Category: Transcendence

The Women in Your Life

The Women in Your Life

Guys,

Though I can’t recommend everything he has written, Steven Pressfield is a remarkably gifted story-teller, movie writer (The Legend of Bagger Vance) and author (The War of Art). I absolutely love what his latest blog post says about the significance, the impact and the allure of the women in our lives: The Female Carries the Mystery.

Today, think about the sacred mystery your wife, your daughter(s) or female friends bring into your life. You might want to tell them, “Wow. Thank you.”

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
At Last!

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:

Family Tradition Passed On

My dad, born in 1922 on the South Side of Chicago, staunch White Sox territory, was a rabid lifetime Cubs fan. He lived 90 years and never saw them win the Series. That’s a sports drought. Nevertheless, my siblings and I all picked up Cub fever from my dad. Of course, I passed the same affliction on to my kids. Thankfully, our son- and daughter-in-law have followed suit.

I fell in love with the North Siders in 1969; the year the Cubs put their entire infield into the All-star Game. The game roster didn’t allow additional room for two future Cub Hall of Famers. In the middle of August they had a 9 game division lead over the New York Mets. No matter; by the end of the season, they lost by 8 games.

So, for our family to see the Cubs actually in the series, then win it, was stupendously historic. Millions of Cub fans all over the world felt the same way. Like them, we mourned the lives of loved ones, in our case my dad, that had been lost before they ever saw a Series win. And like many thousands in the vicinity of Wrigley Field, my two sons, Alec and Conor, wrote their names and memories in chalk on the brick wall of the stadium set aside for that significant purpose. Conor wrote: “Make someday today.” Alec quoted my dad’s favorite cheer: “’Atta way!” Family tradition passed on.

Hope Fulfilled

By now many readers know the details of the years of futility for the Cubs. But for the unaware, a quick summary: the last time the Cubs had even been in the Series was 1945. The last time they won it was 1908; the longest span between championships of any team in major league sports, any sport.

With horrifically painful playoff failures in 1984 and again in 2003 the expectation, or at least nauseating fear, of failure hovered over every Cub fan in these playoffs.

This time, when the Cubs fell behind Cleveland 1-3 in series wins, the pit in every Cub fan stomach ran deep. When in the final game the Cubs blew 5-1 and then 6-3 leads, as Cleveland tied it up, every Cub fan silently had the thought, “Oh, so this is how they lose it this time. This will be the most painful story.”

So for the Cubs to come back from a rain delay, that visibly sapped the enormous amount of momentum Cleveland had built, to win in extra innings, the explosion of hope fulfilled in the hearts of Cub Nation was indescribable.

Unbridled Joy in Community

Long before the Cubs made it to the series, our family decided that if they did make it we’d all head to Chicago to watch the games together. We savored every game with our kids and granddaughters.

Alec, Conor and I decided to watch the final game (played in Cleveland), come what may, at a sports bar three blocks south of Wrigley Field: Sheffield’s. We were in the neighborhood long before the pub opened, soaking in the once-in-a-lifetime feel of electricity in the whole area.

We walked into Sheffield’s as they opened at 11, and waited endlessly (there are only so many chips, sandwiches, and beverages you can consume in one setting; we found the limit) for the 7:00 game time.

When Cubs’ lead-off batter, Dexter Fowler, hit a deep fly against the Indian’s pitcher, who had totally dominated the Cubs twice already in the series, Cub fans battled split-second emotions of “Holy cow, this can’t be…can it?!”…wait for it…“It is! It is! It’s a home run!”

Chaos ensued. (Watch it here.) That one stroke indicated that the summit of what seemed like a virtually insurmountable mountain a few days before, and even at the start of that last game, might actually be in sight.

When Cubs third baseman, Kris Bryant, threw the final out in the 10th inning and the game was won, Sheffield’s exploded in complete pandemonium. The three of us screamed, hugged and bounced for an unknown length of time. We high-fived countless new best friends.

Then we joined the massive throng filling the streets heading to the Wrigley shrine as if on a spiritual quest. I don’t know the official number in the streets, but it was the largest crowd I’d ever been in. It was certainly hundreds of thousands, or more.

The utter exuberance and camaraderie shared by complete strangers, and even by the 4000 police in the streets, was simply indescribable. Community, joy, transcendence.

It may have been just a sports event to many people. It went far beyond that for the Glass Family. No doubt about it, it was a highlight of the year. In fact, it was a highlight of a lifetime.

I just wish Dad could have been there.

 

A Spirit of Sadness

img_3554Today I’m filled with sadness.

This doesn’t often happen to me. I try to go about life with a spirit of gratitude and joy. Yet, I have known for several years now that the tragedies we encounter on almost a daily basis—whether personal, related to family or friends, or on a global scale—pierce me on an increasingly deeper level with each passing year.

I first noticed this deeper piercing a few years ago when I read of two local college girls, home on a brief break, gassing up a father’s SUV for a trip into the mountains, whose vehicle was hit by another car pulling into the adjacent gas pump. One of the girls was in the gas station buying snacks; the other pumped the gas, standing between her SUV and the gas pump. The collision caused a spark which became a conflagration that burned the girl alive. Paralyzed bystanders could only watch in stunned horror.

Black Lives Matter; Blue Lives Matter; All Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter; Blue Lives Matter; All Lives Matter

Once again, I’m stunned at the video footage that confronts all of us:

BLACK LIVES MATTER

  • 49 patrons of an Orlando dance club are brutally slaughtered by a man who apparently hates gays, non-Muslims or both
  • A black man in Louisiana shot twice in the chest as he’s wrestled to the ground by two officers
  • A black man in Minnesota is shot four times after getting pulled over by an officer for a broken taillight, as his wife and 4 year-old daughter watch in horror
  • A protest in Minneapolis turns into a virtual riot as firecrackers, Molotov Cocktails and bricks are thrown at police, who then respond with smoke and tear-gas. Dozens on both sides are injured
  • A peaceful protest in Dallas, in response to these shootings, turns into a sniper attack where a black man kills five police officers and wounds several others

The development of live video footage anywhere at anytime has exposed us to shocking injustice as well as outright evil. Many of us experience the disorientation and overload of being exposed to more violence, mistreatment and bloodshed than our senses and thought processes were designed to manage.

Meanwhile extreme voices on either end of the political spectrum take advantage of the horror to press their own predictable agendas.

Groups like Black Lives Matter, whose name and motto I fully agree with, seem too often to become violent and abusive in how they express their anguish. Sometimes it sounds like: Black lives matter more than yours. No, they don’t matter more: but they DO matter more than the prejudiced treatment they’ve lived under for centuries. I think we can agree on this, even though we may disagree with how it’s communicated.

Those espousing that Blue Lives Matter, whose name and motto I fully agree with, seem too often to ignore the demeaning, soul-crushing reality of what it feels like, as a black man or woman, to live in a society where you are constantly suspect, feared, over-looked or attacked. But, folks, where would we be without the courageously self-sacrificial service the great majority of police provide their neighbors? Utter anarchy.

Where do we land? For starters, though it sounds ridiculously simplistic to say it, we need to live with the unalterable conviction that All Lives Matter. Regardless of ethnicity, race or gender, the truth is that we have all been made in the image of God. (Gen. 1:27) That matters, or at least it should. You have never looked into the eyes of a person who God does not love with all his heart.

We also need to live with the unalterable conviction that every one of us, regardless of race, gender, demographic, addiction or sexual lifestyle choice, is deeply wounded. The Creator designed every one of us with deep longings for love, significance, security and joy. All of those were lost as a consequence of sin, pride and, ultimately, through self-centered separation from God.

As a result, all of us live with deep loss, brokenness and longing. We try to fill those longings with a wide variety of selfish behavior that still leaves us thirsty…until we discover the true Source of living water. (Jer. 2:13) And even then we all still have the capacity to live selfishly.

To me, this means we live with the unalterable conviction that, while the outward evidence and consequences of our self-centered choices may vary widely, every one of us has the capacity for prejudice, anger, pride, addictive behavior, destructive pursuit of pleasure and self-protection.

I’m not invulnerable to these; neither are you; neither are those whose lives are very different from yours. We’re all broken. We’re all longing for what our hearts were designed for, and then, was lost when mankind’s relationship with God was broken.

So how do we respond?

hug2

  • We live in humility. We recognize that deep inside we are all broken.
  • We work to understand others. We all long for the transcendent relationship with God we were built for; we pursue different wounded paths.
  • We forgive graciously. Because we have been forgiven so much.
  • We speak with conviction. To remain silent in the face of sin or injustice we disagree with, is to allow it to continue.
  • We act courageously. Action almost always requires courage.
  • We love extravagantly. One of the most powerful stories Jesus told, commonly known as the Prodigal Son, is really about the Extravagantly Loving Father. Even as that son was rebellious and self-absorbed, his father watched the horizon for him every day. Our Father does the same: watching, waiting, embracing and forgiving every child who comes to him. We should reflect that same love.

Because all lives matter.

Remembering What We’ve Never Known

“I desire something I vaguely recall; I long for something in my future that somehow I remember.”— Cindy Crosby Have you ever found yourself longing for something undefinable? Some spiritual or emotional experience you sense is out there, but you can’t necessarily describe? I have; and I think almost all of us do. To me […]

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.

A Whimsical, Unloving God?

I think one of the struggles that Christians and non-Christians share is understanding how God, who says He is the embodiment of love, allows the horrors we see around us virtually every day. I’ve heard many Believers say it’s the question they intend to “confront” God with when they get to heaven. It’s an honest […]

A Whimsical, Unloving God?
When It Rains, It Hails

When It Rains, It Hails

stormIn the past few months I’ve grown increasingly weary by a series of unmet hopes and regular-life challenges. I recounted to a friend the technical disruptions that began first with this blog, and then the Peregrine website, being hacked; thousands of dollars being defrauded from two accounts (since reimbursed); email turning annoyingly glitchy and then entirely “dark,” disrupted for days.

I also related the hail storm that caused thousands of dollars of damage to our car, the nine weeks of limitless repair delays, followed by an unbelievable claim against us (which we are contesting) for another $1500 hail damage on the rental car after we returned it. I mentioned a few other issues that felt like unfair piling on and he responded, “Wow, when it rains, it hails.”

We all know that feeling: the periodic seasons in our lives when it seems that everything that could go badly, does. We watch friends’ marriages fall distant until they finally divorce in exhaustion; the shocking physical maladies that follow one after another, seemingly at random; financial losses at the hands of others who have no sense of integrity; the slow, gradual passing away of parents; children who suffer teasing or discrimination through no fault of their own.

When does it end? I have felt the sadness, pain and confusion of friends, and have had very little to offer in terms of advice. I’ve recognized that I’ve felt bewilderment, compassion and even agony at their suffering. I’ve also increasingly recognized that I’ve been angry. At God.

Though it may sound dangerous to admit it, I know God is certainly “big enough” to handle my anger. Many of the most honest authors in Scripture have admitted as much. It has felt in some ways like righteous anger, ironically, to feel this way on behalf of others. Increasingly, though, I’ve needed to admit that I’m angry at God, on my behalf, not just on others’.

The challenges I encounter pale in comparison to those of other friends; and they certainly do in comparison to a man like Job in the Old Testament. But rereading his story is revealing to me some important principles. In the book, The Gospel According to Job, author Mike Mason points out that Job’s first response in trial was to worship God. But he did so honestly. Was he filled with some sort of other-worldly peace and joy in the middle of his suffering? “No, not at all. He was as broken and cast down as a man can be.” (p. 35)

Yet he still chose to worship (Job 1:21a). Mason points out that “real worship has less to do with offering sacrifices than with being a sacrifice ourselves.” (p. 36) I’m reminded, yet again, that this world is so horribly broken that we will regularly encounter the disappointments and tragedies life offers to all.

When you and I feel the weight of the world’s brokenness, when it seems that it is not only raining, it’s hailing, remember that our very lives themselves are an offering to God. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, for this is your spiritual worship.” (Ro. 12:1)

An indication of growing spiritual maturity is the ability to worship in the middle of life’s hailstorms.