GIVE: Partnering with Spirit — With Spirit, Our Men Find a New Path of Meaning and Significance

GIVE! … By the Spirit™ with Dr. Pennie Murray

With Spirit, Our Men Find a New Path of Meaning and Significance

© 2010 Pennie Murray

January 9, 2010

I’m a black woman who still has mad love and respect for the spirit and will of black men. So, I wanted to dedicate my second article for this month of Black History and Love to black men. I’ll start off by saying I applaud black movie producers like Tyler Perry in their efforts to reinforce a positive public depiction of American Black men. However, I cannot deny the assault that is continuously waged against this positive image. Nor can I deny that the positive image is also being sabotaged by black men themselves.

I won’t pretend I know what’s going on with the consciousness of black men today, but I am concerned by what I see. Rather than make a lot of assumptions, I decided to ask five black men about my concerns. In talking with these men and listening beneath their façade of masculinity, I heard and sensed a futility within the core of their spirits that they couldn’t or wouldn’t explain. The first thing that stood out for me was their conversation on not having more black men to partner with in the one place that defines them the most as providers—the workplace. There was a consensus among these men that they are faced with greater uncertainties and apprehensiveness in fulfilling their role in today’s society. As one of them stated, “It’s as if you know you’re in a minefield and at any minute you could be a casualty, so you’re always trying to out maneuver your environment in order to stay alive, but you’re doing this blindfolded.”

Michael Gilbert, the author of The Disposable Male: Sex, Love, and Money, backs up this man’s feelings, “The everyday male is in trouble… Boys stumble without a map onto the pathways to masculinity, forced to learn by their own devices the essential traits and qualities of authentic manliness. Without a clear sense of purpose, young men are hardly motivated or encouraged to support their partner and family, much less serve their community. Men’s ancient and defining roles as resource provider and defender have been down-sized and outsourced. Declared obsolete and cast adrift, the modern hunter is searching for a new job description.”

The most important thing that began to surface as I continued talking with these men was their resistance to acknowledge the psychological impact this void, uncertainty and apprehensive had on them. I can’t help but wonder if maybe this resistance keeps black men from seriously partnering with their God consciousness to be more self-aware.  Maybe it hinders black men from effectively responding to the changing tides in today’s society. And maybe it muzzles the voices of black men who are consciously aware, restricting them from passing on the new traits and qualities of manliness.

Gilbert’s assessment of the modern man being in search of a new role is not just a black man’s dilemma, but as we know, “When America has a cold, Black America has pneumonia”. If what I sensed in talking with these adult black men, and Gilbert’s assessments are true, then men are in a place of the unknown in need of a new kind of relationship. This new kind of relationship can only come from a willingness to partner with one’s spirit; to be open and receptive to new ways and paths of being.

It is my belief that when black men begin to strengthen their relationship with their God consciousness they will find their new path of meaning and significance. Because they have this promise,

“I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know. I will guide them through paths they have not known. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.” (Isaiah 42:16)

It is for this reason I maintain mad love and respect for the spirit and will of black men. I’m interested in your thoughts, so share with me your comments.

[About GIVE … By the Spirit™]

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5 Responses

  1. Don’t even start. LOL I have so many writing projects on my plate right now, but this topic is certainly in my idea folder.

  2. WHOA! just re-read and this stood out like a LIGHT HOUSE on the SHORE: “And maybe it muzzles the voices of black men who are consciously aware, restricting them from passing on the new traits and qualities of manliness.”

    um, yeah, i say, book for sure. i will market it like a maniac! 🙂 hehe!

  3. A former African-American law professor of mine always used to say, “If only there was an Oprah for black men in the USA!” A forum where they can discuss the issues without feeling they are victims or ‘soft’ and defy stereotypes, some self-induced!

    I have seen talk shows etc. in other countries which do not sensationalize the issues but serve as a dashboard for development. Whereas most men in the States are afraid to openly admit that they watch Oprah (unless they are 50+)!

    The moment men (and women too!) will realize they are spiritual beings and by this note ‘normal’ to desire a deeper meaning (in their work, partnerships, personal development) we all would be, at the very least, on the same spiritual highway.

    Very compassionate and brave post.

    • Thanks AQS for your input! The experience of this conversation with these men was amazingly insightful, but I have to admit it was also troubling for me. While these men were willing to talk with me one-on-one, I couldn’t help but wonder about the reception I would receive if, like Steve Harvey or any other male writer that have gained popularity with telling women what we need to do, I got out here and starting sharing this vital insight about men.

      I could not agree with you more that we will only gain momentum individually and collectively when normalcy means an awareness of our desire for meaning in every area of our lives. Compassionate bravado—I like that!!

      Pennie

      • Dear Pennie,

        Thanks for further insight. I too have thought about writing or perhaps creating at least an online forum “for men.” And I have hesitated.
        But now that you mention how many books there are by men for and about women… not sure if anything should be stopping women, especially those who have some innate ability, very much like yourself, to connect with men (specifically men of ‘color’) beyond mere “gal-pal” relations. To see the humanness in their inability to be vulnerable or openly seek out spiritual alignment within their potentials.

        I really think your ‘data’ has the potential for further development into a book.

        My personal ‘data collection’ includes observations and anecdotes from intelligent, spiritually grounded men outside of North America who perpetually find themselves in unsatisfying relationships because of a false belief that the women they choose to be with–get this–can not possibly understand their spiritual and emotional pursuits! Say what? Women not understand? However, further research has revealed (lol) that in fact it is a self-fulfilling dysfunctional cycle: the women they are with, in fact, really do not see them as more than mere providers or sex partners. Add to all this, the comparison with minority men in the US–I think we have a good book! 🙂 hahah!

        Apologies, didn’t mean to write a manifesto on here!

        Not sure if you have read this article. It is a bit outdated (2006) but still relevant.
        Marriage is ‘White’ People:
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/25/AR2006032500029.html

        Thanks,

        ~annie

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