All men are hardwired with certain instincts that can either be a help or a hindrance to them as they seek to become the men God has designed them to be.
Our guest on this episode is Chase Replogle, pastor of Bent Oak Church in Springfield, MO and the host of the Pastor Writer Podcast. We’re discussing his new book The Five Masculine Instincts: A Guide to Becoming a Better Man.
We’ll discuss what each of these five instincts are and how better understanding them can help us develop our character as Christian men.
Listen to the Conversation
Meet Our Guest
Chase Replogle is the pastor of Bent Oak Church in Springfield, Missouri. Chase is the author of The 5 Masculine Instincts. His work draws from history, psychology, literature, and a rich narrative approach to Scripture to help readers think more deeply about faith and life.
Enjoy this episode?
Be sure to subscribe & Leave a Review!
- Visit ChaseReplogle.com
- Check out the Pastor Writer Podcast
- Pick up a copy of The Five Masculine Instincts
- Take the Instinct Profile assessment
Watch Our Conversation
Pick Up A Copy!
Through this book you’ll discover your own instincts are neither curse nor virtue. They are the experiences by which you develop a new and better instinct—an instinct of faith. By exploring sarcasm, adventure, ambition, reputation, and apathy, The 5 Masculine Instincts shows you how to better understand yourself and how your own instincts can be matured into something better.
View Episode Transcript
Clay Kraby: All men are hardwired with certain instincts that can either be a help or a hindrance to them as, they seek to become the men that God has designed them to be. Well, our guest on this episode of the podcast is Chase Replogal. He’s the pastor of Bent Oak Church in Springfield, Missouri. He’s also a writer.
He’s the host of the Pastor Writer podcast, and he has a new book titled The Five Masculine Instincts, a Guide to Becoming a Better Man. In this conversation, we’re going to discuss what each of these instincts are and how better understanding them can help us to develop our Christian character as men.
Could you introduce yourself a little bit? Talk about yourself, your family, your ministry and what that’s looked like recent years?
Chase Replogle: Sure. So, first, and foremost, I’m a pastor, so I do some writing as well. But most, of the writing that I do flows out of being a pastor. That’s my commitment. So I’ve got a congregation that I lead in Springfield, Missouri, and a couple of kids, young kids, eight and six. And so we stay busy with their lives and, a little bit of land. We’ve got some horses and enjoy outside right now, chickens, which have proved to be, a, worthwhile investment. So we get fresh eggs every morning. So we stay busy, but, really just loving what God’s, the work that he’s got before us and doing it together as a family.
Clay Kraby: That’s wonderful. Now, we’ll get into the book here in just a moment, but can you share, like, what is the Pastor Writer podcast all about? Who is your kind of target listener? Why should they check that out when they get a chance?
Chase Replogle: Yeah. So the podcast is coming up on 200 episodes. The beginning of the podcast, I talked a lot more about writing, what it meant for, me to be pursuing writing as a pastor. But these days, the podcast is really just conversations about the books I’m reading, interesting books that have been coming out. So, all of the episodes are usually authors who have new books. We talk about the book, talk about their writing. There’s usually a few writing questions in there, but the podcast is for anybody, in my opinion, that’s just trying to ask the question, what should I read next? Or what would be a good book on this or that topic? Hopefully those conversations help, you answer that question.
Clay Kraby: Yeah, I’m sure you’ve discovered what I’ve discovered, which is if you want to get a chance to talk to authors and about books you should start yourself a podcast.
Chase Replogle: Yeah, it’s definitely a hack to get to have interesting conversations with people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. That’s certainly been the case for me, too.
Clay Kraby: Absolutely. And that we get to talk about your new book that’s out right now. Your podcast is Pastorwriter Pastrider.com, and you are a pastor, you are a writer, but this book itself has been kind of a long time coming. Do I understand that right? This has been years in the making.
Chase Replogle: Yeah. Part of that, if you know anything about the publishing process, it just takes a long time to write and publish a book. So that’s certainly a part of it. trying to get the book out sort of during the middle of COVID impacted timeline. But I spent several years working on the book, from start to finish. I went back a while ago and looked at the first notes that I jotted down in my notes app on my phone for what would eventually become the book. And it’s been about six years that the book has been in the works.
Clay Kraby: Yes. And did it shift a lot from your first idea of putting notes in that app in your phone to what ultimately came, out now? Obviously, I’m sure it grew and it got refined. But was your intent initially to really kind of hone in on just a handful of these instincts as you label them?
Chase Replogle: Yeah. So the book actually started with I’m sure we’ll get into the instincts themselves, but it started entirely being about the instinct of adventure and the story of Samson. And I really wrote what is a full length book just on that instinct, just on that character from the Old Testament. But as I was writing, I kept recognizing there was more going on in these questions about manhood and masculinity today. There were men operating and living out of other instincts than just that instinct in my congregation. And as my heart grew to have a broader conversation with more men, the book itself began to sort of morph as well. And I recognize this was really just one of the instincts that I wanted to spend time on. So even that book got reduced down to what’s really just a chapter now in the new book and the addition of the other instincts as well.
Clay Kraby: Probably a painful but helpful process to whittle things down.
Chase Replogle: I’m guessing that is writing and editing, right. Making a hard decision. So making lots of cuts and yeah, it’s definitely the better for it. And the book’s been able to as I’ve been speaking and doing podcasts, the book’s been able to incorporate conversations with a much broader range of men, different life stages, different ages. So I’m really grateful for it. It’s become a bigger book because of that decision as well.
Clay Kraby: Yeah. Now I want to get into what those five instincts are before we do. Can you give us a, working definition of what you mean by instincts, for one, and then masculine instincts? What are we talking about here? Before we actually put labels on those things and discuss them individually?
Chase Replogle: Yeah, I appreciate that because I think it’s the right place to start. When I say of the five masculine instincts, people assume one of two things. They assume I’m talking about. These are the five things men should watch out for. Right? Like, as if they were the five sins that men should avoid. Or they assume I’m saying these are the five expectations of men. You have to have these five things to qualify. And I actually think that represents a little bit of the problem that men face today. We tend to think about masculinity, itself as either something toxic that needs to be deconstructed or something that’s salvific, that needs to just be indulged with a kind of wild, abandoned. My experience is I use CS. Lewis’s definition of instincts, that an instinct is behavior, as if from knowledge.
So we have certain ways of acting. We have certain impulses that motivate behavior that usually we don’t question. They seem to us kind of like common sense or the obvious thing. But oftentimes we’re acting out of something. We’re making decisions based on things we’ve never really stopped to question or consider. the philosopher Nietzsche said that you overcome your instincts by learning to ask them tough questions. Right. So you probe those instincts to ask, why am I motivated by these things? Why am I acting the way that I do? And so, by doing it, you begin to take control of those instincts.
The language that I use in the book is you begin to mature them into something useful. So as we get into the instincts, you’re going to notice I really think all of them are neutral. They can be if they’re not checked and they’re indulged too much. They can lead men into really destructive places. But they can also, by the tools we have through faith, be matured into something that can actually be beneficial and useful, that can be God ordained in a man’s life.
And to me, that’s really the missing conversation in men’s ministry, men’s conversations in the church right now. And it’s the thing men least know how to do that I think, once we were more capable of. And that’s, how do I mature my instincts into a thing of character? What does it mean to grow into a better character? And how can character formation and development what are the tools I have through faith in Christ that actually make that possible in a man’s life?
Clay Kraby: Yeah, and you touched on it in your answer. But I really want the listener to hear, you are not necessarily saying that these instincts are either 100% virtues or 100% vices. Is that right?
Chase Replogle: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I think they are neutral. I think if you are not aware of them operating in your life, they tend to lead men towards destruction, as I think we’ll see from the biblical characters if you read the book. but they can be matured into something that’s useful. I mean, we already mentioned, adventure as one, which we may get into or not. But adventure there’s nothing sinful about adventure, right? Go have a great adventure.
I enjoy going and doing stuff. But if your life is perpetually controlled by a need for adventure, if you can never check that it has a tendency to weaken your commitments to place and family and vocation and can actually become a really destructive force in your life. Now, on the flip side, you could say that when God calls us to some high task or sacrifice, it takes on a form of adventure. It is a kind of adventure, and that’s certainly the case. But in that case, it’s becoming a character trait, a virtue in our life that God’s calling us into rather than sort of an instinct that goes unrecognized and controls us. So it’s really a question of maturity and learning to turn those instincts into virtue or character.
Clay Kraby: Yeah. So what are these instincts? Can you give us what the five masculine instincts are?
Chase Replogle: Yeah, so the way the book is structured is I give, I outline these five instincts and I pair each of them with an Old Testament character to help see the vulnerability and how that instinct does it work. And the five instincts I cover in the book are sarcasm. I use the story of Cain to look at sarcasm, adventure, as we’ve mentioned now, the story of Samson ambition, which I use the story of Moses to discuss reputation. I use the story of, David, and then apathy with the story of Abraham. So the five instincts sarcasm, adventure, ambition, reputation, and apathy.
Clay Kraby: And what I don’t want to have happen is we discuss these things so thoroughly and wonderfully that no one picks up a copy of your great new book. but let’s walk back and flesh those out just a little bit to help people see one. how those fit into this concept of instinct, of how men are hardwired and how they can be used for good or ill.
Because some of those sound great and some of those sound not so great. and then how is it we see those, personified is probably not the right word. How do we see that it acted out in the lives of these Old Testament men? So, for example, you have sarcasm and you have Cain. And we all know what sarcasm is. And I think particularly with men, that is our go-to arena, for humor.
Talk a little bit about the instinct of sarcasm, how that shows itself in our lives. And why pair that with Cain? Where do we see that in Scripture?
Chase Replogle: Sure, it’s probably worth me also throwing in those five instincts actually come from a play by Shakespeare. Shakespeare has the famous line, people will be familiar with all the worlds of stage and each of us have our entrance and exits. And he says, A man in his day plays many parts. And then he goes on to describe these images. what I did was just put a word to each of those Shakespearean images. But Shakespeare, being a great psychological writer, was trying to depict the motivations that compel a man in these stages of his life. the first is birth, the last is death. I don’t really cover those. I cover the middle five.
But the first one of those middle five is shakespeare depicts a young schoolboy who’s reluctantly dragging himself to school. And he is, by, his desires, by his instincts, more prone to, putting off education, to putting off the lesson, to indulging whatever he wants to do with his day, his time. the idea of sarcasm is certainly an important one and there’s nothing again, to come. Back to the point. I’m not suggesting a sarcastic joke is sinful or that to be a real man you have to purge yourself of all sarcasm.
But I think most of us are aware enough to recognize that there is a kind of man who cannot bear responsibility or take anything seriously and turns everything into a joke. Uses sarcasm as a tool to cover up his contempt for authority, for learning, for discipline. That the joke is really about not having to take anything seriously. And it can become, that instinct so controlling that it can really rob a man of his ability to mature into something better. And I think you see that happening in the story of Cain. Cain is, of course, the first born son of Adam and Eve. And if you remember the story, he and his brother Abel both make sacrifices. God rejects his sacrifice and, accepts Abel’s sacrifice. And the big question of that passage is why is Cain’s sacrifice rejected and Abel’s not? The scripture doesn’t tell us that. It tells us that God had no regard for Cain’s sacrifice. But it doesn’t answer the question, why? What had Cain gotten wrong?
So Cain gets frustrated about this, and in a remarkable scene, God comes down and engages Cain in a conversation and says to him, don’t you realize sin is like an animal crouching outside of your tent door? It’s the first mention of sin. Obviously, Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. But God himself is coming down and warning the immature, force born male of creation that sin is out to get him and he’s not paying attention to it. Now, what you would expect Cain to do is to ask the question, why? Why did you reject my sacrifice? He’s in conversation with God. This is the perfect moment for him to learn something about himself. About his worship, about what God wants. But he remains silent even in the face of this conversation, this lesson that God is offering him.
Instead, he rises up and murders his brother. God comes back a second time and says, where is your brother able? And of course, Cain says in a moment of sarcasm, am I my brother’s keeper? Well, he knows exactly where his brother is. This sarcasm, this answer without having to give an answer, is really it’s a refusal to learn the lesson God is offering him. And it’s a cover for his contempt for the authority of God. And so by it, he really misses what is a, great opportunity to learn and grow. And that’s my fear with the unchecked instinct of sarcasm.
If you can never take anything seriously, if you can never be corrected by anyone, if you’re constantly defensive and making everything a joke so you don’t have to deal with it, what it’s really robbing you of is that opportunity to mature, to become something better, to grow into a better man. And it’s the reason Kane’s story ends with him, out in the land of Nod. It’s Hebrew for the land of wandering. Kind of a lost boy, right? Never really maturing or growing into the things God wanted to teach him. we grow out of that sarcasm by learning to practice the humility of receiving that divine correction, that divine lesson from God.
Clay Kraby: Yeah. So often when we hear the word sarcasm, we’re only thinking in the realm of humor. but really, as you’ve mentioned a couple of times there, it’s a failure to take things seriously. And in many ways, and I think you can even see this come out in some men’s sense of humor. It’s a little bit of a defense mechanism to keep others and situations at arm’s length by not taking them seriously.
I think we’ve all attempted, to develop relationships with men sometimes where he’s like, you know what? That ain’t going to work because this guy everything’s a joke. Can’t take anything seriously, can’t have a real conversation of any depth because they’re just always sarcastic. And you’ve identified that here.
Chase Replogle: It’s an unwillingness to make yourself vulnerable or humble. It’s an unwillingness to acknowledge, like, remember Shakespeare’s image? That reluctant schoolboy, I have something to learn. I mean, that’s a pretty profound statement to be able to make. I don’t know everything, and I need the discipline of an authority of a heavenly father to teach me. And again, sarcasm, the goal here is not that you never tell a sarcastic joke again. Right? I think there’s good examples of sarcasm in the Bible used in positive ways.
I think of, Elijah at Mount Carmel when he’s suggesting to the prophets at Bail, maybe your god’s asleep, maybe you need to wake him up. I mean, he’s using sarcasm to make a point. It’s not as if sarcasm is a sin, but if it becomes a habit if it becomes an indulged instinct that you never are able to check or overcome. it can be really destructive in a man’s life.
Clay Kraby: Yeah. Sarcasm should not be your personality.
Chase Replogle: Yes, enjoy the joke. But there should be moments where you can take things seriously too.
Clay Kraby: Yeah. So secondly, you have adventure and you pair it with Samson.
Chase Replogle: Yeah, this is one of my favorites. As I said, I started the book here because I see this so strong, particularly in young men, you know, men in their 20s, maybe early 30s. this day comes where you recognize you thought this life was going to have an adventurous narrative. And you end up with a car payment and two kids and a dog to feed and a mortgage, and the economy is tight, so maybe the vacation plans are getting pinched and squeezed. And you’re working in the cubicle and you say to yourself, I’ve lost myself. I don’t know who I am anymore. I need to go rediscover myself in some sort of epic adventure.
Shakespeare describes this as the restless lover. So he’s not just talking about romance, although I think that’s certainly a part of it. It’s the romantic view of life. That meaning and identity is out there on the horizon. And I need to set out and go discover who I am on some sort of epic quest, to be my true self, my true identity. It’s everything Disney movies. It’s everything our culture says your identity comes from. But the consequence is it can wreak havoc on your commitment to a family, on your commitment to a place, on your commitment to the traditions of a family and faith that, I think our culture actually frames bravery and courage as rejecting all of those expectations of others and going and pursuing yourself. And that comes through in the story of Samson and scripture. Samson is born at the period of the judges. It’s not a high point in Israel’s history. They didn’t have a standing army, a, standing government, a centralized place of worship. They’re really scraping out a living in the hills. They’re being raided by their neighbors. Every time they grow something, people ride in and take it from them. So they never get any civilization off the ground.
And Samson grows up looking down on these great Philistine cities, which are really metropolitan areas. I mean, they’re known for their technology of advanced metal work. And the Philistines have these great cities on top of it. Samson grows up in Nazarete, which is a particularly strange way of living. Even amongst his sort of small pack hooded people. He’s not allowed to touch corpse, not allowed to drink wine or touch grapes, not allowed to cut his hair. So I think you get pretty quickly how the young man, Samson grows up longing for all things Philistine. And that’s how his story plays out. It’s these adventure narratives where, again, and again, Samson goes down to Philistia. He’s led by his eyes and his senses, what he sees. And he goes on these epic sort of adventure quests, gets himself in trouble, uses his divine strength to rescue himself, and then goes another day. What you find, though, from his story is the cultural narrative, is that as you go on these adventures to discover yourself, you become actualized, you become enlightened, you become more aware of who you are and the world around you.
But the opposite plays out. As Samson goes on adventure after adventure, he becomes less discerning, he becomes less himself. And they’re almost comedic scenes in that at one point, his first great sign of strength, he tears apart this lion with his bare hands. And then in the next scene, he’s at a drunken Philistine feast and he starts gambling on it as a pun, right? He wastes this divine calling, this divine story, this divine strength, and he ends up trivializing all of these things. And in the end, it all betrays him.
It’s not just Delilah that betrays him. Cutting off his hair, using his secret. It’s all the things Samson has been pursuing. It’s his eyes leading him to Philistia that end up gouged out. It’s that desire to go as. He’s now chained to the temple wall of Dagon, the Philistine gods working at the grain mill. For that god, everything betrays him. This whole pursuit of identity and name and meaning through adventure betrays him. And I think it’s a warning to all of us as men again, like sarcasm, plan your backpacking trip, right? So get out to go do your adventure. Like test yourself. There’s nothing wrong with, taking an adventure. But if your life becomes restless, desperately needing that adventure, to know who you are, to find yourself, I think you’re setting yourself up to be betrayed by it.
I think you’re setting yourself up to not become a bigger person, a more actualized person, but actually to become a smaller, more absorbed and self focused person. All of the great things in life require commitment. All of the meaningful things in life require you to stay put and to invest in them. And that restless instinct for adventure will often rob you of the enjoyment of it. If you want real character, you’re going to have to check that adventure with a, commitment to place as well, too.
Clay Kraby: Yeah. So, like each of these instincts, adventure is something that men have hardwired into them, but they need to harness it, not be enslaved by it.
Chase Replogle: Yeah, I think that’s a good way of saying it, too right. Which is that language of instinct. Right. If this is just something that’s operating beneath the surface, if you’re unaware of it but indulging it, then you really are enslaved by it. You don’t have control over it. It controls you. You can’t even question it.
Clay Kraby: Right.
Chase Replogle: It’s behavior as if from knowledge to use Lewis’s phrase. You think that you’re in control, but really you’ve never even questioned the things that are driving you. So I think enslavement is the right way to describe it.
Clay Kraby: Tell us about Moses and ambition.
Chase Replogle: Yeah, so, I have a little, assessment on the website where you can go in, and it’s nothing scientific, but you can answer 25 questions, and it’ll kind of recommend maybe, which of these five instincts is highest for you? Ambition is the one that always comes up highest for me when I take that test, I’m a writer, a pastor.
It’s easy for me to imagine the things I want to achieve, the things I want to do. Shakespeare’s image is the warrior who’s out to right wrongs, who believes he can change the world, that he can, by his own power and strength, accomplish it. Moses story, in my opinion, is really a story about ambition. Maybe you haven’t thought of Moses as a character of ambition, but if you remember that first decisive moment of action, moses sees the two Hebrew slaves being beaten, and he rises up and strikes down the Egyptian who was beating them. The Book of Acts tells us that he did that motivated by the belief that his people would rally behind him and he would lead them. It’s really an act of just blatant ambition. He is going to lead and free his people, and this will be his first action to accomplish it. But then the next day, the two slaves that he freed start mocking him. Who made you prince over us? And he realizes not only are they not following him, but now he’s exposed and vulnerable, and he flees into the wilderness.
What’s really strange is you get to the burning bush episode 40 years later. So you’re 80 years in, 40 years of Egyptian time, 40 years of wilderness time, the burning bush god calls him to go back to Egypt and lead his people to freedom. And you would imagine Moses would say, that’s the very thing I was after. You’re like, yes, I’m in. Like, I’ve wanted this for 80 years now. But instead he says, not me. You’ve got to find someone else. I’m slow of speech. Surely there’s someone else can do it. I mean, he finally just says to God, like, no, get someone else. And you wonder, how can this be the same Moses? How can he at one moment be so decisive and ambitious and the next moment can’t even entertain the possibility? And I suggest in the book that I think that’s actually the experience of ambition, because the experience of ambition is not just the high of I see a vision, and I’m going to achieve it. I think ambition, the control of ambition, the instinct of ambition, is also that I’m uncapable of achieving that thing that I thought I was.
In both of those situations, you are measuring yourself and the world around you against a vision you have of the future, whether you’re capable of achieving it, whether you’re incapable of achieving it. You’re being defined and controlled and judging all of the things around you by how close you are to that image that you have. That’s the idea of ambition. There’s a sort of wrestling with ambition that’s really clear in Moses life.
Of course, Moses, in the end, as you get to his story, moses does not achieve that great ambition of his life. He actually dies on Mount Nebo, not leading his people into the Promised Land. And the reason for it is, whenever God asked him to go out and speak to the rock to deliver water for the people who once again were complaining and grumbling I mean, over and over the next 40 years is just all people complaining to him. He loses it and gets frustrated. And the scripture says not only does he strike the rock in disobeyance instead of speaking to it, but the scripture says he gathered the people of Israel and he began to chastise them, saying, Listen, you rebels. Must we produce water from this rock for you?
The mistake Moses makes is not just disobedience. It’s that in this ambition that defines all things and shapes everything, he has begun to judge the people that he’s been called to and he’s begun to imagine his feelings, emotions, perspective to be gods. Must we produce water from this rock? Well, Moses, you’re not producing anything. God is producing a miracle through you to provide this water. That’s the danger of ambition. When we set up a vision of the future and we begin to strive after it at the cost of everything else, no matter what, it becomes the way we judge success and failure.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, great German writer from World War II said that, when we have that kind of a visionary dream, we begin to judge our brethren. We begin to judge the people around us against if they’re helping us or hurting us from achieving that. Then he says, we begin to judge God. We begin to measure our relationship with God by are you getting me closer to that vision I have? Are you keeping me? How come you haven’t given me what I need? And then Bonnevar says, we ultimately end up judging ourselves. We end up sort of what we talked about at the beginning here. We either end up on a high or we just become crushed and incapable of doing anything because of it. And so ambition is certainly a holy thing, a good thing, a thing that has led men to do, achieve great things, but unchecked, out of control. It can be a really destructive force, not only for an individual, but for our relationship for God, for our relationship with the people around us.
And so many of the abuses that we see, whether it’s within the church or the breakdown of families. Can often come back to not just a man who has a vision he’s trying to achieve, but the kind of discouragement and disillusion that comes about from a man who hasn’t achieved that vision and begins to take it out or make his demands on the people around him and on himself. ambition, I say in the book, it’s like a poison that a skilled and wise doctor can actually administer as medicine to save a person’s life. But if you’re clumsy and unwise and don’t know what you’re doing, is as quick to kill you and everyone else as it is to save a life, it really is something that you have to mature and learn to steward well for it to become useful.
Clay Kraby: I think that’s a really helpful illustration. And I think of all the instincts, ambition, is one where you can especially see how the human heart can take something that ought to be good. at worst, it’s neutral and turn it into something harmful and sinful. And we can think of practical examples of men in particular that have, allowed their ambition to lead them to places that were not helpful, that let them away from God’s purpose for their lives, led them away from their true responsibilities.
Sadly, we can even see it in sometimes where people have sacrificed their family on the altar of ministry. You look at some of these, great, pastors and even evangelists of the past, and then you realize, man, their home life was awful. And you wonder how much of that got intermingled with some of this ambition getting out of balance.
And I appreciate, this section especially as the reminder to seek that balance of, yes, use your God given ambition, put forth your full effort, but make sure that you’re not dethroning God in the process.
Chase Replogle: You really need for each of these instincts, you need a way of checking them. So if we come back to, your instincts or behavior as if from knowledge, right. You have to force hard questions on your instincts so that you can get control over them. Then you need to start putting some checks in place. There have to be times I write about Sabbath in the book.
There have to be times that you set down the work, that you set down the ambition. I think one of the moving scenes from Moses story is that because of that disobedience, god will not allow him to enter the Promised Land. He will force him to set down that great ambition of his life. And Moses will die on Mount Nebo, literally looking out on the Promised Land that he will not finally enter with his people. And Moses, the test of this is he has to be okay. Why? Because he has God. Because he still is in a relationship with God. That thing may go unfinished in his life, but there’s something more to him and his relationship with God than just that thing that he’s been striving after.
A few years ago, I was listening to a professor, lecture on the scene from the Gospels of Jesus transfiguration. He was kind of making a side comment about possible locations where it could have been. And, one of the locations he believed was there, near the Sea of Galilee. And it struck me, thinking about Moses, of course, when Jesus was transfigured, who is it that’s seen with him there on the mound of transfiguration? It’s the prophet Elijah, and it’s Moses.
And it struck me that being there by the Sea of Galilee, moses was in the Promised Land. Not in his earthly body, not in his earthly ambition, but through Christ, through God, through the eternal life of faith, that those things are given to us. But the test here now is sometimes we’re asked to set those things down, sometimes you will not. I mean, I think this is the great definition of Sabbath. Sabbath is accepting six sevenths of what you’re capable of, and you have to learn to be okay with that.
Talk about a check on ambition. I know as a believer, because of Sabbath, I will not achieve as much as I am humanly capable of achieving. But that’s okay, because in that margin, I leave room for God. I leave room for my relationship with God. It’s a powerful check question to make sure that ambition is not getting out of place.
Clay Kraby: Yeah, absolutely. And no doubt related to the next instinct in many ways, and that is a reputation. And here you look at, King David.
Chase Replogle: Yeah, I love writing about David’s story, because so many men resonate with David, right. So, we all know what it is to fail spectacularly. We know what it is to love God and strive for more. And the question of David’s life, in my mind, the real rub, the tension that he’s under through that story is a question of integrity. It’s a question of reputation. Saul is undone by it.
The only thing that qualifies Saul for leadership, if you go back and look, is they took one look at him, he was tall and he was handsome, right? Which is enough to make him king. He looks like the kind of man that they imagined a king to be. so he becomes a king. And I think Saul really unravels under the reputation, the pressure, right. When does he really lose his mind? When people are praising David more than they’re praising him, when he feels his reputation threatened, he goes mad over it, because he’s living into this public image, this expectation of him.
David has that temptation, and there’s moments he gets it spectacularly. Right. So when he fights Goliath, saul tries to put his royal armor on him. And David, I think to his credit, recognizes, no, I have to trust God as who I am a shepherd with a sling I can’t put on some facade and imagine that’s going to be my victory. I have to be, integral for who I am. But there’s also times David gets it spectacularly wrong. when he, commits adultery with Bathsheba. He plots and has uriah, the husband murdered and quite a scheme. And then he sort of sets back and imagines he’s covered it all up and cleaned it up.
And, Nathan comes to him, the prophet, and has this little story about a man who stole his neighbor’s sheep. And it’s so obvious that it’s David’s story. I mean, like, as a reader, you know exactly what’s going on, but David has no idea and he literally condemns himself. This man should be punished with death. he has so bifurcated his life into the public image and reputation and the sort of stuff swept under the carpet that he can’t even recognize his own sins, like, laid out in the story right in front of him. And so it is that with this crack in his integrity, the thing collapses, right? He’s exposed. Nathan points one finger and says, you’re him. It’s two words in Hebrew. It all comes crumbling down. And I think for men, as men, we have to really work out a definition of integrity.
And integrity can sometimes… we’re about to spin up a new political cycle, right? So people are starting to run for president. And integrity is one of those words you see on lawn signs, right? I’m a person of integrity. you can count on me. I’ll always do what’s right. I don’t think that’s a good definition of integrity because you can hide behind a facade of that kind of integrity, right? I’m an integrous man. I’m a man with character and principles.
A better definition of integrity is, I don’t always do what’s right, but I’m willing to be honest and I’m willing to bear responsibility for all of the things in my life, for good and bad. The word integrity comes from the word integer. Whole number. There’s no fractions, there’s no missing pieces. This image of who I present myself to be is the whole truth of who I actually am, failures included.
And so as men, if we really want integrity, if we want to be able to be the kind of men who are not caught up and made vulnerable by this idol of reputation, of public image, then it’s going to take us being willing to inventory our life. To be honest. Doesn’t mean you have to post it all on Facebook, but there should be people in your life that know your sins. People you’re confessing to, people you’re walking with through those struggles. You have to be able to take responsibility for all of who you are. and in the end, for as complicated as David’s story is, we sometimes put David up as a hero. But yet there’s parts of his life I hope my son does not emulate right. There’s things I hope he’s like David, and there’s plenty I hope he’s not like David. He’s not a perfect hero. But the thing, to David’s credit, is, in the end, we know all of the details of David’s life. We know about David’s sins. We know how horrific some of those sins were. And in a day where David could have easily burned the records, could have put to death anybody who was writing down these stories, who could have controlled his public image.
I mean, politicians today spend millions of dollars to clean up their sins and control their public reputation. David doesn’t do that. David leaves us not only the records of his sins, but leaves us his prayers of repentance in his own words. And the psalms. There’s that great story from I think it’s in Second Samuel, where, one of the men is yelling as he flees, in failure as Absalons taking Jerusalem. David’s fleeing without shoes, without his head covered, and there’s a man standing on the cliff above him saying, there’s blood on your hands. This is your fault. And David’s men say, do you want us to go kill him? Do you want us to take care of him? And David says no. He may very well be speaking the words of God.
That willingness for somebody to speak into you, for you to own the failures, for you to have an image of yourself that incorporates your own shortcomings, that’s the real definition of integrity. And it’s also, in my opinion, the path towards something that’s stable. the public image, reputation, route, it’ll collapse. It will fall apart. It’s not genuine. But the man who’s willing to inventory his whole life and take responsibility for those failures is actually building something that can bear greater responsibility. And in the end, that’s the thing David’s commended for.
He didn’t always get it right, but he was willing to be honest about the stuff that he even got wrong.
Clay Kraby: That’s, really helpful. Tell us about what is this fifth and final masculine instinct? And who did you pair it with? From Scripture?
Chase Replogle: Yeah. So the fifth one that I write about is Abraham and the instinct of apathy. Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare’s image for this. So Shakespeare imagines, an old man who he says, voice has begun to fade. It’s turned to whistles and pipes. So it’s symbolic of his engagement with the world. As we age, we do our voice starts to change. We lose some of the volume of our voice, the rigor of our voice. And he sees him as a kind of symbol for the man’s engagement with the world that, as we age, we begin to disengage the complexity of our day.
And I think you see signs of this all throughout Abraham’s life. It’s not just with age. when he gets himself in trouble, he tries to pass his wife off his sister. He just doesn’t want the conflict or when conflict, breaks out in his own home because of him, trying to produce an air with Hagar, his servant Sarah comes and says, things are falling apart. Hagar is mistreating me because she has a child. And Abraham literally says to her, you deal with it, right? He just washes his hands of his whole family drama.
There’s moments of apathy along the way, but there’s a kind of false ending that takes place in Abraham’s story. When you get to the end of Genesis, chapter 21, isaac is finally there, the promised heir that he’s been waiting for. So that answer to prayer, that faith fulfilled. He finds himself, with a well in Bersheba, signing peace treaties with all his neighbors. He finally comes to rest at a place all the traveling has stopped. he’s at a point of wealth. He’s significantly wealthy. And the scripture says I think it’s a really fascinating passage at the very end of chapter 21 that he planted a tamarisk tree in Bears Sheba. And sojourned there, he literally plants a tree and settles down. It’s an image of retirement, right? I mean, he’s put down roots. He’s finally come to rest. Everything he’s trusted God for has finally been delivered. And I think this is the moment of his greatest testing, because certainly he’s still a believer. He still believes in God. He has faith that God exists.
But the faith that’s been compelling him and moving him through his life, well, there’s not a need for that kind of active faith. What is Abraham believing for? He’s received everything. Everything’s taken care of, everything’s, firmly under his control. And you expect to turn the page, and this become Isaac’s story. I mean, this is wrapping up. He planted the tree by the well in Bersheba and set down there. Now, it’s Isaac’s story. Abraham. Isaac jacob. But you turn the page in the opening verse of chapter 22 is, but God tested Abraham, and it’s the passage in which he calls Abraham to take what is really the archetypal fulfillment of faith, isaac, his son, to take Isaac and sacrifice him on the mountain. And it is a test not just will you pass or fail? Come on. Has Abraham not proved himself at this point that he’s willing to follow God? It’s really a test of apathy. It’s a test of can he live by faith and reengage that faith?
There’s a great line in the book of Hebrews where it says that Abraham believed that God was able to raise Isaac, even from the dead. And I always love that word, even, because what it implies is we live by faith in that spectrum of even, right? We’re not sure how God is going to do it. We’re not sure how God is going to fulfill all these promises. We’re not sure how it’s going to work out in the end. But even if it should be resurrection itself, we step into that ambiguity, into that complexity, and I think it’s a word for men, particularly as we age, but it’s true for all of us. It’s very easy to begin withdrawing from the complexity of life, the complexity of relationships, the complexity of your home.
The world is really worried about masculine aggression. I think that’s only one ditch on one side of the road. The other one is apathy that men just begin to withdraw and retreat to little lies of control hobbies and video games and recliners and retirement, and anything that we can’t control the outcome on, we just take our hands off of it and disengage. And Abraham’s story is a reminder that to live by faith means to step into those complexities and ambiguities and believe. Even if I don’t see it, even if it’s through death and future resurrection, I believe that God is doing something, and I’m going to engage that by faith and not succumb to this apathy that really robs me, that makes my faith vulnerable in its comfort.
So I find Abraham’s story to be that test, to be particularly moving in so many ways. Plenty more could be said about the sacrifice of Isaac, but I think the test itself is really that question of can Abraham continue to live by faith and to keep that faith active and alive. And it’s a question for all of us as men.
Clay Kraby: Yeah. I think for every man that’s a bull in a china shop, you’ve probably got ten or more that are more apt to disengage, withdraw, retreat into themselves, and sort of just, like, let things pass them by and not really bring in that ambition, that instinct of ambition to counterbalance that tendency towards apathy. So it’s really helpful to see how these instincts go together, how there’s balance within them and how they can help balance each other out as well.
Chase Replogle: Yeah. And it’s important, to recognize that two men can commit the same sin. Right. You and I can both lie. Right. But we can do it out of very different motivations. The issue is not just we lied. The issue is, what is that instinct moving us into that place that leads us to lie? I may lie because I want to avoid right. As an apathy, right. Just like, Leave me alone, I did it. Go away. You may lie because your reputation is important and you want to make sure that you’re preserving an image of yourself. Another man may lie because, he’s scared of commitment and trying to avoid it.
Another man may lie because he’s trying to achieve something and manipulate because of some great ambition as men. It’s not just enough to say why I do the things I do. We’ve really got to dig deeper to start to understand what’s motivating what’s leading to that sin. The sin beneath the sin is sometimes the language used and I think your instincts are a really good place to go digging to start figuring that out.
Clay Kraby: So that’s a look at the five masculine instincts: we’ve got sarcasm, adventure, ambition, reputation, and apathy. Now, the title of your book is The Five Masculine Instincts. But the Subtitle a guide to becoming a better man. So you didn’t set out merely to label these things and explain them. You, wanted to help us become better men. So as we kind of wrap up our conversation, can you share what your hope is and how can better understanding these masculine instincts help us to develop Christian character in men?
Chase Replogle: Yeah, I’d say two things. Good books always do two things. And let me sort of hopefully this book does in some way, though. I think a book is always about more than one thing, and this book is about the five masculine instincts. But I even write at the end of the book. If you think these are junk, if you don’t care about Shakespeare’s five instincts, if you think, hey, you’ve got five that I miss, that you think are more important, that is absolutely fine.
The point of the book is not that you would just memorize these five instincts. It’s really this pattern of the Apostle Paul gave the young man Timothy a piece of advice. He said, Timothy is pastoring in a really difficult place, Ephesus. And he said to Timothy, you’ll make progress. You’ll show them progress. If you learn to keep a close watch on your life and a close watch on the teaching, which is shorthand for the doctrine or the gospel that you’ve received, I think that’s a really important pattern for how we make progress. Moral development, character.
It’s not just enough that you get all the right doctrine and theology, it’s important. But if you just have a head full of information about God, if that doesn’t get pressed down into the instincts, into the behavior, into your motivations and heart, then it leads to a kind of pharisaicalism that just always knows what’s right. But it’s inside a whitewashed tomb, inside corrupt. But it’s also true that if you only pay attention to yourself, right, if all you care about is minding yourself for who you really are and what you want and how your feelings are guiding you, well, it’s going to be a labyrinth amaze that never really lead you anywhere.
You need something bigger than you, outside of you to check you. But those two works together are really, really important. And I hope that’s what the book is teaching. How do I pay close attention to my life, my instincts, what’s motivating me? And then how do I through what Christ has given me, the Gospel? How do I begin to mature those things into something better? A close watch on my life, a close watch on the teaching. the second thing I hope the book does is good books also give us language for having conversations that we might not have been able to have before.
So I hope what this book does, if men read it together as a part of maybe a church men’s group, or if I love the idea of a father and son or I’ve been doing a lot of zoom calls with men’s groups that even meet over zoom. if you read the book together, hopefully it gives you some language to start having conversations and saying man is what I’ve been dealing with a question of integrity and reputation. Or is this impulse, this wrestles impulse for adventure, is that something that needs to be checked or questioned? That the book gives you language for better conversations and those conversations being between men, between maybe you and a spouse and even in your own prayer life, that this helps you get at something deeper because it gives you the language to do it.
So in the end, that’s my heart, that’s what I hope the book does. it gets men access to things inside of themselves, language for it they didn’t have. And I hope it teaches them this process of looking closely at your instincts, looking closely at what you have through Christ and between those two beginning to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
Clay Kraby: That’s great. So definitely would encourage folks to check out, pick up a copy, where can they go to learn more about you and pick up a copy of The Five Masculine Instincts.
Chase Replogle: Yeah, since as you alluded to, Replogle is a terrible name for an author and hard to spell, you can just go to TheFiveMasculineInstincts.com. So, you can spell it out or put the number, either one Google search, it will come up. And like I said, there’s an online assessment you can take there. If you’re just interested in learning. You can, order copies of the books through there. Wherever you buy books, there’s an audiobook version as well. And also on the website, I’ve got a ton of resources.
There’s a video series you can watch through, a PDF that’s got group questions, individual questions. There’s, you version reading plans that go for each of The Five Instincts. So all that’s there on the website and you can reach out to me if you’ve got a question or a thought you want to share. there’s a forum that comes directly to me. I always love hearing from readers. I’d love to be able to entertain that as well.
Clay Kraby: Well, that’s great. Well, our guest on this episode of the podcast has been Pastor Chase Replogle. The book is The Five Masculine Instincts a Guide to Becoming a Better Man. We’ll be sure to link to the different resources that we’ve talked about to the book, your podcast, the assessment, all those things in the show notes for this episode at Reasonabletheology.org/instincts. Pastor Chase, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate the conversation.
Chase Replogle: Yeah, well, thank you, Clay. Thanks for a great conversation. And, all the work doing as well, too. I know, you’re putting in a lot of time and resources to help people do many of the things we’re talking about, grow more like price and develop price, like character. And so thanks for the work you do.
Clay Kraby: I appreciate it. Thanks so much.