While I see this idea shaping up in my mind, I also think that it won’t properly crystallize without the counsel of the other guys. This thing, its structure and purpose and SOP should be shaped and fleshed out organically. “Wisdom is found in the moths of many counselors” says the Word. But that said, here are a few ideas:
- We should understand money
Like it or not, money is a powerful force and there is a great deal of Biblical advice regarding money. We can’t be fully armed warriors if we can’t effectively weird this particular weapon. And it’s not enough to read a Larry Burkett book, we need to understand and experience both success and failure with investments and business. It goes without saying that enriching our own lives isn’t really the point, but nor is it verboten. The Word says a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children – so let’s work toward that goal. While money can no doubt be as much a blessing as a curse, we can’t eschew this tool just because of it’s potential danger.
- We should know how to fight
A man with a sword is an anachronism today – I’m not disputing that. But there is something singularly powerful about knowing that lethal force is within your reach. Being a knight, being a leader – being a man – includes the idea of the judicious application of force. In today’s world, that would only rarely mean physical force, but even there, a so-called knight turned to jelly by a 14 year-old with a knife, is clearly missing something. Learning to fight teaches us about our own strengths and just as well our weaknesses. It teaches us poise in the face of danger. It’s self-confidence, self-control, and the proper place of authority all in one. We learn to respect ourselves as we learn to respect our enemies – including The Enemy.
- We should value fraternity
Our American culture is too mobile, too segmented, too disconnected to build the kinds of deep, thick-or-thin relationships that make us strong. As these last few years have passed, nothing has changed so sharply in my understanding of God’s call on my life than my appreciation of community. This idea rests squarely on a commitment of these men to one another for a long time – years at the very least. Also, I’m not talking about soccer games, at least not ONLY soccer games. I’m talking about a deliberate effort to know one another (our wives and kids as well as the guys) and come to that place where trust one another deeply. Where we’re vulnerable enough to say, “Guys – I need help with this!” and where a guy who falls, a guy who chokes, or a guy who sins isn’t berated or preached to, but rather is gathered round and protected – given the space to catch his breath and heal. I’m sick and tired of that Christian culture where we shoot our wounded.
- We should be deliberate
This group should seek and embrace a purpose with zeal. It’s not enough to just agree that we’ll all hang out and try tom be Godly men. We need to approach this band, as well as the rest of our lives with direction. Not wandering, not simply reacting to what happens to us, but pressing on toward a goal. I confess that at this moment I don’t know what that ‘bigger’ goal would be. But I trust that when everything is in place, it will made clear to us. And don’t take this lightly. I know that it’s fashionable in these men groups to say that leading our families is the biggest adventure of all, but quite frankly – bullshit. No doubt raising teenagers (or twins!) presents certain significant challenges, but I’m really thinking that this is about more than keeping promises, more than loving our wives – The Round Table became legend because those men committed themselves to an ideal larger than life, larger than themselves. Let us seek and expect that God’s call will be mighty.All of this vision casting, all of this purple language, is really just this: Christ has awakened my heart to something huge – life abundant. He’s calling me to see the bigger picture and to be an active part of it. I want to move past the phase in my life where I go go God cautiously, with one eye always on the door, one foot always in the world – and instead to charge the throne boldly. And there still – to really find that place where my spiritual life, as rich as it might be, to mesh fully with my physical life. I’m wanting to move past timidity and safety and frakking boredom – bored at work, bored at church, bored all week until I get to watch Battlestar Gallactica where somebody else is living life to the fullest. Why do Treasure Island, and Lord of The Rings, and Lion King get me excited? Because they are full of adventure and the promise that great things happen when normal people stay a course. And my heart was MADE for adventure.
I’ve been brought to the awareness that Jesus carries more than that lost sheep on his shoulders – he carries a double-edged sword with his robe dipped in blood.
That fires me up!
That’s the Jesus I want to follow into war.
And it seems to me that the trumpet is sounding.