Friday, April 10, 2009
The Dilemma of the Lonely Christian Man Part II
I approach this topic not as some type of critic, but as an observer and questioner. I honestly don’ know the answers to the questions but I’m just thinking outside my head.
Here’s a series of the questions that I have, and I will discuss them afterwards.
1) Is the Lonely-Christian-Man syndrome just my personal problem, or is it pandemic?
2) I was told by a pastor, as I graduated from college, that the college years are unique and I will never, ever have relationships again that close. Is this a fact and if so, does it have to be that way?
3) Assuming that I’m not alone in this syndrome, what are the causes?
4) Are they ways, “steps 1, 2 and 3,” that I can do to change things . . . at least in my micro-cosmos?
The Cause # 1, The Fear of Being Known:
I know I’m speaking out of order of the questions I asked above . . . but I think the cause has several factors. The catch-all answer is of course the fall of Adam and individual alienation that comes in its wake. But I want to think about the particulars . . . how that general idea works itself out on a day to day basis.
I’ve said before (in many posts ago) that if you boil down all human behavior, I really think you can say it is based on what I call the economics of self-worth. We all want to have value to our friends, our families and of course with God. Some would call it self-esteem but I’m talking about a concept that is a little more complicated than that.
I had a good, ex-Lutheran pastor, friend I will call "R". I don’t mention R haphazardly because he was one of my last good friends. I lost him as a friend, because he became more and more precise about doctrine (about the Lutheran church is the only true church) and eventually he, by his choice, stopped being my friend. But that’s a side topic.
What I was going to say about R was that he went in for counseling regarding some marital issues. He came out of the meeting with the Christian psychologist angry.
The reason R was angry was because the psychologist suggested that he had some self-esteem issues and depression. Being a scholarly guy, he wrote up a paper about his opinion on self esteem. He really believed that the whole concept of self-esteem was humanistic and not Biblical. Here is a children's video series with the same dogma. Dare I say that the Christian people, who put together this series, did it to boost their own feelings of self-worth?
R believed that Christians should have the attitude that we are all wretched, disgusting and appalling but that we only have value in Christ and his work on the cross.
I could easily get off on a tangent here, talking about this concept of self-esteem, but I do think that on a daily basis our self worth dose play a major role. We want to be respected, loved and valued. This desire is, at least, a part of the motivation for every thing that we do or say.
Men are, by fallen nature, very insecure. We feel that we must put on a perpetual façade to give the impression that we are better than we really think we are (deep inside). This applies to not only Christian men but all men . . . in my humble opinion. Christian men just add “spiritual” markers on the façade.
So, if we men are actually deeply insecure, but put on an intense façade to make others think we have value, then we don’t want other men to get too close or they may see the real me. When men do relate, they must keep up such a thick façade that, in the end, it is only one façade relating to another one. In another metaphor, one, remote controlled unmanned drone interacting with another remote controlled unmanned drone.
Now, I could agree with R at one point, that the insecurity problem has been solved on the cross. That is true in a theological or a redemptive perspective. I mean, the only issue of value that really matters is what God thinks of us. In Christ, when God looks at us, he sees perfection! It is a type of façade, but a Christ-façade, which God himself has built.
But this doesn’t change the reality of how I feel emotionally (or what one could say psychologically). No matter how “spiritual” we think we are, or how well we have our heads screwed out correctly (regarding the proper theology) still we operate from this primeval level of wanting to be valued by others.
So I believe that the first cause of men's loneliness is this alienation built around our fear to be known.
Non Christian men are bad at this . . . but I believe Christian men are worse. The reason being, Evangelicals believe that all our thoughts, desires and behaviors are at the rein of our self-control. They also
More to come . . .
Posted by MJ at 9:24 AM