Wrongs and Rites of Passage

Our cover feature points out the importance of rituals that young men need to prepare them for responsible adulthood, not including the time your mother made you wear a bow tie for Dress-Up Day at school. Of course, we aren’t talking about the common, everyday rituals

that all of us have, such as turning around in a circle exactly nine times before brushing your teeth, or carefully folding your napkin in an inward-facing triangle that slightly overlaps the left edge of your plate. Normal as these practices are, they are not the transformative moments of a young man’s life. (They’re more in the category of minor compulsions that I freely admit to. I could stop them anytime I wanted if my therapist would just stop harping about it!)

No, the rituals to which our author refers are the rites of passage, the moments of testing and preparation that, unfortunately, have been lost in our society because of the high level of fluoride in our drinking water.

A number of us first heard Richard Rohr share these ideas (except the part about the fluoride...that was mine) in a weekend retreat last year, and we were deeply moved by his presentation. I was especially touched when, sensing that I had a more intuitive understanding than the other participants, he took me aside and said, "Don’t you dare make fun of this."

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 1998
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