Economic maturity sufficient to hold an adult job and handle money.
Advertisers and marketers know where to aim their messages — directly at adolescent boys and young men. This particular segment of the population is inordinately attracted to material goods, popular entertainment, sporting events and other consumer options. The portrait of young manhood made popular in the media and presented as normal through entertainment is characterized by economic carelessness, self-centeredness and laziness.
A real man knows how to hold a job, handle money with responsibility and take care of the needs of his wife and family. A failure to develop economic maturity means that these young men often float from job to job, and take years to "find themselves" in terms of career and vocation.
Once again, an extended adolescence marks a huge segment of today's young male population. Slothfulness, laziness and economic carelessness are marks of immaturity. A real man knows how to earn, manage and respect money. A Christian man understands the danger that comes from the love of money, and fulfills his responsibility as a Christian steward.
Um. I’ll be honest: I’m not sure where to start. Is it the wrong claim that advertisers target men 13-25 in a way that is more significant than how they, say, target children or women ages 18-35? Or is it the subsequent claim that apparently men have not enough self-control to resist becoming materially-obsessed, which, somehow, means this same vice doesn’t apply to women? Or is it the idea that young men are somehow unique in being told what and who to be by the media?
I mean, have you SEEN Paris Hilton? Or the Kardashians? Or Katy Perry?
My short reply to Mohler’s third point is this: there is nothing that prevents this point from being a mark of womanhood as well. A responsible and mature person is going to know how to handle their money well and stick to a budget. Mature people take strides to understand how advertising affects them and to respond to the media portrayals of their people group. Managing one’s finances is part of being a good human being – there is absolutely NOTHING in having a penis that somehow makes you uniquely qualified to managing finances or more susceptible to marketing gimmicks.
Indeed, with the average age of first marriage for both men and women moving back to later in life to 26 and 28 respectively, it is massively important for both men and women to know how to manage finances and to understand when they are becoming materialistic. Being able to understand when, as the cliché goes, “your things are owning you” is the mark of maturity in any person, regardless of gender.
Besides, even if a man gets the whole “don’t be materialistic” thing, but the “infantile” wife doesn’t, it will turn that marriage into a struggle. This advice is most helpful as directed toward the church as a whole, not just men.
It seems, in his last paragraph, that the thing that Mohler actually has a problem with is this new idea of "extended adolescence" - the idea that it actually takes well into a person's 20s until they're "mature," which, y'know, wrecks the conservative Christian's concept of "marry early so you don't get tempted to have the sexy times outside of marriage." (If you are unaware of this pressure, you never attended a private Christian college).
But that has nothing to do with economic maturity or responsibility - economic maturity is something that everyone has to learn, and it is a fact that a lot of people learn how to do that during, surprise surprise, their early 20s. Railing against the concept of extended adolescence isn't going to change the reality. And when this is combined with his other marks of manhood, it places an impossible burden on men - you must be able to be a father and a good husband, but you also must be provider and manager of finances; anything less means you are not a mature man. It's foolish thinking that places an undue burden on men to be everything at once. And that is a recipe for disaster.