Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: honor

lego man at desk

Alpha and Beta Males Need Not Apply

lego man sitting at desk

There’s a new trend toward having beta males in the hero role of romance novels. If you’re unfamiliar with the term beta male, the Oxford Dictionary describes it as, “A subordinate male, or a man tending to assume a passive or subservient role in social or professional situations.” The opposite of the beta male is the alpha male, a man who assumes the dominant role in similar scenarios. The logic presumes that readers are looking for a sensitive and understanding hero who values the heroine’s views and that alpha males are overbearing, insensitive, and treat the heroine as a trophy.

Personally, I don’t want to write about either a beta or an alpha male. The heroes I want to convey in my books are what I call honor males. This may be a made-up term (I tried a Google search but came up null), but let me explain my honor male by first defining honor. Dictionary.com states honor as a noun is “honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions,” and as a verb “to hold in honor or high respect; revere.” There is nothing in this definition about dominance or submission. It’s the focus on doing the right thing.

Man sitting, back facing

What’s great about novels is that no hero (or heroine) is perfect. The story evolves as the hero overcomes his false perception(s) and learns to do the right thing. In essence, the story is about his journey to becoming an honor male. From the definition of honor, we see two types, what Brett McKay from The Art of Manliness calls horizontal and vertical honor. Horizontal honor is a mutual respect among individuals that is earned and maintained. These are the men who’ve developed trust among their peers by showing strength, courage, and mastery. They know, when trouble arises, they can count on each other. The hero must demonstrate the bravery and tenacity to defend their virtue of honor when needed. Whether that consists of raising a sword and standing back-to-back or hopping on a keyboard and hacking into an evil fascist’s cyber system, depends on your genre of preference.

Firefighter in battle

On the other hand, vertical honor is derived from the verb form: to revere or hold in high respect. It’s not about mutual respect but about showing praise, esteem, and adoration to a position of power because they’ve distinguished themselves usually from the horizontal honor group. These heroes are the captains, bosses, officers, and political leaders.

My all-time favorite honor hero is Jesus. Even though He already held the vertical honor of being the Son of God, He came into the world to rub shoulders with us in the trenches. Because He loves us, He not only took on our limited human form with its vulnerability to illness, pain, and weakness, but he placed all of our sins upon himself. He suffered and died so that our wrongdoings would be washed away by His blood, so death no longer would hold its sting, and we won’t ever have to be separated from our awesome God. Jesus, who holds the honor of sitting at God’s right hand, in essence, transferred value to us, not because of what we’ve done, but because of what He gave (His life) for us.

Now that’s a hero worth writing about.

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What Do We Live For?

In a 2010 Afghanistan firefight, William “Kyle” Carpenter ran towards a hand grenade to shield another marine, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio, from the blast. The William "Kyle" Carpenter with Medal of Honorimpact cost Kyle his eye and lower jaw. His lung collapsed and many of his bones shattered. He was labeled dead as he arrived at the field hospital and nearly died a second time at Walter Reed Medical Center. Countless surgeries and two and a half years of rehabilitation in a hospital, Kyle lived to be awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. Kyle refuses to let the enemy stop him. He says, in the defense video which can be seen below, “The enemy killed me. I came back, ran a marathon, completed a mud run, and jumped from a plane. I won’t ever quit. I am just getting started,”

This week as we celebrate and honor our veteran’s, I am grateful to Kyle, and every military person who has fought for our great country to maintain our freedom. It is obvious by reading about Kyle and watching his video not only what Kyle is willing to die for, but also what he is willing to live for.

As I sit and type in my cozy room, safe in my warm home, with the sound of birds chirping outside my window instead of mortar fire, Kyle’s story gets me thinking. He was willing to risk his life for our freedom and safety. Jesus said in John 15:13, “No one can have greater love than to give his life for his friends.” Jesus knew this all too well. He paid the ultimate price for all of us. He took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross so that anyone who believes in him can have eternal life (John 3:16).

The question now becomes, what do we live for? Or, better yet who do we live for? We have been given an amazing gift, a second chance. What are we doing with it? Jesus said he came so that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). Are we living a full life?

And by full, I don’t mean busy. Busyness can be detrimental. I admit I struggle with this. If I have an idle moment, instead of using it to be still and listen for God’s voice, I allow guilt to set in and create trivial tasks to occupy my time. Busyness doesn’t lead to a full life. Leading a life with purpose does.

Wallowing in sadness or hiding behind our fears also doesn’t honor the sacrifice made for us. I don’t mean for us to slap a smile on our faces and fake it til we make it. No, I’m saying turn our focus from inward to outward. God is greater than the pile of unpaid bills, the boss’s hurtful words, or the date that never texted or bothered to call back. Happiness is momentary and fleeting based on an event, but God’s joy is a continuous spring from which we can drink and drink often and whenever needed. By showing God’s joy through our countenance, through our lives, and our actions, we are honoring Jesus’s sacrifice.

Starting today, how can you honor the sacrifice made for you?

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