Monday, April 27, 2009


Ok, I made a little mistake with regard to my synopsis of each chapter...I skipped Ch. 5! Oh well, thankfully Wade has kept on track and provided us with an idea of Eldredge's message.
Another good aspect of the book is that one chapter deals with the stage, while the succeeding chapter focuses on "raising" him while in that stage. Rather than discuss what I read last night in Ch. 7, I'll just respond to what my good friend wrote.
When thinking about doing something EPIC, sometimes it can be a life changing experience, or possibly the changing of a lifestyle. Going back to why I joined the Army, I have to admit that there was a commingling of several different reasons. First off, I felt conviction. After all, I was of age, physically fit and possessed a strong desire to serve in the public realm. Also, I'd been sitting in a classroom learning and debating the various aspects of what was referred to at the time as Global War on Terror (GWOT) and was ready to play an active role. However, there were some "opportunistic" reasons that also played a factor. With public service in mind, I knew that veterans receive preference when applying for federal jobs, so it was a good way of getting "a foot in the door." Also, if any of you know my history, in the past I've expressed an interest in running for public office, and again being a veteran is definitely a plus. HOWEVER, what I have experienced throughout my time in the service has been the exact opposite of what "planned." I no longer have a desire to run for office and working for the Feds isn't that appealing to me anymore. During this time "in the wilderness" I have begun LISTENING to God and seeking His will for my life. My selfish ambition has finally taken a backseat to God's will and a focus on serving him and others in another capacity has emerged. Honestly, I don't know where it's going to take me after my time is up; but just like Wade, I have a passion for the profound and am beginning to seek out ways that I can find the godly fulfillment in life that He wants men to have. Oddly enough, this doesn't mean going on another journey somewhere else, since Les and I plan on moving back to Knoxville. I still want to finish school and get the coveted "Post hole Digger", and we want to be close to our family and friends. Yet, something is stirring and I'm trying my best to listen to God and seek the counsel of godly men.
I encourage those of you men who are feeling that same desire inside of you to make a concerted effort to spend time in communication with God and find out what he's trying to tell you. Also, talk with important men in your lives and get their advice on what you should do. Taking these two steps will ensure that you're making the right decision and the Lord will comfort and ease the hearts of loved ones who might be a little skeptical of your idea. Don't give up and remember Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
Take care.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Manlationship

If you haven't already noticed it, I'm getting a little attached to the term "manlationship." I think it's a great one word description for a particular relationship that men can have with each other. In honor of that, I'd like to describe another close friend of mine... a LIFELONG friend.
I've written about Freightrain Knox before, particularly our climatic and climactic ascent to good 'ol Rocky Top. It's a prime example of how two men can share a common love for adventure, but more importantly, a desire to SHARE that experience with ANOTHER man.
Wade mentioned how beneficial it can be to find a man to help guide you into another stage, or one who you can guide into the stage you're in; yet, I think it's just as important to find someone who's going through the SAME stage as you. Not only can the two of you share in those same experiences at the same time, but it's also a great opportunity to "compare notes."
Train was one of the first people I met when my family moved to Jefferson City, TN back in 1988. We spent 10 years together on the swim team, and we've spent another 10 years as close friends who genuinely care about each other. Unlike Train, I don't have any brothers (he's got two), but I can honestly say that he's the closest I'll ever come to having one. Sure, I've got a brother-in-law and Jimmy IS my family, but we didn't grow up together. Jeff, on the other hand, has been with me through ever stage of life. He's one of the funniest guys I've ever met and he's the most loyal, hard-working person you'll ever come across. Moreover, he's become a better man thanks to his "better half" Lindsay, just like Leslie's helped turn me around. He was my last roommate before getting married and he spent the last days of his bachelorhood at my house. We've been through some awesome adventures and the great thing is that the best are yet to come.
When I look at the relationship of Jonathan and David in the Old Testament, I can't help but think about much I care about him and want to see him succeed in life. Frankly, it's impossible for me to think that someone could misconstrue our relationship as feminine or "gay." More importantly, I can't see how men would WANT to go through life without a friend like that in their lives. Read through scripture and you'll find a host of verses that defend this type of lifestyle and while I'm not saying that men who don't have such a relationship are living outside of God's will, I do think they're missing out!
On to the next chapter!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Leslie and I are active participants in a bible study with Officer's Christian Fellowship. We meet every Tuesday night for dinner and "the Word", something we look forward to each week. For the next several weeks, we have split up by gender and us guys have started a study of 1 Samuel, what Lt. (Luke) Rella accurately titled "Bromance" study!
I think this is somewhat of an adequate title for what Wade described at the end of his post. In his words:

1. We need to be looking for who around us is in the stage we're moving toward and able (by this I mean willing) to bestow on us their time & talents; and
2. We need to be looking for who around us is in the stage we're leaving that we can lead.

Actually it's not THAT relevant to what he mentioned, but it's definitely a catchy title! What Wade's talking more about is the notion of mentorship, from either end of the phase. Although it might seem difficult to discern what stage another person is in, it's not inconceivable. It's very possible to find someone your age who's already been in the Cowboy stage and is moving on the Warrior stage. On the other hand, it's very likely to have someone your age that hasn't quite grown up yet. So, you can't always assume that someone your age is in the exact same stage of life as you.
Going back to the bible study that my small group is doing, I think looking at scripture is a great way to, especially with another man, is a great way to transition into or out of a stage. This "road" isn't meant to be traveled alone and I think it's something God EXPECTS of us. A prime example of this is the relationship that Wade and I have developed over the years. While there are some life experiences we share, there are several things that he's experienced already that I'm going through now. Relationships like these shouldn't be one person giving to the other. Quid Pro Quo definitely applies to "man-lationships".
Here's a question I would like to pose, it doesn't have to be answered, but definitely pondered: Is there anyone in your life that you think might be able to help you transition into another phase, OR someone you can help foster into your current stage?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ch. 6: Raising the Cowboy

I want to begin my post by saying that this chapter most definitely struck a chord with me. Throughout each page, all I could do was sit back and reflect on where I've been and where I want to go. Although I could ramble on for hours about this stuff, I'm going to focus more on what Wade wrote, adding a little of my own experiences and opinions to affirm what he was saying... with maybe a little dissension.
First off, I'm surprised Wade was able remember all the way back to his 6th grade dance parties!!! HAHAHA!!! (Sorry, had a throw a quick jab). In all seriousness though, I think his unique analogy holds water when looking at the initiative that man must take in order to get initiated by God. When examining the agent (i.e., action, statement, thought, etc.) that is needed to bring about change in a man's life, I think there's a little stirring of the Holy Spirit at work. I once had a friend ask what led me to salvation. Without hesitation I said, "I just felt this pulling at my heart, something inside of me that was leading me to Him." As if Bryan had predicted my response, he immediately asked me another question, "Where do you think that came from?" "The Holy Spirit" I said. "Exactly," he mused, "so did you choose him, or did he choose you???" Without going off on a predestination tangent, I tell that story only to argue that that most men seek to initiate change based on the movement of the Holy Spirit. I would even posit that this is the catalyst for transitioning from the Beloved Son to the Cowboy.
Walk with me on this trail, if you will: according to Eldredge, man yearns to feel loved, and he inevitably asks God this question, "do you love me, Lord?" To which He replies, "Yes, you are my beloved get going!" I believe this is the moment when God tells the Boy that he is ready to become a Cowboy.
Now, to Wade's mention of where He wants us to go. Although Eldredge doesn't lay out any specific destinations, he does STRONGLY encourage a type of locale. This is where I feel a deep connection to this chapter, because over the past couple of years I have developed a sincere passion for the outdoors, particularly the mountains.
Despite growing up at the base of the Smoky Mtns, I can't say that I am much of an outdoorsman. I used to kid around that I loved to be outdoors, as long as it was fenced in! However, throughout my own personal masculine journey, I have started looking to nature as my "sanctuary", and that was before I joined the Army. This environment is where I think men should go when searching for God's direction for their life, especially those who do not normally partake in outdoor activities. If you were to look at practically all the major men in Scripture, each spent time "in the wilderness" with God. Moses, David, John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, and a host of others all sought refuge in the wild when communicating with the great I Am. So, if you're feeling an urge to do something different, maybe you should go get a map of the nearest wooded area and start walking. I guarantee you He won't let you get lost!
Back to the dance for a quick point: we are all change targets, whether we like it or not. What we all need to discern is that agent in our individual lives. Frankly, I'm in the "wilderness" right now, aka the Army. God took Les and I away from our friends and family for some alone time, and what I'm trying to figure out now is what to do when we return home.
OK, this chapter has way too much good stuff to write one post on, so I'll save the rest of later.
I speak for both of us when I say that we eagerly await some responses!
Take care.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Calling All MEN!!!

It's been roughly a month since Wade and I have begun this "discussion" on Eldredge's The Way of the Wild Heart and we've both been enjoying our time spent on this project. HOWEVER, it's mainly just been the TWO OF US talking about how this book relates to our lives. After getting to spend a little time together this weekend, we've both been wondering who, if anyone, has been reading our blogs and/or the book. "What do we need to do in order to get a little feedback from guys?" Wade asked me yesterday. Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with an answer.
IF there is anyone reading either the blog or the book, WE WOULD LOVE YOU INPUT!!! It can be in the form of simply commenting on our blogs, or starting your own discussion board (aka, a blog) if you feel compelled elaborate on your thoughts. Honestly, we don't really care how you comment, JUST COMMENT!!! (I know the capital letters and exclamation points might be a little annoying, but I'm trying emphasize the tone of my voice).
We've gone through the first four chapters, but there are still several left and we really don't want to go through this alone. You don't even have to read the book, as I feel that two synopses should suffice in getting the author's point across; but I'm sure a topic or question has stirred something in your brain that is worthy of mentioning. While I don't want this to sound like a desperate plea for participation, it's definitely a call for assistance in learning more about becoming the man God wants us all to be.
Take care.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

God the FATHER

When thinking about raising the Beloved Son, it seems that there are many similarities between the way God raised Jesus Christ, HIS Beloved Son. There are many instances throughout the New Testament where we see how He delighted in his son. The most explicit account is when Christ is baptized. After he is raised out of the water and the heavens open up, a voice from heaven says, "This is My Beloved Son. I take delight in Him!" (Matt 4:17). Although these same actions didn't take place during my baptism, I can honestly say that I felt as though God was telling me this. Moreover, I remember how proud my father was that night, and he delighted in me.
Throughout this chapter, Eldredge focuses on the importance of feeling loved by fathers during boyhood, and there is some merit behind this way of thinking. However, I'm not so sure it's essential to being a man. The author recounts a story of a man who confronted his father about the lack of love and affection he received as a boy, and how he wanted his father to be proud and delight in him. "I can't. My father never did that for me" was the father's response. While I do not dispute this father's inability to do so at the time, does it mean he is forever incapable of exuding these fatherly characteristics if they were never predisposed to it themselves? I argue that he is capable, but it will take some time for him to develop them and give his son what he needs.
It's impractical to think that a man has got to seek and receive the approval of his father before he can begin to pass on those feelings to his son, and I don't think that's what Eldredge is trying to say. Instead, each man can look to the Holy Father for this strength and character, and THAT is what the author is pointing out. If you as a man/father think you are incapable of expressing the love and affection that is needed to raise the Beloved Son, then look to God for it. Just like God delighted in Jesus, he does the same with you. More importantly, he will SHOW you this in your life.
Here are some questions I want you to chew on for a bit: Do you think God delights in you? If so, how and why/not?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ch. 4: Raising the Beloved Son

Wade has started the chapter off with some really deep, heartfelt answers, and I only hope to add a little of my point of view to it. Feeling like a Beloved Son, yet not feeling like I'm the most important person in my father's life is probably the most important aspect of my childhood that I took from this.
I really appreciate the story Eldredge tells of spending time with his son Luke while the rest of the boys were out of town. However, this is mainly how I felt most of my life growing up because I was the ONLY son. This doesn't mean that my father neglected my sisters, (quite the opposite) but being the only boy made it easier to have his attention when we were doing masculine things. Wade's point about the difference between raising boys and girls speaks to the relationship between him and my sibs.
Also, when thinking about bringing out the "inner boy" who needs to feel loved and protected, it's hard for me to think that's always necessary. Does he mean that a man has got to come to grips with the fact that he was neglected or abused as a child? Or that they need a good cry to get it out? Furthermore, I do think it's possible for a non-Beloved Son to raise a Beloved Son. A man doesn't have to let the inner boy out before he can be the kind of father that loves his son. This is evidenced by my dad, who I believe was a NBS (acronym seems relevant).
When I was young, one aspect of "quality time" with dad was watching movies, particularly James Bond. It is something he grew up doing and it was only natural that he expose his children to this world of imagination. Even to this day, we love going to movies together and critiquing them after we're done. This is probably the only time that we communicate with each other, but just being around him makes me feel loved.
I'm going to elaborate a little more on this topic later, but I have to attend to a banquet this evening and the wife is yelling at me to get ready!
Take care!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Youa Culpa!

Since Wade dropped the Mea Culpa bomb on his inability to stick to schedule, I won't hassle him too much; yet, my hope is that others will also jump in and hold him to his word...however "loose" it might be!
My good friend really hit on the crux of fatherhood, that of providing and protecting for his family. I think this particular facet is a great way to do a self-check (for you fathers), but also how to prepare for the journey (for those of us who aren't). More importantly, it's an opportunity to reflect on what your father did right or wrong.
To answer Wade's questions:
- My father didn't travel a lot, but he did work a lot. Two jobs in two different towns required a lot of his time, especially weekends. Although it took away from time at home, his sole priority was financially providing for me and the girls.
- There's no doubt that both he and my mother went without in order to provide for us. It seemed like every time they got their savings up, one of us did something that completely wiped it out. I think the proudest my parents have ever been of me was when I became financially independent from them (thanks to the wifey)!
- This one's a little tricky because it's a matter of opinion. I doubt my sisters would agree with me on this; but going back to the first bullet point, my parents were maybe TOO willing to help us financially, despite the lesson we could have learned. Don't get me wrong, my selfish nature would probably be really bitter at them if they let me go into serious debt rather than bail me out. While I never had a credit card growing up, that was mainly because I was living on credit with them! They both have a hundred stories of me wanting something at that moment and "promising" to pay them back!
There's no doubt that my father looked at his job as the means of providing for us, but he also viewed his work as service to the Lord, especially his time as the Director of the Media Ministry at our church. At times I resented him for going up to the church after teaching all day and spending maybe 30 minutes to an hour at the house; but when I got older, I realized his commitment to honoring the Father in his work. I know he would've much rather been at the house with us; yet, he was CALLED to serve and I sincerely regret any animosity towards him for that.
My ol' pal dad most definitely provided me with the protection and stability I needed to be a boy and grow up at my own pace. Furthermore, he allowed me to make my choices, regardless of the consequences, but was there to help me when I needed it.
When I look at Wade and Tori together, I can't help but think that he's doing the same thing! I just hope I can follow suit.