Time passes quickly and it has been a month since I have written anything. The time has been busy both with client work, but perhaps most occupied by moving to a new house, a tremendous disruption though an excellent change. My time reading and thinking has been wide-ranging since then and admittedly I have a number of ideas I am chewing on and hope to develop further over the coming weeks. So, as good discipline to get something written, I wanted to share some bullets about what I have been thinking about
First, I have been thinking deeply about this quote from Sebastian Junger “How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage?” I read Junger’s book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. The book is exceptionally thought provoking, and reads like a longer essay more so than a book. Junger’s broader point is that the individualism of modern culture actual works at odds to what is most critical for our own happiness. Much to ponder here.
This first immediate reflection of Junger’s book has has lead to some additional thinking about masculinity and manhood. Namely, where / how does one become a healthy individual in a cultural construct that structurally is challenging.
These pieces by Anthony Bradley “Saving Men Requires the Leadership of Laymen” and “Is Christianity doing more harm than good to American men?” specifically contemplates the role of men in religious spaces, but are thought-provoking. Similar in Junger’s thinking is the idea that “Men suffer from the existential loneliness that is the lot of every human being, and more so because of their drive for independence.”
As a person of faith, a man, and a father of 2 sons, there is much to ponder about what healthy masculinity looks like especially given that conventional tropes that either skew to something akin to William Wallace from the movie Braveheart or conversley something seeks to abandon the effort entirely.
Despite the cheese-ball title, I have been reading and enjoying The Dude’s Guide to Manhood: Finding True Manliness in a World of Counterfeits. This book lays out a challenging, inspiring, and adaptable view of the character of a man that feels deep enough to be meaningful, but is flexible enough to accommodate a broad diversity of life experience and personality.
The consistent thread here then is a deeper dive to understand what consists of a life well-lived. What are the character virtues and actions that we can take at an individual level and how does that intersect with life lived in the presence of others?
Similarly, I just finished reading Noa Tishby’s book Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth. In addition to providing helpful and historical context about the country of Israel, an almost inseparable thread in the book is the consideration of how/what should a society be organized. Many of the earliest Zionists and early Kibbutzniks had strong and consider roles on the best way to organize people groups. Many of these views contradict historical Western norms, which is interesting considering many of Junger’s core point in his book Tribe.
More to follow – but good to get a few things down on ‘paper.’