I thought the title of this blog as “The Ladies Guide to the Art of Manliness” might be a catchy way to pander to the ladies in our blog audience. All Worthy of Love (“AWOL”) is, by in large, a woman-to-woman ministry. As a man, I am thoroughly amazed that I have been embraced into this ministry by our Outreach Team members. I have also witnessed a positive reaction that most women have extended to me in the world of anti-human trafficking organizations overall. I am not always sure how generally the women in our ministry feel about the opinions of men on human trafficking. The same for our blog readership at large, because it is men who are fueling the behemoth of the sexual exploitation of women. So, when they see a man’s byline on this blog, I hope they won’t quickly click away to the latest Cosmo diet advice, fashion update, or other subject matter which the media challenges our ladies for their time and attention each day. I wanted to use a “hook” to try and get their attention for what I view as an important subject about the manliness of the men in their life, and maybe, how they may too, want to exhibit what our society has heretofore labeled as traditionally “manly traits.”
Does that sound too blasphemous? Women with manly traits…….
I had a hand in raising two daughters and although my wife, Twyla, did the yeoman’s amount of work in that effort, I always wanted to see my daughters be independent, strong, well-educated and self-sufficient women. Both of my girls are well accomplished in their respective professions, for which I am very proud. Both of these young women have supported their Mother’s and Father’s work with AWOL. Why have they done that? Why does anyone else support our work? – from our Outreach Team, to our Donors, and our Sponsors, in what we do to end the terrible scourge in the world… It is because many of us have the capacity to rise up above the everyday tasks and battles that life throws at us and see the evil that now surrounds us to steal our children into human trafficking. Our lives today are so complex. The demands of our jobs, our family lives, and somehow finding a balance of those things while seeking first a relationship with Jesus Christ is a difficult task. Yet, finding the vigor to work in our ministry, and seeing the effect, and the restoration of the lives of our “fellowmen” as we work on the streets, can have incredible rewards, and greatly effect the victims which we see everyday in our ministry. My daughters strongly exhibit the attributes and characteristics, of: strength, determination, and commitment to a cause, which heretofore in “my generation” were considered “manly traits.” Those traits coupled with their caring, willingness to listen, attention to detail and overall organization, have created women of purpose and leadership skills that I would put up against anyone that I have met in a corporate boardroom. Our Outreach Team members too, exhibit these “manly traits” and characteristics, which make them such a formidable force for change.
William Wilberforce wrote in 1789, that slavery was not a problem of the United States, or Europe, but of the whole world. AWOL won’t end human trafficking on its own, but like Wilberforce, I am terrified by the ugliness and the depth and breath of this problem. Like the Apostle Paul, I also know the weakness that I am plagued with – this malady called the “human condition.” Wilberforce said “when I think about the weakness of the advocate against slavery who has undertaken this great cause when these reflections press upon my mind, it is impossible for me not to feel both terrified and concerned at my own inadequacy to such a task. But when I reflect, however, on the encouragement which I have had through the whole course of a long and laborious examination of this question, and how much candor I have experienced, and how conviction has increased within my own mind, in proportion as I have advanced in my labors; when I reflect, especially, that however averse any gentleman may now be, yet we shall all be of one opinion in the end when I turn myself to these thoughts, I take courage, I am determined to forget all my other fears, and I march forward with a firmer step in the full assurance that my cause will bear me out, and that I shall be able to justify upon the clearest principles, every resolution in my hand, the avowed end of which is the total abolition of the slave trade.” The gentlemen that I believe he is referring to are the men who were the power brokers of his day. These “men” were perpetuating the sin of the enslavement of black men and women in our society. He was questioning their “manliness” to be able to call themselves “men” and define themselves as “men” when they were facilitating the slave trade in the United States and across the globe.
“Men” today are perpetuating the blight of human trafficking. Whether it is engaging in viewing pornography, or spending dollars in the sex industry in various forms. It is time for men to wake up and to see the human trafficking problem for the evil that it is. Men have a tendency to be defined by their work, and to become self-absorbed in sports, automobiles, fine wine, etc., but Mr. Wilberforce would say today, as he did in 1789, that manliness is really the capability of one to rise up above his own selfish interests and to stand on truly moral ground for the abolition of slavery in its modern day form. It is time for fathers to set the example, for mothers to teach their sons that no person has the right to “control” another individual under any circumstances and for any reason. In the absence of men showing their manliness, women have to stand in the shoes of their male counterparts to be the voice for our slaves today who have no voice, no position, no power, and no means.
I am so honored to be a part of this ministry and to work along so many talented women starting with my own wife, who I am so very proud of. I have been made so much better for having known all of them, including my own daughters, because I have become so much more a “man” by their femininity and collective character. I can now use this “manliness” to work each day in the war in which Mr. Wilberforce was engaged, and that same war that we fight today.
About Mel: Mel is the Vice President of All Worthy of Love. He and his bride, Twyla of 40 years serve as leaders on AWOL’s outreach team and actively reach and rescue the enslaved. Mel has been active in church his entire life. He has held the position of Elder at both Oakland Christian Church and Bethesda Christian Church and is currently a member of Bethesda’s Trustee Board and Church Council. Mel is active currently at Bethesda and has/is involved in the Men’s Ministry, Music Ministry, Catechism Department, Jail Ministry, Children/Youth Departments and School Ministry.