Finn’s father is fixated on teaching his son not to mix up his Lego playsets. Finn’s dad a.k.a. The Man Upstairs decides to Krazy Glue his ideal Lego constructions together. Finn’s natural creativity is being quashed. This is the conundrum that must be solved in The Lego Movie.
A conundrum that’s reflected in men’s actual lives. Do we live according to the Krazy Glued ideals of being a man or according to our natural desire for something more creative? Because you can’t live life according to both.
The Krazy Glued ideal of being a man is that sense of entitlement to power & control.
Many Christian & Muslim men in Britain have power & control in society, in our churches & mosques, politically & economically – & some men do not.
For those who embody positions of power, life can become centred on maintaining that power. For those of us who do not have equal access to privilege, life can become centred on protest until we achieve the same power we feel entitled to.
But for most men life is not that simple. We might hold to the masculine ideal of power & control but our actual lives often don’t match up to it, or we cannot maintain the control we desire. It is because of these mismatches & tensions that some men choose to abuse women in the home.
Christian & Muslim men believe it is not in our nature to be violent against women – God did not create us that way.
As I heard Michael Kaufman say recently at Being A Man Festival, “To say men are violent against women by nature is much too low a view of men”.
So why did we face such a flood of men abusing women last year? 1.1 million women survived domestic violence in Britain in 2013, predominantly at the hands of men. Why do we blokes tolerate the fact that 5 million British women or 30% of the female population have experienced domestic violence since the age of 16?
Surely a sense of entitlement to power & control over women is at war with the heart of man. We must let go of this false ideal, this ideal often concealed by crude comedy. Let go bro!
Because it’s a tragedy when you watch the man who thinks ‘control’s my middle name’ but it’s Jon.
Join us as we regenerate a way of being men free from power & control over women & free from hidden abuse in the home.
Dr Watson’s return to London is peppered with nightmares & flashbacks. He’s back from combat in Afghanistan a lost & lonely soul. Lost & lonely, that is, until he meets the world’s only consulting detective – Sherlock Holmes!
Sherlock Holmes’ obsessive devotion to scientific deduction works to his personal detriment – he has no friends! No friends, until Dr John Watson becomes a 221B Baker Street flatmate.
And so beneath the surface of the detective story begins the story of the greatest friendship ever. But because it’s a male friendship it’s simply never talked about – unless there’s a best man’s speech to give. And in last week’s BBC episode ‘The Sign of Three’ Sherlock became exactly that – best man at Watson’s wedding. Sherlock delivers one of the most entertainingly awkward & tenderly touching speeches, “I will solve your murder but it takes John Watson to save your life. Trust me on that I should know he’s saved mine so many times & in so many ways”
Last week I too had the honour of being asked to be best man at my friend’s wedding. What can I learn from Sherlock & Watson? Both characters need friendship to temper the humdrum predictability of everyday life seen through the lens of uncompromising applications of logic & an addiction to adventure. But their friendship goes far beyond the functionality of sharing a common mission. The secret to Sherlock & Watson’s friendship, I believe, is honesty. Because a friendship without honesty is no friendship at all.
Surely a sense of entitlement to power & control over women is at war with the heart of man.
Most blokes don’t commit domestic violence against women, but most men do have an influence on the culture of masculinity that allows other men to become abusive husbands, boyfriends, or exes. By making our friendships with other men more honest we can change this culture.
Tonight’s final episode of Sherlock centres on the terrifying villain Charles Augustus Magnussen – the master blackmailer. How will Sherlock & Watson’s friendship fare? The power of blackmail lays in unrevealed secrets. Real friendships scratch beneath the surface of the false self –that Facebook version of ourselves we’re all tempted to project. The Enemy will try to blackmail us into silence because – to varying degrees – we’re all complicit in this culture of control that’s allowed other men to abuse women.
If your mate’s using tactics to control his wife, girlfriend, or ex are you prepared to challenge him? If you notice signs of abuse of power & control over women in your own behaviour are you prepared to get help? It’s time to break the silence on domestic violence through male friendships. The only shame is in staying silent.
3 things every Christian & Muslim Man can Do:
Set time aside to pray & assess your own attitude towards women in your life