Living with XY Chromosomes

How might we live well as men? What gives us life? What diminishes us?

There's been a few discussions about masculinity on the ship in Other Places that got a bit bogged down. Advice was given to have a go here.

It's not up to me where this one goes, but I suppose topics might include:

fatherhood
the place of hobbies in the male psyche
the place of physical challenge in male identity
mental health
care for health
over/under employment
retirement
friendship
emotional literacy

Going with friendship for a start, I've never found churches an easy setting for developing friendships and have almost always had to look elsewhere for a circle of supportive relationships. This has tended to leave church quite a dry place.

Cheers

Asher
«134567

Comments

  • You might want this to be Epiphanies or All Saints rather than Heaven.
  • asherasher Shipmate
    You might want this to be Epiphanies or All Saints rather than Heaven.

    Curses! My error. Meant to put this in all saints.

    Could a friendly host move it please.

    Now to self: don't post before coffee.

    Asher
  • Back in the 70s I enjoyed the wave of feminist literature that explored new ways of being a woman. I was waiting for novels that would do the same for men. I'm still waiting.
  • Re church:

    I've heard that many men find that the usual kind of church service isn't manly enough for them. (Possibly Protestants.) So they sometimes come up with alternatives. IIRC, the Promise Keepers are like that. though I think there was something about a problem with them. Someone came up with using wrestling as an evangelism technique. I saw a TV news segment about it, long ago. I think it was scripted, like much of pro wrestling, with good winning over evil, and a talk to explain the whole thing.

    I think some men channel their need for church into doing practical things: maintaining the church building and property, helping people get to church, etc. And I wouldn't be surprised if some men who volunteer to build with Habitat For Humanity are doing it for that reason.

    Re male equivalent of feminist literature:

    I can't think of any novels; but there was a men's movement, partly sparked by Robert Bly's writings. Also drumming groups for men.

    FWIW, YMMV.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    What makes a church service "manly"?
  • Back in the 70s I enjoyed the wave of feminist literature that explored new ways of being a woman. I was waiting for novels that would do the same for men. I'm still waiting.

    My nephew had trouble going through puberty and eventually had to start a lifetime of testosterone injections in order to look and sound "normal." The injections meant never having children. At the time I searched my libraries for information about the male body and found absolutely nothing although I counted 30 books about women, their hormones, their bodies, their selves. It was also impossible to find an endocrinologist who specialized in men.

    I think it's very hard for boys these days to know how to become men without becoming some form of person who is either hated by women or sneered at by other men. There are mixed messages everywhere and rarely anything positive said about men at all. The negative feedback starts in elementary school where the boy's natural physical energy is seen as a bad thing and the girls are often favored by the teachers because they tend to be quieter and easier to manage. Then there are the increasing number of boys raised by single mothers with no male role model in the home.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    We are having some Hostly discussion backstage about what board would make the best home for this thread, which has the potential to go in so many interesting discussion directions (which is why we're not entirely sure where is the best place for it). In the meantime, since I am a universalist and believe that All Threads Go To Heaven, it can stay here, but posters, please remember where you are and keep the tone of discussion pleasant and relatively light.

    Trudy, Heavenly Host
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    What makes a church service "manly"?

    Good question!
    :lol:

    Odd though it may seem, the weekday Mass at Our Place is largely attended by Four Old Men (of whom I am one), though there is the occasional female visitor...

    ...and our Sunday congregation, albeit Small (but Perfectly Formed) is, generally speaking, 50% male, and 50% female. IYSWIM.
    :wink:



  • (Reposting from hell thread because it seems more useful here.)
    Making a Man

    I think it it would be helpful to model and praise traditional male virtues in ways that do not promote violence, coercion or emotional repression. I also think that is attainable - and is of course something that some men are already doing.

    Re mental health, I really like the work that CALM are doing.
  • Oh yes, CALM does seem like a good program. This line popped out from the site, "following research showing isolation and loneliness as a growing problem for men over 30." I notice the isolation problem all the time. We have such stigma against grown men living with their parents but the alternative is usually a shabby apartment where the man comes home from work and eats dinner out of a paper bag in front of his TV, then surfs the net and drinks until he falls asleep on the couch.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    What makes a church service "manly"?

    Maybe this?

    A new mega church was built almost across the street from me so I went one time. The lobby contains a concession stand with free latte's, doughnuts, etc. and the sanctuary has movie theater style seats with cushioned arms and handy cup holders for the drinks.

    After some contemporary music from the band we had a short sermon from the youth pastor about soccer with film clips of an actual game illustrating his points. More music and then the senior pastor gave us a longer sermon with film, all based on the superior coaching style of the Ohio State University's head coach. Not really as out of place as you might think, said coach being many Ohioan's idea of God and the team his disciples.

    Lots of men were there and the church is still doing well with a full parking lot every time I drive by.
  • I remember chatting to a 17 year old lad in London, and the topic of mugging came up. What scared him wasn't so much the risk of physical pain, but the idea he might end up crying in front of his mates. I found that rather worrying.
  • asherasher Shipmate
    Isolation is such a real issue for so many men at any age.

    Physical decline with age/disability is such a challenge as many men find identity through the ability to make things.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    ... What scared him wasn't so much the risk of physical pain, but the idea he might end up crying in front of his mates ...
    I feel embarrassed if I cry in front of my mates, and I'm a woman ... :blush:
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    What makes a church service "manly"?

    Manly religious art, for one.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    edited November 21
    mousethief wrote: »
    Manly religious art[/url], for one.

    There's too much being said about the so-called perfect physique already without the church joining in. If that's the church's idea of manly then it is toxic manliness they are portraying.

    (Edit for clarity).
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited November 21
    Twilight wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    What makes a church service "manly"?

    Maybe this?

    A new mega church was built almost across the street from me so I went one time. The lobby contains a concession stand with free latte's, doughnuts, etc. and the sanctuary has movie theater style seats with cushioned arms and handy cup holders for the drinks.

    After some contemporary music from the band we had a short sermon from the youth pastor about soccer with film clips of an actual game illustrating his points. More music and then the senior pastor gave us a longer sermon with film, all based on the superior coaching style of the Ohio State University's head coach. Not really as out of place as you might think, said coach being many Ohioan's idea of God and the team his disciples.

    Lots of men were there and the church is still doing well with a full parking lot every time I drive by.

    This assumes that men are into sports. I call this a sporty church, not a manly one. Indeed, promoting it as manly just serves, IMV, to reinforce the toxic masculinity idea that non sports fans are not real men.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Back in the 70s I enjoyed the wave of feminist literature that explored new ways of being a woman. I was waiting for novels that would do the same for men. I'm still waiting.

    If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.
    - Toni Morrison

    Easy to say when you're Toni Morrison, but it's still a good point.
    mousethief wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    What makes a church service "manly"?

    Manly religious art, for one.

    I'm not sure projecting a Christ so mighty he rejects the Crucifixion is "manly" so much as it is "heretical". Which is one of the problems that always seems to pop up with "manly" Christianity. The premise is that "manhood" is equated with power, particularly physical power, so we usually arrive at a point where it's argued that Christ is just like Cæsar, only way more powerful.
  • Crœsos wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    What makes a church service "manly"?

    Manly religious art, for one.

    I'm not sure projecting a Christ so mighty he rejects the Crucifixion is "manly" so much as it is "heretical". Which is one of the problems that always seems to pop up with "manly" Christianity. The premise is that "manhood" is equated with power, particularly physical power, so we usually arrive at a point where it's argued that Christ is just like Cæsar, only way more powerful.

    I apologize, I should have used the sarcasm font. I think the whole idea of a manly church service is of questionable theology and morality.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    I apologize, I should have used the sarcasm font. I think the whole idea of a manly church service is of questionable theology and morality.

    And yet people produce images like the one linked to in your prior post unironically and non-sarcastically. Poe's law at work.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited November 21
    Crœsos wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    I apologize, I should have used the sarcasm font. I think the whole idea of a manly church service is of questionable theology and morality.

    And yet people produce images like the one linked to in your prior post unironically and non-sarcastically. Poe's law at work.

    I believe that picture was, in fact, created unironically. I think some people really do think that Jesus resurrected himself by brute force, by being a Manly Man. Poe's Law is correct.
  • asherasher Shipmate
    edited November 21
    Lol, as part of the Iona community I enjoy playing a kind of images-of-God bingo with their liturgies

    ...all images are acceptable except......
  • "The grave could not hold him", etc., per a hymn--and many others with a similar theme.
  • It is odd that the church has been run by men for centuries, but has often had far more female active members. (At least, it looks like that to me; I have no hard evidence.)
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Golden Key wrote: »
    "The grave could not hold him", etc., per a hymn--and many others with a similar theme.

    The grave could not hold him forever, but it did hold him for three days. That picture shows him breaking free of the cross, and that's not what happened.

  • Re "manly" churches and services:

    I just did a search at Duck Duck Go, on "church manly men -australia". (NOTE: There's a town in Australia called Manl(e)y, and it was producing lots of hits. No insult to Australian men intended!)

    Many of the sites have the kind of ideas I'd heard about. And others (like Cedar Point Church) seem to put forth healthier ideas.

    FWIW, YMMV.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    And I'm left wondering what it is about "manliness" that distinguishes it from, say, "adulthood" or "womanliness." What does this impulse to "segregate" ourselves socially into M/F categories spring from? What mental construct of "woman" or "man" is invoked when we do this, and what is the value of being able to make such distinctions? And what does it mean that we devise insults by labeling women as mannish and men as girlish? (And what does it say that one of these insults evokes adulthood and one evokes immaturity)?

    Of course manliness and womanliness, to the extent these notions exist within any given culture, will differ from one culture to the next. But does the segregating impulse itself cross cultures? It certainly appears that so-called "primitive cultures tend to divide work up along gender lines, probably in mainly practical ways; but do these automatically harden into separate cultural roles?

    How much of hetero-male masculine loneliness is rooted in sex drive differences between men and their female partners? How much of homo-male masculine loneliness is rooted in eons of prejudice, closetedness, and the resultant barriers to seeking, much less finding, a partner? To what extent is the ability of men to self-affirm and feel connected driven by the ability to satisfy their sex drives?

    Because that's the impression I get from my old-lady observation deck: a lonely man is very often a sexually unfulfilled man. Hmmm: time to track down my old copy of the Hazards of Being Male.
  • Moo--
    Moo wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    "The grave could not hold him", etc., per a hymn--and many others with a similar theme.

    The grave could not hold him forever, but it did hold him for three days. That picture shows him breaking free of the cross, and that's not what happened.

    Of course. But I was responding to mt's post, two above mine:
    I believe that picture was, in fact, created unironically. I think some people really do think that Jesus resurrected himself by brute force, by being a Manly Man. Poe's Law is correct.

    There is a lot in hymns, Christian culture, and the Bible about Jesus over-powering, over-coming, conquering, etc. That message and imagery can go very deep, and people often hold onto some part of that for dear life. So that pic may well help some people--especially those who want a "more manly Christianity"--to feel that Jesus survived *everything*, and they can, too.

    Frankly, my problem is with making Jesus look like an extreme body-builder. If he was a working carpenter in his adult life, he may well have been in good physical shape. But that pic as it is, IMHO, is more fetishizing physical strength.

    Re resurrection power portrayed on the cross:

    AIUI, there's an old painting that portrays Jesus having an erection on the cross, as a sign of his resurrection power.




  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Moo wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    "The grave could not hold him", etc., per a hymn--and many others with a similar theme.

    The grave could not hold him forever, but it did hold him for three days. That picture shows him breaking free of the cross, and that's not what happened.
    That was exactly my take on that image, Moo: most of us of a Christian persuasion accept that he could have broken free of the cross, as in that picture, but he didn't, and that's the point.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited November 22
    <thread-moving admin mode>
    You might want this to be Epiphanies or All Saints rather than Heaven.

    Good idea.

    </thread-moving admin mode>
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Who remembers Real Men Don't Eat Quiche?

    There was a song too -

    They ain't no AC/DCs
    They wipe out endangered species


    ISTM there are two approaches to life - either Conquer or Co-operate. Both feasible survival strategies, and any individual may be called on to do both. The imbalance comes when Conquer is mandated to be the only way, and obligatory for one sex. Not just at the personal level - the current Brexishambles is such a poisonous flowering.

    But there you go: history does not commemorate William the Flexible Cooperator.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited November 22
    Moo wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    "The grave could not hold him", etc., per a hymn--and many others with a similar theme.

    The grave could not hold him forever, but it did hold him for three days. That picture shows him breaking free of the cross, and that's not what happened.
    That was exactly my take on that image, Moo: most of us of a Christian persuasion accept that he could have broken free of the cross, as in that picture, but he didn't, and that's the point.
    [/quote]

    I don't think he could. He talked in Gethsemane about being able to call upon legions of Angels to get him out of it, but just as a man, no I don't think he could.
  • I don’t agree with everything in this article, but I think it is an interesting discussion of a position I largely reject.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Well the contemporary worship music scene is full of men. They produce a lot of guitar lead rock style songs that appeal to most men. My church has a decent amount of men and a pretty thriving men’s group. Our vicar is over six foot built like a brick out house and plays rugby. I realise this is not the norm and we are not a normal church but it is out there.
    As to showing Jesus with an erection on the cross. As I understand the process it would happen as part of the natural way the body reacts in crucifixion
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Ohher wrote: »
    And I'm left wondering what it is about "manliness" that distinguishes it from, say, "adulthood" or "womanliness." What does this impulse to "segregate" ourselves socially into M/F categories spring from? What mental construct of "woman" or "man" is invoked when we do this, and what is the value of being able to make such distinctions? And what does it mean that we devise insults by labeling women as mannish and men as girlish? (And what does it say that one of these insults evokes adulthood and one evokes immaturity)?

    Of course manliness and womanliness, to the extent these notions exist within any given culture, will differ from one culture to the next. But does the segregating impulse itself cross cultures? It certainly appears that so-called "primitive cultures tend to divide work up along gender lines, probably in mainly practical ways; but do these automatically harden into separate cultural roles?

    How much of hetero-male masculine loneliness is rooted in sex drive differences between men and their female partners? How much of homo-male masculine loneliness is rooted in eons of prejudice, closetedness, and the resultant barriers to seeking, much less finding, a partner? To what extent is the ability of men to self-affirm and feel connected driven by the ability to satisfy their sex drives?

    Because that's the impression I get from my old-lady observation deck: a lonely man is very often a sexually unfulfilled man. Hmmm: time to track down my old copy of the Hazards of Being Male.

    Sex drive is a bit of a red herring. It is an issue but not as big as it is made out to be. Men are lonely because they are lonely. Having mates is great but you have to be careful you don’t get seen as homosexual. Having platonic female friends will lead to comments about being sexual partners.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited November 22
    Hugal wrote: »
    Well the contemporary worship music scene is full of men. They produce a lot of guitar lead rock style songs that appeal to most men. My church has a decent amount of men and a pretty thriving men’s group. Our vicar is over six foot built like a brick out house and plays rugby. I realise this is not the norm and we are not a normal church but it is out there.

    But again, this is about being loud, sporty and physically strong. Is this what masculinity means?
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    No it is not about being loud and physically strong. There are softer more intimate songs in that rock style. They often get criticised as my Jesus my Boyfriend though so we can’t win on that point.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Hugal wrote: »
    No it is not about being loud and physically strong. There are softer more intimate songs in that rock style. They often get criticised as my Jesus my Boyfriend though so we can’t win on that point.

    Yes, I was thinking more about the 6'+ rugby playing vicar. I'd have a lot of suspicion to get past my prejudices personally as too many people like that made my life miserable at school.

    That aside, although possibly related, I'm trying to make sense of what my misgivings about the idea of "manliness" or "masculinity" in church are. I think perhaps I fear a sort of stereotyping, as I saw in Twighlight's example above - men are about football and sports. While one can argue that a lot are, so it's appealing to them, you have to also bear in mind the men, like me, who have spent their life having their masculinity questioned by their peers because they're not like that at all.

    I don't like the idea of church reinforcing that idea of what masculinity means.
  • Our church is not very "manly" by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to attract as many if not more men than women.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    KarlLB I to am not into sport. I am an ex competitive ballroom dancer. Before Strictly/Dancing with the Stars I got a lot of bullying. I am also not a lad, but am straight, and understood where you are coming from. Unfortunately we are the minority.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Hugal wrote: »
    KarlLB I to am not into sport. I am an ex competitive ballroom dancer. Before Strictly/Dancing with the Stars I got a lot of bullying. I am also not a lad, but am straight, and understood where you are coming from. Unfortunately we are the minority.

    Aye, and I worry about us becoming colateral damage.
  • I had a rather bad time after age 14 when put into a boarding school when my parents worked overseas. People call it bullying today, but then it was about getting beaten up all the time, with other boys laughing and enjoying the violence and causing injury, and then learning to get up at 4:30 a.m. and leaving the dorm, and otherwise hiding, lying and trying to avoid other boys. When I got to university, and had summer jobs, rather quickly, I became less lonely: most of my friends were women. Continuously I would be accused by other men that I was "chasing them" and "wanting to get into their pants" - such things were said directly to me, sometimes when I was in the company of my friends. The level of rudeness and disrespect still astounds me when I think of it. I learned to say "she's my sister" and "she's my cousin", which was spontaneous the first time, but basically a statement of the truth. It was basically true, as I was hungry for friends, support, understanding, not sex. There's always a sexual tension integral to being human: it's the male sexuality that gets expressed as violence and posturing to impress other men that I'm most aware of. I'm also aware than much male-expressed sex interest is badly expressed desire for emotional connection and support, to not be lonely. There are many men, I believe, who mistakenly think they need sex when they are actually misunderstanding their sexual desire. And sexuality is so close to the urge for violence: we f*ck meaning sex, we f*ck each other over meaning violence.

    I got educated, was successful, and worked in health and human services where the gender balance is probably become 75% women leading. I've learned over a 40 year career that I need to be explicit that it's really important that emotional expression (including tears) in high falutin meetings means nothing except that the person is kind and probably competent, that the advancement and empowerment of women is the most important issue in my life because we are a whole lot better off with women leading or at least sharing leadership. I am of an age, an older adult, but I see the same things with the women in their 30s who work with us that I saw 30 and 40 years ago. Things change, but it seems to me to be more the understanding that we should interact better as women and me, not so much actual behaviour.

    Men seem to soften after retirement. Their roles of being the boss are gone. It's interesting to me that I can actually have more male friends now, and we can talk more sensitively about things, in the comfortable manner I enjoy.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    One of the things that doesn't get as much attention as it might is that Western ideas of "manliness" as violent and aggressive were codified in the pop culture of the mid- and late-twentieth century. This correlates pretty well with "peak lead" in most Western countries, the era of highest lead exposure. The lead-crime hypothesis is the conjecture that lead exposure in childhood inflates the crime rate approximately twenty years later when those kids reach young adulthood. It's at least plausible that exemplars of violent manliness from John Wayne to John Rambo were adopted because those stories were told to (and later told by) "Generation Lead".
  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    edited November 22
    Hugal wrote: »
    Well the contemporary worship music scene is full of men. They produce a lot of guitar lead rock style songs that appeal to most men. My church has a decent amount of men and a pretty thriving men’s group.

    The traditional high-Anglican church music scene is also full of men (though many of the more progressive churches allow women in their choirs). They like dressing up in floor-length vestments and (given half a chance) lots of lace. I don't think you can draw any general conclusions from the number of men involved in church music.

    I remember 'Real men don't eat quiche'. I didn't realise it was satire, I just saw it around in bookshops. Real men eat whatever they like, of course, but the book came out around the same time as all the hoo-hah about 'U and non-U', and that was deadly serious.

  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Hugal wrote: »
    No it is not about being loud and physically strong. There are softer more intimate songs in that rock style. They often get criticised as my Jesus my Boyfriend though so we can’t win on that point.

    Yes, I was thinking more about the 6'+ rugby playing vicar. I'd have a lot of suspicion to get past my prejudices personally as too many people like that made my life miserable at school.

    That aside, although possibly related, I'm trying to make sense of what my misgivings about the idea of "manliness" or "masculinity" in church are. I think perhaps I fear a sort of stereotyping, as I saw in Twighlight's example above - men are about football and sports. While one can argue that a lot are, so it's appealing to them, you have to also bear in mind the men, like me, who have spent their life having their masculinity questioned by their peers because they're not like that at all.

    I don't like the idea of church reinforcing that idea of what masculinity means.

    Absolutely agree with you @KarlLB and @Hugal . I'm another man who grew up not fitting the stereotype, and having huge issues with self worth as a result. One of the things I really like about the feminist movement is that it has allowed women to say, "I don't fit the stereotype but I can still glory in being a woman". I want that freedom as a man, too.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    It certainly appears that so-called "primitive cultures tend to divide work up along gender lines, probably in mainly practical ways; but do these automatically harden into separate cultural roles?

    How could they not?
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    But what happens when Adam no longer delves and Eve no longer spins, but both sit at a desk with a computer?
  • Firenze wrote: »
    But what happens when Adam no longer delves and Eve no longer spins, but both sit at a desk with a computer?

    The issues/problems in this thread.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    What makes a church service "manly"?
    IIRC, not talking about forgiveness or turning the other cheek, not emphasising the meek and not big upping women in scripture.
  • Twilight wrote: »
    I think it's very hard for boys these days to know how to become men without becoming some form of person who is either hated by women or sneered at by other men.
    ISTM this is over-egging the situation. I know plenty of men who do play sports, are not aggressive, etc. and fit nicely within male society.
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