the state of man.2022
or, why many men are actually eunuchs
what is a man?
Is a man a person with male sex organs?
Is a man a person who identifies themselves as a male member of the human race?
Is a man someone who is “masculine?”
Is a man an oppressor?
The list of questions we could ask about the definition of “man” could potentially be limitless.
who decides what a man is?
Culture? Our parents? Society? The ruling class? Our appearance?
who decides who you are? do you agree with them?
“nothing is more powerful than a decision.” // Keith Craft
Ultimately, if you are a man, only you can decide who and what you are. Only a man can decide what a man is, and should be. Regardless of who does, or doesn’t define manhood.
The word “decide” comes from the latin word decidere. Which itself is a combination of two words:
de (off) + caedō (cut) = decide
To decide something means to “cut off” all other options. When we decide to get married, we cut off all the other people we could otherwise be married to. At least, that’s what we intend. The decisions we make determine what we have, and what we allow in our lives.
What is the decision of most fathers? “They provide for the family.” That’s best-case scenario. They’ve decided that’s mostly their role. If they make enough money and give their kids enough opportunities and experiences, they are a good father. Many men believe themselves to be “good” Christian men. Just don’t look too close at their marriage, their personal habits, or anything else that matters.
What’s the worst-case scenario? The father that many people had. Absent, abusive, selfish, irrelevant and not worth following.
In Texas, where I’m from, we have a lot of ranches and ranchers. I’m not a cowboy or a rancher, but I’ve known a few. Every year, people that raise cattle have to make a decision about which male cows get to be a bull and which get to be steers. Few male cows get to be bulls. Most become steers. Only 1 in 60 cows in the herd are bulls. The rest are heifers (female cows), calves or steers. This time of year is called “nut-cutting” time. Because the way to turn a bull into a steer is to castrate it.
How do ranchers decide which cows become bulls and which become steers?
Size/Structure - If a calf looks strong, the odds are that it will be strong. If it looks weak, it will be weak. A bull has to have good structure.
Behavior - They can’t be too aggressive or wild. They must be peaceful enough for ranchers to work with them well. They have to be strong enough to be on their own with the herd, but submitted enough A good bull knows how to submit.
Health - Not every calf that is strong is healthy. Good bulls are strong and healthy.
During nut-cutting time, ranchers evaluate these traits and decide who gets cut and who doesn’t. Castrating a steer decreases aggression, reduces their size, and allows the steers to be docile just like cows. It allows them to be with the the herd. Bulls have to be kept separate from the herd.
In the ancient world, castration was a form of punishment and was used to make slaves who were not dangerous, were docile and had no political or socioeconomic status. Often, when armies invaded a village or territory, they would turn young boys into eunuchs to serve the wealthy.
Eunuchs were not allowed to join the military, own property, marry, or pass down an inheritance to anyone. They had the lowest social status in society and were often replaced or killed without repercussions.
In gladiator arenas, deaths in the arena were meant to be the highest form of dishonor. Gladiators were often castrated and paraded around the arena after their death to signify the loss of their power and honor. Sometimes, a slave or criminal in the arena was impaled on a stake and told that they would be released only if they chose to castrate themselves.
Am I writing this to be gruesome? No. George Santaya said this, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
I believe that many men today have decided to become eunuchs without realizing it. We have lost our power and have no honor. Just like eunuchs.
Almost 1/3 of children in the US live without a father in their home. (US Census Bureau
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census)
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census)
85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes (Center for Disease Control)
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report)
71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. (Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Department of Corrections)
Fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. (US D.H.H.S. news release)
These are just the stats on whether a father is physically present or not. Not whether they are a good father, or a good man. That’s even rarer than having a father in the home.
A father who does not have relationship with their children is castrated.
A dad who is in the house, but is not a good father, or a good man is a man who has castrated himself.
A eunuch is a human who has no power, authority or influence. A man who has no power, authority or influence in their child’s life is by definition a eunuch.
A eunuch is too weak to fight.
Eunuch men don’t fight for themselves, their marriages or their kids.
Eunuch fathers make excuses for why they won’t, or don’t fight for their kids. Many of these excuses are reasonable. They’ve been through too much. “No one understands.” They’ve made too many mistakes and can’t recover. It’s all someone else’s fault. They no longer have relationship with their ex. Their kids are too old now. They live somewhere else. They have their own issues. They made mistakes in their past. Etc.
There has been a 700% increase in male incarcerations since the 1970’s. We can blame that on politics and external circumstances, or we can come to realize that average man has decided to castrate himself. Eunuchs are too weak to fight for themselves, so they can never fight for their families. Divorces in the U.S. peaked in the 1970’s and have stayed about the same since then. Men have withdrawn from their personal battles, so they’ve also withdrawn from their children’s lives, just like cowards withdraw from a battle. Most men won’t “fight the good fight” for themselves, their spirit, their soul, their body. So why would they fight for their marriage or their children?
What is our destiny worth? What is our wife’s worth? Our children’s? If we choose to give up the fight, we affect much more than ourselves, we affect the destinies of all of those around us.
If these things are not worth fighting for, we are eunuchs.
A eunuch can’t own property.
Eunuch men have no authority.
“A man’s greatest need is respect. A woman’s greatest need is security.” // Keith Craft
I’ve heard my dad say this a million times. For most men, the only security they wish to provide is financial. And many men can barely do that. Why? Because they are cowards unwilling to embrace any kind of fight.
Many men have no financial authority, because no matter how much money they make, they spend every dollar and live paycheck to paycheck. LendingClub recently said that one-third of people earning $250,000 or more annually currently live paycheck to paycheck. These high income earners have an average FICO score of 758. It is worse for those making less than $250,000 per year.
If a man has any authority, he may possess a small level or financial authority. Many men think that financial success is the majority of what a “good man” does. These men often believe this because their father - or some man in their life - did not provide financial security. So, they are “better than their dad.” They work hard and make a living, but are absolute zeroes spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. They may have a level of financial authority. But they are impotent in every other area of life.
Most “good Christian” do not lead their families to conduct “Kingdom business.” They abdicate their role as a spiritual leader and force their wives to be the spiritual leader of their family. That’s not just church attendance. That’s living a God-first life. Church attendance is a part of that, but so is giving our time, talent and treasure. Many men cannot submit to any form of authority, so they find themselves relinquishing the role of spiritual authority in their home. If they live in their home at all.
A man with spiritual authority is a man who will lead his family to be a Kingdom family. He knows God and will teach his children to know God. He will “train up a child in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6), God’s ways. He will take responsibility to pray over his children, teach them the Bible, demonstrate and teach Jesus-like character and will see and develop their God-given destiny. He will submit to Godly authority and teach his children to do the same.
Physical discipline is not about the gym. It’s about the discipline of what we do, where we go and what we give time to. An undisciplined man will live out the motto “do as I say and not as I do.” They will be a different man based on the room they happen to be in. This man has work friends that see him one way. Church friends that see him another way. Bar friends that see him another way. This man is a thermometer, not a thermostat. They will curse, but never in polite company. Or they’ll tell their children not to curse. They will tell you not to lie to them while they are lying to everyone around them. They will tell you not to drink after asking you to grab them a beer. They’ll tell you God and church are important, but stay home to watch a game. An undisciplined man takes shortcuts to avoid discomfort. He is concerned with looking good, but he is not good.
A physically disciplined man is a man who knows his actions set the course for everyone around him. If he curses, those around him will curse. If he is late, those around him will be late. What he does in moderation, his followers will do in excess. He is a thermostat, not a thermometer. He doesn’t raise or lower himself to the atmosphere, he sets the atmosphere. He understands that everything he does does is instruction to his children. Words are not enough. More is caught than taught. A man who has physical authority knows that his children will learn from his behavior even more than what he says or believes. This kind of man will choose discomfort that produces growth. A physically disciplined man is a man who is the right kind of role model.
There are passive men, there are confrontational men and all sorts in between. The man with equanimity and emotional control is rare. Millennial (my generation) fathers often confuse *vulnerability* with *emotional weakness.* To be vulnerable does not mean you cry all the time and “take a mental health day” every week. Weak men are insecure, judgmental, indecisive, selfish, inconsistent, and not in control of themselves. A weak man is often angry and will take is anger out on anything he sees as “weaker” than him. They often expect more out of others than they do out of themselves. Weak men are often the most violent men. They cannot control their impulses. They don’t even realize that other people’s emotions - including their children’s - control their emotions.
A strong man is confident, decisive, humble, faithful and demonstrates equanimity. A strong man is not seeking to be an alpha. A strong man is a man who lives by core values, can be counted on, and in control of his thoughts, attitudes and actions. He doesn’t allow situations to dictate his response. He is vulnerable, authentic, open and honest. But he also regulates his emotions well. A strong man teaches his children that pain is unavoidable and that what matters most is our response. An emotionally strong man understands that discipline is better than punishment. He is not emotionless, but he controls his emotions in a way that creates peace for those around him.
Men without mental authority are frequently controlled by outside influences. They refuse to take responsibility for what they can control. They create home environments marked by fear, uncertainty and doubt. They are afraid, so their children are afraid. They are depressed, so their children will become depressed. They are addicted to something, and their children will be too. Men without mental authority are men with fixed mindsets. Who think that “we are who we are.” They love their comfort zone. Mentally weak men are more concerned with “looking good” than “being good.” They expect perfection, not excellence. Ultimately, mentally weak men have a victim mentality and teach their kids to do the same. Fear is what dictates their choices.
A mentally strong father focuses on what he can control, and teaches his children to do the same. They create home environments where their children are brave in spite of fear, resilient in spite of uncertainty and daring in spite of doubt. Mentally strong men develop core values for their family and model their values. Mentally strong men are not “soft-sided” and don’t allow outside forces, including addictions to control them. They have growth mindsets and believe that their kids can “be and do anything they want, as long as they are willing to pay their price.”1 They choose discomfort and integrity over what is expedient. They teach their kids that they are not victims of life. But what they have in life will be the sum of their thoughts, attitudes and actions. A mentally strong father says that our circumstances may not be our fault, but they are our responsibility. Faith is what dictates a strong man’s choices.
A eunuch can’t get married.
Eunuch men are bad husbands.
Eunuch men have abdicated their role as a husband to their wife. Many fathers have decided to destroy the relationship they have with their children because of their feelings for their children’s mother. Eunuch fathers are “me first” type men who seek their own happiness and fulfillment over their wife’s needs. These are men who refuse to see marriage as a Biblical covenant and have no honor for their wife.
A eunuch can’t leave an inheritance.
Eunuch men make their kids start over.
A eunuch father may think that he is “providing for” his children and that will constitute an inheritance. Proverbs 13:22 says that “Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.”
The Hebrew word for inheritance is נַחֲלָה (naḥălâ). It means permanent possession that belongs to a person by ancient right. What are the most important things we can pass down to our kids? 70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation. So the answer can’t be money. What can we give our children that lasts forever? What does it mean to be an (insert your last name here)? That’s what our kids can have as a possession forever. In many ways, our name represents our identity. Your last name is the identity of your family.
When you give your children a great identity, you leave them a lasting inheritance.
My parents tried their best to raise my sisters and I with family core values. Honor. Positive Attitude. Generosity. Excellence. Self-leadership. We also had a family mission statement growing up. Never allow good to be robber of the best. How did we arrive at these values and this mission? My parents lived these things, and they wanted us to do the same. What you do is who you are. Who you are is the inheritance you leave your children.
What are the core values of your family? What is your mission statement?
My dad didn’t create these on his own, he worked with my mom to build them. But he led the way in correcting, directing and encouraging us to live them. When I was in my 20’s, my dad sat me, Keela and Whitney down and said, “There are a lot of good and bad things you can learn from me, but if you do anything to follow me, follow me in our family core values.” I have never heard of another father doing that. That’s what a permanent inheritance looks like. That’s identity.
My children are 4 and 2, they are being raised in a Craft home, where we never allow good to be robber of the best, and we strive to live the core values of the Craft family that my parents created. My parents have certainly left an inheritance to their children’s children. The inheritance of a great father to his grandchildren is identity, character and virtue.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” // Frederick Douglass
Too many fathers have been broken themselves. Decided to stay broken, and have found themselves incapable of building strong children.
this may feel too strong to you…
but I know how much this matters.
“Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” // Hebrews 13:17
The book of Hebrews teaches us that if we find ourselves in a leadership position, we are responsible for someone’s soul. That’s how serious being a parent, boss, leader or father is. If you have been given any position of leadership. God is entrusting you with someone’s soul. The your children’s mental and emotional health, as well as their ability to live life is up to you. That’s the importance of the role you and I play as fathers.
We may not have understood this before, but now we must because,
YOUR CHILDREN NEED YOU.
I have a father who decided not to become a eunuch. That doesn’t mean he’s perfect, or always makes the right call. But, I know my dad. I’ve seen his worst. I’ve seen the bad parts of him that other people don’t see. I’ve heard about it from others too. I’ve also seen his best. I’ve seen the greatness in him that others see (and don’t see). I’ve watched how he’s treated my mom, myself and my siblings. I’ve watched him as a CEO, Pastor and employer. Not only is there nothing about him that would cause me to disrespect him. He is my model for true personal greatness. I want to be the kind of husband he is. I want to be the kind of leader he is. I want to be the kind of father he is. Without him, I wouldn’t be anywhere near the husband, father or man that I have the opportunity to be.
When I was a kid my dad travelled all over the world preaching the gospel and doing this ⬆️ 40+ weeks per year with his team Strike Force.
He didn’t go fabulous places. He went to places like El Dorado, Kansas, Lake Charles, Louisiana and Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He would leave on Sunday and come home Thursday most weeks. I never felt like he wasn’t present or available. Whenever he was with us, he was fully present. Regardless of the weights he carried. If I walked into his office and he was working when he was home, he would stop whatever he was doing and focus on me. This extended into high school. One time I called him during the day to check in with him. He answered and said “hey Josh, what can I do for you? I’m sitting here with President Clinton, is there anything you’d like to say to him?” 🤯 True story. I hung up almost immediately.
When he was a kid and young in ministry, he would have people prophesy over him that he would be the next “Billy Graham.” He always wanted to be an evangelist to lead people to Jesus. In the mid 90’s, when he was around my age, he got a call from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Billy Graham was entering his late 70’s and didn’t want to travel as much anymore. They wanted my dad to begin touring with Billy Graham and eventually become the main face of future crusades. Literally, Billy Graham was calling to anoint the next Billy Graham. That’s how I would have seen it if I was him.
They took him on the road for a trial crusade and it went better than they believed it could. They wanted to begin immediately to work with him very closely. There was one catch. Instead of coming home every week, my dad would travel for 3 months straight, be home for 1 month and do it all over again. Instead of being home every week, my dad would be home every quarter. As he and my mom discussed it, he said “I’d rather build a legacy than build a ministry.” And walked away from the opportunity.
I didn’t hear that story until I was in my 20’s. And my dad never told it to me. Tad Tomaseski, one of his first “spiritual” sons told me that story. Tad taught me how to be a son. And he used that story to show me the kind of exemplary father my dad was. He also used it to show me the price I had to pay to follow my dad. I had to become a man of virtue someday. I had to decide to not be a eunuch.
don’t worry about getting “enough” right.
James’ father was an evangelist in his denomination, and by the time that James entered his teens his father was so successful that his schedule was booked 3 years in advance. Because of his father’s success, he was gone from home much of the time. When James was about 15 years old, he started becoming rebellious. His mother finally called her husband and told him that she believed that if things did not change they were going to lose their son. James’ father came home, called all of the pastors who had scheduled his meetings and cancelled them, and became the pastor of a small rural church so that he could devote his time to his wife and children.
James’ happiest memories are of times he spent with his father, hunting in the woods, and other occasions. In due course, James became a psychologist and eventually developed a world-wide Christian ministry. Long before he achieved success, his father died, which was a terrible blow to him. After many years had passed, James’ aunt, his father’s older sister, came to a family reunion and told James that she had something she wanted to tell him in private. She said, “James, just before your father died, he went on a 3- day fast, and he told me that God spoke to him. God told him that since he had been faithful and had laid down his ambition for the sake of his son that God was going to use his son in a world-wide ministry that would touch millions of people.” “So you see,” James Dobson said, “my ministry and my success has not had anything to do with me, it is the fruit of my father’s faithfulness and his prayers.”
Dr. James Dobson is the founder of Focus on the Family, author of 36 books, and has been called America’s most influential evangelical leader by the New York Times.
This story resonates with me so much. Not because I believe myself to be James Dobson. But because I had a dad that did this. Who knows what God will do with my life? There is a 100% chance, that whatever it is, would not happen without Keith Craft. I can be that kind of man. You can be that kind of man.
It’s not about getting everything right, but it’s about doing 2 things
giving God something to work with.
My dad has been a true man of God. He has sought to be a man after God’s own heart like David since he was a child. That doesn’t mean he’s sinless, it means that he got the first thing right. He has honored God with his life. His time, talent, treasure and legacy are all about the Kingdom. A man who is not a eunuch is a man who gives God something to work with.
giving people something to respect.
We’re human. We are going to be human in the future. It’s not about perfection. It’s about understanding that we all can do our part to be respectable. If we are people that honor God, we should seek to also honor others. A man who is not a eunuch is a man of honor.
We all have our excuses, reasons and explanations. Those things are irrelevant. Are you going to be castrated? Are you going to castrate yourself? Or are you going to be the man you know you need to be?
There is nothing else. No other option. Men with excuses, reasons and explanations are eunuchs.
It’s nut-cutting time, bull or steer?
You don’t get to decide now. The life you live will demonstrate your decision.
My dad used to say this to me every night before I went to bed. I say the same to my children now.