Sunday, March 12, 2006

Winning Over The Male Psyche

Winning is baked into you if you're a guy in our culture. From the moment you're brought into this world, the social programming begins. Everything is about Winners and Losers. Think about all of the social contexts -- even the women are bought in the stupidity -- what's a guy in a bar scenario that no one wants to approach? "Loser!".

Losers abound.

Wasn't Jesus the ultimate Loser? Didn't the guy have an entire one-up on society and mankind (he was, after all, the Son of God, imbibed with immortal powers, and don't forget, perfect). Yet, he didn't chose to win -- he chose to lose -- the most important thing (we're led to believe) that a human can be given -- his life. He gave it away for us.

We didn't, after all, win it.

Jesus, What a loser.

Yes, this is on my mind today, as I laugh about an incident that illustrates just how stupid this mentality is. I was working out at the local Y yesterday, and bumped into an old friend. We got into a discussion about churches and I explained that I still hadn't exactly found one that would suit me. On that topic, I explained that one of the tiring aspects of my going to church usually boils down to the fact that the Sunday school classes are inevitably taught by 'coach' guy types -- these people, in my not so humble opinion, have more than lost out on spiritual growth. Why? Because they've bought into the entire sports paradigm as a way to run their spiritual lives.

This is a reflex, mostly -- it's something ingrained at such a fundamental level, it tosses them off the mark early. I think possibly I was lucky -- my father was not a big sports fanatic, and often spent time trying to make me think about social situations in a different way.

Back to the YMCA...

I was talking loudly, because I was winded, and on a treadmill at the time. I explained that I found very little about spiritual growth in sports, and that the male mentality of trying to paste life into these contexts was something that made me weary when it happened.

As if on Gods' queue, this guy, lifting weights, who had overheard me, chimed in:

guy: "Well, that's what it's all about, after all, isn't it?"

Me: "What?" (clearly, he'd only heard part of my conversation)

guy: "Winning -- life -- it's about winning."

Me: "No, it's not." I said. "That's what I'm trying to get across. Very little in life is about winning and losing."

This disturbed him somewhat.

guy: "No, think about it!" , he said, grinning.

Me: "I have, trust me." I countered. "What was the last thing you won? Did you win you paycheck, or was it a compromise?" More examples like this were being shouted out by me at this time. I'll skip them for brevity. I ended my quest to get him to think by pointing out that we get our salvation by Gods' graces -- not by winning it.

That made him think. He mumbled some bible verse that he was fond of and walked off. Still grinning, because he thought he'd "won" the argument.

Later I ran into my friend in the hallway -- she'd mercifully walked out in the middle of the "discussion".

"Well, how did that end?" She asked. Clearly I'd made more people than myself uncomfortable in this situation.

I explained that I wasn't trying to win or lose the "argument" -- but that clearly he was exactly the kind of thing I was fighting. I mean, how much better can you get -- his view was so slanted, he couldn't even step outside of the bounds of the small fence in his head. Possibly, he might have stopped and thought "Hey, maybe here's a chance to think about something outside of the bounds of what I've been taught. Maybe it's not time to win an argument -- maybe it's just time to discuss something."

My friend and I talked for about 10 minutes on various subjects related to this. I'm beginning to see that it's more than just an irritant -- this thing I've stumbled into is within myself, and it's going to be removed, or at least altered for comic effect. I'm certainly not going to sit back quietly and watch this kind of stupidity like a good spectator -- it's time to join the "game".

I do plan on going to church today (one of the side effects -- someone invited me to their church).

I'll keep an open mind -- that's probably going to be the first problem I face in church, by the way -- and enjoy myself.

Someone's gotta do it, might as well be me.



georgehanson said...

Hey, I got a bang out of your latest blog. Of course, you probably knew I would. Got a bang out of taking in the auto show with you too - along with all the other stuff. I'm a little bit ashamed to say that though I've heard of blogs, this is my first experience with the real thing. When I've more time - (getting ready to go to Vegas for a week) I'm going to get into it more. (Don't like the sound of that - it sounds as if I'm dragging my feet getting into the 21st century.) Cheers! You know who

georgehanson said...

Well, I went through the process - nw I'm not just a commenter, I'm also a blogger. But when I get back to this page, all I'd typed had disappeared, but at the top "Yu comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval." I guess it's up to you to approve. You know who