When I was 16 or so a group of men and boys - including my father and I - from my church went to a Promise Keepers Saturday retreat/conference. The event was organized around the topic of "becoming a man." (For those not familiar with Promise Keepers, the topics fluctuate between becoming a man and the feminist castration of American manhood).
The events key speaker spoke about the Jewish rite of the Bar Mitzvah. He told us how boys studied for years for this big day and that it clearly delineated their lives into pre- and post-Mitzvah. Further, once a Jewish boy passed through this ritual, he was fully accepted in the community as a man.
The speaker went on to lament that Christians don't have such a wonderful rich tradition. And the lack of this tradition has forced many men to find their own way into manhood, leaving many scarred forever as man-boys.
Everyone was thinking, "Wow, that Bar Mitzvah sounds like the bees knees."
Then the speaker said that he had a big surprise and sent all of the boys out into the narthex of the monstrous communist-style mega-church. The doors were closed and we all sat in the hall way wondering what our surprise was. Personally, I was hoping that Randy the Macho Man Savage would be in there when the doors were reopened.
Finally, a man opened the door and said he'd call our names one at a time and that we would then go up to the stage. One by one we were called. We could hear a great commotion, but were still unsure what lay behind those doors for each of us. Finally, my name was called, I went in the enormous sanctuary of the beast church and was greeted by hundreds of grown men all standing in a row down the center aisle. They were clapping and shouting my name. I was told to run down to the stage. I did. The cheering jubilant men all joyously slapped me heartily on the back and ass as I ran the 5-K aisle of the beast-church towards the stage.
Finally I arrived, huffing and puffing, my back sore from the vigorous man-pounding. And there was my dad on stage. We were told to hug and then I was handed a certificate that said my name on it with the word "man" on it's heading.
I imagine the speaker preparing his talk and asking himself, "How can we do our own Bar Mitzvah, but condense the years of preparation into 25 minutes? Eureka, we'll just have the boys run a gauntlet while strange men slap their asses!" Problem solved. Manhood achieved. Great success!
And that is how I became a man. The End.