Pastor Michael Coffey has been involved with men’s work since 2004. He has participated in and helped lead the Men’s Rites of Passage with Richard Rohr, and led several men’s groups in churches.
The men’s group at First English Lutheran Church meets monthly for brotherhood, spiritual growth, and service activities.
All men are invited to join the group, whether members of FELC or not, whether sure of their masculine identity or exploring what masculine spirituality might mean for them. We encourage ongoing brotherhood and mentoring of one another, especially of younger men and the next generation.
Why Spirituality for Men?
1. Men are largely not attracted to the church – it can often be too pretty and doesn’t speak to men’s more earthy and bodily spirituality; the church is often more “feminine”. This has not always been the case.
2. Men have a great capacity and need for spiritual growth, but often resist the journey, must be taken on the journey by elders who have wisdom and experience and a father’s heart for other men
3. Much of the men’s ministries in the church don’t go very deep and assume men prefer to stay “at the shallow end of the pool”. We don’t get much beyond sports talk. But the needs and experiences of men are deep and need tending to.
4. Men carry difficult burdens of pain, grief, failure, guilt, “father hunger,” and more, and men often don’t know how to process it all. Men need to learn how their wounds are a sacred and necessary part of the journey of manhood and humanity.
5. When men don’t tend to their spiritual needs and growth, they perpetuate the same false masculinity of power for themselves and domination of others; anger and violence often result. When they discover their true masculine self, they can be a man for others.
What is Masculine Spirituality?
1. It is the balance to feminine spirituality; both are part of everyone, male and female. The feminine is more about nurturing, caring, security, and comforting (home). The masculine is more about risk taking, acting, challenging, and disciplining (= disciple-ing) (world).
2. Emphasis is on doing, acting, initiative, and creative energy (instead of hearing, talking, or reflecting) as the way to develop our spiritual lives and connect to God. Reflection is important and necessary for men, but often comes after the fact instead of before. God is found more out in the world as men seek to find their place in the world which is so vast and uncontrollable. This is closely connected to men’s sexual energy that is so central to who they are. There is a “wild man” in each man needing to express himself, and needing to be blessed and directed for good.
3. True masculine spirituality is rooted in the difficult but necessary journey “downward,” instead of the upward journey of success and power. It is the process of discovering our true selves, confronting our wounds and grief and mortality, and living with courage as beloved sons of the Father to act and give ourselves away. It connects men to the deep truth and power of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
4. Masculine spirituality understands that men need other men to take their spiritual journey with them, to find growth, to have fathers/elders, sons/learners, and brothers in our common struggle as men. Only men can mentor other men in how to be men. Men have often been over-mothered, and under-fathered.