Have you ever felt really young inside? Like, in one moment, your internal experience is closer to that of a much younger self. This could be in response to a regrettable incident with your spouse, an instance of immaturity and course joking, or a scenario where you have felt immense shame or overwhelming anger. Many of us, especially men, wrestle with these feelings and are driven to put on a mask and avoid authenticity and transparency in an effort to uphold cultural expectations of what men are supposed to be. However, this does not give us the opportunity to become curious, explore these uninitiated parts of ourselves and to begin a process of masculine initiation.
When we look at our culture both in and outside of the church, there is a lot of confusion and gross misperception of what it means to be truly masculine. Some of these misperceptions are fair due to decades of maltreatment and abuses of power. Even watching primetime TV gives a glimpse of how our culture views masculinity in a negative light. So many men long to be fathered, but very few receive intentional masculine initiation. The reality is, masculine initiation does not happen accidently or in isolation. True masculine initiation must occur in relationship with an older/wiser man or group of men that are intentional in the work of seeing a boy become a man.
There are many places in scripture that point to God’s relationship with His people as being that of a father. 2 Corinthians 6:18 says, “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” Also, you see in Galatians 4:6-7 this picture of being “sons” and God giving us the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying “Abba! Father!”. The sonship of a believer has many different applications, but one I want to explore with men is the fact that God is inviting us to be fathered by Him. As exciting as that sounds, this process is rarely engaged in the life of a believer. We have an opportunity to be intentionally fathered by God through a process of masculine initiation. This masculine initiation must occur in relationship with God as our guide and allows difficulties and struggles in life to surface unfathered places in our heart. We can then explore these unfathered parts of ourselves and bring them into relationship with our Father God to receive initiation towards true manhood.
Starting January 8th, the men’s group Fraternal Life will be going deeper using a curriculum by John Eldredge entitled “Fathered By God” to further explore and unearth parts of our heart that long to be initiated by our Father God. We will examine 6 different stages of masculine initiation and consider how each stage can be seen both in the life of David and Jesus. The group meets at Mars Hill Church on Tuesdays at 6:30am and there is no cost to attend. Please email me at email@example.com more information. I look forward to being a part of this process of intentional masculine initiation.