When I lived in New York, I wondered at the lucrative business of counterfeiting. Street corners bustled with enterprising money-makers peddling cheap copies of popular, high end products. You could easily get, for knock-off prices, purses, jewelry, even sneakers that on the surface looked like the very expensive, high quality brands. You could walk away and fool friends and onlookers with these counterfeits.
I often smiled at the name, Ibanez, on my electric guitar. Somehow the company had managed to write the logo so it looked just like Fender, and the coloring screamed “Stratocaster.” My Ibanez was a pretty good guitar, but it was no Fender Stratocaster. From a distance, though, you would think it was.
The bad part of all this New York City hustle, of course, (now reproduced on the searchable streets of Amazon) was how it devalued the real thing. People would fail to recognize the authentic product, which often meant, they would fail to recognize quality.
In the same way, people today often cannot celebrate real gender for the simple reason that they have bought its counterfeits. A woman’s history with abuse can render her unable to approve of real masculine power. A man’s over-bearing mother can make him tone-deaf to a wife’s wise counsel. I meet many people who seem so harmed by something called, “purity culture” that they cannot even hear me speak the word “purity” with good intent. That is a great loss, since purity is actually a nice thing.
Recently, after a sermon on gender, a listener approached me with, “Not exactly connected to the sermon, but what is your opinion of Andrew Tate’s impact on young men?”
I first thanked my listener for saying “not exactly connected to the sermon…”, thus distinguishing the counterfeit from the authentic masculinity the sermon offered. I don’t know a great deal about internet influencer, Andrew Tate, but from what I’ve seen, he preaches a superficial positive thinking and a machismo unenlightened by the gospel. And so, as with other such movements, there might be some good advice about being strong and getting your life together in there that is mixed with selfishness and disrespect or abuse of women. So, my opinion? My principal reaction is grief at how such counterfeits out there obscure the Bible’s real message on masculinity. In my view, anything that doesn’t follow the Biblical definitions is a likely harmful knockoff, maybe inspiring young men while demeaning women or vice-versa.
I guess this is the way of evil. Satan’s scheme does not bring a new word but cuts a counterfeit from the previous, “Did God say…” It obscures the high quality of God’s gift.