We get together at St Louis Bread Co for breakfast and a study. It is a great time to meet other guys, and to engage each other about interesting topics (generally coming from a book we are all reading together)
Studies show that the older and wealthier men become, the more isolated they are, and this isolation contributes to rising rates of suicide and/or aggression including mass shootings like the one this past weekend in a Pittsburgh Synagogue which killed 11 people.
Nate Pyle writing for Christianity Today said “social isolation is rampant in America and in other wealthy nations, fueling a loneliness epidemic that hits men especially hard.”
Boston Globe reporter Billy Baker says that loneliness among men is complicated by the fact that men are settling for shallow relationships based in social media.
Some pastors and churches have sought to remedy this by focusing men’s ministry around manhood and manliness but critics have argued that this only creates more pressure for men to measure up to a caricature of manhood that is often at odds with biblical manhood. For instance, in America, men are taught to climb the corporate ladder, conquer foes, and then celebrate their victories. But Jesus descended, denied himself, and died for others.
1. What is it about the Western World that particularly isolates men? Why do you think that is?
2. Is a focus on manhood and manliness the answer or the problem?
3. Why might men be more at risk than women for loneliness (according to research)?
4. How might social media actually complicate male isolation?
In this brief video pastor James MacDonald focuses on two distinct things men need to go deeper with other men. Is he right or is this an oversimplification?