You hear a lot about the crisis of masculinity blah blah blah.
Of course, it's all true, there is one. But to make sense, there has to be a crisis of femininity too. Why would one basic essential gotten wrong not affect the other one that is so deeply related to it?
There is lots I could say. My favorite is that I hate when women talk about it. Just like my women friends want to talk about modesty but to be greeted with only the nodding approval by their man-friends. lol.
A woman talking about a crisis of masculinity is like a virus talking about the crisis in human health. Women wanted to emasculate us, and for some reason or other we went along with it.
So, ladies, put your money where your mouths are. If you want men, you are not going to get what you want. But that is what you women need. Nothing we want ever makes us better.
Here's a man holding the door open. How nice; how harmless; how half a person!
He is about 120 lbs give-or-take. That's not a man. That's a boy becoming a man (but not a mechanism to hold open doors.) But most importantly, that girl can put him in her little pocket. He's so un-intimidatingly safe, isn't he?
But if it's a gentleman you want (and you all tell me that it is), he is not going to come in a little harmless package.
The average man is about 5'9'' (my height) and weighs about 180 lbs (much less than me!)
Such a man looks like this:
You know, I had to scroll through a whole lot of buffed guys to find this one.
So, ladies, when you picture a man who holds open doors for you, is this what you picture?
This fella can probably handle himself on a computer, and pull in that average Canadian male salary of $50 grand per year.
So very average.
There was some hubbub recently about men scoring low on the liking mass thing. You can connect to it here. Also, the National Post is featuring an interesting discussion re. how commercials depict dads vs. how they depict moms. See it here.
Men don't like mass; boys don't like school. Hmm, a pattern, perhaps? When I worked landscaping in the summer I couldn't wait to get back to the books in the fall. If I sit around at home all day, what makes sitting around at mass any different? Surveys indicate that about 2/3 of Canadian men are 'satisfied' with their jobs. What more do you want?
As an introvert I love the break that is a holy hour by myself. I am surrounded by people at home, and I find that draining psychologically. Do I 'enjoy' mass on Sunday? The only times I don't 'enjoy' it is when it is too hot, the kids are misbehaving, I am hungry, or otherwise grumpy for some unrelated reason. I like mass very much - but that says more about my church and pastor than it does about my gender. If I was in a crazy (normal) secularized (average) parish, I would likely never enjoy Sunday mass.
But words like 'enjoyment' don't mean a whole lot to me when I am referring to the important things in life: whether I enjoy my wife, my kids, or mass or not I will still attend to them with great love. I don't want to be entertained by mass, in other words. If a parish 'pastoral team' took it upon themselves (as so many do!) to make the church 'relevant' to me, then they better bone up on their theology, philosophy, psychology and current events. They won't succeed. I know I am not going to hear Bl. John Henry Newman preach. I don't go expecting that. But I do go expecting transubstantiation and the actual Scriptures and the actual sacramentary (sorry, Archbishop Prendergast, I mean the Missal). Everything else is gravy, baby. I just happen to be blessed with a good pastor and good deacons who also preach here and there. Gravy.
Don't expect me to 'feel' things at mass. I am a man, a weird, particular kind of man. You cannot possibly make me feel things at mass (save for hilarity when I hear, "God is not dead, He is alive" being sung).
If you try to make me feel things, the only thing I will feel is insulted. I will feel insulted that you have for some reason taken it upon yourself to decide what I am like and how I should feel. I am not there for anything other than the Sacrament and the Word. Make that happen, is all I am asking for.
Men very easily feel patronized. The quickest way to alienate us is by making us suspect that we are your guinea pigs.
The bottom line is, men being men is not being catered to, it is not being silenced, told to sit still when we are a long way off from burning our energy off, it is not as an automatic door-opener, it is not putting on tight clothes that should only fit prepubescent boys.
If you want a man to 'like' mass, make it the most restful and spiritually inspiring hour of his day or week. Actually, you can't make it that way at all. But you can stop from impeding it. The rest is up to the man himself.
My life isn't really like either one of these. So, for me, there's got to be a whole lot of this:
to make me yearn for, and to get the most out of, this:
But what do I know? I'm just some guy.
But did you know that, ladies? Did you know that a man needs to sweat and be gross to be a man? I will hold the door open for you, but my hands might slip off the knob a few times because it's so gross and sweaty!
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Monday, July 28, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”(1 Corinthians 1:31)
I am sure you have read this passage a million times. And, I am willing to bet you think you have it down pat. Yeah, don't be proud of yourself, be proud of God. In other words, praise God and be humble.
But, really, come on, tell me what it means to boast in the Lord!?
Here is the passage more fully:
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (vv. 26-31)
As you may know, I love St. Paul. Paul was the earthiest, most honest apostle, well, since Peter! Actually, the Apostles - they were a very gritty, honest group, weren't they (except for one of them)?
St. Paul should be called the patron saint of all-too-human evangelists. This is my favorite painting of the Apostles. It is by Albrecht Durer. Although it is not the one who he meant to be Paul, Paul to me is the guy third from the left, just the head, really. Doesn't he look irascible? That's Paul! Durer meant the guy on the right to be Paul (see the sword? that's Paul's symbol).
My Paul is not a good looking guy, just like that bug-eyed guy in the painting. My Paul was always driven by insecurity over his lack of good looks and charm to attain high things in the world of scholarship and politics. He didn't loose every one of his character flaws after his conversion, but he was able to change his preoccupation with himself into a preoccupation with the Word of God in Christ. And that's what counts. He was never stoical. He was passion and fire, but in a good way, that is, once he got on the right track.
The two letters to the Corinthians catalogue something of his struggle with that church. A lot of his personality comes through in the process. I take heart from the fact that you can have insecurities and all that and yet still do great work for God. You don't have be perfect like this to be an effective evangelist:
because, with me, this is what you get:
and that ain't pretty.
But I still haven't said what boasting in the Lord means.
Let me first say what it is by saying what it is not.
Today I realized that I am feeling a lot of negative emotions about something that I should be feeling nothing but pride. Yes, I said pride. I was raised to take the responsibilities associated with work very seriously. But was I raised to see success as the beautiful, divine thing it really is, or the materialistic, empty version we are used to? Clearly, by the fact that I am trying to do the work of spreading the Word day-in day-out and yet am not feeling proud, I was raised with the wrong one in mind. I am actually feeling a lot of shame about my life and work, and this simply because I don't have much money. This is as true as it is horribly indicting. What worries me most is wondering what success will bring - pride in God or pride in myself? It is so easy to start with the one in mind and then quickly move on to the other.
The other day I heard a priest sum up his fifty years of priesthood. In a nutshell he said that a priest brings a lot of good into the world through the Holy Eucharist and takes out a lot of bad through confession. As a priest, he did that. That is boasting in the Lord.
So in, say, thirty years from now, in describing this present moment, I should say,
"That was a wonderful time. It was so great with those young kids at home with Anne-Marie and I. Those were the days when I started the Catholic Review of Books, I was writing a whole bunch of stuff, and I think God used it to do a lot of good. I am just so happy that I could be used by God in that way. We didn't have much money. We never knew what was going to happen next, but we were open to God and He was really watching over us."
How can I not be happy and proud if this is true?