It was ninety degrees again today. Spent the morning three stories up clearing out gutters and sweeping off pollenated leaf waste. Discovered a hornet nest in the siding, and as I write I am planning my attack on these unwanted intruders.
During these dog days of summer, I am often asked why I am always wearing jeans. People say, “Dang dude, aren’t you hot?” Pulling weeds. Wearing jeans. Up on the roof. Wearing jeans. Riding my bike across the city. Jeans.
I actually don’t own any shorts (outside of some pajama bottoms from dear old mom). And this is by design. Cause deep down I have an unassailable view of masculinity. Where does this idea of machismo come from? I’ll tell you where. Bruce Willis.
I grew up watching 80’s action flicks. And among all those action movies, the ones I loved the most starred Bruce Willis. That became my view of manhood. And Bruce never wore shorts. He was always wearing pants. And so in my little boy heart alive I came to equate pants with masculinity.
It’s funny how silly things like this become our ingrained in our psyche. Along with a disdain of legless apparel came a thirst for violence. In my economy, violence is always an option on the table. Bruce always saved the day because he was more crazy, more violent, and more tough than the other guy.
As I grow older in the ways of the world, as I raise up a boy of my own, I have been forced to reexamine the what of masculinity. Going to God’s word about this is a very enlightening experience. There are some things that I assumed would be there. There are parts of my american boyhood that I imagined must be universal. But they are not. An example… I am really battling with the place of violence in the role a child. It was my constant friend. But when a kid hits my son on the playground, how do I guide him? I grew up thinking, “Never stop making them pay.” But I read the life of Jesus, and I find something else.
So I am still on the journey. Still learning what is America and what is kingdom? What is stupidity and what is a true biblical masculinity? God is still sliding the pieces together for me. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll rock some jean shorts and not feel like a complete tool. Maybe I’ll move from Bruce Willis and to Jesus as my teacher and example of true strength. Maybe…