What is a Real man ?
A workshop study on the character, roles and functions of a man according to Biblical principles. Prepared by Peter Fordyce.
The programme is divided into three sections :
A. Prologue: General info. and history : page 1
B. Leader’s Manual: page 5
C. Worksheet Contents: page 15.
The fourteen Worksheets comprise the course itself, are given as separate Word documents which may be selected and copies made as required.
The programme is free to any group, may be copied or forwarded as often as required, but at no charge to the recipient.
His name was Richard. He was about twenty seven years old, and was one of a group of seven men whom I was counselling in a maximum security prison in Cape Town. He turned to me during one morning session and said; “What is a man? I am a man and I don’t really know what I am supposed to be. In fact, what is a real man?”
Well, I made some kind of stock answer, but went away feeling a little shocked because I realised that I had never asked the question myself and therefore had not been able to give a very adequate response. In fact, to be brutally honest, outside of some common platitudes, I didn’t give a good answer at all. And so began my search of the Scriptures to discover what God had in fact to say on the subject, the upshot of which was the gradual emergence of this course, which I subsequently gave many times in the prison over a four year period.
I was of course working in a very specific and unnatural environment, but what came out of it all was that from that first question posed to me by Richard, emerged a whole range of universal questions that all men need to ask themselves and indeed need to answer, not only for themselves, but also for the sake of those closest to them, particularly their wives and children. In point of fact, these are questions that young men need to ask before they acquire wives and children. In fact, it might perhaps be that, if they asked – and answered – these questions, the whole issue of abuse, and divorce for that matter, might just be a lot less prevalent than it currently is.
The way that I worked with my ‘guys’ was in small groups, minimum three maximum ten. The reason for this is that men understand each other. Even as relative strangers, men have their own ‘speak’ and if a group is working together on a regular basis two things happen; those who don’t want to ‘go there’ drop out and those who are prepared to, stay and, in the process, the ‘twaddle’ gets washed out and the truth emerges.
Scripture poses questions; that is the nature of the Bible. There is hardly a chapter in the Bible that does not question its reader one way or another, if not on the spot then later when we have had time to think about it. It is what God’s Word does and that is how the course works. It is not a sermon or a lecture or even a teaching. It is a group discussion motivated by Scripture and the questions it asks and, for the most part, it is the participants who provide the answers.
However, a moderator or group leader is required, to ensure the correct interpretation of the Scriptures used and to see that the questioning and answering keep in line with the subject of the day; we said earlier that the ‘twaddle’ gets washed out, but we also know that it can quite easily get washed back in again.
All groups are not going to be the same and will vary according to a multitude of factors. Even in a single environment, such as it was in the prison, groups were never quite the same. Therefore this course should not be considered a ‘one size fits all’ presentation, because one size definitely does not fit all. Experience has shown that one group might spend two hours debating a single question in one module, whereas another covered the whole module in that time but lingered somewhere else. Therefore, our leader needs to be Biblically literate and to have discernment as to the dynamics of his group, always adjusting the shoe to fit the foot.
So, what is offered here is a leader’s manual, the purpose of which is to give the main thrust of each part, of which there are fourteen, and from this platform be equipped to move according to the particular dynamics of the group.
A central characteristic of the course is the inclusion of questions to be put to the group, not all of which may be necessarily challenging to that group, whereas there will be other questions that should have been included but were not. The problem is ‘too many groups, too many questions and we can’t cover them all’, but the framework allows for changes while keeping to the primary thrust of each module and it is up to the leader to manage this process. Therefore, and needless to say, choice of a competent leader is important.
Another aspect that needs explanation is how Scriptures are used. Many are quoted but few are fully written out, except in point form. This is in order to have participants read the whole passage direct from the Bible and to debate its meaning amongst themselves. Thus, the leader is able to get the relevant points on the table. The whole idea is to invite participants to work out meanings for themselves and thereby become familiar with the crux of the subject.
Discussion, discussion, discussion; this is not a lecture, a sermon or a teaching. This is a self learning exercise in a group environment and its success will depend on the leader’s ability to engender a situation in which the guys become willing to open up and all I can say is that it works, because I have tried it.
Finally the worksheets themselves; these are pretty much self explanatory, but they are really ‘prompt’ sheets to be used by both leader and participants; by the leader as a template for each module to be modified group by group and by the participants as note pads for their post session meditation and thought which should hopefully take place. At the end of each module are questionnaires for completion by each participant; these can be kept private or be shared as each individual feels moved, but they must be completed.
The format of the work is that only the leader need have the manual, while worksheets can be photocopied for distribution among the group.
By way of conclusion, I can categorically state that the more interaction between participants that is achieved, the greater the fruit of the whole exercise. In fact, there were not just a few occasions when I would not have to intervene more two or three times during a whole two hour session and would just sit there amazed, listening to these men really dealing with their issues, and rest assured they had issues, and that was an unrivalled experience.
One final word; the fact that the programme was developed in a prison does not in any way detract from the universal nature of its content. The issues and questions raised are indeed universal and therefore should be thought about, meditated upon and inwardly digested by all men, whoever and wherever they may be and regardless of age.
Of course, there will be men who say they don’t need it; indeed some will find the very basis of the course ridiculous, even insulting. And perhaps there are some men who don’t need it, but in my experience and that includes outside of the prison, I have not come across a single man who has not benefited. And even if you are a grandfather, and grandfathers are supposed to know everything, one should bear in mind that sometimes a grandfather can be the most influential figure in the life of a young person, if only for a short season, which means that there are no second chances. So better get it right!
It will be noted that most of the scriptures quoted apply just as much to women as they do to men, albeit some applied perhaps a little differently. Therefore, the question arises; why not write for both? Well I decided that it was a matter of ‘shoemaker stick to your last.’; a) it was first written for men and therefore stay with that and b) I am a man and therefore who am I to speak for women?
But I am hopeful that somewhere out there is a woman, or a group of women, who will take this course and write its flipside ‘What is a real Woman’. The two could then be published together, back to back and then used in tandem. Now that would be something really fruitful.
Just imagine; a cell group of five young couples, of which there are many, mid twenties early thirties, three or four children between them and doing the course. Within five years there will be four or five more children, maybe ten altogether and within another five or ten years of that, three of the five couples will be divorced. Now, if just one of those three could be better equipped to deal with their problems and not get divorced, a major impact on society will have been achieved. Then imagine the impact if the course was run amongst teenagers.
Bearing in mind the wide diversity of situations, circumstances, backgrounds and ages which the course has to accommodate, it is impossible to give a perfect presentation here that fits the whole range. In other words, a presentation to a group of seventeen year olds would be significantly different to that given to a group in their thirties. Therefore, much of what might be said, section per section, has necessarily been left to the discretion of the presenter, but within the parameters of the subjects named.
The point is this; the manual has been prepared on the presupposition that the group leader is a person of maturity in the Faith and that would obviously include familiarity with Scripture and its exposition, but also have the discernment to understand his audience and therefore be able to present the course in a manner appropriate to them.
It can be stated that the course does not contain anything of any great complexity from a purely Scriptural point of view. Put differently, if there is anything complex, it is not in the Scriptures themselves, but rather in their working through amongst a group of men and this requires a leader who is able to lead and to direct.
Finally, the concluding point; preparation and debriefing. It is essential that the leader goes into each successive module fully familiar with the content for the day and as he becomes progressively familiar with each member of his group, so will his discernment increase as to what elements need to be concentrated on.
Furthermore, at the end of each session, some time needs to be spent by the leader ‘debriefing’ himself of the responses of each individual member, in preparation for the next session. By doing this, the right questions may be tabled, or when appropriate even asked of the individual, that will bear good fruit. Of course, the idea is not to catch someone out, but rather to encourage open and trustful discussion and the more of this that is achieved, the better the end result.
All in all, the name of the game is participation
and that definitely includes participation by the leader as well.
We all have an environment in which we live and this needs to be defined.
Dividing into two, this environment has a macro frame and a micro frame and it starts with the macro, the world in which we live, because it is this that impacts the micro frame, meaning the more personal levels. Furthermore, being creatures naturally inclined to the subjective, we very easily ‘miss the point’ because we don’t have any objective standard to judge by, without God’s Word that is, and society no longer espouses God’s Word. Therefore, we need to start people thinking according to another standard, the Biblical one.
Perhaps those around you are already people of the Word, but again, being creatures of the subjective, we very easily don’t always notice.
Everything is about context; one cannot correctly understand something out of context. Everything in God’s creation exists in context and the only way we can understand these things is within that context, the context of His word. Therefore, if we are to find answers to the question posed by this course, we need to establish the context and then to judge our lives accordingly.
This of course means choice; on the one hand our word on our lives and on the other God’s Word for our lives and therein lies the choice. Genesis 2:16-17 tell us that God said to Adam;
“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
This might arguably be called the first law of the Bible, that we will exercise our free-will and that means we have a choice. Alongside this comes what is often described as the law of sowing and reaping which is transposed in other places in Scripture into blessings and cursings, life or death and which is a fundamental precept of God’s Word for us and we are given these choices. However, when we talk about choice on a personal level, particularly in the everyday mundane sphere, the fact that choice is a God given thing and not one of our own making is easily and commonly overlooked. Now this is a vital concept for a man to grasp and no change in mindset can possibly happen without this realisation and we are talking about mindset.
As men, the world gives us a certain mindset as to what we are supposed to be, how we are to function and the roles we must play and much of this is wrong. And even if you don’t hold to these things, you are going to have to contend with those who do and for that you need to be properly equipped. Indeed, if a man can come to understand how his personal choices impact deeply upon those around him, a process of real change will have been started. This of course links up with a basket of other issues which are covered in due course, but this is a foundational concept of what choice really is and it needs to be laid early on.
However, one must not underestimate the difficulties in changing a mindset. Be assured that this does not happen just by quoting a verse or two of Scripture. A mindset is a deep rooted thing that has risen by dint of long years of example, experience, upbringing, what has been absorbed from the media and television and so on and just does not change at the drop of a hat. Liken it to getting rid of a big tree in your front garden; you can cut the tree down with comparative ease, but unless the stump is removed it just starts to grow back and getting rid of the stump is a back breaking process.
But it can be done and this is where the group element begins to play its part. No matter how ‘independent’ a man may be, we always listen to what other men are saying and observe what other men are doing and only when we see something different happening do we question ourselves. It is what happens; we may not necessarily do anything about it, but we do question, every time. Enter at this point an interactive group dynamic of questions and answers and discussion and everybody starts to listen and as we see others taking a step forward, so our own questioning gets stronger and tougher to resist as thus we take a step too.
This sounds like some kind of manipulative process, which it is not. It is simply putting on the table the incontrovertible logic of God’s Word and letting it do the work and the fact that there are others present going through the same process just makes it much so much easier.
The point that we need to accept is this; while
we are each uniquely different, we are also all very much alike.
You cannot put right what you don’t know is wrong and identifying these things is another area that requires patience and interaction, because nobody goes there willingly.
Certain key teachings in Scripture have been so over-cooked to the point where people develop a completely skewed idea as to their meaning and in some cases, simply discard such teachings as being of no use or value at all. We started being taught ‘Bible stories’, things like Noah’s ark and the Nativity, in kindergarten and Sunday school and we became so familiar with these that over time they often lost any semblance of meaning and even of credibility. That is not to say that these things shouldn’t be taught to young children, they most certainly and emphatically should be, but the old adage ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ unfortunately applies to everything, unless some intervention takes place that changes the outlook.
As children, we started learning about a man when we were first dandled on our father’s knee seemingly a hundred years ago and over time that is what we conceptualised and took on board. Now, it all might have been perfectly correct and in line with God’s word, but the probability is that it was not all quite correct, no reflection on anyone’s father here, but there are likely to be certain things that needed to be set straight. But we cannot decide what is wrong, unless we know what is right and this takes us straight into one of the ‘Bible stories’ mentioned above, which in this instance is the Creation.
The first two chapters of Genesis indeed fall into the category of ‘over-cooked’, with the result that no one is inclined to look there for answers to key questions, particularly those of a personal and topical nature and the question that this course poses is both highly personal and definitely topical. If it were to be said that a root cause of the high frequency of abuse of women and children by men would be found in Genesis 1 and 2, nobody would take it seriously.
However, the first two Chapters of Genesis do give us serious baseline information on the character, roles and functions of a man, which by definition of course start to lay down the pattern for relationship with women and children. Another point of importance in these passages is that we are given the foundational principles of our relationship with God and so all in all, we start to build the framework for addressing the more detailed issues raised in later modules.
This of course starts to introduce questions of a more personal nature, but still in a very general sense that won’t threaten or cause discomfort and or hinder the development of the atmosphere of communication and trust between participants that becomes so important later on.
This engendering of trust is of central
importance to the outcome of the course and this section provides the ideal
forum for its commencement, apart from laying down important Biblical
principles. And invitation, not confrontation, is the key. To be sure, the only
way to deal with an issue is to confront it, but ultimately that confrontation
has to come from ourselves and we all know how defensive we can become in avoiding
that. However, in a non-critical, trusting environment where others are
beginning that process, personal avoidance becomes increasingly untenable and
the individual either ‘shapes up or ships out’ as the saying goes. Indeed some
do ship out, but most shape up and that is what we are looking for.
From the general to the specific, from the corporate to the individual and back again, the scope of our study starts to widen. There is no separation of all these things; the links between them just become more compelling and their inter-relationships more obvious. Unfortunately society would have us keep them apart, but it doesn’t work that way.
Family is an issue of particular importance today, not because it was of less importance yesterday, but because the family in modern times is under immense pressure and as a God given social institution is being hugely damaged to the detriment of all of civilisation. We begin the introduction of this concept at this point, just before we start investigating issues of a personal nature. The link between the personal and the corporate is the axis upon which society turns and without which we end up where we are today, with all manner of potentially lethal ailments. Once more it is extending the foundation for later development.
Philippians 2:3-8 and The Mind of Christ is a passage that asks many questions. In fact, to be precise, it asks fifteen questions and these are laid out requesting an answer to each one and it is at this point that departures from the group may start to happen. Some will at first be found wanting the courage to openly face these issues, but, as discussions proceed and they see others dealing honestly with the questions, will gain confidence and join in. But then again some will not and leave and that is always a sadness. Nevertheless, there comes a time when we all have to grasp the nettle and in this course this in one of them.
A further word here; the questions posed by the Mind of Christ are certainly personally challenging, if they are to be honestly answered. Therefore, plenty of time should be allowed for open discussion to take place around the process of answering, for indeed it is a process which if successfully completed bodes well for a successful outcome of the whole course. Trust comes in small steps; you take one and then I will and so on. Therefore, linger and expect good fruit, but keep the discussion going.
This module contains more questions than any other and for good reason, because the subject matter reappears in different guise several times along the way and so it is important that participants deal with the issues addressed. Therefore, allow as much time as it takes to complete.
From this point on, the tenor of the programme changes somewhat, from that which might be perceived as confrontational to that which challenges. It is not really within the nature of a man to seek confrontation, but a challenge is a different matter altogether.
Vision; the prophet Joel says in 2:28 ‘your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions’ and not that this is exactly what the Lord had in mind with these words, but that is what men do; they like to think of themselves as visionaries, as people who are going to ‘do great things’, create, make things happen and achieve. So that is what we are going to do from now on; give the man a vision, but duly tempered with some very serious but challenging qualifications and the first of these is provision.
Vision and provision; two seemingly unrelated concepts, these build on the corporate element of what a real man is and lead into what may be considered a major component of the course, the Five Pillars of a Man.
The Five Pillars of a Man bring together all the elements examined thus far and formulates them into a vision of what a man aught to be, one with which any man can readily identify. The so-called five pillars are easily remembered and applied to daily living in all its parts and appeals to a man’s innate sense for achievement. This section raises really pertinent questions, but in a way that is encouraging rather than confrontational and vigorous interaction can be expected. The leader will find it easy to interject with suggestive angles aimed expanding the scope of discussion.
This of course will raise issues of life that all will be familiar with and will have observed not only in their own lives but in the lives of friends and family alike. Therefore, this is an opportunity to introduce many of the problems that beset contemporary society. A key point to make is that we all have to operate within this society and therefore the way we behave is always going to be an example to others.
Once more this is a module that contains many questions and these need to be thoroughly examined as they bring home the real practicality of God’s word and that is an important message of the whole exercise. God’s word is not just for old ladies and monks in monasteries, but is hard core, get your teeth into it practical stuff for men of today and no matter your age. Furthermore, God’s word is proven; it works if you are prepared to try and that is the challenge.
Attitude; so much depends on attitude and it is
a sad indictment of society today that it imbues us with an attitude that is
contrary to the Word of God and that needs to change. But what this module
starts to bring home is that real men have a different attitude, one that is
founded on the Word and that makes him unbeatable. Now, what man doesn’t want
to be unbeatable?
Men like to think that they are wise, that they are ‘men of wisdom’ and that others will see this and respect them for it. Unfortunately, most men don’t know what wisdom is.
In other words, wisdom and experience are not necessarily the same thing. There are a number of concepts which lead to a change in attitude and wisdom is one of them; a proper understanding of what real wisdom is can’t but change attitude, or in the case of young men form attitude.
A man also likes to think that he is strong, but like wisdom, most men don’t know what real strength is either. To most men, strength is something to do with domination and control, to one way or another, ‘have it over’ some one else. Actually, what most men consider to be strength is not much more than an adult version of what they learned on the playground. Just watch the interactions between men in almost any situation and this is frequently blatantly clear.
The example of Job as a man of strength usually takes people by surprise as the common understanding of Job is of a loser. In fact the use of Job comes as an unexpected curve ball and this needs to be taken advantage of to highlight what strength is not.
Service to others is something nobody likes to talk about. In fact it is something of a hot potato, but by bringing it in as an element of personal strength brings home this important message.
In fact the combination of teachings on wisdom and strength, given in the light of the Five Pillars, will set off an evaluative thinking process in the individual which is what we are hoping for, the fruit of which will become evident is the modules to follow.
However, there is another element that needs to be introduced, something that men are sometimes quick to ridicule, the gentle side of masculinity and this follows on behind wisdom and strength, a good position for it to be addressed. The term ‘tender warrior’ sits quietly in the text, but it is never itself directly addressed and therefore comes rather like a landmine or a lightning strike and this brings out some startling admissions and consequently some real progress.
The time is now opportune for some real life comparisons and Matthew 20: 25-25 provides real grist for some lively discussion. As previously, this is a great opportunity to underscore the practical ‘for today’ reality of God’s word and that it is not some up in the air thing only of academic value.
We need to remember that all things are linked
and when having discussions on a particular subject within a particular module,
what was dealt with in previous modules can and should be referred to. After
all, it is the whole man that we are after.
Vision, pro-vision and now the third vision, re-vision; it is important always to remember what has been learned and combine it with what we are learning. In Scripture you can’t separate the end from the beginning; everything is linked together.
Leadership; all men are required to lead in one way or another in their lives and being a leader does not necessarily mean being a Winston Churchill or a Bill Gates. This important subject is dealt with in two parts and is separated by one area of leadership that is perhaps the most misunderstood of all, the relationship between men and women. This important subject is fully dealt with later on, but it is necessary for it to stake a claim in this context where obviously it ultimately plays a very important role.
The idea that men and women are ‘equal but not the same’ is another of those attitude changing subjects already mentioned and is introduced here and then more comprehensively explored in forthcoming modules.
Along with leadership comes its less popular
twin sister, responsibility. Today’s world does not readily espouse
responsibility and one has only to look at what happens in the courts, in
government and in business to see that this is true. Yet real leadership
requires it. A vitally important principle this, that needs to be reasserted in
the minds of men and which therefore forms an integral component in the make-up
of a real man.
Real people stand together. We sometimes choose friends for the wrong reasons, which is to say that the people we should make our friends are the ones that we don’t. Conversely, we are often required to form a relationship with someone not of our choice, an employer for example. These are two situations that form part of everyone’s lives and we need to understand the difference. Friendship is a critical element and we need to understand what it is, because we need real friends; independence is a strength and a weakness in men and, in the latter case, it is deeply connected to pride.
Society has imposed on men some really bizarre concepts of what a man is supposed to be. Caleb stands as a wonderful example of a real time normal man with whom all can readily identify. What is significant about this section is how easily men recognise the reality that Caleb is. Questions may be raised here as the circumstances dictate, but do particularly well after completion of the next section where a look is taken at Korah as a contrast to Caleb. As with Caleb, recognition of Korah as a real time character is also swift in coming.
These two studies are important and need to be thoroughly explored, because now begins the process of comparison, another common trait of men. Men measure themselves against other men; whether this is good or bad is another issue, but that is what men do and in Caleb and Korah we have a stark contrast that provides a realistic scale against which the inevitable process of self-evaluation can commence.
This module is the halfway mark of the course and it is therefore appropriate that a thorough revision take place at this point. A great deal of ground has been covered thus far, much of highly challenging on the personal level and it is important that all be seen in the context of the whole. What challenges one will be different from what challenges another, but each will be challenged.
Relationship; a catchall word if ever there was one, but how it catches us all!
Relationship is something that we are never really taught about, but are left to find out for ourselves by way of experience. Now that seemed to work well enough in the slower moving society of another era, but it doesn’t work quite as well today.
This section lays down basic parameters for the conducting of a relationship, be it one of a personal nature or of a more general kind. All relationships basically work the same way and while this might sound on the face of it all too obvious, but very few have this understanding.
Relationship is the central subject of the following five modules. In point of fact relationship is a fundamental concept of all of Scripture and it is in this module that the elements are established.
The schematic given is an important one and should be worked through thoroughly, applying it to different situations but not just academically speaking. Encouragement must be given to discuss real life examples as experienced by the participants themselves.
Broken and or improperly conducted relationships are a central problem in society today and this impacts right across the full spectrum of our lives and the only way this can be addressed is at the individual level, one at a time. Society today supposedly espouses individuality, but in point of fact it does the exact opposite. Increasingly we become just a number with all the attributes of individuality being slowly but surely ‘rubbed out’ so to speak and with them the very essence of what we are is progressively diminished.
There was a time in the not very distant past when one nation was considered superior to another and one class or colour was considered superior to all the others and while that was patently wrong, not to mention immoral, the alternative which we are given today is also wrong. Nations, cultures, languages, colours etc, all the criteria of differentiation are all equal before the law and before God, but they are not the same and this ‘not-the sameness’ needs to be celebrated not obliterated.
The same principle needs to be applied to people
individually and in so doing we mutually enrich each other’s lives, but that
can’t work either if we don’t know how to conduct a relationship.
The conduct of a relationship presupposes an understanding of the whole person that we are, or are supposed to be, and while this is a lifetime’s quest there are certain fundamentals that we need to be cognizant of.
Put differently, unless we have an understanding of what we are individually, achieving a successful relationship on any level becomes something akin to Russian roulette and this has nothing to do with what is often called ‘finding oneself’. It is simply being able to identify the components of which we are all made up.
Again, understanding how these components interact and their relative and indeed fluctuating importance is a project without end, but without any knowledge of their existence we can have no hope of success.
As with the previous module, schematics are used and these are intended as a basis for discussion and, above all, application. Not to direct group interaction towards personally applying these concepts is to miss a great opportunity to underscore the ‘equal but not the same’ equation.
Another common attitude today is ‘if you don’t like it don’t do it’ and while that might be valid sometimes it is all too often used as an excuse to not finish something just because it is difficult or we are being made to feel uncomfortable. ‘Finishers’ is an important point that needs to be strongly made, as it is one with universal implication in everyone’s lives.
We continue on the subject of relationship, but pushing the theory ever further into the reality of daily life.
It might be argued that men’s greatest weakness is our defensiveness. Whether this is absolutely true is a moot point, but the fact remains that men do have this tendency and this needs to be addressed.
We are all to some extent the product of our society, which is the opposite of what it is supposed to be. Society should be the product of what we are. Society should be the summation of it component parts, whereas what we find today is that if the so-called ‘majority’ accepts something then it must be right and therefore we too can accept it. This is a degradation and an aberration and is actually an abrogation of our God given right and responsibility to free-will. On the other hand, individuality is all too easily caught up into pride and that too is an aberration and a particularly unacceptable and dangerous one at that. We need to know the difference and having real friends is one way, because they tell us.
Solutions, ‘what are we going to do about it’ is the question everyone asks, though seldom verbalise and there is a solution, as becomes apparent.
A point that has already been made, but bears
repeating is the extraordinary relevance of God’s Word for today and the more
we apply it, the more this becomes obvious. Now if men can come to realise
this, then perhaps society can heal itself of at least some of its more
pressing and depressing ailments.
Parts 11 & 12
‘Men and women are equal but not the same’; we now take this theme and develop it further. This is an important precept that men need to fully grasp and a failure to do so is to perpetuate so many of the destructive sociological ailments that beset us today.
To begin with we focus on a number of behavioural differences between men and women which lead on into a functional difference which in fact is a vital element of what a woman is in the context of society as a whole. We call this ‘woman the builder’ and its importance cannot be overstated.
The natural progression of this line of investigation is into relationships between genders. At the risk of perhaps stating the obvious, the sexual connotation is too often overbearing, to the detriment, if not loss altogether, of highly valuable relationships of a different category and this needs to be underscored.
Marriage is of course of central importance as the ultimate relationship between men and women, but it is one that does require special attention in our present age. While this is by no means a fully-fledged marriage preparation course, we highlight some key issues that are appropriate within the overall objective of the course. This includes incidentally some major misperceptions, not to mention a serious misinterpretation of Scripture on the matter.
Schematics are included and these open the door for some exhaustive discussion which can be expected to prompt self-examination amongst participants.
Career is another matter that impacts on one’s
full circle and on marriage in particular. Career is an important element of
all men’s lives, but it too has its proper place which is not as the beginning
and end of everything else, notwithstanding what society would have us believe.
Parts 13 & 14
‘A man and his children’; can there be a more important subject than this? Of course, that is not altogether a valid question, because a man’s relationship with his wife is inextricably linked to his relationship with their children, but the point is made.
A man’s relationship with his children is central to the health of the whole of society, which is not to say that a mother’s relationship in not equally important; they are both equally important, but not the same. Children need mothers and fathers and it is a great sadness that the legal profession does not always recognise this.
Two graphics are included and these are to be fully explored. While the dynamics of relationship between parent and child are obviously very different from those of any other relationship, the mechanics are the same, but functioning somewhat differently. This again is an important element for discussion. Naturally, if the group in question is still young, then the questions would be put in the anticipatory sense.
The ultimate foundation upon which a real man is founded is in Christ and therefore the final module is aimed at ensuring that this is fully understood and accepted. Most leaders have their own approach to this critical subject, including accompanying prayers, and therefore Part 14 can be adjusted to suit the person and the group.
2. The world in which we live.
4. All the same.
1. “In the beginning”.
2. “In our Image”.
4. And what happened?
2. The Mind of Christ.
1. Vision and Provision.
Five Pillars of a
3. The Issues of Life.
4. And if you don’t?
1. Wisdom is the principal thing.
2. A man’s greatest strength.
3. The other side of a man.
4. The Rulers of the Gentiles.
2. Leadership 1.
3. When Equal means Different.
4. Leadership 2.
1. Real people stand together
2. Caleb: just one man.
2. Mechanics of Relationship
1. David and Jonathan
1. Relationships that work
2. Real men stand together
3. A man and his friends
4. The Big Question
1. Men and women are equal
2. Woman the Builder
1. Relationships with women
3. A man and his career
1. A man and his children
2. Start anew
1. The End and the Beginning