All posts tagged: masculinity

Editorial Musings: Is Hypermasculinity a Problem?

This week, in honor of the Edith Stein Conference taking place at Notre Dame, Church Life is focusing on themes related to gender and human sexuality. A recent M.Div. graduate, China Weil, thinks about how to engage in pastoral ministry with those who use pornography. Drawing from the resources of the Christian iconographic tradition, she argues that we ought to form men and women to contemplate salutary images rather than those that lead us to exercise the pornographic gaze. In addition, we are featuring an interview with Kimberly Baker, Associate Professor of Church History at St. Meinrad School of Theology and Seminary, on a conference on Women in the Church held in the fall. And we have two articles dealing with parenting and fertility: one by Claire Fyrqvist on learning to practice (sometimes in difficult moments) the joy of parenting, another by Dr. Hanna Klaus on the problem of treating fertility as a disease rather than a gift and thus intrinsic to human sexuality. In our editorial meetings leading up to this issue, we determined that something that …

Family, Careers, and Sexuality: Spiritual Trends in College Men of Faith

Where are the men? How do we get more men involved and engaged in our ministries? I hear these questions time and time again from people across the country in my travels as an educator, minister, and scholar. I hear them from every population: priests, nuns, brothers, pastors, lay ministers, catechists, parishioners, teachers, and coaches. I hear them in every context: parishes, churches, colleges, high schools, and parachurch organizations—even ministries focused specifically on men, from faith-sharing groups to retreats and conferences. Catholics and Protestants alike are struggling to get men (lay and religious) through the door and to keep them there. Everyone is looking for a silver bullet—a quick fix for a complex and enduring problem—only to be disappointed when an initiative or program that may have worked in another context does not work in their own, or when a program has a strong opening and then loses momentum. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every context has its own sets of unique challenges and opportunities for engaging men in their faith. So …

What is a Man? Redefining Male Success

In all honesty, I do not spend a lot of time thinking about how I measure up to masculine ideals of what it means to be a “real man.” I view myself primarily through the prism of my personhood—my status as a unique child of God who is made in the image of God with all the gifts and responsibilities that this entails. While there are differences between men and women, the commonalities far exceed these and too often generalizations obscure the fundamental uniqueness of each human person. This is present in the identity politics of the left, where false divisions too often undermine solidarity, and among those on the right, whose articulations of complementarity are hazy and incoherent. In reality, each person has a unique personality and set of experiences, beliefs, gifts, and relationships. Each person has a unique role in building the Kingdom of God. At the same time, it is clear that social pressures, particularly on young people, are often different for men and boys compared to women and girls. While many …

Misguided Manliness: Reflections on the First Episode of “Mad Men”

The opening sequence shows a cartoon man in free fall. Where is he falling to? A past article from The Onion reveals the destination. The headline announces that for the first time since its original construction, Hell is being expanded with a brand new tenth circle, to be called “Corpus Adverticus. ” It is reserved, The Onion reports, for lobbyists, publicists, advertising executives, and “Total Bastards.” In Dante’s Inferno, the eighth and ninth circles are reserved for those guilty of fraud, and, as The Onion analyzes it, the new tenth circle is simply an addition to their original accommodations. And yet The Onion didn’t really have to bother, since the eighth circle of the Inferno already contains a “pouch” where the fraudulent—those who change Yes to No and No to Yes for money—are immersed in boiling pitch. The punishments in Dante are always an image of the sin being punished, so we see that once truth becomes a function of money, everything is submerged in a sticky, absolute darkness of nihilism. In the pilot episode of …