in praise of men
Even if, at least privately, I have never really identified as a male, I feel blessed by so many men with whom I have shared my life and not least those who have nurtured and enriched me. I will try not to embarrass too many, but maybe, as they had the love and courage to marry into my family, my sons in law will forgive me for mentioning them for a moment. For the shape of healthy masculinity is once again under consideration, especially with recent Australian media focus on the relationship between certain religious themes (not least 'headship') and domestic violence. These are weighty and rightfully necessary matters to address. Hopefully however they will strengthen the many men who both show us the beautiful strength and blessings of masculinity and work to overcome its darker manifestations. My sons in law are for me lovely examples of the former. Indeed perhaps the most life-giving picture I have carried with me in recent days is that of my first grandchild resting peacefully with his father. It seems this recent arrival is rightly calmed by his father's presence, held both safely and tenderly, and bound in a bond of love which brings comfort and heart to all. What a gorgeous portrait of what a man can be for others and receive from others. We have so many marvelous icons of mother and child, but - like that of the mutually enriching love of both my sons in law for my daughters, and through that for others - this living icon is one we need to treasure, affirm and multiply much more. With special thanks to my own father as we journey on...
Whilst the statistics and reality of many women's lives continue to highlight the pressing need for feminist change, the plight of many men is also often hidden. In addition to the terrible effects of abuse, male survivors also face particular male issues of shame and humiliation. This is further heightened by cultural issues among some communities. How good then to hear of projects like Living Well in Brisbane. One recent initiative, launched during NAIDOC Week, is a video entitled 'No More Silence: Healing from Sexual Abuse'. This aims 'to start a conversation about community' and involves members talking and working together to raise awareness, to offer support, encouragement and hope to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who have been sexually abused in childhood.' Check out the resources available on the website and watch the video below...
Jo Inkpin is an Anglican priest serving as Minister of Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney, a trans woman, theologian & justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice & sustainable creation.