Category: Legacy

Your Gift to Your (Grand)Father

Your Gift to Your (Grand)Father

I was moved by the photography and message of this clip. It’s less than 3 minutes and definitely worth a look.

With Father’s Day right around the corner you may already be thinking of what you might want to say to your dad or grandfather. There’s a good chance your thoughts are also mixed with memories of regret or disappointment. I know how that feels.

I want to encourage you not to let past pain or current awkwardness keep you from saying what your heart leads you to say. Your words spoken to a man who quite possibly wrestles with growing questions of significance due to age, remorse, loss or failure can truly be a life-giving gift. Your words matter.

  • “Dad, thank you for providing for us.”
  • “Grandpa, thank you for paying attention to me.”
  • “I’m grateful for you.”
  • “Thank you for your patience.”
  • “I’d like to stay in touch more.”
  • “Can I come visit? When can you visit us?”
  • “I actually thank God for you.”
  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “I love you.”

On this Father’s Day take one intentional, courageous, manly step to let a key man in your life know he still matters. You won’t regret it.

 

 

Brilliant Jerks

American culture does a good job of creating, idolizing, and then rewarding, young men who are convinced of the following life principles:

  1. Life is a party. Rock on.
  2. You’re the master of your domain. You get to decide how life goes. Others are at your service.
  3. You’re special. The rules that govern others don’t apply to you. You get a pass.
  4. You’re invincible. You’re forever young. You’ll avoid the natural consequences of injury, illness and aging.
  5. It’s all about you. You’re the center of the universe. Grab it.
Brilliant Jerks
Which Will It Be…Rights Or Rites?

Which Will It Be…Rights Or Rites?

Rite of Passage. Western culture largely views these as age-based rights young adults automatically deserve once they hit a certain date. Depending on local laws 18 or 21-year olds are allowed to consume tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and pornography; they can now purchase weapons and ammunition. In most cases, this “right” is granted regardless of whether youths have benefited from any guidance in the inherent dangers of these practices nor any training in discernment in their use.

High school sports team and college fraternity hazing rituals involving sexual abuse, or deadly alcohol over-consumption, as we saw this week at Penn State and in 2013 at my own alma mater, Northern Illinois University, confirm the consequences of the absence of effective guidance in rites of passage.

Cultures across the globe have practiced the often-sacred ritual of male rites of passage when the fathers of a village suddenly take the sons away from the familiar and expose them to a new understanding of their roles as young men.   These practices universally include the stages of separation—encounter—challenge—return—celebration.

Jewish culture, Native American, African cultures and others continue these time-honored traditions today. North American and European cultures have largely abandoned this kind of “initiation” to responsible, self-disciplined adult behavior at great cost.

This week Peregrine Ministries guided six dads and six sons through a modern version of this sacred practice we call Passage to Manhood. The dads “stole” their unsuspecting and bewildered sons from their high school for a day of mystery, teaching, challenge, movie clips, story-telling and sharpshooting. The journey culminated the next night with a room full of moms, siblings and grandparents who witnessed story-telling and blessing.

This isn’t a one-time deal where the sons suddenly become men overnight. But it is a profound and significant step in a journey that encourages young men to love God and others with all their heart (compassion), soul (confidence), mind (conviction), and strength (courage.)

Do you have a son who needs to hear this truth and experience this kind of encounter with you? Let us know. Because he matters.

Just Passing Through

Here’s a simple yet profound reminder to keep our perspective straight. It’s taken from a devotional by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, who claims Jesus as Messiah.

“If you travel to different nations, you have to convert the currency of the place you’re leaving into the currency of your destination. Now what if you were going to a place from which you would never return? What would you do? Convert everything you had into the currency of your destination because anything not converted would be lost – right?

Just Passing Through
Today’s News Confirms: Men Matter, They Just Don’t Think So

Today’s News Confirms: Men Matter, They Just Don’t Think So

In one breakfast of scanning the newspaper this week I came across these stories:

1. The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker wrote a moving editorial regarding Charleston church murderer Dylann Roof. He’s the self-professed white supremacist who slaughtered 9 African Americans while attending a Bible study at their church. (Just typing those words makes me both sick and angry.)

Roof may want the public to believe his insistence that he wanted to start a race war, or that he has justified grievances against blacks he supposes are the cause of his life of misery and social rejection.

Parker eloquently lifts the veil to the real truth of what drove him to this awful act:

“…even a cursory review of his short resume suggests that what Roof really wanted was attention. He wanted to be the somebody he never was. Despite our insistence that there must be some explanation—a “broken brain,” as a forensic psychiatrist proposed— there may be little more to Roof’s story than a sad young man who marinated in one existential crisis after another until deciding that killing people was a certain route to self possession.”

Like all lives, Roof’s matters; he just doesn’t think so. That doubt drove him to indescribable violence.

2. Just a few pages away I read the awful story of six Colorado Springs males, ages 16-19, who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl. The girl was led to believe she was going to play video games at the apartment one of the men. She used the bathroom, and when she came out, the room was full of guys twice her age ready to prove their “manhood.”

What drives guys like this to go after defenseless girls? A culture that convinces them that they are the center of the universe—It’s All About Me. The way they demonstrate their manliness is to control, intimidate, assault and demean anyone who is “less” than them. A young girl-on-her-own will do. She’s a safe target.

The real truth is the complete opposite! Men who are truly convinced of their significance have no need to flaunt it. Men who are genuinely assured of their own value elevate and celebrate the value of others—especially women who are at risk at the hands of predators.

As awful as their behavior is, these guys do matter. They do have the potential for bringing security and blessing into the lives of others. They just don’t think so. In fact, chances are they’ve never met an adult male who does. So they bring destruction instead.

3. On the same page as Parker’s editorial, Cal Thomas proposed faith-based solutions to the enormous surge in gun violence and murders in Chicago in the past year; Chicago’s total being more than in New York and Los Angeles combined.

“Most of the violence is gang-related,” Thomas writes. “ Fatherless kids seeking a sense of belonging and family are attracted to gangs they believe will give them both.”

He poetically quotes Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics from the musical “West Side Story” to describe the thrill for lost boys to be accepted as a gang member:

“You got brothers around, You’re a family man!

You’re never alone, You’re never disconnected!

You’re home with your own; When company’s expected,

You’re well protected!”

Man, those words sound so enticing to teen boys who just want some older guy to say, “You matter.”

One former LA rapper named The Game, part of a coalition of religious groups working to resolve his city’s gang struggles, has this to say, “Because the sad truth that no one wants to face is, before we can get our lives to matter to anyone else…We have to show that our lives matter to us!!!!”

The melt-down of families stuck in poverty has a terrible impact; the proliferation and ease of access to guns in the hands of not-yet-men is inexplicable; the ravages of a drug-addicted culture have a predictably deadly result.

But the core hunger of these young males is that while they matter enormously (to the God who created them) they just don’t think so. So they’ll do anything for the acceptance of a legendary god-like gang leader who gives them the slightest attention.

Like women, men have the option of bringing primarily good or evil, blessing or destruction, to the world. And of course, there are examples of both men and women who choose either. But the clear distinction is this—men bring a disproportionate level of violence to the world than women do.

Just like the stories above from my paper, almost every local, national or global news story of violence you and I read will confirm the same. Compared to women, men cause out-sized pain and suffering in our world. It’s undeniable and it’s awful. It’s one reason men matter. Because many of them are killing us!!

But I am utterly convinced those same men have the opposite potential for an equally significant impact for blessing, provision and protection. As a Christian minister my conviction is that nothing provides a foundation of significance for men (or women) more than knowing these two truths:

  • The God of the universe made you on purpose and for a purpose
  • Jesus, the Son of God, died for you even though you may not believe it

These two truths can change everything in a man’s life when he finally believes them.

Men matter; they just don’t think so. Today’s news confirms it. Tomorrow’s will, too.

Our violent world desperately needs men who are convinced they matter for reasons far deeper than power, control, or destruction. When they do they will be freed to use their strength, not for harm, but for the benefit of others.

At Last!

“What was the highlight of 2016 for you?” our Christmas party host asked around the dinner table. Beryl and I had the same responses, “First, the birth of 5th granddaughter, Gemma. Very close after that…the Cubs winning the World Series!!”

“Really?” some asked. “A sports event was a highlight?” Clearly, they were not aware of the cosmic significance of the event. At least not of its impact on the Glass clan. Why did this rank as a highlight of the year? Because it was of far more significance than just another sports event. For these three reasons:

Value Your Values

Value Your Values

“I violated my values and it was wrong. I behaved shamefully.”

Those are the words of Christopher Correa, the former scouting director of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, recently convicted of hacking into the player personnel system of another major league team. He has lost his dream job, faces 46 months in prison and has been ordered to pay a fine of nearly $280,000.

What he would do if he could only turn back time and make another choice when faced with temptation to further his reputation as a winner! Too late; the secret is out.

How sadly often it is that we read very similar stories in the news:

  • imagesHead football coach Art Briles, a man of faith, whose decision to ignore, hide or discredit the stories of numerous women who reported sexual assaults by his football players, cost him his job and has cast a dark shadow over the outstanding reputation of Baylor University. He is not an exception; he is only the most public and recent of coaches to betray their own beliefs, and those who trusted him, for the sake of success.
  • images-1Closer to home for me, the former sheriff in my county of El Paso, Terry Maketa, who 4 years ago stood at the summit of our political scene due to his heroic leadership in battling devastating wildfires in the Colorado Springs area, had to leave office accused of sexual misconduct, financial impropriety and discriminatory hiring and firing practices. A local university political professor spoke for everyone when he said in disbelief, “Here you have this rising political star…and the next thing you know, he’s leaving office in disgrace.”

Men, these stories, which appear on a regular basis, smack me in the face. How could a man of integrity make such an awful error of judgment? How could a man who calls himself a Christian compromise every past victory or success, by choosing a character short-cut, in order to get a piece of power or praise? It’s almost beyond belief; until we remember, all of us have the capacity to make just one questionable decision to enhance our reputation, our influence or our wealth.

That’s all it takes, one choice, for the possibility of everything to collapsing. We don’t expect it to, because it hasn’t before. That kind of tunnel vision, or arrogance, is shocking when we see it in others. Are we toying with the same risk?

Someone has perceptively said, “Don’t just give people rules to follow; give them values to believe in.” I think that is remarkably insightful. The list of lifetime rules to follow can be almost limitless, and they can change depending on circumstances. But values are more encompassing; they don’t waver; they provide a foundation; they determine how we live our lives.

What are your values, the principles on which you have built your life, or at least intend to? I’ll bet some are:

  • Integrity
  • Dependability
  • Faithfulness
  • Humility

If we are honest, we know there are circumstances in which we have been, or might be, tempted to take one risk (which usually soon leads to the next one)  just to look or feel better. Men, I urge us all to regularly ask ourselves whether we are compromising any of those bedrock values for the more superficial “success” the world praises.

After his cheating was exposed, Correa lamented, that he is “overwhelmed with remorse and regret for my actions.”

Let’s decide that our words, actions and decisions, today, will not bring that kind of compromise of our values. Let’s commit instead, “I’ll never let that statement be true of me.”

 

Dads Matter; Piece by Piece

clarkson husbandMedia confession: Beryl and I watch American Idol regularly. Because it often actually moves us.

Sometimes the performances are lukewarm; every now and then they are jaw-dropping. Recently, Kelly Clarkson, the Season 1 winner, told a story through song that brought tears streaming down my cheeks—and those of the judges and many in the audience.

We intuitively know dads matter, but in our dramatically changing family culture that often questions the value of fathers, we sometimes need a reminder. Kelly gave us a jaw-dropping one.

Her song, Piece by Piece, compares her experience with a father who disappeared when she was a young girl, to her husband who is a present, loving father to her kids. “He filled the holes you burned in me when I was 6 years old…He restored my faith that a man could be kind, and that a father could stay.”

A Good Man

A Good Man

What does a good man look like?

“He whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;

whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;

who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;

who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things
will never be shaken.”

Psalm 15

Build Good Men. Continued.

p_blacksmith_1660195cYet again, we come face-to-face with the bewildering, heart-breaking news of another mass killing in the U.S. This time, for my wife, Beryl, and me, it pierces even closer to home—3 killed, 9 wounded in Colorado Springs, our home for the past 16 years. Revulsion, grief, ache, and anger boil to the surface.

And, just days later, another horrific scene of slaughter takes place in San Bernardino, CA. We watch the horror unfold in stunned disbelief.

Coming so shortly after the bombings and killings in Paris and Mali, a world that already felt unstable and unsafe, now feels even less safe and even more bewildering.

What is going on? I feel compelled to comment, mostly on the Colorado Springs event, because it happened in my backyard. I’m intentionally bypassing the political issues of abortion, terror or gun control. There is another time and place for that conversation. I’m landing on the common thread in these stories that motivates me more than any other.

Build Good Men. Continued.