Why You Should NOT Attempt Exodus
The Church often wonders why men are visibly absent from the pews today. But the Church should not expect men to be engaged when she offers so very little for them. At the very least, Exodus 90 is a hearty challenge to the status quo. Men who have engaged the discipline in the past were convicted by the idea of accepting this life-changing challenge.
When I address men today, I call to mind who I stand before: in spite of current problems, I am addressing the sons of the men who changed the world: those who established a country of self-governance, who opened the American West, who demolished oppressive totalitarian regimes and their tyrannical leaders in Europe and the Pacific, who learned to fly, who walked on the moon, created the internet, cured diseases, who built cities and fed the world; and the sons of Catholic men who, by their treasure and manual work, built a remarkable system of Catholic Schools, hospitals, churches and cathedrals to worship the God of the universe and to serve mankind. In other words, we come from good stock, dependable stock, capable stock.
But, nonetheless, DO NOT attempt Exodus:
1) If you enjoy being impotent (i.e. powerless, incapable, ineffective); if you enjoy being neutered and domesticated and are happy to live a life indistinguishable from death; if you enjoy watching heroism in the movies, but do not have the wherewithal to live heroically yourself…
2) If you are comfortable or content being told by an empty and sterile culture how you are to live, what you are to think, and how you are to act. If you are inclined not to challenge people (i.e. be hurtful) call another to personal excellence (i.e. be offensive) or hold someone accountable to what is good and truthful (i.e. be intolerant)…
3) If you are pleased that your wife, sons, daughters, parishioners, or friends think you are a “good person” but do not really respect you…
4) If you are okay going to the grave (as all of us eventually will) lacking a legacy, not having built anything worthy of respect or remembrance [outside of your career]…
5) If God is something you do on Easter and Christmas, or something you do to get your mother or wife off your back…
Then, perhaps Exodus is not for you and we apologize for our insensitive and machismo intrusion into your life.
On the other hand, if you truly want to live in the freedom of the sons of God, gain interior strength and end your slavery to the Evil One who has been deceiving you for longer than you can recall; if you are convinced you can do more as a father or brother or priest so as to serve others just as Christ came to serve; if you are capable of joining other men for mutual support, accountability and greater purpose; then, take up the cross! Join your brothers and strive for greater freedom and use that freedom wisely, so that, when we are finished and our work is done, God, himself, will say, “It was my son, he passed this way.”
For decades now, Catholic men have complained about the feminization of the Church, the absence of male spirituality, the lack of a challenging regimen. Exodus is the change in the Church you have been waiting for; call upon your brothers, the time is upon us, the time now.
Those Catholic Men was apprehensive that our proposal to launch Exodus might be met with a good amount of doubt and negativity. We paused and thought:
- Will men be able to handle the discipline, will they dedicate the time?
- Should the program be reserved for priests and monks and not married people?
- Will men embrace the discipline to fast, pray, and do penance?
- Will men abstain from alcohol or video games or hot showers?
- If modern men are disconnected and prone to be apathetic, will Exodus be too intense?
The criticism that we have received has been sharp, quick, sometimes sarcastic, and the message has been clear: stop what you are doing, put it away, there is no place for this machismo non-sense in the Church.
We dare to say that Exodus provides a challenge that you may never be invited to engage in again. Look at the state of men in the Church! Catholic men’s movements are characterized by an overweight man in a sweater sitting comfortably in the lobby of a church talking about being a warrior, a king, or a powerful man. We do not disagree that men can achieve this worthy status… but he will not do so without hard and challenging work. We urge you to give Exodus a try!
“Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war…” (Psalm 144).