How are your hearts, men? How are your souls? Think about it. Really think about it. Are you living your “Best Life,” or are you living safely within boundaries dictated by the circumstances to which you have become accustomed?
Regardless of the circumstances of our net worth, of our social wherewithal, or other typical measures of success, if men dream, there is often within the recesses of our being, a knowing that we were created for something greater that has escaped us. I recently heard it said that the “Office of the Imagination” is just down the hall from the “Office of the Holy Spirit.” These are so close that if one will allow it, the Voice of God may often be heard through the imagination of our longings.
We see this in most movies and books. Every story worth knowing has a hero and a villain. The hero’s victory over evil, and rescue of those threatened, is always at great risk, and causes a longing in us for a similar experience.
Why is this? It is because our story, and the larger story of God’s grand narrative, contains both the evil of the prince of darkness and the purity of the one who died and rose again to defeat him. It is because we bear the image of God, the image of Christ the Victor, and because our masculinity is designed to participate in such a battle as this.
Do we see ourselves in the role of William Wallace, in the movie Braveheart, who though desiring a life of peace, gives himself at great risk to the greater story of gaining freedom for the Scots. Or are we captive to a role like that of Mitch Robbins in City Slickers whose masculinity has been reduced to simply being a provider for his family, with little else to leave as the legacy of his existence? Do we not long for something greater?
I serve on Diocesan Council and am one of the liaisons to Men’s Ministry. This past weekend, I attended a gathering of men called Wild at Heart Basic. It is a retreat, but even more it is a call to adventure. It is an illumination of the image of God in men, affirming the masculine, heart and soul residing in each of us. It is the hearing of God’s voice awakening in us the reality of the greater story He invites us to participate in. It yields His affirmation of our union with Him, cementing in us the truth that we have what it takes to step into all that He calls us to. I was blessed and my spirit was renewed, both in the information presented, and in the fellowship of the men gathered.
Wild at Heart Basic is a video-based “plug and play” program that has been bearing fruit in churches in our diocese and across denominational lines. It also gives direction for various “ways forward” for men and men’s groups who attend. It is important that the information presented is not just a “one and done” type experience. The program can be easily facilitated over the course of a long weekend at a very reasonable cost. Ideally the attendees would meet at a location close to nature, like at someone’s country place, hunting club, or beach house, but it could be done in most church fellowship halls, as well.
God speaks prophetically through King Solomon in Proverbs 4:23, warning us to “Keep our hearts (to guard them), with all vigilance, for from it flow springs of life.” For men this means we are to guard our masculine hearts and souls, for the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to lessen, to devour and destroy the image of God that is in us. We are to guard our masculine hearts that we may become husbands and fathers equipped to die to self for the blessing of our wives and children. So that we may be drawn into the adventure and risk of God’s greater story.
Jay Crouse, our Diocesan Director of Men’s Ministry, can answer questions you may have about how to access Wild at Heart resources. Contact him at email@example.com. I am available to help in any way I can to help promote or facilitate Wild at Heart functions. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By The Rev. John Sosnowski, Holy Comforter, Sumter