The Time Was Right

A men's group at Sojourners? Where surely the men share cooking, parenting, feelings, and a devotion to the Baltimore Orioles? Maybe starting a men's group took so long because the idea seemed almost too predictable.

It was an idea, like most good ones, that arrived long before its time. For a year or two, some men on the Sojourners staff talked of starting a men's group. There certainly were enough issues and struggles to pull us together: Some were first-time fathers, puzzled by how to help our sons resist the Clint Eastwood model of American manhood and feeling pretty powerless. And others wondered what biblical feminism says to us and confronts in us.

With a bit of envy, several of the men had watched the women on the staff meet regularly to share stories, build friendships and offer support, look critically at the role of women in church and society, and throw parties during the lunch hour.

But a handful of us didn't share this go-to-meeting urge. Some wondered if we would get together only because the women had been meeting. Others stood by their rights under "natural law" to resist the temptation to join a new group or attend yet another meeting.

A few visionaries noted that possibly the most radical stance was not to start a men's group at all, reasoning that the purpose of such support groups is to empower those without access to power, not those born into the dominant group. And a few of us, with some long-term interest but little short-term enthusiasm, decided that when the time was right for a men's group, there would be one.

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