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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Well . . . Guys I started this BLOG in 2007. . . ten years ago.  There have been just short of 68,000 visitors since I started . . . from the U.S.,  Alaska and Russia.  There's a fair amount of "stuff" put out there . . . and you know, I've never heard a word from anyone who has visited.  Maybe that's because I never provided a way to do that.  My email is frank.mundo@gmail.  I'd love to know how you got here.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Covenant for Men’s Group

Our agreed upon ground rules have given us parameters that have assured us of accountability, confidentiality, mutual care  and encouragement … and to tell the truth in love.  It is a subtle reminder that we have each made a decision to make the group a priority, and to count the cost of commitment to our own personal growth as well as to one another.  Our Covenant is not a cure all, but it has given us structure that we need to draw us closer together to encourage personal growth and open sharing. 

Our written Covenant is a guideline to help us work through small conflicts which may arise among us in future weeks and months.   Each alternate Tuesday we agree to meet I.  am convinced of our need to fellowship together and share the richness of small group life and I am further convinced that using a clear written road map, our men’s group will continue to thrive and grow and become a safe haven for other men who have yet to experience this way of being together.

We recognize that our Covenant will develop and change over time.  It is always subject to change according to the will of the Men’s Group.

General Ground Rules

Initial Group Commitment          Four meetings, then evaluate to consider further meetings

Criteria for Membership              Membership is limited to men or people who gender-identify as male. 
                                                                Spouses or partners of individual members are not allowed to join.
                                                                Minimum age limitation is 18. There is no restriction on the top end
There are no restrictions as far as any of the criteria: religious affiliation,
political belief, sexual orientation, race or nationality.

 Accepting New Members           Potential  candidates for future membership will be initially discussed by
the group prior to being invited to attend a meeting.  Vote must be unanimous to invite a potential new member to a meeting.  Invitees will attend two meetings following which there will be a vote as to whether or not to accept the member.

Leaving the Group                          Any member wishing to leave the group will attend one follow-up
                                                                meeting to effect closure with the group.           

Attendance                                        Members need to prioritize their commitment to attend meetings as
the continuity and value of the meetings relies on members being present. 
Starting and Ending times            7:00 to 900 p.m. Tuesdays
&  Meeting Location                       VUU Church Office and/or member homes

Late arrival to Mtg                           Try to arrive on time, more than 20 minutes late, skip meeting

Notification of Missing Mtg        Call Michael Woomer 602-819-2630 or notify him via email with sufficient time that members can be alerted to your absence at the meeting (so they won’t worry)

Group Activities                               This is currently envisioned as a “Discussion Group” and does not
include social, advocacy or volunteer activities.

Membership Responsibilities   Show up for meetings.  No financial or time commitments are required
other than scheduled two hour meetings twice a month.

Confidentiality and Accountability

Confidentiality                                 Information shared by members during Men’s Group meetings is
considered confidential  and should not be shared outside the group.
Members need to be assured that confidentiality is maintained without the need of specific statements in advance such as “the following information is confidential.”  It is permissible to mention the general topics of the meeting and to disclose the Covenant and Mission Statement of the group.  It is important that information identifying individuals and what they discussed not be disclosed.

In the event that an individual member shares information that is considered by one or more members to be of a nature indicating the possibility of a serious injury or harm to anyone will require that the group meet and discuss with the individual how to resolve or restore the situation to one of safety.

The Group will not discuss a member when he is not present at the meeting.

Accountability &                              Group members recognize and value the time and emotional 
Ownership of statements            investment that each member makes in meetings.  Individual members
will weigh in with and own their individual opinions, thoughts and feelings and represent them as such. 

Mutual Care, Encouragement and Truth Telling

Level of participation                    Members are encouraged to share information at meeting that is within
 the bounds of their individual comfort level.  There is no requirement to match others in terms of subject or depth of disclosure.  There will be NO PRESSURE to share more than you want to share, just because  someone else has.  Discussing something through to resolution or a plan of action is not necessarily  required. “Pass” is always an acceptable statement when its one’s turn to speak.

Respect for Members                    Feelings are not right and wrong.  They are right for the person who has
them.  When people share deeply their experiences of childhood and their personal family stuff they make themselves vulnerable.  Sharing vulnerability is the basis of building Trust.  That Trust is sacred.  People have “blind spots” , perceive things differently, may not even perceive them at all.  Our task is not to “set people right” in their thinking but allow them to grow in their feeling and thus understanding.  Consequently there is no need to come to agreement, consensus or even understanding at the end of a meeting.  It is simply to be present , caring and thoughtful .

Group Process and Topics

Check-in Process                             Each Men’s Group meeting will include a time for individual members to
“check-in.”  This is a time when members describe what has happened to them in the time since they were last in a meeting of the Group.   It may be a description of events that have occurred, issues they have delt with or other ongoing issues, concerns or roadblocks that have occurred for them, or people with whom they regularly associate.   Each person shares briefly  while everyone else in the group remains silent, listening. 

When all members have had an opportunity to check-in there is time for a discussion about any issue  or issues raised that have particular importance.  Anyone is free to identify an issue.  In terms of the individual who raised the issue, that member often elaborates further on it, providing details and often sharing his feelings about the issue.

 Other members sometimes ask for further descriptions of the event or situation.  Members’ most effective contribution comes usually in the form of relating to similar events in their own lives that bear some similarity in subject or content.  Feelings expressed beyond simple statement of fact is particularly valued.

We generally discuss items couched in terms of our own life experiences.  We are not inclined to offer “advice” . . .  “ I think you should…” for example.

We take ownership for what we say.   We often encourage people to explore their own FEELINGS about a situation to explore more deeply their own thoughts about a situation.  We may, for example see a connection with things they have previously expressed and ask them if they see the connection . . .  if there is one.  We do not necessarily reach closure or resolution on an issue.  At least it is on the table.  Sometimes things take  weeks, or even months to work themselves out

Discussion Topics                            Discussion Topics are determined by collective decision of the Group.
                                                                Typically these will be focused on subjects  of interest to men. 
Specifically excluded are topics related to Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation.  Here is a sampling of future Topics, subject to amendment and addition by the group (listed below):

Where do I stand in terms of my father …. Or being one myself?
What being a man means in 2016
What is success ?
What is my mission in life?
What does the term "A good father" mean?
Defining ourselves apart from our work, redefining ourselves as being more than work.
Coming into “authentic power” as a man
Has an external event ever fundamentally changed what you believe?
Describe your biggest failure
Describe a moment of private enlightenment or achievement that you hold dear
Living with our loneliness and sense of separation – the male lone-wolf syndrome…..
Finding mentors, role models and being one
Developing intimacy in our lives
Learning how to share feelings
Not being dominant or submissive in life, achieving balance of strength & vulnerability
Nurturing our relations with spouses, lovers, children, fathers, mothers and friends
Developing a more in depth understanding of our relationships with women

Converting our own rage and violence into a constructive force

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I have been in a Men's Group in Camden Maine for ten years.  Now, having moved to Phoenix, Arizona... I am starting a Men's Group here.  For further information, please contact me at

Monday, December 27, 2010

Good Men

This is a good Blog

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Characteristics of Men

Hi Michael,

I believe there is a basic "Male Human Nature" and a corresponding (complementary) "Female Human Nature."  This does not mean to dismiss or demean those people who chose to alter their initial biological sexual "assignment." Nor does it mean than men and women can't change roles, assume career and child rearing responsibilities successfully.
These human natures were shaped as part of the "evolution" of man over the course of a hundred and fifty thousand years.  Because we are large brained (and that huge brain has to grow dramatically after birth.... our progeny are born helpless and remain so for a considerable length of time while the size of the cranium grows to a size that would never be able to pass through the birth Canal.  It takes a lot of time and energy to feed and protect our children.  More than is possible by just a woman.  Thus men and women have become partners with an "division of labor" that has been refined over tens of thousands of years.

So you ask the question, "What, IF ANY is THE characteristic that defines us as men?  I assume there is implied here "relative to women..." You do quickly acknowledge that there are many characteristics.  A broad range of "physical ones" - musclature, penis, hormones, size. More interesting to me are the behavioral and deeper the internal psychology. Just as evolution has shaped our bodies, so it has with how we "are" in the world.. how we perceive ourselves, how we satisfy our needs... what those inner needs are.  Now I realize that this kind of recognition is highly upsetting to Feminists... that its terribly "politically incorrect." 

I do not agree with your men's group consensus... " there are groupings of tendencies that define the genders and they are broadening to decrease the sharpness of the dichotomy of men and women."  I believe we are hard-wired as male and female - that these characteristics define men and women.  There are sharp differences and those differences are distinct and serve a purpose - survival of the individual and that individual's offspring.  There are role changes that are individual adaptive responses.  Woman provides, man nurtures and raises children - but these are relatively rare.

Genetically speaking, there is no reason why the gene for Male inner perception and outer relationship with the world has to, 100% of the time be linked with the male sex organs.  It is possible for the Female inner perception and outer relationship to be in a male body.  And just how powerful this gene is is amply demonstrated by those individuals who have their sexual organs changed... (A thought that makes many men break out in a sweat and cross their legs at the mere mention of the idea.

I would say that there are thousands of male characteristics that we all share (those of us have the male inner perception and outer relationship with the world.. gene.



On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 10:26 AM, Michael wrote:
Michael has left a new comment on your post "Men's Network Male Involvement in Church":

I'm Michael Rogers here on the Central coast of California.
Last night I led a men's group in an attempt to find an answer to a question that to me seems to be not only relevant but critical to we men: What if any is the characteristic that defines us as men?
The immediate response is "I have a penis" There are many that will however disagree in that while they have one live and appear as a woman. There is a continuum ranging from the trans gender individuals that have their physical bodies changed to that of a woman's at least in appearance and those that either from a doctors modifying it at birth or the 1 in 100 with sexually related variances to those that choose to wear some piece of attire usually associated with woman.
There is a lot of variance throughout the population that makes a simple distinction difficult.
There are other continua: differences in women's and men's brains, size, and approach to the world.
The end result we seemed to arrive at is that is there are groupings of tendencies that define the genders and they are broadening to decrease the sharpness of the dichotomy of men and women.
It seems to me that research needs to be done to further focus on determining the variables and determining where we are on these as men so as to be able to optimize our innate abilities as men.

Posted by Michael to Men's Groups - Care, Feeding (and Starting) at September 28, 2010 11:26 AM

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Do Men Need?

A Hierarchy of Needs

Fifty years ago the psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote about the Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow, people have some needs that basically must be fulfilled in a particular order. Starting at the top, they are:


Although not every need at one level must be fully met before a person can aspire to the next level, the general outline rings true. Under physiological, for instance, we need air, water, food, and shelter (among other things). If we can't breathe, it doesn't matter if we're thirsty or starving or if we have no roof over our heads. And until those needs are met, we're not likely to worry too much about establishing some protection from saber-tooth tigers (or muggers). Likewise, if we are in physical danger, our self-esteem takes a back seat.

I want explore the middle two items, Belonging and Esteem, and what they might mean to us ordinary men.

Most of us have a sense of belonging in our families, our communities, our places of work. This gives us a rootedness, a compass by which we guide ourselves through life. It would seem a natural thing, then, for esteem to be a logical next step: we are loved, we are useful to others, and so on.
Feeling Like Crap

So why do so many men feel like crap? Or if we don't, why are we of absolutely no opinion about ourselves - in other words, why are we so numb?

We can talk about the devaluing of men in society and the assaults of feminism, and these may be factors, perhaps even significant ones. But I think there's a bigger factor: Men no longer get a sense of belonging from other men.

Many men get only tiny tastes of belonging from within even the best and most loving family. As for communities, they are atomized into cocoon-like households and typically offer even less belonging. Most workplaces are not long on social support, and aren't designed to be.

Many of us, often without knowing why, are isolated and lonely, even when we have a nice job and a loving marriage and family. A numbness sets in, and it feels natural. After all, we're meeting society's and our family's expectations to be a provider, a good and quiet citizen, and (depending on our situation) a faithful and loyal family man. This numbness affects all our relationships.
Men's Belonging

Where can men get a sense of belonging that will resonate with esteem and in turn give us a better sense of belonging in our families and communities?

Here are some other ways to put the question: Where can men get the most connectedness and understanding of what it's like to be a man? Where can men feel total acceptance of ourselves as men? I don't mean acceptance as husbands, or fathers, or workers, or leaders, or heroes, or anything like that. I mean acceptance for simply being male.

From other men.

I think if you get a few men together, and give us some time, we begin to come out of our loneliness and isolation to find that we're not the only ones with a full range of spiritual yearnings, sexual joys and frustrations, rage against abusive bosses, deep love for our children and partners, glory in our large and small victories, grief over our losses and compromises, zaniness and raunch, utter fatigue and distraction from just being a man.

Yes, our wives and girlfriends understand us - on their terms, or in terms of being part of a couple. But, simply because we are men, we have a far greater potential of understanding, and being understood by, other men.

This is not touchy-feely encounter stuff with lots of (perhaps) unmanly chatter. Our understanding can be nonverbal, contained in a glance, a knowing grimace, a grunt of appreciation. It's a kind of intimacy, but not the kind in which personal boundaries come crashing down. It's more like finding ourselves standing on common ground, a ground larger than the little islands we thought we were stranded on. When we do talk and listen, it's from the heart, with a clarity that can surprise us. The depth of understanding is a phenomenon I've seen in weekend gatherings, week-long retreats, and an afternoon of drumming and poetry.

The esteem part comes when we realize that we matter to other men, that our value to each other is simply in being men and not in accomplishing great feats. Because other men accept us - whole communities of men - we begin to accept ourselves and matter to ourselves.

This esteem can be brought back into marriages and families, strengthening connections there. In fact, I've heard several men report that, when things got shaky at home, their wives or partners said, in effect, "Time to do some more men's work."
The Challenge

I know it's likely that I'm preaching to the choir here. Most men reading this newsletter have already had some experience in, or at least interest in, men's groups.

But how can we spread the experience around? I'm not talking about becoming a "movement," just perhaps expanding our men's groups to include a few more men, or spawning off a new group in a new community.

I've been told that attendance at gatherings is declining, at least here in the Northeast. If the decline in men's work is widespread, it's possible that, as a collective, men are sliding down further into the pit of loneliness.

So here's an action plan: If you're involved in men's work in a men's group or by attending gatherings, invite another man to join you. If you lead a group, discuss expanding it and encourage the men to bring a friend. If you're not already in a group, you may have to start your own. See How to Start a Men's Group for some ideas.

It's a small start. But each man you bring into men's work is one more man who has a sense of belonging and self-esteem and who can bring those qualities back to his family and community.

From Menletter June 2004
by Tim Baehr