- Tue Mar 21, 2017
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In a study by Men’s Health it was revealed that the top two ways men stay connected with friends are texting (#1) and “get togethers” (#2). The reason we prefer these ways are twofold: texting fits the factual, short, bottom line style of communication we appreciate and “get togethers” feed our need for closer, interpersonal camaraderie and connection with each other. Whether it’s just the guys or the guys with the gals we usually huddle by gender and “dive deeper.” Guys usually assemble around wherever the meat is being grilled and sample it with a beverage in hand. At the same time, the girls keep it real in the kitchen while prepping for the meal and talk about, well, everything. That’s where the similarities end because guys do not talk about everything.
In fact, guys prefer to keep it on the surface when we get together. We stick to sports, work updates, kids sports, house projects, power tools, cars, working out, and our favorite recreational pursuit. So let’s get this straight: in the one setting with the most potential power in our lives to build strong friendships we, by habit or by choice, keep things on the surface? Exactly. Like a bunch of icebergs, we present the tips of our lives while the big stuff causing emotional heartburn, relational pain, or spiritual darkness (like our marriages, temptations, families, finances, and inner demons) stay buried, unprocessed, and unresolved. We leave with full stomachs and empty souls, more lonely than when we first arrived because no one knows what’s really going on in our lives. The irony is that most of us spin it at these gatherings and say when asked “It’s all good bro.”
- Wed Oct 19, 2016
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Whether God’s man likes it or not, we live in “glass houses,” meaning people are watching our behavior to see if we live consistent with our words, beliefs and reputations. A little Google search will lead you to find several “Christian” men giving our faith a bad name because they were involved in scandals and doing mental and theological gymnastics to justify what they were doing with the Bible. Evil loves that kind of self deception and encourages it.
Just like in war where you learn from the classic strategic blunders in history so your side doesn’t repeat them, I think there’s a lesson here for God’s man. It’s this: God’s plan to have Jesus sacrificed on the cross for our sin and rise again sets you and me “free” from sin. But just like a prisoner who has his sentence commuted must learn to live as a free man and not return to his old life so must God’s man. We too have to learn how to live in our spiritual freedom.
If a prisoner has not been ‘rehabilitated’ (or know how to live like a free man), then he will be tempted to make bad decisions, reunite with old friends, re-engage in old habits, and ultimately cause even more damage to himself and loved ones. He may, in fact, prefer to end up back to jail, where there’s safety in the boundaries, parameters and limited freedom.
David Petraeus and Tiger Woods were two of the most revered and respected apex predators in the masculine pecking order. Both breathed the rare air of cult status in the most coveted zones of male glory: battle and sport. They were disciplined warriors who possessed the spoils of manhood while simultaneously achieving “role model” status bequeathed to those who are professionally transcendent. Both were also known best for wearing the color green. The four-star general who hunted America’s enemies in Afghanistan suited up in green fatigues and the four-time Masters Champion dawned the iconic green jacket at Augusta National sealing his own mythic status. Their icon status and aura created a perception that they were also morally sound, emotionally mature and relationally committed to their families. Men and women, young and old, presidents and endorsers alike swallowed these two personas until one day both men lost their cultural “anointing” thanks to spicy and public revelations of sexual indiscretions. Their falls from grace were painful sucker punches to their admirers and to a nation that covets its’ national treasures.
The news outlets acted like a pack of wild hyenas with a fresh kill, eating the flesh off the story as fast as possible without much energy or thought going toward the very real moral and emotional conflicts resonating within these sad events. Predictably, journalists set to work dissecting the events, profiling the mistresses, and providing plate after plate of consumable journalistic gossip. This dance of detailing the logistics of immorality while never commenting on the actual moral angles of the story is the oxymoronic state of our news community. So what we got with the Woods and Petraeus affairs were the juicy details and “twinky” analysis bereft of any useable intellectual nutrition or meaningful insight from very painful stories about men. God forbid we hold up a mirror and actually learn from the mistakes we make as men so that we can identify the landmines and affirm the healthier patterns actually practiced by good men.
Suggestion: why don’t we stop shaking our heads at men and start exploring the powerful dynamics in these stories that are common to all men? Why not talk about the very real psychological, moral, and spiritual dynamics at the root of these lapses versus just “tabloiding” the symptoms for advertising bucks and social media buzz?
Okay, why not.
Torch or Baton?
How will we secure the next generation of young men?
We have all heard it.
One man passing the "baton" to another. A father passes a baton to a son, an outgoing CEO passes one to the incoming one, or a retiring athlete passes the baton to his younger successor. Nice idea but wrong metaphor when it comes to faith, mentoring, leading, and discipleship. Why wrong? Because from the first relays in ancient Greece to the world track and field championships of today runners who pass a baton stop running after handing it off. One runner completely powers off and shuts down while the new baton carrier turns the afterburners on and powers up.
That’s why I prefer torches to batons when I talk about generational impact. Torches transfer the flame while continuing to stay lit themselves to shine light and ignite fires elsewhere.
TEENS HIDING THEIR SEXUAL REALITY FROM PARENTS
By Kenny Luck
Sexual revelations about their children shake most parents to the core.
Let’s face it – “our little Katie” getting naked with a boy or “our little Kevin” guzzling porn on his smart phone and chronically masturbating is an exercise that – again – most parents can’t mentally engage or never want to imagine. However, to personally witness the shock, awe, shame, and personal disappointment in themselves as they deal with a teenage sexual revelation after the fact is even more painful. Their face says it all:
- What happened?
- How did we miss this?
- Why didn’t they come to me?
- Have I failed to pass on my values?
- Am I such a bad parent?
These are the questions parents around the country are asking themselves in the wake of deeply held moral and spiritual expectations colliding with what are, for parents, unexpected sexual revelations about their children.