And the Men?

Posted: February 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

So I just returned from a men’s retreat in which over 150 men gathered to share table, have fun, and consider the serious side of faith. I was blown away by the passion these guys had to be together and their attentiveness to the deep things we share.

True, we selected a theme that would naturally attract men.  We also cobbled together all the natural networks of men in the congregation to make for a big pow-wow. And the fact that the co-leaders were the former Sr. Minister and present Sr. Minister lent it gravitas. But I saw more.

I think there is in men a deep spiritual yearning that often goes unmet. We often do not give ourselves or others permission to deal with matters of the heart. And I think men shield their wounds from other men, largely because we are cultivated to be so competitive. And there is a meta-message floating in the culture that we have certain roles to play and they often do not include spiritual search and servant leadership. The sheer number of men who turned out for this retreat sends a different kind of message: It matters and we are the ones who care about it.

At the end of the retreat we challenged the men to go on a forty-day spiritual journey during Lent. We will be reading a day-by-day meditation guide by spiritual master, Richard Rohr. He’s especially well versed in male spirituality. And a bunch of guys said, “Count me in.”

At the end of the movie we viewed for discussion, A River Runs Through It, the narrator, now an old man still finding mystery in the river he has fished since his childhood, says, “I am haunted by waters.”

And so I end with a quote from Rohr:

“Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.”

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