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empty The Black Corner Article    empty[Posted 10-04]

Rev. John E. Jackson, Sr. Rev. John E. Jackson, Sr.
Black Men: Praying,
Pushing and Proceeding!

Rev. John E. Jackson, Sr.
Associate Pastor for Men's Ministries, Trinity United Church of Christ

Chicago, Illinois
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African American men are challenged in this 21st century to redefine what it means to be a man and to redefine masculinity period. The definition of a strong Black man is in need of re-tooling.

For far too many Black men who accept the European model of Man as “Head” (or Boss which is what many subtly interpret it to mean) of the household and wife have also encountered the unrealistic self oppression that comes with it. If we as men are expected to be stoic, non-emotional (except at sports events) always in control, always the problem solvers and never shedding tears, then it is no wonder that in this “Bush whacked” society we are suffering from performance anxiety.

Is it any wonder that those who don’t need Levitra, Viagra and Cialis are using these erectile dysfunction drugs more than those men who actually have erectile Dysfunctions? Performance anxiety! We end up constantly wondering if we are matching up to this unreal expectation of being able to handle everything that comes our way. We end up thinking that if I can be dominant in the bed sexually then my other dilemmas will disappear. Performance anxiety.

It also is little wonder that far too many African American men disproportionately succumb to treatable, preventable health challenges in their life times. So-called “real men” don’t talk to each other about their illnesses because they don’t want to expose their weaknesses.

I am suggesting we re-define what masculinity means. I am suggesting that Black Men must do this themselves. Malidome Some, the African scholar of the Dagara people suggest that “there is a call that goes out from every young man and in the West that call has consistently gone unanswered.” He further suggests “Indigenous African culture creates rituals or initiation to help understand our existential reality and how we fit. Black Men in America for the most part have abandoned our constructive rituals of man hood and created in the void initiations that are far more painful than anything else” (gangs, and/or elitist groups that out white white folks).

I am suggesting that we need to make intentional efforts as men to throw off shackles of insecurity and come together as men in streams of rejuvenization. I don’t mean for us to come together and rehash old oppressive patriarchal models that have added to our frustrations. Men of faith need to be in pockets of prayer groups and men’s study groups.

At Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago we are attempting to begin this journey when we gather this October 22nd and 23rd in our Men’s Conference 2004. Every Black man has too many dimensions to his life, too much depth in his Soul to be limited to being only the disciplinarian in the home. We are too creative for that. We are going to come together as men with some of the best minds in Black America to start a process of re-defining what it means to be a strong African American man in this 21st century.

We will have with us Dr. Mark Lomax of Lithonia, Georgia, Dr. Otis Moss, III of Atlanta, GA, Rev. Delman Coates from Clinton, Maryland, Dr. Dwight Hopkins of the University of Chicago, Dr. Al Sampson from Chicago and Author, News Correspondent John W. Fountain (True Vine) and many others to help us chart this journey to become better as African men of faith living in America.

For information on the conference call Rev. John E. Jackson, Sr. at 773-962-5650 x 426. Trinity United Church of Christ, Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Pastor.

© 2004, Used by permission.

Rev. John E. Jackson, Sr., is Associate Pastor of Men's Ministries and Pre-Marital Counseling at Trinity United Church of Christ. Rev. Jackson is a graduate of Loyola University and holds a Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary.

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