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Man Church

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FWIW, I did notice the redundancy Peter highlights, and yes, I would recommend against such a redundancy. I wouldn't consider it to present an actual image problem, though; that's what I meant by "no branding problem."

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Nick Alexander wrote:

: Don't you think that this title distinguishes it from, say, collegiate fraternities, allowing for men of all ages to participate?

But don't colleges already HAVE men of all ages among their students etc.? Does a Phi Beta Kappa man ever cease to be a Phi Beta Kappa man? Isn't the whole POINT of being a fraternity -- well, one of them, anyway -- that you make contacts for life and that you put yourself in contact with elders who have gone before you?

Certainly this ministry, in its ideal state, would accomplish much the same tasks, but under the auspices of that local hosting church congregation? And since many men is a college graduates, it's not like they can sign up for pledge week if they missed it first time around...

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To be blunt, Greg, it's not straight men who needs their masculinity affirmed, but teenagers on the cusp of adulthood.
Absurd. In any case, Man Church is clearly not marketed to teens, but to middle age, working dudes.

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To be blunt, Greg, it's not straight men who needs their masculinity affirmed, but teenagers on the cusp of adulthood.
Absurd. In any case, Man Church is clearly not marketed to teens, but to middle age, working dudes.

Not at all. Many teenage boys look for affirmation as growing into Christian men of character and influence, and it has nothing to do with homosexuality. The site clearly is marketed across the board, and lists the ministry "Becoming a Man" for fathers and teenage sons. Makes sense to me.

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FWIW, I did notice the redundancy Peter highlights, and yes, I would recommend against such a redundancy. I wouldn't consider it to present an actual image problem, though; that's what I meant by "no branding problem."

FRAT CHURCH! or CHURCH FRAT!

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To be blunt, Greg, it's not straight men who needs their masculinity affirmed, but teenagers on the cusp of adulthood.
Absurd. In any case, Man Church is clearly not marketed to teens, but to middle age, working dudes.

Not at all. Many teenage boys look for affirmation as growing into Christian men of character and influence, and it has nothing to do with homosexuality. The site clearly is marketed across the board, and lists the ministry "Becoming a Man" for fathers and teenage sons. Makes sense to me.

Not me. The true rites of passage into "manhood" cannot be packaged and marketed as curriculum. I wish they could. They passage is paved with messy, violent encounters, full of tension and turmoil: Ones first fist fight, first female rejection/heartbreak, getting beaten-down by jocks, your first crap job, humiliation by peers, realizing your utter insignificance in the universe, realizing your own mortality, leaving home, doing something deeply regrettable and your first sexual experiences. That's the tough stuff that ushers boys into men, not some workbook. A lot of church kids are so coddled, they miss out on this stuff. No amount of sermon-intake is going to change that.

Anything that comes afterward, relative to following the universal teachings of Christ, is not gender specific anyway. The qualities that make someone a Christ-like man or woman are all the same.

Edited by Greg P

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To be blunt, Greg, it's not straight men who needs their masculinity affirmed, but teenagers on the cusp of adulthood.
Absurd. In any case, Man Church is clearly not marketed to teens, but to middle age, working dudes.

Not at all. Many teenage boys look for affirmation as growing into Christian men of character and influence, and it has nothing to do with homosexuality. The site clearly is marketed across the board, and lists the ministry "Becoming a Man" for fathers and teenage sons. Makes sense to me.

Not me. The true rites of passage into "manhood" cannot be packaged and marketed as curriculum. I wish they could. They passage is paved with messy, violent encounters, full of tension and turmoil: Ones first fist fight, first female rejection/heartbreak, getting beaten-down by jocks, your first crap job, humiliation by peers, realizing your utter insignificance in the universe, realizing your own mortality, leaving home, doing something deeply regrettable and your first sexual experiences. That's the tough stuff that ushers boys into men, not some workbook. A lot of church kids are so coddled, they miss out on this stuff. No amount of sermon-intake is going to change that.

There is a key component that you inadvertantly left out... a boy's relationship with his father. And if the curriculum is well crafted, it will ask open ended questions for the two to work out together, for the father to affirm the son, not unlike how the Almighty Father affirmed His Son at the baptism. It's also not unlike the curriculum of many marriage preparation courses, which are equally as diverse and intimate, but because there are a ton of boundaries/standards by which to live by, and an infinite number of ways to convey that intimacy.

Anything that comes afterward, relative to following the universal teachings of Christ, is not gender specific anyway.
My memory is hazy, but I seem to recall a lesson on how to open a jar of peanut butter.

ba-DUM-bum.

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fwiw, i'd characterize what Greg P just said about the "passage to manhood" as the passage to adulthood. My take is that most human beings - male and female, of all sexual orientations - go through markedly similar "passages."

And no, you can't package hard-won experiential knowledge in a formulaic, branded way, though obviously, there's no shortage of people trying to pull it off!

But I still wouldn't short-change the legitimacy of such a program, for one huge elephant in the room, one which you also ignored in my follow-up post to Greg. And that is the boy's relationship with his father, and the father SHARING such "hard-won experiential knowledge" with his son, using such shared experience that is theirs alone, and later affirming him.

After which, when the boy does undergo the series of circumstances that you present, he would understand how true character, a firm faith foundation, and adherence to moral law would help him sail through rough patches.

There are many cultures that still do this, including that of the Jewish community, with their bar-mitzvahs. I see such feeble attempts as noble, as a valiant effort to re-establish this connection.

But hey, the beauty of a capitalist economy is that if this it ain't for you, nobody's put a gun to your head.

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Nick, I didn't "ignore" anything - I commented on what I wanted to comment about. I'm not a big fan of point-by-point posts.

and - fwiw - I'm a woman, so ...

I thought what you didn't comment about was pertinent to the discussion. Which is why I emphasized it.

The more delicate the subject matter, the more vital it is to be point-by-point.

And I know you're a woman. I won't hold it against you. ;)

Nick

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Edited to add: surely you've gotten some fodder for new material from this discussion - so please let us know when it's ready! (Not j/k; I'd love to see you take this on.)

Thanks! When inspiration hits, I'll run with it.

Family Ties,

Nick

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Except for the rather sensational, offputting name, I suspect it could be conveniently viewed as "Men's Ministry."

Yeah, I can imagine this meeting: We need something snappy. Something that is going to engage the guys in this church, to provide a place where they can be transparent and find community. Hm. Man Time. No. Men's Group. Wait, no, that is what my dad went to. Man Cave. No. Hey! Man Church. Like the Man Show, but its Church.

FWIW, my church has a men's group time deal on some Saturday's at 7:30 in the morning. I love it. It is the only time of the week that I have to actually spend on such an affair. I can be back home doing yard work by 9:00.

Edited by M. Leary

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Nezpop wrote:

: FRAT CHURCH! or CHURCH FRAT!

Love it.

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The only manly thing I need in my church is songs with baritone parts. Unfortunately, its all tenor all the time. I croak my praise. Better than a rock, I guess.

Yes. This would be my objection to powerpoint lyrics. I have decent musical ability and a reasonably good, if untrained, ear. Not giving me a harmony to attempt is to effectively keep me out of the song. At least if I've sung it before. I LIKE singing harmony when I can. I LOVE hearing a group of people spontaneously brake into three or four part harmony when singing together. E pluribus unum set to music. Forced unison is totalitarian. Implicit forced unison is defining praise down.

Oh. And a doff of the hat to a fellow baritone.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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All that said immediately above, if some guys don't like to sing. Fine. I'm not there, but mine isn't the only taste set out there. Long before I became part of this community here, the big lesson I had learned about church and worship is that one size never fits all. As I was writing that sentence, I was afraid for a moment that Nick and Steve in particular would be offended. But even the Catholic Church seems to affirm this as well. I was beginning to think that the arch diocese here had a tin ear for worship and devotion until I realized that most of my experience in Detroit probably revolved around the tastes of one particular (large) family. There are some parishes that have guitar masses and latin masses on the same weekend. And somewhere there is almost anything in between and that's just the Catholics.

I'll never understand why some folks think it a joy for the childrens choir to scream away with each singing whatever s/he feels led to sing, rather than teaching the tikes to sing together. I don't understand how mature christians could find sustanence at seeker model churches. My brother, now a believer, goes to a church where he slips in towards the end of "worship" and stays for the sermon. I don't understand why he would choose a place where he would cut the service in half, but he's happy there. I think Nick is right. He's convinced me to be true to my values in this case. If this works for someone, then it is worthwhile ministry. There may come a time when there are few to no options at all for worship. In which case, all of what each of us crave, or demand of a church today will be irrelevant. There will be whatever we can find. For now, there is infinite variety. May we partake wisely and discerningly. Oh, and encourage others to do likewise.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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I wonder how much this depends on whether you can sing. And also what they do as worship instead of singing.

Interestingly, on the (broader) church's homepage the first piece of vid you see is of a man singing.

I don't mind the concept; I'm not so sure about the execution.

Matt

PS Going back to whether the Man Church title is ultra-straight or a bit gay, it's an interesting coincidence that the broader church has "Chandler" in its title.

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PS Going back to whether the Man Church title is ultra-straight or a bit gay, it's an interesting coincidence that the broader church has "Chandler" in its title.

Is this a Friends reference from an Englishman (ie. American TV, uh, reruns from an Englishman)? Or am I missing the Chandler reference.

Has anyone noticed six pages in less than a week? Dang.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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Friends.

(And FWIW when I think man-bag I also think of Joey and the episode where he gets one)

Matt

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Forgetting the sheer gayness of the Man Church site for a moment, it puzzles me why anyone would want to congregate to hear other men postulate on "what makes a man a Man". Even in other evangelical frat clubs i have to ask, is there any measurable benefit from talking about biblical manhood?

Back when I used to collect religious quips for my sermons I remember the one "Morals are better caught than taught"... I think I still believe that. The idea of meeting just to chat about and reinforce morality and values, even for relatively "new" christians, seems like such a waste. If I had it to do over again, I would've benefited greatly from a bona fide mentoring program. I think that's one way to take these exclusive men's meetings and turn it into something measurably positive. Sheesh, to be mentored in business or finance by some seasoned Christian man-- now that would've been cool! I'd probably still accept an offer like that. I guess that's not "christian" enough, though.

A mentoring program that connects older and wiser professional men with younger, unseasoned ones is a movement I could totally get behind. That concept of successful older men pouring their experience, knowledge and skills into younger ones is a concept that has a proven track record of success in programs around the country. Protestant churches seem to steer clear and let the civic clubs and community groups take the reins-- but why? To this day, I'd love to have someone show me the things my own father wouldn't, couldn't or didn't. Like car engine maintenance, small engine repairs, investment advice, how to kill and prepare a chicken, tending a farm, carpentry, masonry and general construction. Not that knowing those things makes you a real Jesus Man, but it's stuff that I feel makes you a more well-equipped individual in life... and isn't that partly what being a godly man or woman is about?

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Forgetting the sheer gayness of the Man Church site for a moment, it puzzles me why anyone would want to congregate to hear other men postulate on "what makes a man a Man". Even in other evangelical frat clubs i have to ask, is there any measurable benefit from talking about biblical manhood?

Back when I used to collect religious quips for my sermons I remember the one "Morals are better caught than taught"... I think I still believe that. The idea of meeting just to chat about and reinforce morality and values, even for relatively "new" christians, seems like such a waste. If I had it to do over again, I would've benefited greatly from a bona fide mentoring program. I think that's one way to take these exclusive men's meetings and turn it into something measurably positive. Sheesh, to be mentored in business or finance by some seasoned Christian man-- now that would've been cool! I'd probably still accept an offer like that. I guess that's not "christian" enough, though.

A mentoring program that connects older and wiser professional men with younger, unseasoned ones is a movement I could totally get behind. That concept of successful older men pouring their experience, knowledge and skills into younger ones is a concept that has a proven track record of success in programs around the country. Protestant churches seem to steer clear and let the civic clubs and community groups take the reins-- but why? To this day, I'd love to have someone show me the things my own father wouldn't, couldn't or didn't. Like car engine maintenance, small engine repairs, investment advice, how to kill and prepare a chicken, tending a farm, carpentry, masonry and general construction. Not that knowing those things makes you a real Jesus Man, but it's stuff that I feel makes you a more well-equipped individual in life... and isn't that partly what being a godly man or woman is about?

In all fairness, Greg, a LOT of these men's organizations and men's resources encourage exactly what you want.

And yet, it also flies uncomfortably close towards the "Shepherding Movement" of the 70s and 80s, which has had as many success stories (I am one of whom who was blessed by such), as there are horror stories (claims of cult-like adherance to a leader).

I was lucky/blessed, others, not so much. I greatly benefited from such a ministry, and I found myself drawn to such ministries today (although to those within my own denomination), when I became a daddy, and found that I was looking for worthy examples for emulation.

ETA: We need only to look at the myriad examples of fallen heroes out there (Mel Gibson, some televangelists), who flew alone, and were not held accountable. I would think that such groups would increase accountability, and thus fidelity with one's spouse and family. That, to me, makes it incredibly worthwhile.

Edited by Nick Alexander

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In all fairness, Greg, a LOT of these men's organizations and men's resources encourage exactly what you want.
I seem to have missed those. Can you cite any specific examples?

And yet, it also flies uncomfortably close towards the "Shepherding Movement" of the 70s and 80s, which has had as many success stories (I am one of whom who was blessed by such), as there are horror stories (claims of cult-like adherance to a leader).
Secular groups seem to have very few problems with mentoring programs. Churches, yeah... because it tends to quickly becomes less an issue of sharing life skills and practical experience and more an issue of control and blunt-force sermonizing.

I'm a delusional dreamer I suppose. I envisioned a christian ministry where the seasoned mentor was more concerned with helping his friend learn about say, the nuanced strategy of commodities trading, than his masturbatory practices. Heh, like that's gonna happen.

Edited by Greg P

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In all fairness, Greg, a LOT of these men's organizations and men's resources encourage exactly what you want.
I seem to have missed those. Can you cite any specific examples?
I mostly listen to podcasts and audio recordings (CDs, or if earlier, tapes), from national men's conferences. Some of these men star on a weekly television show called "Crossing the Goal" on EWTN--Peter Herbeck, Danny Abromowitz, etc. It comes up, I make note of it, and move on. But again, this is strongly denominational-centric within Catholic circles, many of whom grew out of charismatic covenant communities, which established these men's groups/shepherding to begin with.

That said, I ran a couple of word-searches ("mentor") on both Eldredge ("Wild At Heart") and David Murrow ("Why Men Hate Going To Church"), and the word is there. Maybe not a chapter devoted on the issue (wouldn't that be overkill?) but enough to have that base covered.

I am admittedly not familiar enough with PK lit to see if this makes it in there as well. Let Amazon's "Search Inside" is your friend.

Nick

Edited by Nick Alexander

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That said, I ran a couple of word-searches ("mentor") on both Eldredge ("Wild At Heart") and David Murrow ("Why Men Hate Going To Church"), and the word is there. Maybe not a chapter devoted on the issue (wouldn't that be overkill?) but enough to have that base covered.
I think this actually argues my point, which is-- the term mentoring may get dropped now and then, but the emphasis is on rousing speeches and theorizing about the attributes of "biblical manhood" (whatever that's supposed to be). These guys make a nice living doing this stuff, so I can hardly slight them.

But if you want to change young men and make an impact that will alter their future in a measurable way, invite older men to volunteer to mentor them in a given profession or field of interest. Allow those older men the opportunity to impart, not just the hard life lessons learned, but their insights, knowledge and expertise in a given area. Retired bankers, mechanics, lawyers, artists, architects, policemen, etc... I'm not just dreaming, there are established mentoring programs like this around the country and their impact is matter of much discussion. The church for some reason would prefer to just talk about family values and morals... over coffee and donuts.

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What about the mentors that use such talks and literature as a starting point?

I believe this sticking point of yours wouldn't apply; especially in the part of the book that begins with the term "Discussion Questions". It would indicate a "Given."

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Stop Shopping Church > Man Church

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Webcast will start at 8pm on Saturday, July 24th. Join us as we give local mountaintop heroes thanks and praise. It's all happening on our homepage at RevBilly.com. Appalachi-a-lujah!

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What about the mentors that use such talks and literature as a starting point?

John Eldredge writes and lectures for a living. As far as I know, he does not mentor in the sense in which i described unless he mentors people so they can lecture others-- which is possible. But lecturing people is not really mentoring. And this is where "men's ministries" miss the boat.

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