“Authentic conversations require humility, vulnerability, and a willingness to listen and learn from others.” – Richard Rohr
The mission of Hill Cities is to help men to go deeper with God and each other. In this post, I would like to talk about the going deeper with each other part.
Traditionally, men have been inclined to prioritize strength, independence, and self-reliance over vulnerability and emotional openness. While this is completely natural and easy to understand, it can make it challenging for men to have authentic spiritual conversations with each other, especially in a Christian context where vulnerability and humility are valued. There are several reasons why Christian men may struggle with having such conversations, including fear of vulnerability, lack of role models, cultural pressure, busy schedules, fear of rejection, and lack of confidence.
One significant barrier to authentic spiritual conversations between men is the fear of vulnerability. If we as men avoid vulnerability and emotional openness, it can make it challenging to have deep, authentic conversations about faith and spirituality. Guys may feel uncomfortable sharing their struggles or doubts with others, fearing judgment or rejection, and may not know how to initiate or participate in these conversations. Granted, not everyone is able to handle someone who dares to be vulnerable. It takes one to handle one, which makes things harder.
Lack of role models
Another factor that can contribute to this struggle is the lack of role models. Many men may not have many examples of other men engaging in authentic spiritual conversations, which can make it challenging to know how to approach these discussions. Without positive role models, men may feel uncertain about how to express themselves and may struggle to find the right words to communicate their thoughts and feelings.
Cultural pressure is another significant factor that can prevent men from having authentic spiritual conversations. In many cultures around the world, men’s individualism and self-sufficiency are deemed more important than community and connection, which can create a social pressure for men to avoid sharing their struggles and weaknesses with others. Men may feel that expressing their vulnerabilities makes them appear weak or inadequate, which can lead to a reluctance to engage in authentic spiritual conversations.
The time factor
Busy schedules can also be a barrier to spiritual conversations between men. Many men are busy with work, family, and other responsibilities, which can make it difficult to find time to engage in meaningful conversations with other men. This lack of time and opportunity can lead to a lack of connection and community, further hindering the ability to have authentic spiritual conversations.
Fear of rejection
Fear of rejection is another significant barrier that can prevent men from having authentic spiritual conversations. Men may fear that if they share their spiritual struggles or doubts, they will be judged or rejected by others. This fear can prevent men from being vulnerable in these conversations, which can hinder their ability to grow in their faith and build meaningful relationships with other men. Unfortunately, this fear is often times not unfounded. Jesus warned us that we will be rejected by family, friends, and society.
You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:22
Lack of confidence
Some men may feel inadequate or ill-equipped to have meaningful spiritual conversations, which can prevent them from engaging in them. Men may feel uncertain about their ability to express themselves clearly, or they may not feel knowledgeable enough about their faith to participate in these discussions fully. At Hill Cities, which is a men’s ministry in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) we have seen many men grow in this area as we gather weekly to study the Bible and help men go deeper with God and each other. Guys become more confident of their knowledge of the Word of God and how to express themselves around other guys. This is a major benefit of being part of a men’s group that meets around knowing God at a deeper level.
Finally, if I can sum this up, I think it’s safe to say that as Christian men we do struggle with having authentic spiritual conversations with other men. These reasons include fear of vulnerability, lack of role models, cultural pressure, busy schedules, fear of rejection, and lack of confidence. It is essential to recognize these barriers and work towards creating safe spaces for men to connect and engage in meaningful conversations about faith and spirituality. By breaking down these barriers, we can grow in our faith, build meaningful relationships, and support each other on our spiritual journeys.
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