Healthy & Degraded Masculine & Feminine in Today’s News

Many items in the news these days demonstrate the reality of how degraded the masculine has become in our culture.  I think of the sad case of the 17 year old who felt compelled to drive across state lines with an assault rifle in tow while demonstrators raged against the shooting of a black man by a police officer. 

Weapons of war, available to all. “Gun Wall.” Photo by Michael Saechang on Flickr.

When I first saw Kyle Rittenhouse on television in court, my response was: “This guy is just a boy.”  A boy, as it turned out, without a rite of passage into a healthy adulthood.  Therefore a very dangerous 17 year old boy who employed his AR-15 which, he thought “looked cool” when he bought it. 

Whether he is convicted of a particular form of homicide or not, the damage is done: Two people are dead, another wounded, and the shooter’s life will never be the same.

There is also the uninspiring ending to COP26 where much appears unresolved about rich nations offering ample resources to stop the demise of our planet and our species and others with it. Matricide marches on and also marks a sick masculinity.

COP26 Sheffield Climate March: 4,000 people marched to a rally outside City Hall demanding greater action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Tim Dennell on Flickr.

Reports from Glasgow underscore how if President Biden had arrived with a more vigorous climate change commitment in hand the entire conference would have come closer to accomplishing its deeper purpose.  But Biden could not do that because an entire political party has not committed to saving the planet, but chooses denial and remaining in bed with fossil fuel companies instead.  “Fatalistic self-hatred” indeed.

In light of such news, our meditations with monk Bede Griffith on the importance of the divine feminine and healthy masculine seem very pertinent indeed.

See Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, pp. 237ff.

Also Spirituality for a New Era: Lectures by Bede Griffiths and Matthew Fox.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Oligarchy.” Artist unknown; from LAProgressive and other sites.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize a distorted masculinity in today’s news of a 17 year old bearing an AR-15 to a riot and in the struggle for eco-justice and climate change?  How can we do better?

Recommended Reading

Spirituality for a New Era – An Evening with Bede Griffiths and Matthew Fox in Dialog

Matthew Fox and Fr. Bede Griffiths each lecture for approximately 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes of dialogue. 91 minutes. 1990. (Audio file; to download, click HERE.)

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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8 thoughts on “Healthy & Degraded Masculine & Feminine in Today’s News”

  1. Avatar
    Linda Chamberlain

    On the subject of rights of passage Martin Prechtel’s book, Long Life Honey in the Heart describes an indigenous community’s right of passage for both young men and women which which is beautifully written and worth reading.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Linda, At the church I last attended, we called our Confirmation class, “Rites of Passage.” Besides the normal study of doctrinal beliefs, I also took the Rites of Passage class to a Buddhist temple, a Sikh temple, a Muslim mosque, a Jewish synagogue, and a Greek Orthodox service. In this way I tried to incorporate “deep ecumenism” in their Rites of Passage. Thank you for your comment and the book recommendation!

  2. Avatar

    As Eddie Aikau always said, “There’s good to be done.” But of course we must choose to do good. I would add that our focus on gender and power in that context is negative energy that defeats goodness. }:- a.m.

  3. Avatar

    This meditation resonates strongly with me. Thank you so much.
    In addition to the current headlines I also wonder if the distorted masculinity is a cause not only for outward violence but for inward violence via suicide or drug addiction. Seeing young men in my own personal network struggle I have wondered if their struggle is in part due to a lack of positive pathways to adulthood (in addition to be overwhelmed with negative world the internet all too often protrays).
    There are many boys/young men who dont want to join the military (one ‘right of passage’) or be swept up in the fear and anger based far right or far left militant diatribes/cultures. But alternative options are vague at best, particularly with the loss of trade schools as an alternative to college. Thus young men can feel lost and may slowly succomb to suffer self-loathing, self- hatred, or depression which can lead to self-medication via drugs, alcohol or game addiction. It seems this may be particularly true for white men across the economic spectrum.
    I also share the idea that the US DOD & DOE should pivot hard to climate change, the common foe as you state. But this requires those in power to change and we dont have time to wait for their personal awakening! I doubt if they see in themselves “fatalistic self-hatred”. Their power has corrupted them and ironically they have become impotent in taking on the crisis of today. This feels hopeless.
    But then I believe in the power of the powerless to make the changes needed. For example, in yesterdays news (11/15/21) on Marketplace (NPR) I learned how one man, Devin De Wulf, who lives in New Orleans, electrified his home and was unimpacted by Hurricane Ida (more on NPR podcast “How We Survive This” episode “Electrify Everything”). Not only did Devin have power during a 10 day outage he was in a position to help his neighbors too. And now he is starting a project to electrify restaurants in New Orleans and enable the local people to be their own first responders. This gives me hope. We need to empower ourselves through innovation and community collaboration to solve climate crisis rather than wait on this old guard to awaken. And we cannot forget the power we in consumerism: how and what we buy and invest in can be huge force if collaborative! Finally I would imagine that in creating such a grassroots movement a path for restoring a whole and positive masculinity would follow.
    To this collective end Id suggest a “COP26.5” where everyday people are brought together with those leaders that led the daily marches at COP26(not the country leaders) and we get to work! Wouldn’t it be cool to show the world leaders what they should have done?! How can we make this happen?
    Thank you for these relevant meditations of our day
    In peace & hope, Amen

  4. Avatar

    My hometown is Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I was born and brought up. The shooting and crippling of an unarmed black man was manslaughter, but the officer was acquitted. Kyle Rittenhouse committed murder, but the presiding judge seems to think it was self-defense. What is wrong with this picture?

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