I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a man. I’m not speaking of the scientific definition that is defined by your reproductive system either.
If you go by the definition of a man that you see on social media it looks a lot different to almost everyone. The most common definition, the one you find according to everyone posts, doesn’t match up with my definition. That shouldn’t come to much of a surprise to me, as I’ve never really looked at things the same as everyone else has. That has become pretty evident, especially lately as I’ve turned more to my faith. As I’ve learned more about my faith, I’ve learned more about myself. That has led me to where I currently am in my faith formation and my personal growth.
That most common definition of what it means to be a man can be seen all over the place. You see if in the entertainment world by how Hollywood glorifies sexual prowess as being manly. You see it in the athletic world by how athletes brag about how successful they are because of how much money they have or what accolades they have received. You see it in the business world when people brag about those same two things. You see if in the everyday man by how boastful they are about their sexual conquests, or how much alcohol they can drink, or how many people they offended by their opinion, or by how much of a lift they have on their truck. In reality these are all measures of how insecure a man is with himself.
In The Bible we are told that the man’s job is serve. To serve God. To serve his wife. To serve his family. None of the things in the previous paragraph show leadership. The only thing they show is that most men really don’t think about anything else besides themselves. That all started in Genesis with the story of the forbidden fruit. I’ve heard a lot of men, probably myself included, make the joke about the fall of the human race is all the fault of Eve. It was she who took the forbidden fruit from the serpent and ate it, and then gave it to Adam because she didn’t die. And while that is true, guess who was standing right next to her when she took the fruit? Adam. And he said absolutely nothing to try and stop her. When God spoke to him right after what did he say? He passed the blame on to Eve. Does any of that sound like he was fulfilling the duties to serve? No. It sounds to me like he was only thinking about himself.
As I’ve grown my faith I’ve made the decision that I can no longer be self-serving. I have to be third. I must put God above everything else, followed by my wife and children. Once I have done what I can to serve those two areas, only then can I begin to worry about what I might need. I knew a few years ago, before I started my faith journey, that I had to do whatever I needed to make sure my wife was fulfilled, and part of doing that was making sure my children had everything I could possibly give them. I lived by the theory of “happy wife, happy life.” I was really doing the right thing, I just didn’t have the right philosophy about it. I have found that the more I put Him first in my service that I usually end up serving my wife and kids too. There are things I do for Him that don’t always correlate back to my family, but there are a lot of things that do.
So you may be wondering where I’m trying to go with all of this. I’ve been trying to figure that out myself over the past couple of months. Earlier this month I attended a men’s conference in Grand Rapids and it started to lead me down the path I feel I need to take this whole topic. In this society where it is the norm and almost unacceptable to have the viewpoint I have, I feel we need to make a change. That has never been more evident than before, and it has to start with the men. I’m not looking to argue with anyone on this, nor do I wish to get into any debates over it. When arguments and debates happen then there must be a winner and a loser. In a scenario where you have that you only end up with division, and that is only good for the devil. The more we are divided among ourselves, the easier it is for him to work his ways. If he is allowed to continue then we will not have any change and we will only continue down this path that we are already headed down.
So how do we combat this divisiveness? We can only do that through unity. I am looking for men who are ready and willing to make this change with me. I don’t propose anything radical like starting a march on the capitol or some other similar type of protest. I’m looking for a small group of men who are interested in forming some strong male friendships. Men who are willing to make themselves third. If a small group starts of strengthening itself then it will surely grow on its own. I’m looking for a few MEN who would be willing to get together, probably once per month to start, to be honest with each other. To be vulnerable to each other about where they are weak. And most importantly to pray for one another for strength in those weak spots. I make no effort to hide my Catholic faith, but I don’t want to limit this to just Catholics. There’s no reason why any group of strong Christian men can be unified in the fight against Satan. I promise to not try to convert you, because I can’t, only God can.
Fr. Larry Richards
I’m still working on the logistics of this whole idea, but it’s something I’m feeling called to do. If you’re interested in becoming the man that He created you to be, then please reach out.