Category: Courage

Go After It With a Club

Go After It With a Club

13857034-Cartoon-caveman-with-a-club-Isolated-on-white-Stock-Vector-manJack London, author of The Call of the Wild, among other books of adventure, once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Those words immediately resonate with me. Partly because I like the blunt, get-to-the-point style of communicating. But more so because this statement is often so true for me; and I’m sure it’s true for many others.

How often do we think, Man, I really need to talk to so-and-so about that? Or, One of these days I should do something about... Or, When I feel a little more inspired I plan to…? If you’re like me, the answer is Pretty often.

London’s quote takes me immediately to writing. I’ve come to the realization that writing is one of the primary avenues I want to take in order to pass on encouragement to men about their role in the world. But I find it extremely difficult to make the time, identify the key point, or feel inspired to do so.

I have friends who MUST write. Writing oozes from their pores; and they do it well. That’s not me. The hardest part of writing for me is to sit down with the conviction that I actually have something to say. But, when I finally force the issue, open up the laptop and hit the first key, the inspiration usually rises to the surface.

If writing is one of the tasks I feel called to do, I can’t afford to just sit around waiting to feel inspired to do it. I have to go after it with an ugly club.

How about you? What is the action, art or gift that you have to offer others, that doesn’t always come easily; the one you sometimes have to go after with a club?

Racial Redemption

It has been so disturbing recent months to witness the series of events that have brought into glaring spotlight the differences that still separate the races—especially white vs. black—in the United States. We who long for genuine reconciliation and mutual respect, regardless of one’s race, are pierced when young black men are killed by officers […]

Are You Constrained or Unleashed?

Are You Constrained or Unleashed?

Not long ago I heard a speaker, sadly I don’t remember his name, say, “Don’t just give people rules to follow; give them values to believe in.” I think that is remarkably perceptive advice.

Rules constrain people into obedience due to another person’s position of authority or ability to punish non-compliance.

Values unleash a person to action based on what he or she believes in; they form a powerful connection with ideas or principles that matter on a heart level.

At Peregrine Ministries, we guide and inspire men on their life journey, to help them leave a life-giving legacy. In doing so, we are compelled by the following values:

Legacy
Legacy is the part of us that lives in others after we’re gone. We receive an
inheritance we didn’t choose. Transformation determines the legacy we will pass
on.

Transformation
Every word we write and every action we take as a ministry is to see the hearts
of men increasingly transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Authenticity
We aspire to conduct our relationships with a commitment to being truthful about
ourselves, so that the man others see is increasingly consistent with the man we
are beneath the surface.

Community
We pursue the “Third Place”- not home, and not work, it’s a setting where we
know others deeply, reveal ourselves genuinely, and simply enjoy each other’s
presence.

Integrity
The commitment to make every decision with honesty, even when it hurts.
We willingly speaking the truth in love; bringing both courage and compassion.

Compassion
The conscious choice to feel what others feel, and to act on their behalf. It comes
from our own wounds that are healed and redeemed.

Redemption
When God takes a part of our story that is broken, and turns it around 180 degrees to
make it a powerful source of healing for others.

Mission
Being compelled to act, speak and live from the deepest part of our hearts for the
benefit of others. The unique combination of God-given talents, gifts and values
that create God’s calling in our lives. We can’t not do it.

Adventure
We embrace the risk, challenge and exhilaration of regularly engaging with
Creation.

Significance
Reminding ourselves, and teaching men, that our significance is not based on
our Power, Possessions and Prestige, but on the foundation of who our Creator
is.

Transcendence

Though we live in a broken world, we intentionally anticipate, plan for and celebrate the periodic glimpses of overflowing joy, jaw-dropping beauty and staggering glory we encounter in nature, music, art, writing, sports and relationships. These are all clues of an eternal, transcendent hunger in our hearts.

These values inspire us at Peregrine to do what we do.

Have you ever identified your deepest values? What do your actions, your priorities and your emotions reveal about your values?

I’d love to hear what they are.

How to Apologize

I’ve commented before, (see “I’m Sorry”), about the poor apologies we see in public, where the perpetrator essentially says, “I regret if others may have taken offense at what I was construed as having said.” Or some other mangled nonsense that absolves them (or us) of actual responsibility. Giving a direct, clear apology at times […]

“Amazon Feminist” Defends Masculinity

“Amazon Feminist” Defends Masculinity

pagliaWhen was the last time you heard an avowed ardent feminist stand up in defense of masculinity? I’m not sure I ever have. That’s no longer true.

In the 70’s and 80’s one of the strongest voices for “militant feminism,” in Wikipedia’s words, was Camille Paglia. Never one to mince words, her views and language were so aggressive that she managed to offend virtually everyone on both sides of the feminism debate going on at the time.

Paglia has made the news again, most recently in the March 24, 2014 issue of TIME magazine, where she honestly admitted the poor choices made during the sexual revolution of the 60’s by writing, “My generation of baby-boom girls boldly rebelled against the cult of virginity of the Doris day 1950’s, but we left chaos in our wake.”

Even more surprisingly, she made some controversial comments not long ago in the Wall Street Journal. In a complete contrast to the perspective and opinions most feminists have had in the past, Paglia once again stood up for her own views, regardless of whether they fit the expectations of either side of the issue. She urged our society to hold on to the important masculine qualities that define men. You can see her comments and the reaction of Breakpoint Commentaries here.

Feminism certainly looks different today than it did 30-40 years ago, but it is still common to hear women fighting that battle. Where I agree with them is in the innate value and significance that women have, equal to men, and how often that value has been over-looked and even demeaned; sadly, no place more so than in our churches.

I grew up in a conservative Evangelical background known as the Plymouth Brethren movement, which some called an oxymoron. By my observation and experience, there were countless ways that girls and women in many of those “assemblies” became convinced that they were second-class citizens of the Kingdom in men’s eyes, and more destructively in God’s. I don’t know how those women could possibly have avoided hearing that message. That desperately needed to change dramatically, and in some of those places it thankfully has.

Where I disagree with traditional feminists is in two areas: First, that there really are no differences in males and females; that any distinctions we see between men and women are a result of sexist teaching by schools, churches and our culture at large. And, secondly, that masculinity (for those who might be willing to admit that it does exist) is at its root harmful and destructive. Paglia, too, would apparently disagree with both of these points.

Scripture is clear that God created man, and saw that it was not good for him to be alone. (Gen. 2:18) When He made woman he added some physical features that clearly differentiate her from man. Virtually all cultures throughout history, and those parents who have raise both girls and boys, would also say the differences are absolutely beyond body only, and into the areas of heart and soul, as well.

When we deny gender differences we deny God’s design, and we deny the beautiful ways in which men and women each reveal an aspect of God’s image that the other gender doesn’t. “…in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27). I don’t know what Paglia believes about God, but based on her recent comments, she’d agree there are differences between men and women and we need to honor those differences.

What do you think?

It’s About Forgiveness

It’s About Forgiveness

vickLast month I posted some comments about the legacy of Nelson Mandela, One Man Matters, noting that one of the greatest impacts he had in his latter years was to demonstrate what forgiveness looks like.

Recently, my son Alec sent me a link to a blog by Tullian Tchividjian, Forgiven People Forgive, on the same theme. (Tchividjian is the grandson of Billy Graham and the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church). He points out that two team mates of Riley Cooper, of the Philadelphia Eagles, had very different responses to the video that became public showing Cooper using the racial slur while drunk at a concert.

Cooper’s words were offensive and inexcusable. He immediately made a public apology beginning, “I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself. I want to apologize. I have been offensive….”

Michael Vick and Le Sean McCoy, both African-American teammates of Cooper’s, made their own public comments. Vick said, “As a team we understood because we all make mistakes in life and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean and maybe we don’t mean. But as a teammate I forgave him.” McCoy said, “I forgive him. We’ve been friends for a long time. But in a situation like this you really find out about someone. Just on a friendship level, I can’t really respect someone like that…I guess the real him came out that day.

Both were kind enough to say they forgave Cooper, but Tchividjian makes the important point: Vick said, “We”; McCoy said, “Him.” Vick’s words were inclusive; McCoy’s distanced himself. What factor may have resulted in a kinder reply from Vick? No doubt the 21 months in prison and his own stunning public downfall following the exposure of his dog-fight gambling ring.

Take a look at Tullian’s blog. It’s a reminder that when we’re honest about our own brokenness, we can embrace a sincerely remorseful apology from someone whose behavior we disagree with. Even someone who offends us. It’s about forgiveness.

One Man Matters

In a world of billions of people, where many wonder if they really matter—or whether they can make a significant difference in the lives of others, we now have yet another story that confirms, yes, one person can make a difference. The world just said goodbye to Nelson Mandela, a man born into poverty and […]

Miracle Within The Miracle

Miracle Within The Miracle

Would I have acted as Joseph did?

We’re so familiar with the Christmas story that it’s easy to overlook an essential part of that miracle- Joseph’s amazing response to confusing and embarrassing circumstances.

To summarize, the key parts of the story as told in Matt.1:

  • After his fiancée Mary becomes pregnant, Joseph’s first reaction is to avoid embarrassing her publicly. V. 19
  • Rather than accusing her, or raging at her apparent unfaithfulness, he decides to separate from her quietly. V. 19
  • When told by an angel that the child is from the Holy Spirit, he does exactly what the angel commanded, he took her home to be his wife. V. 24
  • Even then, he held off from sex with her until the baby was born. V. 25

I’m not certain that, if the same kind of circumstances happened to me, I would have responded as nobly as Joseph did. In fact, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have.

Joseph was:

  • Humble– he accepted the apparent unfaithfulness of his fiancée
  • Loving– his response was to have her best interests in mind, even before he understood the whole story
  • Trusting– he believed what the Lord led him to do, though it probably seemed unbelievably illogical
  • Patient– he waited for understanding to sink in; he let the whole story unfold before jumping to conclusions

We’re familiar with the rest of the Christmas miracle story. In celebrating Jesus’ birth let’s not lose site of the miraculous behavior of this man.

When we face embarrassment, hurt or confusion, may we respond with the same qualities Joseph showed.