About a year ago, I received an email with a link to Dockers’ latest ad campaign entitled “Wear the Pants.” In case you can’t read the graphic above, here’s the copy…

“Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well.  Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never crossed the street alone.  Men took charge because that’s what they did.  But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men.  Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khaki’s and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny.  But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for.  The world sits idly by and cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street.  For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes.  We need grown-ups.  We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar and untie the world from the tracks of complacency.  It’s time to get your hands dirty.  It’s time to answer the call of manhood.  It’s time to wear the pants.”

Answering the call of manhood.

I don’t know a man who, if asked, doesn’t diligently and desperately want to answer the call of manhood and to make his life count. The problem in our culture is that we have allowed manhood and masculinity to be watered down and tempered to the point that many men…especially Christian men…feel ashamed that they are men. The “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” refrain of the last two decades has left men not knowing what to do with courage, strength, and righteous anger. C.S. Lewis spoke to a similar situation in his day. In The Abolition of Man, he says:

“We make men without chests [hearts] and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Because by and large our spirituality is defined by what we don’t do (especially here in the Bible belt), men are often unsure about what true masculinity looks like. So afraid of stepping out of bounds with their behavior, many Christian men have checked their hearts at the door and are left as empty shells lacking passion and fervor to do anything. We paste on feeble smiles and sit mildly on the sidelines, vowing not to cause any trouble.

Dockers obviously wants more men to buy their slacks and is obviously playing off of the age old question of who is wearing the pants in the home. But what an indictment! Could you imagine this ad campaign being used during World War I and World War II?

But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for.

We have the answers to our culture’s questions, but trying to answer them from the genderless paradigm simply won’t work. The Church must courageously redefine this paradigm and champion the glorious differences in how we were created…male and female. Different doesn’t imply one is better than the other.

Men, we need a new manifesto!

So what is the call to manhood? What injustices in our society need to be fought against with a strength and courage that is anything but mild? In what ways is today’s message to men a form of castration?