Welcome back to the Masculinist.
I had planned to relaunch this newsletter in April, but as with many other plans, this one was upended due to the unprecedented coronavirus situation. I wanted to go ahead and send out this short issue to encourage you.
Today is one of those times in which they way we lead as men in our homes and communities will not only help shape the outcome of the coronavirus pandemic at some level, but also to a much bigger level shape how our wives, children, and neighbors see us as men and leaders in the future. Our credibility and trustworthiness in the future will in part be shaped by how we act today.
What makes this particularly challenging is that it’s a time of great uncertainty when we don’t always know who to trust or what to believe or what we should do. While relatively few people have been directly affected by the virus, millions of people are suddenly facing real financial risks. For some like small business owners, they already face dire financial prospects.
I don’t like to give advice, and that goes double in these circumstances. But I do want to share a couple of ways I am personally responding. Both of these were inspired by my former pastor Todd Murphy, who shaped how I live as Christian more than anyone else by far.
The first thing I’m doing is to make sure our family is intentionally and corporately putting our trust in God. This sounds like a platitude but it is not.
For a long time when I was going through bad times I was hesitant to express much confidence in God, particularly around non-Christians. Because I wasn’t sure he would come through in the way I hoped, I was afraid this might end up making him look bad to others. I almost felt I had to protect God against harm to his reputation.
What this reveals of course is that my own faith was weak. Something Todd used to do in these situations was to gather his family together – he had a large number of children – and pray to God and trust in him corporately for difficult situations they were facing. One time their van had a breakdown – I think a failed transmission – that was going to be several thousand dollars to fix and represented a major financial burden. He gathered his family and in front of his children – similar to 2 Chronicles 20, which I highly encourage you to read – said, “Here are our circumstances. We’re not sure how to fix this, but our eyes are on you.” God did in fact financially provide in that situation.
I’ve tried to adopt Todd’s approach as a pattern, even though my son is still too young to really appreciate what is going on. When we’ve faced difficult circumstances, whether that be our son’s health issues or financial challenges, we come together as a family and corporately bring them to God and place our trust in him. While there’s no guarantee what will happen, he will be faithful to us. Just as trying times are our opportunity to demonstrate our leadership to others, they are a time for God to demonstrate his faithfulness to us. Let’s be sure we are once again first putting our trust in him. Because friends, God is faithful. Those who put their trust in him will never be put to shame (Psalm 25 and Romans 10:11).
The second thing I’m doing is being in submission to the governing authorities (see Romans 13:1-7). Let’s be honest, this is an age in which the authorities of this world are often not worthy of our trust. Most people on this list are American, and we as a rule also tend to be skeptical or hostile to authorities telling us what to do generally. “You’re not the boss of me,” as the song goes.
One of the other things Todd instilled in me was a very high view of earthly authorities. He convinced me that God has called us to submission to authority even and perhaps especially when that authority is not particularly worthy of our trust or when we are in disagreement (see 1 Peter 2:11-3:7). There are areas where I am in authority. And I expect my authority to be respected. So where there are authorities over me I need to be sure to be in submission to them. Now and in general, I am submitting to earthly authorities when they act within the proper scope of their authority, believing that this is God’s call, the he put them in that position (see John 19:10-11), and that he is ultimately sovereign over events.
Those are two of the steps I am taking right now. Also, I want to encourage you to watch this superb video by my friend Jeff Giesea about creating your “leadership plan” during this time. Jeff is not a Christian but he is a successful serial entrepreneur and information strategist (see my mention of his NATO paper in Masc #20), and also a great business coach. There’s a ton of good practical information in this twenty minute video about how to approach leadership right now.
That’s it – just a short note to encourage and hopefully give you some useful tools. Just remember that God has promised that he will ever fail us or forsake us. Best wishes to you all and I will plan to resume publishing with a full regular issue next month.