“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Real Men Don’t What?

One thing I hope is true of these humble ramblings is that they are, at the very least, honest. So I will confess that I struggle mightily with “celebrity” books. I remember when my first book was released and I visited a local book emporium. One lonely copy of my brand new baby was buried on a bottom shelf in the back. Featured on a table at the front of the store were dozens of copies of the autobiography of fifteen year old singer Charlotte Church! The title was “Voice of an Angel” and the subtitle included the obvious disclaimer…My life: (So far). Here is some of what she had learned: (so far).

…what I’ve learned is that no experience goes to waste. Life is made up of building blocks. Each block makes way for the next block. Because of this there is something positive to be gained from everything you do. Just be true to yourself and be prepared to work hard.

Next I applied a valuable technique that I learned from radio talk show host Glen Beck. I duct taped my head to keep it from exploding. Is that how Jesus would respond? Probably not. But no matter how personable or talented a fifteen year old might be they have not accumulated enough life experience to write an autobiography. I remember hearing a noted pastor say that you should not write a word until you are forty. Since I was younger at that time I thought he was an out of touch old geezer. Now that I have celebrated thirteen anniversaries of that forty year milestone I can see exactly what he meant. I am just now starting to figure this journey out. Am I a slow learner? Maybe. But the Bible tells us to exalt the grumpy old men in your assembly. 


Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained by a righteous life.  Prov 16:31  NIV 


That’s what I’m talking about! Of course, gray hair can also be attained by stress, hard living, and bad genetics but I choose the wisdom of Solomon to explain my own graying mane. 


But seriously, what is it with the celebrity worship in this culture? Charlotte Church’s premature autobiography came to mind when I was again perusing the local book vendor. There, staring at me from a large display, was actor/comedian Jim Belushi flexing his bicep with his new book title tattooed across it.


Jim Belushi


                 Real Men Don’t Apologize 


In the interest of full disclosure I must also confess that I was a bit envious of Belushi’s biceps. If I tattooed a book title across my bicep it would have to be a one word title in small type. Chicago Sun-Times writer Mike Thomas wrote this about Belushi’s philosophy of life.

“Listen, anger is a good friend of mine,” he says by phone from his soon-to-be-vacated Brentwood home, a revamped bungalow bought with money earned from his 1986 big-screen hit (and career springboard) “About Last Night.” “I’ve had many friends,” he continues, candor couched in subtle shtick. “Cigarettes were a very fine friend. I had alcohol — niiiiiice buddy. Anger has always been a friend of mine, so I’m not gonna let him go. I let everything else go.  “[Anger] protects you,” he says. “It’s always protected me. And now my wife says, ‘You don’t need the protection anymore, honey. You can let it all go.’ And you know what I say to her? ‘Letting go’ is the most overused phrase in America ! I don’t want to let it go!’ ” 

And yet that is exactly what the Biblical strategy is concerning anger. Let it go. For example…

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Colossians 3:8


Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Eph 4:31 


So should I listen to Saint Paul or should I live my life  “According to Jim”?    Hmmmm….  Here are some other examples of manliness from Belushi’s book. My comments are italicized.  


- Real men don’t apologize for being who they are. Depends on who you are. Some men desperately need to apologize…and now!


- Sometimes you have to earn respect the old-fashioned way — with your fist. Real men understand what respect really is and that it is rarely, if ever, earned with fists.


 - Every man has to have a little bit of Gandhi, Clint Eastwood and Curly in him. I do like that. The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy. Marketing slogan…Meditating while comically smacking others up the side of the head makes my day!


 - Beer does not judge you. Drinking lots of it makes you more sociable and funny. Perhaps the most dangerous statement I have read in a while. I know that Belushi clarifies this a bit by saying he has, for the most part, stopped drinking.  And I know he is going for the joke here. But drinking lots of beer makes some men dangerously violent (not more sociable) and disgustingly vile (not funny). No substance judges you. But you may be judged by the effect those substances have on you. Real men remain in control. 


- Always remember that to a woman, the relationship is more important than you are. How about simply admitting that the relationship is different for women than for most men? I do think that he has demonstrated one truth here. Men would generally rather rationalize than take the time to  understand. Rationalization is sooo much easier. 


- Have a Fortress of Solitude. Find a spot that is yours and yours alone. In your Fortress of Solitude you can be the Knight of Brooding Silence! This is always a big hit with the damsel of the castle, the lovely Lady of the Chilly Response. 


- Don’t be a wuss. So what if you fail? Strength is in the attempt. I would agree with the essence of this one. So what if you do fail? But the strength of a man is in his character. And the source of that strength, for this man, comes from a real man named Jesus. 


My take on the thought that real men don’t apologize? Sorry Jim. I have to respectfully disagree with you. I am sure there are some chuckles in the book and maybe even a gem or two of wisdom. But this is my definition of a real man from a guy who is several light years away from celebrity. 

Real men do apologize. Real men are often wrong and they believe they lose none of their manhood to admit that fact. Real men cry. Real men forgive. Real men stand up for the less advantaged and the disenfranchised. Real men give of themselves. Real men are willing to sacrifice for their family, their country, and their faith. Real men model integrity and the courage to do the right thing even when it hurts them personally.


Real men are hard to find. I have been around a lot of men that the average person considers real men. I have watched rich and talented men in the NBA, MLB, and network television for nearly three decades. But out of all those talented, wealthy, and gifted men I have met the man I most admire is a guy you never heard of and likely never will. His name is Bob. He is a real man. An outstanding coach of young men. A great father. A loyal friend. He is a real man because of how he has loved his wife through a difficult cancer journey. When I used to hear Paul exhort us to love our wives as Christ loved the church I would push back. No way. That isn’t even possible. Then Bob came along and screwed it up for me by doing it and doing it well. Thanks Bob for showing me what a real man looks like. 


And now I have the chance to trust the real God-Man Jesus to help me do that same thing with my wife Joni during our cancer journey. Real men do a lot of things. I think a real man tries to follow the words and example of Jesus. Without apology.