The Common Good

Is it REALLY the end of Men?

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Many were rightly shocked by the statistical assessment of males in our society by Hanna Rosin's article, "The End of Men", in the July-August issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Rosin argues that modern, post-industrial society may simply be better suited to women and that an unprecedented role reversal with vast cultural consequences is now under way. What does she have to teach us? What can this perspective offer us? How is Rosin a "stand in" for what many women have been saying to, for, and about men?

Unless men can find an inner path that can transform their pain rather than transmit it, men's contributions may be more destructive than healing, and they may become increasingly absent and irrelevant in the places where their energy is most needed. Sadly, neither our culture nor our churches really encourage an inner life for men.

After working with men for the past twenty years, Fr. Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has come to the conclusion that most men will not engage on a serious inner journey unless they have to -- often only after great suffering. He has been quietly working with groups of men all over the world to build a new model of male spirituality.

Based on decades of his own study and centuries of wisdom teaching around the world, Fr. Rohr has created a transformative initiation experience called Men's Rites of Passage. An international network, Men as Learners and Elders (M.A.L.Es), has been created to extend this work to local regions around the world. This growing network seeks to reclaim the spiritual initiation of men through experiential journeying into the true self, creating a tradition for future generations and building a vision for the next five generations of men.

Bob Sabath is a web technologist and a founder of Sojourners, and coordinator of Men as Learners and Elders in Washington, D.C. There will be a live event in Washington, D.C. called "Is it REALLY the End of Men," where Richard Rohr will speak. This event will be available via webcast. For more information about Richard Rohr and his work, visit the Center for Action and Contemplation. On October 12-16, 2011, Richard will return to Washington, D.C. to lead that region's first Men's Rites of Passage at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center near Harpers Ferry, WV. Visit dc.male-spirituality.net for more information.

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