Q&A With "No More Christian Nice Guy" Author Paul Coughlin
- Tuesday, December 06, 2005
This change will foster wider and more powerful expressions of love. Women and children will be happier and safer.
CB: What are the common sources of passivity in our culture?
Coughlin: There are three common sources: A culture that at best is confused about masculinity – at worst vilifies it; a dangerous caricature of "gentle Jesus meek and mild" that is as fictitious as "The Da Vinci Code"; Childhood traumas that create fear and anxiety, which are brought into adulthood, often undetected.
CB: You say that our culture is prejudiced against men. Give an example of what you mean by that.
Coughlin: An American retailer has made a fortune selling a clothing line that demeans boys. It even encourages violence against them. His T-shirts read: "Boys Are Stupid. Throw Rock at Them." No one in the major news media has denounced this work. Imagine if you changed just one word and made shirts that said girls, lesbians, Hispanics, even cats are stupid? The outcry would be tremendous. But it’s okay to demean boys. After all, they are men in the making, and men are what’s wrong with the world.
CB: What does passivity do to men?
Coughlin: Passivity makes them angry losers in life. It also makes them dangerously dishonest, unreliable, and can even lead to outbursts of tremendous anger and violence.
It fills men with self-loathing and gets them to mistake their failure in life for God’s sovereignty. They blame God for their wasted lives when God has already given them a plan to escape their passive and fearful lifestyle. Many of these men have not been shown this escape route until now.
CB: What role does fear play in passivity?
Coughlin: Fear is the major reason why they are passive. Fear causes people to live small, thinking their life will have less troubles when they do. Their life has more troubles when they refuse to enter into redemptive conflict.
Fear also means they will not be able to give or receive deep love. This makes them unattractive to potential spouses and unable to keep a wife when they get one. They can’t fully receive God’s love either, or love Him in return.
When fear is in the driver’s seat of your life, forget about obtaining the abundant life Jesus said He came to bring us, but also warned is hard to find. Perfect love castes out fear (1 John 4:18). But the opposite is also true: fear casts out love.
CB: What’s your advice to people who realize they are a passive Christian Nice Guy?
Coughlin: There are two primary actions they must take:
1. Discard the church’s current caricature of the Nice Nazarene. That is a work of fiction and a powerful source of false expectations.
2. Understand the roll that fear is playing in their lives. It’s best to talk with someone who knows the multifaceted dynamics of fear. Trained counselors are a great place to begin.
CB: What’s your advice to the women in the lives of passive and dishonest Christian Nice Guys?
Coughlin: The problems women face as they relate to the Christian Nice Guy problem is the subject of a whole other book that I’m currently working on. These women are in a tough place, and I admire how much they care about their men.
First, they should understand that the destructive passivity they witness probably began before meeting their Christian Nice Guy (CNG). So in most cases its not their fault. This brings immediate relief.
Second, never shame your CNG. This will push him further underground.
Third, encourage him to confront the fear that controls his behavior. My testimony can help. Tell him about Christianniceguy.com.
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