Christmount Christian Assembly

Georgia Region Menís Ministry Retreat on Toxic Masculinity
by Glenna With

The Georgia Menís Commission hosted the annual Menís Retreat at the beautiful Christmount Conference Center in Black Mountain, North Carolina April 5-7, 2019.  Roger With, the Menís Commission President, was joined by the Menís Commission and gentlemen to worship in song and gain knowledge from the workshop presentations. Men from all over the state of Georgia, and a gentleman from Virginia joined keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Percy Johnson on workshops on Toxic Masculinity.  This term is defined as a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression.  Itís the cultural idea of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness.

Rev. Dr. Johnson showed various videos, power point slides, and offered handouts to explain this topic and illustrate the aspects of Toxic Masculinity. All in attendance were first asked to try to answer the opening question:  What does it mean to be a man who lives in the 21st Century?   Some of the answers were provider, father, leader, hunter, gatherer, and warrior, but Rev. Dr. Johnson explained that culture and context has changed the definition of manhood. The definition of manhood was then defined within the context of the church and spiritual growth.  He also pointed out how young men are struggling with becoming men in our current society with regards to culture and how these men are struggling to find their unique created purpose. Rev. Dr. Johnson discussed how the new role of the church must be how to model male behavior and show young men how to act in all situations, and this goes for all generations of men.  Consequently, Rev. Dr. Johnson challenged those in attendance to be good role models, and he emphasized the importance of the church to step in and help with this important task.

Part of the presentation was on the life of David and Psalm 51.  It was concluded that David was wounded and he was no longer able to fight, so that led to his behavior with Bathsheba.  David was wearing a mask, because his identity was compromised, he felt inadequate and uncertain. Another plight of males today is their invisibility, as many men feel they are not seen nor heard.  This results in great pain because they canít speak out.  Men, who are muted from peers and society, will seek other avenues for a purpose, and those might include self-destruction and ultimately violence. The only hope for this situation is fearless dialogues, where the masks that cover the true man can be revealed in truth to listening and compassionate listeners.

Rev. Dr. Johnson urged all men to be courageous enough to talk about difficult issues, and that all are to use their power, skills, and talents to move the church and young people forward.  Men shouldnít withdraw, but use what God has given them to each other and their progeny. A key to this dynamic is honesty and respect.  ďThe 50s are not coming back, so you must find a new way to talk to the youth, and find a new way to converse,Ē said Rev. Dr. Johnson.  He also challenged the participants to find a way organize the community through the work of the church, thus providing connectedness.  He also said, ďYou canít change people, but you can model the love of God in your life.Ē 

All who attended felt blessed by the honest dialog, workshop content, and the presence of Rev. Dr. Johnson.  The Menís Retreat was highlighted with the musical talents of Rev. Dr. Jay White, and his niece, Hannah Inman, Rev. James Shelton, and Bob and Mary Grant.  Devotions were presented by Layman of the Year, Michael Curtis, from Ray of Hope, and John Anderson, Menís Commission member.

On Saturday evening, retiring web master, Buddy Ray, was honored by the Menís Commission.  Jimmy Walker, a past Menís Commission president, honored Buddy with a crystal presentation plaque which thanked him for his years of service to the men of Georgia and a devotion to God.   The retreat was concluded with a Communion worship service led by Rev. Medie Still, who gave the homily, and Rev. Tom Van Laningham who offered pray and devotion, and scripture by the regionís retiring web master, Buddy Ray.  To close the retreat, a friendship circle was formed with the men and women in attendance, and Bob Grant led the men in ďBlest be the Tie that BindsĒ, the traditional closing hymn for all Menís Commission retreats.

Save the Date for the 2020 Retreat at Christmount, March 27-29, 2020.  Watch the Georgia DOC webpage for retreat information.

See all the Photos HERE

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Percy JohnsonRev. Dr. Percy D. Johnson Jr.

Percy D. Johnson Jr was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. He holds degrees in Social Science, (BS, Troy State University, Troy, Alabama), (Master of Divinity Degree, Vanderbilt University School of Divinity, Nashville, Tennessee), Doctor of Ministry Degree (United Theological Seminary, (Dayton, Ohio) and presently has completed his course work and passed his performance exam in pursuit of his Doctor of Theology Degree, (Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia) in Pastoral Counseling. He currently is serving as an Advanced Counseling Resident at the Care and Counseling of Georgia. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Beulah Heights University and the Interdenominational Theological Center and as a Group facilitator for a course entitled Introduction to the Psychology of Pastoral Care.

For 21 years, he served as Associate Professor of Religion at Beulah Heights University and prior to that position was the Chaplain for Infectious Disease with the Grady Health System. His training also includes serving as a Chaplain Resident at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee and Emory Hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Johnson has served as the Senior Pastor of Godís City of Refuge Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Atlanta, Georgia, Holsey Temple C.M.E Church, Macon, Georgia, Holsey Temple Christian Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, Holsey Chapel C.M.E Church, Marietta, Georgia and in pulpits from Tennessee to Georgia While serving pulpits in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church he served as Chairman of the Board of Ordained Ministry and was a delegate to its general conference. Presently Dr. Johnson is pursuing Marriage and Family Licensure and provides counseling for youth and young adults changing their life direction through the Year Up Program in Atlanta. He holds ordination credentials in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the National Baptist Church.

Dr. Johnsonís Doctor of Ministry dissertation was entitled, The Spiritual Formation of African American Men Blessing African American Men: A Pastoral Care Model and his present ThD project proposal focuses on the subject of Transforming A Created Pseudoself: Exploring The Psychospiritual and Psychosocial Dynamics of the Fragmented and Shattered Selves Within African-American Men and The Psychotherapeutic Tools Needed to Assist Them with Identifying and Reclaiming The Authentic Self.

He has facilitated numerous workshops in churches on such varied topics as: Grief, Loss and Transition, Church Development and Growth, Leadership formation and Vision Casting, Male and Masculinity Identity formation and transitioning, Mental Health and Behavior with Church and Society, Complex Trauma, Anger, Rage and Depression, Group and Power Dynamic Challenges and Marriage and Family. He is married to Kim and they have two children, Garrett and Kerrie, and one energetic four year old granddaughter, Camryn.

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