Pastoral Care of Men

In 1999, I was co-lecturer with Dr. Christie Neuger at a UCC sponsored conference with the title, Women and Men: Sharing Holy Ground. My presentation focused on the history of men’s movements in the 19th and 20th centuries and some of the current pastoral care needs of Christian men today. The presentation was an outgrowth of my book with Christie Neuger, The Care of Men (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1997)

My presentation touches on some the following issues. First, I call attention to some of the history of the gender crisis over the last 175 years. The U.S. Women’s Rights and the Abolitionist-Civil Rights movements started in the early 19th century, and the implications of these movements continue to be important for Christian theology. This will give a context for understanding the issues that men bring to pastors for consultation and care. Second I identify five areas where men are in need of pastoral care: grief, couple and family relationships, work, sexuality, and aggression. The first set of issues can be approached in a fairly straight-forward way – namely, grief, couple and family relationships, and work. We need to be assertive in inviting men to discuss these issues, so they can find better support and begin to deal with their insecurities when gender issues are raised. Sexuality and aggression are more challenging because many men are already defensive and feel unfairly blamed. But there is more at stake here than embarrassment. What is at stake is a just world for both women and men in a rainbow of cultures and religions.