Being an RA in the only remaining majority-freshmen, unit-style dorm at Cedarville is an interesting experience. Putting 16 guys in the same living space for a year yields plenty of pranks, lots of loud, late nights, and grandiose displays of masculine energy, whether its a truck-pull competition in the parking lot or a FIFA or Halo game between roommates.
One thing we talk a lot about as Lawlor RAs is the concept of becoming a godly man. What does it mean to be a man who pursues Christ wholeheartedly? And how do we create an community environment that fosters godly manhood rather than perpetual guyhood?
In his book “The Wild Man’s Journey,” Richard Rohr lays out 5 realities that a boy must come to accept before he can complete his initiation into manhood. The final reality, “Your life is not about you,” is the calling, the cause to which the newly initiated man finds his purpose. For some, this is a team or a flag. Others find this cause at the first sight of an ultrasound image or at the exchanging of rings and vows. Whatever the cause to be taken up, it is the final stage of male initiation. Without such a cause, perpetual guys will “almost always abuse or avoid [their role], both of which are a loss to the community.”
What men need is to be called up into something bigger than themselves, to be given a cause that compels courage and demands self-sacrifice. Today, our culture demands nothing of its men – except to be perpetual stay-at-home gamers living for the next LAN party, or perpetual partiers living for the next lay.
To this, Jesus replies: Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me. Take up that which is your weakness, your shame and find the bigger glory in it. Follow me in giving everything to a cause greater than you.
May our response be like the writer of Hebrews, compelling us to find a cause greater than ourselves and the preservation of our tiny worlds, instead giving ourselves to the far greater cause of His Kingdom.
“Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”