the masculine journey and our culture

DSC_0030i spent the weekend as part of a leadership team who led a group of men through John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart.  The basic theme was to better understand the masculine journey.  It was 3 incredibly good days of pushing into a deeper understanding of our wounds and the healing that Jesus Christ brings and the resulting freedom to live a fuller life.

Returning home i learned of the tragedy of Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins.  Pondering the “why” as we all do i stumbled on Kevin Powell’s column on CNN entitled  Manhood, football and suicide

I think Kevin is right on point.  He says we have to teach men to find ways to cope with life’s challenges…

For the past several years, I have privately advised and counseled several professional and amateur athletes, and entertainers, all men, all grappling with very warped definitions of manhood. The recurring theme over and over is fear of expressing themselves fully, fear of letting others down, fear of not being the tough and rugged men they were told they had to be. And on the inside so many of them are damaged as a result. The very definition of manhood they’ve embraced is more an emotional prison than anything else.

There is so much confusion in our culture and the crisis is spreading.  The tension of what I was privileged to at the weekend and the reality of such a tragedy is disconcerting.  I was greatly encouraged by the hearts and minds of those men who attended the weekend.  I was particularly blessed by four young men that were in my small group.  Yet, the tragic event reminds that there remains much.

I want to echo Kevin’s closing thoughts… they are critical here…

We must struggle, harder than ever, as men, as boys, as a nation, to reach the point where a heart-to-heart conversation is the first and only option, not a gun, not gun violence. The lives of Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins will have been in vain completely if we do not go deeper within ourselves to teach and show our sons, our husbands, our boyfriends, our fathers, our men and boys, that there is another way.

I watched a room full of men, over 3 days, move towards “another way”. Hearing stories of how God had saved marriages, restored relationships and brought healing. There is hope, but it will come one man and family at a time. the common theme as we wrapped up was a deeper gratitude for a new sense for some and a restored sense of “freedom” for others.

hat tip to cory and brett