Monday, September 10, 2007

Nowhere Men

Dan at Cerulean Sanctum has offered another jewel of a post and follow-up commentary conversation on the issue of men in the body of Christ. He also has a follow-up posting in which the conversation comments are also just as fascinating. Here's a sample...
Every study I’ve ever read on this topic says that by the time a man gets to be 40 years old, his network of close friends has dwindled to one or two other men. For most men, their spouse becomes their closest friend, with most male relationships given little time. Women, on the other hand, are good at maintaining their network of friends, even from their youth. Men are far more disconnected and lonely than women are.

The diagnosis is clear, but the treatment is a muddle. Why is that? I come away from scripture reading, prayer, and worship with very few inhibitions or inadequacies, but daily life seems to ram them back down my throat. Is this new, or has it always been this way, and that's why Jesus had to come? And since He did, why isn't all this clearer?

Sir Chuck

PS. Today's posting of The Word at the right is ironically appropriate, isn't it? (Isaiah 46:4)

3 comments:

  1. Actually in highly patriarchal societies it is often the reverse. Respectable women aren't allowed out of the house and so have nothing to share with their husbands except femininity. Moreover most marriages are utillitarian. As a result men often value friendship more then love in such societies. That in itself is reliativly harmless. However far worse is that in such societies professional adulterers who know enough about "non-feminine" activities to fulfill both roles often proliferate.
    Interestingly I have often noticed that there are in our comparitively egalitarian society, many love stories but few friendship stories. One of my favorites was "The Chosen" by Chaim Potek which I like as it is a friendship story between two bookworms. I don't know if you read it.
    Interestingly I have sometimes wondered if in that book Danny Saunders was intended to represent Israel and Rebbe Saunders was intended to represent God. Which I suppose makes me Reuven Malter.

    Sir Jason

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  2. One of my favorites was "The Chosen" by Chaim Potek which I like as it is a friendship story between two bookworms. I don't know if you read it.
    Interestingly I have sometimes wondered if in that book Danny Saunders was intended to represent Israel and Rebbe Saunders was intended to represent God. Which I suppose makes me Reuven Malter.
    ____________________________

    Danny Saunders is an adolescent who is destined to be Rebbe of a small tribe of Hassidics in New York(a Rebbe is not just a rabbi but is more like a priest in some ways and is heriditary). His father is Rebbe Saunders. Danny is raised by a very harsh method of folk-psychology imported from Russia in which his father never speaks to him except when they are studying Torah and Talmud because Rebbe Saunders considers this necessary to fit him for the role to which he is destined.
    Danny goes through the story not understanding what his father is doing, trying to convince himself and others that his father loves him, making small acts of rebellion, but somehow remaining loyal.
    Reuven Malter is Danny's best friend from a less strict sect. He is looking on this understanding even less then Danny.
    In the end Rebbe Saunders reveals what he was doing and why.

    Sir Jason

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  3. Sir Chuck,

    Interesting topic. Our own men's group here has spent a lot of time discussing it in times past.

    Aside from the normal things of time and scheduling problems that interfere with relationships, I believe that many men shoot themselves in the foot by their own actions:

    1. Belittling another brother to make his achievement seem small. For example, when I got may appraisal designation, the comment of one "friend" was "That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee." I had worked for years on that designation.

    2. Using things spoken in confidence against the person or repeating confidential information. This teaches men to always be on guard.

    3. Arguments that men always seem to get into. Women avoid these somehow. Men, on the other hand, to need to challenge everything. This can be good in the case of a false and dangerous doctrine, but in many cases it is merely a "I know more than you." statement.

    4. General lack of sensitivity. Women seem to be naturally sensitive to the emotional needs of other women whereas men either can't discern the emotional need or don’t know what to do.

    5. Unwillingness to invest. Developing friendships requires time and attention. We have to take the time to have lunch with someone or to write to someone.

    6. Failure to mend fences. An offence occurs and a person is hurt. If left alone, that could end a very long friendship. Men need to humble themselves and ask forgiveness.

    What is the solution? I believe the solution is for men to show more love for each other, in the 1 Corinthians 13 way.

    1Cr 13:4-5 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

    These are certainly not the only verses regarding love for all brothers and sisters.

    The verse " Give and it will be given." really applies here. As I get older I realize that God and people are really the only things that have eternal significance.

    As a young man I once picked up a hitch hiker who seemed old to me. He apparently had no friends, no family, and no home. I thought, "How very sad." I also thought, "I do not want to be that way."

    OK this has turned into a rant.

    Sir John, the rantor

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