Wednesday, September 07, 2005

An interesting problem to have II – Movie Night and Men’s Groups

On Friday, I’ll go to Movie Night at a church friend’s house. About once a month, us single guys at my church go to one of our houses to eat, drink beer, bull s . . . I mean talk, and watch a movie or two. We might allow a married guy to join us, but no wimmin.

I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal. And I haven’t thought much about it until now, and I didn’t think much about it when I decided to join my parish. But I think Movie Night is a important reason we’ve attracted a few single guys.

But don’t other churches have a lot more to offer in men’s groups and programs? Well, yes and no. You see, the problem is that most Men’s groups consist of the following: married men’s groups, purity groups, accountability groups, and bible study groups. I can’t speak for all single guys, but very few of these are attractive to me.

>>>> Married Men’s Groups

Now most married men’s groups don’t advertise themselves as such. But a lot of “men’s groups” are just that. They address how to be good husbands and fathers. And frankly, I’ve had more pressing concerns, like how to find a good wife in the first place, concerns such groups ignored. And, maybe I have more sense than most men, but most of what I’ve heard from such groups was not especially helpful in preparing for marriage. If I marry and have kids, I’m certainly not going to ignore them or my wife (unless she nags). Most of what was taught in married men’s groups was rather obvious to me.

And “men’s groups” really being married men’s groups as if single men didn’t exist or weren’t important rubbed me the wrong way.

>>>> Purity Groups

Again, they aren’t called that, but there are groups that beat up on men to be sexually “pure.” Though, again, I can’t quite put a finger on it, these have rubbed me the wrong way as well. Maybe I’m a rarity, but purity usually hasn’t been at the top of my priority list, though I struggle with my thoughts and lusts like any guy.

But to be frank, I’ve lived a celibate lifestyle for a long time, a llllllllong time. I don't know how much more purity I can handle. Heck, I wonder if some impurity every decade or so might do me some good. And the standard most purity groups set seems to be a bit higher than what the Bible sets. The Bible’s clear standards are high enough, thank you. I don’t need any pressure or guilt laid on me to attain to some obsessive legalistic standard.

>>>> Accountability Groups

Close relative to purity groups, these are groups of men who don’t mind their own business but instead ask each other extremely personal questions that have no respect for privacy or dignity. Oh please let me join!

>>>> Bible Study Groups

These aren’t so bad as the above, though they can have their issues, too. And I’ve been to some good ones and benefited from them. But you know what’s interesting about the best one I’ve been to? I’ve enjoyed more taking a younger friend out to breakfast afterwards and talking about whatever was on his mind. But still most of these have been good experiences for me, largely because my last church excelled in Bible teaching.


But I think single guys also need times to get together without an agenda just to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Many guys, including this guy, need that more. And my parish definitely has that.

We don’t have the other types of men’s groups. And I don’t miss them one bit.

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