This book has been in gestation for over ten years. I penned the first thoughts on male confessions and the religious imagination in between the births of my two daughters, shortly after I cut the umbilical cord of the firstborn and shortly before I knew we were expecting a second child. Today, at the end of the process of writing this book, my daughters have become teenagers, and I have grown with them. I am no longer the same man I was back then, yet I am the same in so many ways. A book like this grows with one's own changes, intellectually and emotionally, internally and externally. It has also evolved because I have had the good fortune to meet many gentle and thoughtful people who have helped me understand the ambiguities of life that flow into any confessional narrative.
Other than the humbling yet ever rewarding experience of parenting, my life is guided by the challenge of love, and the loving challenge, of being in a long-term relationship. Together, we have learned about friendship, love, and the vicissitudes of commitment. We have learned to appreciate endearments and endurements, entrancements and entrenchments, and what it means to be gendered beings. My deepest gratitude, hence, goes to Katharina von Kellenbach. She has also read two of the chapters, offered invaluable feedback, and provided important resources on the trial case of Oswald Pohl, whom she has investigated in her own research.
I want to thank Philip Culbertson for his encouraging words after reading select parts of my manuscript. Philip and I have exchanged correspondence on issues of masculinity and religion over the years, and we have revealed to each other some confessional secrets of our own. Stephen Boyd was a careful reader of an earlier version of the manuscript, and I want to thank him especially for our conversation on the necessity of risking vulnerability and the ethics of responsible self-disclosure. Norbert Reck read the chapter on gay confessional writings and offered a clear-sighted critique of some of its