Interesting discussions about “Manliness” in that contest we started last weekend. As was noted in the thread, many of the virtues that were put forward could also apply to women. Perhaps they apply to men, though, in a distinctive way, but that way is what we are trying to get at. There were lots of thoughtful comments. I appreciated especially things said by sg, SKPeterson, Kirk. I liked Helen’s point that “man” is not only the opposite of “woman,” it is also the opposite of “boy.” Many males just never grow up, which is part of our problem today. That was the point too of that great Kipling poem.
Helen also got off a line that deserves to become a classic, in responding to FWS’s interesting comments about Adam & Eve and the curses we suffer, while trying to mitigate them. Helen said, of Adam and Eve, respectively: “He got the weeds. She got him.”
But here are the runners up and the winner:
4. Tyler (#49), with his close reading of a line from Homer’s Odyssey, quoting Telemakhos on his father Odysseus. Both classical and apt.
3. JunkerGeorge (#77), me being a sucker for all of those literary references, which culminated in what Pilate said of Christ: “Ecce Homo.” Behold the Man. So that when we want to see what a man is, we need to behold Christ.
2. Abby (#59), with her moving and perceptive tribute to her late husband.
AND THE WINNER of The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood (a book that would probably be good for all of us to read, so many are the confusions about the issue, so you can click on the link to buy it here) IS:
1. Joe (#35):
Seriously, I think manliness is nothing more than attempting to faithfully fulfilling your vocation as son, husband, father, etc. God has given to all men many vocations but certain of them can only be fulfilled by a man – attempting to fulfill these vocations is manliness.
As my students have learned (including those who worked on that book), whenever I ask them something that they don’t know the answer to (“What is this poem about?” “What is the theme of this novel?” “How can Christians influence the culture?” “What’s the relation between faith and good works?” etc., etc.), a good guess that will be correct most of the time is “Vocation.”
But “seriously,” as Joe says, I think he nails it. The two sentences are short, but unpack them and we’ll discover all kinds of things about manliness. Indeed, this is basically the approach the book takes, with chapters about men at work, at the specialized calling of war, with women, with children, as citizen, with God. Maybe my students had an influence on Mr. Bennett in the methodology of the book! At any rate, please join me in congratulating Joe.
(If you want and if this didn’t make those of you who lost too angry, maybe we’ll have more contests like this!)