On Jesus and Weightlifting

brawnyOn Tuesday nights at WF, we have this time for guys to get together and talk about, well… guy stuff. I guess that’s not completely true. They talk about other things. I know our campus ministry intern and fearless man leader Barrett Abernethy has some good stuff in store for the fellas this semester. But, the point of this thing we call Man Time is for the guys to be around other guys and free them up to say or do things that they might not say or do in mixed company. (And, yes, we have an equivalent of Man Time for the ladies. It’s called Warriors. They meet on Thursdays. I don’t know what happens there. I don’t want to know what happens there. I’m scared of what happens there… no, not really. But seriously.)

I guess the central question behind Man Time is this: what does it mean to be a man of faith? I took this class in seminary that was sort of like Man Time. Men in Ministry it was called. There was a running joke that we’d just get together and drink beer and eat sausage and talk about the gridiron… which was true. But that’s not all there was. I still value that class for granting us guys the space to ask questions and air grievances against the male stereotype. And I thank that class for freeing me somewhat from the stigma of being someone who should know how to fix a car or build a hut or something.

Granted, I have my moments. A couple of months ago, I really was mad at myself about nearly screwing up the engine to a brand new jet ski because I put the gasoline in the wrong place. Long story, but the moral of the story is I was stupid. And I think the main reason I was so hard on myself is because I felt like I had fallen short of this ideal of being a guy who could bench 275 and could go all MacGyver on you and build a rocket out of some twigs and gum. The fact of the matter is that ideal is a lie.

Terms like ‘man’s man’ and images like the Brawny guy have only enhanced the type. And I think it has done more harm than good.

I don’t know why I’m typing this tonight. I guess I started thinking about it when I got a little sentimental about my nieces and nephews going to school. I actually said something about it on Facebook (sappiness on Facebook =  not my style).  And I started thinking, “Suck it up man! Good Lord… go eat a steak or something!” But the fact of the matter is that guys — yes, that includes you, hormone-crazed Alabama boys — need a space for honesty, spirituality, and maybe even a little masculine irreverance.

Of course, I think that’s the case for all of us. Space to be ourselves. Places where we can be real. Times when we can be ourselves.

I hope all of y’all — women and men — have someplace like that.

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~ by presbytide on August 28, 2009.

2 Responses to “On Jesus and Weightlifting”

  1. Does this mean I can finally admit that I hate the movie Rocky? And that I don’t eat much bacon because I’m planning on needed my arteries later on in life?

  2. Here’s a good post on “Male Depression” at a pretty good website, “The Art of Manliness”.

    http://artofmanliness.com/2009/09/01/dealing-with-male-depression/

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