Virtus (Manliness)

This is the final post in a series explaining my five core values.

Manliness is a hard thing to define. If I wanted to construct it in depth, it would take volume upon volume and double the size of the internet. Manliness is like beauty… you just know it when you see it. It makes you pause for a second or two; it makes you wish you had …whatever it is. Like when you see a John Wayne movie, or the look on Bruce Willis’ face during that one scene in Armageddon. Godfrey and Balian, in Kingdom of Heaven. King David.

Nope, he’s not a movie character, but he’s pretty manly. Even before he’s King of Israel, David gets a pretty glowing description: I Samuel 16:18 calls him “a skilled musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and the Lord is with him.” Whew. He’s musical, valorous, courageous, martially accomplished, and in control of his tongue. Who wouldn’t want to be him?

The Israelites and other ancient cultures admired martial prowess and courage, as we do today in men like GEN Ray Odierno or GEN David Petraeus, or any of the thousands of soldiers serving our nation. The Romans had a word for manliness - virtue. In its Latin form, virtus, it generally meant being a man who was upright in society, based on four distinct characteristics. In Rome, these characteristics were prized for their contribution to the Republic, but they are applicable still today.

John Brookes wrote in his book Manliness, published in 1875, that “Openness to the Light and Love of Jesus, and resoluteness to follow them promptly, constitute Christian Manliness.” I am in accord with Brookes and with Stu Weber in my belief that there is no other kind of manliness to be had. I believe that the most manly man is the man most like Christ. Courage to put Himself in harm’s way for those He loved (Mark 10:45). Self-control to give up His ultimate power and live as a man (Philippians 2:6). Knowledgeable to answer every question with scripture (Matthew 4:3-10). Justice to love sinners (Luke 5:30-31) and cast out thieves from the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13).

I cannot define manliness beyond this: that a man should be as much like his Lord as he can be (Luke 6:40).

Five Core Values: Christ, Truth, Personal Responsibility, Perseverance, Manliness