Humanity’s Masculinity Problem, Continued

Putin’s war against Ukraine goes on.  It is about envy toward an aspiring and practicing democracy next door to Russia.  And it is about nostalgia for a lost empire.  And it is about personal ambition to be a 21st century Tsar.  And it is about lashing out at Europe which, for all its failures, has also built something up from the previous wars of the twentieth century. 

Standing in the light of change. Photo by Iqx Azmi on Unsplash.

And it is about an unexamined masculinity, one that is ignorant of true virility, which is about virtue, good habits, habits of doing good, doing justice, doing compassion, speaking truth.  With such virtue lacking, ignorance rules and Evil dominates and in its ignorance, latches on to the reptilian brain philosophy of “I win, you lose,” inspired by the evil of resentment, envy and violence.  War therefore.

I offer a brief summary here of some of the titles and themes we have been meditating on from late November through February, beginning with the Rittenhouse trial about a confused young man who killed two men and wounded a third.

6th Century icon of the Theotokos, also known as the God-Bearer. Originally posted to Flickr by Ted.

I think taken together the titles themselves provide a meditation on one of the most important issues regarding survival for humanity today—men have to divest themselves of a perverse understanding of masculinity that Patriarchy has poisoned us with over the centuries.  The good result might mean the end of war and the rise of healthy love and healthy relationships, personal, societal and ecological. 

Sprinkled into these meditations were celebrations of the Divine Feminine (welcoming the Divine Feminine is, after all, part of recovering the healthy masculine).  Long before November we were meditating on the Divine Feminine.  A sacred marriage of the divine feminine and healthy masculine is demanded if humanity is to survive.

We offer the following titles from our recent DM’s as meditations in themselves.  It seems to me, if I dare say so, that a kind of poem or litany emerges when lined up one after another.

A Poem/Litany to the Sacred Masculine.

November 21: Some Questions Raised by the Rittenhouse Decision

November 22: Who is a Healthy Man, What is Healthy Masculinity?

November 23: Political Incarnations of the Toxic Masculine

November 24: Opus Dei, American Catholic Bishops & Distorted Masculinity

November 26: A Thank You to Robert Bly

To be continued


See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine. 

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

Banner Image: Gathering of the toxic masculine: Redneck Revolt members at a Donald Trump presidential campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Daniel Oberhaus on Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

What strikes you and opens your heart up on reading/praying over these topics?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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20 thoughts on “Humanity’s Masculinity Problem, Continued”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you ask us: “What strikes you and opens your heart up on reading/praying over these topics?” What strikes me is how the topics move from five incidences of toxic masculinity to one example of the sacred masculine, in this case, embodied in men like, Robert Bly and Thich Nhat Hanh. And it is these last two who encourage me to read, study, and pray. over what, and in relation with, the Cosmic Christ or Cosmic Masculinity.

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    We need to stand up against the toxic masculinity of Putinism. Thank you for that. Also we need to stand up to the toxic masculinity of Machiavellian American empire politicians and corporate weapons manufacturers who have sought this conflict so they can sell arms and isolate Russia. Do weknow that Putin asked to join NATO and Bill Clinton laughed at him. Do we know how many commitments America has broken with Russia. America has been very antagonistic towards Russia for years. Putin is a thug and kleptocrat but what is America. It is a greedy vulture seeking to sow conflict in order to strengthen its own empire which includes selling weapons by making trouble in Eastern Europe.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Edward, Yes, both Russia and America have been bullies, and are money grubbers, and want to control the world the way they think it should be controlled. But pointing this out does not change the situation of the people of Ukraine, who had been an independent sovereign, nation and who has been invaded by a “foreign power” while the NATO powers just watch it happen–sanctions are for the most part worthless, especially when WE continue to buy Russian oil every day. I have a friend, whose brother is an arms dealer, and I personally think it is the most despicable job/career possible. It all goes back to money, for as St. Paul wrote, “The Love of money is the root of all evil.” It seems to me that the leaders of our world are just interested in increasing their wealth and power… period !!!

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        Richard, don’t get me wrong. There is no justification for Russia’s actions. They are illegal wrong stupid and crazy. But I just get frustrated with the “liberal” media’s sins of omission. While the right is more obvious, the corporate media just ignores the more hidden factors that have led us here.

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    I was appalled at the picture illustrating today’s meditation. Why do these men need to be dressed for combat? Why do they need to carry assault weapons to a RALLY? What are they so afraid of? Guns may not kill people by themselves, but the mentality that such weapons carry the badge of masculinity (testosterone toxicity again) is a part of our culture we would do well to eliminate. It isn’t only in Russia that such poison exists. A fitting illustration for the topic at hand.

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    Both America and Russia have much to answer for to all people and Mother Earth. We as informed voters must do our part to elect the officials who honestly and with integrity will work for peace in the world and healing for Mother Earth.

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    We must be causiously and consciously aware of just how easy it is to fall into the snare of placing blame and pointing fingers and then justifying this as righteousness. The TRUTH is much more difficult to ponder, to ask the deep questions of ourselves! We are all prodigal sons and daughters, regarding the inherentence of the many diverse expression of our humanity and our divinity, which includes not only the masculine aspect of self, but the feminine aspect as well, and we’ve all got wounds that need to be healed.

    The beautiful and yet challenging mystery of the gift of life is that we not only get to ask and ponder the deep questions of “Who Am I, What Am I….?”, we also get to co-creatively decide, as we lean into living the questions out, throughout the life journey. Part of the unfolding, evolving and emerging that takes place within this process is learning to consciously take self responsibility and accountability for what we are choosing and deciding. This requires a willingness to be utterly honest and vulnerably truthfull with oneself and if we’re brave enough, with each other. It’s a different intention of seeing and being seen… a kind of seeing without pretense, judgement, criticism and condemnation… but rather a seeing through the eyes of acceptance, understanding, compassion, forgiveness and unconditional love… that leads to mercy… the active decision to alleviate that which is causing the pain, suffering and sorrow of wounds that need to be healed in order to come into alignment, balance, harmony, wholeness and oneness. The deeper beauty within this often at times challenging mystery is that we never go it alone… that Spirit is always with us in and through the journey. Jesus exemplified this, even in the midst of facing evil. This is what I sense in today’s contemplative query.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, You write today, “the active decision to alleviate that which is causing the pain, suffering and sorrow of wounds that need to be healed in order to come into alignment, balance, harmony, wholeness and oneness… Jesus exemplified this, even in the midst of facing evil.” This is my question for you today, “If a doctor makes an ‘active decision to alleviate that which is causing the pain'”–for instance, say a person has a cancerous tumor. In the process of alleviating pain, the doctor will have to cause more pain–surgery will cut damaged organs and/or the cancer out with knives, burn things with radiation, and poison the disease with chemotherapy.” Is that not what NATO needs to do ???

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        Richard, the perspective I am offering is that no one, not even people like Putin or Hitler are born evil. A series of something’s happened within the stories of their lives, that so deeply wounded these individuals, whom are also a creation of God, which also needs to be understood, with compassion… that underneath the distressing disguise of evil… is an enraging crying out within the depth of their soul to be seen as well and that this too is in need of mercy… has hard as this truth is to accept.

        1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
          Richard Reich-Kuykendall

          Jeanette, I totally understand what you are saying, that “not even people like Putin or Hitler are born evil.” That is “Original Blessing” talking, and it is ultimately true and, my wife also reminds me often that everyone is a product of their environment. But my reply is in every society, even the one which was set up by the Hebrew people of the Bible, knew that one must somehow “deal” with people who break the laws of their society. If one has a serial killer you have to lock him up or he will keep killing. Its true that in most cases there was something wrong with the environment in which they were brought up in, or their mental health, but that doesn’t justify it, or warrant exposing other people to their murderous spirits…

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    Need You Now by Plumb

    Well everybody’s got a story to tell
    And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
    I wanna believe there’s beauty here
    Cause Oh I get so tired of holding on
    I can’t let go, I can’t move on
    I want to believe there’s meaning here.

    How many times have You heard me cry out
    “God, please take this?”
    How many times have You given me strength
    To just keep breathing?
    Oh I need You,
    God, I need You now.

    Standing on a road I didn’t plan
    Wondering how I got to where I am
    I’m trying to hear that still small voice
    I’m trying to hear above the noise

    Though I walk through the shadows
    And I, I am so afraid
    Please stay, please stay right beside me
    With every single step I take

    How many times have You heard me cry out?
    How many times have You given me strength?

    I need You now
    Oh I need You
    God I need You now
    I need You now
    I need You now

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    As we take a step back, to recapitulate on Mathew’s meditations over the past several months, please take a moment and listen to “Praise You In This Storm”, by Casting Crowns on You-tube.

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    Matthew, thank you for giving us a historical and evolutionary perspective of the rise of patriarchal and unbalanced masculine values since 4,500 BC when matriarchal cultures and values began being dominated and destroyed. We’ve gradually been destructive not only to women and children, but also to Mother Nature and all its living creatures. May the Love~Wisdom~Peace~Justice ~Creativity of our Creator Mother Father continue growing in our hearts and lives with one another and Mother Earth before it is too late….

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    Thank you for your brilliant analysis and your prescient featuring of the consequences of toxic masculinity over the past months. One of the ironies to me about Putin is his violent aggression on behalf of what has been traditionally known as Mother Russia. This “Mother” has thrown up dictator after dictator but also has birthed some of the most beautiful music, literature, ballet and other arts.

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    Just for a moment consider the radical possibility, that the Cosmic Christ is using the evil, amidst the tryany unfolding, through the soul of someone like Putin, for the greater good of the whole… for uniting the nations of the world together… and that in through this dark mystery we are being prepared and made ready to tackle the major crisis facing all, the environmental crisis and the possible extinction of all life on this planet… perhaps much like what took place between Judas and Jesus.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Your idea of seeing the Cosmic Christ as using the evil for a greater good, sounds a lot like Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and who are called according to his purpose” When ever I use this text or hear others use it I remind them that it doesn’t say that all things are good”–not even a good plan for something new–rather it is saying that God can take that which is evil and bring good out of it–but the evil is still evil, as was the case with the holocaust…

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    Patricia+Ferrari

    All , I was deeply blessed, enlightened and felt very connected to all the comments and the people who wrote them. This discussion from all of you gives me so much hope in this crisis. Blessings and much love.Pat Ferrari.

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