“Iron sharpens iron and as Iron sharpens iron so does one man for another” (Proverbs 27:17).
This is a much overused quote from Sacred Scripture that men’s ministries, like The King’s Men, have been proclaiming as a mantra for years. The words may seem a bit trite, but they capture the core essence of most authentically masculine Christian ministries that are attempting to galvanize other men to their cause and mission. That said, the words may not ring true for all men. These words may not even trigger any pause or challenge a man to further ponder over. Men being exhorted to surround themselves with other like minded men in an effort to grow in virtue or their manhood is, for some men today, a completely foreign concept.
Cultural manliness resembles not iron, but has taken on a milk toast form that could hardly pass for anything similar to this heavy metal. At best, he is aluminum foil–easily crumpled, manipulated and in a word, soft.
There is an issue that is facing our Church and world that is rarely being spoken of. Over the course of the past 12 years in full-time men’s ministry this issue has only come up a couple of times. But this past year and particularly in the last couple of months, the issue has become prevalent in my mind’s eye. I am speaking of the dark world of child pornography.
There are few who dare to speak of this issue in faith based circles and not much more in non-faith based environments. So why do I feel a need to blog about this now? Its because the issue will not go away by being silent. The more I share what the Lord is revealing to me about this issue within my close circles, the more I learn that people are affected by it.
One thing is for certain when it comes to men. They are a complex bunch with a myriad of temperaments, personalities, defects, excuses, struggles, gifts, strengths and weaknesses. No man likes to be labeled or put in a box when it comes to who they are and so I will strive to avoid making such generalizations. This blog will attempt to draw out common attributes and characteristics relative to men as perceived over the course of 12 years of full-time men’s ministry.
Here we go:
Do you remember that ditty back in the early nineties? Will Smith coined that lyrical refrain and I thought it was apropos given this July blog and what happens to our life when we find ourselves in these lazy, hazy days of summer. Is your faith taking a break this summer? Beware, the summer is a great time to reconnect with family and take some long needed R&R, but there is a danger in letting your faith take a prolonged siesta.
For years, I have been hearing about Catholic men’s leaders attempting to bridge the gap between hundreds of lay Catholic men’s groups and initiatives throughout the country. Some have been successful at galvanizing men throughout the years to their own initiatives, but bringing men together for a program that benefits all is quite another. In truth, I have yet to see this be accomplished and the benefits be realized by all in attendance.
Well, say no more. The King’s Men have put together a program for men’s leaders that will most definitely benefit all in attendance, all Catholic men’s groups and all existing Catholic’s men’s programming.
I am convinced that the primary tool of the Prince of Darkness in this day and age is the cell phone. It is the number one portal for porn and it is attacking the family, destroying marriages and damaging countless innocent children. I challenged the men at the recent E6 Catholic Men’s Conference in St. Leon, IN to put away their phones. Have the courage to put it down and spend time with those you love men. The devil is coming after the family and he starts with the father. If a man is not going to put on the “armor of God” then he is leaving his family victim and the devil knows it.
The rumor is The Wing Bowl might be coming to a close in 2017! Praise God that this Sodom and Gomorrah like event is going to end. Whether for altruistic reasons or just the city has lost interest in this annual spectacle of debauchery, lewdness and gluttonous wing eating, the event which The King’s Men have been demonstrating against for the past three years will no longer be exploiting women and encouraging poor male behavior. That is a victory for the city, for women, and for TKM!
Despite this bit of rumored good news, The Wing Bowl continued its masquerading in 2016. On Friday February 5th, TKM gathered for another year of outreach at the Wells Fargo Center. Unlike last year’s weather, TKM’s faithful brothers had some very inclement weather and conditions to deal with along with the usual intoxicated attendees. We had much to offer up that day as we interceded on behalf of the thousands of men and hundreds of women present at this so-called “sports” event.
You’ve heard that phrase before yes? Its Spanish for “hand-to-hand” usually implying two people throwing fisticuffs. I am using it here to imply two men duking it out with each other verbally. This happened to me recently at my house. My neighbor came by to challenge me on an issue related to something that had happened in our community.
When he rang my doorbell at 7:30 PM in the middle of tub time and bedtime rituals, I was initially very shocked. I greeted him warmly and asked him “What’s up?” When his tone was rather serious and asked if he could talk with me for a few minutes, I stepped onto my porch. What ensued in this conversation I will not go into detail about as it is not relevant to this blog, but what I learned about myself and men through this “mano y mano” encounter I would like to share.
2016 is here! How is it going thus far? If you are like me, your New Year’s resolution might be a work in progress in your mind versus an actual resolution. I am still fleshing out what I am thinking I would like to do this year, hence this blog. The good news is I am thinking about it.
Now, some take an entirely different approach to New Year’s resolutions. For instance, my sister-in-law said she is going to focus on doing things that are spiritual. For her, the New Year is a chance to refocus on her relationship with God and how that impacts others in her life. I like it! I see that as kind of like a pre-Lenten commitment plan. Still, others tend to typically focus on self-transformation such as with their body image and physical health. This is very good as we must always remember that our “bodies are temples of the holy spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). But we must also remember, as St. Paul exhorted St. Timothy, that physical exercises have limited value compared to the spiritual (1 Timothy 4:8).
Battlers from inaugural 2014 Wing Bowl Outreach
In the wake of our recent Federal Court Victory, as The King’s Men pondered our 2nd annual outreach at the Wing Bowl, our primary thinking centered around two thoughts:
How can we get men to reconsider their actions?
What can our apostolate do to encourage something different for men and women?
Not an easy task given that the Wing Bowl was celebrating its 23rd year and was sold out weeks before the event date (1/30/15). You might be thinking: “How does a small grass roots apostolate like The King’s Men take on 20,000+ plus and mostly intoxicated attendees, an ever growing list of porn sponsors and a Howard Stern like sports talk radio program to advertise the event daily?” The truth of the matter is, TKM is not equipped to do so, but God can do anything. Continue reading