Are boys in America broken? Many certainly are. We see them in our prisons, on the streets, and in news stories about domestic abuse or even school shootings. That is why Michael Ian Black wrote an op-ed with the title, “The Boys Are Not All Right.” His commentary surfaced lots of emotions, criticisms, and profanity from people who read what he had to say.
At the outset, let me say that though I agree with much of his diagnosis, I disagree with his prescription. I don’t think men need to learn from women how feminism empowered them. But let’s focus first on his diagnosis.
He rightly says that “America’s boys are broken.” And that brokenness stands in contrast to its girls who are outperforming boys in school and in so many areas of our society. He believes that too many boys “are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity.”
So how does a boy who wants to become a man develop true masculinity that has both strength and sensitivity? This is where the Bible provides a perfect example in the person of Jesus Christ. He confronted the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He “overturned the tables of the money changers” in the Temple. Yet, He was also kind and compassionate. He encouraged His followers to “consider carefully how the lilies of the field grow.”
The secular world tried to help men understand what it meant to be masculine by developing what came to be called “the men’s movement.” That didn’t work so well. The Christian world gave us “Promise Keepers” which provided biblical perspectives for men but unfortunately did not continue to grow and flourish.
What we need are strong and vibrant men’s ministries in every church. Some are growing. Others need more leadership and encouragement. And they also need to reach out to the broken boys in their community and teach them (and model for them) what biblical masculinity looks like.