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Excerpted from The Hidden Spirituality of Men by Matthew Fox. Copyright © 2008 by Matthew Fox. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"There is still an acute need to open up men's hearts and spirits."

  Matthew Fox,
The Hidden Spirituality of Men
, Part 4

There is still an acute need to open up men's hearts and spirits. Look at the evolution of humanity, and I would say that men, and straight men in particular, are the rear guard where the majority of the work needs to happen. And it's because of that disconnection with themselves, their bodies and their emotions and with the Divine, that frustration surfaces and comes out in inappropriate ways, with violence and rape and war.

I asked Christian if he felt men in our society have a distorted view of masculinity. He responded, "Definitely. In a lot of men I find a fear of introspection, a fear of pleasure: they become very stuck in their lives. Disconnected from their bodies; completely repressing the emotions. And that, of course, all comes out in inappropriate and sometimes destructive ways."

I asked Jim Miller, a seventy-two-year-old retired farmer, poet, photographer, and swimmer (he swam the English Channel at sixty-six, and regularly swims to Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay) what the men's movement meant to him. Miller has been involved with it for over twenty years, beginning with the "Friends of Iron John." He spoke about the positive work the men's movement has done, and all that's left to be done:

The men's movement has been a powerful thing with Robert Bly and Mendocino men's gatherings over many years. It made me appreciate the gold my father did not give to me. The men in my family were all alcoholics or crazy. The men's movement was very valuable for me in terms of getting my feet on the ground and my legs underneath me and understanding some of the things that men are about, including the feminine pole and the masculine pole -- awareness and awakenness. Men have been asleep in our patriarchal theocracies. And they've had a lot of wool pulled over their eyes over a long period of time. And a lot are awakening to their vulnerability and their sensitiveness to Life.

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