Archives For July 2012

I was in a brief discussion about mentoring with a friend today.  I mentioned the idea that everyone should have a mentor as well as be a mentor.  I described this as having one arm extended forward being pulled along by a mentor, and one extended back pulling someone else forward.  Imagine a chain of mentors, all pulling and being pulled as together we pursue that which is greater than ourselves, that to which we are intrinsically called.

In the past I think I labored under a subconscious definition of what it meant to be mentored that was both false and harmful .  I think I perceived it as something for the weak, the needy, the “defective.”  While those who have it together, or who are experienced in life are the ones that are doing the mentoring.  I think I first became aware of this incorrect perception of mine when I heard Andy Stanley state that “we are all naive, and that’s ok” (not necessarily a direct quote).  It’s true.  We are all naive about something.  There are always things or scenarios that we have not yet experienced – things that others have already experienced where we can draw on their wisdom, strength, knowledge, compassion and guidance as we journey through similar circumstances.  Until the lid closes on the casket, we are never to old to benefit from having a mentor because there is always something we have not yet experienced in life — right up to that point that we walk through death’s door.

Does this mentoring relationship necessarily need to be formalized and ratified with selected individuals?  Perhaps, but I also think we should continually be offering guidance (when appropriate) to others around us and we should always be seeking guidance as well.  For there is great wisdom to be found in good counsel.  I suspect the answer should be that we should strive for both formal and informal mentor/mentored relationships.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please consider dialoguing either here in the comments section or over on the official Dangerous Journey Facebook page.  I would really appreciate your insight and ideas.

When I began creating this post I thought I would find a clever graphic that illustrated the concept of a human chain of mentoring.  I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but I did come across this commercial that I thought fit in well with this discussion.  I think it played back in 2010, but I don’t remember ever seeing it.

The lyrics of the background music are:

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish
And it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at
Everybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked down
How quick are you gonna get up, how quick are you gonna get up
Everybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked down
How quick are you gonna get up, just how are you gonna get up

Perhaps part of getting up after you get knocked down, part of where you finish, the place where you are at, is all influenced by whether you have a mentor in your life.  Think about it.  

Nike – Human Chain from Find Store on Vimeo.

Daniel 2:12-15
“So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death. When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel.”

Wisdom and tact. Now there are two character traits that seem to be in short supply today!  How can you live a life characterized by wisdom and tact?  Part of it is knowing when to speak and when to be silent.  Knowing when and what to confront and what to let go.  I came across this interesting grid on Justin Taylor’s blog.  This provides an interesting framework for us to process the issue before we jump to the confrontational stage.  Of course, in our age of made for television drama, we have glorified visceral reactions, emotional drama and irrational behavior, but these things are not really helpful for acting with wisdom and tact!  The first important thing is to slow down, shut your mouth and think before you speak!  Then ask yourself:  how important is this issue?  If its not really that important, let it go!  How sure are you that you are absolutely right?  The lower your confidence, the lower the likelihood that your should engage in confict.  If both are low — well, you should be able to figure that one out!  But when the stakes are high — when the issue is of critical importance and you are very confident that you are correct, then tactfully — and charitably, engage in a “crucial confrontation.” 

I also like how small the region of conflict is on this chart.  It seems we have far too much conflict in our lives today.  We have specialized in making mountains out of mole holes instead of turning the other cheek. Let us be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.”  For “the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace‑loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 1:19, 3:17)


Pilgrim in Progress —  July 28, 2012 — Leave a comment

Have you noticed how things are not always as they appear?  That appearance often changes with perspective?  That a task may appear more or less difficult depending on your perspective? 

Take a look at this picture.  That doesn’t look like such a bad hike up there, does it?

Now how does it look?  This picture is taken from that point looking back down to the tree line where the above picture was taken. 

Life is a lot like that, isn’t it?  We start out on a journey but it often turns out to be completely different than what we expected.  It may be better than we expected  —  or more difficult.  But so often the thing that has really changed is our perspective. 

I am afraid to dream.   
Actually, I’m ok with little dreams, but I am afraid to dream big dreams.  I doubt that I am alone in this.  I wonder if this becomes more prevalent as we get older.  We start out with dreams, but often our dreams are quashed by circumstances or by the well meaning intentions of others.  Often times we interpret circumstances as “reality” and come to believe that dreams are fine, but they don’t really come true.  Perhaps we can approximate them to some small extent, but they don’t really come true.  If you are an analytical type, this is even more difficult.  You quickly spot the flaws, anticipate the difficult issues and soon find yourself mired in a slew of despondency, having come to the conclusion that it is unrealistic to believe that the dream could really be achieved.  Dreams are for dreamers.  Not for real world types.  
But down deep in the crevices of my soul, I want to dream.  And sometimes those dreams float up out of my soul and begin to take flight – only to be burst by the laser beam of my analytical thought
In the last few months I have begun to realize this.  I think I knew it at a subconscious level, but it was recently brought to my attention by my bride, when she noted that I would decide an idea or plan wouldn’t work before I ever really gave it a chance.  A short while later, my cousin encouraged me to “challenge my assumptions.”  Those assumptions I am always making about why things won’t work or won’t happen. 
I suppose some of my aversion has stemmed from an annoyance with the folks who preach the mantra that “if you can dream it or believe it, you can achieve it.”  Or “you can do anything you put your mind to.”  Balderdash.  I can dream of lots of things I can’t achieve.  Turning myself into a newt, for example. 
Unfortunately, this aversion has apparently stunted my ability to dream.  While it may be that not all dreams can or will come true, certainly if one doesn’t dream, there is no dream to come true!  And if one doesn’t have some type of dream, what is there to aspire to?  What is there to plan for?  To direct one’s resources towards?  Yes, I have applied myself towards small, modest, “doable” dreams, but not the big ones.  And I think God is calling me to dream big.  I’m a little afraid of that because I don’t like to fail.  But if I don’t dream big, I will be stuck in small living.  And I don’t want to be stuck there.  
How about you?  Has the harshness of life diminished your ability to dream big?  Together we need to dream big again.  You need that.  Your family needs that.  Your church needs that and our world needs that.  Ask God to give you a big dream and empower you with the strength to pursue it.  
Face the fear.  Live the dangerous journey.

While skimming through some blogs of interest tonight, I came across this at Justin Taylor’s:

Tim Savage’s new book, No Ordinary Marriage: Together for God’s Glory, is undoubtedly the first (and probably the last) to be endorsed by both Kevin Vanhoozer (a rock star of theologians) and Alice Cooper (a rock star of rock stars).

 Now that’s an attention getter for me!  A book on marriage that is endorsed by a theologian and by Alice Cooper?  Who knew!  I have vivid memories of Alice Cooper from my youth, but none of them include expertise on marriage!  I’m intrigued! Maybe even enough to read the book.  I’ll let you know if I do. 

If you had to go on a dangerous journey, which vehicle would you choose?

I found this articled linked over at Maggies Farm today.  Hilarious article with some great tips on raising boys.  You’ll enjoy a few good laughs and get some good ideas.  Raising boys into men is one of the biggest challenges we face in our society today.  Unfortunately, our society is intent on turning our boys into pathetic wimps under the guise of “protecting them.”  I say let them have a healthy amount of risk/danger.  It is good for their development and their character!  And if they get hurt?  Well, that is what emergency rooms are made for!

His wasn’t the first brilliant plan to end in the emergency room.
The two boys had a problem they needed to solve. You see, there was an opossum on their farm and the boys had to capture it.
I’m not real clear just why, other than that’s just the way of things in a boy’s mind — opossums were made for trapping.
Nonetheless, the two set about their adventure by Googling “how to make a opossum trap.”
The contraption that inspired them consisted of a heavy rock, a rope, and a high tree branch — constructed and powered solely by two 11-year-old boys. It’s really not hard to see how this plan landed one of them in the emergency room to have his collar bone X-rayed.

Read the rest of “5 Ways Parents Can Transform Their Wild Boys into  Mature Men.”

You may as well know, I’m a big fan of KSU (Kansas State) Football.  Go Cats!

How did Bill Snyder turn around what was probably the worst football program in D-I history?  You should read the book for the full picture, but it all stems from the rules for success.  

The Sixteen Wildcat Goals for Success

1) Commitment
2) Unselfishness
3) Unity
4) Improvement
5) Toughness
6) Self Discipline
7) Great Effort
8) Enthusiasm
9) Eliminate Mistakes
10) Never give up
11) Don’t accept losing
12) No self – limitation
13) Expect to win
14) Consistency
15) Leadership
16) Responsibility

If you are interested in leadership, Bill Snyder’s book is a must read. 

A few days ago a Focus on the Family e-mail landed in my inbox.  I don’t always open these types of e-mails, there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything I want and read every e-mail too!  This morning while trying to jump start my day with a some fresh coffee from a Bodum French Press I opened it.  Inside I found a link to  Are We Falling Out of Love? by Glenn Lutjens.  An important part of any good story is the “hook” the writer uses to suck us into the story — and he got me with this one!

You remember the sleepless nights and the lightheadedness you experienced after seeing her big, beautiful smile light up a room. You recall when just the thought of him holding your hand caused shortness of breath and a queasy stomach.
In some countries, they call that malaria.
In our culture, we call it romance.
In fact, years ago two doctors actually presented at the Congress of Internal Medicine in Wiesbaden, Germany, the idea that lieberskimmer – love sickness – is a definite medical ailment replete with physical symptoms.

That’s great, isn’t it!  And given that I had just linked to another story on love, I had to read the rest of this one too!  A bit later Glenn writes:

Romance is only one of the types of love important in marriage. If you think of marriage as a house, four kinds of love are like the components that make the house complete.

All four loves reflect God’s design for your marriage. But in Western culture, romantic love has been exalted above the others. 

The four types of love he is referring to are as follows:

1) The foundation of the house represents unconditional love.
2) The frame of the house signifies companionship love.
3) Once the foundation and frame of the house are in place, the roof – or romantic love – has something to rest upon.
4) Finally, the furniture brought into the completed house symbolizes sexual love after the marriage has occurred.

He defines each of these more in his article and I would encourage you to read the whole thing.  It won’t take long, he is brief and too the point. After you give it a read, why don’t you give the foundation of your marriage an inspection?  How are you doing in fulfilling your part of unconditional love? 

Today’s post is on the lighter side.  I was digging through some stuff and came upon this.  Have you been there?  I sure have.  Sometimes the best part really is eating donuts!