“Well aren’t there any guys at your church?”
Asked by many a non-churchy friend. Yes, I am 29 years old. Yes, my last relationship was two years ago. Yes, I “go to church.” And, yes there are guys there too.
There are three points I want to make clear with this post on this topic.
1. My faith is not a recreational activity.
2. Church is not Christian Mingle in real life.
3. I’m not looking for a Nice Guy.
When you ask me the innocent and dreaded question, you are implying all of the above. There are some men and women that I know that take their health extremely serious. They are in the gym everyday at 5am and/or every evening. They set goals for themselves and achieve them. They are constantly working to improve the function, strength and stamina of their bodies. Continuously pushing their limits. They eat clean, and prep their meals in advance for the upcoming week. Whereas I continuously skip meals, coffee is often my breakfast and lunch. I enjoy a frozen pizza and cold high-fructose corn syrup in a can. When I see a lovely donut, they see garbage. They ingest more protein in a day then I can in a week. They are usually well versed in food education and often are sought after for fitness advice from everyone. Some have chosen to not put poison into their body like drugs and alcohol. They are passionate and excited about their lifestyle and life system. They make jokes like “Does he even lift?” “Do you even squat?” *Insert laughter now* Calling each other BEASTS. They are Beasts for whatever joy they experience directly associated with their daily choices and progress. For these people, working out and “going to the gym” is not recreation. It is their way of life. They wake up and live and breath that stuff.
And so, please think of me as one of these people. But instead of the gym, I’m in a church multiple days a week. I set goals for myself and have achieved them. I continue to push myself spiritually and in my obedience to God. I prep my choices and attitude in advance by praying and engaging in like-minded conversations with others. Instead of being well versed in food, calories, protein, and vitamins, I’m working to be well versed in Scripture and all materials related to Christian reading. I try to ingest what is holy. When I see sexually explicit images (which are practically everywhere), I see garbage. I have chosen to not put poison into my body like drugs and alcohol. I am passionate and excited about my lifestyle and life system. I make jokes like “God sure has blessed him!” “I need a spiritual leader in my household!” “I’ll be his Proverbs 31 Woman!” *Insert laughter now* Now, I’m not sure I want to label myself a BEAST for Jesus but you can connect the dots. My commitments and priorities now outweigh those of the past. I am not who I used to be. Just as some of those people are no longer overweight or scrawny, but physical powerhouses. I’m striving to a spiritual powerhouse. So please understand if you haven’t heard from me in awhile or if I haven’t participated in extra curricular activities with you, I am in a different arena now. I’m living life in a grander stadium now. I’m not in the game to just find a male companion to have sex with, play house with, or to validate my beauty and value as a woman.
I am a sinner. All of us are. Even the “guys at church.” Knowing where I have been, I completely understand where some of the young men at my church could have been. Some cliche Facebook stalking has revealed the past of some of my male counterparts. They used to party like me. Some pictures reveal the same bars or clubs I used to frequent. We could have been in the same bar at the same time six or seven years ago. I’m sure they have slept with many women. I’m sure they struggle with sexual purity and a pure thought life like I do. I’m sure they contributed to disrespecting women by using them like I have used men. I’m sure they are still figuring out who they are in this newer life. Church is not our new bar scene. Its where we come together to practice being the Man or Woman God has planned for us to be. We begin to desire healthy relationships, boundaries, and Marriages arranged by God. We begin to see a relationship without God is doomed because we are too imperfect to make one last ourselves. Our desires for the Marriages and Families we never had are so strong we honestly put our fleshy desires on the back burner. We struggle with our exes, past flings, and attractive un-Believers popping up anywhere and everywhere, distracting us and even contributing to us falling back into our old ways at times. We are not perfect. Because we get out of bed on Sunday mornings and head to the same place does not mean we are emotionally and spiritually able to manage and tend to the responsibility of loving another person. If you think church is comprised of “just nice guys” you are naive.
The men that attend church can be adulterers, fornicators, liars, cheaters, manipulators, mama’s boys, lazy, selfish, controlling, abusive, ego-maniacs, shy, timid, quiet, fun, respectful, aloof, wealthy, musicians, entrepreneurs, sensitive, loyal, fast food workers, teachers, I could go on and on. They are some of the same men you have met before but you didn’t know they were “Christian” because they didn’t tell you or they didn’t live it. I am 18 pages in to Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I was destined to read this book because on page 12, he writes about Legends of the Fall (1994). *Side note: This is the year I fell in love with Brad Pitt* The author describes the movie and the three main characters briefly. He describes the more popular character of Tristan played by Brad. Tristan is the wild man, long hair-dont care. He spends long periods of time out of the house, independent of his family. Each time he returns to the ranch it is almost unexpected. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, he welcomes adventure and challenge. Hes tough and bold. He allows his wildness to only be tamed towards the end of the movie, this short lived though. In comparison to his older and younger brother, he steals the spotlight. Older brother Alfred, is responsible, sensible. He becomes a business man and later a politician. Younger brother Samuel, is boyish and college educated school boy. He dies in battle during World War II predictably unprepared for the grit involved. John Eldredge points out in his book, “I have yet to meet a man who wants to be Alfred or Samuel. I’ve yet to meet a woman who wants to marry one.” Please don’t take this the wrong way that politicians and school boys are not attractive to women. However, there is something about Tristan the wild one, the one untamed. Untamed by Feminism. Another character I fell in love with is Forrest Bondurant epically played by Tom Hardy from the movie Lawless (2012). Forrest is a bootlegger during Prohibition. He is a living legend during his day. He is myth and intimidates many. The other local bootleggers follow his lead. He goes to battle for his brothers and the beauty of the movie. He is tough and says, “I’m a Bondurant, and we dont back down from nobody.” Maybe I have a thing for outlaws. The inner most feminine parts of me are attracted to these men because they are untamed. They are bold, courageous, they are not “yes men.” They lead, lead at work, lead at home, lead in the community, and some coach little league. They don’t run and hide when things get dangerous. They speak with authority and aren’t afraid to put others in their place when needed. When they walk into the room you can know everything will be alright. These men may have long hair or short hair. He may be tall or not really. He may have arms of tattoos or wear a button up shirt. These men may have biceps on their biceps, or not so much. But these are the qualities I prefer in a man. I’m not looking for a smiling “whatever you want babe” kinda guy. I want to be overwhelmed by his masculine energy. A man that is tender when the time is right and ready to fight for me, God, family, the community when the time calls. Besides the only time you really seek out a Nice Guy is when the bane of your existence crushes your soul. You limp away from the horror and say “I need to find a nice guy” aka the safe guy. A guy that will remain in the friend zone with you while you recover and go out to find yourself another man to rip out your heart again. I don’t want a male BFF to paint my nails with. I want a man that will go to battle for me and take me on a great adventure.
*Dont drag this out and take away that women [or me] are attracted to criminals, bootleggers, or crazies! There are qualities that those characters embody that make them sought after.
More: Another non-Nice guy character I love is Frank Chambers played by Josh Brolin from the movie Labor Day. He is an escaped convict that commandeers a woman and her son over a Labor Day weekend. Over the weekend, he provides a tenderness, wildness, and brings an unmatched soulful masculinity to this desolate woman. I am captivated by their relationship and now long to make a peach pie with a man. Don’t judge me. Frank begins to complete chores around the house, he cooks, and fixes the broken things. He cares for the woman by making a difficult life easier for her. He teaches her son how to properly throw and catch a baseball. Though his future is uncertain, he provides a soft and safe place for her feminine heart to rest. For that is he brave. He begins a love and life with the risk of losing it just as quick as it started. He loves and delights in all the things her ex-husband threw to the curb. This character is a great balance of masculinity. Tender, protective, brave, wild, dangerous.