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Why I went on the M.R.O.P. – The Journey

I had heard of Richard Rohr for years - had listened to his tapes on male spirituality over the years. He always seemed insightful and very real. He spoke to me. What particularly jumped out at me was his biblical reflections on Paul and human freedom. I was going on a pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey in the footsteps of St. Paul, and got his "Life as Participation" CDs on Paul - they really blew my mind and touched me with deep insights. 

So I continued to read and listen - my life was slowly moving on. I had recovered from some setbacks. But I felt a certain empty restlessness - wasn't sure how to read it or what to do about it. In early 2005, a work-friend, who also enjoys Rohr's stuff, mentioned the male rites coming up later in the year. I quickly dismissed it as something I just don't do - sounded too tribal! A week or two later, he said he was interested in going and would go if I would. What the heck, I thought - why not! I was helping him and it might help me! So we went to the website and I started to sign up. The questions I had to answer at first startled me - and then attracted me - because they asked about what I might be looking for - they reached into that empty restlessness which seemed to define me - so I thought, this will be good - and good for me! I signed up - was relieved when I got accepted after the questionnaire - and purchased my ticket to fly to Minnesota - only to learn weeks later, that my friend hadn't done that yet - opps - I did not want to go alone. I prayed and heard nothing. I shared it with a few guys I know and they laughed - was this going to drumming naked with overgrown boyscouts? Finally my friend signed up - but it always was seemed hesitant about whether he would actually make it.

About a month before, fear got the best of me - it did sound like I'd be out in the woods, alone, naked, drumming and fighting mosquitoes.

Welcome to our new Web Site

Our Men As Learners and Elders site has a new update.  We now have a way for visitors to the site to add their name to our email mailing list and add comments to Blog articles and Forum Questions.  In the future we will have interactive Opinion Polls.  Check out the Events sections for more information about coming events and past events to get an idea of our men's spirituality programs for men.  Also see the Photo Gallery for photos of our events.  A special thank you to Bill Leece for his great artistic photography and his special talent for capturing the male journey.  

Peace and Fire,  

Ed Miller
Illinois Midwest Leadership Team

Centering Prayer

I spent a few hours with a group of ladies (and one guy) last Tuesday evening and offered some information and my personal experience on Centering Prayer. I had met with them about three years ago and we talked about spirituality in general...they wanted to hear about my journey and current practices etc. It was a good evening. It was a good evening because in anticipation of this meeting I reviewed the first few chapters of Open Mind Open Heart by Thomas Keating and it was refreshing to say the least. They are new to this prayer form and it was interesting to note my reactions to this event.

For starters...I became a little uncomfortable during the glowing introduction by the hostess...she had me a couple of notes below John of the Cross! If only they knew! So I could feel their projection of "holiness" on me...and I could immediately understand the temptation that a religious person could fall to with all this projection...then having to live up to it...I thought of all the televangelists leaders that have fallen...not being able to maintain the projection as it was never really reality to begin with, but rather a "shoring up" up of the false self...the most dangerous kind of shoring up - religious.

So I began by offering a little perspective that brought all this down to earth, about how many periods of prayer are a constant flow of thoughts for me...and some periods are rather peaceful...and that any peace is total gift...not brought on by any effort or technique on my part. Also that I miss days of prayer, usually because I am up late or hit the snooze. I think this balanced things out a bit...I still was the "expert" in the room, but dealt with the glowing projections of holiness...we all squat to shit!...of course left out that part of it...:-)

Anyway...the gathering was interesting also as a matter of perspective, because they were clearly neophytes eager for some teaching on this...eager to enter into this area of discipline...eager for knowledge of the