Guest / Limited Access /

John Eldredge didn't start the discussion on what it means to be a "real man," but his 2001 book Wild at Heart certainly ramped up the conversation in Christian circles. In the decade-plus since, pastors, scholars, pundits, and regular shmoes like me have all weighed in on what manhood really means in the context of Christian faith.

Eldredge wrote that for a boy to "become truly masculine," he ultimately needs "a battle to fight" and "a place for the warrior in him to come alive." Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll, fond of cage fighting and occasional cussing, believes in an "Ultimate Fighting Jesus," lamenting that the church has produced "nice, soft, tender, chickified church boys." Paul Coughlin, author of No More Christian Nice Guy, writes that "a meek and mild Jesus is a bore. He doesn't inspire us." Even Christianity Today senior managing editor Mark Galli joined the fray with the 2006 book Jesus Mean and Wild.

However such notions go down in the annals of scholarship on Christian masculinity, this is certain: Men of faith—studly, manly men—were everywhere on the big screen in 2011, ready to kick some butt and spill some blood. They were Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Norris all at once.

The trend even trickled down to Sherwood Pictures—the church production company behind Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and, now on DVD, Courageous—whose films are typically more "meek and mild" than "mean and wild." Leading men—a football coach, a fireman, cops—have always carried Sherwood's movies. But the coach in Giants was too whiny, and Fireproof's Kirk Cameron was too much of a pretty boy. Maybe we could relate to their issues, but not to a guy whose name is oft preceded by the phrase "former ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueManga Mania
Subscriber Access Only
Manga Mania
The Japanese Bible series has sold more than the Jesus Storybook Bible. So why is it not taking off in Japan?
Also in this IssueYou Can't Worship Here: Evicting Churches from New York Schools
Subscriber Access Only You Can't Worship Here: Evicting Churches from New York Schools
What will really happen this weekend when churches gather in school buildings for the last time?
Current IssueJames Dobson: Why I Am Voting for Donald Trump
Subscriber Access Only
James Dobson: Why I Am Voting for Donald Trump
The founder and president of Family Talk explains why his decision centers on the future of the Supreme Court.
RecommendedWhat Happened When Christian Writers Watched an All-Muslim Movie?
What Happened When Christian Writers Watched an All-Muslim Movie?
Introducing a new series from film critic Jeffrey Overstreet.
TrendingOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Editor's PickTen Christian Athletes Who Were Tebowing Before Tebow
Ten Christian Athletes Who Were Tebowing Before Tebow
Christian sports stars have a long history of using their public platform to display their private faith.
Christianity Today
Masculinity in the Movies
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

January 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.