Wednesday, July 26, 2006
JAMming Church: Journey As Men
Background: J2M or Journey to Manhood is a rite of passage program started at our church to get young sons around 12 to prepare for their teenage years by studying manhood principles and Biblical expectations of our moral behaviors. Our men's Bible study is called "JourneyMen" and when I first attended it, it was very moving to see hundreds of men waking up before 6AM to show up at church. I've learned a lot about manhood and Biblical perspectives on man [and woman] over the years.
J2M training was great, too: at first I was uncomfortable not having a pre-written script to follow for my eldest son. Two other fathers and I met several times over the weeks to hash out what we wanted to teach our sons and activities we wanted to do with them. We made things work out in the end [much like a jam session], and I'm pleased with what we got done, considering that all 3 of us were new at it. It also made me aware how little there was as a follow on for my son: we recognized him as a young man but there was no process to get him into a real man beyond attending various classes, including coed Sunday school [which I've pulled my oldest son out of] and lecture based JourneyMen.
Going through J2M, I felt empowered to take charge with my son's manhood and to really own my and my son's spiritual life. We now spend every night reading the Bible out loud and then discuss it, and then talk about the day and pray together.
Anyway, that sense of empowerment is missing in the churches today: we normally sit there and take it all in. Men need action, to challenge conventions and re-ordering things. Things which aren't allowed with the hierarchical churches of today.
Which is why I'm thinking that something like "Journey As Men" or JAM is what's needed: multi-generational men (grand fathers teaching their sons teaching their son, etc.) exploring together what it means to be men in this world today based on what's in the Bible. We've lost the Biblical way since so much is clouded by man-made traditions of the past few centuries. Much as Martin Luther empowered Christians to read Bible on their own, JAM will empower men to be the kind of men God had in mind when He wrote the Bible.
Now I'm not saying that theology degrees are irrelevant but I am saying that the Biblical truths are best left to individuals to read as a group and live out what we can learn from it, as well as being open to Holy Spirit's direct influence. We don't need permissions from pastors (or other authorities) to live out Biblical truths or worship God. But how we live that out depends on the context of given place and people. How elders [bishops] and deacons as well as pastors/teachers fit in to all this is what I'm not sure of right now.
Copyright 2006, DannyHSDad, All Rights Reserved.
P.S. Googling for ' "journey as men" jam ' got only one hit, not related to manhood at all.