I have found over the course of my 24 years of pastoring that many people are living with unfinished business in their lives. I am a living witness that one can go for years with unfinished business in their lives. For many years I lived with the traumas and the hurts of my past haunting me from time to time especially during those times when I faced challenges in my life.
That unfinished business surfaced in many ways during those times when I needed them least to show up. There was the memory of the violence that I saw and experienced as I was growing up, I saw the abuse, the addictions, the discord and in-fighting in the church, the racism and the words, yes the hurtful and damaging words that people say about you, and the evil and devious deeds of people that hurt so deeply.
I learned how to medicate and stuff my feelings, in fact I became pretty good at stuffing and ignoring my feelings. Especially when I was told that Christians shouldn't react to life situations based on their feelings. But the ironic part of that is there were still those times of outrage and very deep anger that were a direct result of feelings and emotions. Interestingly enough, this type of reaction also causes one to make unwise decisions and choices in their lives and I was no exception. I compensated by moving to the opposite end of the spectrum where I made myself to be very calloused and passive about life situations and lived on the energy that it produced.
It was through various close friends, caring people, even strangers, and my wife who helped walk with me on this journey through to my healing. I can now look back over my life's experiences and because of what I have been through, am able to reach back and help others deal with the pain in their lives and see them be healed. This journey is what "Man-Up" is all about: to provide a caring, listening support system for people, where they will not be judged, criticized or categorized for who and what they share about themselves. But it is a place and time for those who want to complete the business in their lives to come and be made whole.
I believe that the more people who complete the business in their lives and who are supported by those who are internally healthy, the more we will see a decline in Domestic Violence, Gang Violence and any other type of Violence and oppressive behaviors against others.
"Man-up" is a mentor-protégé type of relationship where we do our main work in small focus groups called Huddles. The huddles are conducted in two phases, the first phase is the open, candid and intimate conversations, it is a time or releasing and letting go, and the second phase is the prayer and meditations with and within the support group.
Man-Up is open to everybody regardless of age, sex, gender, religion, race, ethnicity or any other classification that someone may choose. We have both men and women's huddles. We include everybody and exclude nobody.
We want and welcome both the people who are still dealing with their "Unfinished Business," and those who have walked the road to healing, who can help others through the process. If you have or have had any unfinished business in your life, Man-Up is for you.
The next General Gathering of Man-Up will be 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at Concordia College in Luther Hall, Room 121. Everyone welcome.