From Multitasking To Manliness

Who says men can’t multitask? I was doing it again, the other day. While washing up, I listened to a couple of talks from E. A. Johnston (courtesy of SermonAudio) – too brief to be called sermons, but nevertheless informative and inspiring. As I was turning my attention elsewhere, I noticed the title of the next item on my Sony Walkman: “Christian Manliness”. "Oo-er!”, as they used to say in comics. Should I try it? Well, why not? I’m a Christian, for all my faults and failings, and I’m also a man: I have it on my doctor’s authority, and she ought to know.

I gave it a hearing. The speaker introduced himself, in friendly fashion, to what seemed to be a gathering of conservative American Christians from Fundamentalist Baptist Churches.

Taking the story of Job as his starting point, he turned to chapter 38, where God addresses Job as follows: “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me.” (Job 38.3) And he added, “Now underline that: ‘like a man’, ‘like a man’.”

After a brief examination of the issues raised in the relevant passages from Job, he moved on to other Old Testament characters who exemplified aspects of manliness. Then he described the state of society today, in all of its chaos and confusion. His audience agreed, politely, that the world was indeed in a mess.

Then he went to Genesis, and the creation of the first man and the first woman, outlining their rôles in relation to God and to each other. It was fair enough, for the most part, though I couldn’t help noticing the following: “What was the woman created for? For the glory of the man. S’what it says! And to be a helpmeet to the man.” He’s referring to 1 Corinthians 11.7 and to Genesis 2.18, and he’s using the KJV, of course.

"S’what it says!” That’s what he said.

Ting. Ting.

See last Saturday’s entry. Keen bible students may wish to pause at this point and answer this question: is that exactly what it says? And, if not, so what?

Nevertheless, for the most part, so far, so good. However, even with a few interjections from the Amen Corner, audience reaction seemed to rate it as just so-so.

Then he played his ace. He described a website that he had come across, intriguingly entitled “The Art Of Manliness.” It was not a Christian website, but it was of considerable interest. He quoted at length from an article that he’d read on there: “One Hundred Things That Every Man Should Know How To Do.” 

The Fundamentalist Baptists woke up and got worked up, calling out comments and quips, and the speaker responded in kind. Suddenly, he was a success – at least in terms of involving his audience. Perhaps you, too, would like to learn some of the things that every man should know how to do? Well, here are the thirty-two that he mentioned.

Every Man Should Know How To -

Tie a necktie.

Build a campfire.

Hang a picture.

Shine his shoes.

Treat a snakebite.

Read a book.

Survive a bear attack.

Wet shave.

Parallel park.

Fix a leaky faucet.

Treat a burn.

Tell a joke.

Do a deadlift properly.

Recite a poem from memory.

Sew a button.

Change a flat tyre.

Break down a door.

Sharpen a knife.

Navigate with a map and compass.

Unclog a toilet.

Shake hands.

Treat frostbite.

Do a proper pull up.

Identify poisonous and edible plants.

Perform the fireman’s carry.

Open a bottle without an opener.

Cast a fishing line.

Perform the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Drive a stick shift.

Do a proper push up.

Change his car’s oil.

Whistle with his fingers.

How many of those could you manage? Don’t worry about whether you’re a man or a woman, just tick off the things that you know how to do. Now, let’s make it a little more difficult. How many of these things have you actually done, and done properly? Not quite so many, I’m sure. 

How many of them have I done? If I can do most of them, does that make me a manly man? More importantly: what exactly is biblical manhood?

To be continued.

P.S. No, no photo for this entry. I toyed with the idea of dumbbells, barbells, or even my biceps, but…

Perhaps next time!