3. GETTING CONNECTED WITH MY REAL SELF – I AM THE KEY PROJECT!
What? …Start with Me?
If‚ this sounds selfish, consider that if God gets YOU moving and growing He is able to affect others through you.
Our lack of effective influence, our witness, or our ability to‚ help others depends powerfully on our connectedness to God and our growth in maturity.
3.1 The Father Wound
We live in an age characterised by Fatherlessness. A stark statistic for us as male Australians is that 1 in 2 teenage boys in our country today do not have their biological father in the home resident with them. But the story is much older than this… there remains something unfinished in us all as modern Western men, if we are honest. We’ve been abandoned, either literally by our dads, or they were just too busy for us, or they were trained not to communicate nurturing affection and emotion by their own fathers. Being, tough, independent, non emotional to excess is confused with real manhood.
Manhood is a gift that is bestowed not learnt from a text book or by oneself. All men carry a father-wound because no one’s dad is perfect. Our shame, our anger, our passivity, our driven-ness and addictions are all testimony to our struggle to discover real manhood.
In this area in particular, pain we do not transform, we transmit so our own parenting will reflect this reality. Any struggling dad knows something is missing deep inside him every time he fears confrontation with his wife, or gets angry with his children. Every single man knows something is missing when he feels he hasnâ€™t got what it takes in the presence of a beautiful woman, or is passive around other men.
Most Dads were never shown how to engage the hearts of their children… let alone deliberately plan for rites of passage to affirm their children. That’s because our dads, and their dads before them, had no idea how to initiate their sons… but there is a process by which we can still be â called out as men of God by Our Father in heaven. The truth is He has been trying to initiate us for some time through trials, tests, adventures, and life experiences. But we don’t always respond or know how to interpret those experiences.
In the end something very big is at stake here our own personhood and our ability to father others. We need to let God re-parent and complete the work our fathers began. How? Go to…
Sons of the Fathe Gordon Dalbey (4 CDs)
Sons of the Father Gordon Dalbey
Fight like a Man Gordon Dalbey
Websites Gordon Dalbey writes… Welcome to the journey of manhood
I polled a conference of 150 men with this question,When you were growing up, did your father talk to you helpfully about girls and sexuality? Only 2 men raised their hands.
At another conference of 350 fathers, I asked, When you became a dad for the first time, did your own father come alongside you with some help, encouragement, support, or advice maybe call you up, come visit you, or write you a letter? Only five hands.
If you’re wondering why men’s sexuality is out of control and why men feel inadequate as fathers, here’s where we start. Not to judge or curse your father, but to face your wound as every generation must, including your son’s. Then, to go to Jesus for healing and see Dad as God sees him, to forgive and honour him. Then, at last, to go to Father God to get what no human father can give, and become the man you’re called to be.
AsÃ‚ men are often more visual and like maps/diagrams here are three that inform our journey.
Map 1 a Jesus centred life
The natural man sits at the centre of his own life and lacks inspiration and power to order it correctly. Asking Jesus to be at the centre to be Lord empowers perspective and a lifetime of change and growth. He becomes friend and companion, helper and advisor, a brother when you are in need and a Rock when you are in trouble. He has experienced all you will experience, and is on hand each moment to assist.
Map 2 Building blocks
We need a plan and we are stewards of the life we have been given. We need to build carefully on the foundation laid in Christ. A successful life and spiritual life consists in addressing all these elements. We are often crippled by neglecting some of these. Do an audit regularly and make plans to pray and address the impoverished elements.
Map 3 The Male spiritual journey
Before we go on any challenging trip WE KNOW a good map and guidebook may mean the difference between survival or death or just not being able to reach our destination!
The map or schematic outline of the spiritual journey below outlines the path all men undertake. It is very useful to get a sense of the terrain, the stages of development and the transitions involved in man’s journey through the whole of life. The rules we follow and the strategies we employ in the first half of life often do not work in the second. Without this knowledge as older men and father how do we understand/guide younger men?
This journey outline has been commented on richly and well by many authors, but especially by Fr Ron Rollheiser and Fr Richard Rohr. We have found it very helpful to get a sense of the tasks proper to the two halves of life and the responses we should be making. It is very accessible on CD and in book form and is a must for men.
The spirituality and wisdom required for the second half of life is different from the first. Not to know this is to be under resourced to grow and to continue the journey.
The Ascent Journey (Age 1-32)
Necessary period of idealism. healthy young man needs to experience his own power and possibilities. Necessary egocentrism: in love with God, in love with the idea of being in love.
Learning duty, responsibility, hard work, delayed gratification, Focussed on striving for righteousness, sacrificing. Sometimes strong black and white world views.
The Goal: Adult Man Achievement of personal strength, gifting and power … appropriate sense of one’s own boundaries, a sense of self at least adequate to let go of the self.
The Alternative: Angry Young Man Never gets to experience his own power, goodness or potential. Normally a negative acting out. Can be early initiation if he can see God in this and come to a deep sense of self.
Crisis of Limitations (Age 33-50)
The mid life crisis a time of inner loss of meaning sometimes accompanied by failure, falling apart and acting out to regain power and control.
Confrontation with one’s limits, with paradox and mystery with the cross.
Heroic virtues usually do not work anymore nor do they always help. What is needs humility, honesty.
The Goal: Early movement from self control to the beginnings of God control
The Alternative: The Old Fool Doesn’t get it; tries to keep ascending despite the evidence and the invitation; the shallow male.
The Wisdom Journey (Age 50+)
Needs spiritual guidance because rules no longer work in their old form. A time of letting go, trust, patience, surrender, holy abandonment, compassion, the dark night of faith: The Abrahamic Journey from what you have to what you don’t have.
Finally secure enough to be insecure. Time of painful insights and major surgery. Painfully redefining victory and success: putting on the mind of Christ. the Paschal Mystery. Cannot fake prayer anymore, but must pray to survive. The shadow is not just tolerated, but embraced, forgiven and seen as gift. The rejected stone becomes the cornerstone (see 1 Peter 2:7). Mercy instead of sacrifice.
The Goal: Wise Man God’s beloved son, the mellow grandfather, who can hold paradox because God has done it in him. God is finally in control. Return to simplicity, to the garden: beyond judgments. reason and control to wisdom. Being human is more important than self image, role, power. prestige or possessions. He has it all!
The Alternative: The Embittered Old Man Confrontation but no enlightenment. Wounds did not become sacred wounds. Still looking for something to blame. The negative and cynical man.
Adult Christianity And How to Get There R. Rohr & R. Rollheiser
The Wild Man’s Journey (Revised Edition) R. Rohr & J. Martos