Who is a rebel?

rebel represents our antithetical position on popular culture and the message it has been sending men for generations. Culture says a rebel is a man defined by independence, personal achievement, sexual conquests, and/or economic success. Our definition of a rebel is slightly different. We believe a rebel is a man of character, defined by humility, who is dedicated to a purpose greater than himself. A rebel acknowledges that he does not have to put on a facade and attempt to be someone he is not. Rather, through being transparent about his own struggles, he is able to see that it is only through his faith in Jesus Christ that he is able to truly be the man that God intended him to be. rebels are easy to spot: often broken, a-typical, non-conformist, unique, connected, available, interested, vulnerable, more than friends, change agents, appreciative, passionate, honest, REAL.

Cover your sin, God will expose it. Expose your sin, God will cover it

Be a rebel.

rebels, unite and join us in the opportunity to, in some small way, change the world. But we must start by first allowing ourselves to be changed. That my friend, is an occurrence of the heart and cannot stop to consider the head. The heart is the best of who we are – it’s our truth, and when we let it guide our way, we are better served, to be better husbands; better fathers; better friends and just… better MEN. Join the movement.

  • as iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another

    Proverbs 27:17
  • Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.

    1 Thessalonians 5:11

Media

Man in the Mirror

Man in the Mirror

One of the least endearing qualities that I find in another is pride. I have an uncanny ability to spot it in someone else a mile away. I often see it in professional athletes, politicians, pastors and even in my wife. Unfortunately, what is not so easy to detect is the pride that lives inside of me.

I’m not talking about taking pride in something that I do, as in the pursuit of excellence; rather, I’m talking about the ugly side of pride that I don’t want to recognize in myself. The irony is that the pride in my life has an interesting way of masquerading itself as something that it is not. That being an undeserving, overestimation of my accomplishments, skills, position or possessions.

I decided to take a look at some of the ways that pride lives in my daily life. For me, it appears in a variety of ways. I may size someone else up based on their appearance, what car they drive, what they do or where they live. I instantly make a snap judgement about his or her character, yet I have no idea who the individual truly is as a person. Another instance may be when I am in a discussion that has opposing viewpoints and I make it a point to get in the last word. Or perhaps it’s when I have gotten into an argument with my wife, and even though I know I’m wrong, I choose not to apologize.

So where am I, and what is my motivation when I pass judgement on others, refuse to admit when I am wrong, or feel the need to be recognized as the clever guy who has all the answers? Simply put, I am preoccupied with the trinity of me, myself and I. Essentially, I am attempting to elevate myself to a position that puts me a “cut above” everyone else. But why?  Insecurities. I think insecurities are inherent in all of us, whether they come from our upbringing or have developed through our lives. I certainly have my share. If I am being honest, I would prefer to be smarter, taller, better looking and a few years younger. For someone else, it may be something different, but I believe we all have things that we we would like to change if we could. At times, I know I would.

Why did I decide to write about the topic of pride in my life? Honestly, it is because I don’t like what I see when I look in the mirror. I don’t like the undeserving judgement that I make about others, or the facade I present at times that I have things all figured out. Because the truth is, I don’t have it all figured out, I don’t have all the answers. And as much as I try to find the solution to my struggles in me, I invariably discover that the answer can never be me. But aren’t we in the best position when we surrender and accept that we don’t have all the answers? Isn’t that when pride has the chance to turn into humility, and humility then can open the door for acceptance and love?

So today, instead of looking out a mile to spot the prideful traits of others, I turn my attention to the shortest distance to better help myself. It’s no farther than the closest mirror.

My Eyes Are up Here… Maybe

My Eyes Are up Here… Maybe

All of us men are guilty of it. We are not sure when it started, but it is almost ingrained into our heads. A beautiful, or even menially attractive, woman walks by and we turn our heads to see how tight her clothes are. It’s not classy by any means, and we know it, but it feels as if we can’t help it. Perhaps it’s innate or rather, and most likely, we have just done it for so long that it is second nature.

I have always tried to catch myself. Not just because I think that in a way it’s degrading, but also because now I know how it feels to be on the receiving end. No not technically me, but vicariously through my wife. I am not going to lie, and I am not trying to write this so my wife will say ‘how sweet,” but my wife is hot. I mean hot. She has modeled in magazines and advertisements around the world while still managing to cook the best steak and make our house feel like a home.

The other day, we were at a home improvement store purchasing recessed lighting to put in our guest room. We were just about to check out when my wife decided to look at the flowers, and in good husbandry fashion I followed. I noticed a lean man loading wood into his small, beat up, red truck. He glanced up at the two of us and noticed one of us was more attractive than the other.  Now, I am accustomed to dudes checking out my wife. It sucks but I am used to it, though this guy didn’t seem to want to stop. He followed her with his eyes everywhere she went. Down the aisles, to the register, back down another aisle, back to the cart, following her and probably humming the creepy song by The Police ‘Every Breath You Take’ under his breath while he stalked her from a distance.

I couldn’t help but feel almost barbaric at this point. I stared back at him and puffed out my chest, wishing I had pectoral muscles big enough that I could beat on them ape like and they wouldn’t bruise. I would have clubbed her and dragged her back to my cave if I knew that that would have deterred him from honing in. Better yet I should have just clubbed him and left him there. Even with me staring back at him, and at moments me standing between her and this guy, who perhaps was 20 years her senior, he wouldn’t stop.

Now to know me is to realize that I am not a fighter, but at this point I was getting furious. Finally, much to my wife’s surprise, I yelled ‘Hey! Stop staring at my wife!’ and gave him the cold clinched fist stare. She was mortified. The workers in the area stopped what they were doing and froze, but the guy turned around and looked behind him, as if I was talking to someone else and carried out his business.

The scene was over. The guy got into his truck and drove away. I wish I could say that it was because he was overcome by fear by my bulging biceps, but really it was because his task of loading his truck was done. I don’t even think he knew what he was doing. Honestly, he really thought I might have been talking to someone else.

Looking back, I wonder what the guy hoped to accomplish by fixating on my wife. I want the statistics of how many couples got together because the dude yelled an obscene phrase out the window of a car or from a construction site at a helpless female bystander. I want the next massive chick flick to start with the male lead staring a girl down so hard that she got uncomfortable to the point that they fell in love. Memo to men, the woman you want won’t fall in love with you because you can’t take your eyes off the back of her jeans.

As angry as the situation made me, I wondered if I have been guilty of the same thing, not even realizing my actions or their repercussions. Have I aimlessly let my mind wonder in different directions while letting my eyes stray down their own path? After just such an incident I am going to be conscious of my own actions and not just because of what happened to me but because it’s just not man-like. Its cave-like, my actions included.

Man up.

Career Killer

Career Killer

Some men consider themselves lucky to even have a job these days, while others sit comfortably at the top of the corporate ladder. And then there are those men who have a job and have been stuck in the same old position for years. While they have dreams of promotions to management and the C Suite, there’s something holding them back.

It’s not a lack of job performance or that management doesn’t like them, but rather a more serious psychological problem that’s probably affecting all areas of their lives. It’s called approval addiction, which means you value others’ opinions above your own.

It stems from believing, “I won’t be loved or accepted unless others approve of my behavior.” Many mental health experts are convinced this addiction is worse than addiction to drugs, booze or sex, because it’s conformity at any cost, and it impacts everything we do in life.

Approval addiction is usually deeply rooted, dating back to a much earlier time in our lives. There was probably a time or times when someone close to you emphatically disagreed to the point you felt hurt, shocked and like you were run over by a Mack truck. It could have been a parent, sibling, best friend or teacher. It could have also been an experience in a public setting where many people disapproved. In some cases, the approval addict can recite criticism he or she received 50 years ago word for word.

Regardless of what triggered your approval addiction, the key is to look ahead and overcome this so it doesn’t interfere with your career and other areas of your life.

There are a number of common thoughts around career-related approval addiction: What if other people don’t agree with me? What will happen if I make my presentation and my co-workers think my ideas don’t make sense? I think I have a great idea for this new project, but nobody will ever go along with it. It’s better to keep quiet and stay below the radar because I really can’t take the criticism. I can’t be myself at work because no one will like the real me.

My reputation will be ruined if… Making mistakes is not an option. I would be so embarrassed if a co-worker had to correct me.

One Man’s Example
Scott works in the marketing department of a national electronics retailer. He’s not in an entry-level position, but because of his prior experience he’s considered a junior account manager role. His job duties have him helping with advertising campaigns, industry trade shows and market research. Scott has worked at this company in the same role for more than two years. While he’s a good employee, smart, and always on time, he’s been overlooked for several promotions.

Scott recently had an idea that could boost sales and show a stronger ROI on marketing campaigns. While his idea seemed good in his own mind, he knew the company would have to front some money to implement it, and he was only 80 percent sure it would actually prove successful. Still, it would be worth speaking to management about it.

The problem for Scott is that he suffers from approval addiction, so he kept the idea to himself. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In fact, there have been several occasions during department meetings when others questioned Scott for being so quiet. It’s not that he’s shy or introverted; he’s just extremely addicted to the approval of others.

In his mind, getting all of his co-workers and management to always be 100 percent in agreement with him is more important than anything else. He needs that validation from others in order to feel good about himself. Scott often wonders why he can’t just be himself during work, speak his mind, give input and stop being a people-pleaser.

Performance Anxiety
At least for Scott, he was working in a career he chose. Some men hold jobs in fields that don’t interest them. The reason: to please someone else.

Mike grew up in an upper-class family. His dad was the partner in a statewide law firm, and his mom was very successful in real estate. He had everything a kid could need or want growing up, did well in school, had plenty of friends and participated in extracurricular activities.

The one thing he also had his share of was pressure to perform.

Mike’s parents made him study constantly, sit at the piano practicing for hours at a time and demand nothing but perfection. From the way his dad spoke, Mike pretty much inherited a career in law while he was still a toddler.

Sure enough, Mike graduated at the top of his class, graduated from law school and took a job with a law firm. As smart as Mike is, he never became a great lawyer. He bluffed his way through his job each day, but deep down inside, he was miserable.

He was living somebody else’s dream. The one thing Mike loved more than anything else growing up was cars. He dreamed of building them, taking them apart and even racing them. He never pursued that dream because he knew his parents would never approve. He was making good money practicing law, but always felt as if something was missing.

Get Help
In the worst cases, approval addiction can eventually lead to depression. Those suffering usually reach a breaking point when they realize they are doing everything in their lives to make other people happy and not doing anything to fulfill their own dreams and aspirations.

At this point, it will be much more than your career; everything you do will be severely impacted.

If you are addicted to the approval of others and it interferes with your career or any other area of your life, seek professional help. Find a specialist in cognitive behavioral therapy who can help you focus on your emotions, behaviors and thought process.

The good news is that once you overcome approval addiction to any significant degree, you’re free of the psychological chains that bind you from ever experiencing world-class success.

You’ll quickly catapult your level of success in your career, and everything else will fall into place because you’ll be living for you.

As Bill Gove, the father of the professional speaking business used to say, “I am responsible to my employees, customers, and business associates, to be honest, sincere, and to act with integrity… but I am not responsible for their attitudes or behavior towards me. I hope they like me. It’s more pleasant that way, but if not, it’s not my problem.”

Dear Son: Find Your Fire

Dear Son: Find Your Fire

A few years ago I went through a very difficult transition – one that many go through in this country. I went from being married to being divorced.

Divorce is difficult all around, but one of the aspects of divorce that I struggled with the most was not being able to see my son every day as I had for the first three years of his life. This separation from my little boy was a transition I never fully accepted and one that took me years to learn how to deal with. One of the ways I dealt with the transition was to start writing in a journal. My journal became my nightly conversation with my son, even when he wasn’t there to share it with me.

Inside my journal, you’ll find a wide variety of subjects – from deep, meaningful and thought-provoking epiphanies to off-the-cuff thoughts. I poured my heart and soul into the journal, not only for myself but for my son as well. I was worried our time apart would take its toll on our relationship and I didn’t want him to forget me.

I thought about the values I wanted to convey to him; messages I hoped he would pick up along the way, but ones that I was willing to be crystal clear about if necessary. I wanted him to avoid some of the pain and mistakes I made along the way, if possible. That was, after all, one of my jobs as his dad. Here is just one example of what is in my journal.

Dear Son, Find Your Fire

Those words may not mean a lot to you out of context, but they’re hugely important to me. I think I’ve gotten lucky along the road of life so far. I didn’t struggle with school. I was able to graduate from a university during a time of growth in the economy and I fell into a career that seemed to choose me.

As grandpa used to say, “It’s better to be lucky than good” and luck, it seemed, was on my side for much of my adult life.

However, after 36 years on Earth, I’ve learned a few important lessons. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned only time can teach. But I’m going to give it a shot anyway.

In these times of a tough economy and the ever-increasing focus people have on the accumulation of wealth and “stuff”, I’ve come to discover that many of us fail to find what it is in life that we’re truly passionate about until it’s too late.

Find your passion, son, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Let your passions lead you; let them guide your journey through life and not vice-versa. Life & career burnout is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

The relentless pursuit of the high-paying job, the big house and nice cars isn’t the end-all in life. Those things are all nice to have but they’re still just that – things.

Find your passion no matter what it is — embrace it, cultivate it and make it your own. Let the ‘stuff’ come as a bonus only after you’ve found, experienced and perfected that passion. You’ll be so much happier in life if you do.

Love,

Dad

The Things We Carry

The Things We Carry

Tearing at his oxygen mask and cursing, he had the wild-eyed look of a soldier battling an unknown enemy in the dark. He was my father, and he was dying. Watching someone you love suffocate to death in the front room of your family home isn’t anything like it plays in the movies; it’s ugly and unforgiving. It’s unwatchable, yet you can’t turn it off, hit fast forward, or cover it with your hands until a lighter scene arrives.

I witnessed my brother James — a practicing ER physician — bravely sit and take the brunt of my father’s pain and abusive rants. My mom would later say that no son should have to pronounce his father dead, but my brother did. He was a hero that day, but battles bear scars, and James never again returned to that home on West Lamar Road.

My father has been gone for more than 10 years now, and all of us have been irrevocably changed since he passed. We miss him, particularly at this time of year when we gather, laugh, and reminisce about days gone by. While young nieces and nephews enjoy the novelty of the holiday cheer, we revisit the past and the experiences that shaped our time together as a family. The times we knew our love for each other was real despite the pain we brought to one another over the years.

My father was not a perfect man. He hurt people — people whom he loved who loved him in return. For years, I struggled to understand how it was affecting me, and how I carried it forward and brought it onto others close to me in my life.

Growing up, my relationship with my father was tense and volatile. He was a critical man, and it undermined my belief in myself. He was a man gifted at finding the flaw, and he focused on that. I fought to prove my worth all of my life; first to him, then to myself. So when he died, it left a void. Now where would I go to find my approval?

For others in my family, it was different. My mother spent years catering to a man who couldn’t give her what she wanted. My father, a successful neurosurgeon, wasn’t emotionally available to express love in a way that built intimacy both in the heart and in the head. I think she often felt isolated and alone in her 38-year marriage.

For my brother James, it was always the academic struggle and the inherent competition of having comparative careers. He decided early that he wasn’t going to be who my father was, both within his profession and out, and chose emergency medicine for the freedom it provides. He’s a dedicated family man, who puts his wife and kids above all else. He told me often that he didn’t want to be like our dad, a father who just wasn’t there.

Yet for all the pain and suffering, all the disappointment and despair, I miss him.

I miss my father’s blinding intellect, his wit and humor, and the curiosity of a mind never at rest. I miss the click-clack of his Florsheim boots and the rhythm they made on the hospital floors when he took me on rounds as a child. I miss the way he laughed when I would imitate him, which I often did. I miss the runs we took on rocky Oceanside beaches, where every summer of my childhood he would remind me of my missteps and threaten my enrollment in military school. I miss the time I purposely slowed a fastball at the all-star father/son little league game so he could get a hit. I miss his friendship now that that I’m old enough to truly be his friend.

For all of the things I miss, there is one night that stands above the rest. Ask anyone in our family what the best night we ever had together was and it would be unanimous: Christmas Eve dinner at Trattoria Dell’Arte in New York City. It was a special night, and my father was in rare form.

Trattoria Dell’Arte was unlike any restaurant I’d ever seen: it had minimalist decor, peachy orange walls, with high ceilings and relaxed art house lighting. But its most distinctive features were just that — features. Huge plaster casts of human ears, eyes, noses, and lips adorned the walls and made this trendy midtown eatery seem like a kind of culinary funhouse. The fact that my father had made the reservation was a first, the fact that we had a V.I.P. table in the center of the room bordered on bizarre.

Mostly silent on social occasions, my dad seemed to be a different man. He was alive, gregarious, and downright giddy. He shared stories, told jokes and stood to make toasts. He was the emcee and we were his guests. He offered a generous pour to those of us lucky enough to attend. Bottle after bottle of the finest wines came and went, and without reserve he ordered more — the six brightly lit faces at our table did not object. Dessert was no different. When our waiter kindly asked what we would have, my father’s response was, “We’ll have one of each,” and we did. Chocolate mousse, éclairs, créme brulée, sorbet — it was endless.

And so, it was a night to remember when my father, filled with the holiday spirit in the prime of his life, made us all feel special. To be with him, to bask in his glow, and to know that on this one Christmas Eve, in the heart of Manhattan, he had magically become the man we always wanted him to be.

I choose to remember the best. Not just of my father, but of all the people I am blessed to know in my life who, like me, carry the baggage of a broken past. The road to redemption is paved with people like us, struggling to do our very best, often in spite of ourselves. It is here that my father and I walk quietly hand in hand in recognition and remembrance.

Denny’s Testimony

Matt’s Testimony

Brock’s Testimony

Brett’s Testimony

Why men cheat

Why men cheat

It’s a Thursday night and the bar is filling up. It’s ladies night, and as is to be expected with these types of events, there are lots of women and even more men trying to vie for their attention. One woman in particular stands out from the crowd. She’s on her third drink and her judgement is impaired just the slightest bit. Enough not to notice the tan line on the ring finger of the gentleman who bought her those first three shots. The night progresses and the two of them decide to engage in each other’s company at a local hotel.

The next morning she wakes up alone, wondering who that man was and whether or not she’ll ever hear from him again. Chances are pretty good that she won’t. This scene plays out at bars and clubs across America every night. Man meets woman, an attraction is formed, and the two of them slink away to indulge in carnal pleasures. But why is it that a married man would go into a bar and look for a companion? What is it about men that make some compelled to cheat on their spouse or significant other?

To find out, we decided to tackle the problem from a few different perspectives. The answer isn’t as clear cut as it may seem.

The Problem of Accessibility

Cheating has been a problem ever since the concept of monogamy was introduced to our culture, but this has been complicated in recent years with the advent of the Internet. Facebook makes it easy to reconnect with ex-girlfriends, Match.com allows married men to meet unsuspecting women, and other dating sites offer the same potential. The biggest offender among these though is Ashleymadison.com, a website designed for married people to meet other married people. They even offer a money-back guarantee. It’s the moral decay of America, happening right in front of our eyes.

Temptation has never been greater because it’s never been so easy to find someone else to share your desires with. Those that are willing to be deceitful on their online profiles can lure in members of the opposite sex fairly easily. Just make a suggestion to meet up for coffee and a few hours later, try to seal the deal.

Plus it’s promoted on TV shows and in movies, like it’s no big deal. Whether or not it should be done, isn’t really the point. Most would agree that cheating on your significant other isn’t a positive thing to do. But should sites like Ashley Madison even exist? Should social networking sites require some kind of background check to determine if the person is being truthful? The point is that these things are out there, and everyone should be aware of what they are and what they do. That way they can see the warning signs coming.

A Call To Men

A Call To Men

On a cold, winter day last year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it was the soft voice of a 9-year-old boy that reaffirmed his life’s mission.

“I was working in a very small charter school made up predominantly of African- American boys,” Porter said. “We were talking about all the things that define being a man and I asked what would happen if we could step outside that man box.

“This boy looks at me and says: ‘Then I would be free.’

The admission stopped Porter dead in his tracks.

“It made me think: ‘If he’s not free then what is he?” Porter said. “What is his day-to-day experience from school to home, or going outside to play? What is this man box he adheres to, not just to get through the day but to survive? And where are we, as men, falling short in giving him his freedom?”

Porter and Ted Bunch co-founded the national organization, A Call To Men, to address and end domestic and sexual violence against women and girls by challenging men to reconsider their long held and long taught gender beliefs — then take those lessons back to disseminate within their respective communities.

While the field of work that focuses on violence against women is about 40 years old, Porter and Bunch found it troubling that most of the dialogue was coming from women.

“Nine out of 10 times it’s the marginalized group that is speaking out against oppression,” he said. “We had an opportunity to be part of a dominant group speaking out and that became very attractive to us.”

“And as our thinking expanded on this issue, we asked ‘why are we only talking to men who batter? We’ve all been socialized with these same norms so let’s expand this dialogue to all men. Let’s engage the 85 percent of men who aren’t abusive.’ ”

Chris Hall, the Prevention Coordinator at the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, called that a crucial step.

“As with many other forms of social change, men haven’t had a need to be involved in this dialogue because men are typically in positions of power at all sorts of levels,” Hall said. “They’re heads of households; they’re in charge of companies or government.

“But it’s vital to draw in men who are not abusive to create a social source of respect – and to normalize this dialogue.”

Katie Gentile, the Director of the John Jay College Women’s Center in New York City, said that men have an enormous influence on each other’s actions.

“One thing that shows up in all the research is that male peer groups are one of the most predictive factors for whether a man is going to be violent in his relationship with a woman,” said Gentile, whose center develops programs to heighten awareness of issues affecting women students including stalking, rape, sexual assault, ideals of beauty and legal issues around domestic violence.

“One of the consistent messages that Tony and Ted are delivering is making men responsible for their violence,” Gentile said. “It’s always been seen as a woman’s issue but women don’t hit themselves. Tony and Ted are very strong in putting the accountability on men — telling them that they’re choosing to hit which is extremely important in the course of prevention work.”

In the span of a few years, A Call To Men has grown from a grass roots program outside New York City to a national phenomenon, with 14 stateside events already on the calendar or past in 2011. The organization also held events last year in Brazil, the Republic of Congo and South Africa.

“I am a visionary but in the beginning, this was not my vision,” Porter said. “Initially, I was holding seminars that would draw people from about a 90-mile radius. Most of these people worked in alcohol and drug addiction and they had to get credits to move forward in their work.

“But at some point I decided to gather a group of men who shared my views. I moved away from this notion of holding the bad guys accountable and put on a workshop in the fall of 2003 called “A Call to Men: Ending Violence Against Women and Becoming Part of the Solution.”

Requests to bring that message started flooding in from communities all over the northeast region and, eventually, all over the country.

Porter and Bunch’s message has even drawn the interest of high-profile clients in Hollywood, the nation’s service academies and the National Football League. Porter estimates that he’s worked with 26 or 27 of the NFL’s 32 teams and, in conjunction with the NFL Players Association and the league, A Call to Men helped produce “NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters,” a book celebrating the bond between fathers and daughters.

“When you start talking about 53 physically gifted guys on a team who have tremendous alter egos, it’s not an easy situation or environment to venture into,” said Vice President of NFL Player Development and five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent, who played 15 seasons for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. “Toss in the reality that football is a violent, macho game and it’s not easy to reach everybody — but Tony does.

“He has this amazing ability to relate to and touch specific moments in your life – to make you stop and say, ‘so that’s why I feel and think the way I do!’”

Last year in Miami, Porter was discussing funerals and the specific ways men are socialized to react to death.

“I went from being 40 years old to being 7 again, hearing my dad say ‘we’ve got to hold it down for the family. We can’t cry.’” Vincent said. “Men aren’t supposed to cry or be emotional but when I heard Tony talk about that and ask what’s wrong with that mentality it made think, ‘how are we raising our young men?’”

Porter admits he was skeptical upon initial contact with NFL players. He expected egos. He expected arrogance. He expected disdain.

“It’s been anything but that experience. They’ve been very receptive and very willing to talk about this issue,” Porter said. “They’re under the microscope and there’s plenty of work to be done when you look at some of the highly publicized cases the league has had, but the work can’t be done by hating them and staying away from them.

“That’s not the way to engage men. That’s the way to back men up against the wall and make them anything but receptive to your message.”

Porter is also cognizant of the widespread impact NFL players can have.

“If I can get them talking about this issue and that dialogue reaches 10,000 of their fans, that’s a lot more than I could ever do,” he said.

At the core of Porter and Bunch’s work is challenging, rethinking and even assailing the collective socialization by which men are trained to view and treat women.

“Domestic violence is rooted in sexism, patriarchy and male domination and that collective socialization contributes to violent behavior,” Porter said. “One of the founding principles of most societies was that women and children belonged to men — that they were property, and that thinking still exists, to varying degrees, in many cultures.”

And yet every culture has its own set of challenges, whether it’s the Congo or West Virginia.

“In West Virginia there’s a strong gun culture,” Hall said. “Often people think we’re asking everyone to get rid of their guns because the reality is some domestic violence involves guns.

“There are state and federal guidelines for removing guns from homes but this gun culture sort of clouds the issue and creates this odd reality to navigate.”

Porter and Bunch focused a lot of their early work on racial minorities and inner cities, but the organization now does an enormous amount of work in rural communities.

“If we truly want to say we want to end violence against women, then we have to end it in all communities,” he said.

The greatest challenge, Porter said, is getting the message from the seminars to the greater communities.

“We like to reach in and grab a man’s heart and make sure he’s thinking differently about this issue than when he came. But the real work is after,” he said. “It is rare that I’m ever in an audience with men who disagree with my message. The hurdle is to get men to leave the room and put this newfound knowledge into action.

“We’re ever courageous in many respects, and this man box teaches us no fear — we pretend we’re not afraid even when we’re petrified.

“But this is a different kind of courage. For me, the challenge is to truly step outside the confines of this collective socialization, take this issue head-on and bring it to a place of no fear.”

Porter typically asks each person in attendance to talk to five friends about what they’ve learned. Then he asks them to raise their hand if they’re willing to do that.

“Some do it, some raise it about halfway and others say ‘I’ve got to sit on this for a while. I’m not ready to take this head-on,’” Porter said. “That’s the reality for us in this work. In some respects, it’s baby steps when what we really want to do is take leaps and bounds.”

That desire is fueled by a troubling and enduring reality: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks violence against women as the No. 1 threat to women’s health.

Why?

  • On average, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States.
  • In 2008, the CDC found women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year.
  • Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • “If women could end this thing it would be over,” Porter said, “but the reality is that the incidence of violence against women has not decreased.”

“The solution lies in the majority of men who are not abusive. It’s our responsibility to normalize this way of thinking so that generations from now my sons can say, ‘my dad told me that’s how they did it way back when but we think it’s ridiculous – and it’s not the way we think about women or men today.”

10 Things Men Can Do To Prevent Domestic and Sexual Violence

  • Acknowledge and understand how male dominance and aspects of unhealthy manhood are at the foundation of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Examine and challenge our individual beliefs and the role that we play in supporting men who are abusive.
  • Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to prevent domestic and sexual violence.
  • Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against domestic and sexual violence, we are supporting it.
  • Educate and re-educate our sons and other young men about our responsibility in preventing domestic and sexual violence.
  • Break out of the man box: Challenge traditional images of manhood that stop us from actively taking a stand in domestic and sexual violence prevention.
  • Accept and own our responsibility that domestic and sexual violence will not end until men become part of the solution to end it. We must take an active role in creating a cultural and social shift that no longer tolerates violence and discrimination against women and girls.
  • Stop supporting the notion that domestic and sexual violence is due to mental illness, lack of anger management skills, chemical dependency, stress, etc… Domestic and sexual violence is rooted in male dominance and the socialization of men.
  • Take responsibility for creating appropriate and effective ways to educate and raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence prevention.
  • Create responsible and accountable men’s initiatives in your community to support domestic and sexual violence prevention.

Popular Culture

We are challenged with a battle between what is right and what is popular.  As shifts in our culture happen at a faster rate, one foundation that never changes is Jesus Christ.

Donnie The Warrior

Donnie The Warrior

I would first just like to thank Christ Jesus for giving me the ability to write this. Because without Jesus I would be literally dead!

I always believed my life was one of great success, as I equated success to “things.” I came from a really good family, both parent’s were very loving. I had two brothers and two sisters. I was the oldest of five brother and 2 sister’s. I was diagnosed with ADHD; I add HD, “High Definition” to the extreme. Ever since I can remember I always loved people and lived life to the very extreme – very much a risk taker. God did not bless me with school smarts, but he did bless me with very good athletic ability, as I excelled in sports, particularly Ice Hockey and Baseball. I received division 1 scholarships in both sports. At that point in my life I thought that I had life pretty much in control.

In college I began dealing cocaine for the Mob. Although I knew it was wrong, the money was so provocative. I did not know God and quite frankly, Donnie became God. I began to become addicted to pain medicine after I finished playing hockey in 98 to 08. An entrepreneur at heart, I chose the world of medical marijuana as a business. Making more money than I could dream of, I found myself arrested in December of 2011. I Lost everything; my houses, cars, bank accounts, but most importantly, my family and my 21 year marriage.

On December 26, 2011 I hit rock bottom. I found myself homeless, living in my Subaru WRX. I had gone from living a life of luxury to being one step from death. And I thought about it. One day I was sitting in my car crying out to God, a God that I never knew. I asked God to please give me 5 minutes of peace. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I felt a peace. It was that day that I realized God was real. From that day forward I had hope and that this God might really exist. Needless to say, on March 13th 2012, I gave my life to Christ and I have’t looked back. This man that gave his life for me, named Jesus Christ, who I LOVE more than life itself, is the most real thing I have in my life and I not only have Christ but I have my boys living with me and have a great relationship with my ex wife.

Thank U Jesus for giving me this amazing life any only through you would it be possible.

Rebel Testimony Montage

Ken Dedicated Servant

Ken Dedicated Servant

I had lived my first 34 years of life chasing after all that the world offered and most of what I chased was not for the good of myself or anyone around me. The pursuit of what I viewed as happiness entailed dealing and using drugs, alcohol, gambling, love of money and most any other selfish desire you can think of. Needless to say, my way was taking me down a road of destruction mentally, physically, financially and relationally. When the future of my family was on the line I had finally had enough and with the help of friends I came to the realization that my way wasn’t working.

It was then that God put me in the path of a business colleague who accepted me as I was and over time shared the Gospel with me, he told me that God gave his One and Only Son to take away the sins of my past, present and future. My friend said that God had a plan for my life,that He loved me unconditionally and was waiting for me with open arms.

Little did I realize what God had in store for me, He reconciled my marriage, He saved me from the hurts, habits and hangups in my life, and He opened my eyes to the beautiful and wonderful things in this life. Today my wife and I run our own company, our one and only son is the most compassionate and loving young man who loves God and people. The one thing God did that I NEVER expected was to raise me up as a Pastor to minister and serve his people. God has filled me with His love and Spirit and that is greater than any amount of money or temporal pleasure that I could experience.

Chuck Faithful Surrenderer

Chuck Faithful Surrenderer

I was living the life I always dreamed about. Good job, great wife, two awesome boys and living in a close-knit community in the Indianapolis area where family, faith and community were high priorities. We started attending an amazing church in 2002 and after six months, my wife and I were baptized together recommitting our lives to Christ after going through the motions and attending church sporadically for several years. I began coaching my boys in the church basketball leagues and then eventually started coaching in our local Little League Baseball organization. Life was good. I was very happy and our family had an amazing bond. Our faith was rock solid and began playing important roles in my sons’ lives as well even though they were only eight and five years old. The next five years were a blessing as we continued to grow in our faith, bond as a family and watch the boys growing up into fantastic young men. I felt truly blessed by God for giving me an absolutely awesome family. I never took it for granted and spent as much time as humanly possible with my family.

However, on a late February afternoon in 2007, everything changed forever. The boys were riding home with a friend of theirs and his parents when the SUV they were all in was hit by a train at a crossing only two miles or so from our house. My boys didn’t survive. The three members of the other family all miraculously survived. Jake was only twelve and Travis was only nine. I didn’t know what to do. It was like my world literally ended that night. I couldn’t understand any of it and my immediate thoughts were how could I possibly go on living now? I had a lot of doubts about God, about faith, about everything. I realized this was Satan working on me; he wanted me to give up and end it all. I eventually came back to the fact that God is the ONLY way for me to get through this devastation. I know he is with me every single day. He guides me and I put my complete faith and trust in Him in everything. There is no other way. I know God will make all things right in the end and I will see my boys again one glorious day. This scripture sums that up for me: Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” What this means to me is that no matter what any of us are going through here on earth, we can’t compare it to what God has waiting on us. So, whatever trial or tragedy you are going through, don’t give up. Give it all to God. He is waiting to take your hand and your heart and lead you through it all no matter how difficult it is.

rebel is real.

Through our rebel groups and digital based content, we want to create a platform in which men can feel comfortable discussing real issues. In a culture that promotes news, sports, and weather conversations, rebel counters culture by acknowledging that in order for men to become spiritually healthy, they must be in the presence of other men who seek that same spiritual health.  Authenticity and transparency.  rebel is REAL.

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