“Those of you who were in the Resistance, you’re all the same. You think you’re the only ones who fought the Cardassians, that you saved Bajor single-handedly. Perhaps you forget, Major, the Cardassians arrested any Bajoran found to be teaching the word of the Prophets. I was in a Cardassian prison camp for five years, and I can remember each and every beating I suffered. And while you had your weapons to protect you, all I had was my faith… and my courage. Walk with the Prophets child… I know I will”
– Kai Winn, to Kira
While I was lurking a blog, the author was complaining about the lack of strong men. His favorite type of guy was someone like a musketeer, a combination of fiercely loyal and unhesitatingly aggressive. To him, all other kinds of guys suffered from having a ‘weak’ character. A man whose skill with the use of the sword or gun is celebrated, a man who takes a vow of non-violence and serves God all his life is ‘weak’. Such an odd generalization to suggest – especially from a Christian man.
It bothered me that he essentially divided his gender between “men” and “weak men”. Odds are he would have said that he’s among the former. Perhaps that’s a subtle way of saying that he also is ‘more aggressive’ than ‘weak men’ are. But let me tell you a secret about these weak men – they are really the strongest of them all.
They’re the ones that are still in christian churches. They get over-looked as other men rail about the absence of ‘real’ or ‘true’ men in church. They’ve been called names that suggest that they are somehow less manly than other men. They aren’t aggressive by nature and don’t anger that easily (if at all.) In other words, they are foremost like Christ; kind, gentle, humble, and patient and least like what worldly men ought to be.
I can see why the ‘men’ are afraid of them then, because despite the mistreatment and being ignored, they still go to church. They still follow Jesus in everything, including taking his instructions to live a quiet and peaceful life seriously. They are strong enough to repay violence with forgiveness and counter aggression with peace. They are so much closer than the other men are to the kingdom are and they can’t understand why that is given all the effort they go through to be the perfect (worldly) man they go to. Even with Biblical Manhood teachings – many of the ‘weak men’ don’t measure up to what teachers say the Bible requires of ‘men.’ But let’s not kid ourselves, no one can keep everything written in Scripture. That was the point – to help us see that our best efforts are nowhere good enough. And that’s the difference these ‘weak men’ realized it long ago that the more manly they tried to make themselves the less like Christ they became. So they opted to be more like Christ and less like manly men; and that is the secret of their strength.
Likewise, ladies tend to be sent mixed messages, be it the worldly way of femininity or the ‘Biblical’ way of femininity. Each one sees the other as ‘weak’ and themselves as either normal or strong. But they can cancel each other out especially in the light that people don’t often easily fit the prescribed boxes they teach are acceptable. Christian ladies are also called to becoming more Christ-like. Some aren’t keen on that because they think it means being more masculine like Jesus and less feminine, but that’s not the case. The other day I saw a program that said that Christians who ‘conformed’ into Christ would become more unique, more individual. If we accept the truth in that, then we will have accept that there is a spectrum of masculinity and femininity that does overlap and share characteristics in as much as men and women are both human.
What makes any human, man or woman, strong isn’t the degree to which they are manly or womanly; but their peaceful resolve in the face of injustice, that they seek out diplomacy before destruction, and their compassion calls them to care about everyone – this is no weakness. It is the true strength of human character.