Is The Gillette Ad The Best A Man Can Get?

A recent commercial put out by Gillette has received a lot of both positive and negative feedback.  I am kind of shocked by how many people see the commercial in a negative light.

I actually like the commercial…most of it.  Here’s why.

The commercial starts out with a question: “Is this a best a man can get?”

Good question…thought provoking.   From that point the commercial shows examples of how classic cultural manhood can be bad.

Bullying

Objectifying women

Patronizing women in the workplace

I would totally agree that these are all examples of what I would define as “toxic masculinity.”

The next portion of the commercial is what I dislike.

The commercial shows two little boys wrestling in the yard and then has all the men saying, “Boys will be boys” from a undesirable perspective, as if wrestling or fighting for young men is a bad or toxic thing.   Young men need to learn how to fight in a positive way.  Fighting is one area that really defines manhood and separates it from womanhood.  Men fight. We must teach them what to fight for. Fighting and standing up for the right thing is what makes men valuable to society.  Many times young boys wrestling and fighting is a character building activity.  I loved fighting and wresting with my friends growing up.  Young boys learn through competition to be strong.  It fosters their willingness to be courageous as men and to fight for the right things.  So to some extent boys will be boys and this is not a bad thing.

Back to what I like…

The ad then states, “We believe in the best in men.”

The commercial then defines what Gillette would see as the best in men:

Men holding other men accountable…yes.

Men standing up to other guys who are objectifying women…awesome, yes!

Men standing up when others are bullied…yes.

Older men helping younger men resolve conflict in a positive way…yes.

Dads calling out their young girls to be strong…yes!

What I like the Most:

At the end of the commercial there is this line, “The Boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.” 

This is a powerful line and oh so true.  As a dad and a pastor this is a great reminder to me that there are young men looking at my example of what it means to be a man.   I need to be a good example.

Why do many conservative voices seem to have a problem with this ad?

I believe many conservative men take issue with this ad because of how it starts.  It starts with the cultural movement against manhood. Two catchphrases are used that are turn offs for many men, “Me Too” and “Toxic Masculinity.”  Any average man (not even a good man but an average man) would agree that men should not abuse or take advantage of women.  The ‘Me Too’ movement has been important in exposing predatory men but its primary torchbearers seem to be liberal women who espouse hatred to men in general or anything that is classically defined as manly.  The movement seemed to start out as a positive one but then morphed into making good men feel guilty by association.

While the commercial does a pretty good job of showing forms of toxic masculinity, the phrase itself has felt like any semblance of what has been considered masculinity in the past is a bad thing.  The phrase ‘Toxic Masculinity’ has been appropriated to feel like if anything is masculine it’s somehow evil, again, guilt by association.

The bottom line is that good and Godly men are needed now more than ever.

Good men stand up against evil.

Good men take responsibility for their family.

Good men make other men better.

Good men serve others.

Good men bear the burdens of those who are week.

A truly good man will lay down his life for his friend.

Jesus was the only truly good man.  He is the example.

 

 

 

 

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I Learned A Lot From Sterling

Pastors are people that are around death quite often. We visit hospitals when people are on their deathbeds. We’re there many times when church members take their last breath and we are at the funeral home and mourn with the families. 

I have experienced a lot of death, but last week was the first time I experienced a death so close to me and so sudden. 

Last week, one of my best friends suddenly took his last breath while he was doing what he loved. Myself and another pastor went looking for him when he didn’t return home from hunting. We found him beside his duck blind, gone. My friend Sterling died at age 47 while he was duck hunting. He died suddenly of a massive heart attack of some sort. He died living life to the fullest and impacting so many people. He lived life so well. 

Sterling and I have been friends since 2005 when I moved to Georgia to be the Middle School Pastor at then Blackshear Place Baptist Church. Sterling was the High School Pastor and for the next 5 years we were inseparable. 

We fished and hunted together. 

We worked together. 

We visited people together.

We preached together.

We made stupid videos together. 

We dreamed. 

We prayed together. 

We went on mission trips and conferences together. 

We laughed together…a lot. Man, did we laugh together. 

We even baptized our boys on the same day.

At the end of those 5 years, I went to a different ministry to pastor a church in Greensboro, Georgia. We stayed close. We talked on the phone often, hunted together and he even came and preached for me a few times. After 4 years in Greensboro, it was clear that God was calling me back to Blackshear Place, which would later be renamed to Christ Place Church. 

Sterling had changed roles and at the time I came back, he was the Pastor of Men and Evangelism. This transition was a little awkward at first because I came back as his supervisor. I always looked up to Sterling and his leadership ability and to come back and have the roles reversed was different for him and for me. In this weird transition he taught me so much about humility. I know it was tough on him that he was not in the role that I now filled.

I know it must have been hard on him…but he never acted like it. 

He never treated me like he was resentful. Since returning, Sterling was my biggest fan and greatest cheerleader. He wanted me to do well. Like he really wanted me to do well. I felt it! I believe one of the greatest signs of spiritual maturity is the ability to be happy for others. I have met very few individuals who have the humility to see others succeed and to cheer them on. 

Over the last few years, there are a few times that Sterling and I had to have hard conversations. I had to say something to him that hurt or vice versa. We understood that as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. There is no sharpening without friction. It was in these hard moments and hard conversations that the “sterling” character of my friend shined brightest. Not only did he receive hard conversations well, he had the wisdom to see that a hard conversation was a teachable moment. It takes a real friend to tell you the truth about your blind spots. He was that for me and I was that for him. He ALWAYS took any criticism I had for him with a smile and a deep desire to grow to be a better man because of it. 

He wanted to be better! He was always growing.

Sterling really believed that the mission was more important than the individual. He really believed that no matter what role he was in, he could make a difference. At his funeral this was evident. The church was packed. It was full of hundreds of men and women who had been personally impacted by Sterling. Friends came from Alaska, Portland and all over the country to honor this great man who had made a difference in their life. 

Sterling knew that the impact of a person’s life did not come from their position, but from their influence. As my Pastor said at the funeral, “It is not the duration of one’s life, but the donation of one’s life.” There are many people that get old and never help anyone. There are others, like Sterling, that seem to be gone too early but the impact of their life literally ripples throughout eternity. 

You know, there is something in a name. Many times our names tell us much about our character. I always thought that Sterling had an interesting name. I looked up the word “sterling” and here is one definition that I felt like fit well. 

Sterling: conforming to the highest standard. 

This is a great way to describe my friend. He lived all out and he conformed to the highest standard. He wanted to be like Christ. 

In the days ahead, those of us that loved Sterling have a big void. Many times this week I have experienced “phantom Sterling.” I have heard something that sounded like his laugh. I have, in my mind’s eye, seen his head peeking in my office door as he often did. Even yesterday at his funeral as our team of pastors stood in a line to usher out his body, I could almost feel him standing there beside me as he had done so many times before. 

As I move forward I want to be a humble and teachable man who is always getting better. When I die I one day, I want others to be able to see a glimmer of Jesus in me. Sterling’s sister is in the band Casting Crowns. They have a new song out called “Only Jesus.” There are a few lines in that song that ring true of Sterling that I pray would one day ring true of my life. 

“I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus”

Marriage, The Fountain Of Life Or The Kiss Of Death

Marriage is a pill with the same label to everyone who swallows it, but to some it’s life giving and to some it’s a bitter poison.  I am 13 and ½ years into the best marriage I have ever had.  Ok, the only marriage I have ever had but it is the best!

Ecclesiastes 9:9 says, “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vainlife that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.”

Marriage is supposed to be enjoyed!

I’m at the age where many of the people I went to High School and College with are going through the Facebook change.

You know what I mean. You see it.

One day you see a picture on their profile and it’s just them.  Their spouse is no longer in the picture.  I mean literally they are out of the picture.   They’ve been scrubbed out of the profile and out of their life.

As the world of social media goes, these are people whom I’m friends with but I don’t see on a regular basis.  Many of them I haven’t seen for years.  I look a little deeper into their profiles and I find out that their marriage ended.

…and I grieve for them.

…They didn’t ask me to.

…They may not be grieving…

But I am

You may be one of these friends of mine who has gone through a divorce.  Maybe you are doing well and things are going well after the divorce, for that I’m thankful.

But for me to see marriages end hurts me to the core.  Many times I feel like I grieve over marriages that are lost more than the people getting a divorce.  I know that no one gets married with the hope to someday be divorced.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint in my on heart why I’m so hurt when people I have little connection with go through divorce.  I think there are a few reasons.

I impose myself into their story and I think about if Charyl and I were ever to divorce.   This may be the root of it.  Our lives are so interconnected and our love for one another is so deep that I think for me it would be worse than death.  I think about the deep deep hurt that must take place between two people who were intimately joined together for years and now are split apart. I just can’t even allow myself to go there.

I think about the kids. Having just gone through the Holidays and experiencing the joy of everything together I couldn’t imagine how tough it must be for children to understand how everything has changed. How the very foundation of their security has unraveled and they are helpless to do anything about it.  Many times the children blame themselves.  They have to learn a new life and navigate going to different homes and having different schedules.  They have to learn a new way that their parents are interacting.  No longer as mom and dad but often as adversaries.  I don’t want that for my kids.

I think about how my friends who are divorcing may have been cheated on or cheated in the marriage.  I think about the pain of betrayal and loss of trust that must of happened.  I’m sure it must have rocked them to their very core.  To have the person you trust most betray you in the most intimate way must be a pain that is so deep.  I grieve for them to have to go through that.  I hurt that they hurt, many times through no fault of their on.

It also grieves me because I feel like the most valuable gift a person can have has been discarded. There is no greater gift than marriage. I know this may not feel true for many, for some it may feel like a curse.  But marriage is a gift from God and when a married couple loves and supports each other through life there is no greater gift.

Marriage is making a life together with someone who knows you best.

Marriage is having your best friend with you through every season.

Marriage is getting past the initial butterflies of first love feelings and finding something better, something deeper called friendship.

Marriage is laughing, crying and having someone to send GIFs to all day long. Marriage is frustrating and sanctifying.

Marriage is having someone with you to take you to the hospital and sit with you.

Marriage is exploring life and the world with your true love.

Marriage is a picture of something greater, Christ and His Church.  The real meaning of marriage is to show the world a picture of a relationship that matches God and His people.  When a marriage fails the picture is lost.

I really grieve because I feel like my friends missed out on the greatest gift.  I hate to see my friends miss out on good things.   What they wanted for a good thing became a horrible thing their lives.

I would offer a little bit of hope when it comes to marriage.

If you are not married and want to be married, make sure your marry well.   So many marriages end because they never should have started. Young couples are infatuated with each other and know nothing of commitment but marriage seems attractive to them so they jump in and pretty quickly jump out.  Before you get married you better ask yourself a few questions.

Do our values/beliefs match?

Do we want the same things out of life?

Do we have the same ideas about children (how many we want and how we will raise them)?

Have you learned to fight fair?

Do you like their family?

Do you have the same ideas about money?

Do you enjoy their friendship?  If you weren’t attracted to them physically would you still want to hang out with them?

How do they handle stress? When and if you have children the stress levels will rise.

It is surely better to wait or be single than to marry the wrong person.  Never get married without going to premarital counseling first.  Marriages are easy to get into but painful to get out of.   Get into the right marriage.  Maybe you feel like your season of youth is passing and you feel the pressure that if you don’t get married now then it probably won’t happen for you. Again, better to be single than to marry the wrong person.  Wait. Pray.

If you are married and struggling there is hope!

I have been in ministry for about 18 years now and I have seen so many marriages on the brink of collapse that have been restored and are now healthy and thriving.

Keep Trying.

Keep forgiving.

Go see a counselor.

Talk to your pastor.

Get involved in a couples group at your church.

Actually work on your marriage.

Be loving and respectful even when your spouse is not.

I have counseled many couples and I understand that not every marriage is going to make it.  One person is not enough to make a marriage work. Too many times I have seen one spouse who will literally do anything to save their marriage and the other spouse could care less.  Unfortunately, most of these marriages do not make it.  It takes two people both giving a 100%.

But when two imperfect people surrender to a perfect God and allow Him to lead their marriage there is nothing sweeter!  IMG_7543

If I can help you in some way with your marriage send me a personal message.  There are so many resources out there to help with those who really want it.