Last weekend twenty blokes from St Philips or closely related to St Philips went away together. I know I am supposed to say this but I will anyway, “It was fantastic”.
It was fantastic to be away with men. It was fantastic to room with other men. It was fantastic to joke with other men. It was fantastic to cook and eat and wash up with other men. It was fantastic to walk up a very steep hill with other men and to swim in the clear waters of Serpentine Falls. It was fantastic to be led into conversation with men, fantastic to sit around the fire with men, laugh and even to cry [just a little bit] with other men, to sing with men and worship with men and travel in cars with other men. It was fantastic to listen to other men talk to each other and to hear the things that bring other men joy and deep sorrow.
It is good for men to be with men.
For lots of reasons I believe men have become a bit lost. It just feels like being a man is not the flavour of the month, or of the 21st century really. And I get that. Women have had thousands of years being on the end of patriarchy. If it’s a balancing act, there is still a way to go.
I was scanning the cover of Eternity magazine today and noticed on page seven. . .
“Why is it that men don’t have friends?”
By all means have a look at the article, but it would be much better, much more fruitful to sign up to a St Philips men’s weekend. Not to drag our chins on the ground but to discuss expectations, power, loss and disappointment, what real friendship does, rebuilding each other through listening, laughing, turning up and keeping in touch. This is not just for now it’s for the next generation. It is our responsibility to learn to live wisely and to share that wisdom with younger men gently and caringly. And we are not very good at it.
I want to thank Miles, Phil, Chris and his sidekick Richard who worked so hard to combine profound insight, deep theology and great fun with excellent food.
I for one am a better man for it and I feel so much closer and connected to a whole bunch of other friends who are also men.
Just to close by thanking James, Barb, Cheryl, Pam and Bethany and many others for carrying the ship while I have been in and out as my mum prepares to move house into a care home near Geelong. It’s been a really big thing for me. As you read this I’ll be sorting through her house and my past life, deciding what gets kept, sold and chucked. I simply join many of you who have already walked this walk and thank you for your kindness and prayers.