Thank you for your insightful presentation at the recent IICSE conference. I briefly spoke to you in the hallway after your presentation concerning a Biblical Manhood class that I will be teaching this upcoming semester. I mentioned a book that I had read recently, Manhood Restored, by Eric Mason in which he offered the idea that adolescence is not a biblical concept. Part of his reasoning was based on I Cor. 13:11. This particular text gives no room for what in Western culture is called adolescence. He was willing to allow that young men could, and should, be considered "novice men" or "men in training" but men nonetheless.
Based on your research how would approaching young men (yrs. 14-19ish) be affected with the understanding based on the premise presented in this book?
Thanks for considering.
Jason Ingle, Dean of Men, Asheville Christian Academy
I have not read all of Mason’s book, so please accept my comments as partially formed and correct me if I misunderstand his thinking. If we were to accept Mason’s premise that adolescent boys are “men in training,” I would think Paul’s words to Titus would directly pertain, that a primary training goal for young men is self-control (Titus 2:6).
The term adolescence may be a 20th century phenomenon, yet the developmental changes that humans experience during the pre and teen years cannot be ignored. We may choose to refer to teenage males as young men, but that does not change the challenges they face such as a predisposition to risk and thrill at a time when the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the center for reflection and self-regulation, has not yet fully matured. What an appropriate time to be teaching self-control as the Apostle Paul advises!
The Latin roots of our word, adolescence, carry the meanings of growing, maturing, or beingnourished. I believe those terms apply here. I don’t see I Corinthians 13:11 as defining a sudden change in understanding that occurs in the transition from childhood to adulthood. The verses preceding and following verse 11 seem to draw a contrast between partial and complete understanding. But I do not see an indication that this change is sharply defined in a temporal sense.
There is a developmental period when we are no longer children, but not yet adults. When we work with young people experiencing considerable cognitive, psycho-motor, and socio-emotional changes, we need to understand these boy and girls who are making the transition to men and women, encouraging them to grow to mature adulthood as defined by biblical principles.
This is great insight. Particularly referencing Paul writing to Titus. The topic of Self-control has emerged several times throughout my prep work for this course.
I Peter 5:8, I Thess. 5:8, 2 Peter 1:5-7,I Tim 3:2
It was also a predominant theme in a recent book I read "Generation Me" by Dr. Jean M. Twenge. Her thesis was that we should be focusing more on teaching self-control rather than self-esteem. You may have read the book.
Context, I believe, is also important. Although every generation feels that their children are facing the largest cultural obstacles I'm sure that first century Corinth had some serious issues. I do agree with Mason's idea that as teachers we should be focusing on teaching how we are to reflect the Imago Dei, how we are formed with purpose. While men in training may not have the capacity to deal with that fully we as teachers could model and reflect the standards that Paul writes about.
And of course, in all of this.......grace!
Thanks for your insight,
No comments yet!
You need to be a member of Lowrie Center for Christian School Education to add comments!