Its just weird.
Since Sunday Ive been ensconced in a big home on one of our country’s many fantastic ski resorts with 16 other men from companies related to the business I am in. I think about what the stereotype is….a bunch of drunks yelling profanities, maybe some trickling out for adult entertainment at night. Just general debauchery. You know what I’m talking about. Its gotta be like an early release program for sex offenders right? A group of men that large, from upper middle class to middle class, all out with a work pass excuse while the wives and kids are home? Well, some really bad crap has to go down. And it did. It was embarrassing. Three of the men sat in a hot tub after skiing and had a couple of beers and a cigar. Shocking what men will do when unencumbered by the old ball and chain.
These men and I need to be called back to our roles as heads of families, as fathers…back to our wives and kids and away from work and play centered on our own pleasure and having little to do with those we’ve left at home. I guess.
Look what one of our favorite marriage ministry leaders says about men in general. (this is my paraphrase)
I don’t understand why calling men back to their primary responsibilities of serving and loving their wives and children would strike anyone as a bad thing. I’m going to include myself too when I say we all need to be reminded what our responsibilities are as men, husbands, and fathers. Yes, me too… even marriage ministers like me.
He was talking about defending a Promise Keepers rally against a group of female protesters who were claiming that the organization was centered on misogyny. His defense was spirited but off target. He choose an unfortunate example for making his point.
“I added, as an example, “Up front, just to the left of where I was speaking a moment ago, there were more than 30 prisoners dressed in white. They had been given a day’s pass so that they could come to the entire session today. If you went up to interview them right now, you would find that most of these incarcerated men never had a daddy in their lives.”
He does not see what is wrong with this?
This is a perfect example of why we have issues with these groups, and why unbelieving men come to church mainly at their wife’s urging…a fact that feeds the flawed perception of the ministry leaders.
There I was with a house full of men, not all of these men are Christians, and some are more coarse than others, yet to a man, they spoke at length and with pride of their kids, of the fact that they are homesick, of their wives forbearance that these outings take time away from home, and how the wives and kids have have had to move house many times as the men’s careers have required. To a man the only thing missing was a photo album. Oh, except for a couple of men who were jettisoned by their wives. They just talked about their kids.
The group was uniformly disturbed by the tendency to marry late or not marry at all and more or less agreed when I hypothesized that ready divorce was a key reason. I didn’t go so far as to add “female initiated” because most of the men would have ended up more glazed over than a Shipley’s bakers dozen.
More, there was a catering company making dinner and some local guy leading a wine tasting when a Duck Dynasty ad came on the TV. Through the meandering conversation that ensued, one of the caterers mentioned that at least that show wasn’t as destructive as Housewives or Kardashians. She added that she has a friend who is festering for a divorce because she is unhappy that she may be missing something in life. When asked why she felt that way, the woman cited those trashy shows as having given her the idea that there is more “out there” than caring for her family of 5 kids and a husband.
Yes that’s an outlier. And I would not have even thought to post about that one-off remark. But then I read our marriage minister using prisoners on day release as motivation for encouraging men to get “back to their primary responsibilities of serving and loving their wives and children” [emphasis mine]. Why then can I not use that anecdote to ask him to call women back?
By 10 PM each evening, to a man, we were asleep. The last thing the married men did each evening was call home and and say goodnight to wives and kids.
Is it unrealistic to imagine that Christian men are fed up hearing the criticism and condemnation that is masked as encouragement? Further, what must the unbeliever think? If he listens to words like those he would have to ask himself, what is up with those guys, why do they seem to have such dysfunctional men? Why would I want to step into that quagmire they call the church when the majority of the guys I know are like that random group of seventeen at the ski house?
The constant drumbeat of male correction is spoiling the witness of the church. And when a man is actually held forth as a good example, he is invariable anything but a leader. Indeed, the heart of the servant man, as taught, may press his wife to wonder, based on reality TV, what she is missing in her life.
(I need a new obsession)