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My Thoughts On The Toxic Masculinity Gillette Ad

 

Here are my thoughts on the Gillette ad everyone’s been talking about over the past couple of days:
 
  • The title of the video (“We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”) brought to mind 1 Corinthians 16:13-14:  “…act like men.  Be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.”  That’s the best a man can be.
  • The video asks “Is this the best a man can get?” immediately after bringing up in short sound bites “sexual harassment,” the #metoo movement, and showing bullies chasing a kid.  The obvious answer to the question is no.  It brings back to mind 1 Cor. 16:13-14.
  • Hebrews 12:3-12 came to mind while I was watching the kid running from bullies, the mother comforting her bullied son, and the insults given in text.  My own childhood came to mind also.  I was bullied a lot in junior high, although it stopped in high school.  It was a bad experience.  I hated it while it was happening.  I did a lot of crying in my parent’s arms myself because of bullying.  I ran from bullies and got into fights with bullies who picked on me, and I lost some of those fights while winning others.  I was called all of these names and it hurt and hurt badly.  If I had my way, it wouldn’t happen to anyone.  Yet, looking back on it, I must say in the end I’m glad it happened to me because it made me stronger and better prepared me for the hard situations I would find myself in as an adult.  That’s how the world is and always has been.  Bad people do bad things to people.  When bad things happen to you, they can make you stronger if you allow them to do so (Heb. 12:3-12).
  • I’m glad more attention is being given to sexual harassment and demeaning of women.  I was glad to see the shots of news accounts of sexual harassment, especially the one where the man on the TV basically said, “We men need to hold other men accountable.”  It was good to see attention being given to sitcoms that have men treating women as sexual objects, the wolf whistles, etc. 
  • With that said, I also noticed the shot of boys watching women dressed in bikinis on TV.  This is one of the contributors of boys growing up to be men who sexually objectify women: when women allow themselves to be viewed as objects of sexual desire by men as a whole by dressing sexually provocatively.  Following God’s plan for women to be modest and save their sexuality solely for their husbands (1 Tim. 2:9-10; Heb. 13:4; Song of Solomon) is a part of the solution to this problem.  It is not the only needed solution, for men are responsible too.  Yet it does play a part and needs to be said.  Men do need to keep other men accountable.  Women need to keep other women accountable too.  In truth, we all need to keep each other accountable (Gal. 6:1).
  • The man putting a hand on the woman’s shoulder in the business meeting and “mansplaining” her is sexist, true, and I’m glad attention was given to it.  Yet to me it reeks of pride, selfishness, and condescension even more.  The thing that I don’t see brought out about those latter evil attributes is that they are not relegated solely to, or even primarily to, the male gender.  Attention needs to be brought to all the times women “womansplain” their men in our society.  I’m talking about the sitcoms from the days of Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond up to today where the husband and father is portrayed as the lovable, ignorant doofus whose longsuffering wife has to continually rebuke him for his foolish social faux pas.  I’m talking about the commercials where men are commonly portrayed as not even knowing how to make themselves a bowl of cereal because that’s how dumb men are.  I’m talking about the numerous cases I’ve both read that marriage counselors encounter and have personally seen as a minister where couples come to me and the husband expresses to me his wish that his wife would treat him as an equal instead of “talking down to him” and nagging him all the time.  In the end, treating others the way you would want to be treated — with respect and dignity — is the best any man OR woman could get, and many men AND women need to learn this (Matt. 7:12).
  • The scene in which a kid is choking out another kid in the backyard while literally a line of at least 18 barbequing fathers simply stood there behind their grills with their arms folded, simply watching the fight without doing a thing to stop it, and repeatedly saying in unison, “Boys will be boys,” was completely unrealistic and inflammatorily judgmental of men in general.  It portrayed the majority of men as being apathetic about violence being done to their children.  To me, that scene alone is probably the biggest reason the Gillette ad is offensive to so many, and with good reason.  I’ve yet to meet a single man who would even come close to acting like those fathers.  The majority of the literally hundreds of men I have known in my 42 years on this earth — men both in and out of the church — would be like the father at the end of the ad who stepped in and stopped the fight.
  • I appreciate the men in the video who stepped up and stopped the other men from demeaning those women.  From what I gathered in the video, one of the men being rebuked had called the woman, “Sweetie,” while the other one had seen an attractive woman walking by and had leeringly started to follow her before the other guy stopped him and said, “Not cool.”  From the video, it’s clear those guys were sexually objectifying those women.  So it’s good that they were rebuked.  With that said, it is not wrong for a single man to find a single woman attractive and be motivated by that attraction to ask her out on a date in which he treats her respectfully as a lady.  If an attractive single woman’s appearance causes a single man to do a double-take and want to pursue her in a way that is courteous and respectful to her and she wishes to be pursued by that man, well, without that happening marriage will never take place and neither will the continuation of the human race.  Men, treat women you find attractive (and women you don’t find attractive) with respect and gentlemanliness.  Ladies, let a man who finds you attractive treat you in such ways and don’t discourage him from doing so.
  • The best part of the video to me was that daddy holding up his little girl and saying, “I am strong,” with her repeating, “I am strong.”  Maybe that’s because I’m a daddy to two little girls.
  • “The boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”  Very, very true.  I loved the end of the ad which showed fathers exemplifying to their children what being a real man was all about.  It was the best way to conclude the ad.

I believe this was a good ad that could have been better.  I believe some have reacted badly to it because they perceived it as yet another attack on men and masculinity in a long line of attacks on men and masculinity in our culture in recent years, and I don’t blame them for thinking that.  Indeed, I believe not nearly as many would have had that perception if the ad had simply not had that one scene with the long line of barbequing fathers simply watching a boy choke another boy apathetically.  As it stands, especially in the context in which the video was release in which masculinity as a whole in our culture has been increasingly demeaned, I believe the ad has a good message with good intentions that got drowned out by a few poor choices in how it was presented.

In fact, I believe hardly anyone would have been upset with the ad if it had focused not just on men, but also on women.  If both men and women’s bad behavior towards each other and towards the opposite gender were equally shown alongside shots of men and women doing the right thing — if the end of the ad had both boys and girls watching while we heard, “The boys and girls watching today will be the men and women of tomorrow” — I think the ad would be applauded by the overwhelming majority.

In the end, bad behavior is a human trait that is not limited to a specific gender.  The solution will be found by both men and women, boys and girls, learning to treat each other with the respect and dignity God demands we show to each other.

Preacher of Truth Is Now Pre-Denominational Christianity

Hi there.  It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, I know.  The past couple of years have been eventful for my family and me.  We’ve started a new work with a new church in a new state, and with that has come all kinds of new responsibilities and other things that have come up which have taken up much of my time.  So I haven’t been on here for quite some time.

I’m hoping to change that.  In fact, I’m hoping to change a lot of things about this blog as you might have guessed when you saw the new title and domain name.  Yep, preacheroftruth.com is now predenominationalchristianity.com.  If you type out the former it will automatically send you to the latter, but all the articles and material from before will still be here so don’t worry about that.  The main reason I wanted to change the name of the site is because I want the focus of you, the reader, to be on Christ and His religion which is pure, unaltered and unfiltered, biblical Christianity.  That had always been my goal from day one with every article I wrote, and it continues to be such.  There is so much religious confusion out there in Christendom due to all the different man-made churches, faiths, sects, cults and denominations which claim to be Christian and yet whose doctrines add to and take away from God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:3-4; Revelation 22:18-19; Proverbs 30:6; Deuteronomy 4:1-2).  We need to get to the Bible and go simply by the New Testament.  That’s what they did way back in the first century AD when the church of Jesus Christ existed before all the denominations started popping up, and when they didn’t you can read in the New Testament about how God rebuked them and told them to repent.  By changing the title of the site and the domain name I hope to keep the focus even more on pre-denominational Christianity, the religion prophesied in the Old Testament and taught in the New.

I am also planning on cleaning up some of the categories a bit.  Preacheroftruth.com was my first attempt at blogging and setting up a website on WordPress, and in the years since I’ve learned a few things.  Yeah, I’m still nowhere near a master at this but I think I’ve learned enough to make things easier for you to navigate around this site in a somewhat more efficient manner.  So if God wills I plan on starting on those changes soon, as well as giving you some new blog posts real soon.  Be on the lookout for those.

Thanks again for reading.  It continues to be my prayer and goal that this site can help you in your relationship with God.

In Christ,

Jon

If You’re A Christian Who’s Scared About The Times In Which We Live, Habakkuk’s The Book For You…

Over recent years, we Christians have watched our country descend further and further into rampant sin and instability.  The divorce rate is climbing steadily.  Abortion and homosexual marriage are becoming more and more accepted in our culture, while the Christian religion is becoming more and more maligned.  It seems that the freedoms of religion and expression, as well as other constitutional rights, freedoms, and privileges, which we love and have had for generations increasingly are at risk of being taken away for a very long time, perhaps permanently.  Violence is escalating, especially as race relations deteriorate.

It is rare these days that I meet the Christian that is not very anxious and scared about the times in which we live.  Each election cycle, especially the current one, seems to heighten those fears as it seems with each passing year the political leaders who continually promise to make things better for us only make things worse and worse.  It’s gotten so bad that now we are faced with as our choices for president of the United States two proven habitual liars who have recently been under investigation, one of whom has spent an entire political career championing causes which go against Christian freedoms and values, and the other an extremely openly immoral person who at best has paid contradictory lip service to providing the right solutions to our woes.  The best we can say about our choices this year, from what I hear repeatedly among my brethren who follow politics, is that both candidates are train wrecks but we have to pick the one whom we think will be slightly less worse than the other.  All this does is continue to heighten our fears, concerns, worries, and anxieties.

Yet Christians aren’t supposed to be anxious and scared.  Are we not commanded by God to not be anxious about anything?  (Phil. 4:6-7)  Did not Jesus Himself tell us that we must not be anxious about the necessities of life because He has promised to provide for our needs if we would but seek first His kingdom and righteousness?  (Matt. 6:25-34)  One thing the past few years of following politics has taught me is that there is a big reason God in the Bible told us:

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” — Psalm 118:9

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” — Psalm 146:3

Christians, we need to remember a few things.  First, our God is always in control.  He has never stopped being in control.  He has always been in control when it comes to the affairs of man in government, and He always will be.  It is God who puts any president in power and keeps him in power (Dan. 2:21; 4:17, 34-35; Rom. 13:1-2).  God, not the president or any congressman, senator, or governor, has the ultimate authority (Matt. 28:18).  Jesus is head over everything (Eph. 1:20-22; 1 Pet. 3:22).  He is King of kings…and presidents (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 1:5).  No matter who resides in the Oval Office, God still rules supreme.

Christians, we must trust in His authority.  We must remember His promise that all things work together for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).  Remember that God is on our side, and since that is true, “who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31-34).  Far worse things could happen to us than a President Hillary Clinton or a President Donald Trump.  Far worse things could happen to us than losing our freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to own a gun, etc.  I understand that if we don’t “walk by faith” instead of “by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), it’s hard to imagine worse things…but trust me, there are far more worse things here on this earth that many Christians go through than we do, and an eternal hell in the next life tops them all.

We must remember that God has promised us that He is with us and will keep us on the winning side even if those terrible things were to happen to us (Rom. 8:35-39).  In fact, He has even inferred that it might be for our spiritual good if such hardships were in fact to come upon us!  (Heb. 12:3-13; cf. 10:32-39).  So no matter what may happen to our religious freedoms, our economic prosperity, or our health care over the next few years…we are still in the hands of a God who loves us and who will take care of us.

Christians, This Is Why You Need To Read Habakkuk

Around now you might be saying, “Jon, that sounds all well and good, but here’s what I don’t understand.  Since God is ultimately in control, why would He allow all these bad things to happen?  If ___________________ becomes President, why would God allow that?  Why would God allow anything that would end up promoting sin in our society?”  

Excellent question!  You know what?  We aren’t the first to ask it.

Thousands of years ago, the prophet Habakkuk was wondering the same thing.  This man, a Jew, lived during a time when the ungodly empire of Assyria had just brutally conquered the northern kingdom of Israel.  The southern kingdom of Judah was following in her northern neighbor’s footsteps by becoming more and more unrighteous and ungodly with each passing year (sound familiar?)  Habakkuk, a godly man who wanted his country to stay loyal to God, was perplexed and disheartened by all the wickedness he saw all around him in Judah every single day (again, sound familiar?)

So Habakkuk decides to talk to God about it (Hab. 1:1-4).  Notice some of the everyday evils he says are happening around him: violence, iniquity, destruction, strife, contention, a lack of law and justice, the wicked surrounding the righteous…any of this ring a bell?  This in many ways is what America is becoming with each passing year.  Habakkuk thinks God doesn’t hear his prayers for help about these matters.  Habakkuk thinks God doesn’t care.  “Lord,” he asks, “…why do you idly look at wrong?”

God answers him (Hab. 1:5-11).  God DOES care that Judah is becoming more and more wicked and ungodly; that’s why He’s doing something which Habakkuk will find hard to understand.  What is He doing?  He’s going to get the Chaldeans (another name for the Babylonian empire) to come in and punish Judah for their ungodliness.

Now, the Babylonians were a very ungodly nation themselves, in some ways even worse than Judah was.  Basically, God was going to use an ungodly, sinful, terrible people to punish an ungodly, sinful, terrible people.  I can see why Habakkuk would be confused by this.

He then asks God how He, a holy and pure God, could use such an unholy and impure instrument like the godless Babylonians to judge Judah (Hab. 1:12-2:1).  We might wonder about the same thing today.  Without a doubt, America is becoming more and more ungodly, so why would God put into power an individual who promotes even more ungodliness, as well as policies which will severely hurt this nation economically?  Is God using President ____________________ in the same way He used Babylon, to punish America for her ungodliness just as He punished Israel?  If so, we might join with Habakkuk in asking how could a holy God do such a thing?

The Lord gives two answers to Habakkuk.  I want to focus on the second one first (Hab. 2:5-20).  Those proud Babylonians who arrogantly trusted in their own might (Hab. 1:11), those drunken, covetous, cruel, materialistic, violent pagans…none of them would go unpunished by God, in spite of being His instrument to punish unrighteous Judah!  Think about what God is telling Habakkuk here.  Yes, he was going to use a wicked nation like Babylon and a wicked ruler like Nebuchadnezzar to punish wicked Judah…but he wasn’t going to let Babylon’s wickedness go unpunished either, nor Nebuchadnezzar’s (see Daniel chapter 4).

As Christians who are upset by the immorality which is being promoted in our society by even our own government (which God placed into power and will continue to do so in this election), we can find strength in the fact that these wicked forces are not being ignored by God even while He uses them to bring our nation to its knees in punishment should that happen.  God will also punish them, perhaps here in this life but definitely in judgment if they don’t repent.

Now let’s look at the Lord’s first answer to Habakkuk (Hab. 2:4).  The prideful are not upright, but the same cannot be said about the righteous.  The righteous live by faith.  What a great reminder for us today!  I think in our anger and worry over our nation’s continuing decline in Christian values and freedoms, we have forgotten that we are to live by faith.

Christians, you are saved from an eternal hell because of your faith, remember?  (Rom. 1:16-17; John 3:16; Mark 16:16; Heb. 11:6; James 2:14-26).  Would that same faith help  you persevere through hard times in this life?  Would that same faith get you through the anxiety and worry some of you are sure to feel once the final returns come in on November 8, no matter who wins?  And if your candidate of choice wins but then later goes back on his or her word and lets you down, would that same faith get you through any worry or anger that might come then?  If more economic recession comes, or our health care gets worse, or religious persecution deepens dramatically…would that same faith help you persevere?

God thinks so (Heb. 10:32-39).  In fact, do me a favor.  Read Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:16-17, and Hebrews 10:32-39 back to back.  The same faith God speaks to Habakkuk about is also quoted by Paul when he speaks of the faith which saves you from your sins and by the writer of Hebrews when he speaks of the faith that helps you get through hard times.  Is that a coincidence?  Of course not.

It’s not faith in politicians that helps us.  If anything, the past decade or so should have taught us that by now.  Again, what did you say, God?

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” — Psalm 118:9

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” — Psalm 146:3

No, the only faith that truly helps us is faith in the Lord.  Faith that shows itself by works of obedience (James 2:14-26), by standing by God’s will and putting His standards, His righteousness, first…even if doing so might seem like it’s the wrong thing to do and will make things worse for us.  (Think Abraham felt that way as he trudged up Mt. Moriah with Isaac?  Think Daniel felt that way as he thought of the night with the lions waiting for him?)

Habakkuk’s faith was certain strengthened when God told him all of this.  In fact, he was so encouraged that he asked God to “revive” his divine works of wrath, and yet be merciful at the same time (Hab. 3:2).  He remembered how God in the past had brought both punishment to the wicked and salvation to His faithful people (Hab. 3:3-15).  That’s why he resolved himself to be prepared for the times of trouble which were waiting for his country when the Babylonian invaders would come (Hab. 3:16).  Yet, his faith was still strong.  How do I know this?  Because he determined that he was going to rejoice in the Lord, his strength, even while trouble was upon him (Hab. 3:17-19).

Christians, we need to do some more rejoicing in the Lord and ease off on the angry pontificating about how terrible things are and how we’re sure they’ll get better once President _____________________ is in office.  I know many are angry and scared.  I know we might be wishing that God punish evildoers both inside the government and in our society as a whole…but do we ask for His mercy along with His wrath as Habakkuk did?  Do we remember how God got us both as individuals and as a country through hard times in the past like Habakkuk did?  Is our faith strong like Habakkuk so that we now resolve to stay loyal and obedient to God even in the midst of current and future hardships, rather than curling up into a ball and blaming God for all of our woes?

Remember, We Are Always Christians First.  God’s Our King.  His Will Must Always Come First.  His Joy Must Always Come First.  Faith In Him Must Always Come First.

To my American brethren, we might be citizens of this country, true…but as Christians we have a dual citizenship in heaven (Phil. 3:20; Eph. 2:19).  While in this world, we are travelers and exiles (1 Pet. 1:1; 2:11) whose true homeland lies within the kingdom of God, not the country of the United States.  His standards in all areas of our lives, including who we support politically, must come first.  The influence we have in bringing souls to His salvation must be paramount at all times.  His will must reign supreme in every aspect of our lives.  Our top priorities must be His top priorities as revealed in His Word.  If we keep these facts front and center in our thoughts at all time, our faith will be strengthened and we will be able to withstand anything that this world throws at us.  Our joy will be made full.

On the other hand, if we have allowed ourselves to focus and become attached too much to the worldly material possessions and pleasures of this life (1 John 2:15-17), we will become angry and scared.  We will become weak and fall away from God during the hard times (Luke 8:13-14).  Heaven will not be ours.

Let’s not let that happen.  God is on our side.  With His help, we can withstand anything.  With His help, we rejoice with the coming of harder, more difficult times should they come…because they will bring us closer to Him if we allow them to.

It all depends on our faith.  Let’s take a lesson from Habakkuk.  “The righteous shall live by faith.”