I’m not (much of) a man. Can you help?

I recently walked in to the office and saw a friend of mine sitting there. She looked a little different – I noticed that she was wearing mascara. I pointed to my eyes and said, “What’s this? You have a new look.”

She looked a little embarrassed and said, “Oh, some friends suggested that I try it. I’m not a girl, so I never wear makeup.”

I said, “I understand completely. I’m not a man either. I don’t hunt or fish and I like to cook and decorate and make art…”

We laughed together, a couple of misfits. Then I told her she looked nice.

My “I’m not a man” statement is something that I do feel. I am a man, yes. But the overly exaggerated stereotype of what it means to be man never resonates with me. My guess is that a few other guys feel similarly.

Perhaps this is why I’ve never really wanted to participate in what the church calls “men’s ministry.”

And yet, I know there is a need for guys in the church to make connections, build friendships, and do stuff together.

This is where I need your help (if you’re a man – or a guy like me)…

What kind of an activity for guys, put on by the church, would you actually sign up for and participate in?

Think about it for a minute. I have.

It’s a tough question, because I generally don’t want to do any of the usual things. I don’t golf (because I’m terrible at it). A men’s retreat is like some kind of punishment for me (please let me sleep at home in bed with my wife!). Saturday morning breakfast with singing and some good ol’ fashioned “Man Up!” preaching is always gonna have me on the run (as in out of town).

So I really did think hard. What would I sign up for and actually participate in?

• I’d get together with some guys to hit up one of the top 5 burger joints in our region.

• I’d go to a Capital Cities concert with a group of guys (and maybe our wives too), or go to the Deck The Hall Ball in December.

• I’d participate in a Father/Daughter Date Night – dinner and Whirlyball or something.

• I’d go to a car show (especially if they had German cars at it).

There might be other things too. But that’s my list for now.

I know, I know. I’m weird. And not much of a man… so can you help?

Serious. I need suggestions. What is something you’d sign up for and participate in?

Mariner’s game? Sailing lessons? Thunderbirds game? Golf? Brewing Beer? Paintballing? Skydiving? Shopping for clothes at Southcenter? (Haha. Just kidding about that last one. Unless you want to, because I do it all the time).

Post below in the comments. Share your ideas. They will be used to create an online survey that we’ll be asking all the guys at NWLife to take. Thank you!

One last thing – I don’t love fishing, but I love this video compilation of an unlucky fisherman…

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I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

12 Comments to I’m not (much of) a man. Can you help?

  1. Dad-gum that was funny.

    A bowling night/league would be fun because it seems like something nobody is really good at.

    Go karts are great.

    Also, I’d love to try curling. That seems ridiculous & fun.

  2. Go Karts

    Paint balling

    Some type of sporting activity

    I will definitely do the top 5 burger joint. Lol

  3. I’m like you man. Your list of stuff is things I’d do. But I feel that when the church puts stuff like this together it comes off phony.

    It last for a little while, a few relationships are formed, and then it dies off.

    I’d sign up for a gang, a club, a secret society, that was no larger than 20 dudes, that was invite only, that met together monthly to drink, smoke cigars and pipes, be transparent, pray, and come together to do local gritty missionary work that was never publicized, never proclaimed from the rooftops or pulpit. That was love in secret, that only the recipients knew what God used us to do. (Oh wait, i think I’m already doing this. :-)

    Other then that, you can keep your church men’s ministry stuff. If you’ve been a Christian for a year then you’ve heard enough preaching, let’s start being and doing.

  4. That does sound cool Zac. And I totally hear you on the “it comes off as phony” when the church puts on stuff…

    Funny thing – my wife is still mad at me for turning down a speaking opportunity at a friend’s church in North Carolina. It was for a “men’s conference” and I said nope, can’t do it. She wanted the trip. I did too – but couldn’t picture myself speaking at one of those things.

    I don’t think everything the institutional church does is phony or corrupt or misguided though. Sure, there’s a lot of that out there. But there’s great stuff happening too – and I’m proud to participate in it.

    I personally think of institutional church -vs- organic (or home or missional) church debates as being much like the institutional school -vs- home school ones. Both sides tend to discredit the other. Both sides claim to have the best way. Both sides have really good things about them. And both sides have some rather embarrassing tendencies too.

    I love you and I love what you’re doing. You have balls. Thanks for being you and for challenging the rest of us to think differently.

  5. Chris Wyatt Bohannon

    I know I don’t go to NWLife but I get where you’re coming from. The stereotypical “man stuff” isn’t what I like to do either unless it’s a father figure thing and I go to a game, or hunt and fish with someone I see as a dad.
    What I would do which does still seem a bit on the stereotype side. (I’m not a dad or married so I wouldn’t include those things on the list)

    1. Playing sports in the park or at the gym, mostly basketball or soccer

    2. BBQ at someone’s house or a park

    3. Watch baseball or football

    4. Trip to some place new, maybe see a concert, catch some grub, maybe hang out at the beach.

    Honestly the whole phrase “man up” never made sense to me because what does that constitute? Does manning down mean that you’re suddenly a woman when everyone knows that you aren’t? Or you aren’t human unless you live your life as a gender instead of a human being? Demeaning masculinity in any man is the most damaging thing you can do at some times and at other times it helps us get stronger or more motivated. I already made a blog about this kind of thing called “You are not your ballsack.”

    I think that’s a blessing that I was given being born trans, I know the unrealistic pressures of both men an women. Both of them are ridiculous standards and are psychologically damaging.

  6. Okay, perhaps this is an embarrassing question. but here is goes anyway.

    Is being of the same gender and attending the same church enough to make a men’s group seem interesting, and appealing, let alone inviting?

    The answer for me has always been, “no”. The church guys who I am really friends share common interests with me: football, fantasy football (which I am horrible at, yet they keep inviting me because I’m the league doormat), movies, and technology. We’re really comfortable insulting each other — in love of course. Maybe I’m being too consumer minded, or unwilling to get out of my comfort zone. I don’t have anything against the other men in my church, but this is why these group events never seemed organic to me — I’m not feeling the “menschkeit”.

    I’m going to end up talking with a bunch of guys who are not going to really be close friends, and I’m not a major fan of small talk. Sorry, don’t mean to be negative, haha.

    • I think it’s a good question & you raise a valid point. A lot of people who attend church already have circles of friends they spend time with & they’re not feeling the need to go do more stuff just because. On the flip side, when there’s someone new to faith and the church – how do they ever break in?

      I was also thinking about high school & my relationships… they tended to form naturally around shared interests (although sometimes they began because we were in the same class together). I wasn’t needing the school to help me build relationships per se. However, I am thankful for the football games, basketball games, & dances. The school rallied at these events. They are memories I still enjoy today. I’m glad I went to the dances (even though they were often corny) & got pictures taken.

      Basically, I’m still left wondering…

      1) Are we thinking about the new guy, the overlooked ones, the marginalized, the forgotten?
      2) Are there any things we do just because we belong?

      Thanks for sharing your view on this Al. I miss your mom’s tamales.

  7. What if a group of us got together with one of those groups who build housesfor people in need? There would be manly stuff, and also some not so manly stuff to do. Everything from cutting wood and hammering nails to choosing paint and hanging curtains.

    And of course there’s always SEAHAWKS games!!!! Based on the number if jerseys I see at NWL, I think e very one could agree on this. :)

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