As men In the Arena, our theme verses in this blog series this spring are: “Be on your guard, Stand firm in the faith, Be men of courage, Be strong. Do everything in love.” I Cor. 16:13, 14 Our message this week focuses on the 2nd phrase in verse 13, “Stand firm in the faith.” […]
I must begin by saying, women matter. It seems like that would be an unnecessary statement. Unfortunately, it is necessary. Sadly, we live in a “zero sum” world where many people make the assumption that there is only a limited amount of significance to get passed around. To say one gender, or race, or career […]
Our over-arching theme in these blogs this fall is The Banner That Unites Us. That banner is The Kingdom of Heaven, and this week I want to look at that term in detail. What comes to our mind when we think of a Kingdom? When I was an innocent, influence-able young boy growing up in […]
The STEM school shooting in Highlands Ranch, CO is disturbing to all of us. We may differ in our convictions of what the main solutions to this scourge in our nation are, but I think we agree on at least three things: 1. These kinds of repeated trauma leave an enormous heart and soul wound […]
American culture does a good job of creating, idolizing, and then rewarding, young men who are convinced of the following life principles:
- Life is a party. Rock on.
- You’re the master of your domain. You get to decide how life goes. Others are at your service.
- You’re special. The rules that govern others don’t apply to you. You get a pass.
- You’re invincible. You’re forever young. You’ll avoid the natural consequences of injury, illness and aging.
- It’s all about you. You’re the center of the universe. Grab it.
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:
Media 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.”
Yet 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.
Most people who know much about men, know that anger is a frequent trait that we struggle with. It seems to be a reflexive emotion whenever we encounter frustration or disappointment. It comes out in road rage, kicking the cat, yelling at the kids, or abusing wives. It’s awful and it’s destructive. A second emotion […]
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 […]