I have been giving quite a bit of attention to a week-end retreat I will be doing this week-end. One of the components of our retreat for about a dozen guys as to do with the affirmation of our masculine soul and the incorporation of the feminine complement. It seems to me that this is not talked about as much as it should in men’s ministry. I personally have found much insight and healing from two authors in particular on this subject. These two authors are Leanne Payne and the other a Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr.
I first began to digest Leanne Payne’s material in the early 90’s. So I have lived with her material for over 20 years. I discovered Richard Rohr a few years later. What I would like to highlight in this post is the need for men, after they become secure in their masculine identity, to then embrace the feminine counterpart of their person hood. Genesis 2:27 tells us of God created man in his image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 2:27). The image of God is reflected in both male and female. These are transcendent qualites that we have from God.
Men we find true affirmation in relationship to our heavenly Father. Having found their affirmation in their relationship to God, there is a need to find the balance of the feminine. Rohr observes, “A man who is secure in his gender identity will have a healthy masculine gender identity as well as the balance of the complementary feminine”. This can be expressed in such phrase as “head and heart”, “tough and tender”, “rational and intuitive” “doing and being” and “courage and compassion.” In a culture such as ours, where the feminine voice has been raising a lot of protest over the wrongful dominance of men, men are being forced to look at the feminine complement in their lives. The problem is that many men are doing so without being secure in their own male identity. The result are men who are weak and passive.
There are some leaders in men’s minstry who have pointed out, that the message of the church is geared more for a feminine response. Surrender and being loving, while showing compassion in relationships is a common theme. While this is a necessary expression for men, who are followers of Jesus, this can’t be the only message men hear. Men are naturally geared toward doing. Payne believes that “at the heart of the masculine is energy to honor the truth and move forward in the truth.” The masculine is resolute, orientated to work, order and accomplishment. This needs to be affirmed in a healthy male identity. Out of this identity comes the capacity to embrace the more feminine qualites of connecting, relating and responding. But these will be best integrated in the heart of a man who has found his masculine identity in Christ.