Are You a Man By Rite?

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This post has stuff about religion and a previous relationship. My perspective has changed

Sepik River initiations 1975

What ever happened to the “coming of age” ritual for young boys? I never had one of these rituals and with the exception of one boy, now a teenager (and a man by rite), I’ve never known another boy who did.

A “rite of passage is a ritual that marks a change in a person’s social or sexual status. Rites of passage are often ceremonies surrounding events such as childbirth, menarche or other milestones within puberty, coming of age, marriage, weddings, and death.” (Wikipedia) These types of rituals serve many great purposes:

  • Separate a child from dependency on his mother
  • Make a child responsible for his own actions
  • Reinforce a child’s masculinity

Of course, just because a person doesn’t have a ceremony to delimit his passage into manhood doesn’t mean he is+n’t+ a man. There are other things that are accepted as rites of passage too:

  • Getting a driver’s license
  • Losing your virginity
  • First alcoholic beverage
  • First shave
  • Scarification

Those are okay, but for the most part, those are secular. I’m looking for something that extols the virtues of Biblical manhood. I’d love to see something like the Jewish Bar Mitzvah make its way into mainstream Christianity. What is your experience with rite of passage? What are the basic components of the ritual?

Further reading

Photo by Franz Luthi