I assume that most of the men who are reading this blog are in the second half of life, that is, they are probably past forty years of age and are wondering what is next in their life. In the first half of life a man needs to build his container, giving him a strong sense of who he is. In the second half of life, which is the further journey, he needs to find the contents that the container was meant to hold. In the first half of life we discover the script for our life, and in the second half we actually write and own the script. I happen to agree with Richard Rohr, that we are primarily a first half of life culture. Our focus is on success, achievement, self image, security, etc. There is little guidance for men, when it comes to the second half. Why? Because we are a lazy culture, even spiritually.
It is natural for us to want to stay with the familiar, the tested and the known. But the second half of our life is learning to fnd “the task within the task.” We are afraid to ask, “What am I really doing when I am doing what I am doing?” There comes that time in a man’s life when “the inner promotings” that orignate within his soul, call for attention. It is at this point that men have a choice. Either we wake up to what is going on in our soul, or we put the lid on this prompting and continue on “automatic pilot,” doing what we have always been doing; staying in control and having a handle on what is going on in my life.
Men, I want you to know that I am speaking from very personal and painful experience. Very few men volunteer for the further journey. Why? Because it means a lot of “unlearning” and being brought to the place of humility. It will usually take some failure, falling or disappointment to get your attention. Trust me, this is a moment of grace. This can often be the only way God can get a man’s attention – through his failure. I promise you, that you will come to a crisis, if you already have not, and it will cause you to make a choice. Either you will fight on in what you think is best, or you will realize that God is calling you into a whole new understanding of your journey in life. It is a time when your “soul life” which has been neglected during the first half demands attention.
As the writer of this blog, I am deeply committed to help men on their “further journey.” Because we have so few men in our culture who have been willing to be taken on the further journey of the second half of life, there are few elders who can point the way. I acknowledge I still have a long way to go, but when I read Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward,” I came to the deep realization that God had indeed helped me on the further journey. It has kindled a passion in me to help younger men who are just beginning the further journey
While I had some help from others on a person to person basis, the path that was mapped out for me through my stumblings and failures was not visualized for me by others. My burden in this blog is to be like a “watchmen” and “guide” for men who have the courage and desire to allow God to change them from the inside out. To let go of the familiar and give control of who you are and your further journey to God is a very courageous act. In my opinion, most Christian men would rather stay home, having fallen asleep, living life with little passion and purpose. I want to stand by the man who says, “I am ready to go on the further journey.”
Finally listen to Paul. Here is a man on the further journey. “I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrction for the dead, I wanted to do it…..Friends, don’t get me wrong; By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back” (Phil 3:10-11, 13-14 – The Message)