Male friendships in a secular society

AHaytch

Sparrow
Non-Christian
Came across this article from that liberal mainstream media favourite, and it got me thinking:

I've always struggled with good, reliable male bonds for most of my adult (secular) life. The trajectory of modern secular society is geared against men forming solid friendships as the avenues for finding female companions shrinks and we men see each other as competition (or fleeting allies) only.
The explanations the article throws up are tripe (toxic masculinity, doing things together). No mention of church and of faith and service to the cause of God being the only solid underpinning, in my experience, of male loyalty outside of family relations.

Secular men are notoriously flaky and unreliable in my experience. For I too was the same. The sooner we men of faith rid them from our close friendship circles, the less need to feel dissatisfied with the inevitable drifting in your relations with them.
 

prisonplanet

Robin
Other Christian
Lack of male friendship is a big problem for sure. I actually mentioned that not long ago as being a reason men tend to make ill-advised friendship with women (along with lust of course).

Men and women have distinct, core longings. For women, it is the longing to be chosen, and for men it is the longing to be, put simply, the hero. For women, the task is difficult but simple: be patient. Maintain your purity and submissive nature until a man comes along who is worthy to lead you. For men, it is about building oneself from the inside/out so that you are worthy to lead such a woman.

But nobody's journey is so simple and we are all fallen. We are all kind of limping around in this life, and hopefully that leads us to certain truths. The first being that there is a God, that we need God, and that we can only have him through Jesus. The second is that we are not lone wolves. We need a team.

Who is our team? The leader should be Christ, period. And Christ is a lot of things. He is Lord, savior, king, lamb, lion, etc etc. But he is also a friend to those in need. We need to be willing to develop a relationship with Jesus as our Lord, but also as our friend, and come to him with our heart, not just our mind. It's not a real intimate relationship if there is no heart. That's business.

While God is leader, as men we are called to be leaders here on Earth as well. That starts with being leaders of our household. Therein comes out executive officer, our partner, our wife. I won't go into that too much as we all know about that need.

Lastly, we need male friends on our team. In general, it should all be Christian men, although there can be value in non-Christian coworkers and such. Just tread carefully.

Male friendship is profoundly complicated. I do think there should be intimate conversations where you just have to get things off your chest without fear of them using that against you. I do think that's necessary, and it's missing, but I also think men are wired much different than women here. Women DESPERATELY need that intimacy with other women, while men, I think, mostly need to take that conversation to prayer.

Look at Jesus as an example. Let's focus here on the human side of Jesus for a moment. In the gospels, the closest friend Jesus had was John, but at most intimate, John is just leaning on Jesus. There is nothing in the gospels to suggest that Jesus, despite being fully man, took his troubles to other men. He excused himself from camp or wherever he was staying, and spent hours in prayer to the Father.

Jesus as many suffered not just in death. His life, his ministry, was profoundly difficult and would have been exhausting and emotionally burdensome. He took it all to the Father.

If Jesus is our example, which he should be, he surrounded himself with (mostly) men. He had his team. And there was no doubt friendship there. But that friendship wasn't very intimate. He took his troubles to God, and for the most part, that's the example we should follow.

Prayer can be difficult. It's a spiritual exercise. It's work. But God wants us to exercise those spiritual muscles. Loneliness is (not always, but usually) God giving us discomfort and heartache so that we might seek him out. Maybe the Holy Spirit PROVIDES us loneliness as a gift, I don't know.

Back to original topic: I do not want to end by implying that male friends our not necessary. ABSOLUTELY they are. We should find them in church, and invite them to shoot hoops or barbecue, whatever, and just let our guard down and chat, sometimes about nothing important. That stuff is important. But I am saying that the deep stuff, the core aches, that almost always is meant to be taken to God.
 

kurtybro

Woodpecker
Traditional male bonding is strongly discouraged by mainstream society, bordering on being a criminal offence, that is unless the men agree to lay down their arms so to speak: defang and castrate themselves first so as to remove any chance of offending or intimidating the weak. Try to find a traditional male-only space that hasn't already been infiltrated and demolished by wicked subversive forces. Can't be having men gather in numbers, can we? Unless of course they kindly apply for a permit first ;)
 

Elipe

Ostrich
Protestant
Normalization of homosexuality also means that men either see each other as sexual mates or become afraid of being mischaracterized as homosexual. So it shouldn't surprise us that more men are acting like women or like 'players' with each other.
 

Sanctus

Woodpecker
Protestant
I have had friends over the years, and by that I mean people I would sometimes (perhaps a few times a year) hang out with or whatever, but the idea of a close set of friends in which there is an unbroken bond is foreign to me and I assume many men in general these days. Many of us are very atomised irl and are easily able to make 'friends' online (RVF is no exception) due to the impersonal nature of it all - but the majority of men I know past a certain age will only have maybe one close friend they can truly call on.
The last of the people I knew - and even then our links to one another were tenuous via living in different parts of the county - vanished along with the pandemic stuff. You'd be surprised how fast people will stop calling around when you find God and refuse the shot...
 

Arturo80

Sparrow
Orthodox
Normalization of homosexuality also means that men either see each other as sexual mates or become afraid of being mischaracterized as homosexual. So it shouldn't surprise us that more men are acting like women or like 'players' with each other.

What's equally malign is when they re-write close male friendships from history as being closetted homosexuals. They've absolutely gone to town on Greek history.

I noticed they've done likewise in Shakespeare. In a scene from Henry V, when Henry learns of the betrayal of him by the three traitors, he talks of how one 'shared the secrets of his bed-chamber'.

Of course in a recent production this was recently seized as a pretext for insinuating homosexuality, however historically this means his closest, most trusted advisors, confidants and bodyguards.

Kings never slept alone, on account of having round the clock protection from potential assassination.


Gentleman of the Bedchamber was a title in the royal household of the Kingdom of England from the 11th century, later used also in the Kingdom of Great Britain. A Lord of the Bedchamber was a courtier in the Royal Household; the term being first used in 1718.[1] The duties of the Lords and Gentleman of the Bedchamber originally consisted of assisting the monarch with dressing, waiting on him when he ate, guarding access to his bedchamber and closet and providing companionship. Such functions became less important over time, but provided proximity to the monarch; the holders were thus trusted confidants and often extremely powerful. The offices were in the gift of The Crown and were originally sworn by Royal Warrant directed to the Lord Chamberlain.
 

EndlessGravity

Ostrich
Protestant
No mention of church and of faith and service to the cause of God being the only solid underpinning, in my experience, of male loyalty outside of family relations.

I've seen no indication the Church has any stronger relationships than secular society. Can an Orthodox member comment on male friendship within their church?
 

AHaytch

Sparrow
Non-Christian
I've seen no indication the Church has any stronger relationships than secular society. Can an Orthodox member comment on male friendship within their church?

I take your point. I can't really vouch as yet for strong male bonds inside a Church. I attended a 12 week bible course in the winter. At the end of it, after exchanging numbers with a couple of males, I messaged one to meet for a chat. He replied he was busy with the kids, and never proposed an alternative date and time. Never got back to me again. Radio silence.

My point is this: to a large extent the environment those churches function in - secular liberal societies - take on the weak and fickle nature of male relationships that is experienced in wider society. I'd wager that anywhere in Africa where there is a church, you'll indisputably find strong male bonds because of the inherently conservative nature of said societies.
Finally I'll end by saying that as a former Muslim, the concept of brotherhood in Islam is something I've yet to experience in Christianity. It is solid. Whatever country you travel to, whatever culture, men will affirm and vouch for you on the basis of your faith alone. It is powerful.
Christianity in liberal, secular societies still comes up short in this area, in my experience.
 

prisonplanet

Robin
Other Christian
Having spent time in the army with a couple of deployments, I got to experience friendship with men on a level that I am certain to never have again. Male bonding is more circumstantial than anything. I didn't even really LIKE my closest friend in the army. Sebastian Junger, who was a war reporter, really nails down some of the things being discussed here.

 

prisonplanet

Robin
Other Christian
Finally I'll end by saying that as a former Muslim, the concept of brotherhood in Islam is something I've yet to experience in Christianity. It is solid. Whatever country you travel to, whatever culture, men will affirm and vouch for you on the basis of your faith alone. It is powerful.
Christianity in liberal, secular societies still comes up short in this area, in my experience.
Muslims aren't a threat to Satan. Ultimately that's who Christians are up against. Principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness, rulers of darkness. Only those with Christ are a threat to that.
The elites/oligarchs/globalists, whatever we want to call them, are really just glorified pawns for evil spirits. I definitely saw more brotherhood in the Muslim countries I've been to, but then, they were allowed to have that brotherhood because they weren't a threat to Satan's plans. You'll never see the same male bonding in Christian churches because Satan fears it and works to prevent it.
Even in Jesus' day, his ministry spent a lot of time outside city limits, like and often as fugitives. It was spiritual warfare just like it is for us. Christian men can have brotherhood but it will never look like it does with the rest of the world. It takes work, planning, vigilance, etc, as the Enemy will do anything to stop Christian men from getting stronger, especially in large numbers.
 

Elipe

Ostrich
Protestant
Muslims aren't a threat to Satan. Ultimately that's who Christians are up against. Principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness, rulers of darkness. Only those with Christ are a threat to that.
The elites/oligarchs/globalists, whatever we want to call them, are really just glorified pawns for evil spirits. I definitely saw more brotherhood in the Muslim countries I've been to, but then, they were allowed to have that brotherhood because they weren't a threat to Satan's plans. You'll never see the same male bonding in Christian churches because Satan fears it and works to prevent it.
Even in Jesus' day, his ministry spent a lot of time outside city limits, like and often as fugitives. It was spiritual warfare just like it is for us. Christian men can have brotherhood but it will never look like it does with the rest of the world. It takes work, planning, vigilance, etc, as the Enemy will do anything to stop Christian men from getting stronger, especially in large numbers.
That doesn't refute his post, though, which is still true. Christian brotherhood is nothing like Muslim brotherhood. Like he said, a Muslim is a brother to other Muslims wherever he is. Meanwhile, Christianity, especially in the West, seems to be the one club in the world that hates you for joining it. They minister so much to the unchurched, but when the unchurched joins the church, this type of ministering just... stops. And in the West, it even on occasion gets outright hostile to its congregation (e.g. see Dalrock on the way many preachers embrace feminism and use it to browbeat men in the congregation).

Don't get me wrong, I get the importance of outreach, but Jesus did also say that one of the ways the world would know we belong to Him is if we love one another. Christian brotherhood should blow away Muslim brotherhood. It should make Muslim brotherhood look like hatred in comparison.
 

TheosisSeeker

Robin
Orthodox Catechumen
I've seen no indication the Church has any stronger relationships than secular society. Can an Orthodox member comment on male friendship within their church?

I'm not Orthodox, but am a Catechumen. I attended my former community for a while and I attempted to make some friendships, but they didn't stick. The problem I had was, my community was mostly ethnic and people had been Orthodox for generations. There were a few down to earth dedicated guys, but the conversations were same as secular.

The results in the end were I talk to none of them today, so zero.

What we are seeing is a breakdown of societal norms on all aspects. Male friendships tend to develop spontaneously and they get more difficult with age.

I don't think anyone can replicate the bond formed by guys in a warzone for instance.

To add to this thread, converting makes it even more difficult as secular friends who do not convert may lead you back to sin. As an outsider, it is also hard to integrate.

Sometimes I wish I just grew up Amish or similar, just knowing the community for life, marrying, and living simply.
 

TheosisSeeker

Robin
Orthodox Catechumen
I take your point. I can't really vouch as yet for strong male bonds inside a Church. I attended a 12 week bible course in the winter. At the end of it, after exchanging numbers with a couple of males, I messaged one to meet for a chat. He replied he was busy with the kids, and never proposed an alternative date and time. Never got back to me again. Radio silence.

My point is this: to a large extent the environment those churches function in - secular liberal societies - take on the weak and fickle nature of male relationships that is experienced in wider society. I'd wager that anywhere in Africa where there is a church, you'll indisputably find strong male bonds because of the inherently conservative nature of said societies.
Finally I'll end by saying that as a former Muslim, the concept of brotherhood in Islam is something I've yet to experience in Christianity. It is solid. Whatever country you travel to, whatever culture, men will affirm and vouch for you on the basis of your faith alone. It is powerful.
Christianity in liberal, secular societies still comes up short in this area, in my experience.

The Muslims I've met are serious about their faith. They are fallen like everyone else, but what you say is true in my experience. They will support each other very strongly.

US Christians are, and I am pulling numbers out of a hat here, 95% in name only and 5% serious. Most are lukewarm, it's just a label to fit in, cause their parents are, don't really follow it, are woke, or something else.

So again to direct towards solutions...How do we gain strong Christian bonds? It is a function of being in a low trust and divided society in the US. I fear that the only way is tremendous hardship and a collapse. Making people depend on each other out of need.
 

Maddox

Kingfisher
Protestant
I used to have great friendships when I was young and in my teens and 20s. In fact, I had at least two different circles of friends I could call...and there'd be times when other guys would pop up on the scene and opportunities to expand my circles even further.

Things went downhill though when my best friend killed himself. My other good friend in our circle then decided he wanted to distance himself from me. Not sure if was because of our friend's death or what, but he just stopped calling and we never hung out again. I'm still pissed at him for this.

My other circle of friends went kaput too when everyone married young and moved out of our neighborhood.

So for the last 20 years or so, I've been without any good friends. Never made another since then, not even in church. For whatever reason, the guys I meet all feel like workmates. Sure, you can grab a drink with them occasionally, but I haven't had another friend with whom there would be that bond.

And frankly, the older I get the harder it is to meet and connect with other guys. I don't know why God has me on this path but it's a lonely one indeed.
 

Elipe

Ostrich
Protestant
I used to have great friendships when I was young and in my teens and 20s. In fact, I had at least two different circles of friends I could call...and there'd be times when other guys would pop up on the scene and opportunities to expand my circles even further.

Things went downhill though when my best friend killed himself. My other good friend in our circle then decided he wanted to distance himself from me. Not sure if was because of our friend's death or what, but he just stopped calling and we never hung out again. I'm still pissed at him for this.

My other circle of friends went kaput too when everyone married young and moved out of our neighborhood.

So for the last 20 years or so, I've been without any good friends. Never made another since then, not even in church. For whatever reason, the guys I meet all feel like workmates. Sure, you can grab a drink with them occasionally, but I haven't had another friend with whom there would be that bond.

And frankly, the older I get the harder it is to meet and connect with other guys. I don't know why God has me on this path but it's a lonely one indeed.
I feel you man. I used to have a friend that was closer to me than my own biological brother. Then he went into intelligence work and attended a bunch of coast-city universities and then he became very hostile and even rejected Christianity. I haven't had a friend like that before or since, and not for lack of trying.
 

prisonplanet

Robin
Other Christian
That doesn't refute his post, though, which is still true. Christian brotherhood is nothing like Muslim brotherhood.

I know, and I wasn't trying to refute. More just add to it. The main point I was making is that although I agree that Muslims have more brotherhood than Christians, it's partly because the Enemy fears Christian brotherhood more and so attacks it more. It's not an excuse for Christian men to not bond better, but it is one explanation for why we don't see it.
 

AHaytch

Sparrow
Non-Christian
Muslims aren't a threat to Satan. Ultimately that's who Christians are up against. Principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness, rulers of darkness. Only those with Christ are a threat to that.
The elites/oligarchs/globalists, whatever we want to call them, are really just glorified pawns for evil spirits. I definitely saw more brotherhood in the Muslim countries I've been to, but then, they were allowed to have that brotherhood because they weren't a threat to Satan's plans. You'll never see the same male bonding in Christian churches because Satan fears it and works to prevent it.
Even in Jesus' day, his ministry spent a lot of time outside city limits, like and often as fugitives. It was spiritual warfare just like it is for us. Christian men can have brotherhood but it will never look like it does with the rest of the world. It takes work, planning, vigilance, etc, as the Enemy will do anything to stop Christian men from getting stronger, especially in large numbers.
I would argue that the explanation is even simpler: Islam is still strongly patriarchal. Men still control the ordering, the calling of prayers and the affairs of the mosque; the elders call the shots regards administering God's judgement.
This counts for a lot. When men are front and centre in leadership and setting the culture of a community, brotherhood flowers.

I think Islam and Christianity are both fighting Satan in their own ways, regards your point.
 

Gnasher

Pigeon
Catholic
strong friendships within church - at least catholic church i would argue are rare and very weak. Most catholic priests are extremely lonely as due to very few vocations - they live by themselves and are increasingly old and isolated. Also - you can not forget that many of them are becoming woke and brainwashed - and it is brainwashing by their daily interactions and watching tv, radio etc. This forum is a bit of a vanguard. Ahead of the curve in many ways. One of my projects this year is to make friends. I guess I will try to do what I used to do - do stuff than interests me - be more social etc. Every expectation it will be harder. I will say friends from when you are young - would you be friends with them now - i.e. maybe we change as we age and are more demanding. The aspect I think we all miss is just hanging out. People being on a course, or trajectory at same time,i.e. army, work, school, sports, church or whatever it is. Just hanging out in a group and shooting the breeze. I miss that
 

Bird

Pelican
Catholic
I will say friends from when you are young - would you be friends with them now - i.e. maybe we change as we age and are more demanding.

That's it.

I actively terminated all remaining friendships a few years ago because my weltanschauung had changed while they still had the same topics of conversation, which was just too boring for me.

During the last 2 years you could find enough examples in the forum what a friendship is really worth in a serious case.
 

JuanChristophorus

Sparrow
Trad Catholic
Throughout my life secular friends were always better than "Christian" friends. In all churches I visited, save two, the men were effeminate, indecisive, pacifistic and not respectable. Whenever I spend too much time with those "men" it turned me away from God and lose the masculinity I finally build up. The only good things about them were their reliability and knowledge about their faith, but knowledge and church attendance does not equal virtue. The deepest bonds were with secular friends, specifically from Muslim countries, be it secular or devout Muslims, I got along with them better than with my "Christian brothers". This extends to Far-East Asians as well. With the people of my blood and faith, I share nothing in common with. If you are weak in virtue and brittle in character then the Satanic Globohomo spirit takes hold of you.

Only in the Syriac and Coptic Orthodox Church have I seen strong bonds and real men, needless to say I spent a good deal of time with Arameans.

At this point I keep secular friendships transactual; one hand washes the other. There is no reason to be attached or expect anything deeper. As Edmund Hulse said: There are no friends, only business partners. And in a more atomized world it rings truer than ever.
 
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