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Calling our Sons into the community of Men « Imago Dei Blog

Calling our Sons into the community of Men « Imago Dei Blog.

CALLING OUR SONS INTO THE COMMUNITY OF MEN

By Rick McKinley

We don’t have

CALLING OUR SONS INTO THE COMMUNITY OF MEN

By Rick McKinley

We don’t have many clear rights of passage in our culture to help a boy know when he becomes a man. At 12 he can no longer order off the kids menu, at 16 he can drive, at 18 he can vote, at 21 one he can drink and somewhere in his mid thirties, after working for several years we may assume that he feels like a man in the community.
My twins Josh and Kaylee turned 18 recently and I wanted to make sure that my son had a clear call and embrace by the community of men that he has grown up around. My wife and daughter went out to celebrate with women who have loved her over these last 18 years, and we gathered key men that have played significant roles in Josh’s life over the last 18 years.

Our front porch has become a gathering spot for community. Some of the deepest conversations I have had with my son and my friends have taken place on the porch. Sometimes its freezing, other times it’s a warm summer night, but regardless we gather here and share our hearts and stories, experiencing the grace and presence of Christ in our relationship with one another.

We gathered on the porch and each man wrote a letter to Josh, that they shared. Giving him wisdom, affirmation and a warm welcome into the community of men.  It was an amazing time for Him. I could hardly keep it together as they shared their love for my son.

One of the things that Jeanne and I have always prayed for is that our kids would have specific people in their lives that would affirm our love for Jesus and help them on their own journey of faith.  We have asked God to do something bigger in their lives than we could do on our own as parents. He answered those prayers.

The men chipped in a bought him a killer knife that will be the fear of all pieces of wood that he widdles away on. But something much larger happened there. It was not that something magical happened and the confusion, innocence, and youthfulness of being 18 disappeared. What did happen is that a young man was affirmed in his identity as a man, welcomed into the community and called to be all that God is calling him to be as a Son of God.

It’s a remarkable thing to see your 18 year old son “want” to be on the porch with these men on a Friday night, and not be out hanging with his friends. He wanted to be there because something him desires to be what God has made him and this community of friends is the place where he gets to become that.

I know that through all that God has for him in the years to come, this event will be a marker for his journey and these men will be there for him. The gift of relationship with other men is the most powerful thing you can give a guy on his 18th birthday.
To be fair I was flying blind in all of this. I have never been part of something like this and most the guys there hadn’t either. We were not sure if it was going to come off cheesy, or lame or awkward. I didn’t know if he would hate it and want to run for his life.

The risk was so worth it and I hope that perhaps it gives you a bit of courage to call your own sons into the community. I hope that the church would call our young men without Dads onto the porch and let them know that the absence of their physical fathers does not mean the absence of men who care, and it in know way means they are deficient as men.

I read my letter to my son as the last one to go. I was choking out the words through tears of love and joy. I had to pause while I was reading because of the emotions, my friend Luke said, “preach it”. For some reason it struck me, that is what we were doing. Through all the emotions, and our own inexperience in doing this we were proclaiming a great God to my son and calling him to the great adventure of being a man.

Here is the last paragraph of my letter to my son:

Blessing
Lastly, it’s a joy to give you my blessing. I don’t want you to ever doubt this and I want you to hold it deep inside you. No matter where life takes you or what mistakes you make I want you to always remember this blessing.
Joshua McKinley; you are my beloved Son, and in you I am well pleased!
I love you Josh, Welcome to the party!

Dad many clear rights of passage in our culture to help a boy know when he becomes a man. At 12 he can no longer order off the kids menu, at 16 he can drive, at 18 he can vote, at 21 one he can drink and somewhere in his mid thirties, after working for several years we may assume that he feels like a man in the community.
My twins Josh and Kaylee turned 18 recently and I wanted to make sure that my son had a clear call and embrace by the community of men that he has grown up around. My wife and daughter went out to celebrate with women who have loved her over these last 18 years, and we gathered key men that have played significant roles in Josh’s life over the last 18 years.

Our front porch has become a gathering spot for community. Some of the deepest conversations I have had with my son and my friends have taken place on the porch. Sometimes its freezing, other times it’s a warm summer night, but regardless we gather here and share our hearts and stories, experiencing the grace and presence of Christ in our relationship with one another.

We gathered on the porch and each man wrote a letter to Josh, that they shared. Giving him wisdom, affirmation and a warm welcome into the community of men.  It was an amazing time for Him. I could hardly keep it together as they shared their love for my son.

One of the things that Jeanne and I have always prayed for is that our kids would have specific people in their lives that would affirm our love for Jesus and help them on their own journey of faith.  We have asked God to do something bigger in their lives than we could do on our own as parents. He answered those prayers.

The men chipped in a bought him a killer knife that will be the fear of all pieces of wood that he widdles away on. But something much larger happened there. It was not that something magical happened and the confusion, innocence, and youthfulness of being 18 disappeared. What did happen is that a young man was affirmed in his identity as a man, welcomed into the community and called to be all that God is calling him to be as a Son of God.

It’s a remarkable thing to see your 18 year old son “want” to be on the porch with these men on a Friday night, and not be out hanging with his friends. He wanted to be there because something him desires to be what God has made him and this community of friends is the place where he gets to become that.

I know that through all that God has for him in the years to come, this event will be a marker for his journey and these men will be there for him. The gift of relationship with other men is the most powerful thing you can give a guy on his 18th birthday.
To be fair I was flying blind in all of this. I have never been part of something like this and most the guys there hadn’t either. We were not sure if it was going to come off cheesy, or lame or awkward. I didn’t know if he would hate it and want to run for his life.

The risk was so worth it and I hope that perhaps it gives you a bit of courage to call your own sons into the community. I hope that the church would call our young men without Dads onto the porch and let them know that the absence of their physical fathers does not mean the absence of men who care, and it in know way means they are deficient as men.

I read my letter to my son as the last one to go. I was choking out the words through tears of love and joy. I had to pause while I was reading because of the emotions, my friend Luke said, “preach it”. For some reason it struck me, that is what we were doing. Through all the emotions, and our own inexperience in doing this we were proclaiming a great God to my son and calling him to the great adventure of being a man.

Here is the last paragraph of my letter to my son:

Blessing
Lastly, it’s a joy to give you my blessing. I don’t want you to ever doubt this and I want you to hold it deep inside you. No matter where life takes you or what mistakes you make I want you to always remember this blessing.
Joshua McKinley; you are my beloved Son, and in you I am well pleased!
I love you Josh, Welcome to the party!
Dad

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