Again to reiterate my fundamentalist credentials, I was listening to the Albert Mohler show today, where he was talking about the general degradation of fatherhood in the modern west.
I have to say, I can see where he’s coming from, but I think he has missed one of the major constituents.
Last weekend we had a retreat, where I came to the conclusion that I am, for all intents and purposes a 32 year old boy, and I think that I am actually largely normal for society.
While many of my friends are married with kids, I think there’s a clear movement in society to a point where men are simply made to accept less responsibility. Honestly, there’s an attraction in being less responsible as it means I can have all the fun I want and avoid any pain.
I’m generally told by marketing that it is okay for me to keep buying more and more expensive toys, and waste my time on video games and sports fandom. I’m supposed to live with a girlfriend, maintaining my freedom to leave her if things get too messy, yet still have as much sex as I can. I’m even supposed to be willing to let my someday female partner become a primary breadwinner, in the interest of empowering women, of course.
that’s if I ever marry. I can remain a single man, simply getting and discarding female companionship as I need, but staying with a girl I like for as long as I like without actually comitting to her. (as an aside, this means marriage is in that sense a method of saying to her “I’m not ever leaving you, and I love you even when you aren’t lovable”. It’s difficult to imagine how my fickle heart could make such a promise stick without marriage.)
All of this means something very negative, though, if we fundies are right, and God created families to be difficult though profoundly joyful reflections of Christ. As a man, I am called to love a wife as Christ loved the Church (dying for her if necessary, being kind to her particularly when she doesn’t deserve it), and to raise children who love and feear the Lord. A very tall order, and a scary one, but one that promises incalculable joy.
But for that I need to grow up. I need to become a man that would be a good husband and father, even before I know the woman I marry (if God ever blesses me that way). If I am to reflect Christ in a marriage, I have to reflect him as a single man first, and it’s hard to imagine how I can do that while piddling with World of Warcraft and Battle for Middle Earth II (both quite good games in themselves)or spending every waking moment following the adventures of my favorite sports team. Those things are good in moderation, but if they get in the way of being a real man of God, they’re honestly bad.
It’s time I grew up, and I guess I need to sometimes repent of good things to attain better things.