“Re-Stereotyping” Boys, Part 3: The Divine Stereotype

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…”  So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  (Genesis 1:26-27)

(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God…(Colossians 1:15)

(Jesus) is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being…(Hebrews 1:3)

Stereotype is the new four-letter word in our culture when it comes to gender.  Understandably, we don’t want to impose anything on our children that would rob them of their God-given potential.  Stereotypes, when misused, can do exactly that—force fit boys or girls into certain molds that deny them their uniqueness.

But the complete dismantling of boy stereotypes, while empowering for girls, has robbed boys of any vision of what it means to be a boy in the 21st Century.

The root word for stereotype is solid impression.  In my last two posts I have looked at two, life-forging, positive stereotypes that give boys solid impressions to live into.

The first comes from his biology: The way God wired a boy’s brain and hormonal structure sets the purpose for a boy—he was born to be a superhero; to use his gifts and talents to build a better world.

The second comes from culture.  Knowing the dynamic power created in boys, cultures throughout history have sought to forge the power of boys with character stereotypes like honor, courage, goodness, integrity, faithfulness, and compassion, to name a few.  These stereotypes empower boys to be good, noble superheroes.

The third and final boy stereotype traces itself back to creation itself, when God created boys (and girls) in his Image.  God’s image, his likeness, sets a profound solid impression for what it means to be a boy.

To be the Image of God is to reflect the Creator.  To represent God to the world He created for us.  It means that boys are called to be living, walking snapshots of their Heavenly Father.

So a boy, as the Image of God, should reflect:

  • Creativity because God is Creative
  • Strong, healthy, life-giving relationships because God is Relational
  • A dynamic spiritual life because God is Spirit
  • Intellectual curiosity and a passion for learning because God is Intelligence
  • Moral responsibility because God is Moral
  • A gracious, loving, sacrificial position toward the world because God is Love and Grace

How does a boy live into that compelling solid impression for his life?  By following the Divine Stereotype: Jesus.

Jesus is the Solid Impression for boys.  As they follow him, they discover what it means to be the Image of God Male, not only in the way that Jesus lived as a man, but through the Image-of-God-restoring power of the Spirit of Jesus.

If Grace is Amazing...Why Do Christians Often Make it So Condemning?
The Church's Male Dilemma
The Myth of the War on Christmas?
Why Dropping Sunday School Could Save the Soul of Your Church
About Tim Wright

I've been a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1984, currently serving as the founding pastor of Community of Grace in Peoria, AZ. My wife, Jan and I, were married in 1979. We raised two kids and currently have 3 grandkids. I love to ride my bike, travel, read British Mysteries, and Disneyland. I have written 6 books, including my newest--Searching for Tom Sawyer: How Parents and Congregations Can Stop the Exodus of Boys From Church. My website: www.TimWrightMinistries.org

  • John Struent

    Not sure why we need different standards for boys and girls. Isn’t it of benefit for all children, females included, to be all the bullet points you seem to reserve for males? I agree that male participation in Church is lowering, but I’m not sure telling them they should be superheros is (1) healthy; (2) going to change anything.

    • RevTim


      I’m not suggesting different standards for boys and girls. I am saying that boys and girls are different, that they respond to the world differently, and that they respond to following Jesus differently. Not sure why you think calling boys to be superheroes is unhealthy–I believe that boys believing they can change the world is a very healthy agenda!. And I believe, because I see it happening, that when boys catch God’s vision for their lives, it empowers them to live as good men. Thanks for chiming in.