Who Can Find a Virtuous Man? Discussion Group Resources

(For a full list of topics and resources, go here).
By Anna Mussmann
Topic Introduction
In Proverbs 31, Solomon asks, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” Twenty-first century America has a different question. Voices on both sides of the political spectrum are talking about a “crisis” of masculinity. Where are the good men? What is a good man?
As Christian women, we want to support a healthy concept of masculinity. The first step is to grapple with the question of why God created men and what He intends them to do. It’s a huge question! I hope the following articles prompt a helpful and lively discussion.


Read Genesis 1:26-31 and 2:15-25.
When conservatives describe traditional masculinity, they sometimes give the impression that “real” males are, by nature, too independent and competitive to submit to rules or authorities. In contrast, I appreciated Anthony Esolen’s point, in this interview, that men’s natural job is to build order for society as a whole.
In order to live as good men, surely men need to be good human beings. This article from The “Art of Manliness” Blog discusses C. S. Lewis’ lament about “Men without Chests.” I think this piece is very helpful: if we as a society are going to urge men to listen to their feelings, we also need to ask what feelings men ought to have.
G.K. Chesterton’s poem, The Hunting of the Dragon, is a stirring reminder of men’s need to have something worth fighting for that is bigger and more meaningful than their own lives.
Alternative Readings (in case you want to add or substitute)
In “He was a good man,” Tyler Arnold lays out a brief but moving explanation of what it means (from a Lutheran perspective) for a man to be “good.”
In “On Man’s Duty to Defend the Weak and Vulnerable,” David French argues that good men need to be protectors. How should a good man respond to threats of violence against himself or others?
In “On Being a Man,” Pastor Harrison talks about what masculinity means in a world damaged by sin.

Discussion Questions
1. What you mean when you use the phrase, “a good man?” How does modern, mainstream American culture define it? What does modern American culture get wrong—and what does it get right—about what makes men “good?”
2. What are some historical, literary, or personal examples of men who are good examples of what it means to be a “good man?” In particular, what can we learn from the life of Jesus about perfect masculinity?
3. Why did God create “male and female?” What does the Genesis account tell us about the roles and purpose of men?
4. Anthony Esolen describes what he sees as masculine strengths. Do you agree with his assessment? In particular, what is your response to these quotes?
“It is men, not women, who create the civil order, as it is women, not men, who create the domestic order.”
“Men have a passion for the truth, and they seek that truth not generally by means of the affections, but by complex structures of various sorts.”
5. If we as a society are going to urge men to listen to their feelings, we also need to ask what feelings men ought to have. What did you appreciate about the “Men without Chests” piece? Did you disagree with any of it?
6. Chesterton’s poem describes the hunting of a dragon. Do men need dragons? What might these mean for men in the modern world?
7. In conservative circles, I’ve seen a number of debates about whether or not men should be conceptualized as warriors. What is the pagan concept of warrior (think, for instance, of tribal societies or Greek myths)? Is this compatible with Christianity? Was Adam created to be a warrior? What is the difference between a “warrior” and a “protector?” How should a good man respond when he or others around him are threatened by harm? What do you think of the argument (made, for instance, by David French in one of the alternative articles) that modern men are basically wimps?
8. Recently I saw the argument (from a conservative) that if we focus on defining the male role as one of protecting the weak, we end up reducing men’s entire purpose to taking care of women rather than accomplishing anything positive. What do you think of this?
9. If woman was created to be a “helpmeet,” is there a single word that most accurately expresses what a man is in relation to woman? (Commonly suggested: warrior/leader/provider/protector). Why was the asymmetrical phrase “Man and wife” used for so many years in English-language weddings?
10. Do you think it is (or would be) easier to raise a good son, or a good daughter, in today’s world? 100 years ago?

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