Like Covid-19, effeminacy in men is awfully contagious. Unlike Covid-19, however, effeminacy is actually quite dangerous to society at large. (If you can, ignore the inevitable “fact checker” box, it doesn’t have a sense of humour).
A lack of genuinely manly men in Australia has caused the abysmal, authoritarian response to Covid-19 to go unchecked, and virtually unchallenged. That is why it got so bad, and that is why it lasted so long.
In the last post (part one of this article), we dissected how the failure of men could be tracked through the pandemic. It could be seen in four ways – first, fear of death; second; surrendering rights; third surrendering neighbour’s rights; and fourth, conflict aversion. This was the golden chain that led to little push-back against tyranny.
Had Australian men been better accustomed to healthy, constructive conflict, surely we would have quelled our communities’ fears, defended our neighbours’ rights, and pushed back on bully-authoritarians a great deal more.
But now for part two. Where we scan the radars for signs of repentance, and ask where we can go from here?
Signs of Repentance?
It’s now a few months down the track since any widespread restrictions have been in place in my hometown of Brisbane. Nationally, most things are back to some version of normal, (if you don’t count the thousands of people still out of work for being unvaccinated).
But even if much has returned to normal, as a pastor I know, that the first sign that a crisis will repeat itself, is when the perpetrators do not apologise, and openly, voluntarily, and genuinely repent.
How many Christians who were put under functional church discipline (“don’t come to church” orders) by their pastors, have not received public confession, apology, and repentance? And so how can we be sure it won’t happen again? The sin is not past, it is still present, as long as it is being swept under the rug, and not confessed.
Did Pastors really sin that badly? Yes, and gents, they sinned effeminately.
Pastors helped to enforce medical compliance for the government, through social bullying, exclusion, and spiritual abuse. Social bullying because they joined the chorus of pressure surrounding a should-be-free medical choice. Exclusion because they cut off the unvaccinated from normal fellowship. And spiritual abuse, because they used sloppy exegesis and misuse of the law, to force people’s decisions.
“Love your neighbour” became the catchphrase of TV presenters, politicians and even police. Pastors, however, should have had the brains or balls to not twist and abuse Scripture. It is a serious offence of the Pastoral office, to take what is the second greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31), and use it to further the agenda of a set of politicians.
Hundreds of Churches segregated their people, even if only for a time, and hundreds more assured us they would, if the law required – assuring us they were righteous in their motives. Which was a lie born from convenience and softness.
The point is this: if Pastors failed their flocks in this way, and have not come out in confessions and repentance – they will do it again – given the right situation.
Masculine men are known for their confession. A picture of manly blokes who never apologise or admit to wrong, are macho caricatures, and far from Christ-like manhood. In James 5:16 we are told to confess our sins to one another, and Prov 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Men, fathers, bosses, and pastors, build contempt in those under their authority, when they refuse to admit to wrong. The man who can repent, however, earns the respect and love of his peers and subordinates.
If we are to believe that men occupy our pulpits, then away with the hiding. The evidence of the poor effect of lockdowns, and the poor effectiveness of the vaccines are obvious. The division that vaccine passports caused is clear. And the gnawing worm in your conscience is unavoidable. Pastor – make the apology to your congregation, and your God.
Where to From Here?
Of course, I have addressed Pastors because we should lead the way in repentance, but this applies to all men. Virus aside, we have seen a large amount of men unwilling to stand up for their employees, family members, or neighbours over the last two years. Where this is acknowledged, it should be confessed, apologised for, and repented of.
The failure to stand strong as a man, is sin. Many evangelical teachers have forgotten this important principle of anthropology: men behaving in unmanly ways is sin, just as women behaving in unwomanly ways is sin. God did not create us the same, and what is a virtue for a woman is often a sin for a man.
This condemns us all in one way or the other, but men: we have fallen short. And 2020-22 acted like a giant yard-stick. We were measured, and as a generation of men, we were found wanting in one way or another.
Some of us have repented and stood up, others are unsure how, and others seem obstinate never to do so. It is to the second crowd that I now speak.
The only way out of condemnation, shame and guilt, when we realise we have failed God’s standards, is straight through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the escape door hatch out of condemnation, and he is the shield behind which we find refuge from our guilt, and God’s wrath.
A guru might suggest 12 rules, or 5 ways, to make yourself a better man. But since sin is the problem, only the Saviour can help. Jesus Christ is not merely an example of godly masculinity, he is the substitute who became sin for us, so that by faith in him we may receive an eternal righteous standing before God.
Social effects of our sin make our sin more obvious – we really have got ourselves in a ditch. But working and clawing your way out won’t help to fix the social effects, or cleanse your soul. The call of Jesus is to “repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come…” (Acts 3:19-20). He alone can lift you from the mess of sin, through forgiveness in his name.
Jesus assures you that “to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Rom 4:5). By dying for us, he has paid our price – by raising again, he assures us eternal life, now and beyond death.
The men of Australia ought to “act like men” (1 Cor 16:13). But first, they ought to believe in the only saviour of men, Jesus Christ, for forgiveness.
I strongly believe that any Biblical assessment of the facts will prove that our generation is crooked – and men have led this failure. But far from being the end of the world, the Covid-19 years were simply an X-Ray into the state of our souls as a nation. And the Doctor stands ready to help.
I strongly believe that this is an opportune time for us to heed the warning and discipline of God. By God’s grace, the last two years can be a launching pad into revival and reformation if we will speak truthfully about specific sins, and call on God for His grace.
I desire to see everyday men realise their sins are real, but forgivable, and able to be cast off through Christ. I want to see them join the Church, raise their families in the fear of the Lord, and restore godly masculinity to our nation, and the Church.
Men, repent and believe the Gospel.