Great new reader review of my book Numen, Old Men: Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy over at Amazon.
Gelfer does a superb job of debunking the gurus of the men’s movement. His critique is on the mark and creates an enjoyable exploration, a fine one using his curiosity, intelligence, and humor. He has set the stage for some further serious studies and reflection among men on their way of living and ‘doing’ spirituality. No one work can thoroughly address the various levels of the existing renditions of spiritualities by men, but Gelfer certainly gives us a tangible taste of what’s out there.
I’m not an academic. I have been an active participant in the men’s movements, albeit not Christian ones, and for many years have felt uncomfortable with the Alpha male way of looking at life, most often depicted by such authors as Bly, Keen, and Deida. There works reek of patriarchy. I’ve also been an active participant in many queer gatherings that have left me wondering just what it is that feels natural about them to me, and what makes me uncomfortable. Gelfer’s examination has helped to re-visit and re-explore the power of queer theory outside the gay or straight boxes.
What strikes me most is the Gelfer’s subtle suggestion to drop the labels and simply address the substance, namely that we are all sexual animals, have a common bond in seeking a transcendent experience of meaning, whether we label it as religious or not. A major void that religion often does not fill is nourishment of the uniqueness of the individual. We do need a tribe, namely a community, but this doesn’t mean that it is beneficial to have a tribal or lemming mentality in meeting that need.
I facilitate men’s groups that span the rainbow of labels, and find it most enjoyable when we have the courage to face our dragons and not label them as “good” or “evil”, but simply as ‘messengers of the gods’. More about me? Just google transitionpower.