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Showing posts from 2009

The Silly Man

Part 5 in the "Men Behaving Badly" Series
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Ask a majority of women what is the number one quality they look for in a man, and the answer is "Sense of Humor." Couple that with the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for," and you may be faced with a situation that is quite frustrating. It is true that women love a man who can make them laugh. Men are all too aware of this and willing to serve women in this way. However, a man who is one step shy of being a circus clown can be a huge turn off (at least for me).

I've seen plenty of guys use humor in ways that at the very least will frustrate a woman, and at most will cause her to grow incredibly angry. As with all the "Men Behaving Badly" postings, my hope is to help men understand how and why their behavior is appropriate, and to help men better serve women in these situations. So without further ado, here are the three main types of "silly men" that I persona…

No Good Thing Will He Withhold

When I was in high school, I was not yet born again, but I was desperately looking for meaning. Much of my alone time was spent trying to find the one true God (and praying that He actually existed). In my junior and senior years, I sacrificed many, many things that were very precious to me, because I wanted to show God that I desired Him more than all those things combined. I thought that doing this would be a good way to get His attention, and that perhaps as a result, He would consider revealing Himself to me.

One of the things I gave up was the French Horn. I was an extremely talented horn player. I played the horn from fifth grade all the way through my senior year of high school. Not only that, I was the section leader for all those years. I was good - but I am convinced that the main reason I was able to excel was not because I worked hard at it, or because I wanted admiration from my peers. I was good at it because deep down, I truly, truly loved the horn.

1992
The French hor…

Anatomy of a Mid-Life Crisis

December. It seems every December I become a bit retrospective. I think I did a pretty good job last December of dissecting why I get this way every year. So it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that it's happening to me again. In fact, things have been going so good for me this year, that I almost didn't recognize what I have been feeling. I actually thought to myself, "Am I having a mid-life crisis?" Then I remembered that go through this every December.

The first time I truly began to feel the pain of meaninglessness was December, 1989. As a precocious tenth grader, I was obsessed with the book, The Catcher in the Rye, and I began to write a narrative of my own thoughts in similar fashion. On the very first page of that journal I lamented the fact that I was fifteen, because I was "halfway to thirty." Even at that time, I understood that time is running out for everyone, including myself. Naturally, this was not a mid-life crisis at all. (If it wer…

The Root of My Hatred

This has been a very revealing season for me. It has been quite a shock for me to discover that I struggle with hatred, but even more so, I am really surprised to uncover the reasons why I hate some people. For most of my life, I have misunderstood hatred. I thought hatred was something you held for someone who made you angry. Or perhaps, you were jealous of that person. I assumed that my problem was anger and jealousy, but these sins are only by-products of my hatred. As it turns out, the root of my hatred is self-righteousness.

Over the past few weeks I have thought about the people that I hate and tried to come up with what they all have in common. Only two of them sinned against me, and in one case it was twelve years ago. I have completely canceled the debts in both cases and I am not angry with either of these people. Most of the others, however, never sinned against me. But in every single case, I look upon the person with disdain because, for whatever reason, I feel she cannot…

My Battle With Hatred

Isn't it funny the way we will use all sorts of euphemisms for hatred, but not actually admit to hatred itself? We will say things like, "I admit I can't get along with John, but it's not like I hate him or anything." In this statement, I think it is clear that the act of hatred is set apart as something especially heinous, which is why we always seem to just stop short of it. In the past six months, I have noticed that I have made similar statements about a particular individual, always just stopping short of hatred. First, it was, "I don't like ______, but it's not like I hate them or anything." Then it progressed to "I can't stand to be in the same room with ______, but it's not like I hate them or anything." I would think thoughts such as, "I really would love it if ______ moved to a different time zone. But at least I don't hate this person," and "Hypothetically speaking, if ______ died, I would not be v…

A Sin Revealed

It has been almost three months since I last wrote for this blog. I sensed that God wanted me to take some time off, and I knew He wanted to show me something. That something turned out to be my sin.

This last week has been especially difficult. Not only did the Holy Spirit show me that I had been previously blind to my predicament, but once my eyes were opened, I confessed it aloud to several people. I took action to avoid the triggers that tempt me. I have made a lot of progress in the last week. But acknowledging my sin and avoiding temptation is not the end of the battle. Removal of temptation does not change the heart. That battle is just beginning.

I know I'm in sin. My mind fully grasps that concept. But my heart could not care less. My heart likes my sin. It has lied to me and told me that my sin makes me powerful. It tells me that I should not repent, because it's really not that bad, and it makes me feel so good! Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have not r…

Spiritual Micromanagers

Part 4 in the "Men Behaving Badly" Series
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Imagine you have just graduated with your MBA and earned yourself a fantastic job on Wall Street. You show up for work on your first day, eager to bring your talents and skills to the company. You are excited at the challenges that lie ahead, and you can't wait to do your part to make this company the best it can be. Things are going great for a few weeks. But then you start to notice there is little freedom in this company. You learn very quickly that you cannot make any intelligent judgment calls on your own; you must first obtain permission. When you are given a project, it comes with a million emails instructing you exactly what to do. One day, you approach your boss with a problem and you need his help. Instead of trying to work with you, your boss proceeds to give you a lecture on what the problem is and how you should solve it. The next morning, you open your calendar and discover that every moment of your…

Debating the Subjective

Part 3 in the "Men Behaving Badly" Series
Part 1Part 2Part 4
Someone once said that if you remove Christ from the equation, you have no Christianity. This is because Christianity is not about a bunch of rules. The essence of Christianity is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ. You can remove Buddha from Buddhism and still have the basic tenets of Buddhism. You can extract Confucius from Confucianism and still have Confucianism. But remove Christ and Christianity ceases to exist.

Women use personal stories as a way of connecting with others, including men.The same can be said for feminine empiricism. If I may use a broad generalization, men tend to value logic and reason over feelings and personal experience. Women, on the other hand, place a high importance on the subjective. This is not to say we value empiricism over reason, but in some cases, we give the two equal billing. You can talk facts with anybody. Remove a particular person from a factual conversation, and you c…

The Immodest Man

Part 2 in the "Men Behaving Badly" Series
Part 1Part 3Part 4

We often assume that modesty is solely a woman's issue. For most people, modesty is nothing more than a word to describe one's dress. This is a very, very limited view of modesty. True modesty is an attitude: one that is free from vanity. Simply put, modesty is humility in action. Most women who dress immodestly do so for vain reasons. Whether they are exceedingly narcissistic or painfully insecure, the goal is to place the focus on the self by attracting the attention of men.

That being said, I think it is fair to say that most of the efforts put into educating people about modesty focus solely on women. It is rare we hear teaching on proper, modest behavior for men. So rare, in fact, one man raised the question in an online forum: "I wonder what do men do that cause women to stumble?" I am so glad he asked!

Men are tempted by what they see. Women, on the other hand, are tempted by what they hear. T…

Men Behaving Badly

Part 1 in the "Men Behaving Badly" Series
Part 2Part 3Part 4

Curiosity may have attracted you to this post for the title alone. I acknowledge that it is a title which, on the surface, may appear to disagree with our mission statement. However, in the interest of returning to our original intent for this blog, as outlined in that mission statement, I feel this is an important topic to address. Specifically, I am going to begin a series of posts to address some of the things that men do to upset women and cause them to stumble.

I first discussed this idea with Geraldine well over a year ago. It has been on my heart to address some of these issues because this blog began when a man behaved badly toward me. Part of the repentance process for me was to create this blog in an effort to channel my anger into something positive. I wanted to prevent further conflict between men and women by promoting greater understanding between the sexes. However, when I first came up with the idea f…

A Face in the Crowd

We're a bit behind schedule, but we do have a film of the month! This month's film is A Face in the Crowd, the story of a nationally renowned television celebrity, loved by millions and revered as a pop culture hero. But behind closed doors, this TV Star is someone his loving fans would never recognize.

STATS
Year: 1957 (Not Rated)
Directed by Elia Kazan, Written by Bud Schulberg.
Starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, and Walter Matthau.
Setting: America, 1950's.

Content warning: Some implied sexuality. Drunkenness, abusive personality traits in Lonesome Rhodes (Andy Griffith's character).

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Celebrity Worship. Celebrities can do no wrong. We love them for who they are on television, but if we truly knew the person behind the star, we may change our minds.

2. The interesting connection between celebrities and politicians. There is a great, great scene from this film that is available on You Tube which demonstrates this connection beautifully. If your…

Worst Worship Song Ever

Even though we have officially dropped our themes of the month, I seem to have gravitated toward the topic of "friendship" for the month of June. We generally don't get too silly on this blog, but when I came across this video, I could not resist. (I also could not stop laughing.) Enjoy!

When Blogs Get Too Big for their Britches

Early last month, I endorsed a particular blog in the comments section of one of my old posts. I read an excellent article by another blogger in reference to an issue that I am very passionate about. The author concluded the article with the question, "What do you, the readers think?" I replied via comment on the other blog, thanking the author for addressing the topic. I also provided a link back to my own article on the subject, in an effort to foster more discussion from his readers. Mind you, I was not giving a random link back to my own site just for the sake of promoting my own blog -- I was giving a specific link to one specific article I wrote, an article which is dear to my heart, and one which I thought would contribute further insight for people looking for answers.

My comment was rejected.

Before posting my comment, I was careful to make sure that external links are allowed (and they are). I had written nothing offensive. In fact, my intention was 1) Praise for t…

For Jason on His 34th Birthday

What is a friend? It is common for us to define our friends based on how nice they are to us, how much we have in common, the things we do together and how much time we spend doing those things, as well as how trustworthy they are with our most intimate secrets. But our definition of friendship is much different than the Bible’s definition. Joe O’Day, author of The Art of Friendship, writes, “Our preoccupation is usually with having friends. The Bible’s focus is on being a friend.” This simple but profound statement adequately describes my friendship with a dear man named Jason.

I first met Jason twenty-one years ago, in the Fall of 1988. At 13, Jay had an uncanny ability to put 100% of his effort into a friendship. At first, I wanted nothing to do with him. But I soon found I was no match for the irresistible pull of a boy who demonstrated unwavering patience, kindness, compassion, and sacrificial love on a continuous and persistent basis – especially when I did not deserve it. Loo…

Is It Any of Our Business?

I am a very relational creature by nature. I love to talk. I want to know and be known. I do this primarily through sharing my business with other people, and wanting to know what's going on with them. Sometimes, I get into trouble when I attempt to know everybody's business. It is not appropriate for me to know everyone's business. When I try to get in the middle of business that isn't any of my business, I usually fall into sins like gossip. "Business" is a delicate thing, and can in many ways be so private and personal, it is only to be shared with select individuals. For this reason, I am very private about whom I share my business with. I don't share my business with just anybody. You have to be a close, trusted friend for me to share my business with you.

A few years ago, someone recommended I read a book called The Five Love Languages. For those of you unfamiliar with this title, the book basically describes five ways in which people give and receiv…

My Dog Skip

Man's best friend. We all know who that is! There's nothing quite like the joy that comes from raising and bonding with a treasured pet. This month, we will examine the concept of friendship - starting with our film of the month, My Dog Skip. This is the story of a boy named Willie (Frankie Muniz) and his best friend in the whole world.

STATS
Year: 2000 (Rated PG)
Directed by Jay Russell, based on the novel by Willie Morris.
Starring Frankie Muniz, Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane, and Luke Wilson.
Setting: Mississippi, World War II era.

Content warning: Mild profanity and a few uses of the Lord's name in vain by the "villains". There are also some uses of words I personally find offensive, as well as some mild violence. This may appear to be a children's story on the surface, but once you are into it, you will discover it is actually a very mature film that takes a profound look at the topics of friendship, war, death, change, and racism. It is a very emotional film …

Hacking Agag to Pieces

Before the month is over, I wanted to draw your attention to one of the most supercharged scenes from our film of the month, A Raisin in the Sun. In just over 90 seconds, some big issues are placed side by side in a battle of wills - God's vs. Man's. Beneatha (Sanaa Lathan) claims that there is no God. She believes that God is simply "a matter of ideas" and proudly asserts that she is sick and tired of God getting credit for all the glorious achievements of mankind. Her mother (Phylicia Rashad) puts an abrupt end to her line of thinking:



There were a lot of things that went through my mind when I first saw this scene in the movie. But one thing I am not accustomed to is seeing a grown woman being slapped in the face by her mother. At first, watching Mrs. Younger shake her daughter and insist that she repeat the words: "In my mother's house, there is still God!" may seem like a bit much. This is not a ten-year-old child. This is a grown woman who is app…

They're Not Really People At All

One of the most important exchanges of dialogue in our April Film of the Month, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, occurs when Bruno's father tries to help Bruno understand why he needs to stay away from the Jews in the concentration camp, which Bruno, in his childhood innocence, thinks is a farm. In an attempt to help the boy understand why these people are shackled and living in a cage, Bruno's father explains, "The thing is Bruno, those people - well you see . . . they're not really people at all."

So many of us have looked at photos of the Holocaust and asked, "How could one human being do something like this to another?" The answer lies in Bruno's father's reasoning - they're not really people at all. Present within this statement is the admission that human life is sacred. In other words, if we were talking about humans, such acts would be unmistakably heinous, horrible, and downright evil atrocities. But if we are not talking about huma…