As a member of Generation X, I was brought up with an old school perception of masculinity. I was brought up with the old belief that man are men, and women are women. For me, this vision of masculinity meant strength, confidence, and someone who loved and protected beautiful women. As a kid, I loved watching the “He-Man” cartoons, and I wanted to be just like him, fighting the evil Skeletor with my magical sword, protecting the world and pretty girls from the forces of darkness.
When I entered puberty, Star Trek helped me discover a deeper meaning of masculinity. I discovered that there are important moral lessons regarding masculinity and other issues that one can learn about our culture through fiction and be applied to real life. I discovered, for example, that Captain James T. Kirk was too much into hooking up with pretty alien girls and seemed to follow the destructive sexual behavior of our modern world. Although I thought Captain Kirk to be a fantastic commanding officer of the Enterprise, I saw that his immoral behavior was illogical, and degraded human dignity. When I discovered “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the late-1980s, I became drawn to Jean-Luc Picard, the Captain of the Enterprise-D. Although in elementary school, I never paid attention to issues of morality in Star Trek, I noticed these important truths as I became a teenager. I began to notice of course, girls, and developed a crush on counselor Deanna Troi. I observed that Captain Picard always behaved dignified around women, and he constantly reflected on his past mistakes as he tried to become a better, more virtuous man.
The character, Picard, became my favorite Captain and helped me through puberty in the area of self-control. I took the idea that if Picard could control himself around women, I could do the same. Thankfully, through the teachings of EWTN which I discovered in my early 20s, I was finally given the full Catholic teachings of sexuality which I will always be grateful for.
Since our culture is extremely anti-faith and anti-morality, it is very hard for us Christians and Catholics to teach important moral lessons on Virtue and Chastity simply because Jesus and the Pope say so. Sometimes, quotes from scripture and papal documents simply don’t work when trying to preach the gospel to secularists. I believe that sometimes the gospel must be proclaimed in a stealthy manner, and I have found that sometimes the best way to do so is through the use of fiction. Since I am one of the biggest Star Trek fans on the planet, I love to use the lessons in Star Trek as a tool to help evangelize the faith. Fiction such as Star Trek can show a person the positive and negative elements of life and how to apply those lessons to their own life. I even wrote an entire eBook called “Lessons Learned from Star Trek”, which discusses in more detail how we can use fiction as a guide to proclaim the gospel.
It is important for us to reclaim manhood in our world today. All of the chaos in the world can be traced back to the fact that men are no longer Men. Masculinity is under attack at all ages, and men are losing their identity as Men. Of course, we don’t want men to be predators. A man such as Harvey Weinstein is not a person that we men should ever look up to. He is not a Man. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with a boy giving a girl a Valentine’s card. That boy is not going to turn into a sexual predator simply because he gave his crush a Valentine’s card. Boys need to be boys, but we need to teach them virtue so they can become Men.
The hookup culture is so prevalent in this modern age and it is destructive and poisonous to masculinity, because it degrades human dignity through all sexes. We have too many Kirks in the world and not enough Picards. We men need to be proud of our masculinity. We should not be afraid to admit to the world that as Men, we are attracted to Women, and that those of us who are called to Marriage want to be Husbands to our beautiful Wife who we want to protect and be faithful to. True masculinity is found in virtue, and we must live out all the virtues, particularly the Twelve Righteous Virtues.
Through the intercession of Saint Joseph, may Christ bless every Man, and help him live out a holy manhood.