Depressed Men and Deep Soul

Rather than traveling the age-worn path to confidence and true glory, many men in the West are stuck in some form of infantile grandiosity, which leads to childishness, addiction, and often depression.  Men seem to have lost their ability to attach themselves and their desires appropriately to God and others.  Instead of a fiercely compassionate community of men, we see emerging gang violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, absent fathers, and heavy use of pornography among other problems. These all point to one deafening reality: we are together lost.  If we cannot creatively assist males back onto their journey towards manhood, there’s no telling how much havoc our community of grown boys will wreak before all is said and done. We must get our males off their “lazy boys” where they flip through and now flip to their “play boys” and position them to enter into the realm of manhood.

Historian Robert Bly keenly observes the predicament.  On the one hand, he notes, definitions of manhood generally adopted by our fathers and grandfathers have proven bankrupt.  The stoic father and emotionally absent husband no longer satisfy the awakening sensibilities of our women nor the rebellion of our young people.  On the other hand and in response, notes Bly, a type of soft male has emerged: “The male in the past twenty years has become more thoughtful, more gentle.  But by this process he has not become more free.  He’s a nice boy who pleases not only his mother but also the young woman he is living with.”[1] Both definitions, the stoic and the soft, suggests Bly, lead only to confusion and heartache.  Both have lost touch with the deeper contours of man-wisdom passed down from generations gone by.  Neither of these ways, I will suggest, reflect the heart of Jesus, whose veiled image should serve as our lodestar. After all, how many men do you know who can strong-arm their opponents with pithy sayings, walk safely through a crowd of people ready to kill him, and willingly walk into the nearest mega-church and overturn the Starbuck’s kiosk, without bringing with him some diagnosable mental disorder or intentions to wound any humans? It is easy to be the uni-bomber.  It is easy to have an affair.  You cannot become Jesus overnight. We need the generations of initiated men gone by to help us get there, free from the placebo of self-help.

[1] Bly, pp. 2.