20 men took up residence in the Rise & Shine Diner at 6:30 am for a Third F throw down that went something like this…
YHC started by stating, “Welcome to F3. My name is The Carpenter. I am not a certified trainer for this spiritual workout. You may think I am because I serve as a pastor but the only real certified trainer is Jesus. Jesus has given us his spirit who he called the great comforter or counselor. I like to call the Holy Spirit the great trainer. He will be our trainer today as I lead. This is a You-vs-You spiritual workout. Don’t compare yourself to other guys. Consider your own life.”
YHC then shared about the impact of F3 on his life and how he has received new friendships through the shared experiences.
YHC opened the discussion with the big group by asking, “What is the biggest threat to men?” The following answers came flying back from the PAX – “anger, pride, sexual promiscuity, insignificance, inefficient life, idols…” YHC then reference the Boston Globe article that Hardywood and others have referenced via Twitter about LONELINESS (http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2017/03/09/the-biggest-threat-facing-middle-age-men-isn-smoking-obesity-loneliness/k6saC9FnnHQCUbf5mJ8okL/story.html?p1=Article_Trending_Most_Viewed)
YHC shared insights from “Freed To Lead” about the Sad Clown Syndrome (“laughing on the outside, crying on the inside.”). A key quote from that book is that men can easily “conclude that he is a man whose wife and job are making him unhappy when, in fact, he is an unhappy man with a wife and job.” That is some hard-hitting truth there!
YHC followed up with the insights about the Shifter from “Freed To Lead” and the three types of false friends that men claim to have (1) Legacy Buddies – friends from high school & college when you had more opportunities for shared experiences (2) Man Dates – the husband of wife’s friend (3) Work Buddy – co-workers who aren’t really friends
The PAX shared insights about these types of “friends” and the struggle to find and keep real friends in this stage of life. Life is busy, complex and full of challenges.
YHC challenged the PAX to consider whether this was true in their lives and to come up with some potential solutions. The PAX broke out into group discussions by table. The mumble chatter was loud and energetic.
YHC then called the PAX back into one big group and the sharing lit up the room. Men shared how they are struggling with this. The PAX shared about potential ways for men to have shared experiences now. This is the beginning of a discussion that will continue.
Numberama, Namerama, YHC took us out in prayer.
A lot of the details were shared in the description above. Abacus brought the heat and challenged the men to take action on what we discussed. The PAX will be focusing on specific ways to get men together for shared experiences. The idea of serving together rose to the top of the list. YHC shared how women stereotypically relate by talking with each other while men stereotypically relate by doing something together. A shared mission brings men together, breaks down barriers and builds up bonds. The First F workouts are a strong example of this. The PAX brainstormed some more possibilities that included everything from helping people move to poker to road trips to serving together in the local church.
The Shining seemed to experience a wake-up call this morning and this team will be looking to break out of the normal “men’s Bible study” mode and launch into action. Let’s see if the talk becomes action. If not, then The Shining will be a way to feed the Sad Clown Syndrome as opposed to killing it. YHC still holds the hope that God can kill the Sad Clown Syndrome in his life and in the lives of other men as they choose to ENGAGE together.
Let’s see what these men do…