My son recently turned thirteen. This has meant He has suddenly decided it is important to learn what it means to be a “man.” In our culture today that can be hard to figure out. Our boys are asking:

Should you be “buff and muscular?”

Should you never show emotion?

Should you prove yourself to the world?

To figure this answer out for himself, he has taken a sudden interest in “epic battle movies.” We have given in to the “television” versions of The Patriot and Gladiator (less gratuitous gore) and he is begging to see Braveheart. As I have had the opportunity to watch these movies along with the Lord of the Rings trilogy with him (all full of epic battles), I have noticed a common thread about the lead male characters in these films. They are:

  • Heroic
  • Selfless
  • Powerful
  • Fighters
  • Leaders

They also deal with:

  • Loss
  • Flaws
  • Challenges
  • Shame

It’s like all of a sudden the theme of every “How to be a Godly Man” book (ie Wild at Heart by John Eldredge or more recently Fight by Craig Groeschel) made sense to me. It was less about stepping up to be a man and more about stepping up to believe in something. We want these men to “win” because they stand for truth and what is right.

In the past I thought I loved these movies because the lead wouldn’t back down as they fought the battles. My epiphany however, is this: it isn’t about the “fight” at all. It’s about standing for truth, NO MATTER WHAT. They are imperfect, they know it, but at the end of the day “what’s right” must prevail

I have decided the youth of today need more epics, the kind that “fight for the truth.” I have read that young adults leave the church because think it’s “passive.” I’ve been told they need a cause. As my son longs to know what it means to be a man, I see it is more than this. He doesn’t want something to merely “believe in” or even a “battle” to win as others have implied. Like the best epics, he wants know He is on the right side, spending himself on behalf of not “something” but “someone.” Doing merely a “noble act” won’t cut it.

In these movies the characters all belong with a group that knows WHO they fight for. We can’t miss this. It’s a lesson we need to pass onto our students (perhaps even take in for ourselves.) It’s not about what side of the proverbial war we stand on. No it’s much bigger than that. It’s not even about having a purpose.

It is entirely about knowing that standing for the one who holds the truth is all that matters. It’s about grasping that when all goes dark He is the one to whom we belong.

Yes, I think we need more epics, and we need to remember we are all written into the center of the greatest one of all.

What about you? Do you think we need more epics?