, etc... None of these demographics and opinions will matter in the long run. However, the enemy is very crafty in making you feel like your plight or struggle is because of this one thing, and if this one thing was solved, then all would be right with the world. "The problem with this world is the patriarchy!" "All men are dogs!" "Feminism is the devil!" "Listen up, black man! It's the WHITE MAN who's been holding you down all this time, brotha!" ::said with the crazy eyes:: That's the trick.
You spend your whole life fighting for race relations and you won't even have a race once you leave the earth. You spend your whole life fighting for gender equality and you won't even have a gender when you leave here. You spend your whole life advocating for a political party when there will only be one Kingdom that will stand forever. Listen, I'm not saying that these things don't matter or that they should not be addressed. I'm saying that the Christian should be focused on Jesus Christ as the cure to all of man's social ills. Any other efforts to obtain a Utopian society outside of Christ are futile and idealistic. Point blank period.
So...all that I just typed sounds really good on paper. Yet, I found myself being lured into taking a side on one of these topics. "Why is that?" you may ask. It's because of the narrowing spectrum.
| The Narrowing Spectrum |
Brother Randy explained to me how he had recently heard the word worldliness defined as the complete opposite of Godliness, and he took exception. Here's why: to suggest the two are complete opposites presents them as being equal, on opposite ends of the same spectrum. It markets it as some sort of even match up, like hot vs. cold or bitter vs. sweet. The truth is that the things of God transcend the kingdom of darkness so much that there is really no comparison. God has no rival or equal. In fact, Satan has to get permission from God before He can do anything (just ask Job). However, Satan has done a good job of narrowing our frame of thought and conversation so that we focus on the perspectives of this world instead of having a Godly perspective. He does this through accusation.
The Bible refers to Satan as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). The truth about toxic masculinity is that it does exist. (Hold on. I think I died a little inside writing that. Breathe, Gregory...inhale...exhale.) Okay, I'm back. There are tons of guys that are lust filled and misogynistic. There are guys that are crude and inconsiderate. There are guys that are bloodthirsty for violence. There are tons of guys who have extremely poor emotional wellness. I'll even concede that these attributes are sometimes championed by what society calls, "traditional masculinity." Yes, there are many toxic men, just like there are many toxic women. However, there is a ton of accusation that is dividing people. Anytime there is accusation, we have to ask two question: Who's doing the accusing and, what is the spirit and motive behind it?
The proponents of the toxic masculinity rhetoric are self-righteously accusing traditionally masculine traits of being toxic because they sometimes manifest in negative ways. It's self-righteous because all people groups have toxicity. The defenders of traditional masculinity recognize these accusations as a covert attack on masculinity as a whole. The accusation frames the conversation in a way that causes the defenders of traditional masculinity to indirectly defend toxic behaviors in order to preserve masculinity overall. Think of the democrat who has a heart for social welfare but is lumped in with abortion, gay rights, and legalization of marijuana. Or, the conservative republican who supports traditional values but is characterized as being inconsiderate or selfish. We're bound to the dictates and parameters of the conversation. So, where does the Christian side in all of this?
Well...we don't. The trick is to get the Christian to pick a side within the narrowed spectrum of the conversation. Satan's goal in narrowing the conversation is to exclude Jesus. Why are we talking about masculinity without talking about Jesus? In fact, why are we talking about race, or marriage, or poverty, or anything without discussing Jesus? The truth is that neither toxic masculinity nor traditional societal masculinity is the real portrait of masculinity. Honestly, the word of God condemns both the bully and the wimp. True masculinity is deciding not to be toxic and take someone's lunch money yet being firm enough to stand up against the bully who tries to. True masculinity is not groveling like a lust-filled dog at every woman who walks down the street but being honorable enough to pursue a wife and faithfully raise a family. The true portrait of masculinity is found in scripture and manifested by Godly men who are led by the Spirit of God.
| Clearing the Room |
Accusation has the power to own the room. Consider the woman caught in the very act of adultery. Jesus defended her from the scribes and Pharisees by telling them that whichever of them was without sin could cast the first stone. The Bible says that they all left the room, from the oldest to the youngest. Jesus did not accuse them of anything because He came not to the world to condemn the world, but to save the world. He simply gave a directive and their own lives testified against them. Once all those men left, Jesus was alone with the woman and He was able to control the conversation and liberate her.
Now, understanding the power of accusation, we can see how the enemy uses it to clear the room. When you can clear the room, you own the room. Accusation silences those that are guilty. So, the strategy that is being implemented, through political correctness and self-righteous accusation, is nothing more than a power move to have control. The less resistance I have in the room, the more influence I have.
Some of the same people who are supporting the toxic masculinity narrative in 2019 will be defending it in 2029 when some new, more "progressive" ideology about masculinity comes on the scene. This is not only toxic masculinity. I am just using it as a backdrop to talk about the larger strategy of the narrowing spectrum. As more accusation arises and the spectrum becomes more and more narrow, more people will become disempowered. Whoever is willing to accommodate the dictates of the spectrum will have a seat at the table, but whoever is not will be odd man out.
| Conclusion |
Whether he did it on purpose or by accident, I thank Brother Randy for subrebuking me. Christians have no business defending any worldly definition of masculinity. It's so easy to get caught up in these Christ-less narratives that the world frames. This type of propaganda is designed to strike a nerve and cause you to lose perspective. The irony is that as the spectrum of conversation narrows, its control and influence broaden. It establishes a new guard at the expense of the old guard. People will have to decide if they want to acquiesce to the new society that is forming around them or stick to their values and be ostracized. This brings a greater understanding to the words of Jesus when he said:
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there by which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.
Spectrum is defined as how something is classified or where it falls on a scale. That's how we spoke of it here. However, another definition defines it as a continuum of color that is formed when a white light is disbursed. The more the spectrum is narrowed, the less light there is. The end game of the narrowing spectrum is to have a world of total darkness. Let us commit to continuing to be the light of the world. We should all focus on Christ as the cure to all of our social ills and not get ensnared in the sleight of hand that leads to the broad path of destruction. Be blessed.