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It is not what a man does that is of final importance, but what he is in what he does. The atmosphere produced by a man, much more than his activities, has the lasting influence.
In the mid-20th century, The Times in London ran an essay contest, inviting highly respected thinkers and leaders to respond to the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” Chesterton offered this as his full response:
G. K. Chesterton
Chesterton was in contact with the reality of the masculine soul. An an apprentice in the way of the Kingdom, he had taken personal responsibility for his part in what is wrong in the world. Chesterton consented to a process of masculine initiation, a putting to death of the false self, this ancient path epitomized in the life and death of Jesus and described concisely by Joseph Campbell: “Where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves.” (2) Through apprenticeship to Jesus, Chesterton had become the kind of king who could be entrusted with more and more of God’s Kingdom.
We are invited to join him at the side of our true elder Brother, so that one day the inverse of the question offered by The Times might be answered positively by us all:
What’s right with the world?
That is what comes to mind when I think of the men with whom I had the honor to share this conversation for the final episode of the 8-part Become Good Soil Intensive Series.
One man shared this phenomenal joybomb with me recently. He hosted a few alumni and their families for a meal and some laughter around the campfire. One of the wives, who has suffered much trauma from being mistreated by men who were entrusted with the care of her heart, shared these words as she later reflected on the evening:
“I feel safe and secure in a world where there are men like these men around the fire.”
Oh, friends, the good it does my heart to know that among some of the lasting effects of the transformation of God in the hearts of men through this message, is this sort of good and caring impact on the lives of women. Perhaps it is indeed the “atmosphere” a man does or does not produce that can tell us much about the heart of the man.
If you’re joining us for the first time in this series, I would encourage you to begin with part one.
If this series has strengthened your masculine soul in any way, I encourage you to ask God which men in your world would benefit from your passing it along.
The deadline for applications for the next U.S. Intensive is October 12th. Find out more.
For the Kingdom,
(1) Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
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