How Scary Is It To Be A Man?

Recently President Trump (that's still feels crazy to write) said that it's "a very scary time to be a young man in America." 

What do you think? Is it? I'd love for you to write me your thoughts because I want to hear as many different views as I can. I'm not scared of ideas. All ideas. 

Here's my thoughts. I think it is tough to be a young man, an old man, a famous man, a skinny man, a fat man(I know this personally), or any kind of man. 

Being human and alive isn't easy!  So why would it be easy to be a man. It's hard to be anything. 

But, Trump is talking about the cultural climate surrounding sexual assault and sexual assault claims.  So on that specific topic I agree with Trump. WHAT?!?!?!

It's hard to be a man and figure out how to pursue a woman sexually. The reason though, is that we have been given the worst education about sex, consent, romantic relationships, and communication about sex, that a human could possibly receive. 

Sex in school is talked about in terms of the physical reproductive actions that the bodies go through. 

In church sex is talked about in terms of "WAIT WAIT WAIT! STAY AWAY!!" Don't do it until you get married and then it'll be awesome. That's mostly a lie. 

In our cultural it's talked about in terms of men are horrible pigs and toxic and everything wrong with sex is men's fault. A lot of it is our fault or responsibility but women have a lot of responsibility too. 

We live in a society where it seems as if every man is a potential rapist.  That's not true, but it is very true that we have a very serious and dangerous problem with rape and sexual assault. Even just our thought life with sex is messed up.

Women are frightened and must be aware of their surroundings at almost all times, because a male could do something horrific. I'm nervous sometimes for my wife to go jogging by herself after dark or to even be in a grocery store parking lot by herself. 

Men do bad things. Really bad things. 

I want to make that clear and it's should be something we all realize and acknowledge. But grouping all men together does nothing to help fix these crimes from happening. 

We are too late. After sexual assault or rape happens it's too late to stop it. Common sense right? But I think people aren't seeing this clearly.  Sending someone to jail doesn't stop the rape from happening. A jail sentence isn't really justice and doesn't help a woman to feel safe again or help her recover. It's nowhere near enough! 

So what can we do? What does work? Teaching boys and girls.

We wait until boys and girls get to their teens to talk about sex and their bodies. That's stupid.

Our children can handle education about their bodies. They can understand sex and what that should be like when they are older and of legal age to have sex.  In fact they must learn earlier in life if we want real change.

Our young boys need to know that a girl or a woman's sexuality isn't something for us to go after, possess, or to run from until marriage. Human sexuality is actually beautiful and powerful. It should be something we recognize and learn about each other. 

It's actually fine and normal to acknowledge that a woman or man is beautiful or even sexy. But the real issue is when, pardon my pun, that trumps everything else about them. 

When we put sex on the highest tier of value, we end up leading people to value sex more than the person. That leads to all kinds of problems and not just assault.

So this is all stuff you know. But here's what I'd like to encourage you to do. 

Let's be more open and honest about sex.  Let's respect our children and tell them what sex and romantic relationships should look like if they are healthy.  

Let's have some deeper discussions about consent and how to be confident in our sexuality, rather than making it so taboo. 

Women have been told to never talk about their sexuality and that it is sacred. If a woman IS confident in her sexuality she can be called a slut. That's disgusting and has forced women to be silent.  

Women love sex just as much as men. But we aren't listening and  also haven't been taught how important listening is to our sexuality and our relationships.

Sex is good. It's is for us. It is not meant to be used against us. Let's talk about it. Let's listen.  Let's respect and love our children and explain to them how to be healthy, loving, sexual adults. 

Why I Keep Doing This TrueMan Thing

I started The TrueMan Experience almost two years ago in my house. I figured with the fans of Emery and the audience we had built with BadChristian, I could get a group of guys to come over and try a night of just men being more open and honest. More honest than they had been in years. 

I was right. Shockingly right. For those of you that have been to an event you know what I mean.  

Most men do not meet or hangout with other men. It just happens less and less as we get older. Sure we go on double dates, go to each others kid's birthday parties, or maybe watch some sports together.  But meeting for deeper insight into each others lives rarely happens.

The church has tried to address this, but in my opinion, it's been mostly a failure. The church has an agenda and attaches stipulations to what masculinity and manhood can be.  The churches idea of masculinity is a men's breakfast or maybe a camping trip where all of a sudden you realize the Bible is awesome and you're a better Christian.  I'm generalizing here. I do think churches are trying but it's not built on real freedom.

Being a Christian is different than figuring out your identity and what masculinity might mean to you. They can obviously work together and influence each other, but to me it always feels like a bait and switch.  

"Men! Come To Our Church And Learn How To Be A Better Man!" Then when you get there you realize it reduces masculinity to bible reading, praying, and being nicer. Most stories are told in the past tense and it's about where people have come from and not where they are.

I want the now. I also want it to be okay to speak freely about the now.  I want to be able to say what I'm thinking and maybe what I'm thinking is wrong.  It's good to say wrong things. How else do you learn what could be right? What I mean is, it should be okay to say you might not love you're spouse anymore. That you lied about something at work and don't feel bad about it. That you think porn isn't a big deal.

Because if you don't say those things out loud then they live inside. Then not only do you have unresolved thoughts that aren't helpful to you, but now you are also spending brain capacity and energy on hiding. 

No more hiding. You and I are screwed up in lots of ways currently. That doesn't mean we are less masculine or weak. In fact it can be the opposite. Sharing truth about yourself is really hard. It's ugly sometimes. But it's how we are able to find some peace. It's how we face adversity and anxiety and gain ground. It's how we come to understand and define our identity and masculinity. 

So I'm coming to the NC, SC, FL, GA, and TN in October, and I'd love for as many dudes that can, to come out for a night.  

It will also be very fun, we'll drink and eat and laugh and sing. I don't ever not have fun! So tell your friends and I hope to see you soon. 

Computers Suck And So Does My Brain

So my damn computer froze up at 10:30pm last night. I was working on this email for you guys and WHAM!!!!!! That was it.  

So I searched the internet on our other computer and tried everything to reboot it. This broken computer is a Macbook Pro and when I push the power button the Apple Logo appears for about 10 seconds and then just starts disappearing and reappearing.  Nothing else.

I some how got it to go into internet mode. So that's how I'm writing this email now.  I was able to get a genius bar appointment this morning at the local Apple Store so hopefully they can fix it. 

BECAUSE I NEED THIS DAMN THING! 

I need it for my job and I need it for the upcoming TrueMan Events next week. 

This is a damn frustrating situation. It also has made me realize three things.

We live in a world now that we actually need computers. We need them for our work. We need them for our play. We need them to interact with each other.  

The problem is no one you know can build one!  What I mean is send your smartest friend into the woods or into nature and tell him to come back with a computer he built.  

Sure we can order parts and put some shit together but no one you know can create a computer locally. We are all relying on a system we can't really replicate if you take a way a few things. Woah. That is a little scary.  

The next thought, I hate to admit it, is true. I rely, need, and potentially am addicted to computers, phones, and maybe technology in general.  Ugh. I spend a lot of time using these things. I often can't pull myself away or feel a need to check in and see what's happening on my phone or computer.  If the grid goes or bad guy figures out a way to destroy electricity and computers, then I'm gonna have withdrawals.  

At night I would have to look at the stars instead of Netflix!!! 
Oh God please don't let that happen.

That leads me to my last thought.  Since my computer has gone down I keep throwing up little prayers for God to help fix it!  Hahaha! I even thought about asking you to pray!  

That is not a good use of prayer. Things like this are normal and happen regularly. I'm not in the desert asking God for direction.  There are a million stores and places I can take this thing to fix it. Now I definitely don't want to have to pay for that but that's also just life. 

Things break and you pay to fix them. We have systems to fix things. No need to stress or worry or cry out to God. 

This too shall pass. 

So I'm trying to just keep chill and not stress or tell God I'll go to church more if He'll deliver my computer from the grave.  

But if I'm honest...I WANT TO! 

No Alcohol For A Month! Shit. No Alcohol For A Month.  

So I told you guys I was trying to get healthier. I have mostly cut out sugars, lots of carbs, and yes alcohol.  Today I'd like to tell you how cutting alcohol out of my life for one month has changed me in so many positive ways! 

That's a damn lie. 

Haha! Seriously! I am not way better off in my life without alcohol.  I haven't had huge breakthroughs. I haven't been changed in phenomenal ways. 

I will say that somethings are better for sure. I've lost about 20 pounds. I do feel better in my clothes and losing twenty pounds in a month is pretty awesome. Also, I am certain that even with a healthy meal plan and less carbs, I would not have lost this much weight if I had been drinking alcohol. 

I haven't had a hangover, except my belly, this month or have I woken up feeling a little shitty from the night before. 

My heads been a little more clear and have had less of the foggy brain feeling. 

So there are some true positives. Those positives are motivating and encouraging as well. 

But I think there are some negatives. The biggest one is easy.

It's just so fun to have a beer. 

It's Friday and every Friday afternoon about 4pm or 5pm for the last month I kind of just stare off into the distance and remember the good ole' days. The Fridays when I would hop in the car and ride to Kroger. Once I got there I would have a little excitement in my step as I walked the through those sliding front doors and the air condition would hit my face. A genuine smile would come as I headed to my favorite aisle. Then I would slowly take my time, looking over all of the aisle's beer selection, as if I had never seen these beers before, even though I had been to that aisle dozens of times.

Then I would choose that ice cold 6 pack, or 12 pack, or a weekender 24. Then I would head home to what could now be considered Heaven. 

Cracking that first beer and sitting on our back patio talking about football is now just a dream. A distant memory.  

Now on Friday evenings I sit in the living room and crack open a LaCroix Pamplemousse, turn on the tv, and watch C-SPAN. 
At least I have death to look forward to. But, since I'm healthier now, even that's been pushed farther away.

The reason people drink is to have fun and make bad decisions. That can definitely be bad. But not always. 

Don't drink and drive. Don't drink too much. Don't use alcohol and hurt other people. Don't use alcohol as your only way to have fun. Those are musts. 

But going out with friends and drinking and yelling a little bit, laughing a little bit, and partying a little bit is fun. 

So even though I'm being dramatic here, there is a commraderie and atmosphere that alcohol can inspire and that can be healthy.  

But if I'm honest, I'm actually in a pretty good spot. A LaCroix on ice with a little bitters is pretty damn good.  It's a really good beverage.  I went out last night with friends to a bar and thought I would be tempted to have an ice cold foamy beverage, but my soda water and bitters was delicious and satisfying.  Waking up this morning I felt great and I love thinking about how last night I didn't end up drinking my way into empty calories and slowed my weight loss. Damn that's a pretty awesome feeling too. 

So maybe i'm wrong? 

Sitting here this morning i'm thinking that maybe at 42 years old I'm becoming mature!!!

But this afternoon...oh this afternoon. 

 

ARE YOU TRUE, MAN?

 

I received a lot of great feedback from you dudes about the podcast direction post from last week.  Thanks guys I needed that and I'm excited to incorporate some of those ideas for the podcast! 

One central theme that you all kept bringing up was the value of truth. You want true stories and real life experiences. It seems like we don't care as much these days about the polished and perfect man or male.  We like a real person. 

That is very encouraging.  I think we are transitioning into a new way of thinking that will be more freeing and hopefully more joyful.  

Here's what I'm getting at. It has always been easier to keep parts of your life hidden.  Don't reveal too much because it can come back to haunt you. 

I'll even go a step farther. It has been the right thing to do.  

Do not reveal your complete true self because people can't actually handle it.  Unfortunately, this is true. People can't handle your whole picture or your whole self. 

It's because they aren't comfortable with themselves. If you're being honest and open they might have to be honest and open as well. That sucks! So let's just stay in the dark! 

If you are comfortable showing all the good and all the bad, it would look like you didn't care about the more uncomfortable parts of your personality.  Some would interpret your openness as callous and even sinful. Telling and showing people your faults, the same way you do with your successes and honorable works, doesn't feel right or look right.

We're supposed to feel bad about looking at porn.  We're supposed to feel remorseful about being selfish with our money. We should only talk about our sin when it's in the context of redemption and restoration.  

That is evil. 

If anybody knows the bad shit that's gonna go through your head today, it's God!  God knows you're gonna take four extra looks at Denise on aisle three at the grocery store.  God know your going to over eat tonight and laugh about how full you are but still need some dessert.  God knows you hate someone at your job. 

So why hide it from your small group leader Tim? 

Why hide your thoughts from somebody you say you're in love with?  

It's because we all hide. Every single one of us.  From our families, spouses, pastors, church folks, and we even think we hide from God.  

Well God knows it all and most people know we all got shit we're hiding.  

So be honest about one thing today.   Start small and keep it easy.  Just get it out.  

I'll start:

I recently traded in our Subaru for a new car and didn't tell them it was having some real, and likely expensive, trouble with the AC unit.  It happened to work that day and I said to myself, "This is a used car salesman and I don't owe him anything. I'll give him my car AS IS and know warranty. " 

That's shitty.  Not the worst thing I've even done this week but I did say start small!   

Your turn. Get something off your chest. Tell a friend or wife or send me an email. But just be honest. It will get easier and we'll all be better for it.  

Failure Butt Off

Here’s a couple of thought streams I can have within two minutes of each other: 

“I want help reclaim masculinity! I want to change the perception that men are toxic and dangerous. I want men to love the church and be more involved and confident in their pursuit of the truth.  I want to see real change in men’s lives and see that translate into change in their families and careers!”  

But?

“I’m a 41 year old screamo singer and podcaster! WTF do I know! I need to stay in my lane and either make people cry with my song lyrics or make them laugh with an off color joke I make on my podcast.”

This is an example of how my brain works. How easily I can feel excited, motivated, and courageous. Then in the next minute I can lose all of my courage by telling myself I’m not enough.  That I’ll mess it up or get it all wrong. That people will realize I’m not that great.  The real war in my head is that I will fail.  That I will not be able to accomplish my goals and maybe end up looking like a fool. Now the uncomfortable truth is that I will fail. Failing hurts me so bad. I mean I hate it. I don’t want to even come close to it. It’s so stupid. 

It’s because I have a tendency to wrap my identity in my successes. Hell yeah I’m a screamo singer!  My band has sold over 500k records!  You’ve also probably heard me on the very popular BadChristian Podcast. I was a Christian cusser before any of you assholes and now 75k+ people listen in each episode to hear it!  See that feels good. I mean like a fresh, warm Krispy Kreme donut good. When I succeed others take notice and I get more respect and my ego is fed just a little bit.  Also, when I can stick to success and away from failure,  I don’t have to worry about working harder or revisiting something that I might have missed. I don’t have to experience and go through growth pangs. I don’t need anyone to rely on and I get to be THE MAN! So, why as I’m writing this and you are reading it, do we both get the feeling that success seems like it can be empty? That linking me to my successes, might mean there’s not much real me inside. 

It’s because failure is everything! Shit how many times have I heard something like that: 

FAILURE ISN”T FALLING DOWN, IT”S REMAINING WHERE YOU’VE FALLEN.

FAILURE IS NOT FINAL, UNLESS YOU GIVE UP. 

THE ONLY REAL FAILURE, IS THE FAILURE TO FAIL. 

FAILURE IS SUCCESS IN PROGRESS

FAILURE BUTT OFF. THEN FART IN FAILURE’S FACE.

Okay I made up the last one. I know what I’m saying here isn’t new or groundbreaking. But I want to clarify one thing that others have failed to do. Pun intended.  Failure hurts awfully bad. IT SUCKS. It’s not fun.  You might actually look stupid and people might say you are stupid.  You might lose money. Maybe a lot of money.  You might actually quit the job or thing you were trying to create and quit it forever.  You might lose friends or loved ones.  You will wish you could take it all back. 

Likewise, you don’t succeed immediately after a failure. In fact it can take a long, long time to get past a failure and move into a new success.  When you fail you will carry at least a little part of that failure with you for the rest of your life and it will try to pop up out of your past and whisper in your ear to say, “you’ll be seeing me again soon.” 

One of the worst things that comes out of failure is that after you fail it is easier to think you’ll fail again. You failed once or twice so what will be different this time? 

You will fail again. That’s just the truth. It will suck, 

There it is. Failure doesn’t go away or necessarily make you stronger or better. But it does teach you what not to do. What to do better and how to handle that next failure. Failure teaches you that your identity isn’t only in your successes. That if you only succeeded then you’d basically be a Kardashian and thats just gross.  Failure means you’re human and you need other humans. Failure means that you didn’t get it right, but that maybe you could. Because failure is just as attainable as success. You can do both and doing both is probably the right place to end up.  You will fail, but you will also have success. So don’t worry or concern yourself with either.  Enjoy the ride, be yourself, and learn. 

Support The True Man Experience

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A few months back I moved my family to Franklin TN to be closer to the music city Nashville.  The question everyone seems to ask me since the move is, "Where are you going to church?"  Well it's not just one church. We've tried almost ten churches.  Although they all were trying to teach the Gospel and help folks they each had one terrible thing in common.  At each church we visited as I looked around at the congregation, I realized that the men sitting in the sanctuaries were disengaged, disinterested, and seemingly only there because their wife or girlfriend brought them, Is this our only way to connect with God?  Is Sunday morning service our only option to become men and our only path to shaping our masculinity in a positive way? 

After touring for over 15 years with Emery and having worked at two mega-churches, I have become burdened and angry at the way the church and culture have abandoned masculinity. Men, it seems, have become an enemy to the world.  We either boys or gamers or losers or not dating material. No one even teaches us any more about true masculinity and manhood.  We have lost the instruction from the older men and are left on our own to figure out how to navigate this life.  

After feeling convicted to be apart of the change rather than just complaining from the sidelines, I created The TrueMan Experience.  Each event involves one night in your town where we discuss our identity, our relationship with our fathers and other important people in our lives, and we fellowship. 

Also, I have started the TrueMan Experience Podcast.  I interview men who have come to the events and we get real.  The podcast is about revealing masculinity in a real way.  

I'd love your support! 

TrueMan: Seattle & Portland

I was sitting church and just people watching again instead of listening to the sermon. Half of my guy friends were doing the same or setting their fantasy football roster. Has the church and culture lost the men? What is masculinity today? Are you burnt out and full questions? That's why I'm leading the True Man Experience. 


Seattle- December 3rd
Portland-December 4th

The True Man Experience - Nashville & Atlanta

Hey folks! So as some of you know I have been consumed with the topics of the church and masculinity for quite a while now. For someone reason for the last 15 years God has used me a ton and has allowed me to counsel and influence men. I've been reading and writing like crazy and I am working on a book about masculinity and the church. So I had, what I think, is a great idea.

I am going to do TWO nights of The True Man Experience. These will be living room events are limited to 15 men each. If for some reason they fill up quickly, I might stretch it to 20 but we'll decide that if and when we get there.

This will be intense. I'm expecting some seriously emotional depths to be reached, but I truly think these two nights will be helpful for us all.

There will be homework and prep and that you will have to do before you come and you will have to participate that night. Also, it will cost money. This isn't going to be fan get together or a show and I want people invested and ready for this to be taken seriously. These will be two very fun nights, but this is to learn and grow.

If this doesn't scare you off and you're interested then email me at tobybadchristian@gmail.com and I'll shoot you the details.

-Toby