Brilliant Jerks

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Character, Culture, Legacy, Significance | 30 comments

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.

In 2008 Michael Kimmel wrote an extremely informative book entitled Guyland in which he defined an American sub-culture, males 16-26. These are young men who “shirk the responsibilities of adulthood and remain fixated on the trappings of boyhood, while the boys they still are struggle heroically to prove that they are real men despite all evidence to the contrary.” p. 4.

Kimmel was prophetic, but he may have under-estimated the age range of Guyland. It seems too often to apply to older men who ought to know better.

Read More

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

Posted by on Jan 7, 2017 in Character, Culture, Legacy, Significance, Transformation | 12 comments

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:

Read More

Dads Matter; Piece by Piece

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Character, Fathers, Legacy, Significance | 6 comments

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

And the Greatest of These…is Shame.

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Anger, Character, Community, Fear, Significance, Transformation | 5 comments

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 men struggle with is fear. In fact, fear is often the actual emotion lurking beneath the surface in men, that presents itself outwardly as anger. Men don’t know it, or don’t want to admit it, but what we are often angry about is fear of failure. Humans are designed to long for the fulfillment of two profound inner needs: Relationship/Intimacy and Respect/Impact. While we all line up on a sliding scale in our thirst for these two, most men long first for respect; most women long first for relationship. Of course, there are exceptions to this pattern in both men and women. But that’s what they are…exceptions. Because our deepest longings tend to be connected to our gender, our deepest fears do, too. If a woman longs first for relationship, her greatest fear is abandonment or betrayal; the loss of relationship. If a man longs first for respect, his greatest fear is  failure, the loss of respect. Not long ago a friend asked me, “What are the issues that bring out the most shame in men?” I thought immediately of the above way of understanding men. The issues that are most likely to bring up the most shame, have to do with failure: Divorce Bankruptcy Failing college Loss of reputation Not measuring up in sports Getting fired Dishonorable discharge from the military Time in prison Body image Men fear all of these, and once experienced, they can result in enormous shame—the sense of being unusually defective in worth, value and significance. But nothing casts more shame than failure of sexual morality: promiscuity, affairs, porn, prostitutes, STD’s, strip clubs, abortion. These deserve their own list. They are why the Bible says, “Run away from sexual sin. Every other sin people do is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies.” I Cor. 6:18 NCV In my opinion shame is the deepest most frequent emotion many men feel, and they have no idea it’s there, nor how to combat it. As I’ve written in previous posts, you scratch the surface of just about any self-serving, self-protective, self-pleasuring or other-harming behavior in men, and you’ll find shame. It’s the conviction that we don’t matter and no one cares anyway. So we’re going to compensate one way or another. In that respect shame is both the source and the consequence of our sin. How do we overcome shame? We renounce the lies of the Enemy that tell us we should be ashamed of ourselves. We claim the promise of God the Father that we are fully forgiven and fully accepted as sons. We remind ourselves of Scripture that says no one who trusts in God will ever be put to shame.     (Ro. 10:11) We entrust a few well-chosen men with our story, our temptations and our hopes. In doing so, we have community with each other and the blood of Jesus transforms us. (I John 1:7) For men, these three remain: anger, fear and shame. But the greatest of these…is shame. Greater still? The grace of God, the truth of his Word, the hope of community and the power of the blood of...

Read More

Are You Constrained or Unleashed?

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Character, Compassion, Courage, Leadership, Legacy, Significance, Transcendence | 0 comments

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...

Read More