We were surprised by a new culture in Buenos Aires. We came in with an expectation based on assumption of other places we’ve been, but in a lot of ways, it was very different from a typical Latin American culture. I want share with you one aspect of the culture that we observed: the men in Buenos Aires.
Hispanic men have been given a bad rap for years about being “machistas” or having a macho attitude. We found that, in the two weeks we were in Buenos Aires, this was not the majority rule. Men, overall, were family oriented, friendly and hardworking, and we found this to be true both in the church and in the culture in general. We saw fathers taking their kids to the park and playing with them on the playground; we saw men sitting together, drinking coffee or tea while just hanging out, and we saw men volunteering to cleanup, cook and fix things around the house.
We were impressed that both the churches that we attended were full of, not only families, but also single men. In Latin America ministry, this is often not the case. From what we’ve seen in the past, Hispanic churches are made up of one or two strong male figures, a few families and a lot of single moms and women. Both the churches we visited, Caballito and Redentor church of Christ, were full of men that seemed humble and eager to serve and to spend time together, being present in the lives of their physical and spiritual families.
On days that we went out to “see the city”, we encountered many public parks full of families playing on the playground. Often times we would see a father pushing his children on the swing, or watching them play on the slide. We were impressed by the fact that everywhere we went, men would give up their seat for a mother with an infant (like LaNae) or for an elderly person. It was refreshing to see a gentlemanlike culture that looked after mothers, children and the disabled.
Even though we realize this is not always the case, it seems that the majority of the culture is not only family oriented, but also built around friendship. In those same parks were groups of friends either hanging out and drinking a tea or coffee or playing a “pickup” game of soccer. Guy friends not only greet each other with a hug, but also a kiss on the cheek. Though to an American this is a foreign concept the Argentine culture has embraced it whole-heartedly!
It was a breath of fresh air to see this culture when we come from a culture that men, often times have lost the vision to be men who take the time to be present for their families, slow down enough from busy working paces to cultivate relationships with others, including the masculine bonds that are needed between brothers. It was inspiring to see a brotherhood mentality even in a secular environment. They reflected something that I believe come from roots of God-given masculinity and femininity that need to be recovered. We, as brothers in Christ, need to take our cues from God’s Word and raise up men in the church who will whole-heartedly demonstrate love, service, integrity, boldness, strength of character, and leadership as Christ defines it. There is hope for families and for men and women even in this generation to love each other deeply and hopefully the world around us will say, " Wow, I want to be a part of that kind of brotherhood."