Friday, July 1, 2011

Men in Crisis Part 1

I. Father’s Day Message

On Father’s Day and at a men’s gathering that Saturday, I gave this message to men. Whether you are a man or a woman, I hope you will read this:

Because it’s Father’s Day, I’d like to talk about men, their problems, and how we can help and support them. I want to encourage men that you aren’t alone or unique in your struggles. Many other men are facing the same concerns, pressures and temptations as you are, but remember that your heavenly Father cares about you. This is aimed primarily at men, but the women should hear this as well.

II. Men in Crisis

Today, men are in crisis, quite possibly more than at any time in history. That is a pretty strong statement. Why am I saying that?

1. Economic Crisis

First of all, men are in crisis economically and the situation doesn’t look like it’s going to improve any time soon. Jobs are in jeopardy, the costs of benefits are going up, raises are infrequent, jobs are scarce, and many families are living on the edge or are under water. On the job – if you have one – there are fewer people doing more work, causing stress, tension, and absentee fathers because of long hours.

In addition, homes have declined in value, and forget about trying to sell it. If a man is getting close to retiring or already retired, there are concerns about whether there will be enough income to live on. Men worry because they feel responsible for the economic well-being of their families, so financial uncertainties take a tremendous emotional toll.

2. Relationship Crisis

Second, men are in crisis when it comes to relationships. There is a high divorce rate, and long work hours can put additional strains on marriages and family relationships. Many are going through a transition in life, such as a change in job, unemployment, or retirement, and these cause tensions in relationships.

3. Health Crisis

Third, men are in crisis when it comes to health: physical and emotional. Men are sick with worry that they will lose their job, house, or family, or how will they pay for college, medical bills, or retirement. Adding to the pressure, we work harder than ever just to keep the job we have, and as a result suffer from stress and adrenaline overload. So our health suffers and we end up overweight, getting diabetes or a heart condition, not sleeping well, or abusing drugs or alcohol. Moreover, most men don’t have a support system to help them. Not only don’t men ask for directions, they often don’t ask for help either.

4. Spiritual Crisis

Lastly, men are in crisis when it comes to spiritual matters. Men make up only about 40% of church-goers, and many have little if any Christian fellowship. Those without a close relationship with God and little or no godly influences in their lives become heavily influenced by the world’s values, such as:
-Self-sufficiency, rather than depending on God;
-Materialism – the one with the most toys wins;
-Success at any cost; and
-Situational ethics.

In buying into the world’s values, some men have abdicated their roles in the family and the church, and the family and the church suffer as a result.

5. Lack of Role Models

Adding to the problem of buying into the world’s values is the fact that men don’t have many good role models these days. Back in the day we had some pretty good examples on TV, believe it or not.
-Jim Anderson of “Father Knows Best”;
-Danny Thomas of “Make Room for Daddy”;
-Ozzie Nelson of “Ozzie and Harriet”;
-Ward Cleaver of “Leave It to Beaver;
-And even big Jim Arness of “Gunsmoke” (who recently passed away).

What role models do we have today?
-Instead of Ozzie Nelson we have Ozzy Osbourne.
-Instead of the wise Jim Anderson we have inept Homer Simpson.
-Instead of lovable Danny Thomas we have the obnoxious Charlie Sheen.

Maybe we had a good role model in our father or maybe we didn’t, but at least we had some TV characters that gave us good examples.

More on this topic of men in crisis in a future post.

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