Chapter 1 in Fathered By God
(View the content below to get started)
Do I Have What It Takes?
What does this video stir in you?
It makes me wonder if I have what it takes to survive in a place like that. It makes me think of my life and the things that I can do and can’t do. It reminds me of all the places that I have made sure to minimize risk and limit testing of myself. It makes me think about where I am in my journey.
Jot a few things down in your journal.
Castration—A Case for Carrying a Knife
The tragic fall of masculinity has whispered to me all my life, dissonant with something I know to be true. Yet it was glaringly obvious the other day when a coworker asked my friend Allen and me to assemble a set of IKEA shelves for her office. Read the whole blog here.
What is your response to this blog? Jot a few things down in your journal.
The Place of the Stone Ax
The name of the site was Kojunnup, which means “the place of the stone ax.” Nearby was a flint canyon, where young aboriginal men were lead at the conclusion of their initiation right. During this ritual, if they had shown themselves teachable and ready to handle power for the good of the community and not just for themselves, they were allowed to create a stone ax for themselves from the flint at the sacred spot. They returned ceremoniously to their village bearing their ax and their new mantle of manhood. In this way, their manhood was not self-constructed or privately possessed; rather, it was agreed upon and bestowed by the larger community of men and therefore was expected to be returned to the community in the form of service and participation. Mainly, it was a sign that the young men could handle power and not abuse it.
As good and inspiring is the process of initiation seems to of been for these young men of Kojunnup, the sad fact of history is that this 5000 year old pattern of male initiation was undone in a very short time, and by one simple change. When the English and Irish settlers arrived, they gave axes to every young man – presumably so they could be more productive; one hopes it was not more malicious. But it undid the needed discipline and honor system. Soon young men who did not who know how to handle power had power and boys who had not paid any dues declared themselves men. The playing field had been falsely leveled. Young men who had no social vision or socially bestowed manhood were given power without being given the inner skills to know how to handle power. The result was that manhood lost its social dignity and spiritual influence, wreaking immense havoc on the whole ecosystem of that aboriginal culture which lasts to this day.
Many of us have been given what we have without going through any kind of initiation process and therefore have gotten only a counterfeit masculinity instead of the real thing. We need the real thing.
|Masculinity is bestowed and given only by the world of men|
|This initiation is a process/journey and we need a guide|
|God wants to be our guide|
|What God is primarily up to in a man or boy’s life is initiating him|
|Most men are unfinished and uninitiated|
|It is not to late, we can begin right now.|
(Respond personally to each question in your journal)
|What did you notice when reading this chapter? (Your thoughts/feelings/reactions)|
|What memories from any stage of your life does this movie trailer bring up?|
|In what situations have you felt like an idiot? (Working on a car, putting together a swing set, fixing an appliance, talking to a woman, filling out tax forms, etc.)|
|What emotions do you feel in these moments? (anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, desperation, resignation, shame, etc.)|
|Why is it that you feel so much shame in these situations?|
|Does fatherlessness have anything to do with it? (What are your thoughts)|
|Where did you look for your definition/understanding of masculinity? (Who did you look to? What situations? How did it affect you?)|
|What were the greatest gifts your father/older men gave you? (Fond memories)|
|Think about your life. What have been the tests/storms you have faced?|
|How have these times affected you? (How have you felt about them? What assumptions did they instill in you? Did you think of them as a part of God’s training process?)|
|Can you frame your life story as God at work in you to train and initiate you? (What does that look like? Can you see where God was active in initiating you in victories and failures, pain and joy?)|
|Masculine maturity is a journey NOT a formula. Does this make sense to you? What do you like/not like about this reality?|
|Are you willing to put forth the time and effort this initiation process will take?|
(Find space to be alone with God and ask him these questions. You may want to bring your journal to capture what He says)
|Father, how have you been initiating me? (Give me eyes to see your movements in my life)|
|Do you really want to be my guide? Will you invite him to be?|
|Father, what do you want to say about the masculine journey that I am on?|
(Take time to talk to your ally face to face or over the phone about these questions)
|Meet with your ally.next week keeping in mind what you learned this week|
(Take time for a personal worship time during this week)
In a quiet setting, view this video with your hands open as we surrender and center ourselves before God.
Watch this same video again in the same posture, but this time read the prayer out loud.
Watch this video and use your imagination to picture what the lyrics are describing.
Read the lyrics aloud in first person.
Did anything jump out at you? A phrase or word? An image? What was your reaction. Write down a few things in your journal.
What Did You Learn
Try to synthesize everything that you learned down to a few main points by revisiting your notes from each section. Pay special attention to the “Key Points” section.