Tag Archives: manliness

An Exercise in Manliness

Some of you may have caught this headline already, but for those who have not:
10-year-old Wash. Boy Defends Mom with BB Gun.

Apparently, the man accused of the assault rents a room in the woman’s home. He returned drunk Tuesday morning, kicked down a bedroom door, and began choking the woman. In response, the woman’s 10-year-old son struck the man with a board, and then proceeded to shoot him as many as four times in the face with a pump-action BB rifle.

The woman and her son were able to escape to a neighbor’s home and call for help; the 45-year-old attacker was treated at a hospital and subsequently arrested.

That’s what I call good old-fashioned red-blooded manliness. And in culture of limp-handed, pouty-faced, chicken-hearted girly guys, we need more of it.

Great Guy Movies (Pt. II)

If you have not read part one, and are thoroughly lost or confused as to the purpose of this post… do yourself a favor and click here.

Black Hawk Down (2001), [R]
Based on the book by Mark Bowden. Detailed, factual, and sticking closely to its source material, Black Hawk Down triumphs not only as a gripping story of camaraderie and courage, but also as a raw, unflinching depiction of modern warfare. The acting, cinematography, and directing are all top-notch, and the battle sequences are stunning in terms of sheer realism and authenticity. Above all, much like Saving Private Ryan, the film left me with an even deeper appreciation for the bravery and sacrifice of our troops.

Defiance (2008), [R]
Based on a true story, Defiance is one of the best, most underrated pictures of 2008. The historical accuracy of the film, though not perfect, is surprisingly good, and the performances of Daniel Craig and Liev Schrieber are spectacular. The story is well-told, intensely thrilling, and also thought-provoking, leaving the viewer with plenty to think about long after the end credits roll. Pretty much a must-see film, especially for guys.

Valkyrie (2009), [PG-13]
Valkyrie is a factual, unpretentious, and straightforward tale of heroism and sacrifice, revolving around the last attempt to assasinate Adolph Hitler. History tells us the assaination plot failed, and that Hitler committed suicide months later – but that doesn’t stop this movie from being as taut and suspenseful as any thriller.

The Lost Battalion (2001), [NR]
Notwithstanding its made-for-television origins, this A&E production is an exceptional war film. Rising above cliched storytelling and run-of-the-mill plot devices, it vividly portrays the horrors of war and the “never say die” attitude of the men who fought in such extreme conditions. The performances are solid all around, the history is accurate, and the battle sequences are tightly shot, impressively staged, and brutally realistic, in the tradition of other greats like Saving Private Ryan. And although copious amounts of strong language are staple in most of today’s war movies, the script for The Last Battalion is, for the most part, refreshingly devoid of unwanted obscenities.

Hotel Rwanda (2005), [PG-13]
This powerful, inspiring film tells the true story of Paul Rusesabagina’s courageous stance against the savagery and violence that occurred during the 1994 Rwandan conflict. If you haven’t seen it, you really must. Don Cheadle gives the performance of his career as the protagonist, a man who has only his wit and willpower to protect himself, his family… and 1,200 refugees.

Taken (2009), [PG-13]
Pierre Morel’s Taken is a harsh movie. It’s violent. And it’s very unsettling. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it. Amid the brutality is the powerful story of a father who loves his daughter so much he’s willing to fight to protect her life and purity. He doesn’t give up, he doesn’t back down, until she is safely in his arms again. And he doesn’t negotiate with bad guys. This isn’t to say the film’s ethics are flawless, and there is one particular scene in which I think Neeson’s character crossed the line. Everything considered, however, the good qualities of Taken more than redeem it, making it a worthwhile choice for those in search of a thought-provoking action thriller with plenty of grit.

Collateral (2004), [R]
Michael Mann’s gritty crime thriller is an excellent film that requires your brain to come along for the ride. And it’s a ride you won’t soon forget. Thanks to a smart script, stellar plotting, and the raw performances of Cruise and Foxx, there’s ample opportunity for rich, thoughtful character studies that will provoke plenty of intelligent discussion long after the film is over.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962), [PG-13]
Based on the novel by Richard Condon. The Manchurian Candidate is, in my opinion, one of the greatest political thrillers ever made. After watching it, all I could think was, “Wow.” Brilliant performances by Lansbury, Sinatra, and Harvey lend even more gravity to the already chilling storyline. I was literally on the edge of my seat during the entire film – especially during the final scenes, which add new meaning to the word “intense”.

Amazing Grace (2006), [PG]
Based on the true story of William Wilberforce and his passionate, never-say-die struggle to abolish the slave trade, Amazing Grace is one of those films that will have you on your feet cheering at the end. Despite a uniformly excellent cast, Ioan Gruffudd stands head and shoulders above them all – his portrayal of Wilberforce is something to see.

A Man Called Peter (1955), [NR]
Based on the book by Catherine Marshall, A Man Called Peter is a superb depiction of the life of Peter Marshall, an immigrant Scotsman who eventually became Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. A quick-witted, fiery preacher, he was a man who stood by his convictions, and who sought to serve God in every way he could… and God used him mightily because of it.

Once again, got any favorites/recommendations of your own? If so, be my guest and share ’em down in the comments section, whether you’re a guy or a gal.

Superficial, Effeminate Worship

From Douglas Bond’s Stand Fast In the Way of Truth (pg. 301):

Men are less interested in attending church regularly and even less inclined to commit themselves to ministry responsibilities and leadership in the church in part because there is a significant shift in how Christians worship. Relational songs and emotive choruses have replaced the strong, manly hymns that were sung by men and boys and their families in worship for millenniums. Instead of stout hymns about battles, and triumphant psalms about conquering enemies, and doctrinal poetry calling men to base their lives and deeds on solid biblical foundations, the contemporary church sings superficial songs that make real men feel like they have to act like women in order to be Christians. Young men who grow up under pressure to sing breathy, feminine songs in worship will never be spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally capable of godly leadership in their homes, in Christ’s church, or in the world.

This is pretty much at the heart of my frustration with the majority of contemporary Christian music: it’s either mind-numbingly shallow or so effeminate it makes me want to gag. Sometimes, it’s both. Combined, it’s drivel.

There are exceptions, of course. Indelible GraceDownhere, Newsboys, Sovereign Grace Music, Sanctus Real, to name a few. They write great music and even better lyrics. Unfortunately (and as I said before), these guys are exceptions. They are not the norm. And frankly, much of what passes for “Christian” music these days is astoundingly pathetic.

Gone are the theologically meaty hymns which our forefathers sang. People have moved onto lighter fare. Forget blood, battle, and triumph; bring on the mushy-gushy.

Are we worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? The “the great, the mighty, and the awesome God” (Neh. 9:32), the One who “must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25)? Or are we worshipping a soft, slick Jesus who acts more like a boyfriend than the God of All the Earth?

Consider this stanza from Hillsong United’s “Just Let Me Say”:

So let me say how much I love You
With all my heart I long for You
For I am caught in this passion of knowing
This endless love I’ve found in You.

Now compare it to this excerpt from Isaac Watt’s “Psalm 21”:

Thus, Lord, thy wondrous power declare,
And thus exalt thy fame;
Whilst we glad songs of praise prepare
For thine almighty name.

Not to be harsh, but doesn’t that make Hillsong’s attempt at “praise music” look lame?

In Future Men, Douglas Wilson writes,

The fact that the church has largely abandoned the singing of psalms means that the church has abandoned a songbook that is thoroughly masculine in its lyrics. The writer of most of the psalms was a warrior, and he knew how to fight the Lord’s enemies in song. With regard to the music of our psalms and hymns, we must return to a world of vigorous singing, vibrant anthems, more songs where the tenor carries the melody, open fifths, and glory. Our problem is not that such songs do not exist; our problem is that we have forgotten them. And in forgetting them, we are forgetting our boys. Men need to model such singing for their sons.

Of all the hymns I’ve sung, one of my favorites is “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” by Reginald Heber. Here’s a sample:

The Son of God goes forth to war
A kingly crown to gain.
His blood-red banner streams afar;
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink His cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears his cross below –
He follows in His train.

A noble army, men and boys,
The matron and the maid,
Around the Savior’s throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heav’n
Thro’ peril, toil, and pain.
O God, to us may grace be giv’n
To follow in their train!

Why do I love it? You guessed it: because it’s so manly. Because of it’s earthy, vivid picture of what it means to be one of Christ’s followers: blood, sweat, tears, and ultimately, by God’s grace, triumph and everlasting joy.

“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged
sword in their hand.” (Psalm 149:6)