this past week i spent six days with a bunch of guys up in the mountains. we didn't take our shirts off and beat drums and get in touch with our inner child. but we did spend a lot of time trying to be honest.
i led a group of men who had been married for years, been in youth ministry for years, and been around the block for years. it was a group full of wisdom, spiritual maturity, life experience, and huge vision. it was also a group of men fully aware that their lives and marriages and ministries were not everything they needed to be. that's not the unusual part.
what was amazing was their willingness to talk about it. honesty. transparency. candid openness about lives that constantly fall short. frank discussion about trying to live by our own power instead of living by the power of the holy spirit. wrestling with our calling. running headlong into temptation, lonliness, independence, disappointment, failure, judgment, comparison, rejection, emptiness...and swimming back to the surface again for the breath of life.
men are pretty notorious for putting up walls, existing at arms distance from other men, living with secret sins, communicating that we really don't need other men in our lives for deep friendship and real brotherhood. we struggle with camaraderie that goes below the surface and deals openly with conflict, difference of opinion, and forgiveness. for most of us, it is much easier to move away than it is to move closer.
i'm glad i got a week with some guys who reminded me that real brotherhood is a good thing. are you a brother? do you want one? ...then be one.