Shed Happens for Men

May 17, 2013

I went along to my first ‘Shed Happens’ night last week, invited by a mate who was telling his story on the night. The idea of this gig is all about stories, everyone has one and as Watto, the host and ‘brains’ behind this phenomena says, “you can argue about anything with a bloke but you can’t argue with him about his story”.

Around 80 blokes gathered for this night north of Brisbane at a driver training school by day and now a BBQ, fire buckets, and rough seating arena for a men’s story night by night. Things start with a feed around a good BBQ with the works and ‘soft drinks’ and then everyone heads to a slightly more secluded area, surrounded by fire drums and sitting on ‘bad chairs’.


The concept is to listen to 3 blokes tell their story, helped along thankfully by 3 decent interviewers- as we all know how we can tend to rave on if we have an audience and microphone. The stories ranged from a boxer about 35 whose life was pretty ordinary too getting on the right road to possibly extraordinary, a young bloke of around 17 who had just lost his Dad and was learning how to live life and develop a faith perspective and then my mate Paul, a farmer from Condobolin married with 4 kids, who just went broke, care-of the drought, the banks, the virus in his crops and probably to much debt and risk. Fortunately Paul had diversified and had another farm in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Territory- ‘not the end of the world but you can see it from there’ and his family were packing up and heading there to cool their heels and farm Melons and Pomegranates right in the middle of an Aboriginal Community called Ali Karung.


The thing about all these stories is that as another bloke, there was something in them all that I could relate too, as a married man who has helped my wife raise a family of 5 and has 2 grandkids. Average age of men there I reckon was late 30’s to early 40’s-which is good and the feel was certainly a working class crew. The subject of faith was part of the vibe, but not pushed or preached and talked about in Aussie relevant ways, working on the fact that the census tells us that over 70% of Aussies believe in a God.
So on a Monday night about 80 blokes come out after the worst day of the week, to listen to each other’s stories and there isn’t a sane reason apart from the fact that we all have stories and people like listening to each others tales. Actually my take from all the preaching I have done over 30 years is that the only thing people remember after the cup of tea at the end of church, is the stories I tell- they take theology and put thongs on it so you walk it out the door!

Anyway, I reckon these ‘Shed Happens” nights on once a month are doing a good thing. They are relevant, as spiritual as most blokes can handle- on a Monday night at least, you don’t have to sing or pretend to be anything your not and know one is putting pressure on you to become something- but you are welcome and you feel it. I tell you, at least 4 men just bowled up and introduced themselves to me and asked how I was going and waited to find out- something that has never happened at a church I’m visiting, even when I’ve preached.

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