Reviews of “New Adam: The Future Of Male Spirituality”
A hopeful, insightful, deeply biblical and spiritual book written by one who enjoys being male and who knows both the destructive perils of distorted masculinity and the gracious promises of “the New Adam.’ Philip Culbertson issues a persuasive invitation to feminist-sensitive men to explore a more honest, expressive, peaceful and celebratory masculinity.
James Nelson, Professor of Ethics
United Theological Seminary, Minneapolis
Book Newsletter, ed. Roderick Olson, No. 553, Summer 1992, pp. 1-2.
New Adam: The Future of Male Spirituality, is a book that addresses important questions facing all men, but especially those men who seek a meaningful spiritual dimension in their lives. These questions include, “How can I relate appropriately and effectively to women?”, “Why is it often so difficult to feel close to other men?” and, “What blocks me from deepening my relationship with God?”
Woven out of the strands of several well-chosen biblical stories, the author’s own, sometimes painful personal experiences as a man and his understanding of the problems facing men and women in today’s world, Culbertson seeks to develop a sorely needed perspective on male spirituality. Emerging as the personification of this male spirituality is the author’s concept of a “New Adam.” This new Adam is not only a more open and caring male, but one who takes seriously and is willing to struggle with the new feminism and gender sensitivity that has emerged in women, the church, and our society over the past thirty years. He is also a man who has the courage to move toward greater independence and intimacy in his relationships with women, other men, and God.
Several parts of this book left a lasting impression. The chapters depicting current male problems such as father and son difficulties and friendship issues as reflected in the stories of David and Absalom, Abraham and Ishmael, and David and Jonathan were particularly evocative. Another chapter relating the author’s experience in a men’s support group along with his practical suggestions and guidelines for maintaining such a group is also quite helpful.
The book’s final chapter compares and contrasts the author’s perspective on male psychology and spirituality to some of Robert Bly’s current popular views. As a counter to Bly’s Iron John story, Culbertson develops his own interpretive myth (White Snake) and proceeds to explain new Adam principles from its content.
New Adam is an intriguing and provocative book that contains fresh insights into the issue of male spirituality and offers readers a new way to understand and relate to one’s self, others, and to God.
Joe Vaughn, Clinical Psychologist
New Hope Counseling Center, Rockford, Illinois
Sewanee Theological Review, Vol. 35, No. 4, Michaelmas 1992, pp. 419-421.
Philip Culbertson, known to many readers of the Sewanee Theological Review through his essays and reviews in this publication as well as through his years on the faculty of the School of Theology, University of the South, has written an immensely important and valuable book. It is presented by the author as a kind of companion piece to Phyllis Trible’s Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), and that it is. But it is much more, for Culbertson also provides in this small work a remarkable compendium of information, studies and insights on such varied topics as 1) contemporary psychological and psychiatric perspectives on male identity; 2) biblical narratives about male relationships that often come through as “texts of terror” for male readers; 3) perspectives drawn from Hellenistic, New Testament, rabbinic, and early Christian sources that illuminate male friendships as they existed and were understood in different cultures of the Mediterranean world; and 4) perceptive and suggestive proposals as to how male spirituality might be claimed and deepened today, especially within the Christian community.
The author uses well his talents as a pastoral theologian, translator and exegete of biblical and rabbinic texts, and sensitive advocate for human liberation – and especially male liberation. Without special pleading of any kind, with firm advocacy and support for the gains made by workers for female liberation and spirituality, and with no effort to assign blame to particular groups or institutions, Culbertson offers an eloquent, closely reasoned, and experientially tested set of steps that males might take to ease some of their pain and claim more of their male identity.
The retelling of the biblical stories of Abraham and Isaac, David and Absalom, and Jonathan and David well illustrate Culbertson’s ability to claim the biblical tradition afresh for our generation. The treatment of Jonathan and David seems to me the best, the most surefooted of the several studies, though the discussion of the “covenant” between the two would have benefited from greater attention to recent studies of the types of ancient near-eastern treaties/covenants. The Absalom-Amnon-Tamar-David story is immensely complex, and the author deals magnificently with many of its facts. Concentration upon the complex ties between David and Absalom keeps the analysis on track, but other features of this perhaps most powerful instance of the ancient narrator’s art necessarily get short shrift (note, for example, the place of Jerusalem in the narrative and how the story is retarded by the recording of incident after incident, as David slowly moves out of the city, into Wadi Kidron, and on towards the east; II Samuel 15:13-17:23).
The story of Jesus and his friends rightly reflects the limited knowledge available from our sources. The author provides a rich setting for this picture of Jesus, however, with brilliant summaries of male friendship in the Hellenic and Hellenistic worlds and in rabbinical Jewish circles. The Qumran community offers yet more material, and so do the documents of Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha and the recent materials on Gnosticism. Culbertson telling enumerates the classical “Christian” virtues and qualities that are just the antithesis of those that males have instilled in them from earliest childhood, qualities that define the proper form of male leadership in western societies.
The author states his personal views clearly, but never without sympathy for the views of others. His own personal story is introduced from time to time to illuminate a point being made or to place the author in company with many readers. This feature of the book will make it all the more useful as a study book for groups dealing with male spirituality, within religious congregations and in other environments as well. The chapters that relate prayer and male spirituality to male sexuality (chapters seven and eight) give a clear set of talking points for group reflection and discussion. And the author never minimizes the difficulties or the fact that much can go wrong as men strive for the ability to share life and thought and experience and love.
One possible misreading might be cautioned against. In the author’s discussion of Greek understandings of love and friendship (pages 92-96), the point is rightly made that erotic feelings are a natural part of friendships between persons of the same sex. The feeling need not be acted upon genitally, however, in order that the depth of friendship, the love, be demonstrated. Sometimes the need for expression may lead to such overt intimacy, which the author does not explicitly reject or deem inappropriate. My one query is this: might it not be wise to consider that overt sexual acts, whether heterosexual or same-sex, add a distinctive dimension of intimacy? It is true that same-sex friendship that are like that of David and Jonathan are intended to endure, seek to avoid exploitation, and are by nature acts of mutuality. If the overt sexual act takes place in that context, then that rules out casual sexual engagements. Friendship is not made enduring and mutual through sexual encounter; the latter may flow out of a love that is intended to be mutual and enduring and non-exploitative. Our author makes the point; I only wish to underscore that it is not a matter of indifference whether a deep friendship between persons of the same sex does or does not lead to genital expression. Should it do so, then the love and friendship between the partners will have undergone a new dimension. It might have been worthwhile for Culbertson to have said a word about that, even at the risk of being accused of moralizing. Overt sexual acts are not only on a spectrum of sharings of life intimately; they have their own distinct shape and character, their own rituals and joys and dangers.
Rarely have I read a book from which I have learned as much as I have learned from the reading of this study of male spirituality and sexuality. That may be primarily due to my own ignorance. But surely, it is also in part due to the wisdom, the wide-ranging knowledge and perceptiveness, and the literary and pastoral talents of its author.
Vanderbilt Divinity School
From Spiritual Life, Winter 1992, p. 250.
New Adam, with its explanation of male psychology, its encounters with five biblical “texts of terror” for men, its pioneering of new ways in men’s prayer and groups, enables men to come to terms with issues of justice, friendship, sexuality, and love in their lives. Culbertson’s book will help men to shape a new spirituality, to achieve a new integrity and to create a new identity.
From The Bible Today, January 1993, p. 54.
Subtitled “The Future of Male Spirituality,” this book seeks “ways to continue to claim all that is good about maleness and masculinity without perpetuating violence against women.” Culbertson seeks to help men catch up with the feminist movement so that men can appreciate women as equal in God’s image and find ways to supplant aggressive competitiveness as properly male. For help the author turns to the new Adam tradition and to the relationships of David and Absalom, David and Jonathan, and Jesus and his male companions. Culbertson searches the Bible for strong, loyal friendship between men, without concluding simplistically to physical erotic activity. An excellent bibliography concludes this well-balanced study.
From Theological Literature, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1993, pp. 8-10.
I had gone to Auckland not intending to purchase more than one book. I had a rough idea of what I wanted – something on the gospel of Mark which would help me prepare for a Presbytery seminar in November and a forthcoming lectionary year spent in the company of that gospel. The book duly selected and purchased – Mark and Method: New Approaches in Biblical Studies, edited by Janice Capel Anderson and Stephen D. Moore [to be reviewed in the next Theo Lit] – I proceeded to honour my self-imposed ban with respect to further purchases. And then, after much inward resistance, I succumbed to a title on the sales table at the Assembly – New Adam: The Future of Male Spirituality by Philip Culbertson. One reason I yielded temptation was due to the imagery available to me in so much of the worship. In this day and age I could not understand why there was so little inclusive language – nor could I understand much of the frankly erotic imagery in various choruses and hymns. I was rather puzzled also by the way in which this “love” and “sweet Jesus” language was so often tied to images of power and praise. Where it was all coming from – I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that it presented me with an acute liturgical and theological problem – and hence the title of Culbertson’s book caught my eye.
The author has lectured widely on men’s spirituality and psychology, as well as on issues in Jewish-Christian relations. An Episcopal priest, he is Professor of Pastoral Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Culbertson will also tell us, in passing, in his introduction that he has gone through a divorce and that there are “holes” in his life, just as there are “holes” in mine and yours. He is writing then out of experience and knowledge of male psychology. To these he brings a good understanding of literary methods of biblical criticism. In this particular case there is no accident that the book is dedicated, in part, to Phyllis Trible “who taught me without knowing me.” The reference is to Trible’s work on “texts of terror” – a notion which Culbertson has imported into a male reading of the biblical text. It is also a reference which points towards his indebtedness to the work done by a number of feminist scholars and their legacy to men. Culbertson believes that men have to do a comparable job on the biblical narratives and themselves as Trible and other women have already done for their sex.
At times Culbertson will tell us about his Monday night men’s group. He will speak frankly of their difficulty, at times, in relating to one another about the deep things of life. The temptation to “water-bug” – to gloss over the surface of things in a ready-made kind of camaraderie – is always present. He will draw attention to the need for developing a “masculine agenda” and discuss the “masculine stumbling blocks” to prayer and spirituality. The idea of the “new Adam” will be distinguished from the “Old Adam.” “New Adam waits within, struggling to emerge, struggling to be born, but the labour is long and arduous. The first Adam of independence and technology is on his way to the second Adam in the fullness of interdependence and mutuality. A commitment to interdependence carries with it the promise of wholeness and the redemption of our broken masculine selves.” There is plenty of food for thought for men in the manner in which this Adam typology is used.
For me the real value of this book lay in a different direction. It was in the way in which Culbertson bids us notice the men in the biblical narratives and would have us dwell upon their relationships with one another; father-son, brother-brother, friend-associate, king-servant etc. In some ways Culbertson’s personal discoveries are precisely those: his. It was not always his conclusions – which were always illuminating – that were most helpful. It was the process of how to read a text a little differently, ask it alternative questions, and ponder upon where that reading might now go.
While sitting through the Assembly, I couldn’t help but feel that this book on New Adam was a God-send. It is true that it made me notice more some of the values being espoused and the politics being employed. But it also held out alternatives – and so it was an inspired purchase. The only misfortune was that I broke my earlier vow and bought the one copy on display!
From New Theology Review, Vol. 6, No. 3, August 1993, pp. 104-105.
Philip Culbertson, an Episcopal priest who has taught pastoral theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, and now serves on the faculty of the Anglican Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand, proposes that the human male’s goal is to grow into the New Adam. This feat is possible only if men heed the challenge of contemporary feminism to achieve a relationship of colleagueship with women and, equally important, if men assist each other in male communities bonded by intimate friendship and commitment. The New Adam is the opposite of the archetypal frontiersman, the self-sufficient loner; it is an identity rooted in a conscious awareness of interdependence and mutual regard for all creation.
Culbertson uses scriptural narratives to illuminate the dangers and possibilities of a deeper spiritual development for men. The tales of David and Absalom, Abraham and Ishmael, David and Jonathan, and the example and sayings of Jesus to his male companions are presented as sources both for confronting the traditional masculine values that continue to damage and harm society and for offering alternative possibilities for relationships between men. Of particular emphasis is the call to fathers to be present to their sons and to all men to allow themselves the intimacy of a close friendship with another man.
The second part of the book addresses the area of prayer in men’s spiritual development, noting some of the obstacles that inhibit prayer life, such as men’s difficulty in being receptive, their resistance to not being in charge, their preference for doing over being, and the long centuries that have made maleness the norm both in imaging God and in approaching theology and the spiritual life. Culbertson writes that “the prayer of sensitive men must become one of spontaneity and surprise, without rules or expectations; if it concentrates on anything at all, then it must be on thanksgiving as opposed to self-serving petition” (p. 136).
Culbertson concludes his work on male spirituality by offering an alternative myth to Robert Bly’s Iron John. Because the author sees the story of Iron John as too much a call to rugged individualism and a way of life that is confrontative and cruel, lacking creativity, intellectual development, and virtue, he proposes as a substitute The White Snake, another Grimm tale. This story “emphasizes creativity, dignity, the value of a nurturing response, and the importance of being connected to those who share with us God’s good creation” (p. 161). The end result of male spiritual growth for Culbertson is a combination of softness, integrity, and passion.
Perhaps biblical scholars will be uneasy with the author’s readings of some of the Old Testament narratives, such as portraying David as another father who got lost in his work to his children’s detriment and Abraham as the ancient embodiment of the contemporary divorced father caught between two families. On one or two occasions I thought the author’s agenda was guiding his understanding of the biblical characters. Still, in this age of reader-response criticism, the perspective of men’s studies is able to provide insight and challenge.
I would also take issue with his facile dismissal of the value of a personal spiritual director as a “fad” and as counterproductive in comparison with group spiritual direction of men. Calling it a fad seems both naive and simplistic, not appreciating the role such spiritual direction has played in the lives of both men and women over the centuries.
I also wish the concluding chapter had not been so hurried. His alternate fairy tale could have benefited from a more in-depth exegesis. Yet Culbertson’s call for a renewed mankind (and here that word is used deliberately), a New Adam, that can only be birthed in a community, has much to recommend it.
James A. Wallace, C.SS.R.
Washington Theological Union
From Word & World, Vol. 13, No. 4, Fall 1993, pp. 434-36.
Philip Culbertson, Episcopal priest and professor of Pastoral Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee, Tennessee) has written an unblinkingly honest and genuinely hopeful book about men. Beginning with a sociological-psychological analysis of men’s problems, he quickly moves to a description of “the new Adam” in Hebrew scripture and rabbinic tradition: the possibility, realized only in community, of a profound change in personal character marked by spiritual discipline, a stronger sense of one’s social relationships, and connectedness to nature.
However, before he delineates the good news for men, he treats us to a series of chapters on the bad news. Following the cue of biblical scholar Phyllis Trible who has unpacked a series of Old Testament “texts of terror” for women, Culbertson does a corresponding job with three texts of terror for men. These three chapters are, indeed, sobering, for they throw “the harshest analytical light….upon the bankruptcy of many of our traditionally inherited male assumptions and definitions” (44). At the same time, these chapters are a wonderful treat of careful biblical exposition and extraordinarily fresh, insightful interpretation.
The story of King David and his son Absalom unmasks the emotional dysfunctionality of father-son relationships in which sons are consumed by the neglect, the emotional distance, and the authoritarianism of their fathers. In the relationship between Abraham and Ishmael we see the unintended victimization and alienation of a son by a father caught between two families and trying to cope with his own emotional paralysis. The story of Jonathan and David might seem to be more hopeful for men, offering as it does an example of emotionally vulnerable male-male friendship. However, there is a terror here, too, for it is also a tale of society’s misunderstanding, mistrusting, and fearing intimate bonding between sensitive men.
Culbertson’s hopefulness finds its biblical grounding in a chapter on Jesus’ friendship with men. Admitting that there is too little in Jesus’ recorded teachings on which to base a comprehensive philosophy of Christian friendship, the author nevertheless finds in his behavior two sources of guidance. One is the values that Jesus exhibited, such as compassion, integrity, flexibility, humility, cooperativeness, and dependence on a community of men. The other guideline is Jesus’ bravery in facing the new creation that God sets before humanity in spite of his awareness that fundamental human change is enormously difficult. (Tellingly, in this discussion of friendship Culbertson finds himself drawing on Aristotle and Emerson; there is precious little on friendship in our male-dominated theological tradition.)
The last third of the book is the author’s reflections on the problems and possibilities of new male spirituality. Playing out the connections between sexuality and spirituality (even when those connections are negative), Culbertson first identifies twelve “masculine stumbling blocks to prayer.” Most traditional (read “patriarchal male-shaped”) spiritual disciplines are based on individualistic models of achievement and ladders of success. Hence, they are not of great help to us men in shedding our acquired impediments to a richer spirituality such as our fear of the feminine, our emotional constipation, our emphasis on doing over being, our need to control spontaneity, and the distrust of our bodies. Culbertson hopes that in shedding our phallic linearity we might learn to pray “in circles,” exploring a far more communal spirituality than most men know. And for men seeking transformation from oppressive and oppressing gender roles, spiritual community now must be particularly formed with other men-sensitive men who dare to sing, tell their own stories, and sit together in silence.
The concluding chapter offers a marvelously insightful critique of Robert Bly’s masculinity model, “Iron John.” As an alternative fairy tale (also found in the Brothers Grimm), Culbertson suggests the tale of “The White Snake.” The snake itself symbolizes the paradoxical power of penile flaccidity, and the young servant in the story comes to terms with his relaxed identity as a spiritual person in the community of other persons and creatures.
In the burgeoning literature coming from “the men’s movement,” there is precious little that addresses the spirituality of Christian men. Culbertson’s book is a rich addition to a presently small handful of volumes. Admittedly, like many sermons, it is longer on sin than on salvation. He spends more time analyzing men’s problems than delineating the “hows” of our change. In fairness to the author, however, this may be simply where we presently are in the movement for men’s transformation. One of the legacies of masculinist language (the generic “mankind,” etc.) is that in taking the male human being as normative, we who are men have been long blinded to our distinctive experiences as men. In the past two decades since we have begun to develop some consciousness about this, we have focussed more on “what’s wrong with us?” than on “what are the dynamics of our change?”
Culbertson honestly acknowledges that presently we cannot see clearly what the new Adam will look like. But we do have some indication of the values that the new man will reflect, and he describes them well. Further-and this is a note Culbertson strikes repeatedly-we know that male transformation will happen only in community. While I would have hoped for more probing of the dynamics of men’s transformation, perhaps the author’s reticence is realistic.
I would have liked even more personal self-disclosure throughout the book than Culbertson chose to share. The passion with which he writes makes it obvious that this is a deeply personal book for him, though the direct revelations occur mainly in his introduction and in several remarkable pages on forming a men’s group. Admittedly, for most of us men-in-process, it is still easier to talk about personal vulnerability than to do it.
I also wish that the author had taken greater pains to include gay and bisexual men in his audience, and single heterosexual men as well. I do believe that his intent is inclusive. Happily, there is a virtual absence of homophobia exhibited in the book and, indeed, Culbertson gives a positive biblical grounding for affirming homosexual orientation. On the other hand, too frequently he seems to assume that his readers are all married heterosexuals, e.g. “A man may begin his journey to change by trying to undertand the woman to whom he is married….” (132). Had he more consciously included gay men in his focus, he might have grappled more directly with the anti-gay (as well as anti-woman) basis of so much contemporary masculinity.
But my caveats are few and my praise is manifold. Culbertson is masterful in his suggestive biblical interpretations. And he has both the grace and the pedagogical wisdom not to impose his own interpretation immediately upon the reader. I found myself led through the complexities of these several Hebrew stories in a way that compelled me to grapple with the texts myself, and only after that would I learn the author’s own conclusions.
The book is strongly pro-feminist in both tone and content. Culbertson knows that men need to do their own work in men-only groups. He knows that men’s spiritual development is not identical to that of women, precisely because of our gender role shaping, and possibly because of our sexual biology, too. But the critical lessons we men must learn from feminism are abundantly present in these pages.
Implicitly, without naming it, Culbertson leans strongly (appropriately so, in my judgment) toward social constructionism in his interpretation of masculinity. He is critical of Bly’s essentialism (the notion that there is an essential “Iron John” masculinity somehow buried in each male, an essence awaiting discovery). At the same time, he deals openly with the distinctiveness of male genital experience which is, indeed, important to our spirituality. Yet, he knows well that anatomy is not destiny, for the meanings we have given to our biological experience are susceptible to being transformed.
Culbertson is well-read in the current literature of the men’s movement, and he incorporates a vast number of insights from other authors. His scholarship demonstrates the communal commitment of which he speaks, and his bibliography of men’s studies resources is both impressive and useful. Furthermore, his eight pages on “Beginning a Men’s Group” are exceptionally wise as well as revealing about the process experienced in his own group. In this one brief section he has provided the most helpful guidance I have seen not only for fledgling men’s groups but also for groups long in existence.
This is a book written by a feminist-sensitive man who knows well the perils of distorted masculinity, and yet who enjoys being a male – especially one in the process of transformation. Philip Culbertson knows that the Hebrew text about Yahweh’s name is far too static when translated “I Am who I Am.” This author helps men to claim a more hopeful and dynamic translation for themselves as well as for God: “I am in the process of becoming what I will be for you tomorrow” (135).
James B. Nelson
United Theological Seminary
New Brighton, Minnesota
From Princeton Theological Bulletin, 1993, pp. 223-24.
If you are a male searching for guideposts along the way of manhood, but you find the “wild man” approach too primitive, then you may want to consider Philip Culbertson’s rendering of the “New Adam.” Suspicious that Robert Bly’s “Iron John” is more a product of gynophobia than a vision of deep masculinity, Culbertson describes instead a masculine spirituality that seeks a more sensitive self-understanding in light of feminist criticism.
Culbertson is calling for nothing less than a conversion. Most American males, he says, are entrapped by the principles of logical thinking, parallel structures, and evenhanded intellectualism; we are lonely-going through life without friends; we do not nurture, we dominate; we fear intimacy, fear women, fear men because we fear homosexuality, fear eros, fear feelings altogether. “The four marks of the traditional American male,” he summarizes, are “penis pride, rugged self-sacrificing independence, professional success and status, and a mixture of sexual activity with women and a frequently pathological homophobia.” The book spells out, in other words, the total depravity of man in detail, and several biblical “texts of terror” for men are explored to this end.
However, there is hope, Culbertson encourages, that within the community of sensitive men, we might find the support, friendship, and love necessary in the struggle towards a gentler, softer masculinity-one that treasures interrelationality and mutuality of loving care. He tells of his own experience in a men’s support and prayer group, along with the joys and disappointments of it, suggesting that other men might want to form their own group. Prayer is crucial to this new masculine spirituality, to be approached in community and spontaneity, and with an open heart rather than power-hungry demands.
As an alternative to the Iron John (Hans) fairy tale, Culbertson presents another of Grimms’ tales, “White Snake,” as a model for sensitive men. “The white snake symbolized the flaccid adult penis (flaccidity being the normal male condition) as opposed to the erect phallus.” When the main character of the story, a young servant man, “has come to terms with his relaxed and natural masculine identity as a spiritual person, he finds that he has been given a mature wisdom, which in turn empowers him to encounter and engage the powerful mysteries of creation.”
Despite the book’s promising subtitle, The Future of Male Spirituality (a terribly large claim), it can probably be more appreciated as social criticism. Even with the descriptions of “New Adam,” “White Snake,” prayer, and the support group, I believe the reader will find the book clear on sin and fuzzy on grace. I worry that the descriptions of “most American males” come close to insensitive stereotyping that kills off the infinite variety of experiences known to men. (I worry about this with Bly as well.) On the other hand, the impressive thing about Culbertson’s criticism is that it is by a man, about men, and such self-criticism is hardly easy.
In the end, as men sort out these various voices crying in the wilderness, we might do well not to pit the “wild man” against the “New Adam,” or define ourselves by one paradigmatic tale, whether “Iron John” or “White Snake.” Echoing Ecclesiastes, perhaps there is a time to be relaxed and a time to be wild, a time for our families and a time for work, a time for community and a time to be alone. Grace, then, would help us know that through the various rhythms and multiple dimensions of our lives-that shot through all of this-there could be something of the sacred.
From New Testament Abstracts 37, Vol. 3, 1993, p. 454.
After explaining basic experiences of men and reflecting on the New Adam tradition, this volume considers some biblical accounts about relationships between men: David and Absalom (the child is the father of the man), Abraham and Ishmael (the sins of the fathers and an innocent generation), Jonathan and David (a love surpassing the love of women?), and Jesus and his male companions in light of the ancient ideals of friendship (friends, associates, and lovers). Then it deals with the following topics: masculine stumbling blocks to prayer, praying in circles, and the future of masculine spirituality. Culbertson is co-editor of The Pastor: Readings from the Patristic Period (1990).