I found the manosphere last January and voraciously read everything from it. From the PUAs (pick up artists), to the MGTOWs (men going their own way), to the tradosphere, and the various blogs of the Christian manosphere (orthosphere, protestants, etc.). Since the fall I have most of the blogs I peruse simply because I have less time; however, I have learned some very valuable lessons from them especially as I study the Scriptures more in depth.
However, let’s delve into the topics at hand.
1. “Game” is poorly defined.
One of the biggest issues I’ve seen with “game” is that it’s been poorly defined by it’s supporters and detractors.
- The first crowd believes that “game” is a specific set of codified techniques that were “pioneered” by the PUAs in order to improve your relative attractiveness to a woman’s in order to use other techniques to get a woman into bed.
- The second crowd believes that “game” is a toolbox insomuch that a tool such as a hammer can be used to do constructive things such as building furniture whereas it can also be used as a weapon to bash someone over the head.
- The third crowd believes that “game” is fundamentally about “charisma” or “self improvement” because masculinity is about building a man who is not just respect by women but by other men, children, colleagues in the workplace, etc. It is the ability to weild influence.
- Finally, there is a fourth depiction of game that Leap has been commenting on which is the one I most agree with having studied the Scripture more in depth. This is the depiction of game that it is inherently worldly in nature, and that mascunlity of the positive variety comes from being a masculine man of God as the Scripture define it.
- edit: There is a fifth depiction of game actually that I would say that many on the Christian manosphere would use. That would be “game” describes all masculine traits that are attractive to women. Whether they were previously learned from their fathers, society before it was feminized, or whatever is another debatable topic. I personally disagree with this viewpoint because most of the proponents who subscribe to this say that there’s no way a Christian nice guy can be attractive without game, but that is simply not true (see: Jesus). There’s also the matter of if “game” can be separated out into good/evil or neutrality.
While the Christian manosphere argues back and forth on whether “game” is good or not good, first you must define your definitions of what “game” actually is. This is necessary for any useful debate.
I am going under the assumption of the 4th point above. That “game” is inherently worldly and is therefore not of God.
2. Frame matters… or heart matters.
The main problem I find when Christians discuss whether to “game” or not is where is the heart of a man who is willing to use “game”?
If we, as Christians, agree that “game” is composed of words (rhema) and actions designed to facilitate feminine attraction, then we must conclude that what Jesus says on our hearts and subsequent actions is true:
Matthew 12 (NASB)
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak [c]what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 The good man brings out of his good treasure [d]what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure [e]what is evil. 36 But I tell you that every [f]careless word that people [g]speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 For [h]by your words you will be justified, and [i]by your words you will be condemned.”
Likewise, Paul states in Galatians 5 (NASB):
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh [g]sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you [h]please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [j]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who [k]belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
In Cane’s post Don’t shut your eyes when I turn off the lights there is some incisive commentary about why the heart matters.
The act of sex in marriage is holy because the heart is right with God, and act of fornication outside of marriage is evil because the heart is not right with God. These are not two acts that differ only in context. It is out of the heart from which these actions flow, and if the heart is walking in darkness the action is of darkness and if the heart is walking in light then the heart is in the light.
Likewise, one example of this is most clearly displayed when children apologize. If they feel that they are right then they will only begrudgingly apologize and must be forced to admit their perceived wrong doing. However, if they feel that they sincerely wronged the other person then they will go all out to make sure that the person they are apologizing to isn’t offended, if there’s anything they can do to help, and profusely saying sorry. Children wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Now, this may sound to many that “game” is indeed like a toolbox, but that is incorrect. “Game” at the heart of it’s nature is inherently about wanting to be more attractive to the opposite sex. It is setting up a false idol of “attractiveness.” It is essentially taking the woman off the pedastal and placing yourself upon it instead of God.
In fact, many of the more secular blogs have it almost correct and are more insightful than some Christians. They parrot that “any self improvement you do should be for you, not for women.” If you do things in order to get women, then that itself is a form of neediness. And women are not attracted to neediness.
However, the correct response should be that you are becoming more masculine because you want to please God. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
3. What does godly masculinity look like as contrasted to by “game”?
Things that a godly Christian man may say and do may be the same as that which a PUA may say to a Christian woman. For example, a Christian man who is pursuing a Christian woman may tease her, set boundaries for the relationship, and tell her what to expect. These are the same things a player may do.
However, they aren’t the same because of the intent of the heart behind the action. My intention is to grow a relationship toward marriage in a godly manner, while PUA is using the same actions to fornicate with the woman.
Don’t get it backwards. Game is not a toolbox insomuch you take a tool and do things, or you have in mind a certain end goal and you choose a tool to do it. You start with the heart because out of the heart flows all things.
That said, this is not the end of the discussion.
4. Both the heart and the actions matter.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
One of the interesting things about “kindness” is the adaptability of the heart and the actions that flow forth from it.
We all know Christians who attempt to preach brimstone and hellfire to athiest which just drive them away from the gospel. Likewise, we know of Christians who are angry and can be violent against abortionists. Let me be clear, while there may be good intent in the heart about these things, the frame of reference is incorrect.
Kindness in Strong’s is defined as:
Strong’s #5544: Kindness is goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, kindness, affability. The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control.
One of the synonyms for kindness is also gentleness, and it is also gentleness that is defined as a synonym to the Greek word “Praos” which is used for humility, meekness, and gentleness in the Scripture.
An action that comes from the heart, as Christian walking in step with the Spirit, should show both humulity and the adaptability of kindness.
This is why I think game is unacceptable as a Christian. It’s also why I believe that certain techniques which sound good in theory such as dread game are off of the mark.
Do the ends justify the means? Is it right to make your wife jealous (which the Bible says is of the flesh in Galatians 5) so that she is more attracted to you? Isn’t that just from the desires of the flesh?
Examine your heart. Would you be able to stand before God and justify running dread game on your wife?
It certainly does not make it right for a wife to withhold form her husband (1 Cor 7), but to use the old cliche two wrongs do not make a right.
We are accountable for our words and actions before God. And there are other ways to assert Biblical leadership instead (which will be the topic of future posts).
5. Godly masculinity is shown through the fruits of the Spirit
Ephesians 5 (NASB)
25 Husbands, love (agapao) your wives, just as Christ also loved (agapao) the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (rhema), 27 that He might present to Himself the church [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love (agapao) their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves (agapao) his own wife loves (agapao) himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
What does it mean for a husband to love his wife and Christ loved the Church?
It would be good of us to note that which is said in the Greek. The most important thing to note in this passage is that love (agapao) is used, and the second most important point to note is that the water of the Word (rhema) is used.
When I was looking at Scriptures there were two things that stood out. The Divine Expression or Jesus and His words which is Logos — John 1:1 in the beginning was the Word (Logos). You can think of Jesus and His fulfillment of the law with his teaching and actions as Logos. The all encompassing Scriptures themselves are referred to by either gramma (G1121 or graphe (G1124) (thanks to mdavid for the clarification). On the other hand, the spoken revelation of the Word is rhema.
Rhema is powerful — as God (Logos) spoke the world into being (Rhema), and man shall not live by bread alone but from every Word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God. This is why it’s important to pray out loud because the spoken Rhema word is powerful. Likewise, to others it gives life and death. The power of the tongue is enormous as it says in James, yet it is easily corrupted. Going back to the passage from Matthew 12 that I referenced earlier: “But I say unto you, That every idle word (Rhema) that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
The goal of the leadership of the man in a Christian marriage is to spur his wife to have a deeper relationship with God. And it is through his Words (rhema) that he must speak life that washes and cleanses her as just as Christ does his Church.
The goal is certainly not to make the wife happy. The goal is not to cater to the wife. The goal isn’t even to do nice things for the wife even though these things are good. The goal is to cleanse her with your Words and Actions and spur her on towards righteousness.
This is why joy (chara) is needed even in the midst of hardship to set the example as to which a Christian wife can follow his lead towards being a better Christian.
This is why peace (eirene) — wholeness of one who is in Christ — is needed so that a man may not find validation is in wife or hold her above him on a pedastal.
This is why longsuffering/endurance (makrothumia) is needed because we all go through these periods of suffering even inflicted by our loved ones or ones that say they love us (wives, children, family friends).
This is why kindness (chrestotes) and humility (praos) and goodness (agathosune) are needed to be able to respond to conflict not in a self righteous manner but in a way to where differences can be resolved without giving in to the temptations of the flesh to escalate.
This is why self control is so important for a Christian man so that he does not give into his anger when his wife gets emotional and allow the situation to spiral out of control into the deeds of the flesh — “[i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [j]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”
And as one who is faithful (pistis) may we never forget that our faith is of a godly persuasion. Many are called but few are chosen. It is not we who looked to Him first, but He that first loved us. That He sent his son into the world to forgive our sins, and that as we confess He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And before the conclusion of this post let me end it with a Scripture 1 Corinthians 13 (NASB):
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.
My conclusion must therefore be to eschew game in favor of masculinity that is rooted in Biblical righteouness. As Christians who are in Christ, we must bear good fruit. If we do not bear fruit we are cut off and cast into the fire. That is certainly not what we want.
Ephesians 2 (NASB)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Game does not bear good fruit — whether it is from the heart or in deed — even if in the end things end up according to Scripture because it is inherently selfish. This is why it is evil.
God can use evil (game) for good, but do not mistake that because good may result from it that evil is good to do. Shall we sin all the more so that grace may abound? Certainly not. The Scripture is quite clear on this from Paul’s teaching in Romans 6.
Game is childish, and we act childish when we use it. It is selfish and of the world. Let’s put it away and put it behind us as we strive toward Biblical righteouness.
We have for ourselves in the Scriptures the example of Jesus and it can be parsed out what His character is like. That is what godly masculinity looks like, and that is what we should strive for.
I’ll probably write on this topic a bit more in the future as well, but this blog is meant to be more practical in nature so I’ll start talking about specific examples soon enough.