By Joe Stopulos
“The world is facing a crisis of manhood.” Those words were recently spoken by a hero of mine, Father John Riccardo. I agree with him. And you might, too. After all, the proof of this crisis is all around us. In many ways, the men of today aren’t living up to their call to authentic masculinity. Instead of being the sons, husbands and fathers we are called to be, many are settling for something much less: mediocrity. If you need an example, look at many college campuses today; perhaps your workplace, too. Indifference and amorality are the norm. Is this what it means to be a man? Marriages are struggling; Christianity in the West is in decline (especially among men). Drugs, alcohol, pornography, video games and gambling are ravaging men, good men, and replacing their lives with ones less than they were meant to be.
Amidst this chaos, I sat back idle for far too long, as many others continue to do. But it’s time to respond. It’s time to change. I’m calling all men to a life-changing challenge that is designed to jolt you, and those you love, back into a right relationship with God. It’s called Exodus 90, or as I have called it –– Lent on steroids. And it won’t be easy.
Every day, for 90 days, you will commit to the following: Cold/lukewarm showers (please, don’t stop reading), NO alcohol, NO desserts or sweets, NO eating between meals, NO soda, NO television or movies, NO televised sports, computer for research and work ONLY, regular exercise, a weekly group meeting, increased prayer and more.
If you’re wondering, I had the same reaction you likely did reading all that. “Not. A. Chance.” But then I was challenged, boldly challenged by someone who cares for me. Because of that challenge, my life has been changed. Half a year after Exodus 90, I am more focused on intentional daily prayer, I have less attachment to alcohol and TV, and our small group still meets weekly (with a continued emphasis on fasting and prayer). And, we are excited to start it back up again on Jan. 1.
The year 2018 presents a unique opportunity. The first of January until Easter Sunday, April 1, is exactly, you guessed it, 90 days. Here is your opportunity. If you are struggling with a habitual sin or simply want to take your faith to the next level, the time is now. Step one is to commit yourself. Step two is to challenge other men you know to venture with you. Convincing others (and maybe yourself) will be tough, so having a small group, preferably four to seven men, for accountability and support is crucial. Then, enjoy the fruits of your efforts, the hardest and most rewarding 90 days of your life.
And yes, the cold showers are brutal.
Visit Exodus90.com to purchase the guidebook and register for this life-changing experience.
(Joe Stopulos is a co-host of “Man Up!,” a weekly radio show and podcast for Iowa Catholic Radio. He lives in Des Moines with his wife Kristin, and their three young children. He and Kristin are natives of Davenport and graduates of Assumption High School).