Dan Juster

Director
Tikkun Ministries International
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Biblical spirituality is not a crutch for our weakness or cowardliness, as atheists assert. Rather it is about the anointing that makes us bold conquerors and people of great purpose who seek to extend the Kingdom and see the redemption of the world."
 
 

Men and Women are Different

The great classic by George Guilder, Men and Marriage, presents a strong case that there are different characteristics and proclivities that distinguish men and women. Society becomes confused because not every man and woman fits the pattern of these predominant characteristics. Yet, society makes a mistake when it seeks to force all men and women into the same roles with justice being defined as equal percentages for both sexes in every role and area in life.

Men and women tend to enjoy different kinds of experiences. For example, men are more likely to enjoy action adventure movies than women. Women are more likely to enjoy a "chick flick" than men. Scientists today even find differences on the level of brain function and biology, and I would argue that there are also soul differences.

The attempts to obliterate the distinctions between men and women are counter-productive, since God has created those very differences for mutual blessing. Leanne Payne also writes on the wrong direction of our society in her Crisis of Masculinity. Justice is not merely equality; justice has to recognize creation distinctions.

Feminine Spirituality is too Dominant

One of the troubling aspects of much congregational life is that the general tone of spirituality fits the typical female profile rather than the typical male. This is one of the reasons for the much greater numbers of women than men in congregational life. Another reason, I believe, is that women are often more in tune with the intuitive-spiritual. The feminine aspect of spirituality is important and must not be neglected. Clearly there is a more feminine aspect to men too, but in their case it is not usually dominant. When we look at the typical diet served in many congregations and consider which gender it will most attract, I think that we can see a significant lack of appeal for men. As the male role in society has been tamed and diluted by the feminist movement, so too in the church. Male spirituality has been suppressed by a shift towards the softer and more romantic female side.

A most important issue in this regard, is the love expressions in worship songs that use a vocabulary strongly paralleling the romantic love of a woman for a man. My friend Mike Bickle, whom I consider the greatest leader of the 24/7 prayer movement in America, speaks of the need for all to experience bridal love for Jesus. The Song of Solomon is very important in Bickle's teaching, and we are compared to a woman in love with her bold and adventurous lover. I do have passion and total commitment for Yeshua. Yet it is difficult for me - as a man - to embrace the concept of having "bridal love for Yeshua".

C. S. Lewis noted that the corporate Body of Believers is a feminine reality in relationship to God's masculine. Lewis thus argued that occasional feminine images for God are exceptions (e.g. Isaiah 49:15). He argued that the male image of God must predominate since it projects greater strength and authority. Our egalitarians will take issue with this. However, I think that Lewis is right. In Tikkun, we uphold the headship of the husband in the marriage and family and male leadership of congregations and ministries. We relate to God as masculine as well.

Again, most men tend to be attracted to different things than women. There are "overlapping" attractions, and then there are predominantly different attractions. Men, especially younger men, are attracted to competition, physical challenge, risk and difficult ordeals. Our worship and preaching often concentrate on the more feminine aspects of spirituality - such as:

  • being receptive to God's moving upon us
  • love for Yeshua as His bride
  • sweet worship tones

Yet there is another side of spirituality that is greatly needed. Where is the masculine flavored challenge of:

  • discipline and strength in right submission, to dare to take on the world for Yeshua?

Where is the call to:

  • training, discipleship and equipping
  • spiritual fitness
  • all-out combat against the forces of darkness?

The Masculinity of Jewish Spirituality

Historic Jewish spirituality is really quite male. As a matter of fact, though I would never argue for this, the ancient synagogue was primarily a male domain as is the Orthodox Synagogue today. Some years ago, I was walking down a street on the Sabbath in a town north of Haifa. I passed by an Orthodox synagogue. I had never before heard men praying with such fervor, loud volume, and unison as they recited the ancient prayers. It was a male sound: strong, faithful and deep. Just the sound of all these fervent male voices made quite an impression on me.

I now realize that most of the worship in the Bible is very male. Yes, there is also a female dimension, but it is secondary. Worship toward God is more akin to the love of David's mighty men for their leader-King, their commander and chief. God is seen as a commander and chief, over the hosts of heaven (a military image) and over the armies of Israel. Anointing itself is connected to men being empowered for war. Holiness is not merely a sweet and demur thing, but also holds a Spartan quality of dedication and focus that enables real concrete military victories. I could quote so many passages, but let us note a few: Psalm 18:29 states, "With your help I can advance against a troop, and with my God I can scale a wall"; then verse 34, "He trains my hands for battle, my arms can bend a bow of bronze". Then there is Psalm 144:1-2:

"Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me."

We apply this primarily to spiritual warfare, and to the challenges people of either gender face with battles in the work place and in society. Biblical spirituality is not a crutch for our weakness or cowardliness, as atheists assert. Rather it is about the anointing that makes us bold conquerors and people of great purpose who seek to extend the Kingdom and see the redemption of the world. It is about that passionate love for our King and commander who leads us in victory. There are some examples today of praise and worship that emphasize this, even one that I really like based on the verses above. We need many more such hymns, together with solid preaching and teaching of the same character. In addition to feminine aspects, our faith has many muscular, adventurous aspects as well. It is not a withdrawal from life, but a bold engagement with the world and with the forces of darkness.

There should be many strategies and even programs that attract men and challenge them toward Kingdom advance in all sectors of society. May we engage in developing this kind of spirituality.

By Daniel Juster
Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International Donate to Tikkun International.
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Comments:
14:42 29Aug13 Bill Nordstrom -
Great word Dan. You single handedly challenged the predominant political correctness conundrum of our day! I have been saying this, albeit to myself, for years. If a peep crept from my mouth there was always considerable pushback. The crisis ahead will necessitate a clear, masculine voice. Amen, brother!

15:13 29Aug13 Richard Cleary -
This is a very important message and lifts my spirit. Please continue to trumpet this to our movement. I gave a short exhortation to a group of young men and women last Shabbat on this very need in our congregation and movement. I believe raising up men of moral fiber must be a very high priority in our movement. Creating a community framework for men to thrive is indispensable (It would actually be a great gift to our women as well!). We need men with moral strength, integrity, discipline, obedience, fervency, courage, and wisdom that are also gentle, compassionate, humble and joyful in Yeshua's love. I love what you are saying about our "Commander in Chief." Even the metaphor of "Husband" applied to Yeshua by Jewish first century teachers would have carried stronger tones of authority, leadership, and courage than it does in many minds today. As you know, "husband" is a covenant metaphor which I think tells us of our responsibility to covenant loyalty and faithfulness to Yeshua, respect for his will, and our spiritual and moral purity duties of honor towards him, avoiding bringing any shame on his name but renown and praise. I think the idea of intimacy is most present in the metaphor of husband, but needs to be fleshed out fuller.

15:13 29Aug13 S Lewis -
Thank you for "The Irrevocable Calling: Israel's Role as a Light to the Nations". This Book was such a Blessing and with much revelation and insight into the Covenant (Purpose & Promise through the nation of Israel). A Must Read! God Bless You & Keep You.

15:54 29Aug13 Marieta -
There is no gender in the spiritual dimension. There are only sons of God / the Bride. It's clear from the discussion about marriage in after-life between Y'shua and the disciples. It is easy to understand then that in the natural, the husband is the provider and leader of the household and the wife the helper but in the spiritual both genders can be sons of God and the Bride simultaneously. If not than an unmarried woman or widow will have no way to be of service to the Kingdom which would be unfair. A widow can operate as a son of God and the Bride in the spiritual even in the absence of a male. In the same way a man and a woman can give birth to sons of God even many years after their biological fruitfulness stopped. It makes it very easy to operate if you understand this. In the spiritual, there is no gender or both genders at the same time. In the natural the male gender is the spiritual leader but not spiritually superior whereas the female gender is the helper but not spiritually inferior.

  -- Dr Juster replies: Very interesting comments. I was not primarily speaking to these points, but they are related.

21:11 29Aug13 Carolie -
All I can say is a hearty AMEN. We seem to live in a matriarchal society, even in the Church! That's just one reason God led me out of the UMC where most pastors are women in my area. Praise God for the Truth!! I love this newsletter for truth and the "meat" of the matter. Be encouraged, my precious brother. My prayers are with you in Israel.

13:47 30Aug13 Lynne Cawker -
I appreciate your viewpoint; as a woman whose father and husbands failed to cover me and my children, I long to see strong and loving men lead in the family and congregation. However, as a woman whose life psalm is Psalm 18 in its entirety,and who is co-laboring with God to see my daughter freed from Jezebel and restored to Yeshua, I think you need to consider warriors can also be feminine, like mother bears defending their cubs and lionesses who hunt. The Warrior Bride is a truer picture of the apostolic believer in Yeshua and more His counterpart than a sweet demure thing (who is most likely addicted to pleasing people, without depth of Christian character) or a strong but dominating man could ever be. This is important since apostolic leaders are not to lord it over others but to pay the price to lift up the weaker, whether wife, child or new believers. I think we must take care not to let the World -- which is at enmity with the Father -- give us the pictures that define who we are but let the Ruach Hakodesh reveal who we are in Christ.

  -- I accept this perspective. However, the problem in the church is, I think, in the lack of men and that men are just not attracted to what is on offer. replies:

07:47 31Aug13 Hope Cummins -
As a part-time United Methodist local pastor, I so enjoyed pastors conferences where the strong men's deep voices joined in praise to our God. Unfortunately, recently, as church attendance decreases, part-time woman pastors are now about to dominate here in the Northeast US. Our dying congregation merged with an independent one with a bold man as pastor, and now once again there are men and families attending. Stand strong, you guys!

15:50 31Aug13 Sarah -
Thank you for this article. I never thought about worship in church from a man's point of view. Good read. I'll show this to my husband too.

15:16 01Sep13 Bill Nordstrom -
The problem IS in the church. Women often obtain significant leadership roles by default because men can't or won't step up. We know church is community and necessarily requires leadership and submission to authority. One who is disciplined to exert special influence within a fellowship or group to move the people toward goals that fulfill their real spiritual needs. Perhaps we could ask the question; Is leadership male?' The Biblical pattern seems to affirm it is

19:15 01Sep13 Anon -
I am not sure if I understand what you mean by having difficulty in embracing the concept of "bridal love for Yeshua". Can you please explain it more?

  -- Dr Juster replies: The image of bridal love tells us to picture ourselves as a bride receiving the love of a male figure. It reverses the roles of male and female in the mind of the man.

04:39 04Sep13 Ming Greco -
Recovering male spirituality, I believe will result in more legitimate and authentic authority, therefore more effectiveness in our battle against what the enemy (satan) has robbed from us. I am convinced also it is much needed in restoring Biblical principles that have been broken. I praise G-d that I have lived my younger years with natural parents whose lives and conduct reflect obedience to our G-d, in all aspects, in family, in their work, in their relationship with other people. There is a great lack in many families of a right masculine authority. In many cases, there is master-authority which is more harmful, instead of an authority that edifies. The Lord has put into my heart to pray-out the fulfillment of the last verse of the book of Malachi, even though there is a greater extent to it's meaning about the Gentile church and Israel. The family is always the center and foundation of every society, where the Kingdom of G-d should be manifested first. May the holy fear of G-d reign in our hearts!

16:47 10Sep13 Sonya -
Why do we need such articles when God Himself does not argue about our place in Him. We are called the children of God, made righteous by Grace through faith in Y'shua Himself. Mature "Sons" of the Kingdom of God have access to the full inheritance of God as we cultivate our lives in Spiritual Truths given by Holy Spirit as each one hungers and thirsts after righteousness. God has made us a NEW Creation at our time of receiving His Eternal "free" Gift when we choose His Son through the Holy Spirit empowering us to have this revelation of Jesus to believe on Him. We then grow into Sonship and in Revelation 19, the BRIDE is making herself ready which is God's Remnant in the earth in each generation. The Bride is the Church, but the "church" is not the BRIDE! There is neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave or free. Each gender is significant to show the world (Romans 1) that God exists in His Sovereign Creation, but He is looking not for gender, but INTIMACY through HUMILITY. Pureness of Heart. We are the clay in Jeremiah 18 whom God is forming into a New Heart! Blessed is His Holy Name Forever!


Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Moshe Morrison: Wandering in the Wilderness?
Tents of Mercy: Reshet Network Kids Camp
Tents of Mercy: Katzir National Youth Camp
Shavei Tzion: Oasis Media
Eitan Shishkoff: The Deep Sigh of Sukkot
Asher Intrater: The Name of Messiah Prophesied