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Are Men Really Necessary?

Paul Harvey said this about fathers: "A father is a thing that is forced to endure childhood without an anesthetic." These days fathers are being forced to endure a lot of things. One of the most detrimental is an onslaught of "new-age" but really bad and stinking thinking about males in general and fathers in particular. Feminist Gloria Steinhem is credited (in reality discredited) with saying that "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" (origin of the statement is debated). I am generalizing, but in the decades since Steinhem's (mis)statement, views of women in our culture improved while views of men became worse.   It is now acceptable on the part of many to denigrate and demoralize men and the roles they play. Paul and Sandy Coughlin (in their book, Married But Not Engaged; p 29), summarize all the negative ink and ratings men receive in our culture with these provocative words — "The root idea: Men are a serious problem that must be fixed, not a gender to be appreciated. Men are not okay as men. Masculinity, in and of itself, is not okay." They blame the epidemic of negative thinking about men on "extended therapy at the hands of social engineers, media presentations, and dedicated activists." They point out that while much of our thinking about (and treatment of) women was flawed before the social revolutions of the 1960's and '70's, many have not addressed the flaws but have rather sought to reverse or invert them. The real need was to see women as equal with men in human value and dignity and worth in our culture. But some have sought to elevate the view and place of women, not by embracing and enacting positive change in the ways women are viewed and treated, but by tearing down men. It's feminine revenge — "Men have had the upper hand and abused it; now it's women's turn to rule and degrade [the men]" (Coughlin, p 29). No surprise, then, that Maureen Dowd can ask, with a straight face, in her book, Are Men Necessary?

Enough of that. There are at least two jobs where men are necessary no matter what human beings believe and say — being husbands and fathers! Modern thinking aside, a MAN and a WOMAN are necessary for marriage to be morally legitimate before God and to reproduce offspring. As to reproducing offspring, no "same-sex marriage" will ever prove able to do that without somehow involving a member of the opposite sex — both are necessary, even if one of them is a man! And ideally, children need a male, a man, a daddy in their lives who will stay on the job he took on when he, hopefully and ideally, married a woman and then helped her conceive and make one or more babies. Not just a male, and not just a brute who swaggers and swears and intimidates and abuses his wife and children — but a real man who engages with his family to protect and provide and guide, both physically and spiritually. The kind of men our families need are described in Ephesians 5:22-6:4 — a man who loves God, his wife, and his children more than he loves himself. Christ-like men who are tender but tough; compassionate and committed; firm, fair, forgiving; godly but gentle; strong enough to submit to God and carry a cross of self-denial. God's word is clear: flawed as they might be, men are necessary to be husbands and fathers!

"I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap." (Ezekiel 22:30)

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ