The Concise Oxford English Dictionary briefly defines ‘man’ as follows: man n. (pl. men) 1 an adult human male. 2 a male member of a workforce, team, etc. 3 a husband or lover: man and wife. 4 a person. human beings in general; the human race. 5 (the Man) black slang white people collectively regarded as a controlling group. 6 a figure or token used in a board game.
Definition four appears as contrasting the other definitions, as the term represents the entire humanity, without consideration of gender.
The Bible reveals that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground. In Adam all human beings are represented, just as in Jesus all are represented. Adam, being male, took the role of being the source of all physical humanity. In marriages, all males are expected to assume paternal responsibilities.
As source, Adam provides humanity with referral responsibilities. As father, Adam was expected to provide knowledge and experience, in terms of handling issues of survival. From Adam’s fatherly role, all males are predisposed with the attributes inherent with Adam.
The term: “Like father like son” applies, as the son has tendency to naturally copy his father’s behaviors and habits. If the father does wrong things, the son would be expected to do like-wise. If committed to doing the right things the son copies, accordingly.
Nevertheless, humanity takes its influence from Adam, as the father of all humanity. The failures that led to the incident at the Garden of Eden were subsequently passed on to Adam’s offsprings, up to this day. No-one should be surprised with the existent evils.
It is for security reasons that humans duplicate the behavior of their fathers. This applies even to various other projects where the initiator takes the role of leadership. The attributes of ‘man’ are, therefore, to influence, to educate, to sustain and ensure security for the offsprings.
The degeneration of human civilizations emanate from misuse and misapplication of the attributes of man and his masculinity. Today, man thinks in terms of being served and to him that defines manhood. This is just as, in the game of chess; all other pieces are sacrificed, with the aim of serving the king-piece. The game is lost when the king is check-mated.
As far as this civilization is concerned, a man is expected to dominate and dictate on what should take place in any environment. Among married people, women are expected to allow men to dictate things. Listening to women’s positions can be regarded as weakness. A strong man with dictatorial tendencies is, therefore, regarded as manly.
In corporate institutions, some leaders with dictatorial tendencies are actually adored and worshipped by loyal subordinates, depending on how manipulative the leader might be. A father figure is expected to know everything and therefore, viewed as wiser than everyone else. All this is what sustains the current civilization. Leaders or father figures are worshipped.
However, if the current civilization is not sustainable, we cannot go further than looking at the attributes of man, as understood in the adopted definition of manhood. In endeavor to address all forms of dictatorships, resulting from the wrong adoption of manhood, humanity has come up with the concept of democracy.
While appealing as the near perfect concept of governance, democracy is still not ideal, as not emanating from the originator of humanity. There is no need to experiment on issues of human survival. The creator of humanity provided the manual (the Bible), with which to utilize, for purposes of adopting its provisions.
Since the first century, humanity got the true model of manhood, in Jesus Christ. However, though adored by many, it seems humanity does not regard Jesus’ ideas as providing solutions. The departure point is on the current understanding of manhood, as accorded authoritative position of leadership.
Humans are still stuck on issues of paternal leadership. To human beings it is unfathomable for any group to function without leadership. While the Great Commission insists that what Jesus taught was supreme, the sticking point lies in paternal leadership. The phenomenon that led to denominationalism has not been fully understood. But it emanates from paternal leadership, viewed as a requirement, yet not taught by Jesus.
On several occasions Jesus emphasized that none among the disciples would be regarded as leader (Luke 9:46-48, Luke 22:24-27). Even as He left, Jesus did not specify the method by which His church would be led, except that the Holy Spirit would be their counselor. The apostles were to preach the gospel and baptize those coming aboard, but Jesus was silent about the paternalistic role of leadership.
As the second Adam, Jesus introduced an idea that removes all paternalistic forms of leadership. However, Christianity got rooted in Paul’s teachings that were also misunderstood. The Roman Catholic Church was the first Christian group to establish leadership patterns in church settings. But, generally, all Christian churches took comfort in paternalistic leadership designs.
In Matthew 11:11 Jesus stated that anyone considered as the least among Christians was to be regarded as greater than John the Baptist. Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest of all the prophets in the Old Testament. My argument is; if John the baptist did not need to be led by anyone, except the Holy Spirit, why does the one greater than John the Baptist (a Christian) need a leader?
Jesus introduced a new concept of leadership that brings us back to the point of Godly image at creation. The paternalistic role of leadership, as introduced by Adam, lost its value at Jesus. By looking to Jesus, we cease to view people in terms of our humanistic evaluations. All are equal.
Gifts are different, but Christians should regard each other as equals. In Jesus we learn that what is created in God’s image cannot be categorized according to spiritual gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit do not make anyone greater, as Paul clearly stated in Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12.
While aware that what is said here is extremely unpopular, it cannot be argued against, when considering what Jesus taught. In Christianity, Jesus is our only measuring standard.
In a game of chess, the king piece is protected, as the check-mated king implies losing the game. However, in Jesus, it is the king that offers to die for everyone. In other words, in Jesus, the concept of protecting the king, in order to win any game is reversed.
To attain divorce-less marriages, all paternalistic leadership forms, need to be substituted with Jesus’ concepts. The same applies to various other institutions where leadership is given credence. True leadership is found in Jesus and not even in colleges, would anyone find these things taught. There are ways that seem right to men, but the end thereof, leading to death (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25).
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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