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The problem with macho Christianity

There's a difference between manly and macho. We're all for manly Christianity - the sort that makes men into real men. (The girls love that sort of Christianity too.) That's why don't have any airy fairy wooly wet vagueness at church. Jesus wouldn't have stood for that. We seek to have clear thinking action in response to the bible.

But there's a macho version around too. It thinks it's manly. But there's a subtle - though fundamental - difference. It's not new. We saw it in John 13v37 on Sunday in Peter. He says to Jesus, "I will lay down my life for you." Macho is about being the film hero. It's about being able to handle anything. It's the thought that 'I can do it, and no-one can tell me otherwise.'

Of course, there's a kind of good side to Peter's attitude. He's wants to give everything. He's all for Jesus, and he's determined to do the right thing, whatever the cost. But, as Jesus points out, there are two things to get right first; two opposites, things Peter needs to learn:

(1) Macho Christianity forgets that we need Jesus to serve us.

It's the lesson Peter should have learnt when Jesus washed his feet. Sure, we don't want men to behave like children - except in this one respect: we need help from Jesus. There's a time to stop fighting, and trust Jesus. That's what Jesus says in 14v1: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me."

(2) Macho Christianity forgets how weak we actually are.

Jesus replies to Peter, "Will you really lay down your life for me? Before dawn, you'll disown me three times." It always strikes me with macho old men - they still talk strong, but they're weak. It's not fitting! And morally, we're all pathetic. The best intentions are not realised. We can't live up to serving Jesus any more than Peter could. But by his grace.

Jesus is not looking for men who will save his name - as if he depends on us to fight for him. He's looking for men who trust him to save them. Are we manly enough to face reality and do that?