Monday, August 24, 2009

Colbert Defends the Faith

I don't know what your personal thoughts are of Stephen Colbert and his show the Colbert Report, but I'm a pretty big fan of it. There's just something funny about making a mockery of American politics and culture, and I think he does it ever so well.
Last week, Colbert had Stephen Wright, author of "The Evolution of God", on his show and I think you'd be surprised at how deftly he defends the Christian faith. Regardless of his sincerity or authenticity, he does what I think many of us could do a better job at.
Below is a link to the interview. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ch. 15: Let Us Be Intentional

Eldredge starts off his final chapter with yet another great verse that spells out this journey we have made throughout the book.

"You have made known to me the path of life." (Psalms 16:11)

Frankly, it's a somewhat bitter sweet that Wade and I have concluded this long(er than we meant it to be) process of learning the various phases in life and how we are to journey through them. I've learned a lot about myself and what I must do in order to live this life He has given me.
Although Eldredge focuses practically all of the last chapter on his youngest son Blaine's masculine journey, he emphasizes his own need, and that of Blaine, to be intentional about their pursuit. Think of it as a call to arms for all men, regardless of age, race, creed, etc. We must all be intentional in what we do right now, in the future, and especially in our interaction with other men. We owe it to ourselves, and those we come into contact with, to make a concerted effort to maximize our time here on earth to His glory. Most importantly, we owe it to the youth to lead the way. This is what Wade and I seek to do.
Wade mentioned in an earlier post that the two of us are looking to write a book on the importance of male relationships. While this might be a somewhat lofty goal, the main purpose is to be intentional in our pursuit to grow as men and encourage others to do the same. What we have witnessed and experienced throughout this project is a lack of intentionality among today's men to grow individually as well as with other men. In order to get the utmost fulfillment in life God has provided us, we have got to be intentional in our RELATIONSHIPS.
Life isn't about fortune, fame, or anything associated with power or materialism. It's about relationships. I have yet to find ANYONE in this world (past or present) who can prove otherwise. So, it's imperative that we invest our time in relationships with other people. Yes, marriages are important and so is being a father; but I firmly believe you cannot be the best at either unless you are surrounded by a group of men that compel you to want to excel in those other areas of your life. This is what we felt is lacking in this book. We're not saying that Eldredge completely missed the boat on this topic, as it's not the book's premise. We just feel that he glossed over the importance of male relationships in growing through each phase of life.
I'd like to think of this as the end of the beginning. My dear friend and I have ended our first of many journeys together and we are excited with where the future is going to take us...together.
It's my sincere hope that SOMEONE out there has been reading these posts and has gotten SOMETHING out of it. However, even if there isn't, I take comfort in knowing that both Wade and myself have grown stronger in our faith and our friendship. If that's all God wanted us to get out of it, then we succeeded! He made known to us the path of life and now it's our responsibility to follow it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We Must, Mustn't We?

Touche` Wade, touche`. My good friend strikes at the heart of our duty as the younger generation to engage our predecessors and learn from their experiences. Too often we dismiss our elders as out of date and insignificant, treating them as if they're children instead of the Sages that they are.

When I look at those who have gone before me, in whatever stage of life I might be in, it's in the way they walk, talk and act that shows me how they dealt with those obstacles idiosyncratic to each phase. If they're hunched over and passive in their approach to daily life, it seems as though their experiences have broken them. Yet, if they're walking with their heads held high, it's possible that the trials and tribulations made them a better, stronger person. In either situation, those individuals have SOMETHING to tell us, whether it's an "I should of" or an "I did."

Much like Wade, I aspire to be a Sage; but I'm not so sure that we have to wait until the twilight of our lives to be one. Can we not be a Sage of some sort in whatever stage we have gone through? Is it possible to be the Cowboy or Warrior Sage as we move on to our next phase of life? How relevant are our experiences in those phases, as opposed to those who went through it a generation ago?

Maybe the term Sage is somewhat relative, in that pieces of advice or counsel don't always warrant the title. If we have pass on some words of wisdom to the new comers of our phase as we move onto the next, does this mean we should be considered a Sage? In a vain attempt to answer my own question, I DO NOT think this should be considered the act of being a Sage; however, it's these very actions that prepare us to become the Sage of tomorrow. In this case, the old adage "practice makes perfect" is very applicable. We don't have to wait until we're at the tail end of our time on earth to impart wisdom to the youth, we can start by doing it now. By doing so, we could strengthen our Sage-ness abilities when we are firmly planted in this phase.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ch. 14: Sage

"The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old" (Proverbs 20:29). Not too sure if I'm ever going to have gray hair...since I don't really have any, but I think this scripture is alluding to the experiences that resulted in his gray hair (or lack thereof in some cases).
Honestly, what man doesn't want to be considered a Sage when he's old? To me, that's one of the rewards of overcoming the trials and tribulations of life. Moreover, there's a responsibility that the elders of our society have to the younger generations, so we can learn from their experiences and try not to repeat the mistakes of their past.
Eldredge only allocates one chapter to this stage in life, mainly because he admits that he's not able to provide that much insight since he's not experienced much of Sagehood. All the secondary chapters devoted to a stage focus on how to develop a man through this period in his life, yet the Eldredge chooses to only devote a section in this chapter to the aspect of raising a Sage. Although you can't exactly raise a Sage, it is possible to raise the Sage in a man. For instance, the author takes note of how an older man can be undeveloped. This occurs when he either refuses to take the journey, or take note of his journey. If he has failed to take stock of his experiences, then all we could learn from him is lost. However, if we can draw out those experiences through communication, or simply listening to him, we can bring out his words of wisdom. What is more, when I think about the term wisdom, I can't help but think of King Solomon, the man who asked God for wisdom, and was granted it. Arguably the wisest man to ever live (aside from Christ, of course), he wrote that "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 1:7). This scripture delineates between mere knowledge and wisdom. In my view, man gains knowledge by what happens to him, but he garners wisdom by how he reacts to those experiences. So, when judging the Sage-ness of a man, one must look at how he reacted to those situations he faced throughout his life. By doing so, you can determine whether or not to follow in his footsteps.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ellen Suzanne Cragwall

Well, if you haven't already heard, it's a girl! Yes, Leslie and I are following the pseudo trend of many of our friends. We have counted up to 6 other people we know that are having a girl before the end of this year.
Although many would expect me to want to have my boy, it might shock you to know that I've always had a feeling that this first one would be my little Daddy's girl. I have two older sisters, who both played a productive role in my individual growth. They nurtured me, and beat the crap out of me too, so I guess I got the best of both worlds. Good Lord willing this won't be our only child, so we'll just have to pray a little harder for our boy.
When I first found out that Ellie (yes, we've already given her a nickname) was on her way, it made me think about a story Michael Deaver, a close advisor to Ronald Reagan, told when he informed the then Governor of California that his wife was pregnant. "Pray it's a girl," Reagan told Deaver. It's not that Reagan didn't like his sons Michael and Ronnie, as he loved both of them deeply. "Having a girl means you get to watch your wife grow up all over again." I just hope she looks like Leslie!
Thanks for your continued prayers and support.
Take care.