I am just going to come out and say it. Going to church on a weekly basis, sitting in a chair and simply listening to someone’s opinions on God has the potential to create passive men. So one could say I believe going to church creates zombie men more often than not. Why should I care? I literally get sick to my stomach with the idea of men just accepting whatever is spewed from a man-made pulpit. I want to see men not just sit passively and listen but rather engage and expand one’s own beliefs! Consistently consuming watered down theology will get you barely two feet into the marathon of life. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of good that comes from Christianity and there is also a lot to be said about passive women and just humanity in general. Right now, though, I want to talk about men and the church. I want to talk about how the industrialized mindset has and is fracturing the belief structure of men in trusting the professional (pastor, priest) to know absolute truth and wisdom. Men who don't take it upon themselves to actively work out their faith or life are passive. For me, personally, to exist means to struggle, wrestle with, and overcome life, to ask the hard questions and be assertive in my internal world just as much as my external.
Over the years I felt as though agreeing with these trained, professional clergy was destroying my very existence, sucking the life out of my very being. I needed some form of answers for the hard questions. Black and white was the only type of mindset that I felt was accepted and the thoughts that were coming up for me in my daily grind did not seem to fit into that realm. It was time for me to shift. So I had a huge life decision to make. I was at the fork in the road, per se. Should I stay in church and stop questioning and thinking cognitively? Or, should I get some fresh air, struggle with my beliefs, and take ownership for all aspects of my life? I could end up going back to church or I might end up an atheist. Either outcome, I needed answers. The gospel of Christianity that I had experienced was not empowering on any level. At the very least, it felt as though men were consistently emasculated with statements being used outside of their original context like, "Turn the other cheek." or " ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ says the Lord". This unrealistic fear existed around the idea that if the general populous of men started being assertive and proactive in life they might just find out that the Sunday morning church was a big scam. It was like God forbid men think for themselves lest they become unruly and uncontrollable. I was a child all over again, my friends being convinced by their parents that Santa Claus was real when I had already found out that he wasn't. So I decided to voyage into the depths of questioning everything.
Hear me on this, I am not against Christianity. What I am against is men being passive, little pieces of cow dung who are wasting oxygen. I can say that because that is where I once stood. I am against myself passively accepting everything I hear as truth. I want men, myself included, to vivaciously think about life, put in the hard work, and daily overcome basic fears that stop them from being assertive. I really like what one man had to say about the word assertive. For my photography project, "The Man Effect", he chose this word to define what it is to be a man.
"Whether it is following through on your word, setting and keeping boundaries, or sticking to your convictions when no one is looking. It is required of men to be assertive. If a man is assertive when he least feels like it, nothing can stop him; not even himself."
Think about this. What would this next Sunday service look like if the sad excuse of theology that is so often taught was literally challenged on the spot? What if men stopped being passive and called out fallacy when it was present? No longer would social acceptance override men's conviction. I dream of a day when men are able to authentically articulate what they feel and believe in an honorable, respective, assertive fashion. I personally have massive respect for the individual who actually gives two flipping seconds about humanity and has the ability to overcome passivity and fight the good fight. I am not promoting overrunning people but I am promoting actually speaking your mind and being a brave individual. Call me out and I will accept you. Say nothing and I will think you to be a lesser man or perhaps think nothing of you.
What do you think the effects on society would be if we, as men, came to that proverbial fork in the road and chose a different path? Is it possible for men to overcome passivity?
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