For years, conservative evangelist Angus Buchan hosted Mighty Men conferences at Shalom Farm in South Africa. These men's conferences, which drew worshippers in the thousands, sought to cultivate spiritual revival among Christian men. Unfortunately, Angus Buchan promoted misogynist messages at these gatherings (more here).
Now, the Mighty Men conference is coming to the United States, thanks to a partnership between Buchan and a U.S. church. An American Might Men Conference will be held on Friday, May 3rd at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Hosted by World Outreach Church, the event will feature preaching by Angus Buchan and musical performances by Charlie Daniels and the Katinas.
World Outreach Church senior pastor G. Allen Jackson and Buchan first met at the Feast of Tabernacles in Israel, according to the Daily News Journal. The two men have collaborated for several years to bring Mighty Men to the U.S. Their partnership extends to the pulpit as well; Jackson shared lessons from Buchan's life in a September 16th, 2012 sermon at World Outreach Church, and Buchan himself preached to the congregation the day before. (See www[dot]wochurch[dot]org/media/audiosermons.htm)
The Murfreesboro gathering will help men on their spiritual journey, G. Allen Jackson said in a press release. "God has built something within us that has extraordinary impact once we combine what drives us with God's resources. This conference will help men take another look at how we are doing with life. Our 90-minute event will pay attention to the rapid pace re-set with God solutions. When men lead with God, they find greater reward. Increased faith is on the rise."
What can American men expect from a Mighty Men gathering? If prior gatherings are any indication, they can expect not only music, prayer, spiritual upheaval, and guttural "amen" chants, but male headship messages from Buchan himself. As described in a prior post, GOD TV archived segments from one of Angus Buchan's Mighty Men's Conferences at his farm in Greytown, South Africa. In a talk to a mixed-gender audience, Buchan encouraged women to submit to their husbands, blaming women who criticize their husbands for broken families. (See 24:10 mark of www[dot]god[dot]tv/node/393)
"Madam, when you come home -- correction, when your husband comes home -- you're going to see a man in the house, you're going to see somebody probably do this [Buchan kneels] and ask you to forgive him ... Please forgive him and then help him. Don't correct him in public. I don't care if you've been walking with Jesus longer than him. He's got the Holy Ghost inside him now ... Never criticize him in front of your children, ever. That's why we've got so many broken families in this country. You break your men down, and then the children have no one to look to. That little boy, that's his hero. Make him a hero unto his children, and you'll see a new nation."At the 39:47 mark, he urged women to remain stereotypically feminine and refrain from competing with men.
"Please remain feminine. Don't try and compete with the men. You don't have to. We actually don't want you to. We want you to be feminine and beautiful and petite. Any woman can do that. Let us men be men. Let us protect you. Let us open the door of the car so you can sit in. I can do it myself. No you can't, and you should never do it. These young men know when they take that young girl out for a meal next Friday night, they're paying for everything, aren't you boys? ... We're not into this going-dutch stuff. My wife has never paid for anything in her life."At Mighty Men conferences in South Africa, Buchan used conservative Christian rhetoric to affirm retrograde gender roles and male "headship" over families. Buchan found a receptive audience for this message in South Africa, where thousands of men sought ostensible comfort and power in his message. In America, where Religious Right men eagerly consume such messages, the Mighty Men gathering might find a similarly receptive audience.
But what about women, non-sexist men, and LGBTQs -- groups that are subordinate at best and invisible at worst in this kind of worldview? They should be concerned about the messages about to come out of Mighty Men. Knowing Angus Buchan's attitudes toward women, gays, and men who do not embrace stereotypical masculinity, observers should pay attention. Just as feminists were rightly concerned about the Promise Keepers rallies of the 1990s and 2000s, so too should enlightened observers keep an eye on the Mighty Men.
For more information on the Mighty Men Gathering in Tennessee, visit www[dot]wochurch[dot]org/mightymenusa/
For more information on Angus Buchan and Shalom Ministries, visit www[dot]shalomtrust[dot]co[dot]za/