By Editorial Staff
Published September 1, 1992
Answering Misconceptions about Maleness
By Tom Sirotnak
WHAT IS A REAL MAN? I frequently pose this question to campus audiences as I travel around the country. The standard responses fall into three categories:
1. Physical – Who’s the “Biggest” or “Toughest.”
2. Drinking – Measured by who can chug down a six-pack of beer the fastest.
3. Sexual – Who can “score” the most.
Others add that a real man is someone who does whatever he wants to do, or, a guy who has mastered financial independence. Answers such as these remind me of the proverbial couch potato who has overdosed on too many Rambo movies. None of the above qualities even remotely resembles the image of a true man.
The real standard of manhood is someone who will stand for the truth at all costs.*
I learned the truth of this by first doing the opposite. Striving to find acceptance through the world’s ways, I sought to fulfill the image of the rough, tough macho man.
A chubby, slow, uncoordinated youngster growing up, all I wanted was other kid’s approval. Though often jeered for my slow-footed ways, size worked to my advantage when I started putting my efforts into sports, particularly football. But my red-letter day during elementary school came when I took on the toughest kid in our class.
On the playground, I made this bully mad and he came running full speed in my direction. I didn’t stand up to him; he scared me to death.
When he swung at me, I ducked. His momentum sent him flying over me and as I stood up in the same motion, I caught him with my shoulder. The impact tossed him several feet in the air and he landed flat on his back. Getting up, he shuffled home crying.
Suddenly, I was the new school hero. Though my success was a fluke, I thought, “Hey, look at the acceptance I got through fighting this guy.”
Thus began a violent lifestyle, as I avidly pursued building up my body to become ultra-tough. I thought a man meant someone so physically intimidating that no one would mess with him.
Years later, when I arrived at the University of Southern California, I boasted a 20-inch neck, 20-inch arms and a 54-inch chest. Onlookers gaped when I bench pressed 470 pounds.
I used my physique to land a job as a bouncer in a bar, where I frequently got into brawls. When I got really mean, I rubbed men’s faces up against stucco walls or chain link fences.
I amazed people with my physical stunts. Three times I wrestled bears standing as tall as 7 feet, 4 inches, weighing 650 pounds. When I got drunk, I would knock over wooden stop signs by running into them head first.
I thought I was the ultimate man. One of the few “walk-ons” ever to play defensive tackle for USC, I eventually became team captain. I belonged to a great fraternity and was on my way to earning a marketing degree from one of the nation’s top business schools. Well-liked by my peers, they constantly invited me to parties. Once I won the beer-chugging contest by downing a 16-ounce can in 1.9 seconds.
But I felt empty inside. I did these things to win friends and gain attention. The truth? I felt very unfulfilled. My life was a cover-up for the deep insecurities, fear and failures that haunted me. I wanted to be a man, but I didn’t know how. Despite all my great exploits and campus status, inside I was bankrupt. There was a vacuum inside, one that only God could fill.
As time passed, the void grew wider trough a steady diet of lust, pornography and immoral relationships. I didn’t realize the nature of this sin strips a man of purpose and responsibility. This made me feel even more emasculated.
Ironically, while I was partying away my college years, I called myself a Christian and even belonged to a campus ministry. Finally, when USC made it to the Fiesta Bowl my Senior year in 1982, things began to change.
Upset over the hypocrisy and inconsistencies that plagued me, I wandered the streets of Phoenix and wound up in a Christian gathering. The speaker was former LA Ram and Hall of Fame member Rosey Grier. Seeing through my counterfeit faith, he challenged me to get the sin out of my life.
Rosey preached the next week at USC and introduced me to my current pastor, Phil Bonasso, and Rice Broocks, an evangelist who also spoke that night. Phil and Rice team-preached to me until I saw that I had never understood what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I saw that Jesus was not 100% in control over every area of my life. From studies to athletics, work, social life and family, He must be “Lord of all or not at all.” That’s when I repented and God’s power changed me. The void in my life vanished. For the very first time, I felt like a whole person, a man.
So many people equate being a Christian with a weakling, a wimp. One night while I was peaching on a campus, a student yelled, “Jesus is a crutch!”
I replied, “You’re right. What’s yours? Alcohol? Women? Fame? We are all trusting in something. But will it support your lifestyle or lead you straight to hell? If Christianity is a crutch, then give me two. I desperately need Jesus to guide my life. Without Him, it was headed straight down the tubes. Where is your life headed?”
- I use the words “manhood” – “a true man” – and “maturity” as equivalent. A mature man will exhibit the character of Jesus Christ residing in him. The same truth is applicable to all people – male or female – a mature individual will stand for truth at all costs “until we … become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » On Campus
Your comments are welcome!
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)