elder profile
Brad Pickel
Illuman Administrator  
Brad Pickel

Brad Pickel is the Administrator of Illuman and lives in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Read More >  


Joel Blunk   

"Forgiveness Begins With Me"

about illuman 
Illuman is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose vision is to see men transforming men and, through them, families and communities for generations to come.  Our mission is to engage those seeking a life-long journey of spiritual transformation.


In this issue learn more about:  
  1. Illuman: A Men's Movement or a Community of Men?
  2. Gathering- Our Second Illuman Touchstone
  3. Illuman Men's Conference 2014 - Register Now
  4. Reminder regarding spouse/wife for the 2014 conference

And don't forget to check out our Elder Profile and  Reflection features.


one1.  Illuman: A  Men's Movement or a Community of Men ?


This is an interesting question that we attempted to answer early in the evolution of our men's work. Let's face it: organizations that have claimed the mantle of being a "men's movement" have had a spectacular failure rate (e.g. Promise Keepers). Most of these movements have focused on reclaiming men's power or, in some way, being anti-feminist.

Our work at Illuman is clear: we focus on supporting men who want to deepen their spiritual journeys. We have tools and programs that offer personal growth and connection with the Divine. So we are not a movement-right? Well, the answer is more complex than that. If we simply focused on "personal spiritual enrichment" it would be quite an impoverished undertaking. We could rightly be accused of being exclusionary (open only to men who could afford the programs) and superficial (disconnected from the real issues in the world-war, violence, rape, incarceration, poverty, social justice, racism, homophobia, etc.).

Men need each other to do our inner work. Transformation is not a one-time event. Going to service on Sunday doesn't make you a spiritual person, nor does periodic attendance at all-male retreats or seminars. We do our inner work every day. This leads us to need other men in whom we can safely confide about our journeys. We need other men whom we trust and admire, and who share our highest values. We need a caring community of men who can both deeply love a man and, at the same time, hold him accountable for what he might need to do in his life. We need men we can confide in when we are broken, ashamed, or hurt-when we are vulnerable. We need men who can hold space for us so we can be safe from the normal violence that men do to each other at work and in our cities and towns. We need wise men who can view life through a spiritual lens without proselytizing, preaching, fixing, or judging: Men who can see God in all things.  

We don't need a "men's movement" to create this community of men. In fact, we should be wary of men who want to join a movement! What we need are men who are committed to their own personal spiritual work and who want to do this work in the company of other wise men, for the sake of a safer, wiser, more connected world. We are seeking to create this community of men through the work of Illuman.

If you want to join this community, please consider attending our conference in November.

two2.  Gathering - Our Second Illuman Touchstone

Storytelling and story-listening are two halves of a life-giving art. Both are crucial in any relationship. In ancient China, we're told, there were two friends-one who played the harp with exquisite attentiveness and skill, and another who listened with equal attentiveness and skill. When the one played or sang about a mountain stream, the other would exclaim, "Yes, I can hear it now splashing over the rocks!" Their playing and listening were part of a dance they shared together. But after a time the listener fell sick and died. In grief, the first friend cut the strings of his harp, unable to play anymore. To this day in China, the cutting of harp strings is a sign of intimate friendship.  

Read Full Article > 

five3.  Illuman Conference 2014 - Register Now

Illuman conference Nove 7-9 2014 
Click here to register for our conference  
Save The Date:

November 7-9, 2014


The Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Bernalillo, New Mexico


To book your hotel at discounted rates, please click here

Being a Generative Man: Water in the Desert
  • Moving beyond Stagnation: Men Coming Alive
  • Learning the Way of Council: Listening to all the Voices
  • Energizing the Next Generation: Old and Young Men Together
  • The Fourfold Path: Recognizing, Awakening, Nurturing, and Claiming

Speakers include (L to R):



Belden Lane, backpacker, storyteller, and writer in spirituality (Author of The Solace of Fierce Landscapes 

and forthcoming Backpacking with the Saints)  



Adrian Scott, British poet from Sheffield, England (Author of The Call of the Unwritten and Arriving in Magic)


Fr. Richard Rohr O.F.M., founder of Men as Learners and Elders (Author of Adam's Return, Soul Brothers, From Wild Man to Wise Man, and On the Threshold of Transformation)


For further information about the conference please visit Illuman.org.     


four4.   A reminder about bringing your spouse/wife to the 2014 conference


The women in our lives provide important support for us on the spiritual journey. Yet there are times when men need time together in the absence of women to talk about our spiritual lives. Therefore, our upcoming conference is open to men only, although women are welcome to come along and enjoy the location and amenities of the conference venue. This exclusion from the conference is not, of course, because we disrespect women. Instead, we want to include women in a way that feels thoughtful and helpful. In an informal session on Saturday afternoon, Fr. Richard Rohr will speak with all women who are accompanying men to the conference. There is no need to register for this event. 

Fr. Richard Rohr
footer ad