Letter from the Editor: The Manhood Mystery

What does it mean to be a man?

That’s a question for the ages, if we want to get philosophical about it. And many outlets have done just that in recent years. Articles and research and discussion have all considered this mystery of manhood and masculinity, from every conceivable angle.

Still, we are no closer to a definition of manhood upon which we can all agree. We know there are creatures called men who are male in sex and masculine in gender. But that’s not enough. Men still wonder if they are who they should be, if they measure up, if they are being manly as men are expected to be. We struggle to identify and separate our cultural displays of masculinity from the essence of manhood.

We need something more stable than culturally created norms, hence the ongoing search for meaning. Christians find greater stability in God’s proclamation of worth as an image bearer, of course; but differences of opinion arise here as well. We are left with a patchwork definition of manhood; part culture, part Christian heritage.

In this issue of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine, several men detail what they’ve learned about manhood. First is a feature from Nate Pyle about our culture’s ideal man—Superman—titled “Ordinary Heroes: A Manhood Bestowed.” Pyle offers this clarity:

“In the Kingdom of God, a man isn’t a man because of his ability to buy into an ideal. A man is a man solely because God has called him ‘son.’ ”

J. E. Eubanks Jr. takes us to another ideal character, William Wallace. In “Not Every Man Really Lives: The 20-Year Impact of Braveheart,” Eubanks proves the power of cultural artifacts in defining our sense of self. For Eubanks and his friends, “Braveheart is more than just a great story well-told.” It provided a much-needed framework for manhood pointing to our one true ideal Man, Jesus Christ.

Finally, Greg Williams builds a strong case for the way we can shape the culture that shapes how we define manhood. His feature, “Men Don’t Dig on Dancing,” delves into the supposition that:

“Although dancing isn’t a normal part of what it means to be a man outside of the rarefied world of Drake and Mark Ronson, it would be healthy for us to add it back to our vision of manhood.”

As you read this issue, we trust—whether you are a man or a woman—that your definition of manhood will be infused with new insights rooted in the Gospel. And for our male readers, may you gain greater freedom in being exactly the man God created you to be as His unique image bearer.


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