Evangelical Publishing’s Slide To The Left: Men’s Edition

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Posted: Mar 06, 2019 10:08 AM
Evangelical Publishing’s Slide To The Left: Men’s Edition

The problem with reading and digesting content, it starts with this: How much of what I consume is true versus is noise or even false?

When you think about the New York Times “Best Seller” book status, their content will be mostly secular. When I did my research for my second book concerning Christian business content, I found there is far more secular content about business than there is Christian content for Christian businesses, men or women. I work to change this—for both.

The dearth of Christian content for Christian businesses is one thing. However, take a quick look at an Amazon's Christian “Best Seller” list or other similar lists, and you get a distinctively different vibe. Most of the content of these books are predominantly geared for women and, as a whole, lack books for men. For example, during a Christian writer’s meeting, a woman complained that she read “six pages of a fight scene which could have been done in two paragraphs” in a book of fiction she read. She missed the point about the Christian publishing industry. They’ve tuned out the alpha male to become too beta male and wimpy.

Where are the books for men, real men? Manly character content like John Wayne in his movie McLintock” (one of THE best movies showcasing conservatism), Jimmy Stewart in “Strategic Air Command,” or of the Biblical characters of David or Joshua? You know, content similar to the adventure book series I grew up with, The Hardy Boys, or a more popular book today, The Dangerous Book for Boys. Or how about new books about engineers like R. G. LeTourneau’s autobiography, Movers of Men and Mountains? Where are the Christian adventure books, for both men and boys? John Eldredge in his book Fathered by God describes the cowboy and warrior stages of boys becoming men, yet Christian content like this is not showing up nearly as much as it should, especially as “Christian Best Seller” status.

So where is the backbone of boldness within the Christian publishing community which teaches true, Godly masculinity like that of Jesus, David, and Joshua? Content which shows healthy, Godly men, like David, “a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22). Killed Goliath, then sinned and bounced back and continued with God. Or Saul, a rebellious persecutor, who God called to evangelize and write most of the New Testament, able to take beatings and prison—having a backbone in Christ. Where is the content which contrasts and shows growing unhealthy into healthy men? For instance.

  • Men who have not been taught to harness their aggression who become a curse to others.
  • Men who have been taught to repress their aggression who become a curse to themselves.
  • Men who have mastered their Godly aggression who become a blessing to everyone.

It’s the contrasting of the unhealthy aggressions of hyper-masculinity or toxic masculinity (purpose: drive strife?) who often state, “Men don’t cry,” or the somewhat emasculated masculinity who state “When I am weak, then He is strong,” or say, “We have to be humble,” in a small, quiet, “spiritual” voice. Where is the content of healthy, Godly men who are the “quiet professionals"? Godly men who assertively defend what is right. What does God tell us to do?

Eph 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

We’re talking about content about men being bold, not braggadocious. Putting on the full armor does not mean we’re to be humble and prepare for safe spaces, but prepared for the battle of our spiritual and physical lives in the marketplace and our community.

The “toxic or hyper-masculinity” is the picture of the junkyard dog, fighting at the drop of a hat, being angry at, or ruthlessly or narcissistically controlling everything. Versus the emasculation of men with a puppy dog culture, avoiding conflict and searching for safe spaces. Both are unhealthy masculine self-esteems, both mindsets occur when there is an absence of Godly gentlemen, and Godly men content, mentoring others to become gentlemen. 

Both the junkyard and puppy dog mindsets rob men of their powerful, sheepdog culture and nature of protecting our family, including people in our community and the marketplace. Puppy dogs see both sheepdog’s and junkyard dog’s teeth as the same: scary, but you don’t kick out the sheepdogs because they have teeth like junkyard dogs. Just like you don’t replace capitalism with socialism because of the failures of a few capitalist companies spreading toxic, crony capitalism.

Reading stories about David and Goliath, Joshua, or even Jesus, you see the same sheepdog bravery, just as you see in fighter pilots and those in the Special Forces. They echo the statement, “Sometimes violence does solve problems,” (Jesus twice was violent in the Temple, John 2:13-16, Matt 21:12-17) or the more appropriate, “Peace through strength,” able to back up righteous words with righteous actions. A junkyard dog culture happens when sheepdogs, good men, do not mentor others, especially teenage and young boys, into becoming gentlemen. 

“Masculinity is bestowed…” says Eldredge, “…It is always the passing on of masculinity… [and] what we now have is a world of uninitiated men…That’s why most of us are Unfinished Men.” So where are the best selling Christian books for men, by men; and I mean real men? In secular society, you see the “man’s man” in men like retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink. Jordan Peterson’s content (1.8 million YouTube subscribers, The absolute necessity of fathers: Warren Farrell/JB Peterson, “Out of [rough] play emerges an ethic”) has a following of men eager to learn, and Ben Shapiro is tackling and defending against the left. 

These men are filling a void lost on the Evangelical publishing industry’s “emotive,” effeminate content. All of these men 1) defend what is good; 2)  have faith in our patriotic ideals; 3) they engage, teach, and mentor men versus the left’s approach of condemning or shaming them; 4) and these men engage in a little bit of roughhousing and taboo. To borrow a phrase from an Eldredge’s book title, they’re a little bit “wild at heart,” as we men should be.

Men want to protect, to be combative, to be good men. Christian men are being called up by the secular society, not the evangelical publishing industry. Listen to General John F. Kelly, USMC, speak at the 2014 California Gold Star Parents event and tell the story of two Marines, Cpl. Jonathan Yale, 21, and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, 19, who unflinchingly died protecting others from evil. Their “wild at heart” became “wild in action,” good men giving their lives defending what is good. It’s time we man up, gear up, and on Christ’s command, “On me!,” put on and take the full armor of God seriously.