A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Miserable Comforters of Men's Ministries

Anyone who has read the book of Job knows just how unprofitable his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were in his hour of need. Even though Job did nothing wrong to deserve his fate, his friends saw the situation differently. They insisted that Job must have sinned in some respect and that he needed to repent. After all, they reasoned, God brings favor to the righteous and punishes the wicked. At one point in exasperation, Job exclaims, "I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all" (Job 16:2, KJV). God himself sets the record straight at the end and gives Job's friends the 6:00 AM wake-up call:
It came about after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has." (Job 42:7-8, NASB)
The modern church doesn't have any characters like Eliphaz and his buddies, does it? To ask the question is to answer it.

I fear too many men's ministries are headed by "miserable comforters." They don't get it. Their theology is pat, simplistic, and lacking in serious reflection that comes from a concerted study of God's word and a modicum of spiritual growth. They falsely assume that the problems men face are largely self-inflicted. As Paul Coughlin has noted, women get "fellowship" groups while men get "accountability" groups. The "miserable comforters" will declare that if you only do "xyz" then God will resolve things. They don't want to listen. They want to discourse at length about their Mickey Mouse theodicy and assume that solves the problem. Sermonizing relieves them from understanding, compassion, and weeping with "those who weep" (Romans 12:15).

Here's a dangerous question to ask: What qualifies these people to minister? Are they ruling by decree? Or leading by example (1 Peter 5:1-3)? Really, let's think about it ...

1. Do they come from a tough background or where they raised in a supportive Christian home?

2. Have they ever experienced long periods of social isolation or alienation?

3. Have they ever struggled for a long time with sexual desire in the face of constant rejection from the opposite sex?

4. Have they ever lost their job, relationship, or something else comparable because of a personal failing?

5. Have they ever felt they were going nowhere with their life, being stuck in an unrewarding, dead-end situation?

6. Have they ever felt that their dreams have been dashed and that the doors have been slammed in their face?

7. Have they ever felt out of place in churches and among other believers?

8. Have they ever had to struggle with health problems at a young age?

9. Have they ever struggled with depression, serious backsliding, feelings of worthlessness, anger at God, feelings of being rejected by God?

10. Have they ever "hit bottom" with a serious challenge such as drug abuse, a prison sentence, contemplating suicide, etc.?

I suppose you or I could add to the list. I am not saying that men have to go through all of these things before they minister to others. On the other hand, if you see a pattern where self-proclaimed experts on "Biblical Manhood" act patronizing and condescending to men, and yet have never really struggled with the things many men struggle with, then take note. I fear that too many involved in "pastoring" or "ministering" to men grew up in the system, or were accepted early on because they "looked the part." Jesus, on the other hand, was "despised and rejected by men," "acquainted with suffering" and "tempted in all points" (Isaiah 53:3; Hebrew 4:15). Jesus understands what men go through. The others? I'm not so certain.

Jesus described his ministry this way: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19). But of the Pharisees he said, "They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger" (Matthew 23:4).

Do you feel free from the spiritual bondage of sin, guilt, dread, emptiness, and/or despair? Or do you feel weighted down? It's one thing to demand that people be holy; it's quite another thing to show them how to be holy by example. Gentlemen, test the spirits (1 John 4:1). Get out the litmus strips and see if your leaders are authentic. Maybe God, in his mercy, can work through them even though their motives are less than honorable (Philippians 1:15-18). Maybe they are in an acceptable relationship with God, but I really think many of them have misunderstood their calling. Perhaps the best thing they can do to advance the cause of Christ is to sit down and shut up.

27 comments:

vysota said...

LOL. "Jesus understands what men go through. The others? I'm not so certain." Right. Other men don't understand what men go through. Ever stop and think before you type?

P Ray said...

A blind person doesn't understand what a sighted person can see. And this is even before you look at the gender.

Jeff said...

Anakin, great post again. Thank you!

Most church leaders I have known lack authority in their teaching/ministry. Perhaps they have not experienced deep struggles (as you listed 1-10 in the post) in their physical and spiritual lives. Or maybe they have experienced these things but feel obligated to give "official script" answers.

"Their theology is pat, simplistic, and lacking in serious reflection that comes from a concerted study of God's word and a modicum of spiritual growth. They falsely assume that the problems men face are largely self-inflicted."

This is such a problem and it extends beyond men's ministry to the whole church. Some of the teaching I have been under can only be described (ironically enough) as profoundly shallow. No wonder why those outside the church find the church to be irrelevant.

vysota said...

Ummm, yes P Ray. However, in Anikin's brilliant example those "others" are, in fact, men. Thus, by definition, they understand what men go through. They may not understand what a particular man may go through, sure. But Anikin is being breathtakingly egotistical in implying that his travails are those of all men, by definition. He is not the definition of man. And neither are those people not men just because they fail to be depressed, anti-social and whiny.

If Anikin wants real help with his problems he can go to a licensed, educated, knowledgeable, skilled psychiatrist. Receiving poor to nonexistent psychological help from some random church volunteer is understandable, whining about it is ridiculous. I don't go to a WalMart greeter when I have a cyst I need examined and then bitterly complain that he was not properly trained to handle my malaise.

Here's my question. Anikin does a LOT of bitching. Can someone name one thing that he has said about a solution? Other than "I'm gonna go my own way", whatever that means?

Novaseeker said...

If I were you, Anakin, I would just ban and delete. He adds nothing to the conversation whatsoever.

vysota said...

Stunningly enough, Nova, Anikin is not you. There may not be a lot to like about him, but I'll give credit where credit is due: he is at least man enough (yes yes, I used the dreaded term, go ahead, flip you sheet) to allow free expression on his blog. And, amazingly enough, kissing someone's arse is not actually adding to the discussion either, although it's more pleasant to the person whose arse is being caressed. Thus you add less than me, Nova. At least I challenge things. If you think "Wow, Anikin, you're AMAZINGLY GREAT" is a contribution, I feel sorry for you in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Anakin,

You and Paul Elam would probably disagree, but you can't gain real comfort for men by discounting the fact that women also suffer too, at the hands of these "miserable comforters". There may be more "accountability groups" for men than women, but for the latter they do exist, as does other kinds of "miserable comfort". Ever heard of Elisabeth Elliot? Leslie Ludy? Nancy Leigh Demoss? Both sexes are targetted by churchianity's attitude police.

Elsewhere in that otherwise well crafted Paul McCoughlin article, he aptly writes, "You can see how devastating is today's Happiness Mentality. It claims to be for the good of others, and it's intended to buoy sinking emotions; in reality it makes people callous to suffering, which leads to anger and resentment, which erodes a loving orientation toward others. It keeps life on a superficial plane, leading to shallow living, which renders indignation impossible."

This is exactly where I was coming from when I was fighting against the "singleness is a gift because suffering is a gift" tripe not long ago.

Do keep fighting the good fight, wherever there is genuine injustice for men, such as father's rights. But be disabused of any notion that most women are somehow pampered and don't really suffer in the stiff-upper-lip puritan heritage culture that is the modern evangelical church.

Will S. said...

Anonymous January 19, 2010 8:11 PM: I'm curious about your reference to Elisabeth Elliot; I've bought a couple of her books, at a used book store, but haven't yet read them; I did so after seeing "The End of the Spear" and "Beyond the Gates of Splendor". I haven't read anything she's written yet, though I've seen her interviewed, so I'm simply genuinely curious as to what you're referring to, and what your take on her is, and why. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anakin - time to start banning the troll-vagina again.

I am still convinced that vagasota is a girl - she's just too dang angry about your posts to be a guy.

She's probably really angry about how her and her fellow lefties took it in the rear in Massachusetts today, and needs to vent her ovaries in the comments section here.

Really, giving this defective human a microphone is serving no one's interest.

Anonymous said...

And it's funny to hear the shrieking vagisota deciding who is "man enough" in any regard - they're a female.

P Ray said...

vysota:
"Here's my question. Anikin does a LOT of bitching. Can someone name one thing that he has said about a solution? Other than "I'm gonna go my own way", whatever that means?"

Asking people to reflect upon their own behaviour doesn't seem to be bitching. It is usually a difficult message to pass across that people need to make smarter choices - regardless of religion. "Going your own way" is a solution. It isn't a solution that everyone is willing to put into practice.
Not being a burden to others means taking care of your own business. Vysota, you can take care of your own business if Anakin's words bother you, by not visiting this blog.

Amir Larijani said...

It's not just the men who are getting screwed here; it's the whole framework whereby ministers are conditioned to deny suffering by other Christians.

Too many of them falsely believe that they must promote "happy happy joy joy" no matter what, when in fact--as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes--there is indeed a time to mourn, and, as we read in the New Testament, Jesus wept, and believers are called to mourn with those who mourn.

It's pretty pathetic what our seminaries and Bible colleges are promoting. As a result, women and men are each being stiffed by the very people who ought to be the better helpers in such a time of need.

Recently, a cousin of mine--on the Iranian side of my family--died in a car accident. This happened days after my wedding.

Just after that happened, one of my dad's neighbors died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. He went to the memorial service for that, which was at a church similar in theological bent to the one at which MrsLarijani and I were married.

Before that service, others who had recently lost loved ones, were encouraged to mention those names. During the service, every one of them was mentioned.

My dad--the cynical, secular Muslim who wants nothing to do with "organized religion", noted how impressed he was with (a) the people at the church who did the wedding, and (b) the people at that church who handled the memorial service.

Will that bring him into the fold? I don't know. But I do know this: my dad is 65 years old, and has seen his fair share of phonies. Especially the evangelicals.

That two Reform churches succeeded where no evangelical could, is impressive. And they did it by (a) sticking to conservative Biblical theology and (b) recognizing both human need in both times of suffering and joy.

Niko said...

Latter day skete Fathers talk about the institutional facade of modern churches and that the true Church will head back to the catacombs.

Maybe we're half way there.

vysota said...

P Ray -- I'm more than capable of taking care of my business. I'm also well aware that if I don't want to visit this blog I can stop. You're really not revealing any great truths here. Ergo, since I'm here, I *choose* to come here.

Asking people to reflect on their behavior is fine. But complaining for the sake of complaining, which is what this blog is, is not. This is why, for instance, I'm one of the few people who hated "The Catcher in the Rye". It's 200 pages of a privileged little kid whining and bitching because he's useless. And, frankly, so is Anikin. "Life sucks, everything sucks". Great. Now what?

So, P Ray, maybe you can answer for me: how is complaining that people not trained in psychiatric help fail to provide psychiatric help an example of helping people reflect on their own behavior?

P Ray said...

I read the Catcher in the Rye, and what I got out of it is that it is possible to care too much for the people beyond your family to your own, and your own family's detriment.

"Vysota: So, P Ray, maybe you can answer for me: how is complaining that people not trained in psychiatric help fail to provide psychiatric help an example of helping people reflect on their own behavior?"

He didn't mention psychiatry in this post. What he is saying is that the person administering advice to the lay person needs to have tasted the "struggles" of the lay person. He should have had the wherewithal to overcome those temptations and seek the higher road, that way he can more effectively reach parishioners.

I am of the opinion that he certainly expects priests to have interacted with wider society to the level where they have observed the decay of mores and morals, not to speak from the pulpit about how "you should bear this load without grumbling, especially if you are a man, and you should be thankful for it".

Priests out of touch with the people they minister should perhaps take leave of their parish to come more in contact with common people and their struggles.

vysota said...

P Ray -- I certainly did not get that from "Catcher", but that's why literature is wonderful -- everyone gets their own thing.

As for Anikin's complaint, this is not about priests "interacting with society". The litany of problems he lists are not simply common human (or even male) struggles. These are severe psychological disorders, most of which (like, # 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10) can be grouped under the umbrella of "clinical depression". Going to a priest when one is clinically depressed is like going to a priest for an irregular heartbeat. It's stupid, and priests are simply not trained to handle actual medical problems. Complaining when a priest fails to help with a medical problem is even stupider. There was a point in human history when witch doctors / shamans were also the medical care experts in a society. Thankfully such time has passed. We have actual, scientifically-based medicine now, which is able to treat a whole host of maladies, including psychiatric ones.

Also, I'm a bit confused: is Anikin saying that the only people qualified to serve as men's ministers are those who have overcome depression, drug abuse and every other sort of destructive behavior?

P Ray said...

I don't think that addressing such serious personal, non-physical imbalances is purely the realm of doctors and medicines. If that was the case we'd actually have seen an end to depression in developed countries, since medical sciences there have much further progressed than elsewhere. You can probably find studies of "happiness" which are themselves subjective, that prove such a view.
I'm not advocating the Rousseau view, of a return to primitivism.

What I can take away from Anakin's post is that unless people acknowledge a mental component to these issues, something which medicines _may address but not always treat_, it will keep occurring.

Insanity and depression are usually the hallmarks of the people suffering as a result of an insane and a depressed society. Given the post-modernist nonsense that's being bandied about, that's hardly surprising.

I'm sure Anakin isn't saying that people who are all drug addicts are qualified to become priests and preachers (then again, what is a drug nowadays? If caffeine is such a drug, voila, it's already proven anyway that we've got people who can't get by without drugs as preachers and priests). But he is saying that people who haven't touched the depth of human desire, and turned away from it for their own good, it is not easy for such people to tell others to be good men.

Remember, Jesus hung around people of questionable reputation. And from what I've read he certainly had to take his fair share of nonsense and desire to come to a meeting of minds with the people he ministered.

vysota said...

Actually, P Ray, it is my experience that depression is more prevalent in highly developed countries, as counter-intuitive as that is. The reason is, actually, quite simple. In places where people have to struggle just to survive and get food, there is no time for depression. Depression is a luxury of comfortable societies. As my Indian ex-roommate said to me "Man, you white people! We don't have depression in India, we have hunger!"

Insanity and depression are usually the hallmarks of the people suffering as a result of an insane and a depressed society. Given the post-modernist nonsense that's being bandied about, that's hardly surprising.
I have very little idea what you mean. It is merely your opinion what constitutes "insane and depressed" society. It is also merely your opinion that post-modernism has anything to do with it. In fact, countries of Northern Europe routinely dominate the rankings of "happiest places" on this planet, almost regardless of the metric used (see, for example, http://lifestyle.in.msn.com/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=3537722 ). And N. Europe is as post-modern as it gets.

A priest with some sort of a rough background can be a plus, for sure. But psychological problems are psychological problems, and they are best handled by professionals.

幸運 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

赞同ls的看法! :)
人生啊。。 ~~
不追求爱情也是无可厚非的。 为什么有的人会这么强烈要求别人去找个伴侣呢,不就是钻牛角尖吗。。

Epoetker said...

"Going to a priest when one is clinically depressed is like going to a priest for an irregular heartbeat. It's stupid, and priests are simply not trained to handle actual medical problems."

Misfortune in life is a medical problem? Maybe according to employers who want everyone to fall in line without asking questions, women who want every man to fit their fantasies, and drug manufacturers who want a captive market for antidepressants.

"Complaining when a priest fails to help with a medical problem is even stupider. There was a point in human history when witch doctors / shamans were also the medical care experts in a society. Thankfully such time has passed."

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Seriously, you think that priests are the ones serving the function of witch doctors and shamans? Haven't heard of the business motivation industry? The spirituality industry and prosperity gospel? The writing of many books on success? Also on pop psychology? Do you seriously notice anything that isn't told to you by a textbook?

"We have actual, scientifically-based medicine now, which is able to treat a whole host of maladies, including psychiatric ones."

We have manipulated and reproduced the chemicals responsible for certain emotional responses and try to give people the happy ones. Anti-depressants, of course, are never abused, never have side effects, never have effects completely different from what was expected depending on the person, have all been researched exhaustively, and are totally never pressured onto people who don't need them.

"Also, I'm a bit confused: is Anikin saying that the only people qualified to serve as men's ministers are those who have overcome depression, drug abuse and every other sort of destructive behavior?"

Shouldn't they be the only people qualified to serve as depression counselors, drug abuse counselors, and psychiatrists?

Because if not then why bother? Priests have to address a greater totality of life experience that covers far more than just depression or abuse, and having been through the low points makes them more likely to not turn off those going through them.

Now go soak your head, you silly, silly, first year psych student.

vysota said...

Ah Epoetker -- I guess sarcasm is what one resorts to when one has nothing else to offer.

Misfortune in life is a medical problem?
No. Everyone has misfortune in life. Not everyone gets depressed. Depression IS a medical problem, which is what Anikin was describing.

Seriously, you think that priests are the ones serving the function of witch doctors and shamans? Haven't heard of the business motivation industry? The spirituality industry and prosperity gospel? The writing of many books on success? Also on pop psychology?
I guess logic is not your strong point, is it? It's ok, we're not all similarly gifted. Maybe you can sing really well, or something. As for shamans, yes, all those you mentioned are modern-day witch doctors. Just because one type of people fits the description does not mean that another type cannot as well.

Anti-depressants, of course, are never abused, never have side effects, never have effects completely different from what was expected depending on the person, have all been researched exhaustively, and are totally never pressured onto people who don't need them.
You done dripping with sarcasm? Should I wait for you to towel off? .......... OK, hopefully you've had enough time. So your argument is that since object A can and sometimes is abused no one should ever use A for its intended purpose? Correct? So since some people abuse pain killers we should not prescribe them for those just out of surgery? Or, for that matter, since people like MJ abused anesthetics we should perform surgery without any as well.

Shouldn't they be the only people qualified to serve as depression counselors, drug abuse counselors, and psychiatrists?
By "they" you mean people who have overcome depression, drug addiction, etc. And the answer to your question is an emphatic NO. Why, exactly, would they? So having your brain fried out by drugs makes you better at dealing with others who have that? Why, exactly? One does not need to destroy his own life ot help others who have done that.

Epoetker said...

"Not everyone gets depressed. Depression IS a medical problem, which is what Anikin was describing."

I beg to differ. Depression is normal, especially among the educated. Being unnaturally chipper is abnormal:

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/fda_approves_depressant_drug_for

"So your argument is that since object A can and sometimes is abused no one should ever use A for its intended purpose? Correct? So since some people abuse pain killers we should not prescribe them for those just out of surgery? Or, for that matter, since people like MJ abused anesthetics we should perform surgery without any as well."

My argument is that prescribing anti-depressants for depression is an abdication of the psychologists' responsibility to find the source of the depression. For instance, lack of 'success' with women may stem from the fact that one does not have game. When one identifies this fact, and the related fact that most women in today's dating market are in fact pretty shallow, a whole lot of social/internal shame can evaporate. One can either learn game and hit the bars, or one can choose to go celibate, without the silly social judgments that are in fact one of the chief causes of depression. By isolating yourself from a source of shame that is in fact undeserved, (i.e., exactly the type of 'miserable comforter' that Anakin described) you can rebuild your depressed psyche, and then take action to direct the rest of your life from there.

Anti-depressants simply make you a happy loser.

"And the answer to your question is an emphatic NO. Why, exactly, would they? So having your brain fried out by drugs makes you better at dealing with others who have that? Why, exactly?"

First of all, because you're less likely to have an unknowing judgmental attitude brought on by your ignorance of the topic at hand.

Second, because you know the rationalizations used for such things, since you've actually made them yourself. You can thus anticipate the addict's response.

Third, you're less likely to be fooled by people telling you what you want to hear.

The military insists that as many of its drill sergeants as possible have gone though combat instead of training exercises, and if they've experienced failure or PTSD-inducing horrible experiences during that time, so much the better for the soldiers he trains.

Among the business self-help books previously mentioned are many that have titles like "I Got Fired, and it was the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me!" or "How Failure can Bring Success."

Failure and its subsequent self-assessment can at least teaches you to stop listening to quite a few miserable comforters you previously took seriously.

But artificially inflating moods no matter what the situation? A recipe for failure caused by hubris, or insufficient carefulness, or just not caring about what other people think as long as I'm happy. A conscience-snuffing tactic far inferior to truth.

And far more destructive in the long run.

vysota said...

Depression is normal, especially among the educated.

Er, no, it's not. Depression is NOT normal, and whoever told you that it is was wrong. Being unhappy from time to time most certainly IS normal, but depression - the medical condition - isn't.


My argument is that prescribing anti-depressants for depression is an abdication of the psychologists' responsibility to find the source of the depression.

It can be, but it isn't always. There is such a thing as a chemical imbalance. In those cases that is the source of the depression. And medicine can, and does, help. Again, don't confuse the problem of over-prescription with the silly notion that medicines are never needed.


One can either learn game and hit the bars, or one can choose to go celibate, without the silly social judgments that are in fact one of the chief causes of depression.

Brilliant. The 2 options are to be a douche or a loser. Gee, too bad you weren't advising me when I went through the dry spells in my life. But, stupid old me chose the silly 3rd option: remain yourself, remain patient, and good things will happen. Which they did.


First of all, because you're less likely to have an unknowing judgmental attitude brought on by your ignorance of the topic at hand.
Second, because you know the rationalizations used for such things, since you've actually made them yourself. You can thus anticipate the addict's response.
Third, you're less likely to be fooled by people telling you what you want to hear.


This is where a little thing called "education" comes in. See, they actually train psychiatrists and psychologists to deal with these things. You know, it takes several years in school to become one, and you're not just making origami swans the whole time. Which is, by the way, what differentiates professionals from those "miserable comforters" Anikin talks about -- the people who run ministries don't need to have any training whatsoever, they just gotta say they believe in Jesus. And that's my point: if you have serious issues, you should not go to a guy whose qualifications often sum up to "I couldn't really land a job elsewhere". And if you do, then you have no one to blame but yourself.


Failure and its subsequent self-assessment can at least teaches you to stop listening to quite a few miserable comforters you previously took seriously.

Sure. However failure is not the only requirement for teaching or helping someone. It's true, there is no substitute for experience, but there are other ingredients as well. This is why we don't have recidivist criminals as judges or prosecutors in our courts, no matter now much "experience" with the judicial system they might have had.

Epoetker said...

Ahh, vysota, so reliable.

"It can be, but it isn't always. There is such a thing as a chemical imbalance. In those cases that is the source of the depression. And medicine can, and does, help. Again, don't confuse the problem of over-prescription with the silly notion that medicines are never needed."

But neither you nor Anakin were ever talking about depression as caused by 'chemical imbalance.' Anakin was talking about depression caused by traumatic life events, especially as experienced by Christians, 'nice guys', and the general non-alpha male population. He thought the cure for depression was truth, prayer, and disillusionment, you said it was meds, irrespective of the source. Basically, there's no difference between you and the over-prescriber you mention.

"Brilliant. The 2 options are to be a douche or a loser."

The correct terms are 'asshole or ghost,' thank you very much:P A douche is generally a beta who learns a little bit of game and wastes it all on his co-workers.

"Gee, too bad you weren't advising me when I went through the dry spells in my life. But, stupid old me chose the silly 3rd option: remain yourself, remain patient, and good things will happen. Which they did."

Is this supposed to be a Christian view? Or just a self-help book maxim that applies to yourself and very few others? Some people can take that advice. I certainly could have. But silly old me has a perniciously realistic view of life-I actually do enjoy study, or videogames, or exercise, or teaching, or any of the zillion and one things you can do when not trying to maintain a one-sided relationship like I saw among the many other military personnel I worked with.

"This is where a little thing called "education" comes in. See, they actually train psychiatrists and psychologists to deal with these things."

Formal classroom education is not training, but simple indoctrination. Working with actual patients is training. But given the fact that it has become extremely easy for women to initiate, dominate, and direct the flow of most 'couples counseling,'
I doubt that the training is toward anything resembling fairness or equal treatment.

"You know, it takes several years in school to become one, and you're not just making origami swans the whole time. Which is, by the way, what differentiates professionals from those "miserable comforters" Anikin talks about -- the people who run ministries don't need to have any training whatsoever, they just gotta say they believe in Jesus. And that's my point: if you have serious issues, you should not go to a guy whose qualifications often sum up to "I couldn't really land a job elsewhere". And if you do, then you have no one to blame but yourself."

Vysota, most men in mainline evangelical men's ministries ALREADY HAVE A JOB OUTSIDE OF CHURCH! "I couldn't really land a job elsewhere" is usually the siren call of the Psychology Department! (I bought one of my cars from a psychology MA, actually.)

"It's true, there is no substitute for experience, but there are other ingredients as well. This is why we don't have recidivist criminals as judges or prosecutors in our courts, no matter now much "experience" with the judicial system they might have had."

That would probably explain why so many laws are made and interpreted with little or no regard for those who have to follow them, in business or in life. Those who make, enforce, and interpret the law are rarely those who have to abide by it.

Such abnormal intellectual, experiential and social virginity in those with power is far worse than any physical inexperience.

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Best blog and best website I have ever seen in mhy life.


So well stated, and your list in this one is so spot on.

Life is a torment for an umarried Christian man in the USA now. Absolute daily torment. Constant sexual frustration in the face of constant rejection (usually from indecent women who are swimming in sexual disipation anyway). So very well stated. Emasculatioin and discouragment and disdain for men, who at this point have been shuffled out of the work place, academia, parenting and marriage. And I get the sense it is just a different kind of torment for many of the married men, since the culture has made most of the women into men who happen to be biologically capable of having children, which has made for contentious and insane relationships. I won't mention the fact that 1/2 the population was raised by a single mother and what that has done to man and woman alike. God help us. God bless you and may He use your excellent writing to make some kind of difference in this situation which is so far gone I have to admit that I myself dont see the point.