Jordan Petersen is an intriguing analyst in our modern world. Many young men are keen to listen to him because his words seek to promote human strength and power in life. This in an age when men are greatly vilified for the overbearing forcefulness, that masculinity has exercised in the world, greatly to the hurt and harm of women. Petersen seeks to preach a gospel that will empower people and help people to be their best selves, and to understand correctly what human achievement and human success really is.
In Christianity the person of Jesus is put before us as the true model and ideal of a complete human being, but this image is often distorted by misunderstandings and false perceptions that Christian teachers and preachers have promoted. As a result the Christian virtues of patience and long suffering and of non-violence are widely seen as weak expressions of the human spirit, and are dismissed for those reasons.
Today in the gospel Jesus is warned to go away and hide from the threats of Herod, who, he is told, is seeking to kill him. Jesus does not allow himself to be intimidated by this news. Go and tell that fox, he says, that he, Jesus, must be about his work today, tomorrow and the next day. We all know what lies ahead, and the Lord did too, but living in fear is no way to live your life.
Nor is its opposite, aggressiveness. Self-possession is the great goal of personal development, growing in the confidence to be your self and to understand yourself, and to accept yourself.
Saint Paul had been a very aggressive man before he met the Lord on the Damascus Road. Reading his letters you can still feel all his energy. But he turned all that aggression into a power to spread the gospel, a force for good. The word of God is now the sword we use in life and that sword never seeks to harm anyone, but to enlighten and to inspire.
27 October 2022