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Men and the Me, Too Movement

with

Johan Khalilian, Kris Wolfe, & Ryan Gunnarson

Friends we just need to let out a sigh… this episode today means so much to our team here at Heart of Dating. It has been about a year since everything was released regarding the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and we could not think of a better time than now to dive into what we think about this as Christians, especially from the male perspective.

We have really anticipated releasing this episode for a while and I think you will love the realness and richness of the conversation.. NOW more than ever.

So today Kait brought on 3 of her guy friends who she admires in SO many ways. Each of them have such beautiful hearts, and truly grasped what it means to love and respect women wholeheartedly, while also learning how to wrestle with their own personal identities as men.

This conversation was SO good that we split it into two parts. Today mainly diving into the Me, Too movement, and next week diving more into the challenge of masculinity in our culture.

So let's introduce our guests!

Today we have Johan Khalilian. He hails from Chicago, from an area known for it’s gang violence and crime. He went from being a ghetto kid to now becoming a national speaker who uses his life story to help people of all ages believe in the power of their dreams and the impact their life can make in the world around them. He is incredibly REAL and shameless about being vulnerable and we love it.

Then we have Kris Wolfe. Kris is a CLASSIC good guy, because he inspires other men to be their BEST selves. He says "A nice guy is a doormat, but a good guy leaves a monument.” He has written some amazing books including Black Tie, and 10 ways to win a girls heart, and also runs an online ministry called Good Guy Swag. He is also married to the AMAZING and sparkle filled Kristen Dalton Wolfe, a former miss USA and speaker!

Last but not least Ryan Gunnarson. Ryan is an actor and motivator. He and his wife Aquella have been on the podcast before sharing their story earlier this year, and together they co-created a platform on IG @thatonemarriedcouple to encourage laughter and growth in relationships. We love Ryan’s heart and were super pumped he wanted to come back on.

This something everyone in this interview has thought about a LOT. A few great resources I would recommend on the subject would be to watch the We Are Man Enough series wearemanenough.com headed by Justin Baldoni. His Ted Talk “I am done being man enough” is phenomenal as well. Also I loved Lewis Howes book, The Masks of Masculinity, as well as Divine Sex by Jonathan Grant talking about the hyper-sexualition of our culture. I also really appreciated the documentary, “ The Mask You Live In” on Netflix as well.

How do you guys feel in the wake of the Me, Too movement? What has been your first reaction?

"There is so much hope right now. I feel so ignited. There is a lot of work to be done. A lot of  work to be done. A lot of work to change mentalities. A lot of work to change how we treat women." - Ryan Gunnarson

  • The guys have HOPE. They agree that there is a lot of work to do, but that they are hopeful through this movement that it has been a catalyst to start change for the future.
  • There has been FREEDOM brought through this movement, and the group is hopeful for much more of that in the future.

Do you know men personally who may be friends of yours who have come out admitting to taking a part in some of the abuse we are seeing?

  • The fact is that somewhere around 15-20% actually report sexual assault. This is also not something that is exclusive to women only. 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused between the ages of 0-18 and for girls it is 1 in 3 between the same ages.
  • It is about 10 years or longer before someone feels like they can come out and share their story.
  • The men agree that most everyone has heard rumors and stories of sexual abuse happening at some point in their lives.

Do you feel as men you understood the gravity of the problem?

"There is evidence that even in the amidst of ugly there is beauty that God is creating. He is conspiring for us. It is easy to get overwhelmed and focus on the dark. We need to be the voices of hope and love." -Johan Khalilian

  • Ryan says not fully. He was taught to respect women, but he never really knew the stark gravity of the situation in which he has really begun to learn the last few years.
  • Kris comes out and shares his own personal story of sexual abuse and how that effected him in his life.
  • They all have had personal friends that have come out admitting what has happened to them recently. Ryan talks about some of his friends who were being abused and felt they could not stand up for themselves. They felt shame. They felt like a piece of meat.
  • Johan shares about a friend in music who felt trapped. She felt like there was no way to accomplish her dreams without giving into the situation. She eventually left that career and moved into acting. Eventually her story was redeemed as she booked an acting role that allowed her to sing."

How can we be graceful for others when they share?

"The thing that is so important about what the Me, Too movement is is that you can share your story to allow others to have FREEDOM. People need to know that there is freedom to be had.” -Ryan Gunnarson

  • You are not necessarily going to recognize the people that this has happened to.
  • People need to know that there is freedom to be had.
  • There is a caveat to know that your story is NO less valuable if you do not share it before you are ready to share.
  • Make sure to share it with a few people that you truly TRUST.Is okay to just be known as a "good guy" but not say anything?

What do you think about the church addressing this issue?

"How can we call ourselves Christians when we stand for and support people who keep the problem going?"

  • We cannot address this issue without also addressing leaders in our company who have publicly objectified women.
  • We need to really think about "HOW have we gotten here?"
  • We need to champion the people who have been victimized... are we even followers of Christ if we do not?
  • As the church and as individuals, will take stands against certain things, but other things we will give too much leniency too. We need to put our foot down to say what is WRONG is truly wrong.
  • We should be fighting for the LEAST of those in our society. Have we turned into a culture a complacency within the church?
  • Listen to the stories you are uncomfortable hearing. Embrace those around you and do something about it.
  • When something like this happens, your entire soul feels MURDERED. You feel entrenched with shame. Kris brings up the story of Tamar in the Old Testament when it says "Nothing shall be done to this woman."

Is okay to just be known as a "good guy" but not say anything?

  • From the Me,Too episode on We are Man Enough series, there is this quote from Tony Porter, “if we are such good guys, how are these men doing what they are doing in our presence? I really believe that we the majority of women and men who do NOT perpetrate violence against women and girls we are at more fault in some respect than those who do. Because they cannot do it without our permission."
  • All of the guys admit that sometimes in the past when they took a stand, they were rejected or made fun of. Because of that tendency in our culture, sometimes that can make other hesitant to actually step up and speak. Fear keeps us from stepping up.
  • The guys all admit that there is a lot of complexity to this. Ultimately they say though, we have to get involved no matter the cost.
  • God is up to a LOT. Go get involved with what He is doing in other people's lives. Johan says, "We cannot be defined as good guys if we do nothing."
  • Jesus said “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
  • Kris, wrote in an article on this topic “Sexual harassment and deviances originated with men, so men can also put an end to it. We need more men who are willing to stand up and say NO MORE. As I wrote in Black Tie, “The answer to the problem shouldn’t lie on women’s shoulders.”
  • Jesus is our role model for "manliness" and the way Jesus acts and IS is so unlike the typical "man" that we consider manly in our culture today.

How can we empower men to step out and say something ?

"We cannot be okay with easy answers. We cannot be okay with hidden lives. We cannot be okay with being men who truly are not vulnerable.” - Johan Khalilian

  • Brene Brown always says "GET INTO THE RING". We need to get in the ring. Men like to feel "strong", and therefore don't want to put themselves in a position where they might feel overly vulnerable.
  • In the midst of our failure, God shows up. As we share our stories, He provides freedom in truth and honestly.
  • Ryan shares his heart and recent revelations that since he was 9 a lot of times he has felt like a little kid crying stuck in a corner, afraid. A lot of his inner life and dialogue reflect that and to hide this from others, he has performed and controlled. Recently he has dove into these areas and Jesus revealed to him that this little kid inside of him Jesus loves and COVERS it all. Ryan says he would love to share more with anyone who needs healing in this kind of area.
  • Let's all be praying "God I want my heart to break for what breaks yours." Invite God in to help you feel the true pain of the world.

Yall stay tuned for NEXT week as we dive deeper into masculinity in our culture.

RESOURCES

We Are Man Enough series wearemanenough.com

Justin Baldoni Ted Talk “I am done being man enough”

Lewis Howes book, The Masks of Masculinity

Jonathan Grant Book, Divine Sex

Netflix Documentary “The Mask You Live In

Kris Wolfe: @kriswolfe and @goodguyswag on instagram

Johan is @johanspeaks

Ryan is @sirgunnerson and @thatonemarriedcouple

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Johan Khalilian, Kris Wolfe, & Ryan Gunnarson

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