One of the topics you’ll hear being talked about at all levels here at Kasana these days is that of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (or, our abbreviation- BMW). It is a topic we are studying and learning, teaching to our children, teaching the community through Musana FM, and sharing with many people and churches outside of Kasana in the hopes of inspiring a national dialogue on the topic. But why is biblical manhood and womanhood an important topic for a children’s center?
As we continue to work with orphaned and abandoned children, and see countless other organizations in Uganda do the same, we’ve observed that instead of the orphan population decreasing with each generation, it is actually mushrooming. We believe the reason is that while the symptoms are being treated, the root of the problem is seldom addressed.
Fatherlessness, unless it is addressed and healed at the heart level, produces more fatherlessness. Food, clothing, and education are all excellent and needed, but they cannot deal with the deep heart wounds, fears, and belief systems of those broken by abandonment and the loss of parents. Nor can these good things stop broken and wounded people from hurting the next generation or robbing future generations of their parents because of the consequences of their life choices. In addition to the long term devastating effects of the “orphan heart” on a nation, the definitions of manhood and womanhood that each culture carries and often produce more orphaned, abandoned, or at least un-invested-in or uncared for children. Too often children with no parents (or with uninvolved or unequipped parents) wander into adulthood, not sure who they are or what it means to be a real man or woman- but desperate to prove that they are one! So, they look for the clearest cultural definition they can find, and do their best to prove they meet whatever the standard is. The fruit of this is evident everywhere we look.
At all of the New Hope’s sites, the staff believe it is time to stop treating only the symptoms (though we will always do our best to “treat” them as well!), but to also become proactive in addressing the causes. The children we are raising now will not remain children. They are the nation’s future men, women, husbands, wives, and parents. They are Uganda’s future creators of whole, healthy, families, or the future creators of more uncared for children who belong to no one! We must give them a godly definition of manhood and womanhood (and singleness, marriage, fatherhood/motherhood) if we ever hope to break the deadly cycles that surround us!
And thus our intense study of this topic in the Word of God- what does it mean to be a man or a woman? What was the Creator’s original design? How was the original design marred by sin (and twisted differently in different cultures), and how can Christ’s work on the cross bring redemption? What has God put of His image in each man or woman, and why? How can these truths relate cross-culturally? How can His Word and Spirit bring life and healing to broken lives (including our own!!) and cause this next generation to be life-giving and full of hope?
Needless to say, we have much to learn, and at times, I feel like we’re the blind leading the blind. But, praise God for His Word that gives us all we need for life and godliness, that transcends all cultures, that gives hope and redemption!
Jennie Dangers, Children’s Spiritual Development
Photos courtesy of Geoff Britton