We live in a world full of males who have prolonged their adolescence.
They are neither boys nor men. They live suspended between childhood and adulthood, between growing up and being a grown-up.
Let’s call this kind of male Ban, a hybrid of both man and boy. This kind of male is everywhere, including the church and even vocational ministry.
Neither Boys Nor Men
Ban is a frightening reality in the church, but he is the best thing that ever happened to the video game and porn industries.
- Half of American males between the ages of 18 to 34 play video games every day—for almost 3 hours.
- The average video game buyer is 35 years old.
- Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography, 28,258 Internet users view pornography, and 372 Internet users type adult search terms into search engines.
- To no one’s surprise, men make up nearly 75% of Internet pornography traffic.
Our society is overrun with males who aren’t men. Assuming the responsibilities of husband and father makes a boy into a man, but Ban doesn’t like responsibility so he extends his adolescence and sets his focus squarely and supremely on himself.
Raising Up Real Men
These “man-wannabes” must learn how to progress toward manhood and become what David Gilmore calls “real men.” Real men “give more than they take… are generous, even to the point of sacrifice.” Being a man is about being tough and tender.
I have a son, Drew, and because of my keen awareness of and pastoral interaction with Bans, I know that my work is cut out for me when it comes to raising a godly man. I recently wrote a little prayer that reflects the kind of men we need. Drew and I pray this prayer together almost every night, for him and for me.
“God, make me a man with thick skin and a soft heart. Make me a man who is tough and tender. Make me tough so I can handle life. Make me tender so I can love people. God, make me a man.”
The Man, the Message, the Mission
The lack of godly men in our world is now a cultural crisis. We are not going to solve the problem by ignoring Ban and hoping that he eventually grows up. We are not going to solve the problem by encouraging women to take up the slack.
We might solve the problem by modeling biblical manhood and calling adult boys to forsake their youthful lusts and become the men that God is calling them to be.
We have Bans in our city, our neighborhoods, our churches, and our families. Ban needs godly men and women to show him that there is more to life than what he is currently experiencing. Ban needs to be more than just a male. He needs to be becoming God’s man who is being transformed by God’s gospel message and is wholeheartedly pursuing God’s mission.