Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Arch Enemies He (Did Not) Create Them

It seems today that there's a lot of finger pointing between the sexes. Both genders say that the other is crazier, more sinful, more perverted, more this or more that.

However, the problem is not that one sex is more sinful than another, but it is in fact the tragedy of a gap forming between the two sexes. This is nothing new, but Satan seems to be disguising this gap in new ways.

Unfortunately, this battle of the sexes seems to be coming more and more from inside the Church. Pushed by well-intentioned youth ministers and pressuring friend-groups, this battle of the sexes is - as all messages of the Evil One are - based on a lie. The lie of course is that men and women are so different that they could never understand each other. The reason this is happening is the continual degradation of both sexes, even from within the Church.

And yet, fighting lies like this is why In the Beginning Ministries exists, so this post is going to try to begin to address the confusion. Let me be ironic in my addressing of the confusion by first splitting up the sexes and addressing the main lies I think each sex is fed. I'll then bring them back together in the end to show how the two sexes actually can work together. I encourage both sexes to read this entire post.


I think the two biggest lies men face are that they are pigs or that they need to be strong to amount to something. I've been to a lot of "Man Talks" in my day and they all sound something like this: "Now men, we all know that statistically 105% of you are already addicted to porn. You need to stop that right now. And the other 210% of you have feelings that you can't control so repress those as well. 60% of you are too emotional and whine too much to be men. Finally, the last 10% of you think you are in love with that girl at school but you are too young to possibly know what love is so go ahead and repress that too. Now that you have repressed your humanity and defeated your pornography addiction, you are a real man. Now lets do some man growls to show how manly we are."

I'm exaggerating of course, but you see my point. Now I am not here to bash your youth group or church or anything like that. I grew up in youth group and loved every second of it. Still, I can look back on that experience and realize that, while it was mostly great, they got some stuff wrong. Youth groups are not infallible. Unfortunately, this attitude towards men is something a lot of people get wrong.

The problem comes when we start to pinpoint a certain sin on either sex. This is because, whether we want to believe it or not, both sexes struggle with these sins. As my ministry partner Jacob Popcak often says, the Devil is an equal-opportunity employer. We've already detailed some of the problems that this kind of attitude towards men causes in another post, but suffice it to say, it's not a good position to take.


I think the biggest lie women face are that they are just insane. I mean think about it: 

"Women are too emotional, then they are too needy, then they are emotional again, then they want to try and voice their opinion which you know is going to be stupid, oh and did I mention they are emotional again?"

 Really it's a never ending cycle that inevitably ends with the woman crying to a sad movie, wishing her man were more like the talk dark and handsome figure on the screen, and eating cookie dough with whipped cream on top.  

Again, I exaggerate, but you see my point. This lie that women are worthless or too emotional goes very deep. This is a stereotype. Women have so much to offer the world if they are just given the chance.

So what does it mean to be a woman if not those late nights sobbing over Mr. Bingley's hair? Being a woman means you have been made in the image and likeness of God. Nobody can take your femininity away. It is something so beautiful given to you by your creator. Now there is a lot more to unpack here and I'll do just that in a future post.

For now suffice it to say that both of these lies for men and women end the same; by both being stripped of their masculinity or femininity. I encourage any woman reading this post to read our previous post on The Truth About Being A Man, and replace every time there is a masculine noun with a feminine one, because all of the info there is just as true for you.

All ya'll listen up

So why are men and women so stupid, especially to each other? Here is a saying I like to use whenever someone comes to me asking for relationship advice. Men are stupid, women are stupid, and God has put us both together on this earth because of His sense of humor to try and work something out. 

Now obviously I am being snarky, but there is some truth to this. Neither sex is perfect and we will not be until we get to heaven. Maybe we should stop trying to look for perfection and instead live by real love, which means the betterment of the other person. 

Yes guys, that means you are never going to find a perfect ten who loves sports and beer and just loves you so much and never complains. Ladies, you are never going to find prince charming who will marry you right away and you will live happily ever after in a beautiful house with lots of offspring. If you haven't noticed, I am again using guy and girl stereotypes to prove my point. I am kind of ironic that way. 

GUYS AND GIRLS ARE DIFFERENT!!! They are different, but maybe not in the way you would expect me to say. Damon Owens, the director of The Theology of the Body Institute, said it best when he said, "Men and women are not different from each other, but different for each other." Most differences between men and women aren't actual differences; we have made them up ourselves. The actual differences we do have are made in us by God so we can help each other. Men can play rough with the kids, they can open that cranky pasta jar, they can reach those high shelves in the pantry, and they can love with a masculine love. Women can breastfeed, they can nurture, they can give that warm motherly embrace, and they can love with a feminine love. 

The truth is no sex would be complete without the other. That is why God made two sexes. Men and women compliment each other perfectly and can in fact bring each other closer to God. How about we start bridging the gap between the sexes with love. Imagine the world we could live in if the battle of the sexes ended in a tie. 

I end with a quote from Pope John Paul II, "Woman complements man, just as man complements woman: men and women are complementary. Womanhood expresses the "human" as much as manhood does, but in a different and complementary way."    

Tommy Shultz is a founder and writer for In the Beginning Ministries. You can learn more about him or contact him via his contact page at 

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Truth About Being a Man

I recently saw this promo and it blew me away. It’s intense, but it demonstrates a problem we at In the Beginning Ministries have been fighting for a long time. Take a look below (Note: this video contains some mature language and material and might be considered NSFW. Watch at your own discretion).

It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? But it’s true. The fact is, our culture – and particularly Conservative Christian culture – has wrecked the definition of masculinity. Even to say the word “manly” now brings to mind negative qualities like false strength, pride, anger, severity, and insensitivity.  

We bombard boys with phrases like, “be a man!” and “man up” and we tell them that it’s not manly to feel or care or be vulnerable. We’re so afraid of “sissyfying” our boys, or worse, making them gay, that we push them away. Fathers keep their sons at an arm’s length and I challenge you to find a youth minister who’d feel as comfortable talking to boys about maintaining self-esteem as they are with girls.

Yes, this is a real ad
One of the biggest lies that the world sells us is that masculinity is something to be achieved. Keep this in mind the next time you go on Facebook or head to the grocery store and I think you’ll see that I’m right. The magazines and the pharmaceuticals say, "Buy this and it will make you a man!” The movies say "Act this way! Girls will like you!" and the exercise machine commercial says, "Work out, work out, work out! Somebody will finally love you if you work out!" and all of them say, "This, THIS will finally make you a man".

No, GOOD men still do this. But
 he's still a man, even if he doesn't.
Even the Christians - you’re youth ministers, your pastors, you parents - often sell this lie. They say, "Act this way, treat women this way, pray this way. That'll make you a REAL man!" 

I see graphics on the internet all the time saying “Real men still do…” this and that. These kinds of posts are generally advocating some chivalrous behavior or virtue, and while they're certainly well intentioned, they unfortunately miss the mark completely.

Now look, I’m not trying to shame those that have spoken or written this way. It’s an easy trap to fall into.

But here’s the God’s honest truth. Men, are you listening? I’m going to be frank with you.

You're already a man. You can be a better man, you can be a stronger man, you can be a holier man. But no matter what you do, God made you a man. You were born a man and you are a man. You are manly. Just by possessing a man’s DNA, you are encoded with God’s spiritual and physical gifts of masculinity. Gifts like strength in weakness, vulnerability, empathy, leadership, wisdom, and all of the rest. Can you grow stronger at living out these gifts? Of course. Will you be working on bettering your ability to live out these gifts for the rest of your life? Yes, but that’s what life is all about.

The fact is, no matter how sinful you become or how badly you fail or how much you struggle, nobody can take your manliness away from you. Your masculinity is something planted deep within you, and while it can always be utilized more intensely, nothing you can do can make you lose it.
So don’t ever say “I’m not a man” or “I’m not manly”. And people, let’s stop telling each other to “man up” or to “be a man”. Whether you’re a man or a woman, God created you with either masculinity or femininity deeply encoded in who you are. Embrace what makes you you. Love it. Praise God for it. But never doubt it.

Jacob Popcak is a founder and writer for In the Beginning Ministries. You can learn more about him or contact him via his contact page at