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Posts Tagged ‘men’

And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers… (Malachi 4:6 ESV)

This is a rare fight movie in which we don’t want to see either fighter lose. That brings such complexity to the final showdown that hardly anything could top it — but something does, and "Warrior" earns it. – Roger Ebert

“Warrior” is now my new favorite movie of the year. I’ve never seen a movie like “Tree of Life” but as a man with a only one brother and a father who passed away 9 years ago from the effects of alcoholism, this film moved me. The previews appeal to mainly the mixed martial arts (MMA) side of this movie but the MMA is merely a tool to go deeper into this troubled, broken family. It’s being billed as a flop at the box office with only $10M in 2 weeks but this one is not to be missed. Nick Nolte as Paddy is perfect as a reforming alcoholic who aches over his wretched past, wanting to make things right but knowing that there’s no way he can make up for it all. Tom Hardy as Tommy is completely believable as a man beat up and burned by the world with nowhere to go and channeling everything into his anger. Joel Edgerton as Brendan is a wounded family man trying to lead his home and simply provide.

The Reality of Wounds and Pain

    For he wounds, but he binds up;
        he shatters, but his hands heal.
        (Job 5:18 ESV)

The pain these brothers feel is real, especially Tommy. Abused and exasperated by his drunken father, feeling deserted by his brother, having to watch his mother die a painful death, and his best friend killed right next to him in war, the world has kicked him in the teeth on many an occasion. He hates his father, he hates God, and he hates Brendan. Deeper than that, in all of his wounds, he also hates himself. He knows his wounds but he knows his flaws as well as you’ll see. All of this comes out in his anger and rage. He has no means to cope and nobody to trust. Even when Brendan reaches out, Tommy can’t even call him his brother.

Forgiveness & Redemption

bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13 ESV)

Seeking forgiveness means not hiding anymore, confessing sin, and striving for brokenness over the pain you caused and the tarnishing of God’s name. But redemption depends on the other person, on the offended and suffering party. This is what Paddy runs into as he attempts to turn his life to God and stop being a drunk. Brendan forgives him but doesn’t trust him, doesn’t want a relationship with him and certainly doesn’t want him around his kids. Tommy doesn’t even see Paddy as his father anymore and keeps it all business except for the moments of stabbing Paddy with his word, reminding him of his sin. This won’t simply be a clean restoration. Tommy is so wounded and Brendan he’s seen too much for a mere 3 years of sobriety and walking with Jesus to wipe the slate clean. Only one person can fully wipe the slate clean and he had to go to cross to do it

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)

What Does it Mean to be a Man?

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8 ESV)

Being a man means laying down your life for your family. Can I suffer for their best? Can I lay down my rights? Can I do all this in providing for them? This is the example of Brendan. He’s not perfect but fights for his family. He takes a beating that they might flourish. He splurges on them not himself. I love the beginning when his wife speaks aside to him at their daughter’s birthday, scolding him a little for going over budget in the gift he bought. He simply proclaims that it was her birthday. It was not about the money, he couldn’t help himself, he just wanted to lavish good on their daughter. Not the complete picture of manliness but very convicting.

Entering the Pantheon

“Warrior” now enters the pantheon of manly movies for me. It’s not a movie that my wife would likely enjoy but I was stirred and softened. The ending of this movie was better than I could have hoped for. I did not feel let down at all but I simply wept. So few people have seen it but that’s likely because it’s appeal to women is minimal.

I’m thankful that the door to forgiveness through the gospel of Jesus Christ is wide open. Only in him can we cleanly forgive. Only through Him can true redemption happen. I’m also thankful for my only brother. My love runs deeper for him than most anyone else on this planet outside of my wife and my kids.

A friend loves at all times,
        and a brother is born for adversity.
(Proverbs 17:17 ESV)

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This week: good thoughts on Dowd’s crushing of Weiner, fruitfulness without purity, and 3 interesting reads on female beauty and clothing.

“Men are dogs”: Maureen Dowd Scorches Weiner (by Owen Strachan)

It’s a brave new world out there, one forged by a diverse combination of factors–feminism, WW2, the sixties, the rise of boy culture in the early twentieth century, a corresponding condemnation of men.  In some ways, it offers modern women most everything they could want–money, success, status, stuff.  But it takes off the table the one thing that many women want more than anything else: a good man.

The Danger of “Fruitfulness” Without Purity (by Michael Oh)

But giftedness must not be mistaken for maturity. And giftedness alone without spiritual maturity can oftentimes do more long-term damage to a ministry after short-terms “gains” fade away.

Beauty?

Letting Herself Go (by Tim Challies)

In all of these things, a woman ought to understand (and believe) that what a man finds (or ought to find) beautiful in his wife is more about care and respect and effort and availability than it is about figure and proportion. In too many cases a woman who lets herself go is simply symbolizing that she has let her marriage go. Conversely, care for herself shows her care for her husband, respect for him, love for him.

What Not to Wear (by Mary Kassian)

Becoming indicates that running around in baggy jeans and T-shirts all the time is just as inappropriate as being obsessed with stylish clothing. It means that a woman’s appearance ought to be put together nicely. It ought to be pleasant and attractive—on the inside and the outside.

Female Beauty Matter (by Mary Kassian)

So girls, let’s give the guys a break. Let’s stop condemning them for feeling attracted to beauty and wanting us to make a reasonable and sustained effort in that department. And guys… give us a break. Please understand how very personal and painful this issue can be for women. It’s very difficult to stay engaged in fighting a battle we know we are destined to lose. The beauty of our youth will inevitably fade. And most of us don’t have a hope of even remotely resembling the airbrushed model on the cover of the magazine.

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This week: the false intimacy of Facebook, a funny but smart read about how wives should not be too impressed by their husbands by Carl Trueman, good thoughts on being men in a digital culture for single men by Carolyn McCulley, and an excellent and helpful series on fasting from Grace Today.

Facebook: A New Kind of False Intimacy (Counseling Solutions Blog)

Facebook becomes the new dating context for the dissatisfied. It provides all the accoutrements of dating without the commitment or expectation of marriage. Simply put, we do not live with the people we socialize with on Facebook. Akin to dating, we can put our best selves forward for our Facebook friends. They never have to wash our underwear or smell our breath. It is when we think the folks on Facebook are different than the folks we live with that we get into trouble.

Our Own Propaganda: Wives Must Not Believe It (By Carl Trueman)

Talking to a colleague the other day, he told me how, on one Sunday, he preached an absolute stinker of a sermon.  After the service, he said to his wife, `That was the worst sermon I have ever preached.’  `No it wasn’t.’ she replied `Be encouraged.  I have heard you preach much worse.’  That is a truly great preacher’s wife for you.

Gentlemen in a Digital Age (by Carolyn McCulley)

Every time you battle the passivity of Adam, standing wordlessly by Eve as she was deceived, you build your muscles of godly masculinity. Every time you sow toward leadership and clarity by stating what you want and not trying to slide in the back door of any context, you are going to reap good fruit — even if you aren’t immediately rewarded with what you seek. Every time you consider the interests and perspectives of others, you are cultivating benevolent masculinity, the kind of manliness that adorns the gospel.

The Heart of Christian Fasting (Grace Today Blog)

Old Testament fasting presupposes the spiritual realities of sin, judgment, repentance, helplessness, and dependence on God. It is a serious mistake to pursue external fasting without an earnest appreciation for the more important internal reasons that prompt it. Someone who casually pursues fasting as a religious duty without a broken heart actually mocks the reason for its existence.

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Given the vampire movies, and books beyond the insane over the past 20-30 years with a focus on vampires as either the cool guys, Dr Evil types obsessed with world domination, gang members, or emo teens, this book was not even close to what I expected. I loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I had wanted to read the original, this 1896 masterpiece, but I still did not have a clue as to what to expect. Forget all that you have ever seen in a vampire movie or book in our lifetime, Stoker’s Dracula does not compare.

Dracula as a powerful and mysterious evil

The nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger, and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil. This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men, he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages, he have still the aids of necromancy, which is, as his etymology imply, the divination by the dead, and all the dead that he can come nigh to are for him at command; he is brute, and more than brute; he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not; he can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder; he can command all the meaner things, the rat, and the owl, and the bat, the moth, and the fox, and the wolf, he can grow and become small; and he can at times vanish and come unknown.

Dracula is written as a series of letters from one character to another or as a character’s journal entry. It makes for change from the norm as you get each character’s perspective as they walk through these events and their eventual quest to defeat Dracula. This perspective only adds to the evil and mystery of Count Dracula. He is no joke and barely even human in this book. You get to know him first through the eyes of Jonathan Harker but from that point on, he is more of a dark foreboding shadow. He is everywhere and he is nowhere. He is cunning and powerful and yet limited by his condition. How did he come to be? How old is he? We’re never certain. But he is a sheer force of relentless and remorseless evil, more of a demon or beast than a man. Dracula is no Edward or Louis or even Lestat for that matter. Once certain things happen and the professor, Dr. Van Helsing, connects the pieces of who and what Dracula is, there is only one choice – to find a way to destroy him.

He [Dracula] can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell.

Men being men and women being women

“And now for you, Madam Mina, this night is the end until all be well. You are too precious to us to have such risk. When we part tonight, you no more must question. We shall tell you all in good time. We are men and are able to bear, but you must be our star and our hope, and we shall act all the more free that you are not in the danger, such as we are.” All the men, even Jonathan, seemed relieved, but it did not seem to me good that they should brave danger and, perhaps lessen their safety, strength being the best safety, through care of me, but their minds were made up, and though it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, I could say nothing, save to accept their chivalrous care of me. – Mina Harker

I went with the party to the search with an easy mind, for I think I never saw Mina so absolutely strong and well. I am so glad that she consented to hold back and let us men do the work. Somehow, it was a dread to me that she was in this fearful business at all, but now that her work is done, and that it is due to her energy and brains and foresight that the whole story is put together in such a way that every point tells, she may well feel that her part is finished, and that she can henceforth leave the rest to us. – Jonathan Harker

Count Dracula is really not even the central focus of this book. The central focus on the book is the group of men and women who band together to destroy him; risking their lives, their own humanity, their loved ones, and their sanity. Men being noble, fighting, wise, empathetic, courageous risk takers honoring and protecting wise, beautiful, sweet, nurturing, supportive, trusting, fighting, courageous, and submissive yet not passive women. This is a fantastic story in how Stoker does not water down evil nor water down courage & goodness. I loved it. After finishing reading this book, I watched the trailer for the 1992 Hollywood version of Dracula based on this book as well reading some reviews. I was not surprised. They seem to just take out the genuine love and nobility of these characters. The 1992 movie makes Dracula the main focus and tries to give him motivation and make him more human and humane. Dracula in Stoker’s book made my hair stand up. I doubt I would feel that way seeing the movie version. On top of that, it looks like they just added a ton of sex and innuendo that’s not even in the book apart from the simple metaphor. Lucy, Mina, Jonathan, Van Helsing, Godalming, Quincey, and Seward are characters you are rooting for, and pulling for. You feel their loss. You feel their sacrifice and reasonable fear. You feel the darkness pressing in as they do.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the theme of a sovereign God in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and show my favorite passage.

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