Guarding Girls

Guarding Girls

Reading Time: 8 minutes

The above image by James Glazier

The Jr. High class flew to D.C. and New York this past school year. I was tasked with keeping an eye on four of my girls. While in New York, our groups walked the streets and toured several stores. That is where the above picture/splash for this post came from. I took that picture of them holding hands and locking arms so as not to get separated.

My eyes were peeled as I noticed more than one young man in his 20s checking out my students. One stepped right behind them, not realizing I was with them. He looked at me, surprised when I stepped up and cut in front of him, getting between him and my girls.

Did he have ill intentions? I had no idea, but he turned away once he heard me speak to them and realized I was with them.

Men With Black Eyes

Theodore Roosevelt was born in 1858 and became the 26th president. As a child, no one could imagine the man he would become. He suffered from severe asthma and poor eyesight. Yet, as a man, he grew into a powerful physique and loved strenuous activity. He saw action in the Spanish-American War with the Rough Riders and was a natural leader.

In his early 20s, Roosevelt studied at Harvard University and taught Sunday school at Christ Church when he was dismissed for poor judgment. A boy showed up to class late with a black eye. Roosevelt asked why he was late and inquired about the black eye. The boy admitted to fighting a bigger boy who had been picking on his sister. Roosevelt praised the boy for his actions and gave him a dollar. The elders felt he was encouraging the boy to fight and dismissed Roosevelt from teaching Sunday school.

Toxic Masculinity

Amy Morin wrote about toxic masculinity, “Researchers found that when they stripped away stereotypes and cultural expectations, there weren’t many differences in the basic behaviors between men and women.”1

What rubbish! In 25 years of teaching, I have never seen two girls pick up yardsticks and use them as weapons in pretend swordplay. The differences between boys and girls, men and women, are not only foundational, but visible. Genesis 1:27

“Where did all the good men go,” asks Greg Ellis in his Federalist piece. He points out that the term ‘toxic masculinity’ was nonexistent prior to a few years ago. Now, we see ‘patriarchy’ and ‘male privilege’ join the ever-increasing labels for masculinity.

One of the many examples he gives is from a book written by Liz Plank in 2019 titled ‘For the Love of Men.’ On the first page, she informs her readers that toxic masculinity is more dangerous than nuclear war.2

Not a Problem

Ellis points out how the American Psychological Association tossed their hat in the ring, “…in 2019, when the American Psychological Association, for the first time in its history, developed official guidelines for working with men and boys. The document is discouraging, calling for recognition of ‘the impact of power, privilege, and sexism on the development of boys and men’ and casting what it considers ‘traditional’ male behavior as inherently problematic.”2

I remember when my son was around eight years old and the battles he would set up with his army men. He would share his choreographed battle scene with me while I listened, smiling outside but broadly inside. I also recall the wrestling matches, knife fights, and hunting each other with airsoft guns. I grin as I think of playing a lava monster who would grab his sisters and try to pull them into the lava pit. All four of them fighting to save one another, but my son always proudly saved his sisters. All healthy men deeply desire to save and rescue others, to be the hero.

Traditional male behavior is not a problem, but rather, the lack of it. Absent fathers in the lives of our youth has curved our cultural trajectory toward a sickly family. Children without a father experience:

  • More likely to experience problems in school
  • More likely to commit a crime
  • More likely to go to prison
  • More likely to experience teen pregnancy
  • More likely to experience drugs and alcohol
  • More likely to drop out of high school3

Razor Sharp

J. Budziszewski, an American philosopher and professor at the University of Austin, Texas, talks about the ‘edges’ of men. And all boys have edges that men must sharpen. He writes, “When the edge turns out well, you get confidence; when it doesn’t, you only get attitude. When it turns out well, you get courage and resolution; when it doesn’t, you get moodiness and stubbornness. When it turns out well, you get a man who protects the weak; when it doesn’t, you only get a guy who wants to use them.”4

Designed to complement, not compete, many men and women in today’s culture reject what some call traditional values. Rejecting these foundational differences is how “…we came to see chivalry as patronizing and pornography as empowering.”5 Ephesians 5:25

When my son was in grade school, he complained about a boy picking on him. I gave him permission to hit him, if necessary, but warned him he would get into trouble at school, but not from me. Boys and men should never tolerate bullies; bullies have a dull edge and belittle others to appear confident. I remember the first time I had to tap out to my son as we rolled on the living room floor. These memories and many more show my son’s progression into a man, and when a son can get his father to tap out, that is a milestone or right of passage into manhood.

What is a Man?

Samuel Johnson, an English author and poet in the 1700s, wrote, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

Yet today, what it means to be a man is in question when the culture can’t even define what a woman is. “American boys and men are in a state of crisis… We live in a culture where legislation aimed to promote fatherhood is criticized and drag queens reading to children in public libraries are celebrated.”5

Douglas Wilson, in his book Future Men likens faith to include what is unseen because it is still the future. He believes faith is more than just seeing heavenly things; it is also about trusting boys to become Godly men, and a significant element of that outcome is healthy fathers involved in the boys’ lives.

Wilson writes, “Countless examples may be multiplied from any given day in the life of a small boy. Say the boy breaks a chair because he was jumping on it from the bunk bed. Unbelief sees the cost of replacing the chair. Faith sees aggressiveness and courage, both of which obviously need to be directed and disciplined. Suppose a boy gets into a fight protecting his sister. Unbelief sees the lack of wisdom that created a situation that could have been easily avoided; faith sees an immature masculinity that is starting to assume the burden of manhood.”6

The Power of Men

The U.S. has the highest rate of children living in single-parent homes, and the majority of those children are living with their mothers and not their fathers.7 Absentee fathers or having a healthy male role-model is an epidemic in the U.S. Maybe not on par with a nuclear war, but the damage of absentee fathers in our culture is immeasurable. Good, hardworking men (not perfect men because they don’t exist) are hard to find. Ephesians 5:28

Kent Hughes wrote Disciplines of a Godly Man. He has been graced with twenty-six grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren, so he knows a bit about being a man, a father, and a grandfather. He shared a story about when he was a soccer coach and a little boy with a father running up and down the field criticizing his son, calling him a chicken and a woman. Hughes said this man was the only parent he told to be quiet or leave the field.

Hughes writes, “Our society is awash with millions of daughters pathetically seeking the affection their fathers never gave them and some of these daughters are at the sunset of their lives. In the extreme, there are myriads of sons who were denied healthy same-sex relationships with their fathers and are now spending the rest of their lives in search of their sexual identity via perversion and immorality.”8 1 Timothy 5:8

On Target

Teen girls without a father are at risk, and those with poor parent relationships have a much higher chance of risky behavior. “Yet in each case, research has found that home environment had greater influence on behavior than hormone levels and if parent-child relations were good, hormone levels do not seem to matter at all reguarding risky sexual behavior.”9 That is a stunning finding! Hormone levels were taking the back seat to healthy parent-child relations. Going through puberty and having sex hormones flowing through young men and women do not determine risky behavior but a healthy home life with both a father and mother figure is the determining factor.

One of my greatest pleasures was raising my three beautiful daughters. Now, as I teach Jr. High, I get to extend that pleasure by being a father figure to the young ladies I find in my classroom. I don’t have many years left to teach, but archery is an elective I never tire of teaching. I often stand behind my students (both boys and girls, archery is a great equalizer), to see where they are aiming, and I am not just talking about archery. Many of them are in a single-parent home without fathers. Abandoned for drugs, alcohol, and various addictions, other students have the state step in on their behalf.   

All boys and girls need a father with sharp edges. Manhood is where boyhood should be aimed. Boys should grow up to be good husbands, heroes who rescue not only those they love but anyone being abused by evil, even at the cost of their own lives.

I have a shirt that says, “I would rather suffer in good company than live in luxury surrounded by delicate men.” I can’t help but wonder how many women who want to deprive men of their ‘man card’ find themselves in situations where they would give a pretty penny for a traditional man.

Guarding Girls © 2024 by James Glazier is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

 

  1. Morin, Amy. “What Is Toxic Masculinity?” Very Well Mind, verywellmind.com, 14 November 2022, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-toxic-masculinity-5075107 []
  2. Ellis, Greg. “Stop Emasculating Men, The Wondering Where All The Good Men Went.” The Federalist, 14 June 2021, https://thefederalist.com/2021/06/14/stop-emasculating-men-then-wondering-where-all-the-good-men-went/. 7 June 2024 [] []
  3. “National Fatherhood Initiative 2024”. Father Facts: Ninth Edition. Germantown, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative. 25 July 2024 []
  4. Budziszewski, J. “Learning To Think.” Ask Me Anything, NavPress, pg. 87 []
  5. Squires, Delano. “Making Boys Into Men.” Institute for Family Studies, ifstudies.org, 18 May 2022, https://ifstudies.org/blog/making-boys-into-men [] []
  6. Wilson, Dougless. “Introduction.” Future Men, Cannonpress, 2012, pg.10 []
  7. Kramer, Stephanie. “U.S. has worlds’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households.” Pew Research Center, 12 December 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2019/12/12/u-s-children-more-likely-than-children-in-other-countries-to-live-with-just-one-parent/ []
  8. Hughes, Kent. “Discipline of Fatherhood.” Disciplines of a Godly Man, Crossway, 1991, pg. 63 []
  9. McIlhaney, Joe. Bush, Freda. “Let’s Talk Sex.” Hooked, Northfield Publishing, pg. 19 []

Drop Test Your Faith

Reading Time: 6 minutes

 If you follow technology at all you have probably heard of or come across cnet.com, a site that not only explores the latest technological gadgets we can purchase but offer reviews for just about every tech item you can think of. They recently drop tested the new Galaxy 9 to see how well it would hold up.

For boys, this comes quite naturally. We were, (most of us still are) always trying to see what would happen if we burn something, smash something, or shoot something with an arrow or a .45. We blow things up quite naturally just to see what would happen. How many of you reading this remember smashing your toy cars with a hammer? How about getting a new pocket knife and seeing what it could do on your plastic toy soldiers, G.I. Joes, or your sister’s barbies? It’s a boy thing, sorry ladies.

I remember buying balsa wood airplanes and carefully taping firecrackers on the wings then giving them some test flights to make sure it would get airborne. After I was satisfied with the test flights I then lit the firecrackers and launched it into the air. Of course, all your buddies are over to watch the airshow; destruction was always a draw to the neighboorhood boys.

I realized over time that we were much more encouraging of our friends to blow up their toys than our own, but it was worth it if you had several neighborhood supporters over to watch the spectacle. The only thing better than watching your friends blow up their toys was if somehow your buddy was injured in the mayhem. Hooray when that would happen! You had a story to tell in school the next day! More than likely your buddy would have a large bandage or a sling of honor to show off.

Totally worth it as long as the moms would not get involved. Whenever they got wind of our schemes the atmosphere would totally change. If it was someone’s dad who found out, that usually resulted in improved preparation and refined wreckage.

When I was done recalling some of the debris and destruction of my youth, I began to think about Christians drop testing their faith. How many of us wrestle with tough questions?

So many of us surround ourselves with like-minded believers, this is only natural. Sure we may be friendly with our co-workers, but do most Christians have conversations about God with non-believers? Even more important, do you have conversations with your children about your faith? Grandchildren? How would you define faith with your child? Is it blind? Does it require a leap?

Do we train our youth so they will be ready for what they will hear in high school and college? Will the first time they hear views counter to Christianity be at home, in church, at their youth group, or in class sitting in front of an atheist professor? What would they say when surrounded by peers who tell them women have the right to do what they want with their own body and abortion should remain legal? How about science has disproven God’s existence and evolution shows we don’t need a creator? Or miracles don’t really take place, they are all 2nd hand stories that promote preachers and fill the pockets of pastors. I can promise you this, they will hear those and a host more.

Thucydides was a Greek historian and general. He wrote about the Peloponnesian War, “…But of the acts themselves done in the war, I thought not fit to write all that I heard from all authors nor such as I myself did but think to be true, but only those whereat I was myself present and those of which with all diligence I had made particular inquiry.”1

Now compare what Thucydides wrote to what Luke wrote in his introduction to Acts. “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:1-4

See the similarity? Many dismiss the Gospel accounts of miracles as made up, 2nd hand, lacking eyewitnesses, and myth.

Let me encourage you on this last point. Miracles do place and we can say so with certainty.

As we go through life we often we find ourselves in need of a miracle. Sometimes the miracle we want is the healing of a child, a friend, or a spouse. Sometimes it is a miracle in a broken marriage relationship or a loved one who has walked away from their faith. Yet, no matter what we do, or how much we pray, nothing seems to happen, and none of what is going on makes any sense.

I know many of you can relate. I can. I am in need of a miracle in my life and despite what ‘seems’ to be God’s lack of interest in my situation and my families circumstance, I believe that God is intensely interested. Miracles do take place, and He can do a miracle in my life. But, and this is key, no matter what takes place, still choose to love Him and seek His good and perfect will for your life.

Do you need a miracle? Duane Miller needed a miracle in his life. In 1990 he was the pastor of a Texas church and caught a flu virus which ruined his vocal cords and the damage was beyond repair. Miller wrote, “Over the next three years I was seen by over 63 specialists and their teams (totaling over 200 doctors) as they tried to diagnose and treat me.”2 Over time he had to resign his position because he was unable to speak. Miller’s voice sounded like a serious case of laryngitis and despite his passion to teach God’s word, it was taken from him.

His family moved back to Houston and his wife became the primary income earner. He did what he could to support his family, but with a voice so weak his options were limited.

After a time he reluctantly agreed to teach a small group bible study for Houston’s First Baptist Church. He and others had reservations about his voice because it was hard to hear him, but one supporter was adamant for him to teach so he agreed and the miracle began. His voice was recorded and posted up on YouTube.

It is 4 minutes and 48 seconds long. Set aside your theology about healing for a moment and listen to his voice, whether you agree with what he is teaching or not. You are listening to a miracle.

Some of you may have heard of Eric Liddell and his story that became a household conversation in the movie, ‘Chariots of Fire’. What the movie did not share was he became a missionary in China and ended up dying in a Japanese internment camp. He died in that camp as he passionately sought God moving in his life. What many don’t know is 63 years later his family found out Liddell was part of a prisoner exchange deal between Great Britain and Japan, but Eric gave up his spot for a pregnant woman. Was that a miracle or was that God using someone to bring a miracle in someone’s life? Both I think.

Jonathan Morrow wrote concerning miracles, “When we talk about miracles, we need to remember that God can either work with created nature or go beyond its natural capacities to accomplish his purposes. It is our knowledge of science that allows us to know what something’s natural capacities are and what it would not normally be capable of.”3

When we read the final page and close a book, the story is over. But it is essential, (and have to remind myself of this over and over) that our current circumstances are not the final chapter in our lives. It may not turn out like you envisioned, but seek Him throughout it all, and you may find some prayers were answered that you had not even thought of.

 

Sources:
1. Crane, Gregory R. Hobbes, Thomas, Ed. “Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War.” Perseus Digital Library. Perseus.tufts.edu. nd. 
2. Miller, Duane. “The Miracle Moment.” Millertheology, Millertheology.wordpress.com, 20 January 2013
Crossroads Church Media. “Duane Miller Video.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 7 June, 2011, Web. 25 March, 2018.
3. Morrow, Jonathan. “Is The Bible Unscientific?” Questioning The Bible. 11 Major Challenges to the Bible’s Authority. Moody Publishers, 2014, pg 137.

 

 

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Drop Test Your Faith by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Sex in the Church

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Most of you have realized that sex sells. Not only in car ad’s, movies, underwear, and laundry detergent, but it also sells blog posts. With over 70 postings under my belt, my most popular one with nearly 300 views, (I know that is small time), is titled “Sex is Better with Drugs”.

I am convinced it was so popular because of the title. I don’t kid myself into thinking what I have to share, along with my artistic literary genius, is taking Tuolumne County, (population 54,000), by storm. In fact, I joked with my wife for a few weeks afterwords that I should put the word ‘sex’ in the title of all my blog posts. I was only half kidding, but the message it tells us about our culture, and our own inclinations, speaks volumes.

So when I read a Facebook post about a young mother concerned about the dress of some of the high school girls she saw the other day, I thought this would be a great opportunity to blog about behavior, consequences, and sex. Since part of this post will include my own Church, I thought to myself, “What a great title: Sex in the Church!” 🙂

A few years back, some of my 8th grade girls came to me complaining about another male teacher and how he would always look down their tops. I listened to their complaints, sympathized with their dilemma, and then bluntly asked them if they should be wearing tops that male teachers can look down. They were quiet for a moment, and I could tell by their faces that this was not something they considered. I am sure they expected Mr. G to be indignant, if not angry, and storm off giving ‘that teacher’ why and what for. After a moment I added not only male teachers, (who are often in a standing position over seated students), but the male classmates who might find themselves in a position to view what they have. Once again, they had not thought about that angle, (no pun intended).

After some brief discussion and clarification, the girls agreed, albeit grudgingly, but then countered that he should still not be looking down their tops. Finally, adding more weight to their prosecution, “He is married!” they exclaimed. I agreed, but explained to them how visual men and boys are, and that they should consider what they wear when around men and boys. By all means I told them, it does not excuse such behavior, but if you spill honey on the floor, you can expect some ants to show up if you don’t clean it up. I suggested they clean up their honey and the ants will disappear. I also added that if it continued, they should talk to the principal, but in the mean time, not to wear tops or dresses that expose them in such a way. Ultimately I explained, it was difficult enough to keep the boys focused; I did not need a bunch of pretty girls distracting them more than necessary. With that comment, smiles lit their faces, and out to the playground they skipped, chatting about boys and this new found perspective.

After 22 years of marriage, three daughters, and years of experience in rooms of Jr. High girls, I have learned a thing or two. They were treasures to me, and most of them knew that. Many did not have any kind of father figure around and were like sponges to any kind of ‘appropriate’ attention I would give them.

It was not the first time I had such a conversation with some of my female students, but it was usually about the boys. I would ask the girls if they wanted to be ‘a treasure or a target’ to get them thinking about their end of the equation. I have had that kind of conversation with my students many times over the years. They get it, but let’s face it, girls, young women, all women, want to be considered attractive, and enjoy men looking at them to some degree. It starts early. What they don’t get at an early age is what some boys and men start thinking about.

If more girls had a dad around that would tell them what boys and men think about, or just tell them that what they are wearing is inappropriate, then this ‘ant’ problem would go away. If spilled honey is not cleaned up, it can end up attracting other larger and dangerous creatures to which the girls would be oblivious to. In their minds, they are just dressing to attract some male attention with no thought to the thoughts and behavior of the males they attract.

J. Budziszewski wrote in his book Ask Me Anything, about a student who was struggling with sexual sin and how difficult it was to stop and that it was an ‘inside’ problem that was impossible to control. “The problem isn’t just inside,” Budziszewski explained. “Anything that makes it hard to stop is already too far. Obviously, then, he shouldn’t do anything with [her] that gets his motor running.”

The student then asked, “What if just holding hands with her gets his motor running?”

Budziszewski replied, “Then he shouldn’t hold hands with her. But do you really know anyone for whom just holding hands is overpowering? Second, he can stop doing all the ‘other’ things that get his motor running. Watching certain television programs, reading certain magazines, even hanging out in certain places.”

The student replied those things were just recreation. J Budziszewski added, “Then he needs to stop thinking of sexual arousal as a form of recreation, doesn’t he?” 1

Over the years, I have heard of some conversations about how some of the young women have dressed on a Sunday. This becomes more of an issue during the summer months when it is only natural to wear less. Some of the older men have expressed concern about “How much less is appropriate?” Thankfully, most of the women set an example for the young women to follow. But there is something more powerful when it comes from a man. Some girls/women might interpret the correction as old fashioned, out of date, traditional church legalism, or more likely petty jealousy on the part of the women who offered the opinion. But, if it comes from a man, their target audience, who stands to gain nothing, and even lose some visual eye candy if they were to dress with some added modesty, it can be a bull horn.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul talks about how our ministry is not written with ink on paper, but on our hearts. Randolph Richards and Brandon O’Brien wrote, “Rules and laws are established to guide people in the right path. But ultimately the goal is that people will internalized the code of conduct so that it becomes not a matter of external influence, but of internal guidance.” 2 When I read that, I underlined it in my book. We don’t need or want a pocket rule book on how to dress and behave, but rather we should discern how to behave by looking at the Godly examples around us, and looking for examples in scripture.

We have a church full of lovely women, some married, some single. I know I would hate to be a single woman having to dress for church on Sunday, and even every day life. Wanting to dress in such a way to give a hint of honey, but also avoid having to clean up some ants. I cannot imagine how difficult that would be knowing how boys and men think. Couple that with the styles of clothes sold today. Finding something attractive for summer nine times out of ten means something that shows more, and for the modest minded, showing more than they want to.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna group wrote, “We humans are complicated and multilayered beings, and my strong impression from face-to-face interviews is that often sexuality intersects a person’s faith journey in subconscious, below-the-radar ways. The story of a generation and sex is complicated and layered too, filled with judgment, rules, old and new media, hypocritical religious leaders, values turned on their heads, a world saturated with sexual images and double lives…” 3

Girls look for a love story like those seen in a movie or read in books. They are written by scriptwriters and authors with the intent to sell. When young girls or women wear clothes that expose much and leave little to the imagination, they are also selling. Selling their bodies – they just don’t realize it yet. When a girl dresses to look sexy, guess what? The males around her will look at her and think about sex, not about what a great person she is and how they would love to read a good book with her. Men need to step up and do more than dishes and folding laundry. On occasion, men need to clean up some spilled honey and gently explain how it happened.

Sources:

1. Budziszewski, J. Ask Me Anything 2. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2004. Print

2. Richards, Randolph. O’Brien, Brandon J. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2012. Print

3. Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011. Print
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Sex in the Church by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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