A Village of Fathers

Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in Character, Community, Culture, Fathers, Heroes, Leadership, Transformation | 0 comments

If you’ve read many of my posts in the past there’s a good chance you’ve seen me quote an African proverb I learned from a Kenyan pastor: “The boys in the village must be initiated into manhood, or they will burn down the village…just to feel the heat.” When I heard this statement it caused many observations I’ve had about our society to fall into place. It explains why fatherless inner-city gang members turn to violence. It explains why self-absorbed frat boys, with no healthy mentors, assert their will on women. It explains the profound urgency of father-son programs like Peregrine’s Passage to Manhood. Watch this remarkable clip illustrating some mentors who have their eyes on the next generation of African American young men. Man, am I glad for men like this! May their tribe...

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Get Home Safely

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Community, Compassion, Courage, Culture | 0 comments

3039844-inline-i-1-the-talk-in-americaI never knew this before, but apparently many African American families do.

Some parents of black kids have this talk in order to increase the odds that their kids will get home safely if they encounter the police when they are away from home: “10 Rules of Survival if Stopped By Police.”

I never had this talk with my kids; it never crossed my mind. I’m pretty sure none of my grandchildren will ever hear this talk from their parents. But it’s considered crucial parenting wisdom for black families. I had no idea; perhaps that’s the case for others of you who are white.

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Black Lives Matter; Blue Lives Matter; All Lives Matter

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Community, Compassion, Courage, Culture, Forgiveness, Hope, Redemption, Transcendence | 19 comments

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 response 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

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Build Good Men. Continued.

Posted by on Dec 5, 2015 in Character, Community, Culture, Heroes, Legacy, Significance, Venus and Vegas | 19 comments

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.

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Unlimited? The Challenge of Human Freedom

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Character, Community, Culture | 0 comments

As we Americans celebrate Independence Day, I urge us to be aware of both the responsibilities we carry, as well as the rights we enjoy, with our freedom. It seems that we often resist the inconvenient demands of the former while insisting on unbridled opportunities for the latter. Too often I see us practicing the personal slogans of “Don’t fence me in,” “To each his own,” “You do your thing, I’ll do mine,” “If it feels good do it,” “My way or the highway,” while giving little consideration to the consequences on the larger community. I’m deeply grateful for personal freedom; I bristle at self-absorbed entitlement. Here is a clip, “Unlimited? The Challenge of Human Freedom,” featuring comments by Os Guinness and Ravi Zacharias on this topic, given at a conference sponsored by RZIM. Their comments are both enlightening and motivational. (Interestingly, the moderator, Stuart McAllister, who refers to his years living in Vienna, Austria, was a Bible-smuggling compatriot of mine back in the the 70’s.) Guinness’ comments in particular are extremely insightful; they run from 9:00-33:00 minutes on the clip. He does an outstanding job of revealing the foundational connections between Freedom-Virtue-Faith on which our liberty is founded. For those of us who celebrate independence this weekend, may we grasp and live out the bond that links our freedom to our character. Happy 4th of...

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You Are Light

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Character, Community, Transformation | 0 comments

As I’ve met with a group of over 50 men on Friday mornings this past year, I John 1:7 has been a core verse for us: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.” What a great verse for us to remember, and to live out. This verse reminds Christ-followers that since “God is light,” we do not intentionally walk in darkness as we did before. Eph. 5:8 says the same, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light…” At one time we were defined by darkness; now we are defined by light. Our group has applied this challenge “to walk in the light” to our relationships with each other as well. We have increasingly entrusted our stories, our joys and hopes, and our struggles and challenges with one another. In doing so, two wonderful things happen: • “We have fellowship with one another”– We discover we aren’t alone in our journey; many others have similar circumstances • “The blood of Jesus…purifies us”– Our shared faith in the power of the blood of Christ has a transforming affect on us. Are there men, or is there one man, in your life with whom you can have this kind of walk? Will you reach out to...

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