From the category archives:

Links

If you’re looking for some ideas on how to get the kids off the couch and doing stuff with their hands, check out a new DIY site aimed at the younger set: Built by Kids. It was started this month by Timothy Dahl (who created the six-year-old home improvement site for adults Charles & Hudson) and his wife Laura, and features crafts and DIY project ideas that can be worked on by your kids, with your kids, or for your kids. The projects are handily broken down by age group and include things like cardboard rockets and tree-houses.

Check it out: Built by Kids

 

 

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I thought AoM’s Christian readers would appreciate a recent article posted on the First Things blog, (which is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute), called “Jesus Is Not a Cagefighter.

The author of the piece, Joe Carter, examines that perennial fixation of the Christian faith: the perceived feminization of the church. Carter outlines how, starting in the 60s and 70s, the portrayal of Jesus became much softer. He writes, “During those decades when the ideal of masculinity was in flux, Christ was portrayed as a sensitive, pacifistic, Phil Donahue-style guru (think “hippie Jesus”).” Carter argues that the pendulum has now swung back too far the other way, with churches using MMA as part of their ministries, emphasizing Jesus’ aggressive qualities at the expense of his meek and loving ones, and generally focusing on a “pugilistic Jesus.” This movement is an effort to attract men to the congregation, because they statistically attend church less often than women do, and if the man in the family comes to church, the rest of the family is more likely to go as well, more so than if just the mother attends.

While Carter makes it seem like this swinging pendulum between the feminized Jesus and the hyper-virile Jesus is a more recent phenomenon, this has happened before, most notably at the beginning of the 20th century. The highly popular and successful evangelist, Billy Sunday, sought to save Christianity from the feminization of the church that developed in the Victorian Age, and preached things like:

“[The church needs to] strike the death blow to the idea that being a Christian takes a man out of the busy whirl of the world’s life and activity and makes him a spineless effeminate proposition.”

“[The Christian man cannot be] some sort of dishrag proposition, a wishy-washy, sissified sort of galoot, that lets everybody make a doormat out of him. Let me tell you, the manliest man is the man who will acknowledge Jesus Christ.”

“Lord save us from the off-handed, flabby cheeked, brittle boned, weak-kneed, thin-skinned, pliable, plastic, spineless, effeminate, ossified, three karat Christianity.”

Here are some questions for discussion:

1. Do you think the feminization of Christianity is something that is just perceived, or do you think it is real?

2. Do you think that incorporating things like MMA into church is a good thing that will attract men, or something that detracts from what you think the mission of a church should be?

3. Do you think that Carter is right that the portrayal of Jesus as an aggressive manly man has gone too far, or do you think that he is being overly-cautious?

Read: “Jesus Was Not a Cagefighter” (@First Things)

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Yesterday the NYT reported on the results of a study that confirmed something that, if my memory serves me correctly, has also been found in previous studies: that women are attracted to a man with a deep voice. The researchers showed:

“women an image of an object while they listened to a computer-manipulated version of a high- or low-pitched male or female voice say the object’s name. They then repeated this experiment with real male and female voices.

In both cases, women expressed a clear preference for low male voices and had the best memory of the images whose names were spoken in low voices.”

Researchers say that the reason for this preference is that women want to mate with the best protector/provider possible, and that a deep voice can be a sign of a man’s masculinity.

Read: A Magnet for Women? Try a Deep Male Voice (@NYT)

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Marcus Brotherton, an occasional contributor to AoM and bestselling author of many books, including several about the Band of Brothers, has started a blog called Men Who Lead Well.  (marcusbrotherton.com). In Brotherton’s line of work he’s interviewed a lot of great minds and living legends, men who have been leaders for a greater purpose. Every Wednesday, Brotherton will be sharing what’s he’s learned and his thoughts on leadership for men.

Marcus Brotherton is a really solid guy, and I’m already a huge fan of his books, so I’ll definitely be following his blog regularly. You can do likewise by subscribing to his updates.

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As reported in the NYT, a study has recently shown that after a man has a kid, his testosterone levels drop, and the more involved he gets in child-rearing, the lower his T levels fall. “Men who spent more than three hours a day caring for children — playing, feeding, bathing, toileting, reading or dressing them — had the lowest testosterone.” This reduction in testosterone is thought to help men commit to their families and stick around to rear their progeny.

Although testosterone plays a central role in making men manly, researchers say the findings shouldn’t freak guys out and make them feel like fatherhood makes them wimpy. They say men should focus on the takeaway that the study seems to prove that men, like women, are biologically adapted to being hands-on parents. Evolutionary biology professor Dr. Peter Ellison hopes the study helps men “realize that we’re meant to be active fathers and participate in the care of our offspring.”

The study is interesting too as it shows that your behavior can affect the hormones you release, and not just vice versa.

What do you think? Does the study make fatherhood seem less manly or do you find the results encouraging?

Read the article: In Study, Fatherhood Leads to Drop in Testosterone (@NYT)

 

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Jack Dempsey with small gloves and a heavy bag. Image via the Harry E. Winkler Collection of Boxing Photographs.

James Fox, author of 10engines (one of my favorite blogs), recently published a guest post at Kaufman Mercantile highlighting the history and virtues of  punching bags–the tools of the Sweet Science of Bruising. Heavy bags, speed bags, reflex bags, sides of beef–Fox covers them all. Lots of great historic images to inspire you to pound some leather. Check it out.

Punching Bags via Kaufman Mercantile

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AoM reader Eric S. sent me a link to a blog post on BlackandMarriedwithKids.com, in which the author, Eric Payne, discusses his role in a new documentary about black manhood called Men Ain’t Boys. Here’s the synopsis of the film and the trailer:

“At a time when African American men are often depicted poorly throughout mainstream media Tyler New Media breaks that trend with Men Ain’t Boys. The film offers a thought provoking look at issues such as stereotypes surrounding manhood, the results of effective fatherhood and the requirements for maintaining lasting love, relationships and marriages. Men Ain’t Boys provides a blueprint for men, women and children to learn how real men live and how real men love.”

Authentic Manhood @Blackandmarriedwithkids.com

Men Ain’t Boys

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AoM reader and sometime style contributor, Leo Mulvihill, has a chance to score a walk on role to the AMC series Mad Men. But he needs our help. Vote for Leo to guest star on Mad Men. (You’ll need to login to AMC to vote. Yeah, it’s a pain, but let’s help an AoM brother out.)

Leo tried for this spot a couple of years ago, but came up short. I think this is the year that it will happen for him. Just look at him. Man, already looks like he works at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce with Don.

You can vote once a day until Sept 9. If Leo is in the top 10, he’ll be considered for the role.

AoM brothers unite! Vote for Leo today and every day until Sept. 9.

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A couple of weeks ago in Minnesota, Pat Smith and his 11-year-old twin boys, Nate and Nick, went to a charity hockey game. Mr. Smith bought three raffle tickets for $10 each for a chance to win $50,000 by making a shot from the center of the rink at halftime. He wrote Nick’s name on all three tickets; Nate had just recently had a cast removed from his arm and figured Nick has the better chance of making the shot. Come halftime, one of Nick’s tickets was drawn, but he had left during halftime, telling Nate to take the shot if his name was called. And that’s what Nate did, amazing the crowd by making a shot that had to go 89 feet and slip through a 3.5 inch gap made in a board that was placed across the mouth of the goal. Euphoria and pandemonium ensued. According to a report by NPR:

Both of the twins were shocked. Pat Smith says that in the excitement, he went along with the swap — but he didn’t feel right about it the next day.

“I just felt I had to do the right thing,” he told ABCNews Monday. “I just think that honesty is more important than any prize or money you could get.”

So Nate came forward and told the truth to the game’s organizers, who consulting with the insurance company that underwrote the event, decided to not give the boys the money but rather to donate $40,000 to youth hockey leagues.

The dad, Pat Smith, told Today that coming forward was not only the right thing to do, but also a valuable lesson for his sons: “They learned that honesty is always the best policy, and you can never go wrong telling the truth.”

“Some people wouldn’t tell the truth, so it’s cool that we did,” Nate Smith added.

Read:

Boy Makes $50K Hockey Shot, But It’s The Wrong Boy

No Cash For Kid Who Made $50,000 Hockey Shot (@NPR)

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The Art of Manliness is all about reviving the best parts of the past, and if those best parts are also delicious, then all the better! You’ve probably heard about how classic cocktails are enjoying a revival, but there’s good news for teetotalers and people who simply love soda pop, too. As NPR reports, mixologists are recovering the long lost soda recipes of yesteryear, and experimenting with unique flavors, creams, and phosphates to come up with the kind of concoctions that used to be mixed up by soda jerks during the golden age of soda fountains.  It’s true as the article says that these fountains were “once an equivalent to the local saloon,” and the history of good old fashioned soda pop is pretty fascinating and even manly. For more information, check out one of our oldest articles: “Tired of Beer? Become a Soda Connoisseur.”

Read/Listen: In Soda Revival, Fizzy Taste Bubbles Up From The Past (@NPR)

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