Social Media and the Divide of America

War is a interesting phenomenon that has been inescapable since the beginning of time. Today we live in an American society that is increasingly at war with itself. On the other hand, the military is different. In combat, soldiers ignore differences of race, religion and politics within their platoon. They realize that in order to have the greatest chance of survival during war they need to do life together in cohesive unity. Throughout history the military has learned to focus on the things that unite themselves to one another rather than focusing on the differences.

In his book “Tribe”, Sebastian Junger says,

“The United States is so powerful that the only country capable of destroying Her might be the United States Herself. Which means that the ultimate terrorist strategy may be to just leave the country alone. That way America’s ugliest partisan tendencies could emerge unimpeded by the unifying effects of war. The ultimate betrayal of tribe isn’t acting competitively – that should be encouraged – but predicating your power on the excommunication of others from the group. That is exactly what politicians of both parties try to do when they spew venomous rhetoric against their rivals. This is what media figures do when they go beyond criticisms of their fellow citizens and openly revile them.”

With that in mind, something idiotically destructive that a military platoon can do during wartime is to openly revile one another. We must realize that we Americans are a single platoon ourselves rather we like it or not.  But if it is currently hard to imagine us as one unified nation, then that may be because, in actuality, we are at a great divide in our country. Moreover, we play our part in this divisive war on social media. Every day we see people speaking with contempt about the rich, the poor, blacks, whites, republicans, democrats, conservatives, liberals, the President, the government, the religious, the irreligious, etc.  

Do we really understand how this contempt is affecting us?  Humanity is still learning the science of how people communicate. One thing we have found is that the less distance between people (ex. two people face to face) then the less likely either person will act in a hostile manner toward the other. When people are face to face there is innate sympathy that toward the other person that regulates one’s behavior. This pleasant orientation has played out during most of human history.  Social media eliminates this pleasantry to a degree that we have never experienced and has done so in a short amount of time. This elimination occurred so quickly that we haven’t learned how to properly account for it in order to function correctly in our relationships nor can we comprehend its impact on our individual psyche/souls. We do, however, see it being played out in America in a negative manner. The constant criticism online that we have seen for years has now evolved into contempt of others.

Criticism and contempt are different.  Criticism is a fundamental aspect of daily life for the flourishing of society as it brings out the merits and faults of something or someone. We criticize anything from food, to music, and parenting styles. For years I have gladly criticized Lebron James’ basketball skills in order to further my support for Kobe Brant.  Unlike criticism, contempt is toxic because it puts someone morally beneath the speaker. Contempt is reserved for a wartime enemy or someone committing a great evil, but now it is regularly applied to our fellow citizens.

In marriage, contempt is one of four main behavioral predictors for divorce.  Let’s say a married couple has been going to counseling and the counselor is able to find the source of where most of their verbal contempt for one another happens – in the car. Most likely the counselor will recommend the couple to realize that there may be something unique about the dynamics of the car that brings about the disunity…not necessarily something within the husband and wife themselves. The couple would be foolish not to change something with the car in order to save their marriage. Matthew 5:30 would recommend us to cut off any tumbling block.

People who show contempt for one another are unlikely to remain united for long. This is the danger we see our country in now. Conservatives and liberals have a hard time having any dialogue or finding middle ground. This doesn’t just remain in the political lens but it also spills over to social issues, religion, economics, culture, and other arenas. I have noticed churches having the same struggle of believers from the same church arguing online. By now we have all seen people who love the Lord forsake one another online. There have been multi-year friends collapse due to differing opinions on social matters.

It is evident that the way we show our ideological allegiance is not by complementing our own side but by displaying our hate for the other side. This online contempt cripples relational growth. Typically, intimacy grows as people take turns speaking, laugh at each other’s jokes, and share surprising similarities (think of the famous Step Brothers movie quote – “Did we just become best friends?!). What happens on Facebook, though, when grandstands are erected along both sides and then filled with friends, acquaintances, rivals, and strangers, all passing judgment and offering commentary?

I have seen the same viral videos get shared by people on “differing sides” and each have a completely different take on the story but still yield the same amount of emotional outrage. Not too long ago we would look at two different video clips (of the same video) in order to get different reactions. Not anymore. We can just look at the exact same video and have completely opposite emotional responses. Part of the reason this is occurring is because our brains are becoming wired not to interpret truth but rather interpret information and uttering it in a manner that keeps our friends liking us, protects our reputations, and keeps our jobs. Sadly, this perpetuation further deceives ourselves and others.

How did social media get to this point? Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt summarizes an answer quite well. He relates the shift in social media confusion of the American public to the Tower of Babel story in Genesis 11. In this story, the people of the world grew prideful. In their pride they attempted to build a gigantically tall tower in order to reach Heaven. The Lord, upset at their pride, punished them by scattering the people around the earth and confusing their language so that they may not understand one another. Dr. Haidt then relates this shift in Genesis to the shift in social media around 2015. From the time I joined Facebook to today Facebook has changed several times. Social media changed fundamentally between 2009 and 2012. Before 2009, Facebook was simply about posting your random thoughts. In 2009, Facebook and Twitter added the “Like” button. Later, both companies brought in algorithms (and advertisements) in order to optimize content to emotionally appeal to users in order to get them to react and therefore become addicted for even more engagement. Social Media today has become an outrage machine that changed the moral, political and social climate of the Western World.

Now…let us follow the bread crumbs to see how we are being affected. There are studies showing that the more time you spend on Facebook the more depressed you become. There are also studies that show that tribalism increases in times of stress (or perceived threat) and it decreases in times of peace and prosperity. With Covid-19, outrage over the George Floyd killing, quarantine and mass unemployment people are on social media drastically more than ever before. Could it be that this rise in social media usage is leading us more towards a subconsciously depressed mindset? This consequently increases stress and causes individuals to be drawn further into tribalism. The next sequential step is a negative mindset leading to hostility and contempt toward anyone outside your identified tribe.

Of course, social media has its merits. But at this point is it a zero-sum game or a negative-sum game? How can we turn the tables and come together as one unified platoon? Satan is busy and if we do not push back then our country will see much worse division than we see today. Thank God for the common grace He gives us in order for us to have psychological and sociological studies to guide us during this time.

Do Group Identity Politics HELP or HARM Minorities?

Group identity politics is an idea used over the past 30 years to try to defeat social injustice. In this post I will attempt to test rather it is specifically effective for minorities. Before doing so, the concept must be properly defined:

Group identity politics is based on political positions focusing to divide people in society into different groups of shared interest and perspectives. Instead of society being based on the individual, the individual is identified within a particular exclusive group. It makes ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, political party or social class the primary element of our being.

When we look outside at the world, we see an increasingly depraved, polarizing, impatient world that is complex beyond measure. In this broken system, people have been trying to fix the world since the beginning of time. In particular, with the current social issues that have plagued us we are still searching for solutions. Identity politics is the current “potential solution”.

The thought is that by putting people into groups it will empower the people within them and raise awareness against things like racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. That this will help people who have been victimized also come together as victims and rise above the oppressors. Sounds like a plausible solution.

However…the primary question is…..:

Do Identity Politics work?

My 12th grade AP Economics Teacher taught our class a key principle in consumerism – “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”  That is, every choice/solution in life has a cost. That cost may be our finances, time, energy, a human right, a relationship, 431265-Thomas-Sowell-Quote-There-are-no-solutions-there-are-only-trade.jpgquality of relationship, or a life itself. Today we hear chants for social justice. We want things fixed and we want them fixed “immediately”.

A wise approach when considering a new policy, system, or ideology is to consider as many outcomes as humanly possible if it is implemented. The most important outcome to consider above the others is the worst possible outcome.

Before making a decision, asking a question such as: What are the ways in which we might accidentally make things worse with this? Or, if we open this door to make something better, are there other ideas (or consequences) that will walk through that same door now that we’ve opened it?

We use a similar thought process in the engineering world when we conservatively design buildings. We do this in the sports arena when setting up rules to protect players from injury. We even do this when choosing which car to buy or where to eat for dinner. In the fields of mathematics and the social sciences, this process is called game theory.

Sometimes the costs are worth paying but, historically, many of times they are not. Besides Christ, there is especially no solution to any social issue that, if implemented, would not then be taken/used/twisted by the enemies of God several years down the line.

How does group identity politics affect the world?

The world is too complex and “endlessly” diverse for identity politics to function with consistency. It cannot be measured and quantified. It cannot be used as a tool for success on either political spectrum.

Within the Social Justice Movement and group identity politics there is no hint of consistency due to the absence of objective truth. This movement wants to remove any given number of contradictory rules and then tell us all which rules apply at any given moment. Our country cannot reasonably function with these rules.

maxresdefaultIn the same sentence they say, “You cannot understand me because my experience is too different. But wait, you also must understand me because my experience is too different.”

A person’s opinion matters not on the individual level but relative to their identity group. So a gay white woman’s opinion matters less than a gay black woman – both are oppressed by the man-dominated world, both are oppressed by the heterosexual majority, but the black woman has the added victim-hood of racism. The more memberships in oppressed groups you have, the higher you rank on the hierarchy. It plays out everyday.

  • We attack Kevin Hart for homophobic tweets in 2010 but we let white female comedians slide when they’ve used similar homophobic tweets. On the intersectional scale, Amy Schumer, a liberal white woman, gets a pass over Kevin Hart, an apolitical straight black man, because her combined political and gender oppression outweigh Kevin Hart’s single racial oppression.
  • For myself, being a black male I have noticed that I get away with speaking more freely on social issues (race, gender, class, homosexuality) than my white male counterparts.

You see, without objectivity we rely on subjectivity. In a subjective world view, anything goes at any given time. Conversely, anything can be taken away at any given time. Group identity politics is insufficient in covering the marginalized because all people are marginalized in some ways. Everyone is oppressed. In a subjective world, how are we going to say one person’s marginalization trumps another person’s marginalization? Who dictates the hierarchy and the extent of oppression? How far back in time do we account for the oppression of our ancestors? It is not simply black and white or men and women.

  • The LGBTQ community is oppressed too right?
  • Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans are marginalized.
  • Jews and Muslims are discriminated against as well. Look at the complexity of the Crusades, the Israeli-Palestistian conflict, the Holocaust.
  • What about the deeply tense tribal differences between the several Asian communities with all their wars over the past hundreds of years?
  • For the gender fluid white women who will identify as white men tomorrow, will they simultaneously then be classified as privileged oppressors and hierarchically dominant white men?
  • Are white people who grew up poor less marginalized than black people who grew up in middle class families?
  • Do black women and Hispanic women deserve more than white women in the workforce?
  • What about job positions in society that Asians preferentially occupy? Are there too many Asians in the STEM fields? Are we going to put a quota on them?
  • Should oppression of black Africans equal that of black Americans?
  • And what about attractive people who have walked through life more privileged than less attractive people?
  • What about shorter men? Should they get privilege over taller men?
  • What about intelligence versus a lack of intelligence?

This goes on and on until we get to the level of individual people which is exactly where we should be in the first place. The victim system will never be equal. The irony is that it is our SHARED sense of oppression and pain that unifies us, not what separates us. We have each felt pain and caused pain. No one is innocent. Separating off into different groups does more harm than good. The benefit may be a short-termed warm feeling of camaraderie.  However, this does nothing long term for reconciliation and fixing the actual problem.

What do we risk when grouping with identity politics?

  1. We run the risk of being ignored because we have all these other accompanying social ideas and accompanying proposals that are not the same. For example, fighting for racial reconciliation tends to be accompanied by the acceptance of homosexuality. They may be similar looking by the standard of oppression but there are massive distinctions theologically, sociologically, and politically. Some of those distinctions may reduce our own quality of life. Having those accompanying ideas hardens the hearts of people who argue for the fact that there are distinctions.
  2. Some of the ideas associated within identity politics will, in turn, hinder our relationships. It will further polarize people. It will cause further tension between people who identify in seemingly opposing groups rather than unite them as humans.
  3. It will open the door to radical Right wing racists who would also like to play identity politics.
  4. It runs the risk of demonizing people who do not deserve to be demonized. For example, it puts Louis CK at the same evil level as Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. It puts a white Chipotle manager, who did her job in refusing to serve two black men who Dine & Dash, at the same evil level as white supremacists. Or it simply names anyone transphobic who believes gender dysphoria to be a mental disorder.

(I will stay on that black-white racial tension train for the remainder of this post). Black Americans are being duped by identity politics to carry a weight they are not meant to bear. Black minorities are being pushed to the front of the line [by other identity groups] as a plea for diversity & inclusion when ultimately much of what those groups truly care about are their own agendas. Racial diversity is just the ticket inside the door that, if left unmonitored, allows in other ideologies. People are prone to give in to accompanying ideologies that they cannot defend against for the sake of the continued validity of our own hopes.

What actually works as a solution?

Image: Chris RockWhite privilege is real. We may not agree on the definition – CNN, NAACP, and other sources may have different versions of the definition. It may not be quantifiable. However, it is undeniable that, historically and today, there exists some form(s) of white privilege. This does not mean white people are criminals. There are other forms of privilege that people of color have that white people do not. Our society doesn’t have  a white problem it has a heart problem. As Chris Rock said at the Oscars, “Everything isn’t racist, everything isn’t sexist.”

A true “solution” for racial reconciliation would be to aim for incremental [compounding] improvement. By approaching it incrementally we can more effectively defend away chaotic and unnecessary accompanying ideas that are not needed for the overall goal of racial reconciliation. Let me explain: There is a difference between a person who is a reformer and person who is a revolutionary.

A revolutionary person attempts change in an immediate time frame with little foresight and, in turn, risks damaging the world. A reformer sees a social problem and understands the complexity that fixing it will possibly take hundreds of years. The reformer understands the wise, loving, beneficial patience in an incremental approach. MLK was a reformer. In an increasingly impatient world, we do not do too well with reformers – their ideas take too long. Jesus and the Apostles were also reformers. The world did not treat them too well either.

The solution is a sacrificial approach. Jesus died on the cross for something He did not do. He died for us. For racial reconciliation we all need to be willing to sacrifice for one another regardless of who it is. We must see people as souls, not as a particular social group.

The solution is grace. Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. For racial reconciliation we all need to forgive one another. It is wise to learn from history but we should not let history dictate our current emotions. All people should recognize the effects of history on people today and work through it for the sake of equality.

I recently heard someone say it like this when speaking on corporate repentance in the Book of Ezra, “Sometimes repentance is taking responsibility of sins past and present that are not your own.”

Jesus’ prayer is that we will be one. ONE. He said this because there is a spiritual war that is much more important than any societal or cultural war. It is by fighting the spiritual war together that we also have success in the societal and cultural wars.

The answer is simple in deed, yet complex to carry out. But the answer is good and worth the attempt.

 

Dating: 3 Reasons Why Women CAN Make the First Move

Well well well, here we are again – Dating. In the comments section of an older blog post, a woman recently asked me the infamous question: “Is It Alright For A Girl To Ask Out A Guy?”  It’s an age old question that has become increasingly popular alongside the rise of women in 21st Century America. Women are surpassing men in education and excelling in the workplace, financially, gender equity, and leadership. These cultural changes bring rise to variations of this dating question.

As a man, I prefer to make the first move AND ask out the woman. As a cocky, hopeless romantic … it thrills me to do so. That is just me.

To avoid “personal preferences” or “semantics” as much as possible – instead of addressing the topic of women directly “asking out” men – I will address why it may be alright for the woman to make the “first move” or upfront “initiate interest” in the man.

While conventional wisdom has us generally believing it is ideal for a man to make that first move,  we still should ask [on any matter] what type of investigation was previously done for us to come to such a conclusion.

Does it make sense?

Is there a line? Has that line changed?

Are we robotically following a rule because it is all we’ve ever known?

Was the notion modeled during an historical/traditional outdated set up of society/culture during a particular time period?

I mean, historically, how could a woman ask a man out without herself having a job, money, education, or any status of power?

Here are 3 reasons why it may be alright for a girl to make the first move:
  1. Just Because You Make The First Move Does Not Mean He Cannot Lead

There has been this notion that if a woman initiates first, it subtracts from the man’s opportunity of leadership. However, does this reasoning add up? After you tell him you are interested, it can still be the man’s job to agree and maybe pick out the date spot. It can still be the man’s job to pick you up on time, grab your coat, and pay for the date. It can still be the man’s job to guide, protect and cultivate the woman for the duration of the relationship.

Over time, as you define the relationship, you can make clear to him in what you’re looking for in a man as a leader. Tell him what you expect EARLY on. If he continually doesn’t meet that criteria then stop and move on.

Dating with marriage in mind is important, regardless of who makes the first move. We all know relationships where the man asked out first, but turned out to be a sub-par leader to the woman. This must mean that the first move has no direct correlation to the man’s leadership ability or leadership potential.

  1. The Romantic Challenge Versus The Proactive Challenger Fairy-tale

There is a difference between actively pursuing someone and initially engaging someone. The former is over an extended time period while the latter is at a particular time. With both phrases, the person on the receiving end is the “challenge”. It is said that in the initial stage of a relationship, the lady needs to wait patiently and be the challenge sought out by a man rather than being the challenger.

To actively pursue someone takes time and effort in cultivating. Biblically it should be done by the man, with the woman hopefully being receptive to that man’s servitude toward her. This is correct and does not change. Conversely, to initially engage someone is to show that there is simply interest in that person.

Disney movies taught us that it is romantic for the woman to always be the challenge for a man to find and love. Any seasoned married couple would say that Life teaches a very different story. The true challenge of is in Month 2 of dating after you’ve ran out of small talk. The true challenge is loving one another through the numerous faults and weaknesses. The true challenge is liking one another after the euphoria of physical attraction wears off. The true challenge is loving one another after your children appear and your sex life becomes a part-time job.

Doing life together is the true challenge. The true challenge is where the solid, sustaining love is found. That is what matters most. Disney leaves that part out. A relationship should be looked at more holistically, not just the first 2 minutes of, “Hey, I’m interested in you”.

So the woman does not lose her title of the Romantic Challenge just by making the first move. She possibly gains a  lifetime of true love.

3. Relationships Are About You Too

Maybe the woman has a Type A personality and the man has Type B. The social sciences domain have written many articles on men becoming increasingly more passive. Waiting for the passive guy, the oblivious guy, or the Type B guy could take a long while. For Type A women, it seems like eternity. What’s the worst that can happen if you tell him you are interested? You’ll stop over-analyzing and finally get answers, that is what. Some guys say they wouldn’t mind if you did so anyways. 

The situation plays a factor as well. Are you already friends? Is he your sidekick?  Are you strangers? Can you or a friend to invite him to a group event? How much of a “nudge” is needed for the guy to get the hint? It is a case by case basis.

It is natural to like a guy. You aren’t wrong for wanting to ask him out. Whatever you do, be confident not clingy. Be assertive not aggressive. Read the signs: Is he shy, does he remember the details of what you say, does he keep momentum going? In the end, God will provide in His timing no matter what we do or how foolish we do it. Waiting isn’t a bad thing at all, and sometimes that first nudge wouldn’t hurt either.

An Ode to Bruce Jenner and Chaos Theory

My taste buds tingle at the nearness.

The forbidden pleasure – ever-so close,

The possible fulfillment – ever-so tangible.

My eyes visualize the initial beauty,

To the touch I sense the delicacy.

Even my heart jumps for more.

.

Warnings of its truth flutter in my thoughts,

Yet the promise of instant satisfaction overrule.

‘It will satisfy me! It will better me. It will satisfy.’

The chant of song rings, confirming my heart’s reason.

Hitherto it was secret; now it is publicly my love.

Once far, now near. Once forbidden, now accepted.

My heart jumps for more.

.

The acceptance from others guide me deeper,

The change in their ethos makes me a hero.

‘It satisfies you! It completes you. It is you.’

The chants of the crowd rally me to reassurance.

Hitherto my eyes used to see the true sin of it all,

Now my eyes only see beauty.

Thin, shallow, false, beautiful beauty.

Lost, my heart jumps for more.

.

The Old vs The Young: The Battle of the Ages

Haha, silly old man,” were the mental words I muttered as I watched the elderly gentleman performing awfully-sluggish lunges in front of me.  “Silly old man, what are you doing in the gym? You can barely move as it is. What has your life come? Simple drudgery. Your wrinkled old skin and fragile bones… What you need to do is go backwards in age about 50 years and then copy me. Silly man.

Over a five-second time span, those were the literal thoughts that formed in my mind as I glanced at the 70-year-old man working out. It’s scary how hurtfully prideful and sinful my initial thoughts were. Suddenly, my attention shifted to his facial expression. He had a sharply keen stare in his eyes – as if he were remiss to the workout machines and people surrounding him. It was as if he truly believed that he was the only person present in the gym. Even the gym itself seemed to not have been anywhere on his radar. My common sense finally appeared and it then dawned on me that he surely must have been there for a reason. Maybe he’s had a recent health scare and is at the gym by doctor’s orders. Maybe he wants to get in shape to show his wife that he “still has it” at his age. Maybe he has no one and nothing in his life and just wants to feel something again. Then I realized that that day of old age, regardless of circumstance, is coming for me with just a blink of an eye. With just…the blink of an eye.

It was only a few days ago that I was in Kindergarten learning how to write my home address and Mrs. Hill told me how well I was doing. I remember the layout of the classroom, where I sat, and the excitement I felt. What is it about youthfulness that blinds our eyes from seeing just how fragile and short life is? Psalm 39:5 and 101:15 are going to compare our lives to a single breath and our days to grass in the field. The latter verse further says that the wind blows the grass away and the ground remembers its place no more. What it’s saying is that as people age, the generation underneath them will begin to disregard and neglect them more and more. As much as I love my parents, my future children will not have that same tangible love for them and will not care to be around them as much. In a few generations after me, they will not even remember my name. Such a truthful picture that the Bible paints. That doesn’t really make us feel warm inside, but hopefully that does clear up some blinders.

afads

But silly me. Silly us. Here’s the thing about old age…here’s how the Bible is going to  portray old age…it consistently glorifies it. The entire Bible says that wisdom comes with years. Proverbs 22:15 will say that folly is in the heart of a child. Why do we fear aging so much? Why do we ignore the wisdom and companionship of the older generations? Oh how Satan has twisted our society so that we have a natural divide amongst generations.

For almost a year now I have been in a small group with a predominantly older crew. In this group, I have realized that I am a lot more dumb than I am wise. I know theology – I can chat church history or apologetics, switch to politics or engineering and sprinkle it with sports … but every time I am around them, their wisdom blows me away and greatly humbles my prideful ignorance. It reminds me of how much I have yet to live through and learn. As a wise pastor once said, “Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing teaches like LIFE.” We can read all the books we want, we can watch all the Youtube videos and BBC documentaries, we can get all the face-lifts and take all the youth pills we need, we can do everything right externally – but in the end, what matters is the internal. Wisdom. Character. Courage. The Heart. Spiritual depth. And only years of living life teach all of that.

To paraphrase King Solomon’s candor in Ecclesiastes 7, he says “Who cares how many likes you get on Instagram if at the end of the day you’re pretending as if you’re not drowning on the inside. The Wise hang out with people that will encourage, rebuke, guide them closer to Christ. While the Fools surround themselves with people that are stuck in the same ditch that they are currently in.” Even though I wrote a blog on Christian dating a few weeks ago… it was only a few months prior that I was very close to asking an unbeliever out on a date. Biblically, I know the tremendous stumbles it could cause. I have even warned my own friends away from this a few times. However, things were different when the shoes were on my foot. I mean, this girl had a cute smile and could dance! Stick a fork in me, I’m easily done. Well, when I confronted the men in my small group about my plans, each of them lovingly told me how stupid that idea was.  And here’s the thing, I had a legit plan and even scripturally spoke on how it could work. But they shut it down immediately and I came back to my senses. See, I needed that because I already had myself deceived. We may never verbally say it, but we definitely act like we’re invincible and that we know everything. But King Solomon would say that it would be wise to have older, godly friends sometimes … because they can see things that we are blind in seeing.

Older men and older women, we need you. Please come into our lives. Otherwise we are bound to make the same cyclic-mistakes as the generations before us.  Lord knows we need to do life together. Imagine the spiritual growth that would take place from the integration. Think of the amount of vitality that it could bring to the older generation. I pray that this happens. May Christ be glorified through it all. May his Spirit guide us in our youth and sustain us through our old age.

jhjh

5 Reasons Why Christian Males Almost NEVER ASK GIRLS OUT On Dates Anymore

At some point during mid-college, my compass switched from having predominantly guy friends toward a large influx of females friends. For some time now, many conversations with those girls have turned into their wonder of “why Christian men rarely ask them out on dates”.  I have had numerous heart-to-heart conversations with awesome, intelligent, Jesus-loving, beautifully single young ladies that pour out their frustrated hearts at why this is so.

Of course, from the male perspective, there are blinders that hinder me from fully empathizing. But in those moments…as I listen to them…I can’t help but see it in their eyes. The fearful angst in the crackling of their voice. Their stare of credulity as they wait to hear your response of hope. They’ve been taught to rest in Christ and have faith in his sovereign plan. Taught to be content with their singleness until the right man comes along. Ooookay…true, but tell that to the girl that has only been on 1 date in the past 3 years. Or to the girl that is 30 years old and still waiting. If we honestly pay attention we would begin to see a steep decline in the rate at which men are dating. After months of pondering and diving deep into this massive topic, I have five reasons why this “asking out” rate has decreased. These will be generalizations, of course, but what I have on my side is the Bible and a little bit of psychological binoculars.

1)  The Social Media Effect: Welcome to the glamorous world of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! These three entities have transformed the way that we men view the pressures of finding a girlfriend/wife. Historically a man had, roughly, less than 10 female friends on his radar. From that amount, his choices were limited and there was a certain “weight” or “pressure” he’d feel to find a mate. Today, I have almost 3000 Facebook friends. From those Facebook friends I can see photos and their friends of friends. This naturally gives way to thoughts that develop in my mind that I have an opportunity to date these girls. What was once knowing less than 10 girls has now exponentially increased to thousands for me AND my male counterparts. This gives us a false sense of satisfaction that takes away any weight on our shoulders that we need to pursue a woman right now. Who needs to pursue immediately…we’re content in our gigantically-fictional plethora of options.

2)  A Feminized Jesus & the Nice Guy Complex: I am not sure when exactly this happened, but somewhere along the lines in our recent church history we began to view Jesus is a very feminine manner. He became no longer a God who was authoritative, had supreme leadership over all, filled with passion for His Father’s glory and likeness, and bold in his worldviews and lifestyle. For at least the past 40 years we have shifted focus solely on his love attributes. He is a God with a perm in his hair who spreads pixie dust of love all throughout the Gospels. He never yells, he never rebukes, never upsets others. He is all about love love love! Here’s why this teaching is so catastrophically damaging in this context: Colossians 1:15 says that ‘Jesus is the image of the Invisible God’.  Men are image bearers of God since we were all made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Since the Fall, we have lost that perfect view of God’s image. Now we have Jesus to look to in order to get back to what we were created for. However, with us males looking at a feminized Christ, we begin to reflect these new feminine traits that have been attributed to him. If we are a projector….we project onto a blank screen whatever is shown through us. While seeing a feminized Jesus we’ve, in turn, automatically projected more passivity, less in our boldness, and are more inclined to play a super nice guy role. This nice guy generally doesn’t what to risk boldness but instead wants to play it safe. Most importantly, as we’ve obtained this feminine worldview, we’ve lost some of our male skill/desire/trait to pursue the woman. God’s intended design for the male is being skewed. Very scary stuff. Very scary stuff.

3)  Watered Down GOSPEL Teaching: Similar to before, many churches over the years have become afraid to talk about the “hard” things of the Bible. The things that may scare people or rub them wrongly. Many churches and pastors became more focused on growing their church attendance and pleasing people rather than following thousands of years of church history and preaching for God with God’s word. They rarely teach on sin anymore. The cross and Jesus’ bloody death are rarely deeply studied and reflected on. If the Bible were a movie, many churches have pushed to cross and sin back to the ending credits. And no one pays attention the ending credits.  Ignoring these biblical concepts retard our CONCRETE UNDERSTANDING of Jesus’ pursuit of the church (His people). The Gospel should not only be the focus of the movie but should also be a real-life every day experience. Instead, this has weakened the male’s view in how and what it means to pursue a wife.

4)  Girls, some blame is on you as well: We sometimes feel that when we ask you out, you take expectations too far too quickly. A coffee date becomes an expectation of marriage from your eyes. We understand that we are dating-to-marry, but that pressure makes us uncomfortable at times. It becomes that if things fail to work out then you and your friends blame us for leading you on. We become the evil coffee bandits.

5)  Satan Never Sleeps: Hey, the dude is smart and wise. Satan has culture tugging on our neck collars. Diminishing our number of men in the church. He has society whispering in our ears. The definition of love has changed from a Biblical definition to the cultural “what makes me feel good at the moment”.

So what now; I mean, this is heavy stuff. I have to be honest with you and say these things because I’m more afraid not to point these things out. The reason why I have this insight is because…ding ding ding…I’m in some of these categories. And have close friends in all 5. So what do we do now? The funny thing about being young is that it’s easy to point out a problem. The funnier thing is that in our youth we rarely have the answers. Still, one common sense answer is obvious –  we need to get back to the discussing the nature and character of the triune God of the universe. This is what sustains us as a people. In the context of this blog, that is what will guide us men into the way he designed our relationships to flow. There is a reason why the Apostle Paul pleads with us to stay away from weak teaching and to seek good doctrine (1 & 2 Timothy). We can do that or we can continue to aim for high church numbers with cheap 5-minute salvations, weak teaching, and a feminized Jesus. But that’s a silly trade if we are losing our Godly men. What are we going to do men? Women? Pastors?

……..”Father, may our generation get back to your true reflection. Jesus, forgive us for mocking your image. I pray for those who hear this…really hear this. I pray for the hearts of our sisters. I pray for the strength of our brothers”…….