On the day that the most powerful man in the world ordered the killing of a rival powerful man, the need for a more peaceful men’s spirituality becomes ever more urgent. I began blogging ten years ago in an attempt to provide an opportunity for ongoing conversation after the release of my book: Under Construction: Reframing Men’s Spirituality. On a topic this specific I was barely able to average one post a month for three years (See the tab “Men’s Spirituality” for a selection of blog posts) and so the site was discontinued. The most poignant responses came via email or in person, not on the website. The first response I ever got was from Don Neufeld, a counselor and social worker in Ontario who worked with men in his practice. Here is an excerpt from his email to me.

I will begin with a sincere “Thank you” for writing this profound book. I was drawn into reading your book with anticipation and a longing, both personally and professionally, to hear the alternative voice that you have provided. In this past year of transition I have come to be more open in recognizing God’s working in my life, and I feel that here again is another way that God has opened a new avenue of understanding that has enriched my life. Your critique of the traditional images of maleness that are dominant in Christian circles models your thoughts in your chapter on reconciliation. That is, although you do directly challenge some of the prevailing thinking, your reflections of your personal struggle with the images has the potential to disarm the likely reaction from those who are strongly invested in the traditional images, and invites men into their own reflection. I believe that the section on Relational Spirituality in the last few pages of the chapter on Reconciliation is particularly relevant in our world, in our day.
Thanks again for your book and I hope we can stay connected.

We did stay connected and we finally met in person when he invited me to speak at a men’s retreat in Ontario a few years later. To make a long story much shorter, he became co-editor of a new men’s book just released a few months ago: Peaceful at Heart: Anabaptist Reflections on Healthy Masculinity. It updates my book and begins where my book left off. The promotional statement for the book states:

While there are plenty of books by men, for men, on the topic of “Christian masculinity,” these books generally fail to address men’s propensities for violence and the traditional inequity between men and women, often endorsing inequity and sanctioning aggressive behavior as an appropriate “manly” response to conflict. Peaceful at Heart cuts through this conversation by offering a uniquely Anabaptist Christian perspective on masculinity. The vision of masculinity presented in this book is more peaceful, just, caring, life-giving for men, and more sensitive to women and children than both traditional images of masculinity and the hypermasculine images promoted by contemporary popular culture and wider evangelical Christianity. Peaceful at Heart addresses men and masculinity using Anabaptist theological themes of discipleship, community, and peace. As a collaborative project by men, for men, this book demonstrates through personal narratives, theological reflection, and practical guidance the importance of collective discernment, accountability, and mutual encouragement regarding how to live as a peaceful man in a violent world.

https://wipfandstock.com/peaceful-at-heart.html

I had fantasies that my book would outsell Wild at Heart and be part of a change in how men see themselves in North America. It did not quite do that but I am hopeful that this new book and increased self-reflection by men since the “#metoo” movement will continue the trajectory toward a more humble, compassionate, and egalitarian men’s spirituality.