by Scott Borison
Men’s spirituality? What is it that makes a man’s spiritual journey any different from a woman’s? Aren’t we all God’s children?
I’ve wondered this often because my experience in the seminars, retreats and classes I’ve enjoyed over the years I’ve seen women in abundance but few men. In fact, in one very good series, by the third year there were some thirty women yet only two men!
Why is it? Aren’t we, men and women alike, all God’s children?
I think it is that young men (and certainly some young women) eye life longing to be warriors and, if you will, wild men. Wild men fight for success, advancement, being ahead of the next guy. We seek wealth and fame. Like the proverbial camel we have little interest in facing the needle’s eye. Yet truth, beauty, trust, meaning – even the kingdom itself — abound if only (even just temporarily) we can set the battle aside.
It is popular to speak in this context of embarking on a “Spiritual Journey” as if it were about going somewhere. Instead, the spiritual journey is a voyage of discovery of our own truth, a truth that already lies within. We “Wild Men on the Journey” (to borrow Richard Rohr’s popular title) discover new perspectives. We do it through reading, joining seminars or retreats, speaking in deep and meaningful ways with others, and in spiritual direction.
How beautiful to be on the journey! Yet most of us men don’t heed the voyage and the sign posts along the way. Or, if we are interested, we don’t know where to find the trail head, the place to join the journey. Instead of seeking to find it, we postpone and procrastinate. One day we face crisis or become old finding we missed the journey all together.
I am fortunate to have embarked anew nearly 20 years ago. My journey has at times been marked by abundant faith and at times by darkness; by times of knowing and times of unknowing; by fascination and foolishness; by contentment and restlessness; and by discovery that my times of meaningful interaction with others are boundlessly rewarding.
Of course, being on the journey is not without secular rewards. Even as a wild man I can point to many times where faith has led me to beneficial decisions, several of them life changing!
Through our offerings at Franciscan Spiritual Center, Charles Mantey and I open the door to any and all wild men, warriors and men on a journey. Some are devoutly religious. Some question their religious heritage. Some consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” And some just want to hear what other men think. For us, all are welcome, wherever they are on their journey of faith.
Borrowing from the Sufi poet Rumi, “Beyond right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” We are in deep gratitude to Franciscan Spiritual Center for making its facilities available to us