Ambassadors For Business With Bob Willbanks

A podcast with Vince Miller and Bob Willbanks addressing the topic of manhood.



I was told that being a man was being told they don't talk about our feelings or not. It's a. It's a very macho culture. I never saw my dad cry. You bury emotion as much as you can until you physically can't hold it anymore, and then you go somewhere privately and have yourself a little cry. I was always very much belittled for any sort of display of emotion, you know, but back home, if somebody looks at you the wrong way or bumps in you the wrong way, you kind of have to do something about it because it's testing your manhood. Don't back down from fights. Don't be afraid to pick fights there. A lot of violence where I'm from, I've had my nose broken three times. When you feel threatened is when you blow up. It's when you try to get that swagger on this just so broey and unrealistic. If I could instill fear in others, then they would see me as a man.

Welcome to the ambassadors for business podcast with Bob Willbanks. Bob Is the president of AFP, is leading the way to help business leaders see the partnership between faith and work. Now, here's.

Today. I'm so happy to welcome Vince Miller, speaker, author and founder of resolute. Vince, welcome to ambassadors.

Thanks for having me, man. You're looking pretty tan today. Just so you know. Everybody out there needs to hear that because he can't see you. You look great.

Well, you know, it's one of those things. I always was told that I've got that face for radio, so proven that I think you've got a face for TV, so that's why a bunch of time on the lacrosse fields of Indiana will do to you. Nobody says you golfing a lot, bob. No, haven't swung a club all year. So. So then we were talking a little bit here before we started the podcast and it was interesting how things were transpiring and coming about and I think one of the biggest questions that came out of our discussion was what's happening with men here today? And specifically feminization of men. It's almost an expectation that's been put over us. Society is doing it and so forth, so maybe spend a moment to go through that.

This is a big topic in our world today. I think we're really challenged with this one because we were living between a couple of big tensions. Of course, you know, you come from an old past where all the machismo of a man, the marble man, the Guy Riding on horseback, you know, wielding guns at his side, killing everything in sight and using his macho persona to kind of force people and a strong hold people into falling under his lead is kind of a thing of the past almost. Right. It's almost not cool or pc to do that anymore. And of course, I think we slipped into allowing the pendulum to swing all the way the other way. Right. To a point where we're kind of feminizing men a little bit today and, and I think it's forcing us to ask questions about what is it mean to really be a man. Right.

Absolutely. Yeah. I do the laundry. Yeah. I, you know, I do too. I actually, I do the laundry in my house. I do all of it. It's unbelievable. My wife loves it. Sometimes we cut the grass too. That's a form of manhood today. That's like a really, really cool to hear like all these guys out on Saturday morning mowing the grass, you know, killing grass. That's what we do today. So it looks, it looks a lot different, you know, so it definitely does. And I liked the way I fold my shirts better than what my wife did. I took that part over. That's a control issue. Totally. So that's really the topic and what it really comes down to it is why men fail, you know, where do they fail or what are you seeing in your men's ministry and what you've been dealing with day to day.

Yeah. You know, so I speak to men's groups across the country, just came back from New York last night actually speaking to a group of men out in Schroon Lake, actually. Beautiful spot. And you look out at these men and uh, you kind of see the issues on their faces and the challenges that they're facing. And I think while it looks like the challenges they face are these incessant sins and repetitive sins that they're facing in their life, uh, the challenge of what it means to find their place in the world to find their identity. I think that the issues go deeper than that. I think it actually goes back to what we're just talking about. I think we struggled to really understand what it means to be a man. I mean, you gotta think about what that question means. What is the real answer to that question?

And I think women and men alike don't understand what it means. I mean, if I looked you right in the eye right now and I asked you or anybody else for that matter what it means to be a man, I think you would have a tough time coming up with an answer seriously. Like if I looked you in the eye right now and I forced you to answer it, it might be embarrassing for you. Because I think in our mind we think like a for a while that maybe it's about growing up, right? That being a man is about growing up, but I don't think that's all of it because in small children I see factors that I wish I would see in my life today, that there are certain characteristics of a child that are beautiful and and it's not about being the opposite of womanhood because I think perfect womanhood and perfect manhood share similar qualities.

Now there are places that it's unique, but it's not about being the opposite of woman. Therefore being this machismo, strong fit, perfect well spoken man being a gentlemen, right? It's also not. I think just about pursuing virtue. Aristotle in Neil Mankey and ethics talked about virtue and he had these four virtues that he believed made a man, and by the way, that's one of the great works of all time on manhood. Yet that kind of machismo or virtue is sought after by like going after in charging after it and finding the courage and embracing a and doing it of your own self will. I think there has to be another answer, and honestly, I believe the answer is found in Jesus Christ. To be quite honest. I think what happened way back in the garden was; the man blew it. You know we were given a chance. God gave us all creation.

He spoke everything into existence for us. He handed it to us. He gave us one moral rule and then they're in that moment. He saw that there was a void in our life or relationship. He provides us with the woman and he then tells the man, he can speak anything into existence, give it definition and creation by naming things gives them power and authority and then they're in the middle of the garden. Woman engages in a conversation with a serpent. I know it's weird. It's not. It's an oddball one man. You know I'd always bothers me, but engages in a conversation with the serpent and then man sets there and does nothing and says nothing right given, given all power over all things does nothing and says nothing. He advocates power it's apathy. Indifference in action, you know, does nothing with it and they're in that moment. I think perfect manhood falls apart and then throughout the Bible we see these small depictions of manhood, but no perfect man until God decides to provide the perfect man, the son of Man Jesus Christ, and yet we look at that guy and we over feminized that guy and we'd give them shape that he didn't really have and we have to take a deep look at him to really find the definition of what it looks like.

You had me thinking there for awhile when you were almost putting me on the spot.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a hard question, isn't it?

It really is. And I'm sure it got the wheels turning for quite a few men in our audience and women alike. You know, thinking about their man and who is their perfect man, right. One thing that that caught me, I think the one thing man did his blame at that point and instead of owning up to that situation and truly leading, now we put the blame, which, you know, it almost goes back to the quote you were talking about. Before we get started, can you reference that real quickly and talk a little?

So the quote was actually Tony Evans, he said something like years ago, men threw in the towel, the woman picked it up and they're not giving it back so easy and I think it's a profound quote of the tension that live between men and women today. We see the tension between men and women at home, right? I mean every marriage is struggling through a little bit of tension. We see a little bit of tension between men and women in the church. I know that to be true because I talked to major women's ministries and to understand their success versus men's ministry success and the Church Day and we see the major tension between men and women in the workplace as well. And I think we're trying to carve out our identity at the same time. We're trying to discover our calling and our gifts and uh, there's a little stress there and because we don't understand, I think what perfect womanhood and perfect manhood look like, we bumped into each other once in a while, right?

We're, we're clashing. I've had arguments in my home, right, right around these same tensions, right? And there's people listening to that, those arguments. So if women are vying for power, men vying for power, how does it look to vie for that power? How do we work this stuff out? Yeah, in the garden. Yeah. Everything fell apart. It's just, uh, it, it literally happened. But it's a metaphor for how these things happened in our marriage every day, right? In our workplaces, everyday in our churches every day. And what happens at the end of it is we sin manifests in, right? And then what happens is we blame. But what was really interesting about those genesis text here is, the man wasn't blaming the woman. He was blaming God. Correct? The woman that you gave me, right? We tend to laugh about that situation, but that's not a funny situation. It really was a man problem.

I believe man is the one that blew it. Woman engaged. Yes. But man was given the rule. He was given the authority, he was given the power to speak the power to, to define creation. And he didn't put up. He shut up in that moment and unfortunately because he didn't speak up, we get, we get to live with the catastrophe of that original sin that we continue to repeat over and over and over again. So yeah, it's a struggle trying to figure out how we're gonna navigate this one, right? Absolutely. All environment. So where do you see men today falling down and you know, so here's what's happening I think in the world today. So these guys guys are manifesting difficulty and trying to figure out how do they find their way. I think, you know, I talked to men everyday who are struggling in their marriage to try to find their voice again so they get charged at church or at work or somewhere to lead, lead, lead, lead, lead, and the toughest place to lead is at home, right?

The way that I think women hear it unfortunately, is, have dominion over me, which isn't right, right? That is not what God intended. It's not about having a domain yet, is trying to figure out a way that we can mutually live together, influence one another appropriately and take the position of a servant and serve our wives and lead through that, but that is tough for men to navigate because it rarely gets modeled for them. I mean, think about it. Everything that's rewarded in our world is rewarded by authority, control, dominion power, and exerting it over other people and understanding a posture of servant leadership which was modeled through Jesus Christ. Philippians two, right? It is tough for us to really understand and I think women got to give guys a chance. Men got to step up and do something and we've got to work together to kind of understand what this dance looks like, what this waltz looks like together, and of course, it manifests itself through scent.

What happens is we jump into it, boom, we fall down, we make a mistake. We jumped into it again, boom, we make another mistake, and then what happens? I think for most men, because I'm a guy, I'm going to speak for men here is we try it. We try. We try it and then of course we experienced shame or regret or mistakes and then we self disqualify ourselves and then we quit trying, right? Right. And then that sin continues to spiral out of control and because we start advocating our leadership and we start giving up and that's what I see happening in life. You know, while there's a lot of sins that men are living out today, unfortunately, like let's just take one. One is pornography, of course. I think men exhibit that because they're looking for power and control in relationships with women. They don't know how to live it out, so they live it out in a fantasy world and they pretend that they're in power and control getting the things that they want because they don't know how to do it instead of a real human relationship with anybody. I mean, you think about that. That'll bend your mind for awhile. Right? These guys out there that are living out fantasy relationships with women because they don't understand how to do it in real life and we've got to do life better. We gotta figure this thing out. We've got a deal with it, we've got to talk about it and we've got to have some mean, controversial conversations about it until we do right and kind of get a little rough and get some edge around it.

You're listening to the ambassadors for business podcast.

So it really just gets me to thinking about that illustration from Tony Evans, what the towel, how men and women are grabbing onto this towel and it's turned into this tug of war versus, you know, handing you the towel and saying, hey, here's a place where you're definitely much better suited to handle this task or whatever it might be in life and you're handing it back to me and we're just passing it back and forth and sharing the towel, kind of intimate relationship. Right? And, and getting better with each other versus the tug of war that it's really turned into. Right? Where you know, I, I what I kind of see as we start pulling on that thing really hard back and forth and my tendency is I'll pull back really hard and then that gets you pulling hard and then I'll just let go and let you fall. So on that subject, we've had PK listening to us, men banter back and forth and we're in here ready to go with the little bit of that toss in the towel to pk to get her impression of what's going on here.

Well, here it goes, uh, uh, for our podcast right now. But I love the towel illustration because I think the issue there too, it comes in so many times that maybe the towel is put down, women have picked it up, but then men say, well, I want to have the towel for this, but I don't want it for these other 20 things. You can have the tower for that, but for this, this, this, and this. This is something that I as a man should have the towel. And that's that tug of war that you're referring to as well. I see it all the time. Maybe in church life, you look at who volunteers the most. The women are always there. Maybe they have more time. Maybe they don't used to be. They had more time. I don't know if that's always the case now, but for but women are always out there and willing to grab the towel. That's a role, kind of a soft illustration, but then in the workforce, women went to work years and years ago, had to help out the families. The men were gone. Whatever the case might be during war time, they're not going to give that towel back now because they enjoy earning a living. They enjoy growing and developing and becoming leaders. So there's an interesting tension there. These are really hard waters to navigate.

Yeah, I love what pk saying is. I think that where we navigate this is thinking and expecting we should have it only where we want it, not where we need to give. You know, my, my wife owns a small business, very successful or her business has continued to grow. She's far more successful than I am monetarily, just so you know, and it's kind of changed the dynamic of our family. It means that once in a while and on Saturday I'm doing the laundry. In fact, I do the laundry all the time. That was not a joke. I actually do that. I don't mow the lawn. I make my kids mow the lawn because I hate mowing the lawn. I think it's the poorest form of manhood known to suburban society today. I just hate doing it, but I don't mind doing the laundry, you know what I mean?

And because my wife does work a little bit more, it means that I've got to give a little bit more in some other areas, but that's a hard dance for some men, you know? And, and PK, I think you're exactly right. I think unfortunately the male ego sometimes does get in the way thinking we can only lead in a certain way. And what it means to lead is I get to make all the decisions and everybody else's just subordinate to me. Right. And that is not what leadership means. If leadership had something to do about that, then when we read Philippians two, when Christ gave up everything right for, for walking on this earth so that he could provide us with everything, right? We would understand that much differently, but it's about something much different and we're just sometimes unwilling to see it through that lens or that perspective. So

one of the, one of the things that's a resonating with me right now is we use the yolk a lot and what we talk about with ambassadors for business. And I think there's some interesting parallels here. If we look at that relationship between a man and the woman and you know, Christ saying, take on my yard for my burden is light and what it means when we actually take on that yoke that we actually get an exponential return on that. And I think if we can unlock this, that relationship between man and woman and where we visualize ourselves being yolked together with the burden of life that were pulling behind us, set a common goal and be working toward it and building that intimate relationship with each other. So we know when to lead and we know when to rest. Is that a picture that helps?

I think it does and I think another challenge to that as well is when you're leading, you know, I think of the example of Jesus. I mean he was, he was pretty direct. He didn't mince words ever, but yet he also lead with compassion and empathy and concern and care and kind of some of those heart issues, which I think again, is a challenge for guys to throw all of that together and maybe it's easier at work, but when you come home and you're still going to be the leader in your home, then you have all these other things to employ as well. Then that's, I think that's a challenge. Not everybody can do all that because they're like, Paul, if I do that, I'm a west. No, I'm the leader. I'm the man. The woman is the one who has to use compassion. So that's my question to everybody can, can a guy be compassionate and empathetic and, and have heart things going on and it's still manly.

So you just said something that I think is a mistake that most men make. She said, I am the man, right? It's what does that mean right there? You know? It's like we think that in our. Right, exactly. We think in our mind that I'm the man and we put this much ece mode. Deep tone behind it that says I declare authority over all things is not what it means to be a man. We've been mistaken that there's only one man that's God and we are subject to everything else. Absolutely. God is the man. We are not right. And we have to learn that in our relationship with Christ. I think that's where that yoke image comes in, especially in relationship with other people, right? We're yolked together in community, but I think the challenge is kind of understanding kind of place position what that looks like in relationship to one another.

So take a guy, he goes off to work. He feels like he conquers his domain, he given authority is given a title. He's given things to oversee processes, people, whatever it might be. And he has power and control over that domain, right? He feels that he comes home, different rules, you know what I mean? Completely different roles. And I gotta tell you after raising now three kids in my home being married a little over 21 years, I've come to discover that if I can lead a home, I can lead anywhere because that is an environment that's constantly changing where I have to earn the respect of people that follow my leadership and I'm praying and hoping that they will listen to me. Maybe because if you could leave it at home, you can lead anywhere, right? Because it's a much more delicate dance of being yoked together.

Kind of like you were talking about. It's, it's, uh, there's, there's a yoking there that is very unique. And when it has synergy, it is very powerful. Right? Very powerful. But it's hard to dance through it and we have to be willing to give and take. Like my grandmother used to say, marriage is a lot of give and take. You give somebody, you take a lot. And it means that we have to position ourselves to play the role of a servant and kind of understand how to navigate that. It isn't, isn't just a static environment like at sometimes is at work. Environment is sometimes a very static place, but you come home, kids get older, people change, people have good days and bad days, and they make assumptions at home we do the same thing. It's a volume environment where things may fall apart and we have to extend a lot of grace.

Mercy, love, forgiveness all the time. And so if we can figure out what it means to live like Jesus did in Philippians two, to become humble, right? To serve, become obedient, even to death. That's what Jesus did, giving up his throne in heaven to come to serve us down below so that right, so that we could receive greater things. If we could discover what that means in Philippians two, I think that we would discover really what it means not only to be a man, but to be a woman, to be a child of God. That's where God wants to redefine us. I think that's the solution. It's not really necessarily being a man or being a woman, it's about becoming a child of God. Therefore God defining us. Right? Completely redefining us as a human being. Right? We are now, as Paul said, a servant of God. We're not man. We are not a woman, but we are something new. A new creation unfolded out of the skin man and woman, child

of God. Common ground. Exactly. Amazing. Yup. Yup. New rules. So steps that you would take. So we've got men and women out there obviously in many, many cases I think on a daily basis, their struggles even in what I would consider to be a blessed marriage that I have. What would be some steps that you would recommend?

Well, uh, I gotta tell you recently, I don't know if you guys caught this, maybe PKA did. Maybe you did, but recently Beth Moore wrote an article on her website, living proof ministries, I think is what it is. So Beth Moore wrote a letter she had a discussion with, with stetser, who's a well known church planner. Theologian had a conversation with stetser. They were talking about her experience in the Southern Baptist movement are right as a woman, and she jokingly told stetser that she wasn't going to speak about it until she was on her deathbed because then she thought maybe then people would listen, but she wrote this letter and you can go right to her webpage. It'll show right up. It's a leading post. It has been the topic of much discussion the last couple of weeks, but it's called a letter to my brothers and she talks about what it felt like to basically fall under the role of the leadership of men in the Southern Baptist movement and I thought it was pretty well written and very heartfelt and I thought it was very interesting for me as a man to hear the heart of a woman like that.

I actually read that in a church service in a couple of weeks ago and I was. Women were moved to tears when I read it and I got to tell you this, you know what? We need to have more dialogues like that. We need to talk about this stuff, not hold onto it to our death bed. We need to have dialogues like this, like Christian men and women need to be talking about the struggles that they're having in the marketplace and their marriages in their life. Shoot. I talked to two guys today who are struggling in their marriage to find voice in their marriage and they feel like they're getting beat up by their wives and their marriage, but they're not talking to anybody because they don't know how to find their way through that influence and they're ashamed of it. Therefore they bury it, right? They bury it.

Going to stop burying this stuff. We gotta talk about it like just like we're doing right here. We're starting to talk about it. I think women need to speak up like PK and speak up about how she feels as a leader in her world some days and we need to speak up about how we feel in our world some days and we might avoid this me to voice that's out there right now that let's just say sometimes that's good, but sometimes it can have a really strong negative edge to it that isn't healthy. That leads to diversity between people. We need to say those things but bring people together and have conversations, but I don't know what you think bk, but I'd love to hear your opinion. What do you think needs to happen?

I think the difficulty comes in in being honest about that because there's repercussions. That's why Beth Moore wasn't going to talk about it because now she probably will be shunned by the denomination unless other women, other strong Christian women. It's kind of like they have to form a me too thing. I get what you're saying and I agree, but I've watched Beth Moore. I've watched this over the years fully understanding what kind of male authority she falls under and understanding the denomination and seen her in public settings where she can't go into a setting unless her husband's sitting in the front row. She can't teach men and there's many churches that do that today and I've. I've had terrible things happen to close friends by just churches taking one or two scriptures and working at into this male dominant authority kind of mindset. It's terrible and it's devastating and there's great loss and there's great pain. I see it, I understand it from both sides. I don't necessarily agree with it, but there's repercussions in the Christian community especially. We shoot our wounded and we have no qualms about doing it and it and it's painful.

Yeah, I think that's. That's good. And after right there, that's where it makes this whole thing difficult is someone asked to make some sacrifices to really begin the conversation. Right. And then we lose things. We lose some influence in the short term hopefully to gain some things in the longterm. So just having a dialogue about it I think is helpful. I mean, that's where it all began.

You know, I see that coming again, back to that yoke situation, you know, we're, we're, we're talking through something like this. Would that Yolk, if we actually do submit, right? It comes down to that submission and that, that requires trust that you're not going to just get, you know, someone's not going to take that. Y'All can just start dragging you around at 60 miles an hour, right? I mean, none of us like that. It's that power and domination that you're talking about, Vince and being that servant leader,

you're listening to the ambassadors for business podcast.

You came out with a book recently called 30 virtues that build a man and it's a conversational guide for mentoring any man camp on that just for a moment and how it could apply into some of the conversation we're having today to help men really discover who they are.

The basis of the book, by the way, is to create a conversational guy between two guys. I think it's easy to get two guys together. I really believe it. I believe men are all over the world today, are getting together over coffee, over lunch, over dinner, even sometimes spears, just to have conversations about life and business and relationships and family and kids and all that kind of stuff. So at 30 virtues that build a man is a conversational guide, 30 virtues, two page chapters. The creative conversation between two guys could be a father and son, brother, brother, man to man, business partner, a business partner or whatever it is. It doesn't really matter, but it gives them a conversational guide to talk about. I think meaningful virtues, things that really matter. So in essence you just kind of worked through the book. It uses a question asking pedagogy is what it's called.

Just a question asking the process to allow two guys to tell stories to one another. And what I imagined that men would do across the country and world was they would sit down with one another and they would just dialogue about life. You know? I created the book because I personally had the passion to be mentored and I found that what they really needed was a plan and a process to make it possible and so I throw this down in front men now saying, Hey, look, just have a conversation with another man. Ask him either to mentor you or invite somebody else into a mentoring conversation. We need men to be mentoring other men and the only way we're gonna ever find out what manhood means is to tell stories about it. Write stories about our challenge and our journey into manhood and we need to start talking about it and yeah, some of them are mistakes that we made a lot of mistakes in my life, but some of them are successes that we've had down the road and you know, I need to hear those to learn them, to understand them from great men.

I want to sit down with friends that are ceos and say, look, here's a book. Walk me through these conversations right here. 30 versus a building man. Let's talk about vision and values and mission. What it looks like to to lead and serve people in life and topics like that that get guys talking. And can you imagine if some of your ambassadors for business each had a mentor as someone mentoring them? I mean think about the power of that. It's all those guys want, right? And all those women want is they want relationships where they can be mentored and have conversations that are meaningful and so I'm just praying that God's will use this and in their businesses that they'll use it with friends, that they'll use it with neighbors and they'll use it as conversation starters to get relationships built so that God will be glorified in the end.

I love that and you know, the one thing that I always come back to on those types of things then said, I think you've said it before, is you don't have to have all the answers to enter into these mentoring relationships. It's just a matter of actually taking the time to share into another person's life so they can grab this out at my website, be forward slash 30 t h I r t y, just spill it out, be forward slash 30 and I'd love for guys to pick it up. Give it away as a gift book. Encourage your son was he goes off to college to build a mentoring relationship. Someone in the military is going off for deployment, someone in prison, it doesn't really matter. Just use it as a tool to invite men into mentoring conversations. Then thank you so much for your time here today. It's been great. Getting to know you a little bit better and also to hear more about how we can start to share that tall versus fight over the towel and PK. Thank you so much for you. Taking the time out of your busy day to come to share your perspective on this as well. Thanks for joining us for the ambassadors for business podcasts with Bob Willbanks. Some more information about this ministry. Go to our website at ambassadors for business that com.