This is a follow up post regarding my thoughts on "Sex and the Cornfields."
Last night I was able to have a conversation with Dr. McMann regarding what he meant by redefining what it means to be successful. I thought his response was helpful and interesting. He had two thoughts.
First, we should start looking at success in terms of moral success. How successful is a man in terms of his personal moral character? Has he worked to developing an ethical life in which his character is not driven by money but by morality.? (This is a paraphrase of what he said, but I think it captures the core of what he was tying to get at.)
Second, and this was really interesting, according to society's definition of success, pastors are complete failures since the majority of them make very little money. For us Christians, pastors make a good model of what it means to be a successful man. Pastors play an important role in society, and we would be in a very tight spot without them. We can look to pastors as a model for what it means to be a successful man in terms of loving others and sacrificing our time and energy for society and the church.
Note that Dr. McMann is emphasizing the character of a man and not his clothes, the way he talks and his money. Also it take time to get to know a successful man since it takes time and energy to discover a person's character. Often we judge the success of a person in the moment we meet them by the quality of their clothes, whether they make eye contact, do they speak clearly. If we define success in terms of character though, this will have to stop. Our judgment of people will have to be held back.
In conclusion, redefining success for men is a very hard thing to do. We judge people very quickly and often on a superficial level. When people judge us like that it is easy to quickly try to be acceptable to them. If a man rejects culture's definition of success, it is very possible society could look down on him as a failure, and that's hard to take.