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Defining Masculinity

I've been lately thinking about just what it means to be a man.  Our culture would define a man as someone with a body builder's physique, played and enjoys football, tall, fixes cars, etc.  I could go on about expectations of males for pages, but I hope the above list drives home the point enough.  Men in our society are expected to live up to a hyper-masculine standard, and the implication is that if you don't measure up that you must be either homosexual or somehow deficient as a man.  As a youth pastor I stress to my boys that it is ok to weird or different.  Not measuring up to society's standards doesn't imply that anything is wrong with you.  In fact, our society's definition of masculinity is in a lot of ways upside down.  We place emphasis on attributes that we view as providing some distinct advantage:  large size/stature, preoccupation with strength/power sports.  However, these attributes do not in fact impart any distinct survival advantage.  Large physical size and stature is not necessarily a beneficial adaptation.  Increased size necessitates increased caloric expenditure.  Increased need for calories decreases probability of survival in the historic account.  A small frame decreases caloric need and thus caloric cost associated with hunting.  The megalithic physiques we idealize would not in fact lead an individual to provide for their family/tribe better, but would be a drain on the community resources.  Again, look at indigenous people, you don't find massive physiques in hunter gatherers.  Men tend to be small and lean, because such a physique imparts a true survival advantage.  While our culture places value on power/strength for men, this is also an aberration.  Our culture is the exception, not the rule.  Primal people were not strength/power athletes.  Their lives were centered around lower intensity activities involved in collecting food and hunting.  
I say all this not to exclude anyone, but to encourage those of us on the outside of our culture.  Just because you may not measure up to someone else's expectations doesn't mean there is something wrong with you.  In fact, I would turn that around, and ask, "What is wrong with our society that we value traits without any specific advantage."  Let's get back to our roots and rediscover true masculinity. 

Who we are

What does it take to succeed in the missions field?  This question is more complex than most of us can answer.  Certainly our "success" is dependent on God, but there are some things we can do to prepare for the missions field.  We can develop our fitness to reach more remote areas.  We can learn the skills necessary to operate away from the modern conveniences of the western world.  It would also be nice to have advice on finances, and the administrative aspect of traveling to a foreign country.  We at Fitness-Ministry are dedicated to bringing you expert advice on how to prepare for the missions field.  If you are not a missionary, don't be discouraged.  We still have a wealth of information you can benefit from.  We hope that our advice will help you run the good race.

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  1. Defining Masculinity
    Thursday, April 25, 2013
  2. Who we are
    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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