Anytime we mean to challenge the authenticity or the manliness of a given identity, we attach “boy” as a term of derision. But why?
Because “boy” implies immaturity (like pouting and tantrums); “boy” is meant to mean you are not yet a man and therefore you still have some growing up to do.
Over the Christmas break I heard one argument that “90% of the problems in the church are caused by women.” To which my response was, “If men would be men, women could be women.”
But the Western church (especially) is filled with what some pastors call “boys who can shave.” Biblical Manhood is neglected, if addressed at all, in our churches. That’s why I spend a lot effort teaching my 7th, 8th, and 9th grade guys what it means to be a man. I teach them that a R.E.A.L. Man:
- Rejects apathy (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
- Exemplifies integrity (Psalm 15)
- Accepts responsibility (2 Corinthians 5:10)
- Leads courageously (1 Corinthians 16:13)
My students are developing habits now that will further steep them in a perpetual adolescence or will wake them up to the men God has designed them to be. So in our ministry we take great care to honor the manliness of our students. And this kind of attention is making impressions while the cement is still wet.