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What is a Good Man?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2020 1:00 am

What is a Good Man?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 11, 2020 1:00 am

What defines true masculinity? Author, actor and musician Nathan Clarkson reflects on the first thirty years of his life as someone who is "different," and tells how his parents encouraged his natural giftings and loved him just as he was. As someone who struggles with ADHD, dyslexia and obsessive/compulsive behaviors, Nathan says believing in God was never a problem with him, but obeying was another story. In his search to find his identity, Clarkson describes his journey to find out what a good man is and does, and talks about where his research led him.

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Nathan Clarkson grew up in a Christian home, like a lot of young adults. He decided to see what life would be like apart from God. I always have pretty much believe God was in the Air Force. It had my moments in the night wondering, but I is been pretty consistent. I believe God is there, but I think when it came to my prodigal years when I first tasted independence. It tasted good and I started thinking I wonder what it would be like if I was a king of my life and the decisions and being kind outside the box independent kid.

I wanted to say in my life I can do this I can figure this out. I don't need this guidance. This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Wilson on Bob Lapine. You can find us online@familylifetoday.com will hear today about making Clarkson's prodigal years about what led him to ultimately decide he wanted to be a good man stated and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us. I think we should put Dave on the spot. So here's my question for you is there such a thing. Okay I'm done I don't know the answers yes there is such a thing. Such a thing as toxic masculinity in homeboy yesterday when we just go deep. Such Amstrad and now I think my wife would incident better than I think.

Yes, I think that the thing in what way I think when Dominique with their strength, their power without loving and serving and it becomes all about then that is very toxic in my opinion, if you think about the verse that we all come back to in first Corinthians 16 1314 that says be on the alert stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong to have everything in love. So if love cannot and heart.

The equation that can become toxic. We want to talk today about what good masculinity is and look at it really not from the lens of what is culture say it is. But what is the Bible say it is in this is some human passion about for years. Yeah me when I saw this book title good man mind this is a book I want to read this book every man should read.

I think women to but it's like what is a good man and so today we get to talk about the definition.

It's interesting because I think women like to hear this and I was trying to think about last night, I thought, what is it in me as a woman that stirs up about wanting this topic to be talked about in any case, think II think there's something in all of us to want to see men be good men, and that when we see it were drawn to that in Nathan Clarkson's joining us because he really must be anything else in family life today moving to grab me one. Nathan is an author. He is a filmmaker.

He's an artist, a poet, a sissy or a full-time wannabe philosopher you a musician and we should also acknowledge that you are the son of a famous writer. I am yeah tell us about your mom. Yes, Sally Clarkson. Some of you may know her. I know her as mom and that she has written a lot of books on family and motherhood, and women's issues, and I was really blessed to grow up in the family in which giving kids a godly legacy was a focus point so is her pressure growing up like a 1000%.

I still feel at 31 years old and still feeling the pressure of wanting my parents and the things they put their lives into to matter now today put the pressure on years just inherent I was the third kid I often consider myself the black sheep in many ways the prodigal of many prodigal years and one way is really blessed as I was never expected by them to be anything other than what God created me. So was never about performance is ever about you know you are Clarkson so make sure you look good in front of all these people and really blessed to have that is a legacy and a pressure definitely comes from exterior places where there's people who really want us to be something or eyes looking at us hoping that we can be some sort of hope. For example, that the pressure certainly does come from that. But I think most people in any kind of public sphere will feel that pressure but I was lucky and blessed enough to not feel that for my family, whereas allowed to be an imperfect person and you are about together with the right, I did my first foray into offering was a book called different and it was about.

You know why I grew up with mental illness, and learning disabilities, and she was the mom of a very outside the box kid and it was our story and is pulled from two perspectives. What is like to be a kid with mental illness, and learning disabilities and how to box personality was like to be a mom of a different kind of kid thing that struck me the most is I was watching an interview with the two year lease. She said Nathan is one of my very best friends in did you feel that going at that.

She really loved being with you. Yes I you know today. She's still on my very best friend is typical will absolutely yeah there is a very you know, obviously, there was a mother and son relationship. She was my guide. She taught in shape me, but there was. She saw me as a person she would listen to me Judy or my heart because she saw me as someone created by God with insight and calling and so that was kind of how we were raised we were people to be connected with her musings in this book on what does it mean to be a good man to wrestle with is there such a thing as toxic masculinity.

What is masculinity. What am I supposed to be as a man, but all that is worth out of your own story and what you've already talked about dealing with mental illness dealing with prodigal years I may take us into the first 30 years of your life and what shape to the foundation for you to even be grappling with the subject. You know that first 30 years. My life will start the beginning yes you know little of my origin story. My family and I was always given this vision forgot I was introduced to God and very real way, wasn't a set of rules. It wasn't a tradition for me.

I was introduced to God as a person relationship so belief was never a huge issue for me it was something I was very real in my home, but following him was a different matter and you know, of course, being a young kid with a lot of eyes on me. My dad being a pastor for a time I mom being a popular Christian writer and speaker growing up and that I had the understanding of God, but there were times in my life where I challenged if I wanted to be a part of the movement of following Jesus if it really was beneficial if that that that's what I want to do on the trial being the king of my own life. I did deal with mental illness, and learning disabilities and feeling different and outside the box and so can can you explain to me people I was mental illness of learning disabilities.

What were you dealing with yet so it's a it's a whole list as far as learning disability that dyslexia and ADHD, which is and I very much got yelled at by think every teacher I had in my entire life, which can which is funny now I look back, but it is really hard for a kid to feel different from all the other kids to know really feel bad. You're the kid in the class that what why was she yelling out or high on a I think is because I had this curiosity for life. I wanted to if that's a nice way to say is we see that part of our that's what moms do. Which is beautiful but I would ask the questions and I would continue with the white quick why, why, well, why, why keep on going and I think is really hard for lead teachers.

I would be the one who talk a lot since only thoughts going on in my head, be the one who tell jokes and want to be funny and you know these are all innocent good things, but in a setting in which you have to conform.

It was really hard for me and obviously hard for those teachers and so in the getting in trouble often you find that you start feeling like you're inherently bad that there's something wrong with you even though a lot of this personality trait suggests that personality traits for those hard for me as a kid. My sister once said about me that you know Nathan gets in trouble for saying the things that were all thinking, and that's kind of been the story of my life so II felt very often from again. External forces in my life not from my family from very lucky.

I can imagine kids who have felt that but that there was something wrong with me inherently wrong. That sounds like a mental health well and then there's another side, yeah, and I was doing from young age with very severe obsessive-compulsive disorder which had an incredibly big impact on my life and still does.

But you know through years of of counseling in practice is been something that now I control the poster controlling me. But as a kid, especially in adolescent going through that growing up phase kid.

It was something that plagued me every day my thoughts that look like out of debt can manifest itself for you. Essentially, for me it looks different in every journey and every person, but for me was inability to control my thoughts of you thoughts. I don't want to be thought that would cause him guilt and shame and would be nonstop. So to have this cloud of darkness which pretty soon introduced me to experiencing pretty severe depression early on as a kid and that's something that I fought with again for the rest of my life and a lot of those are because of external factors. He knows had hard things that happen my life and love. Those are internal with imbalances and just how is created and living in a broken world.

But all those things added up to a kid who really wanted to be a good man. I was inspired by stories as a kid, everything about me one to be Superman is a question yeah we get any further is what did your mom or dad do with you as this is a chuckle and I'm there's moms and dads listen right now so this is my daughter. This is my son. I'm not sure how to parent. This person when they do what what was helpful I think for me it was the most helpful things.

My parents looked at me as a unique creation by God, not something to fit a mold that they had preconceived.

They didn't expect me to be my brother than expect me to my sister or my sister my brother to be me. They saw me as a uniquely created being with my own individual interests and desires and personality. And so being able to be an individual and one who was celebrated for the differences I had in my life, one who was both sobered and guided in the not send his hands off on whatever they want, but I was guided and celebrated for the differences in my life that had an impact on me. The last to this day that I can live into their unique creation, God created me to be ill have to look like something else I don't have to be someone else.

I got it created me uniquely and intentionally for purpose so that message given to me, even as a young child that has affected how I live my entire life today.

That's beautiful.

It's inspiring and I think as parents because we had a son has ADD and it got wrenching as a parent to watch a child struggle and to watch a child feel different, and to see them struggle in school and being trouble and had teacher say things I would almost guarantee that your parents were seeking God's wisdom absolutely. He nearly every time I would come to Father what do you see what's going on in with this sign and every time I would feel the QA sing overhand he remarkable when the world may not say he's remarkable kids is not fitting into their mold or their box. I think God is relishing who he created the language hadn't looked at the unique differences in him isn't he fascinating where I think that piece of walking with God and going to him regularly on behalf of our kids and asking God's eyes on our kids to see them the way he created them. That's what gives us hope based on your mom and dads just kind of a reflection of you. Like all yeah just cling to God and saying, look at this masterpiece you made have you gone back and debriefed with them about what it was like raising you when you were 15 or 17 them and then process that with you. Oh yeah oh yeah we definitely have. We look back, I think I think were all happy that I made it through those years were now the other side. We can look back and laugh. Yeah, I think if there's another thing is when it had to. Why was so lucky to be in my family and what really had a positive effect on me was also communication I was allowed to express my heart were still communicating a laughing and talking but is allowed to express what I was thinking what I was dealing with the doubts I had the struggles I was having even as a teenager when I would get in trouble in and do things you can't say on air. I had the ability to call my parents and say I'm in trouble. I did something I messed up and no I wasn't be met with both grace and guidance. I think to those two things are very influential and important when raising kids that look like when you would sit at the table.

He would press against.

Maybe some of their values or health similar things that they were living and and really preaching, but in that look like those conversations, it looks like them taking what I was thinking of feeling seriously and pushing back like an adult. I was seen as someone who could have my own ideas and if it doesn't have my own ideas I need to defend them but it wasn't punished for them. I wasn't looked at as a lesser person because I was struggling or thinking or doubting her things in the new. Even today, my family sit around the table and still argue into the night with each other about theology and politics, what have you but at the heart of it. We all know that were all thinking and we respect each other and we are all meeting on the ground of of respecting the other person anointed, they are thinking and then try to figure this out to no one kind of not getting your point, but I'm I'm curious about the prodigal years. What spun you out and what brought you back in.

It was interesting being raised in a Christian family in the Christian Bible per se in the Christian culture.

I think you can become used to.

God I got used to the movements of youth group in church. I got used to the the talk I always have pretty much believe God was if they are of course it had my note moments in the night wondering, but I is been pretty consistent. I believe God is there, but I think when it came to my prodigal years when I first tasted independence. It tasted good and I started thinking I wonder what would be like if I was a king of my life and the decisions and being kind outside the box independent kid.

I wanted to say in my life I can do this I can figure this out. I don't need this guidance and so you know, there were many years in my life in which I am an independent person. I learned to be an independent through a lot of the things I dealt with that led me to wanting to make my own independent decisions when it came to God and his way as well and so very often I think we all know how prodigal decisions and choices away from God. Looking where ins up, but I was lucky enough to in my prodigal decisions in my destructive choices have places that invited me back into God's grace and truth, and the coming home was at a point in time or was a gradual, I think the coming home has been about a thousand times over the past 30 years you know the story envisions some leaving and coming home once and I think I have left and come home and left and come home and left and come home, but I always come home and I think that's a testament to the God I was introduced to my family you know other things you said earlier, was this beautiful statement of your identity in Christ are the members in it, but it's throughout your book as well. How did that realization come to be for you because I'm guessing you didn't always understand who you were as a child of God, the way you stated earlier, especially in the prodigal years. What led you to a place where you understand a good man identity in Christ.

It just hit me when you said I said ma'am that to me people articulate their image bearers of Christ like you did. I'm guessing that was a journey, absolutely, I keep on looking at my walking most everyone's walk and I realize that God is a God of process. It's a process that continues over a long period of time and so is definitely an image and identity that I've learned to accept and learn to go on but I think for me as a creator someone who loves to write and create and put things together. I realized as I'm going through Scripture very often that the low points my life when it's the only thing I have to turn to.

I see that God is you know we we hear them referred to as our father which is we haven't referred to in a lot of different ways but he's our creator mean we were designed and if we are created and designed. We are created and designed with purpose and the realization that I had a purpose on my life that I was created for reason to be something that is not here randomly that I'm here because a creator and artist set I want this to existing credit intentionally. I think that is always brought me back to the question okay. I am created by creator.

What am I created for and I think that's where I start and I have. I try to return to when I get lost when searching for my identity in Christ.

What was I created for because I was created by him for something, and part of the journey obviously was I want to find out what a man is a good man so tell us about the journey.

How did you start the journey had you in a brightness book what's behind that whole thing will I think know in my first chapter I talk about this intrinsic desire on every little boy's heart. I you know II tell a story about the first, so my first bid you 13 movie was Lord of the rings and I after that wanted to be Aragorn I wanted to be the characters in this in the story and in previous to that, I wanted to be Superman. I had all these ideas in my mind if I wanted to be ahead for a very young age, the desire to be something great to be a hero and I think that desire to be something great and good is natural intrinsic in its God-given and I think I look back and I wanted to be a hero. Whether Lord of the rings are Superman. Whatever it was I think that desires to live in me today in lives and all men that we want to do something great.

You want to do something good will have a positive effect on the world but somewhere along the way. Be a culture be a circumstance be a life we stop listening to that little voice and assess as you can be something great. You can do something with your life, your life can have purpose and we fall into what culture tells us we are and we fall into. Just life in hardness and we let that little voice be overshadowed in and out talked by heart and broken world.

But for me I look back and I want to capture that voices, as you can do something you can be something that desire to be a good man and so I have that desire is a kid right I had that and as I grow up like is talking about the dark and hard world has quite a divorce often muffled it enough enough I might self in place regular. This is not the man I envisioned that I wanted to be.

This is not a heroic place to be this not the vision I had in my head and so I want to return to that initial desire that I think is an intrinsic on every man's heart to be something good, but I think a lot of men and culture today have forgotten that voice or they just don't care anymore and I don't want to be one of those men I want to be one who remembers as created for purpose by God.

You met you go to a movie. I wonder if this is true for you as it is for me and obviously for you. You know movies stir something in the soul of a man I'm guessing talking to filmmaker chiropractor here I mean the joke in our house with my buddies is Dave cries at movies doesn't cry in real life, and I cry it every movie every movie even. I mean this is a joke and her family, but we went on mission trip years ago and were flying back and were watching you know mercenary will seat my son Cody is hell is about 14 reason beside me in a fine home from this military and I have my little movie onto my little plane say that firehouse dog I wanted to sell so that you have resting on your life. It's ridiculous. I don't know why why it is good some dog it was in the firehouse, they got lost and they had to go find a light Cody looks over to Jesus. Are you crying firehouse dog but still it's tender and it's the biggest joke ever is like, but had cried firehouse. He doesn't cry in real life. The question about the current movies I do yeah what is it because again under women cry and I can't wait for you to answer this because I've been asking this for what I think. I think they can use it, at least in my and again just a limited layman's perspective, but there's story and then there's a stirring in any movie there's attention and there's a journey absent in I think there's something in the soul of a man that wants to take the journey. I think you're absolutely right. I mean, I think we are intrinsically story oriented people you look at God. He shared his word through Scripture through a story look at the story of Israel and then you have Jesus come in the world and the way he shares. Truth is through stories he shares parables. I think there's something intrinsic to humanity that inside of each facet responds to stories. We want to live in a great story want to be cared in a great story and it's unfortunate that many of us have forgotten Lenny ask what happens to a man it makes him lose that drive to want to eat because everyone wants to live in that story. How do you get lost yet. My thought was Nathan's the author so the expert needs answer. My first thought was that I remember in college football. We would go out the football team. We stayed in a hotel on Saturday nights and we always go to movie every Saturday night for home then go to movie and I walk out of the theater every time in tears.

And I want to be that guy is either the hero the movie I want to be that guy and then when you get into life you fall short. Yeah, you're inspired that life is hard and I think the journey of a real man a good man is to live the movie this not to be the hero but I'm going to be my wife's man to be my son and daughters man and that's hard and that requires what does that look like is it's easy to see the story on the screen but the walk out and live.

That is the tension in the struggle being a man, but I think that's what got put in us you can be that man is a guy I made you to be that man is going to have to take steps to do it and you writing about. These are the steps. This is what it looks like yeah better than the movie it's real life, what I would say I think you're there. I think we are inspired we fall short and no guy likes to keep playing a game that is not good at so here if every day you are trying to be this guy and you just go I'm not that you give up after one of them so high as a wife was hard and the wife says you're not there to My wife is ever said that. I just got married so I is why mom eat in our meeting, we see the greatness but we also see the discouragement and so they were trying to do everything we can to get them to live out that role and that's what you're saying sometimes it doesn't come out as encouragement.

At this is where to have somebody paint a picture for you like what you've done in the book Nathan is so helpful for a guy to be able to say okay I can lean into that I can do that draw me a picture show me what to do and point me in the right direction. The Nathan's done that in the book good man and honest journey into discovering who men were actually created to be go to family life today.com to order your copy of Nathan's book.

Maybe get a number of copies and do this is a small group with other guys. Again, the title of the book is good man by Nathan Clarkson order online@familylifeto.com or call to order one 800, FL, today is our number the course. Keep in mind we may help produce a video series a few years ago called stepping up a call to courageous manhood based on Dennis Rainey's book by the same name.

That video series is available for guys to go through as well so if you're looking for something to get together with a group of guys lock arms and say let's be the men God has called us to be good copy of Nathan's book. Find out more about the video series stepping up again all of the information you need is available@familylifetoa.com.

Speaking of small groups and I know small groups are a little tricky right now because some groups are getting together in socially distanced ways. Other groups are meeting virtually online. The new video series we put together.

Love like you mean it based on the book I wrote from first Corinthians 13. The response to that book is what led us to put this 10 part video series together for couples to go through with other couples so that you can get a better understanding of what real love is supposed to look like in a marriage relationship. We got some sample video available for you online a family life today.com you can find out more about how your group can engage in this study go to our website family elected a.com for more information. Find out how to order the DVDs and the workbooks were how to stream the video series online. Again, go to family life to a.com for more information about the new love like you mean it video series for couples all based on first Corinthians 13 again the information to family life to a.com or call if you have any questions, one 800 F as in family L as in life than the word today that tomorrow to talk more about what real manhood looks like and about some of the traps that are out there for guys that we got to careful to avoid. Nathan Clarkson joins us again tomorrow. Hope you can join us as well. Think our engineer today.

Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson about the pain. We'll see you back next time for another edition of family life today.

Family life to a is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. A crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow


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