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Reading for January 18 from Praying for Justice. “Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for Your decrees.” Psalm 119: 117

Friends we would like to invite you to join us to reflect upon and gather purpose regarding membership, participation, and the group posting guidelines for our Quaker gathering space. As much as we are a religious society many of us are also active and vocal about our beliefs and the state of many things in our wide world. We would like to remind members that this is a global community, a peaceful space, and a respectful channel for us to come together.

As we grow we have growing pains. As the world changes we must listen and reflect. As admins we have a leading to protect our members and this community. This requires us to review Facebook’s guidelines and what we as a representation of the Society of Friends should be held accountable to. Over the years there have been instances of direct attacks, trolling, inappropriate vocabulary or images, and spam that aren’t conducive to leading us to a higher state of understanding or resolution. The guidelines were developed with care by many kind hearts, these are always available and are to be respected.

Since there have been a few recent instances of topics/conversations reported and members chosing to abuse their time here, we have a few tips for clarity. The admins all have normal lives/work/families, live around the world, and do not ” police” each and every thread on the group (and the replys within it):

~ When confronted with an inappropriate/abusive post, please use the REPORT POST button and if possible pm one of the admins with a URL/link to the post and any further information to help them assertain the nature of your complaint.

~ If a thread is very fast moving with multiple replys within replys (which FB will annotate with an easily missed ” view more” ) posts can easily be missed so please be specific and help the admins FIND the post(s) you are reporting by sending a short explanation or copy and paste the post in a pm to us. This will facilitate a more timely review and resolution of the matter immensely.

~ Trolls and abusers will often blame and complain to admins of those they are victimizing… the admins have to carefully review each and every report responsibly and this takes time. We ask for your patience, trust, and respect of our diligence to members privacy thus necessitating our guideline that administration of the group as well as complaints or enquiries be restricted to private message and not discussed on the group page.

~ Trolls and abusers love to throw things in chaos and create strife within a group … they feed on it. We ask that members not respond or participate (further) once you suspect that something is not quite right… don’t feed the trolls (use the report button)!

~ When posting in our group: Once you have stated your viewpoint , please do not argue it on our page and keep multiple replies/posts within a thread to a minimum please.

~ A gentle reminder: Take in-depth discussion of subjects posted here to pm (creating a group private message discussion is quite easy). The admins of this group respectfully refrain from the administration or moderation of private discussions.

Please be kind to each other and care for the community we have nurtured over the past decade.

You are loved,

the admins (Tony Norlin /Micah Bales /Diana Hedrick)

19.01.2019 – UK – George Monbiot

The fear that lies behind aggressive masculinity
Some societies and academics place traditional gender roles (social norms for certain communities, while admiration or convention for others) as the most important component of machismo. Wikipedia (Image by Jason Regan • CC BY 2.0)

By George Monbiot for The Guardian

Why do so many men love Jordan Peterson and hate the Gillette ad? If they’re truly strong they don’t need to prove their virility.

What strikes me most is the fragility. Gillette makes an advertisement calling on men to challenge abusive behaviour, and thousands furiously proclaim they will never use its products again. The American Psychological Association (APA) issues new clinical guidelines advising that a masculinity characterised by dominance, aggression and emotional repression can be harmful to men’s mental health, and the world’s conservative media falls into a collective faint. So much for the strong and silent types.

If “real men”, according to the men’s rights movement, are tough and commanding, why are the exponents of this doctrine so easily discomposed? Why does the slightest challenge to the norms they proclaim – by a razor ad or an academic body they had probably never encountered before – trigger this frenzied testeria?

In thinking about male identities, I’m struck by the inadequacy of the terms we use. The notion that men should be distant, domineering and self-seeking is often described as toxic masculinity, but this serves only to alienate those who might need most help. Its proponents describe their behavioural ideal as traditional masculinity, but conceptions of maleness, like conceptions of the family, have changed radically from century to century. In the furious response to the advertisement and the new guidelines, in the enthusiasm for the psychologist Jordan Peterson and similar macho ideologues, what I perceive is a fearful masculinity.If you are at ease with yourself, you don’t feel the need to call other men cucks. If you are strong, you don’t feel threatened by strong women. In a fascinating article last year, Pankaj Mishra argued that perceived crises of masculinity often accompany anxiety about economic or national decline. Just as US humiliation in Vietnam stimulated an appetite for “such cartoon visions of masculinity as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger”, 9/11 helped to spread morbid fears about the emasculation of western powers, and the need to assert a new ideal of manliness. The perceived loss of both political and gender dominance has provoked some men to respond with homophobia and misogyny in a crude attempt to restore male authority.

As the APA guidelines reveal, fearful masculinity inflicts tremendous harm on men as well as women. The men who are most exercised about their manliness, a 2011 study suggests, are half as likely to seek preventive healthcare as those who are less anxious about male identity. They are also less willing to request psychotherapy. The APA links these attitudes to the far higher rates of suicide among men than among women.

In researching both prostate cancer and loneliness, I discovered the extent to which manly reserve kills. Fears we cannot bring ourselves to name soon grow into terrible secrets. As they grow, they become still harder to share, and therefore to assimilate and endure. Because men have often been unwilling to discuss an issue that threatens their virility as well as their lives, funding for prostate cancer research has lagged behind the money allocated for other malignancies. As with breast cancer, effective treatment requires the breaking of taboos.

In writing about these issues, and in touring the album about beating loneliness I wrote with Ewan McLennan, I discovered that thousands of people seemed to have been waiting for permission to relax their stiff upper lips. In normalising our frightening conditions, in connecting with others who have been suffering in silence, we find a collective strength we cannot find alone. Those who urge us to shut down, man up and grow a pair push us towards disaster and despair.

One of the many he-men responding to the new guidelines, David French, writing in the National Review, asserts that becoming a “grown man” requires “oppressive” discipline, aggression and risk-taking. But to me, growing up – whether as a man or a woman – means abandoning anger, aggression and the need to dominate. It means learning to talk about fear, loss, joy and love. It means learning both to listen and to share, to name your troubles and engage with other people’s. You need to be strong to admit your weaknesses. In admitting them, you build your strength.

The age-old mistake, which has stunted countless lives, is the assumption that because physical hardship in childhood makes you physically tough, emotional hardship must make you emotionally tough. It does the opposite. It implants a vulnerability that can require a lifetime of love and therapy to repair and that, untreated, leads to an escalating series of destructive behaviours. Emotionally damaged men all too often rip apart their own lives, and those of their partners and children. I see both physical fitness and emotional strength as virtues, but they are acquired by entirely different means.

Those who deny their own feelings tend to deny other people’s. Some men clearly find it easier to order a drone strike, separate children from their families or build a wall than to admit and address their own vulnerabilities. There is, as Madeleine Somerville has discussed in the Guardian, a powerful association between perceived masculinity and a lack of concern for the living world: real men don’t recycle. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that meat-eating is strongly associated with conceptions of maleness, which inhibit a switch towards a plant-based diet, essential to avoid environmental breakdown.

What sort of a man are you if you have to go to such lengths to prove your masculinity? The confident construction of identity does not require crude cultural markers, but emotional literacy and honest self-appraisal. The more we proclaim our strength and dominance, the weaker we reveal ourselves to be.

• George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

Reprinted with kind permission from the author

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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