Male Spirituality

Paul Fromont at Prodigal Kiwi(s) Blog writes about "male spirituality", and has started a discussion over a couple of points from a late-80's book on the subject.

I'm going to re-post the points here, on "...twelve stumbling blocks that inhibit the development of a healthy masculine spirituality within the Christian tradition...":

  1. The identification in the tradition of God as Father.
  2. The fear of the feminine.
  3. The domination by tradition-centered males of the development of almost all literature in theology and spiritual direction.
  4. The suppression by males of much of the broad range of human emotions.
  5. The valuing of self-sufficiency, making it hard to pray for help or to seek healing in the face of powerlessness.
  6. The misunderstanding of the value and process of reciprocal relationships, which inhibits our sense of self in God’s eyes and devalues our interdependence with creation and with the rest of humanity.
  7. The insistence that to do something is categorically manlier than to be something, or simply to be.
  8. The problem men have knowing who they are when they are not in charge.
  9. The heritage of body-soul dualism and the resultant dismissal of the body and human sexuality.
  10. The need to control structurelessness by putting everything in a hierarchical order; the fear of both chaos and spontaneity.
  11. The assumption that incompleteness [and mystery]… is a sign of failure.
  12. The preference for linearity over circularity…
I can't necessarily deny or agree with all of them, but I find some of these points challenging. One one level - this is the way I am, too. Particularly points 4, 8 and 10. But to see "male spirituality" dissected like this raises the question: are these points of view hindering my Christian life?

I remember reading John Eldridge's Wild At Heart (I blogged about it briefly here and here) and feeling challenged by the book's early chapters, reflecting on men and society and church. Maybe it's time for a re-read.

It's clear men and women are different and prefer different things, have different needs and views of God, and have different understandings of "spirituality". I look forward to reading where Paul goes with this (if you have a comment for Paul, please go to his post).

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