What Are We Seeking?

By Sloan Milliken


I was on a road trip to the mountains this summer when one of my friends started asking me about my work with KRC.

“What are some of the topics you focus on?” he asked.

I told him that as the English editor, I usually had the freedom to pick the topic for the section and that for the upcoming issue we were going to focus on authentic masculinity.

“What is your definition for that?” he replied after a short pause.

I froze inside. Even though I knew I picked the topic because I wanted to explore the matter and discover my own conclusions, I suddenly felt like I needed to appear to be an expert on the topic. What followed was perhaps one of the most inauthentic attempts at an answer I’ve ever given. I stammered and stumbled through a response, basically embarrassing myself while making no sense whatsoever. It was a disaster. Later, my other friend that was in the car said that when he realized what was happening, he cringed for me.

Thankfully, later on in the day I was able to talk about my embarrassment, and we pretty much joked about it and laughed it off. After the trip, though, the question still remained, and knowing I would see my friend again soon, I had to come up with a definition.

As I thought about what authentic masculinity might be, I remembered that when God created humankind, he made us in his image male and female. To put it differently, gender is God’s idea, designed to display him. I took comfort in that reality. It also gave me a key.

I realized that attempting to live out our gender in a genuine way is a lot like the rather famous maxim about happiness— that if we live trying to find it, we never will. As men try to be authentically masculine and women try to be authentically feminine, I think at best people end up living out caricatures of gender, even “biblical” ones.

If we are going to fully become what God designed us to be, we cannot seek self-actualization. While those things can be good, our focus must be on living in loving union with God and expressing his life to those around us. As we do, we will live out what we were created to be. Jesus said it best in Matthew 16:25— “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Applied to gender, I don’t think authentic masculinity (or femininity) is some ideal to strive for. Instead, it is the natural and glorious expression of a life lived in wholehearted union with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As you read this issue, whether you are male or female, I pray you will be able to drop the hyper-pragmatic, self-help attitude of our culture and yearn more deeply for the life of God to be expressed in you and those you love. Enjoy!

Much love and many blessings,

Sloan Milliken



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