When men do work and take care – when they clean their room, or lay down their life for someone else – it is such a pure reflection of what they were created to do, and so powerfully good for them and those around them, that it provokes an emotional response. It is a beautiful thing, and beauty begets emotion.
I was thinking about Mark Driscoll yesterday: not a common occurence. The thought was prompted by listening to Jordan B. Peterson’s lecture on the Call of Abraham. Peterson was talking – as he often does – about how dramatically life can improve for ourselves and others if we decide to take responsibility for our actions. The law of compound interest determines that very slight daily improvements in how we live will have massive impact over the course of time.
Peterson expanded on something he has said previously (for example, here) about the value of cleaning your room: If your room is disordered, uncomfortable and ugly it will be harder to get a good nights sleep. Tidying your room helps you sleep better and that means you will function better. If you sleep better you will be more motivated to have the clothes in your closet properly ordered, which will make it easier for you to get ready to go to work, which will make you more effective at work. And if you have got this order established you will want to not only make your room ordered, you will want to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Doing that involves developing creative flair, which in itself improves life. And an attractive room is more conducive to proper rest…and so on and on. All this requires the taking of responsibility. And that is what got me thinking about Driscoll.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of what happened at Mars Hill, it is undeniable that Driscoll’s genius was connecting with and motivating young men. They responded in their droves to his yelling at them to take responsibility for themselves and others. He painted a picture of the possible that was more compelling for many Millennials than the needs-based, rights-oriented culture in which they had been raised.
Peterson has observed how his lectures attract a surprisingly large number of young men too. Peterson is a very different character from Driscoll, but his challenge to young men to ‘pick up the heaviest rock you can and carry it’ is strikingly similar. Many Millennial young men seem confused about what it is to be a man and something leaps in them when another man tells them what they can do about it: shoulder a load, take some responsibility, clean your room and make life better for you and for those around you.