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From the Editor

about the July 1995 Promise Keepers special issue

Copyright © 1995 by Bert H. Hoff

This article appeared in the July 1995 issue of M.E.N. Magazine
This is the editorial which appeared in the July 1995 Special Issue of M.E.N. Magazine.


From the Editor

The Promise Keepers are coming to town. In early July, up to 6,500 men will gather at the Kingdome. In this issue we talk about the Promise Keepers and raise questions about some particular aspects of their philosophy.

In all honesty, we need to examine our own motives in critiquing the Promise Keepers. How much of the criticism from the mythopoetic and therapy/healing side of Men's Work comes from envy? For they are filling stadiums with up to 50,000 men numbers those of us doing Men's Work have only fantasized about.

We also need to acknowledge that the Men's Work we are doing is not without its own faults and limitations. Andre Heuer, the Guest Editor of our special issues on where is men's work going (March, April 1995) points out that he has seen exclusionary "we have the answer" elitism, anti-gay sentiment, and many of the other things we may criticize the Promise Keepers for, in men's gatherings he has attended. Our last issues have focused on the use of the "king" and "warrior" imagery and of Native American traditions. We welcome Buddhists and Taoists into our circles, but I have seen some men close up when someone mentions that they are Christians, or suggest that Men's Work encompass Men's Work being done through churches.

Nevertheless, some of us are concerned about a fundamentalist political ideology. About anti-gay sentiment. About whether talk of "taking back leadership" of the household seeks gender balance and honor and respect for each other roles or, instead, entails reliving the dominating, repressive patriarchal myths that many of us know have not worked in our own lives or in the lives of the women we love. One of the things that will happen after the Promise Keepers event is that small groups of men will gather to share their feelings, their hearts, with each other. Some, perhaps, for the first time. That is how many of us started in Men's Work. In support of that process, this month's book review column features books that approach Men's Work from a Christian perspective. We hope that this issue, and the resources listed in it, will offer to Promise Keepers a broad range of options for pursuing the highly individual and unique path for each man, called Men's Work.

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