Thursday, June 25, 2009

Manhood: in need of an Archetype...

"A man must go on a quest,
to discover the sacred fire,
in the sanctuary of his own belly,
to ignite the flame in his heart,
to fuel the blaze in the hearth,
to rekindle his ardor for the earth.
-Sam Keen

This is a early shot of a painting I am working on that embodies the imagery of Ezekiel 10:1-22, the four faced (man, ox, lion, eagle) beings. I am using this as an archetype image for some men's stuff I am working on and some Youth to Teen to Manhood rites of passage material I am writing. It's an attempt to formulate some rites of passage events and material to help the process of maturity in my own sons lives, and in our faith community. I desire to see the fathering/eldering role strengthened in our community. Having values, traditions and a meaningful passage process for developing young men and men who carry the passion for authentic manhood to be passed on. I know this area is fit with psychological and sociological pitfalls, theological overemphasis and down right bizarre chest beating, testosterone worship. But I also see a cultural drift that is at play that is producing more and more identity confusion, role ambiguity and life skill underdevelopment among young men.

I see more and more insecurity, fear, trepidation, inability to make life decisions, submerged masculinity, laziness, lack of creativity, meaningless goals, lack of life vision and the internal fire to create new realities. The glazed over disinterest, blah like yawn, the tv daze, the internet gaming escapism and all the vicarious entertainment self medicating that is going on.

There is a monotonous monogamy that is plaguing men and the languishing lusting that is replacing it is undermining marriages and its becoming more and more viral. Men are in a quagmire of numbing banalities that have softened the wall of manhood into a penetrable and porous familial gate. Manhood no longer stands erect as a cultural barrier to the erosion and corrosion of the image of God in man. Many men are clueless about where to go, how to get there and why they should even wake from their trojan stupor. Fatherlessness is rampant as men drift without a compass or purpose...and the encroaching pointlessness of manhood is excruciating....especially in the church.

As our leaders continue to parade an example of infidelity, corruption, deception, greed, power hungry self service and abusive disregard for life, the world and the future...the situation is ripe for a return to the ancient wisdom of generational passage.

In this work, we need images, stories, examples, patterns, guides, voices, lights and willing sages that will engage the hard work of soul formation. Men who will hold to their dependance on God, His word, cultural wisdom, life experiences, naked faith and the ever moving work of the Spirit. We need images that remind us, awaken us, move and haunt us. We need Bards and Poets to recapture the art of storytelling for transformation.

I'm using the Ox, Eagle, Lion and the Man, to form a literary archetype for the passing of wisdom. This becomes a trellis to build upon as we engage consciously and unconsciously in the act of raising sons to become men and helping men discover the purpose of manhood.

Archetype: noun
1. the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.
2. (in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches.

"Life is a storm. You will bask in the sunlight one moment - and be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when the storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout, 'Do your worst, for I will do mine!' Then the fates will know you as we know you - A MAN!"
- The Count of Monte Cristo

1 comment:

FCB said...

This is a great post Eric, and so relevant. Our society has changed a great deal in the last fifty years, I know 'cause I've been there. Many things for the better, and many for ill. I wonder how I would have done growing up in this time, not well I suspect. God bless your efforts as you take on this challenging subject.
Love Dad