Posts Tagged ‘male

13
Oct
21

Am I Really a Male?

By all outward indications, the answer to the question posed above is a resounding, “YES!” 

Hmmm…

The inward benchmarks (e.g., the sum of my urges, drives, thinking, and worldview) also seem to point in the direction of an affirmative response.

But lately I’ve started to wonder…

Last week I showed up for a training session for a new volunteer activity I am taking on. The activity involves telling stories to children in elementary schools in this area. It seems to be a good fit with my skill set as well as being a great way to bring a little joy and connection into our stressed out, beleaguered classrooms.

There were six new storyteller trainees in the room… I was the only male.

The same thing used to happen when I attended work-out classes at our gym. In a room of 30 participants, there might have been three other males… tops. 

In the midst of the heated presidential election last year, I wanted to help register new voters. After much searching, I found that the only organization actively working on that goal was the League of Women Voters… 

So, I joined!

The one group I have joined in the last two years that was all men was a book club. And – can I level with you here? – it was not all that enjoyable. When we gathered, I found lots of posturing and competing to see who had the best insight into the author’s meaning.

It seems to me that everything I am drawn to – in terms of groups or activities or outreach – is dominated by WOMEN! I am also a churchgoer and every piece of research that has been done in the last 30 years will tell you that many more WOMEN attend church than men. 

To that point, a recent ABC News/Beliefnet poll showed that 44% of the women surveyed reported that they attend church weekly vs. 32% for the men. In the Catholic church, the divide was even wider with 49% of women attending weekly vs. 26% of men.

So maybe the question really isn’t, “Am I actually a male?” Maybe the better question is, “Where are you, my brothers?”

All of this makes me ask:

  • Is it a uniquely female thing to volunteer to serve your community?
  • Is it a uniquely female thing to exercise with a group vs. on one’s own?
  • Is it a uniquely female thing to seek to care for one’s spiritual health in a communal setting? 

If the answer to any of these questions is, “YES,” I would also like to know, “Why is that?”

It really doesn’t bother me to show up in a room full of women. I think you all are – on the whole – intelligent, caring, energetic, and very open people. In a group of women, THINGS GET DONE! And quite often FUN is had along the way!!

I am sure there are multiple sociological studies on this topic that shed insight onto my question. Someday I might look one up and read it.

In the meantime, I guess I will just keep showing up, following the leading of the Spirit, and celebrating the people that show up there with me… whichever gender they are.

But before I sign off, I need to ask: does anybody have a good recipe for beef stroganoff you’d like to share?

Abundant blessings;

02
Jun
20

The Magic Bullet

Wheat germEarlier today, I was busy in the kitchen, whipping up a new batch of my famous homemade granola. Before you get too excited about my domestic skills, it is literally one of four things I know how to make… and then only by carefully following directions.

As I carefully measured out the ¾ cup of Kretschmer’s Wheat Germ, I suddenly flashed back to my childhood. I remembered when my father proudly brought home our first vacuum-sealed jar of Kretschmer’s Wheat Germ. He announced that it was an amazing superfood, packed with all manner of vitamins and nutrients and – no doubt – secret superpowers, too.

Dad told us that the way to eat it was to just sprinkle it on our breakfast cereal, ice cream, waffles, or anything else we might eat. And then, as I imagined it, we would just stand back and let the magic happen.

 

I am sure I was daydreaming about the incredible biceps I would soon sprout and the amazing strength and endurance I would be blessed with in a day or two.

Three weeks and MANY sprinkles of wheat germ later, nothing.

Bupkis.

Nada.

I was sorely disappointed with wheat germ and – to be honest – a little dismayed with my dad for promoting such a worthless product. I was still too young to realize there were little things like sleep, exercise, and a balanced diet that were all critical elements in my quest to be a 10-year-old he-man.

I wish I could say that this was the last time in my life that I have caught myself believing there must be some kind of quick fix, magic bullet solution to life’s challenges.

Take this present moment, for example; I want a COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow.

I want an effective economic fix right NOW.

And maybe more than anything else, I want a Harry Potter-style wand to wave at the pernicious evil of systemic racism to make it vanish completely FOREVER.

As a privileged white male, I have to confess that I have been walking around with my head in the clouds. Until this nightmarish year began unleashing its fury on us, I had convinced myself that, in the area of racial justice, things in this country were vastly improved compared to the world of my 10-year-old, wheat-germ-eating self.

“Guess again, paleface,” scream today’s headlines.

It is unthinkable that we still live in a place where a person cannot jog, go to school, shop in a clothing store, play on a playground, walk in a neighborhood, or wear a particular kind of clothing without a legitimate fear of being killed because of the color of their skin.

It is horrifying to think that the scales of justice are STILL being tipped unequally by presence of something as benign as melanin.

This week, I have had my nose rubbed in a reality that my African American brothers and sisters face 24 hours of every day of their lives. The difference is that I can turn away from it and think about something else any time I choose to.

They can’t.

This whole situation just really sucks, and I want it to go away… NOW! SHAZAM!

But see, as long as I keep seeing the problem as existing somewhere OUT THERE, it’s not going to go away. Not now. Not ever. It is exactly like the quote (mistakenly) attributed to Benjamin Franklin says; “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

I am complicit. I am part of the problem. As long as I relish my white privilege and passively cluck my tongue at the “bad people” out there, I help perpetuate the nightmare.

I cry out with King David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NRSV).

And then I pray, “Show me, Lord. Show me how you are calling me to stand up and act on your behalf in the pursuit of justice.”

 

But today, I weep.

18
Jul
19

“Am I Safe Here?”

Frightened person“Am I safe here?”

Think back; how many times have you asked yourself that question… today?

… in the past week?

… in the past month?

Can you even remember the last time you asked this question?

If you are a member of my demographic cohort, your answer is likely the same as mine.

My answer: I can’t honestly remember when I last showed up in a situation, looked around, and wondered about my personal safety.

Unless, of course, it was a situation where I voluntarily endangered myself… like scuba diving, rock climbing, or hang gliding… none of which I have done lately.

However, if you are a woman, or a dark-skinned person, or gay, or someone who wears any type of ethnic garb, your answer is very different.

Even though it is not yet noon, you have likely already asked this question one or more times.

It might have been in a neighborhood store, at the post office, on the bus, in your workplace, or just driving your car down the road.

You noticed the gaze of another person lingering on you a little longer than made you comfortable. You saw their eyes narrow slightly as they seemed to be sizing you up. They might have drawn a purse a little more closely to their body, shifted uneasily in their stance, or even crossed the street.

And you asked – as you have so many times before – “Am I safe here?”

Freedom from questions about personal safety is one of the hallmarks of privilege.

That’s just a fact.

But the question is: what will we do about it?

How can I, today, let people know they are safe around me?




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