Cooper & Cary Have Words

#161 Man Up Or Man Down? (With Matt Fuller)

September 07, 2023 James Cary & Barry Cooper Season 1
Cooper & Cary Have Words
#161 Man Up Or Man Down? (With Matt Fuller)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Cooper and Cary have  words with Matt Fuller, pastor of Christ Church Mayfair in London - yup, the most expensive one on the British Monopoly board. Matt is the author of Reclaiming Masculinity: Seven Biblical Principles for Being the Man God Wants You to Be. (Cary has known Matt for 25 years and is fine with the fact that Matt did not dedicate this book to him, but went with two other guys instead...)

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Production and music by Cooper & Cary. Opening theme by Beyond Our Galaxy.

Cary:

Hello and welcome to Cooper and Cary Have Words. My name is James Cary, I am the Cary part, and over there in Florida is my friend Barry Cooper. Hello, Barry.

Cooper:

Hello James Carey Blistering. Hot over here, it's about 95 degrees currently, but thankfully safe in the broom cupboard where it's a bit cooler. We have an excellent guest with us today. Who is he and what are we talking about?

Cary:

He is the senior pastor of a church in central London called Christchurch Mayfair. Just for our international listeners, mayfair is the super expensive square on the Monopoly Board. I don't know what it? Would be in the New York Edition, and it's a central London church that I used to be a member of, and therefore I know this man. His name is Matt Fuller, he's the author of a new book called Reclaiming Masculinity, and we say to him hello, hello, matt.

Cary:

Hello, hello to you both, thanks very much for being on the podcast. We're going to dive straight in because we don't waggle on the tee here on Cooper and Carey. You've written a book called Reclaiming Masculinity. Why write this book when for many it's probably a really unappetising prospect to defend or define any kind of masculinity? So how did this book come about and from whom does masculinity need reclaiming?

Matt:

Oh, yes, the old. Let me ask you five questions at the beginning, with it to be with Pick one that you like that old gag you've done to me again. Why don't I write this?

Matt:

Well, we've got a reason. You know, the church here is a spread of ages now, but still the largest demographic would be 20 somethings, I guess 20 to 35s or students to 35s. So a lot of young men and I thought and chatting to them, most had no idea of what to say about what it means to be a man. In fact, I did this funny thing we were talking about something vaguely related and I was just leading a church service here and said okay, put your hands up. Sort of a few hundred people in the room put your hands up if you think men and women are different. And probably, you know, two thirds did sort of a bit nervously. Am I allowed to say this now? I'm just gonna.

Matt:

Most people have got their hands up, I'm fine, I'm fine. And now, okay, just take your service sheet and write down one in one way that they're different. Okay, Anyone, anyone hands up. If you've written something down, I'll be. Anyone written anything down hands up. And you realize most people haven't got a clue what to say. Yeah, and particularly if you're young and the stats would bear this outright, the if you're 50 something doesn't matter, if you're in the US or the UK, you, you'll have a go at defining to be a man, and you're not embarrassed to be a man If you're 25, 35 year old. You sort of are. Yeah.

Matt:

Why what to say Although?

Cooper:

I guess even in sort of if you're thinking in the broader terms of the culture, as that recent documentary that came out what is it? What is a woman? I think if you ask a question like what is a man, that is quite inflammatory, isn't it, for lots of folks. One of the reasons why they don't want to give an answer, it seems to me, is because they're like they. They can't say the quiet part out loud. They know what they maybe think about some aspects of that question, but they know that if they were to actually say it out loud they could get into trouble. Is that an element of it?

Matt:

I think originally I can't remember, you forget these things but originally that the book title was something like you've written stuff, haven't you? The publishers never let you have your own title?

Speaker 3:

Right.

Matt:

Anyway yeah.

Matt:

Yes, I think the working title was how to be a man. What is masculinity? Post me too. And you have to recognize that's a massive deal, the me too movement, and certainly in the UK, that the two things that we didn't have the same sort of, quite the same level of celebrity, expose the sort of Hollywood, the Weinstein's, but the two things in the UK that came along at a very similar time. One was this a murder of a young 20-something girl, a Sarah Everide, in London, which caused what's going on, and it was by an active policeman and men. They're all terrible. And then this website that went crazy. Everyone's invited as a schoolgirl put it together and it was just stories of sexual abuse within schools in the UK. How rampant and how extensive that was. And then you start to think, oh, you know, I remember googling or not googling, shoving into Amazon toxic masculinity. Whoa.

Matt:

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Look at that.

Matt:

Look at that number of books with that just in the title. That's extraordinary. And then euphemisms for and so there's good reason. There's good reason why guys are on the back foot and their default setting is odd. I'm not even going to go there because I don't want to be associated with what you've got in your head by masculine and there's a historic, traditional picture and I don't want to be associated with that at all. The problem is, if you don't say something, the vacuum gets filled. It gets filled by obnoxious characters. The Andrew Tates of the world will fill the gap.

Matt:

Okay, what am I meant to be as a man? I don't know. I'm a young man. Let me have a look. Oh, look at this guy and millions and millions watch his videos. Oh, he says Is it gonna be careful? A small percentage of things which are true, yeah, and then a vast wave of things which are, which are not. But there either, there's a kernel there which people go oh, yeah, but at least he's saying something. Now, don't miss him. He Horrific, terrible. You know about to go to prison. I wouldn't defend him at all, but if you don't say something sensible, positive, people are gonna gravitate towards him.

Cary:

Yeah, and I guess at this point it is really helpful for a pastor to come in with Biblical truth which is a foundation for an alternative viewpoint, because it seems to me that our Culture has reached, has run out of road, essentially, and the main way you defend your position is to deny the enemy's position. So everything is defined by the other and not by it. So the moment, the moment a Democrat policy comes out, the Republicans hate it. The moment a Republican Policy comes out, the Democrats hate it. It's it's what are my enemies? Enemy is my friend. There's so.

Cary:

And now what we're getting, particularly in the UK, I think we're getting people who were on the left Moving further towards the right. They see there's, there's something wrong with progressivism that they can't quite put their finger on. They're okay with some of it, but they're not okay with other bits of it. And Consent doesn't seem to be a good enough explanation for what makes you legitimate In your actions. And then you've got some Christians on the right going. Well, that the the basis of all this is the Bible and that is revealed truth in scripture. Well, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. No, we don't want that.

Cary:

So therefore, we're sort of stuck with defining everything by, by its opposite, by what it isn't. And actually it seems to me that Christians really have got the power and the license and the authority to speak into the situation, because it seems to me that everyone is absolutely clueless and we get a Supreme Court judge who was unable to say what a woman is, because they're not a biologist. If you've gone ten years back and just said, in ten years time, this is going to be in a hearing for the suitability of a Supreme Court judge, people will go what, how did you get there? It is extraordinary, isn't it? But it feels like now is a time when people are ready for True truth and if, if they're not going to find it from the church, they'll go to Andrew Tate or, you know, in a less toxic way, to Jordan Peterson, although obviously he doesn't, he's not a universally accepted Figure. Is that you're sensing that hunger by the sounds of it, man?

Matt:

well, yeah, but Something there, this, this, the idea, is a zero-sum game. Some you know in the politics you win or you lose, and I read quite a lot. I read quite a lot of stuff about being a man good because you wrote a book on it.

Matt:

Yeah, I felt I felt I probably ought to. You know what, what, what, a, what? A popular, okay this you know, I listened to a lot of Jordan Peterson stuff. This is a popular people, what, what are they saying? And quite a lot of it's presented like that oh look, women now growing equality in the workplace and actually in academics, higher percentages going to university. And hey man, we're losing. This is no good, we're losing, we must, we must fight back. It's kind of I mean, it's not quite as crass as that, but sort of is the tone.

Matt:

Hmm this is a zero-sum game and and if women rise, men have fallen, and so we must reverse that position and and you get that cute means of in cell movements and things like that. You know we've got to fight back and reclaim we're. You know society is terrible we're. We're being coerced into being celibate when we don't want to do the most. Reclaim our whatever they're reclaiming by.

Cary:

By resolving not to sleep with women who don't want to sleep with us anyway.

Matt:

Yeah, that's it, yeah, it's a, it's a heroic victory. That one, um, yeah, it's. Yeah, that's hopeless. So I had you know I'm sure I put this in the introduction I, I, I'd love for a woman to be able to read this book and say, yeah, that's good, that's good. I, I'd be really pleased if blokes behave like this. Yeah, happily, you do get some mums. It's very sweet when you get emails from people you don't know I've written a book and they say, oh, thanks so much. You know, my son's read this. I think it's really healthy and we didn't know what to say to it really, and we've had some really good conversations.

Matt:

Now, cheers, fatmull, you know never, met you and I don't know what your name is. But yeah, so game of your book and it's all right.

Cooper:

Yeah, and it seems like, you know, you've got people like Louise Perry, obviously not, not a Christian, but on the other side sort of saying, well it's, feminism is a bit of a disaster. So there's even Even folks there who wouldn't call themselves Christian are sort of reaching out towards the middle. So it feels that there could be increasingly some sort of common ground there.

Matt:

Yes, I think the final straw that's a bad way of putting it. But the thing I thought actually I'm gonna, I'm gonna have a go at this, I'm gonna have a crack at writing something on this was um, again, it was, it was reading a few secular things, but was one of one journalist, I think it just in the UK newspaper at the time is just saying yeah, I just, you know, I got, I got kids and I know what to say. Basically, I say to my girls you can do anything, your brothers can, and maybe better. And I say to the boys I Said I don't want to say the boys, yeah, I just, I've got nothing to say. Yeah, that's probably not great, is it? And he's Hugo Rifkin, you know, I mean that's right. He said look, I thought I've been a bloke for like 45 years. I should have worked out something by now, but I've got nothing to say, you know. So the self-deprecated it humorous. And you think, yeah, you should have something to say.

Cary:

Yeah, this is a centre-right columnist whose father was a long-serving conservative MP and he doesn't, doesn't know and and he's not ashamed to admit it, and people are kind of amused to read it.

Cary:

I mean it does show you just quite how far we've we've come, and actually, in a comedy sense, you look back at shows you watched 10, 15, 20 years ago and it does make you wince and it does make you go oh, my goodness, this is and now I mean the most boring hack differences between men and women. Comedy from 20 years ago is now, is now dangerous, is now you know oh, you're waiting for your girlfriend to get ready because women take so long.

Cary:

It's like, oh, oh, can we, can we, can we say that now? It's like this was, this was the most banal material 20 years ago. So it's extraordinary that the down is up World that we live in.

Cooper:

Part of the issue, isn't? It is I heard Douglas Murray talking about this that there's a sense in which the left, people on the left don't know when to stick in terms of change and people on the right don't know when to twist. So in other words, he was saying you know, imagine tomorrow the left get, get a utopia in which men and women Treat each other exactly as they want them to treat each other. You're in that utopia. What happens at that point? He said? At that point there's going to be some bloke, or woman comes up and they say look, I don't feel we get enough respect in this area, at which point the progressive has no choice but to try and progress further. So, in other words, the utopia never actually materializes, like your Progressives always gonna. You know, progressive is gonna progress. I guess there's another way of putting it.

Cooper:

So the tricky thing is there. You would have thought that at some point, a progressive is going to have something they want to conserve. In other words, a progressive is going to become a conservative at some point, you would have thought, where it comes to male, female roles, but they never seem to reach that point and Conservatives, of course, it got the reserve that you know the opposite problem, which is, if you say to a typical Conservative, whether it be theological or political, actually here's somewhere, here's something we need to change, here's something we need to Progress beyond or towards the default response, the knee jerk responses change. You know. No, we're, we're conservative, we've got to conserve everything. So there's that. There's that difficulty isn't there of conservatives knowing when there are things they need to change and and Progressives knowing when actually they need to conserve.

Cooper:

And the beautiful thing about being a Christian believer, I think, is that because of revealed truth, because of scripture, we do know when to stick and when to twist, where there are things in our lives that we need to, we need to change and and Improve, and other times there are things that we definitely need to hold on to and not let go of. And without scripture, it's kind of hard to know where you draw the line. You just base it on feelings or whether culture is currently swinging or Whatever else, and I just thought that was that thing from Douglas Murray was quite helpful. Yeah, that wasn't. There's no question there. That's just me renting.

Matt:

Yeah. So, having having decided I was gonna have a go that's thinking about masculinity and doing some stuff at church yeah, I went back and I'm remarkably went back and started reading everything I could related, not just husbands and wives and Genesis too, but fathers, brothers and all sorts, and I think I've realized a few things new. The truth is, I reckon most of this book 50%, 60% of it, 70%, I don't know. You could have written 500 years ago and would be exactly the same.

Matt:

The thing that makes it interesting in this area is that what it means to be a man and a woman does have a cultural manifestation. There are some truths that are eternally true, but some things also manifest culturally. So one Corinthians 11 is fascinating in that there are some timeless elements there about man, a woman coming from man and how they're relating. And yet there are clearly some cultural aspects of it, such as hair length, which the scholars will tell you is it related to the cults and the quirky Greek cults that were around at the time and what people were wearing on their heads and a sign of prostitution, of having your hair hanging low. There are cultural manifestations.

Matt:

You could turn up in a pair of trousers in ancient Persia and just be laughed at as a man. What are you wearing? Because everyone's toga dressed and now I'm sure there'd be some Christians elsewhere. You'd be wearing a toga while you're just anathema, or a pommel. Women wearing trousers disgusting, and there is some cultural elements to that and pulling apart what is genuinely biblical and timeless from cultural accoutrements and manifestations. That's what takes a little bit of work and thought, I think.

Cary:

Yeah, and I think we don't like to do it.

Cary:

I mean, one of the reasons I don't like it is because I genuinely believe and I'm sure you believe a version of this that the Bible does interpret itself.

Cary:

So we're all aware of these bits of information about ancient Near Eastern history, which actually means that that parable that Jesus told means the opposite of what it appears to mean, because I have special knowledge from outside of scripture that sort of flips it on its head. So that's obviously the worst version of that. But then there are these cultural manifestations where to do this or to say this in one way would be incredibly provocative, or particularly in a way in which the Old Testament has reframed this in so many different ways, like, obviously, jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well is a hot cultural scene. If you're familiar with the Old Testament. This is where at least two patriarchs have hooked up with their wives, and so you're thinking is Jesus gonna go over and kiss the Samaritan woman? There are loads of these things where the Bible sort of gives us that cultural context itself, and then there are other periods where we just gotta use our common sense.

Matt:

But Christians, occasionally, Even some of these, like I want to bring things to Levin men should have short hair. Okay, hey, but back in the Old Testament it was really godly to be a Nazarite and have long hair. Right, it can't timelessly be true. Yeah, you know, if you've got long hair, you're a godless. You know, worldly hippie, hey, hippie. I'm not sure I've used that word for 27 years.

Cary:

We're honoured. You used it on this show. The word of the podcast is hippie. Yeah, that's it.

Matt:

Wow, who would you? You can't say that's timelessly true, because it's not even biblically timelessly true. To come on. Let's put some sensible comment here.

Cary:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

You can't fight in here. This is the water room.

Cary:

I think the women head coverings thing is a whole sidebar for another podcast in particular, but in a way I think it does really exacerbate or at least heightens that kind of sense of this is a really specific cultural moment of specificity that we find abhorrent, because it singles out women to be different from men in a particular way. And it is just. These passages are much harder to read now in some ways because we just know how they sound, given the context in which they're being heard.

Matt:

But you've also said something there. I think nowadays, 31st century, to say different, we hear that so loudly. I think even 20 years ago you could have said, oh, those two people are different and it wasn't automatically heard as and therefore not equal. I think now, as soon as you say the word different, inequality is heard as part of that In a Western setting. To say different equals, not equal, in a way the Bible does not.

Matt:

The Bible is quite happy to say different and equal, but I think that's an increasingly the fault setting now is you said different words, you just you create your hierarchies, by the way.

Cary:

Which in one sense, is almost as anti-biblical as it gets, because the one thing we see, I think, throughout scripture is discernment, and wisdom is knowing is the knowledge of good and evil, for example. And it's there's lots of divisions, obviously in the Old Testament, with clean and unclean, and there are times when you do this and you don't do that. You don't go in here, you do stay out there. If you've got this thing, you have to stay outside of the camp, and if you, there's lots of division and knowing how to apply it in different situations is really difficult. And I think we maybe think that the New Testament just wipes all of that away because everyone is now included in the family of God, in the kingdom of God.

Cary:

But again, it's not. It's just never quite as simple as that, is it? We are always having to discern and use wisdom, whereas we kind of continually want one rule for all time, in all places, which also applies to all of history. So if somebody 600 years ago didn't do it this way, well, they're the worst human being that there's ever been, and we just sort of don't really want to, such that everything is a tweet or a tabloid headline, and if it's not that, then we're not interested.

Matt:

Yes, I think one of the interesting passages I ended up spending a bit of time thinking about. There's one, thessalonians two, which I've never really. You know, men and women, I mean, it's nothing to do with that. There's a passage about ministry, isn't it? But I think it's really fascinating. There Paul described me as ministry amongst the Thessalonians. You know, as a father I exalted you and as a mother, I nurtured you. And you think, oh, that's interesting, he's quite content to say fathering Generally, that's more of an exaltatory sort of, you know, parenting, mothering, that's more of a nurturing way.

Matt:

And yet I did both. I think, oh, there's nuance there. Oh, that makes it a little bit more complicated. There is something, and I would argue there is something inherent in maleness and there is something inherent in femaleness. I don't know, not all would agree with that, someone just think it's functions in certain relationships marriage, church, leadership but I do think there's something inherent to maleness and femaleness. And yet Paul said I manifested both. Now that, working that out, exploring that, that takes a bit of thought, but I think that's what we're gonna do. And one individual you know there are three blokes on this screen we're all gonna manifest those sort of nurturing and exaltatory to a certain different degrees, different strengths probably.

Cary:

Partly depending on the gender of your children as well. So I've got two daughters and I speak to them and if I had a son, I'm sure my relationship would be in some ways different, but also in some ways similar, and that's fine. Again, it's not a zero-something. Or people get quite hung up on the fact that men are taller than women. I know a really tall woman. Yes, some women are taller than some men. Women are better at reading than men, I believe is an observable, scientifically testable fact, which therefore wouldn't surprise us, that publishing is dominated by women. But there's always this desire to sort of go no, no, no. I know someone who is at the other end of the bell curve and therefore and it's exhausting if you allow this stuff to annoy you, but in a way it's very hard to avoid, isn't it?

Matt:

Some of these stats are remarkably familiar If you look at the data for to spend upon your demographic. But WhatsApp and Snapchat and Facebook and Instagram pretty much all of them. The percentage of female users is about two thirds Right. To a certain extent. Now I mean give or take a percentage. It's consistent across all social networks.

Cooper:

It's interesting Also the fact that the way people are affected by those social media platforms as well, even once you've adjusted for the percentage of men and women using them seems to be. There's obviously a concern for those of us with daughters that the incidences of things like depression and mental illness of one kind or another which seem to be that are triggered by social media it seems to be much higher in young women than it is in young men, and so that in itself poses a question, doesn't it About? What is it about, if you like, the way that women are wired and the way that men are wired. That means that that seems to be an empirically observable fact. It's quite intriguing.

Matt:

Well, yeah, you touched on the interesting that he does occasionally oh, finally, finally, sorry.

Cary:

No, not at all Hell. I love when people say things like that sorry.

Matt:

No, it's the first time you've not been boring in weeks.

Cooper:

Well, don't tell my wife that.

Matt:

Secular psychiatrist. Now it's quite a movement to say, look, I know it's really awkward, but don't quote me, but what I do because I'm writing in general, so they are being quite. But men and women's brains they're different. Yeah, and if we're going to be good at our jobs, we should recognise that. Yeah.

Cary:

Some medication doesn't work as well on women as on men, or vice versa. I believe yeah.

Matt:

And when we're looking at data, can we separate it by sex, because then our treatment plans are going to be better.

Cary:

Yeah, and you've got also academics. I was listening to a podcast the other day about somebody who works with. Does scientific data in this area? See, children and playgrounds don't know how they're meant to behave, so they just do what comes naturally. And so, therefore, the boys join forces and go and fight imaginary dragons together, and the girls tend to join forces and look after something and nurture something. So the girls are more likely to go and, you know, find something to do together. That is a nurturing thing, and the boys will invent an enemy in order to destroy it.

Cary:

And the moment you sort of say that, you just go, yeah, and if you have boys or girls or both, you just sort of know. And I've got two girls, one of whom is very feminine in terms of being very artistic and she likes flowers and colour, and the other one, you know, likes cricket and woodwork. But they're both girls. They know who they are, but you just do know there's a difference. And so when she was younger, my daughter used to sort of think that she was a bit more of a boy, and then she'd play with boys and discover she wasn't like boys. Boys do different things and they play rougher and they're more okay with this sort of thing, and so she would see that quite quickly and obviously you just got to figure this all stuff out for herself. But there was just a clear difference, isn't there? When they don't know, there's not meant to be.

Matt:

Sometimes I mean, yeah, I'm afraid I'm going to be boring. Mr Nuance, it gets sometimes. Sometimes, generally.

Cooper:

How dare you come on this show and bring your nuance with you? Yeah.

Matt:

Well, of course, I've got a big part of it right here, because I knew I was going to need it today.

Cary:

That's right. I stopped up on Nuance.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, if you draw a random woman and a random man out of the population, the probability that the man will be more aggressive is 60%. If you bet on the man, you win 60% of the time. That's not a walloping difference. It's not 95% of the time, you know. It's a difference that is substantive, it's significant, it's measurable.

Cary:

Let's talk about the book itself, just briefly, because you've got there are seven principles in this book and I won't go through. The more people can buy the book. But as you were going through these seven principles, I guess there was an element of self-examination as you were doing them and you might have thought to yourself oh yes, that's, you know, you were basically writing the book for yourself first, initially. And so in what way were you personally challenged that you think I need to work at this, I need to work at that, or I now look back and with regret, think this or that how did this book affect you personally?

Matt:

Well, thank you very much for assuming I'm not a hypocrite with a lack of self-awareness.

Cary:

I do know you, matt yeah.

Matt:

You know, fortunately yes, those who know me you're writing on what Fortunately not oh, this is Ebsom flows. The thing is, it's possible to make all sorts of mistakes. I mean, if you haven't, but if you ask me in a one liner, okay, biblical masculinity, I think I'd say something like strength, courage, leadership in the service of others, something like that. Now, those first three are overlapping to a degree, but they all carry a certain different nuance to them. Genesis two there is a responsibility laid upon Adam that is not laid upon Eve in the same way, and the way the Bible patch takes that theme and plays it, and I don't think you can just say that was just for that one early married couple. I think there's inherent something to that.

Cary:

The Adam story gets more and more puzzling the more and more you think about it. It is. There are so few verses, there are so few words, and the more you think about it, the more you think what should Adam have done? Why, how was did Eve know exactly? She said we must not touch it. God didn't say that to Adam. And the more you think about that story, the more it really does a number on you as well, doesn't it? Because there are so many concrete things there, but then there are so many things that are unsaid, that are very puzzling, and it feels like something that we should meditate on for all our lives.

Matt:

Yes, but there's some basic things. It's really obvious Adam has given a commandment and he's given a restriction before he was even on the scene. And Paul would say in Romans five that he's culpable for sin entering the world. So there's clearly that. So he's given a leadership role now.

Cary:

He should have killed the snake right, as in, he should have chased the snake away. He should have throttled it, thrown it out and the snake might have come back the next day slightly bigger and stronger, but that's how you grow, I think.

Matt:

That's it basically. It's like the end of crocodile dundee. You should have turned up and said Eve, look at my boots, I've killed the snake and look at them. I've turned them into a nice pair of boots. That's not a knife. Yeah, oh yeah that's it Not an infallible model of masculinity, really?

Cooper:

You surprised me.

Matt:

Yeah. So there is a sort of now, oh okay, now you're under difficult territory. How is that to be manifested? That leadership role, or in the service of others? Make sure it's in the service of others? That's, I think you get the pattern, or you get the principles of masculinity. Yes, I think that you can trace many of them from Genesis too, the supreme model of them, I mean, do look at Jesus, for goodness sake. So that leadership in the service of others. Now, so you asked, going back to your question, which I haven't forgotten yet, what about myself? Oh, I think sometimes I've failed to lead our family Is that manifests in a family setting? And sometimes I think I've been a bit too. I've pushed things through too quickly without, in a one P to three sense, making sure I've really understood my wife on why she's reluctant, and I may have been right, maybe not, but the way I did it was wrong because I pushed it through too quickly. So look.

Matt:

I'm just one individual, but I think you can found both sides of the fence in that sort of just as one principle.

Speaker 3:

There's a good old fashioned word for people like this we call them suckers.

Cary:

That leadership thing is something particularly that I've witnessed, particularly in somewhere. It's quite clear that the wife would like the husband to lead, and actually a lot of the and so, although they're not wishing to be dominated in a particular way, they are wishing for there to be an element of leadership. And I guess for some men may be reluctant because they're unsure. They may be reluctant because they've been told not to do that because it's toxic, or they may just be lazy, they may just be wishing, and in a way one doesn't know what Adam was thinking at that moment, whether he's just sort of this will probably pan out fine, or whether he couldn't be bothered. But I guess we all know in our hearts why we don't do those things, what we're really afraid of, and some are probably yearning to lead but they're too scared to do it because of what it might look like, and for others it may be. I don't wanna be in charge of anyone but myself and I'm an INFP. Just look, just figure it out guys.

Cary:

I'll be over here writing my novel and I guess we all have those different ways of expressing our masculinity and therefore letting ourselves down on that school.

Matt:

Self-awareness is a pretty helpful thing, I think. Possibly the chapter I enjoyed oh, is that right? I don't know the two I enjoyed, I don't know writing most, or it did me most good, let me put it in those terms Probably thinking harder about friendships and thinking what it means to be a father, and father is one of the rich things, I think. A lot of the time I think as a younger Christian, most of the perspective I'd got on the differences between men and women had essentially took marriage and watered it down. It said men are like well, husband, let's just water it down if you're not married. Now, there's something to that.

Matt:

But realizing, particularly in the New Testament, the very rich reign of thinking to do with father, particularly the apostle Paul, how he describes his relationship as father to son and what does that mean if he's a father to Onosimus, a father to Timothy, that these are his dear sons in the faith. What was the dynamic of that relationship and how do you go about fathering and what's at the exaltation? And that's something that I think any man can do. You can be a father to a younger bloke and I think I observe here lots of 20-somethings who have moved to the big city. They've moved to London and they may be away from their families and or increasingly confusing family backgrounds.

Matt:

To have a bloke, 20 years on, just sit down and say, yeah, well, look, I make all sorts of mistakes, but here's how I've got through my career and thought about things and try, as a Christian, it's gold dust Is that? You know, and I've had to work quite hard here to say to the 40, maybe 50-something year olds hey, could you mentor a younger guy? Oh, but, matt, you know my family it's not always great and you know, haven't done everything right in my career. Yeah, exactly that. Just tell them that, yeah yeah, you're lying.

Matt:

Don't pretend. Oh, you're, oh no, jeff, you're not perfect. Well, go, stuff it, I'll go and find. I'm going to find the bloke. That's perfect. And it was bound to be like oh no, maybe there isn't, maybe it's you and me and we get on with it. So, thinking about that, and what is the model of the Christian life? I give knowledge as my own sum, but to younger guys, yeah, and investing in that, I. It's probably not quite what you asked, but I think it is. No, it is helpful?

Cary:

No, it's because it doesn't come naturally. You don't know. You don't know what kind of dad you're going to be when you, when you are an actual father, and it partly depends on what kind of dad you had as well, I guess, doesn't it?

Cary:

I mean, I I think I absolutely think the world of my dad, the effect my dad has had on my dad I'm not even sure we'd call himself a believer, but actually he's I think my view done an awful lot of things right, had modeled an awful lot of things, and there were one or two things where I just think, oh OK, mom's got a point on that one.

Cary:

But, but, yeah, your own dad is got this massive influence on you, and I think it's probably one of those things that we don't look back and maybe Christians of my generation or younger, who aren't necessarily from a Christian home, don't maybe acknowledge the fact that their own upbringing, their own dad who maybe he didn't, you know, my dad didn't read the Bible with me or pray with me or anything like that. So I might therefore think he's hasn't got, he didn't have anything to teach me, and nothing could be further from the truth. I really do think that, you know, my, my own dad has shaped me enormously and I increasingly now I just think why couldn't I do that thing? Oh, it's because I'm like my dad and my dad wouldn't. You know what I mean. I just sort of think I'm much more like my dad than I, than I think I am.

Cary:

But, yeah, your own father clearly has a big impact on this whole thing, doesn't it? Yeah?

Matt:

massive.

Cooper:

And even if you're, you are somebody who's who's dad wasn't great. I guess it goes back to the point you were making about mentoring people. There's a sense in which negative examples can actually be quite powerful as well, you know. So you can look back and think, well, I wish I'd had this as a kid, and it can really be a catalyst for for for some good, good daddying, I think.

Cary:

Yeah, yeah, definitely Do it. Do it, do it, come on, I'm here.

Matt:

Come on Friendship. I think I enjoyed thinking about friendship. I think God has been very kind to me in many, many ways, but I have got really good friends. So it's like, did my head in, or men, men don't have friends. You know caricature. But then you read stuff, a lot of stuff, and you think, oh, okay, I think that probably is true. Lots of blokes don't have friends. There's a great joke about this.

Cary:

I'm sure we've mentioned it before that Jesus is greatest miracle. He got to his early 30s and he had 12 friends and this time. Okay, this it's. It kind of works as a joke at least, so there must be something in it.

Matt:

Yeah, but also just the realism you need in that you know there are only two or three you carry with you throughout the whole of life. That's okay. Blokes tend to have a lot of acquaintances and confuse them for friends and then actually have anyone they confide in and just thinking through different time and levels of that and it's helpful. But friends make a massive difference. They make a break. You really.

Cary:

I was really struck by your because your dedication to this, in this book, is to two friends, two male friends who you said you've made an enormous difference to my life and to that of your God son, what you know, without mentioning names, as it were. What one or two things have you learned from these guys in the context of that, in the context of those friendships?

Matt:

Okay, you want me to name you, don't you? I'm sorry.

Cary:

No, I'm not one of the two people. I know that it's fine.

Matt:

How do you, how do you summarize these, these sort of things? They've always been there. I'm about to get a bit tweener, but there's a pop song, a popular music song, by the Middle Age Irish band called the Script. There's other Irish bands are available, other than you too. Oh, I didn't know that. You know that.

Matt:

The reason I like that. One of their songs is called Run Through Wolves and it's just a song about friendship and there aren't many of those you know and it's a really good song which, essentially, I've got friends that will run through walls. I've got friends who fly when called and they'll just turn up and they'll just be there in the crises and they don't just send text messages, they just come up and physically they recognize that. So yeah, the two are dedicated to. Not only have I think they've shaped me enormously, they've helped me grow as a Christian, but they've really turned up in the moments, both for me and my son when we're in trouble. You know there's I forget where it is problems 27.

Matt:

Don't never give up on your friend's house or the friend of your father. I don't talk about it anyway, but what's the one that Jody and Andy the guys did? It is just in my son, who's 18, that you know read it and said you know the striking thing, you know you dedicated this book to these. Their kids are the same as them and hey look, I've just got into a real pickle. And his son traveled two hours on a Saturday night just to come and see me briefly. He's just like his dad, go figure, and that doesn't always work that way. But yeah, people willing to tell you the truth, people willing to tell you hard truth. Yeah.

Matt:

People who can be completely emotionally transparent before.

Cary:

Yeah, and it is worth thinking to yourself. Therefore, if you're a bloke, am I that for someone else? You can't be that for seven, eight, nine people, but am I that for one or two people? And it is really helpful. It may be just even just like a little WhatsApp group or something I've got. I'm part of a WhatsApp group with with three other guys and there's an element of am I crazy? This has just happened, or this is. You know, I've got to do this and it is a really and it's not. It's not doesn't necessarily come naturally to men, does it. No.

Matt:

Although interesting, I tend to once a year in our evening service I do a topical series in June for four weeks I beat my I don't know why I hate it. So it's much harder work than just going through a book of the Bible. So it is.

Matt:

Somehow I've committed myself to this rhythm and normally, you know, at Christmas time I ask the staff and ask some of the congregation members what do you want? A little bit of a parish church, and the church is everyone who thinks for their church. You know, notенный what they're trying to do. Certainly Bruyne is cutting them off at all costs. We're making Friday or enabled initially, beginning to America improves grid main hours typically. Anyway this year they say we want friendship, like Art packaged four talks Up, four talks on friendship, 80 to 35s. A lot of sort of blokes would sort of conspiratorially come up and say the women are much better at friendships than us, aren't they? I mean, they just share more deeply and candidly and you go. Well, I don't know about that.

Matt:

And then you have a number of women come up and say men are just much better at friendships than we are, you know, they're just, they're blunter. They say, hey, stop doing that idiot. Whereas we're like really anxious as girls that we're going to like upset our friends and it'll put the friendship and we take ages to forgive Blokes, get over stuff much better than we do, and it is. I think it was weak-wired, oh, by the way, in the preamble, just so you know, I've had like half a dozen guys and half a dozen women come up and say the other sex, they're much better at friendship than we are.

Cooper:

Just you know, seems like that might be quite a good place to land the plane, do you think, james?

Cary:

I think so definitely. The book is called Reclaiming Masculinity, written by Matt Fuller, and is available from the Good Book Company and is available in all the usual places. We're going to keep chatting a bit more because Barry's basically got some quite personal questions he wants to ask Matt, and so we're going to get into those, and our patreons have made one or two comments as well, so we'll talk about those. If you want to be part of that, join us on Patreon, go to the show notes and click the link, and or you can. If you listen on Apple Podcast, you can subscribe rather than merely follow, and you can be part of that. You can get that longer unedited conversation, no holds barred. I'm making it sound like more than it is, anyway, but for now, matt, thanks very much, indy's.

Matt:

Thanks, matt oh you're most welcome, gentlemen.

Cary:

Thanks very much for listening everyone. Speak to you soon, bye, bye.

Matt:

Maybe you're right, barry, and I don't know who you listen to and I don't know where you go to church. I don't know who your friends are, but what are you doing here? Who?

Cary:

are you?

Reclaiming Masculinity
Navigating Gender Roles and Cultural Manifestations
Exploring Gender Differences and Biblical Masculinity
Friendship's Significance in Men's Lives
Expressing Gratitude and Confusion