I made it to the 33 series meeting this week. I had missed the previous two sessions, which was unfortunate because they were (as I previewed at the bottom of my last 33 post) about Dad wounds and Mom wounds.
The session this week was about healing from those respective wounds. The video we watched had examples, men’s stories about these things. No surprise they fell into two categories.
Dad was abusive and Mom cared too much, she wouldn’t let go, the man needed to assert boundaries. I have to admit, the stories the men on the video told about their fathers and the reconciliations that took place later in life we heavy. Very. These have value in and of themselves. But it is because of the weight of these stories that these series tend to cement the churchian view into place. It is at once is poignantly moving regarding dads and men, and in a sense a little bit cute and chuckle worthy regarding men and their moms.
Imagine hearing a man, a man who is a trainer of Delta Force and SEALS, and man who has a strong alpha frame on the video, tell of being held under water in his bathtub as a child until passing out. When he awoke his step dad said, “see, I own your life”. The imagine years later the victim is grown and has a reconciliation with his step dad while the man is on his deathbed. Its powerful stuff.
But then we moved on to a man whose mother was “always there for him”. Then, when he married she couldn’t let go. So he wrote her a letter. Her response, also a letter, was a long sarcastic rant about how if she was unwanted she’d just fade away and never bother him again. The tone of the whole exchange invited knowing laughter. Nothing poignant, nothing moving, just a kind of “yea that’s how those moms are yuk yuk yuk”
In every touch point the church drives the message of man bad woman good (at least better)
Then the men at my table. I described how I should have kept my mouth shut in the first session. So this time I did not share anything about my background. Same guys, they know anyway. Picture this, one guy shares that he had some issues with his parents being controlling. This past Christmas there had been a major blow out because his dad wanted to have the grand kids open presents on Christmas Eve and this guys wife had Christmas Day as the tradition. It went like that. I offer that example for this reason. I have always known that God works most obviously where the most brokenness resides, and open hearts and minds are truly receptive once a hard heart that was formed via trauma is cracked open. This is not news. Its just an example. It goes with the old saw that where sin abounds grace abounds. So forth. I also know there are badly broken people sprinkled everywhere and they are driven from the church by the same sense of lacking a fit that I experience. I had to get comfortable with that a long time ago.
I made a couple of remarks similar to the last time, testing the awareness of the men. One remark involved expressing curiosity about why, in a series on men, husbands, fathers, why no mention would be made about a wife who has taken on a controlling or overbearing attitude at home, towards the kids and/or the husband. Even given the silliness of limiting a woman’s sin to caring too much, would it not be reasonable to include something about that being a generational issue and how a man would need to, in leadership, address it, nip it? Glazed looks and silence….next.
I will make the final two sessions. I did benefit from the stories about men reconciling horrible pasts so there is that. But for every benefit comes a hollow feeling born of the knowledge that the Matrix in the church doesn’t have any kind of strong organized resistance whatsoever.