Monday, December 7, 2009

What Tiger was thinking

The headline “what was Tiger thinking” betrays the worst kind of naiveté. It’s not that I expect men to commit adultery. But it is certainly no surprise. Men are inclined toward pleasure and power. Money and fame facilitate pleasure and power. But love, the real thing, is made of tougher stuff.

Often rich and powerful men who stray say they did it simply because they could. Not because they wanted to in any calculated way. The opportunity was just there. Available. For men without such means, those opportunities are a fantasy, or passing fancy. Even Jesus of Nazareth was tempted in every way common to man.

What makes a man submit to such an opportunity? Or perhaps a better question is what makes a man resist. Years ago a friend told me he was presented with just such a pretty scenario. He was in a position of trust, she was of legal age. The liaison would have been legal, but not moral or ethical. And besides, he loved his wife. He told her, “Sorry, it’s just not worth it.”

Do men operate on a value system, ranking relative risks and rewards? Do men make choices based on danger? Do they just respond to “the feeling,” act on the passion of the moment, and pursue the brief desire of the eyes? Another ancient reference comes from the Apostle John who wrote about “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the boastful pride of life.”

Would our Favorite Golf Star been better off flying his family (or his wife) to the final day of all his tournaments? Ah, hindsight. (Or was it “hindsight” that got Tiger in trouble in the first place? Sorry, last joke.)

(photo by thelastminute/flickr)
Tiger’s well-crafted apology  was one part contrition, one part plea for privacy. His tone was sorrowful. His account was sufficiently specific without dwelling on the details. Surprisingly, he approached the concept of repentance, as in “I will strive to be a better person…” This raises his score on the apology index (as opposed to, “I’m sorry if anyone was offended”).

Married men who freelance are basically childlike. Note Tiger’s playful banter 12 years ago, when he was just 21. The April 1997 GQ cover story “The Man. Amen”  caught the sports billionaire on his way to the top of the sports world.

"What I can't figure out," Tiger Woods asks Vincent, the limo driver, "is why so many good-looking women hang around baseball and basketball. Is it because, you know, people always say that, like, black guys have big dicks?"

…being ferried by a limousine and being handled by beautiful women and being photographed for a magazine cover that will get him laid 296 times in the next year, if he so chooses, can be very exhausting work.

The story exalted young “Tiger of the Woods” as a sort of golf messiah. It is a lofty, precarious perch. Seven years after it was printed, Tiger was married, but it appears he never lost his appetite for women… until now.

Writer Charles P. Pierce concluded in GQ, “Can he blaspheme against his own public creation, his own unique role, as determined by his father, his management team and his shoe company? Can he blaspheme against the image coddled and nurtured by the paid evangelists of his own gospel?”

Yes, apparently.

As the world mutters and meddles in the Woods’ home life, I think they need a few of us to pray and hope that they work things out. I wished that for NASCAR glamour boy Jeff Gordon, NFL icon Tom Brady, Brad Pitt, Eddie Murphy and other guys I kind of envy, even though I have a 29 year marriage and they do not, yet.

The amount of the pre-nuptial terms ($300 million?) is wholly irrelevant. There is so much money on the table, neither he nor she has to worry about provision. Beware the lawyers who will be more than happy to handle the dissolution, and endless revisions to any settlement, and the most painful custody hearings to follow.

What is the price tag of true love, mutual respect, fidelity, a lasting marriage? Who values such things anymore? What are people willing to pay for such things? May the Woods couple work things out, God help them.

El Tigre is not yet the world’s greatest golfer (his 14 major victories, as compared to Jack Nicklaus’ 18), but verily he shall be. Unlike normal humans, I believe that great performers employ stress and off-field “distractions” to drive them in to their game. Pure anger over the tabloids, anger over the cheap women who betrayed him, and anger over his own stupidity will clarify things for him on the course. He will focus more deeply to overcome the chattering noise of gossip-mongers all over the world. Did you know that celebrities can literally hear the things we are saying about them?

If Mr. Woods meant what he said about “I have not been true to my values,” then his values have changed, and he may have discovered something as valuable to him as his game: family.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Glories of Vinyl

(image by carloseduardo22/photobucket)

A while back my 20-something son found a used turntable in pretty good shape on the Internet. He had no idea how delighted I was to receive it. It was a heartfelt gift from new school son to his old school dad. All it needed was a pre-amp and a stylus.

I finally pulled together the pieces, and I’ve been in 33-1/3 rpm – long playing heaven for three days now:

  • Andrae Crouch and the Disciples – Live in London.
  • Deodato’s “2001.”
  • Miles Davis.
  • Keith Green’s “He’ll Take Care of the Rest” (simply amazing).
  • Charles Mingus (my little home theater subwoofer couldn’t reproduce his bass playing. First more cowbell. Now MORE BASS!).
  • Billy Cobham (fastest drummer ever).
  • Stevie Wonder’s Music of My Mind (1972, after emancipation from Motown).
  • KRS-One (thoughtful rapper).
  • Kool & the Gang (one bad jazz combo, far beyond their disco hits).
My younger son watched the ritual – remove the sleeve from the jacket, slide the disc out, blow off dust, place gently on the turntable, raise the tonearm with the damping lever, move the cartridge head over the edge of the disc, lower the damping lever, watch and listen as the needle settles into the groove, beginning its trek toward the spindle.

He said, “yeah, that’s just like putting on a CD and hitting the play button. Simple, I get it.”

“No, you don’t,” I retorted. “It’s more work! It’s more manual, see?” He didn’t. Nor did he realize I’d be back in 18 minutes, bowing before my newly-activated audio component. Turning over the disc for 18 more minutes of vintage musical joy is not a chore. It’s devotion.

I won't get all religious on you. I'm a peacemaker in the analog-digital wars (can't we all get along?). But there is something so refreshingly organic about the clicks and pops that I put there from too-much-love.

(Uh-oh. More fusion. Weather Report. Chick Corea. Stanley Clarke. Mahavishnu Orchestra. I may never leave my living room.)

Back when my last turntable was working, we had a Bible study at our house. I got to talking about the blues and one of the guys seemed interested. When we were finished with the study, I broke out the Jay McShann and "Cleanhead" Vinson. My guests looked us strangely, and when the music started, they got scared, I think, and left the room.

(Oh wait. The Hawkins Family. Trend-setting gospel. Did you know faith preacher Kenneth Copeland sings like a bluesy Frank Sinatra? Steve Taylor. Daniel Amos. Rez Band. Underground. Serious Christian rockers. Yes, I have a Stryper LP.)

So, you all are invited. When I was a drinker, I didn’t like to drink alone. I don’t like my music alone either. The family’s keeping their distance for now, as I re-enter the world of My Music. But you’re welcome to visit.

(What’s that over there? Seven of my Hendrix records survived the last purge! What to do!?!)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

On Leadership

My world has been rocked again by a profound experience, the Willow Creek Leadership Summit . Beyond a short movie with a Bono interview (What! He couldn’t fly to Chicago for the afternoon?) and taped interview with Tony Blair, the in-person guests were top-to-bottom... top-notch.

Seriously, my head hurts a day later. My heart is broken in new places, and within hours of leaving, I was called on for a new, significant short-term leadership opportunity. Bill Hybels was spot-on: "God wants to do great things in our day."

A few more quotes:
“I don’t think anybody’s coming to church today looking for a mild dose of God.”
- Bill Hybels

“The trouble with organized religion is not the religion. It’s the organization.”
- Gary Hamel, Management Innovation Lab (MLab)

NYC’s Redeemer Presbyterian pastor Tim Keller taught the parable of the prodigal son, with some surprising conclusions: “There are two ways around God, rebellion (the younger brother) and religion (the older brother).”

Jessica Jackley, co-founded, the online microfinance website doing $100,000 per day in small business loans around the world. She described how both her mission and organization prosper from the creativity of staff and volunteers. “Co-creation requires less control, a flat structure (not much hierarchy) and open information (lots of idea sharing).”

“Against all odds, God shines the brightest.”
- Harvey Carey, pastor of Citadel of Faith Covenant Church , inner city Detroit

Harried pastors and leaders, busy adjusting to tight economic conditions, were encouraged by Dave Gibbons, pastor of Newsong Church, Irvine, CA, to put people first. “The best programming is life on life.”

“When you look at Africa, I want you to paint a new picture. See us as consumers, markets, financial partners, a place of opportunity.”
-Andrew Rugasira, founder of Good African Coffee

“What’s your cause? Does it move you to tears? Can it?”
- Wess Stafford, Compassion International

“Leadership is no longer ordering others. Today it is persuading others, influencing them toward common goals.”
- David Gergen, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, advisor to four U.S. presidents

“Focus on the bright spots. Replicate what’s working.”
- Chip and Dan Heath, authors

“It’s hard. There’s always resistance to the journey of equality.”
- Bono

Tony Blair’s charge to church, business and NGO leaders: “Leadership is a blessing. It is a gift to others. It is worthwhile. It is your duty.”

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Confessions are down, I must confess

Confessions are down, and the Catholic Church is going to do something about it. The AP/Brietbart story says the Church will publish a guidebook on confession to boost the practice. Could a slick ad campaign be far behind? I hope so. I enjoy seeing religious, cause-related and spiritual messages compete for attention alongside all the “Buy me! Buy me!” hype.

MSN’s Slate Magazine on line tracked the same trend in Nov. 2005 in an article called “The Sin Box.”

Catholics are instructed to confess their serious sins to a priest at least once a year, and everyday faults (venial sins) may be confessed as needed, including violations of the 9th and 10th Commandments (“mere” lying and coveting respectively). I found the catechism (Part 2/Section 2/Chapter 2/Article 4/ VII - The Acts of the Penitent) on line at St. Charles Borromeo’s of Picayune, Miss.

Protestants and evangelicals don’t practice confession nearly as regularly, even though the Book of James (5:16) instructs followers of Christ to “confess your trespasses to one another.” I rediscovered the idea of confession as I studied accountability and its role in helping men practice Christianity.

The social networking websites, confessional blogs, and gossip media (TOO MUCH INFORMATION!) notwithstanding, America’s lax attitude toward confession is yet another indicator of soft Christianity that has little impact on followers or the onlooking general public.

What I tried to teach my children during discipline:
QUESTION NUMBER 1: Did you know the rule?
Unlike most country judges, ignorance of the law is an excuse. So it’s up to me to keep the rules (the letter of the law) and the heart attitude (spirit of the law) clear and understandable. As they get older and assume more responsibility (encounter more people, property, territory, experiences), they need a way to make decisions, a protocol for behavior, not just more and more rules. The over-reliance on rules rather than emphasizing pricipled behavior and sound judgment is killing our nation and making us the worst kind of fascist, nanny state.

(Here in Colorado, lawmakers just passed a “no texting while driving” law, due to a high profile traffic death of a child. Surely the State Patrol can write a strong enough ticket against “dangerous operation of a motor vehicle,” or “driving while distracted.” But I digress.)

In most cases, people know what they did wrong.

QUESTION NUMBER 2: Did you willfully break the rule?
Here’s where confession comes into play. The court of Dad looks very favorably upon a detailed, complete statement of willful wrongdoing. Such a confession will usually result in a punishment/penance of restoration/restitution, and a denial of privileges for a period of time to sufficiently remind the child of the root of their transgression.

Evasion, denial and outright lies will result in the most severe punishment, designed to inflict a stronger, more painful and enduring reminder. In dealing with an unrepentant sinner, it is also important to provide some way for the scofflaw to encounter the truth of the situation (the facts), the reality of his attitude (which drives bad behavior), and the path to redemption (hope, the second chance, a do-over, the nature of mercy).

That’s all. Just two questions are in play as we encounter our own sins (“missing the mark”).

Yes, confession is painful. I remember a preacher once said, “confession is good for the soul, but it’s bad for the reputation.”

Whether to a priest, pastor or peer, the regular practice of confession is not optional. I cross the line. God is offended and so are people. I must own it, put it on the table, make it right to the extent I can, receive forgiveness, and “go and sin no more.”

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Just enjoy your freedom"

(Marines honor guard with casket of Pfc. Washalanta, photo by D. McDaniel, Oklahoman)

A civilian saw a soldier at the airport. Filled with gratitude, the civvy asked, “What can I do for you?” The soldier replied, “just enjoy your freedom.”

If one thinks too long about it, the weight of grief on a day like today can be overwhelming. Too many wars, too many families, too many empty chairs around the table.

From the President at Arlington Memorial Cemetery this Memorial Day:

Here lie Presidents and privates; Supreme Court justices and slaves; generals familiar to history, and unknown soldiers known only to God…

What is thing, this sense of duty? What tugs at a person until he or she says "Send me"? Why, in an age when so many have acted only in pursuit of the narrowest self-interest, have the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of this generation volunteered all that they have on behalf of others? Why have they been willing to bear the heaviest burden?

Wisely, our poet-President declined to answer those ultimate questions. They are too lofty for us. More from President Obama...

Whatever it is, they felt some tug; they answered a call; they said "I'll go." That is why they are the best of America, and that is what separates them from those of us who have not served in uniform -- their extraordinary willingness to risk their lives for people they never met.

Wisely, he acknowledged that we are not all the same. We are different - those who accept the call and those who do not.

The text of the President’s speech here.

It is important to honor the fallen by remembering them and their sacrifice. For this citizen, the freedom they defend is more than some misty, sentimental ideal. The freedom I enjoy is manifest daily in freedom of speech and faith, movement, self-defense, due process, and opportunity. You know, the Constitution. Still worth fighting for.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

4 reasons Chrysler should survive

Your favorite Detroit ex-pat here, with a few reasons Chrysler should survive. I admit I’m a romantic “car guy” of sorts, one who has never owned a Chrysler product. Yet I’m affectionate toward the brand, and I hope and expect they will survive in some form. Here are four reasons why:

#1 - Vintage Styling
I will never forget visiting some family friends with my parents in the early 70s. Barely fitting in Uncle Ted's garage was Chrysler’s luxury standard, the Imperial. The breadth! The weight! I had never seen a push button transmission before. Uncle Ted gracefully maneuvered the long, wing-finned road yacht with its square steering wheel. That skipper's wheel was a physical marvel. It should not have worked. But it did.

#2 – the 1968 Dodge Charger
Muscle car defined. Deep. Throaty (with Hooker headers and Thrush mufflers). Square-edged like a man. One almost killed my cousin David, who was driving at the time. Dangerous. Wonderful.

#3 – the Dodge Ram pickup
I like the cowl. I like hood lines. Its sales followed the Ford and Chevy, but the Dodge Ram didn’t look like every other pickup. It looked classic when it was brand new.

#4 – the Dodge Viper
Ooh mama! Cute and fast, a real life “Lightning McQueen.” We saw Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway driving one around town when he was a car dealer. When the Viper came out, it hit the market like the Ford Pantera (at $10k in the early 70s). If you could have one, you grabbed it. It’s still sweet and fast.

Honorable mention: the Dodge Caravan / Chrysler Town & Country minivans.
Ugh. The minivan empowered countless American families, and may be single-handedly responsible for the growth of suburbia in the 1980s. The minivan may have also emasculated countless family dads who sacrificed horsepower and machismo for domestic duty.

Honorable mention: the PT Cruiser and Prowler
Again, number 3 of the Big 3 gets big time style points. Again, poor engineering and an inefficient engine (which typify too many Chrysler products) made it hard for otherwise cool rides to roll to the rescue for Chrysler.

Honorable mention: the Jeep
Thanks for saving the good-time, manly brand after American Motors went away. It was always a strong visual brand out here in the West, and it always exuded adventure. Driving is dangerous. Hitting the road is an adventure. At least the Jeep looks like it’s up to the task.

Today’s bankruptcy is not necessarily fatal for the new Chrysler-Fiat conglomerate. (I love the Fiat transmission box, by the way.) I hope the market continues to refine the brand, but keep those body engineers! They’ve got what makes American cars … American.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Navy SEALs chant

(photo from
I want to be a NAVY SEAL.
I want to cut off all my hair.
I want to be a NAVY SEAL.
Run with me if you dare.

When my granny was 91
She did PT just for fun.
When my granny was 92
She did PT better than you.

When my granny was 93
She did PT better then me.
When my granny was 95
She did PT to stay alive.

When my granny was 97
She up and died and went to heaven.
She met St. Peter at the Pearly Gates
Saying Gee St. Petey I hope I'm not late.

St. Petey said with a big ol' grin
Drop down granny and give me 10
Saying hey all the way
We run everyday
Hey all the way
That's the SEAL way!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Geek Culture: Sci-Fi, Superhero Movies and Comic Books

(illustration of The Tick from

I've been browsing, inspectin' - X-men comics you know I collect 'em
The pens in my pocket - I must protect 'em
my ergonomic keyboard never leaves me bored
Shopping online for deals on some writable media - I edit Wikipedia
I memorized Holy Grail really well I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL
--Weird Al Yankovic "White and Nerdy"

It’s an intellectual free-for-all, an annual confab of pundits, theorists, free thinkers, party-liners, think-tankers, forecasters, futurists, historians, artists, writers, and all those who are willing to listen to 75 minute diatribes. It’s the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado campus.

Left-leaning, sometimes predictable, yet interesting for its fresh look at the world. First full session for me this year, “Geek Culture: Sci-Fi, Superhero Movies and Comic Books.”

Jim Emerson, editor of said what ties super heroes together is a sense of regret, acceptance of their unique destiny, and great sacrifice to live the super hero life.

New York Post editorial page association editor Robert George (his blog is called "Ragged Thots") dropped some strong comic lore history on the folks, and then explained the peculiar difference between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Peter Parker/Spiderman. While Bruce Wayne is obsessed with vigilante justice as Batman, he grudgingly obliges his role as millionaire. Parker on the other hand would rather live his life as a normal young man, he reluctantly fulfills his duty as Spidey-hero. (Is this discussion getting geeky enough for you?)

George added that comic book heroes are “classic American mythology.” They help us solve our problems, explain our world.

Chicago Sun-Times/MacWorld columnist Andy Ihnatko answered the question from a coed “Am I a geek?” with the following definition: an obsession with mastering a certain thing, allowing for differences in others, willing to be different (as in dressing up in costume for a sci-fi convention), and not caring too much others think.

I guess Tina Turner was wrong. We do need heroes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Male Hallmark cards

From a friend - a tough guy, who hangs out with Navy SEALS, who chews low-carb nails for energy, who serves as technical consultant to the TV show "24" ... male Hallmark cards...

1. When you are sad --I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining, ya big baby!!!!
Love it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prince - Ol' Skool Company

Everybody talkin’ ‘bout hard times,
Like it just started yesterday
People I know, they been strugglin’
At least it seems that way

Fat cats on Wall Street – they got a bailout
Think it was A I G
700 billion – but my old neighborhood
Ain’t nothin’ changed but me

Thursday, March 26, 2009 picks up Old School article

The Old School blog is making the rounds! We’re blessed to have the headline story for a few more minutes (!) at . Our piece on domestic violence was prompted by the Chris Brown/Rihanna headline. I hope a few more read and hear the word. The next generation is counting on us. is subtitled “Where contemporary Christians discuss the news, people and ideas that shape our world,” bringing together many fresh Christ-centered voices on current affairs. Bookmark it!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thank your abortion provider day - March 10

Men, it's a key week to take a stand on the issue of abortion on demand.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 has been declared "National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers" by Planned Parenthood. Here's a sample letter from Planned Parenthood Illinois.

Read the horrifying words of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger here. We must bring light to this persistant, convenient evil.

Americans United for Life wonders, "are there Hallmark cards for this?"

Frank Pavone of Priests for Life is one man standing up. See their latest commercial here.

Yeah, I'm pro-choice. If you love a woman, choose to get married. Choose to have sex. And if you're fortunate to become pregnant, choose to have a baby. Choose life!

(photo at top is actual hand of an aborted child, courtesy

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Domestic abuse slowly bleeding us to death

For the purposes of this discussion, I'll assume I'm talking to the fellas on this one...

Have you ever had the urge to hit a girl? Most of us were raised with a mental line in our behavior code. Hitting females is over that line. But truth be told, the notion lurks stealthily beneath the surface.

The mental picture that forms in a man's head just before the cowardly deed tends to bubble up in times of stress. When a man feels powerless, he can always fall back on physical force, like a scared dictator with armies at his disposal.

Most men never give that stupid urge a second thought. It was scrubbed out of their behavior set, out of their psyche at a very young age. For some of us who are pursuing a practical, living Christian faith, the practice of self-control enters in to keep us from transmitting domestic abuse to another generation. Surely other faiths have a moral code that keeps men from violence against women.

The beheading of a Muslim woman in New York raises serious questions for the Islamic community, struggling with both the reality and the image of their treatment of women and Sharia law. See the commentary by M. Zuhdi Jasser at The Christian church also has an infamous record when it comes to denial about domestic violence. We expect more from the "religious" community.

Young pop singer Chris Brown is being upbraided for his suspicious role in the injuries to his girlfriend Rihanna. Howard University Law professor Lisa Crooms explains her view as a mother trying to teach her son proper behavior in a commentary at It isn't surprising at all that Brown himself was raised in an abusive home, according to media reports.

Men, the cycle of violence that dessimates families STOPS WITH US. Let's deal with some anger management issues. Let's get a handle on control issues. Let's deal with the matter of respect, for self and for others. Let's set our children free from these chains that bind.

Check out the website for AMEND (Abusive Men Exploring New Directions). Get with some men who can help you tame the beast.

We've got to get this one right, and in this generation.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The risk of public prayer

Public prayers are loaded with possibility, and risk.

I have been invited to speak and pray at National Day of Prayer gatherings in the past. The pressure is immense. Will the people agree? (Agreement is important in public prayers.) Will God hear? (The bottom line, right?) Will I be humble or proud in my utterance? (Gut-level, no-fooling-God humility is important in any kind of prayer.) Can I muster something prophetic or profound that will cause a deeper love for God and a more faithful walk with God?

The possibility of offering up transparent, honest words to God that represent the people, and that might be considered by a holy, listening God, is too good for most preachers to pass up.

But the risk of blathering on with petty, politically correct pieties (motherhood, apple pie, world peace) is also too good for most preachers to pass up.

Remember that preacher’s invocation at the Kansas state legislature that is still making the rounds on e-mail? Back in 1996, Wichita pastor Joe Wright delivered a “prayer of repentance” originally written by Louisville, Ky. pastor Bob Russell.

Occasionally, a preacher will hit the nail on the head. (I say this when I agree with what was said.) Colorado’s home school leader Kevin Swanson, who is also a pastor in eastern Colorado, offered a public prayer at the Colorado Right to Life rally on Jan. 22, 2009 at the state capitol. Scroll down to Jan. 22, 2009 on his blog:

I’ll be watching for more of this man’s words.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dangerous Man Day 2009 - communications workshop

For those who attended my communications workshop at Dangerous Man Day 2009 (in Greeley or Denver), here's the link to my seminar notes. It's loaded with links, plus notes on how you might better tell your own story in the 21st century, with special emphasis on social networks.

It's posted over at my "business" blog, which is designed to help people be more effective at communications, public relations, marketing and media relations. I call it "Intel 10.0" because I think it's what you know that will help you change the ground you stand on, like a major earthquake.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Reflections on Roe v. Wade 36

Thanks to EWTN (, I was able to watch a replay of wall-to-wall coverage of the 2009 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

I heard the call for an end to the genocide of black babies from Pastor Luke Robinson ( (Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, Frederick, Md.). There is more on this untold story at

I heard women stand up and say they would be “Silent No More” about their abortion experience. Apparently, these women were not screamed at or called “murderer” by rabid protestors at abortion clinics. (

I heard men tell their story and stand up for their role in 40 million abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973.

I heard family members of Terry Schiavo describe her government-ordered starvation death in excruciating detail. (

Over and over in my mind, I heard my young children ask me, “What did you do during the war, daddy?” I knew they meant the war for the unborn. Is my financial support enough? Is my public abortion confession enough? Where will this 21st century abolition movement move me?

After the announced closing of Guantanamo Bay, one of my pastors posted the following notice on his Facebook page: “No torture during this administration unless it’s a baby in the womb.”

I am undone.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dangerous Man Day 2009 seminar - Mentoring

Here are the notes from the Dangerous Man Day workshop on mentoring
(Greeley, CO Jan. 31, 2009 - Highlands Ranch, CO Feb. 7, 2009)

Discipling Younger Men – “Walk with me”

Seminar description:
After graduation, most young people leave the church. When they come back, will you be there? Get a handle on God’s call on your life to mentor a younger man.

-Four younger men
-From the Bible
-The Generations
-Fill in the Blanks
-The Value of Mentors
-Where to Mentor
-Steve’s Rules for Mentoring
-Tips and Techniques
-A Prayer for Mentors
-Film List on Mentoring

Four younger men I’m spending time with:
-A young songwriter asked me for help with his poetry.
-A youth pastor poured out his heart to me about revival, and we’re reading a book together
-A young father just wanted an older guy to get a reality check on his new wife and his new baby and his new roles as husband and father.
-I heard a young man talk about his desire to write. He had a germ of an idea, and so we read our work to each other on a couple of Monday nights every month.

From the Bible
Eli to Samuel (I Samuel 1-3)
Elijah to Elisha (I Kings 19:19 – 21, II Kings 2:1 – 25)
Paul to Timothy (From house arrest in Rome to Timothy at Ephesus)
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, chapter 2, verse 2 (65 A.D.)

1:8 – Don’t be ashamed
1:13 – hold sound words
2:23 – avoid foolish disputes
3:2 – men will be lovers of selves
4:2 – be ready in season and out
4:5 – be watchful

Paul’s last epistle? His last written words? Relationships! (4:9-21)
Demas, Crescens, Titus, Luke, Mark, Tychicus, Carpus, Alexander, Prisca, Aquila, Onesiphorus, Erastus, Tro-phi-mus, Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, … all the brethren…

BIG, GRAND PURPOSE (B.H.A.G.) - The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20)
Disciple nations
Combat Fatherlessness
Foster Inter-generational ministry

Builders (up to 1945) -- Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation”
Boomers (1946 – 1964) – we rule the world
Busters (1965 – 1983) or “Generation X”
Bridgers / Mosaics / Millennials (1984 – 2004) - coming of age in two different centuries.

Macintosh, Gary L., “Blending Builders, Boomers, Busters, and Bridgers,”, 2002. Springfield, MO.

If builders have been the main leaders of your church, qualified boomers, busters, and bridgers must be allowed and encouraged to assume key positions of leadership throughout the church.

Throughout history it has been common for multigenerational families to live close together, even under the same roof. After World War II, the development of suburbs, freeways, (I insert air travel) and the resulting mobility of people broke geographic (and) generational ties. Families began to live in smaller nuclear units rather than in extended families. As we enter the 21st century, once again families are finding it economically advantageous for several generations to pool their resources and live together.

Encourage boomers, busters, and bridgers to take leadership. This includes the worship team, new-members committee, worship committee, music committee, small-group committee, activities (social/sports) committee, as well as regular boards and committees, such as elders, deacons, or trustees.

Vital, growing churches in the next decade will be those that can successfully reach, win, and keep multiple generations. For this to happen in existing churches, leaders need to make bold, long-term plans for blending builders, boomers, busters, and bridgers into a unified church. Of course, there are risks involved in attempting a blend, but the call of Christ to make disciples makes the risks worthwhile.

Fill in the blanks:
SIGNIFICANT RELATIVE (other than father): ________

Lessons from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ grandfather (My Grandfather’s Son):
-Don’t do what I say, do what I do
-Old Man Can’t is dead. I helped bury him.
-The man he called “Daddy” always seemed to be preparing for rainy days. Maybe that’s why they never came.

Lessons from Morrie Schwartz about love and marriage (Tuesdays with Morrie):
-Respect the other person
-Know how to compromise
-Talk openly about what’s going on between you
-Have a common set of values – the most important value being the importance of marriage

Lessons from Robert Kiyasaki’s “rich dad” about money (Rich Dad, Poor Dad):
-If you can’t make up your mind decisively, then you’ll never learn to make money.

-Opportunities come and go. Being able to know when to make quick decisions is an important skill.
-Say “I can’t afford it” and your brain stops working. Say “how can I afford it” and your brain goes to work.
-Most people work for money. The rich have money work for them.

AT WORK - Apprenticeships!
AT CHURCH - Youth ministry, young adult ministry, new dads, new husbands
AT HOME - Foster sons
SOCIAL CIRCLES - The sons of friends…
AT SCHOOL - Teacher to student, older to younger classmen

Howie and Bill Hendricks: Just pursue relationship.
Stu Weber’s RULE #1 FOR MENTORING: Be there.
Stu Weber adds, “Love them until they feel it.”

Mentees want your help to “decode” life’s mysteries.
Your trial and error saves others countless hours and pain
Failures are badges, scars, stripes… these are medals!
the accountability that’s built inside the mentoring relationship - Stu Weber reminds us that we have to “Live out your own biblical values to the core.”

From Gordon Shea’s 50-minute Mentor:
Seven Types of Mentor Assistance
-Shifting context - “How about looking at the whole issue in a different way?”
-Listening – the sounding board, ask good questions
-Identify feelings – wisdom breaks through cover-ups, self-deception
-Production confrontation – “Have you thought about the cost of this action?”
-Provide information – Be a source of facts to help mentee make a good decision
-Delegate authority, give permission – empower, test, build mentee’s confidence
-Explore options – brainstorm ideas beyond the “tried and true”

Three things to avoid
-Giving advice (too quickly, without being asked)
-Rescuing them from self-inflicted folly

Almighty Father God,
Thank you for saving me, and training me with your word and your Holy Spirit. I seek to grow as your son. Help me fulfill your great commission to make disciples of all people. I submit to you my plans and my desires, and specifically my schedule and priorities. Conform my will to your will, Good Father. I trust you for divine appointments, and I trust you for younger men into whom I can pour my life lessons, spiritual truths and grace. In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, so be it and AMEN.

Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. New York. Broadway, 1997.
Hendricks, Howard and Hendricks, William. As Iron Sharpens Iron. Chicago. Moody, 1999.
Kiyosaki,Robert. Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Scottsdale, AZ. TechPress, 1998.
Ravenhill, Leonard. Why Revival Tarries. Minneapolis. Bethany House, 1987.
Shea, Gordon. Mentoring. Menlo Park, CA. Crisp, 2002.
Thomas, Clarence. My Grandfather’s Son. New York. Harper Perennial, 2007.
Weber, Stu. Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart. Sisters, OR. Multnomah, 1997

Films with a “mentoring” message
Coach movies
Hoosiers (1986, PG) Gene Hackman’s legendary role as a legendary coach given a second chance with a 1950s high school basketball team.

Karate Kid (1984, PG) Wax on, wax off. The iconic tale of martial arts training, the hard way.

Coach Carter (2005, PG-13) Samuel L. Jackson plays the lead in the true story of Ken Carter, who benches the entire Richmond, CA high school basketball team until grades improve.

Mentor movies
Antwone Fisher (2002, PG-13) An angry, talented sailor is sharpened and soothed by a caring Naval psychiatrist (Denzel Washington).

Finding Forrester (2000, PG-13) The reclusive novelist (Sean Connery) finds talent in a young man.

Secondhand Lions (2003, PG) Michael Caine and Robert Duvall play the uncles every boy wishes he had. On a farm one summer, it’s a family favorite!

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980, PG) Short and ancient, the character Yoda is introduced as guide for Luke Skywalker.

Teacher movies
Akeelah and the Bee (2006, PG) M-O-T-I-V-A-T-I-N-G. Keke Palmer plays Akeelah, bright but underperforming. Laurence Fishburne coaches her to the National Spelling Bee, and community redemption.

Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995, PG) Richard Dreyfuss leads in this sentimental favorite of dedicated music teacher’s 30-year career.

Stand and Deliver (1987, PG) Edward James Olmos in a tour-de-force performance as an inspirational Calculus teacher in East L.A. Based on a true story.

The Great Debaters (2007, PG-13) Denzel Washington plays debate coach Melvin Tolson, who trained small Wiley College in a national championship match against Harvard. A true and inspirational story.

To Sir, with Love (1967) Sidney Poitier is a novice teacher assigned to a school of young toughs in London.

Find out more about Dangerous Man Day at

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bush leads and reads

I laugh at David Letterman occasional bit “Great Moments in Presidential Speeches,” where great presidential sound bites are contrasted with a goofy quip, hiccup, or stammer by our current president… alas, the benefit of having every public moment recorded.

But former Bush confidante Karl Rove revealed last week in the Wall Street Journal that the President is a bit of a bibliophile. Rove’s New Year’s Eve 2005 resolution to read one book a week in 2006 became a competition in the Oval Office. Rove always wins, but the number and range of books our president is reading is impressive.

Among the President’s 2006 readings: biographies of Lincoln, Twain, LBJ and Genghis Khan, as well as Travis McGee novels and books on the Middle East and sports.

In 2007, "W" dropped to 51 books to Rove’s 76,including Krushchev’s Cold War and The Shia Revival. In 2008, leading the free world took its toll, with the President at 40 books, including Sears’ Gettysburg, U.S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs, and Halberstam’s The Coldest Winter.

Rove reports that the President reads the entire Bible annually and a daily devotional book. I have declined the annual Bible sprint in recent years, opting instead to see how slowly I can read those 66 books (more like J. Vernon McGee’s five-year “Through the Bible” approach).

I am similarly committing more time to reading and less to TV. After a couple of years of mental atrophy and sloth, I’m regaining my literary groove. My 2008 reading list is below, and challenge all my readers and writing circle partners to ante up and show me your stuff. I need the challenge to reach higher!

Good to Great – Jim Collins (business book)
Come On, People – Bill Cosby (call to discipline, self-determination)
Why Revival Tarries - Leonard Ravenhill (re-read his call to holiness, Christian character and courage)
Replay – Ken Grimwood (time traveling novel, “do-over” fantasy)
The Runner – Christopher Reich (WW2 novel)
The Divine Comedy aka Dante’s Inferno – Dante Alighieri (classic from 1300)
The Constant Gardener – John Le Carre novel on corporate espionage set in Kenya, Germany and Canada
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – Le Carre novel on cold war
The Looking Glass War – Le Carre novel on cold war
The Shack – William Young
Plus a couple of books for clients (Yes, I’m doing some book promotion now!)

First book read in 2009: My Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas. Amazing memoir!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Chivalry lives!

A print ad for Chivas Regal scotch got my attention in the Wall St. Journal recently. It’s part of a campaign called “Lives with Chivalry.” The risks of hard liquor aside, let’s look at how this effort to sell upscale booze exploits the virtue of chivalry.

The marketing blog writes:
‘Live with Chivalry’ is a reaction against an age of individualism and over-reliance on materialism, and celebrates the concepts of masculine brotherhood, honour, class and sophistication. This 60-second TV spot shows pretty posh boys act like the gents that they are, giving people a hand up off the ground, carrying their girlfriend over a muddy puddle and pushing Rupert’s classic car (out of the mud).

Andrew Pentol reports at the travel-retail blog :
“An independent international lifestyle consumer survey of 3000 respondents in 17 countries, carried out by leading research company BrainJuicer in August 2008 on behalf of Chivas Regal, revealed that chivalry is a quality valued around the world with 71% believing they would have a far better quality of life if the people around them adopted this new ideal. An overwhelming 95% of all men and women also said they found chivalrous qualities attractive in the opposite sex.”
New ideal?
This past November, Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster book franchise Twilight spawned a $70 million dollar box office opening. In an unusual twist for teen fiction – romance film lore, restraint played a central role for the characters. The vampire Edward showed his true love for Bella by NOT indulging his physical desire. (His passion for blood would surely kill the girl he loves.) Imagine that! True love requires self-denial.

Advertising agencies that are so gifted at moving people to spend $$ on "stuff" will continue to tie in products with historically enduring principles. Smart marketers will always try to associate with something more universal than their product alone.

The agency Euro RSCG is on to something. Stephenie Meyer is on to something. Chivalry shows up in the most unlikely places.