What does Biblical manhood smell like?

Earlier this year I started an investigation into what pop culture and the Bible’s views of manhood are and how I can become more of a Biblical man. When I went to training I kind of did not keep up with it and the fact that I am leaving for Germany net week, means I may not be super consistent over the next few weeks, but my friend shared this video with me and I thought it might be a good way to jump back into the manhood investigation. I hope you enjoy the awesome ridiculousness that is this video!

All I have to say is, where can I get some of this cologne?

Now that’s a man! (Does that read as creepy as it sounds in my head?)

Most people have heard the story of Samson at some point during Sunday school. The story of a man who caught 300 foxes, tied them together and attached a flaming torch to them, killed a lion with his bare hands, brought down two pillars of a building and killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey. No man in the Bible fits the stereotypical picture of a man more than Samson did. He was a man of strength, a man of dedication to God and a man who sought revenge when wronged. Samson was 100% man!

So what the heck can we take away from Samson’s story on how to be a better man? Should we go kill men because they wronged us? Should we kill lions with just our hands? Ummm…no…at least I hope not. I have no real desire to try and kill a lion with only my hands or even a gun for that matter.

While re-reading Samson’s story I noticed two things that really stood out to me.

1. Samson had the power of God in him.

Several times throughout Judges 13-16 it mentions that the power of the Lord came on Samson. Samson was a Nazirite, he never cut his hair, never had grapes, wine or any other alcohol. He followed some pretty strict rules to specifically set himself apart. Because of this dedication the Lord would provide special aid to Samson in his times of need. Our dedication doesn’t have to take the same form, but as a man (or woman for that matter) we need to be dedicated to following God’s will in our lives. Are we daily reading the Bible not to check it off the list, but to truly learn. If we are dedicated to living a life with God, then the Holy Spirit and His power has been promised to us.

2. Women (and men) are trouble.

This might get me in trouble here, so please read my whole statement before wanting to attack me. Samson had a major flaw that led to his downfall. The women in his life got him to tell them things for the wrong reason. He had a weakness and that weakness was trusting the untrustworthy women in his life. I’m not saying all women are untrustworthy at all, so please don’t get me wrong. I have noticed in my life and others that women can be trouble for men just as men can be trouble for women. We try to lean and trust in humans completely. That is not a bad trait, but what I took from Samson’s story is that we have to be careful. Humans are faulty and we have to make sure that we are doing what God wants us to do before we check to see what our friend/significant other/spouse want us to do. In the end it is God who guides us in the right path. Seek His path first.

Top 10 on How to be a man…according to Bing

When I went to search Bing for “manhood” I am glad I caught myself and changed it to “how to be a man,” just in case! When I searched on Bing I got some interesting results that I want to share with you.

There were 113,000,000 results in the web search, 48,800,000 images and 89,400,000 videos.

Some of my favorite web sites that came up (purely the titles) were:

The Art of Manliness (it’s an art, not a science!)
Characteristics of the Ideal Man (is there only one ideal?)
How To Be a Man: A Guide To Style and Behavior For The Modern Gentleman (book available on Amazon)
And my favorite was “How to Be a Man (with pictures)” (I was a little afraid to click on this link)

The videos were a little sad, the top result was “How to be a Ladies Man.” The second video was done by a teenager who drew a mustache on his face and several more looked a little sketchy.

The images were a little better (I made sure my safe search was on and strict!). There was a picture of He-man, a dvd cover from a Steven Segal movie, but the only one that really fit was the one that had a quote from Einstein.

albert-einstein-success-value-large

Here are my top ten tips from these sites with as much sarcasm as possible:

10. Carry cash (man I feel manly when my wallet is bursting with so many bills it’s stupid!)
9.  A man does not wither at the thought of dancing. But it is generally to be avoided.
8. Keeps his hair neat (got this one covered!)
7. Knows how to lose an afternoon. Drinking, playing Grand Theft Auto, Driving Aimlessly, shooting pool.
6. Knows how to lose a month, also (yikes!)
5. Doesn’t point out that he did the dishes (because you didn’t do them!)
4. Driving alone
3. Does not except charity (Under absolutely no circumstances)
2. Honor the masculinity of other men (what does that even mean? A fancy way of saying don’t break the guy code?)
And the best tip I found!
1. Die well (Apparently you can’t even be a real man until you are dead)


These websites have been very educational….not so much in how to be a man, but that there are way too many guys out there with way too much time on their hands and a distorted view of reality. Obviously these are not my views so please don’t think any worse of me.

Add your own ridiculous man tips below!

Manhood, the beginning

What better place to start my Biblical study into manhood than the beginning of the story, Genesis.

The first time we see mention of man is in Genesis 1:26-29

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

The first thing that is mentioned about man is that he is made in God’s image (women too!) Isn’t that an amazing thought. We are so measly compared to God and yet He specifically picked us to be made like Him. He didn’t pick the animals we think of as majestic like the lion to be made in His image…He chose us!

Made_in_Gods_Image_by_MacIomhairWhat does that mean though? What does it mean to be made in His image?

I think it means that we have a responsibility to reflect God’s characteristics at all times unto the rest of the world. Think about it from an art perspective. I am no artist, but I enjoy art quite a lot. I always think its funny to see how artists would so often do self-portraits. Why would they do this other than to show the aspects of themselves, they want to show to the world? In a true self-portrait the artist will create an image of themselves that shows what they look like so that all future onlookers can feel as if they saw the artist him/herself.

Why would God do this? I think it is so no matter where we look, we are looking at the face of God and that should be a reminder to treat everyone we see as if they were God. Not by worshiping them, but by treating them with the respect that God would deserve to be treated. Imagine if you saw God, would you treat Him poorly? Would you gossip behind His back? Would you make a comment about His appearance? Somehow I doubt it.

As a member of mankind, I need to treat others with the respect they deserve whether they have “earned” it in my opinion or not. I need to respect them like they are made in the image of God, because just like me, they are. It also means I need to treat myself with that same respect.

If you view others like they were made in the image of God, how would that change the way you act?

Manhood according to Disney

Last week I wrote about my plan to do a year long study into the societal and Biblical views of manhood.  After my post about going to watch Disney on Ice, my friend sent me a video of a song, from Mulan, telling me that she immediately thought of it when reading my blog.

I decided to look into the role of men in Disney movies. It may seem weird to start a series about manhood by looking at Disney movies, but if you think about it, these are some of the first ideas that young girls and boys are subjected to as to what their roles should be. Let’s start by watching the Mulan video and then I will break down what it means to be a man according to Disney.

From the extensive short study I did on Disney movies this week and from what I can remember from when I watched them in the past here is what I deduced. In order to be a bad man (or villain) according to Disney movies you must be:

  • Desiring of power for your own good
  • disfigured or fat (Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Lion King)
  • have anger issues
  • murderous

In order to be a good man (or hero) according to Disney movies you must be:

  • good-looking (except Hunchback)
  • brave
  • naive (at least at first)
  • rescuer
  • fast, strong and mysterious (Mulan)

What I apparently need to do is become a good-looking, naive, brave, fast, strong and mysterious man willing to rescue a fair maiden.

Now I am not bashing Disney movies or saying they are doing a discredit to everyone by portraying women as week and men as the rescuers and all of that other stuff. I am just making some observations and commenting on them. I will let you decide what you want to do with the information.

These are just a couple things that I have noticed. I’d love to hear what things you have noticed about men in Disney movies, so please post them below and join the discussion!

Man card, revoked!

The lights came on, the siren blared, I checked my speedometer and I wasn’t speeding. I tried to remember if I failed to stop at a stop sign or ran a redish light, but i couldn’t remember violating any law. I pulled over and the cop moseyed up to my window with his hand on his belt and asked the dreaded question. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” I answered honestly, “No, sir.” The officer then asked for my id and registration. I handed him my license and registration but he asked for my other id…my man card.  He immediately put a giant red stamped “Revoked” in the center of it, gave it back to me and said I was in violation of several man laws this week and could no longer consider myself a man. I tried to fight it, but he said there was nothing he could do about it.

revoked-man-card

That is the scenario several people made me feel like would happen after my week involved watching my cousin and goddaughter at their dance recital and then the events of last Saturday. Last Saturday I found myself with one other adult male and two small girls who looked like twins (though they aren’t) watching a bunch of people dressed as Disney characters skate around the room. Yes, I went to Disney on Ice. No, I do not have any kids of my own, but instead chose to go with my cousin, his daughter and her cousin. It was my Christmas present to my goddaughter, but I chose to go with her instead of just buying tickets for her and her family. What’s worse is I kind of enjoyed it, not the ice skating as much as seeing my goddaughter wave at Goofy for almost 5 minutes straight several times throughout the event.

Since last Saturday I have been thinking more and more about what it means to be a man, Biblically and according to today’s society. I couldn’t help but have these questions running through my head; Does this make me less of a man? What would a single female think about this? What makes a man a man according to the Bible?

I decided to start to research the topic of manhood more thoroughly and see what Bible scholars, popular culture, and any other source says a man should be. My goal is to post every Friday, for at least 2013, about a different topic/question about manhood and that is where I need your help. It would take me way to long to compile all of the resources that talk about what makes a man a man in addition to reading them and writing the blog, but as you come along sources please shoot them my way at jacob.coon@gemission.org or comment on here. I am looking forward to  hearing your thoughts and researching this topic. Seriously though, I could use as much help as possible so send me articles, books, blogs, songs or anything else you come across.

Father’s Day part 2 – Ray Sudheimer

Yesterday I talked about my dad and the lessons he taught me, but today I am going to talk about the other dad in my life. Five years ago my mom married a good man named Ray Sudheimer. I know that I am in the lucky minority, but God has blessed me with two great men to teach me lessons on how to be a good, godly man. Some guys don’t even get one good man in their life and I got two.

Today, on Father’s Day I wanted to talk about the second father in my life. Ray has been amazing, not only to me, but also to my mom and Ben. From day one Ray has treated Ben and I as sons, not step-sons. He has also loved my mom so deeply that it is inspiring. Here are couple lessons that Ray has taught me in the few years that he has been in my life.

1. Pray and study the Bible with your wife. I have seen Ray and my mom come closer together because of their habit of doing this and I cannot wait to be able to do this if I get married.

2. Work hard. Ray is probably one of the hardest workers I have ever met. No matter what job Ray is doing he works hard to accomplish his goal. I always see Ray doing something around the house or hear about how my mom came home to a clean house or something like that. Ray works hard and that is admirable to say the least.

I know that in the years to come Ray will teach me many more lessons on how to be a godly man and a godly husband and I am looking forward to learning more from him. I am blessed to be able to call him step-dad.

Father’s day part 1 – Paul Coon

I thought I would take this weekend to talk about fathers since it is father’s day tomorrow, there are two days in a weekend and I have been blessed with a great father and great step-father. It seems to work out nicely!

For those of you who don’t know, my dad passed away over 8 and a half years ago at the age of 49. He was far from a perfect human being, but he was perfectly picked for me and my family. He didn’t do everything right, but those aren’t the things that come to mind when people think about him.

My dad was a loving, godly, generous and hilarious man. My brother and I definitely get our sense of humor from him (no offense mom!). There were times when Ben, him and I would just crack each other up. We all loved to make other people’s day a little brighter with a well-placed joke.

The things I remember the most about my dad were the lessons he taught me while living his everyday life and I want to share of few of those with you, especially any fathers out there so you can have an example of how to model things for your children.

1. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to do what you believe in. My dad left a pretty decent paying job to start his own business that evolved into a business that helped people with developmental disabilities. A lot of people with developmental disabilities are ignored or viewed as less than others, but my dad fought for them and helped them because he knew that God created them that way for a reason.

2. Spending time with your loved ones, no matter what it is your are doing, is always worth it. My dad used to teach classes on the weekends all over the state of Ohio and one of my favorite things was to go with him. He taught most of the day and so when it became an option for me to go he didn’t think I would want to, having it be just us two was enough for me.

3. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Dad made mistakes, whether it was arguing with my mom, taking jokes a little too far or a multitude of other things, but he also tried to mend the fences.

4. Help others.

5. Probably the most important thing my dad showed me was how to be a man of God. He read the Bible on a regular basis, studied it on his own and in groups and he helped others grow stronger in their faith.

Feel free to make comments below about your own father and share with everyone why we honor fathers tomorrow.

In the footsteps of giants

Dr. David Livingstone, George Müller, Hudson Taylor and  Jim Elliot are all names that people might recognize. Famous missionaries would ventured where others wouldn’t go (Livingstone), provided for the least (Müller), used techniques that were doubted (Taylor) or were killed by the very people they were trying to reach for Christ. These missionaries have probably inspired many people to follow in their footsteps, but I have a different set of footprints that I am following, that of my great-grandfather.

This past Christmas I thought of a gift that I knew my mom would just love, little did I know that I would be blessed by the gift as well. Growing up we had a set of cassettes recorded by my great-grandpa, Henry Wheeler and I transferred them to cd for my mom, her sisters and brother. We were in danger of losing the stories and transferring them to cd allowed us to keep them for future generations. While recording them I was able to listen to some of the stories and they were incredible. They probably aren’t stories that will be made into a book or movie, but to me they were inspiring. I was already planning on being a missionary by this time, but the time spent listening to my great-grandfather reinvigorated my desire to go to Germany as a missionary to serve the Savior of Henry Wheeler and myself.

My great-grandfather was in World War 1 as a machine gunner and was also a missionary in Belgium Congo, Africa in the 50’s and 60’s. Henry, his wife and two other missionaries were said to be the driving force behind the increase in the Tunda station area within Belgium Congo. After he retired he recorded some stories of his time in the war and in Africa. He told about how in World War 1 he was searching for some food under a tarp in the bed of a truck and accidentally put his hand in the mouth of a sleeping soldier, he talked about a fellow soldier and himself pushing each other just a little further so they weren’t left alone. Probably my favorite story about the war was when he probably saved his whole unit by killing a German scout by firing a single shot from his machine gun.

His war stories were cool, but it is his stories of being a missionary that were inspiring to me. My great-grandpa was sent as a missionary to the Belgium Congo where, as he tells in his stories, some people were too afraid to leave their huts when he walked by because they had never seen a white person before. Talk about a tough crowd to witness to. One of the more inspiring stories was when he converted a chief to Christianity. This chief had 54 wives, a lot of prestige, a lot of money (for their location) and a lot to lose if his people rebelled against him. Henry talked about how after the chief decided to become a Christian and give up his wives, he asked the chief why he decided to become a Protestant as opposed to Catholic. The Catholic mission was not far away, a Catholic evangelist lived in the village and  some of his sons were Catholic and the Protestant mission was 150 miles away through much more difficult terrain. The chief said that when he was sick and was told he was going to die, the Catholic priest prepared him for death. Dr. Lewis and his wife (missionaries with my great-grandfather and great-grandmother) took the chief to the hospital, treated him at their own home and then brought him back to his village once he was well again. When my great-grandpa asked the chief why he became a Protestant the chief said, “Such love is that, I have never seen before. You people at Tunda loves us and do whatever you can to help us. With all of our problems, with all of our needs, with all of our cares. I am an old man, I have seen love in the world, but such love as that, I have never seen before.”

This is not a knock on the Catholic mission at all, but it is more of an inspirational story for me on how all Christians should live. We, as Christians, should love others like no one else. We are loved like no other creature by the creator of the universe so it is the least we could do to love others.

My great-grandpa may never be known as one of the greatest missionaries of all time, but to me he has some huge footprints that will guide me to helping others see Christ through me.

Men, this is for you! Women, you can read it too!

I read a blog title a while back that caught my attention so much that I let it sit in a “to read” folder in my browser for since November. The title was “Jacob’s Story: Are You Ready For An Eye-Opening, Gut-Wrenching Film?” I really did want to read it, it just took me a while to get to it, maybe because I didn’t want to have my gut wrentched, maybe because I didn’t want to be convicted of something, I don’t know. I didn’t even know what the blog was about until I read it today. I watched the video below first and it awoke me to something that I hadn’t really thought much about, human-trafficking. I knew it existed, I knew it was bad, but I didn’t ever really think about it. The interesting thing about the video is the tie that human-trafficking has with the porn industry. I never even thought about that. I always thought that the sex trade was mostly involving forced prostitution (a horrible reality in and of itself), but I never thought that the pornography industry was just as much a part. Supporting pornography means supporting human-trafficking. I hope that that fact alone makes the men out there think twice about submit to the temptation of porn. Whether you are male or female reading this right now, it is worth watching the video from that blog.

<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/31795904?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&#8243; width=”400″ height=”225″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/31795904″>Jacob’s Story</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/unearthed”>Unearthed</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

After watching this video I was scrolling my facebook feed and saw a video posted by Christian rapper, Lecrae. Lecrae is an amazing rap artist, who thankfully is fully committed to the Lord. He is also a part of a rap group called 116 with a bunch of other very talented Christian rap artists. 116 released a Man Up cd and went on tour together last year. The whole cd is about men needing to man up and be who they are supposed to be in Christ. It was all supposed to be over last year, but they decided to do a combination conference and concert this April in Atlanta. Here is the video Lecrae posted about the event.

The event looks like it is going to be an amazing event for men, discussing issues that are too often pushed to the side if discussed at all. I would love to go, but unfortunately probably wont be able to. I suggest that anyone who can take the trip and become more of the man that you should be.

If we, as men, change our actions to fit the Lord’s desire then the human-trafficking epidemic will disappear due to the lack of demand. We can do something about it, so lets man up and do it!