In the last week I have heard from many sources regarding my posts about the Mankind Project and New Warriors Training Adventure. Admittedly, I have done more posts on this topic than I had originally intended — with more to come. This post brings together a hodgepodge of points of view that I would like to get in the discussion.
The first one is a post from Bill Cork who is an Adventist pastor in Houston and a veteran of one NWTA there. The subject of the October Houston Press article, Micharl Scinto also attended the NWTA hosted by the same group. Rev. Cork mentions this in his post. He also discusses his reason for not referring people to the event:
It isn’t done in a Christian framework, and so for that reason I wouldn’t recommend it. I think these are issues that men need to work on, but I think for Christians it is better done in an explicitly Christian setting. One of the Archbishop’s concerns was that some elements of the weekend smacked of “New Age” spirituality. He was right about that–but again, the leaders of the retreat were respectful of Christians who spoke from their own convictions. I was grateful for that, but still I think Christian men need to come together in an environment where Christian faith is assumed, supported, and nurtured, and not merely tolerated.
A skeptics viewpoint from a UK blogger with interests in sexuality and religion, also notes the incompatibility of Christian ministry (in this case Living Waters) with New Warriors.
I’m not sure why members of Christian organisations like Living Waters (UK) enroll in NWTA. There isn’t an scrap of Christian teaching in NWTA. Perhaps Living Waters, Mankind Project and even TfT all part of an extensive underground social network for SSA men?
NWTA drips homoeroticism. I don’t think it’s just my dirty mind. As I said, a very large number of men at the graduation ceremony were SSA men. My gaydar was buzzing all night. Officially, NWTA is a (Jungian) therapeutic way out of SSA. Unofficially, it might be one big dating agency for bi-curious men and SSA Christians.
BTW, I don’t really believe organisations like Living Waters and Mankind Project cynically promote an exgay agenda as a legimate cover for illicit encounters. It’s more likely that a large number SSA men are drawn to these groups and (unintentionally) start to create safe ‘cultural spaces’ to meet other similar guys.
I wonder if he is correct in his less cynical view that at least among some people, the entitativity of New Warriors is a draw for SSA men looking for fellowship and who have not found it in more traditional ways.
Speaking of matters gay, psychotherapist Joe Kort has emerged as a vigorous defender of NWTA on his blogs and at ExGayWatch. He posted on an Amazon.com blog and on his StraightGuise blog regarding what he considers to be false charges leveled at the Mankind Project. In a long and personal post, he recounts his own struggles with masculinity and how NWTA was vital in his own life. He believes the NWTA helped him in many ways. He specifically takes on the predictions of reparative therapists who believe enhancing masculinity diminishes same-sex attractions. About the experience, he says,
The New Warrior Training Adventure provided me with a group of men, mostly straight, whose mission in life is to help men become better and more mature. Still, I went to this workshop not knowing what to expect—and I’m glad I didn’t. That is exactly what made it so powerful for me. This workshop changed my life, liberated me as a man among men, and opened up new possibilities for me.
Given the apparent number of gay and bisexual men initiated into and leading NWTAs, it raises for me the question of the efficacy of sending questioning or struggling men, particular Christian men to them. If enhancing masculinity does not reduce same-sex attractions, then activities such as take place at NWTA could become a stumbling block. I welcome Mr. Kort or any reparative therapist to address that issue here.