About 18 years ago, the men of Trinity Presbyterian Church began gathering monthly for “Trinity Tavern Thursday.” This is a letter I sent out to the congregation to explain what we were doing and why. It’s republished here for a new generation of men at TPC, in the hopes that the TTT tradition will be carried on for decades to come.
Lately, I've seen some Facebook controversy amongst my friends over masculinity, particularly between those (mostly older men) who want to emphasize the spiritual aspects of masculinity (being a good man) versus those (mostly younger men) who want to to recover the physical aspects of masculinity (being good at being a man), like weight lifting. Some might describe this as a controversy between those who want to emphasize "beta” male qualities versus those who want to exalt “alpha” male qualities. I don’t particularly care for that terminology, but it gets at something important in current debates over masculinity. Should men be tough or tender? Rugged and decisive or compassionate and patient? Differentiated leaders or empathetic consensus builders? Frankly, I find a lot of the current discussion entirely unnecessary and unproductive. It’s largely based on false dichotomies that divide things that ought to be held together. Masculinity involves both virtue and virility. It involves being both tough and tender. The best men are a wise combination of both “alpha” and “beta” traits. I want to reproduce a comment I made on Facebook here, and then expand upon it, in order to (hopefully) further this discussion: