Archives For Hope

A few days ago I was driving past one of those planned neighborhoods and a sign out front was inviting the “post active” crowd to come on in and have a tour.

It took me several seconds to grasp what the term was referring to. Was this a community for veterans? After a few beats I realized that in fact it was a polite but insidious euphemism for seniors. But it wasn’t enough to say “If you born before this date in 1958 you’re welcome here.” Instead it presumed to indicate your level of activity after that 55th birthday – your level of usefulness. “Now that you’re an old coot, sit down and take a breath. Lord know’s you’ll need it. And we assume that you are bored, thinking about fishing all the time, and basically useless. But that would be rude so we’ll call it ‘post-active.'”

One of the biggest mistakes of our current World enemy is the unchecked worship of youth and the consequent dismissal of wisdom. The wisest, most experienced, most mature members of our world often feel cast aside – and for good reason. Everything about the way we live our day to day lives is geared toward the young and the reckless while we get closer and closer to a Logan’s Run vision of our 60s and beyond.

Moses, on the other hand, didn’t hang up his staff at 60. In fact, he was still 20 years BEFORE his great mission to free Israel from Pharaoh. He was 120 years old when he moved on and the Word says that he was ‘Undimmed in his eye and still getting busy.’ (loose translation)

In The Masculine Journey john talks about kings as sages as the stages of greatest strength and influence in a man’s life. When all the hard work and refinement of the previous years comes to a razor sharp point and a man becomes a scalpel in the hands of God, truly able to separate sinew from bone and effect change in the world at a level no ‘warrior’ could dream of.

But if a sage of the Kingdom is put to pasture, or worse, if that man willingly retreats from the field for fear of feeling invalidated…the loss to the Kingdom is truly immense.

Russel Crowe is RadiatorI swung through a church the other day and happened to pick up a pamphlet for their men’s ministry. In bold letters it says “Live The Adventure in Christ” and beneath that is a grainy picture of four men in a drab colored hallway with paint rollers.

Painting? Seriously?
Jesus offers “life to the full” and the best you can come up with is busy work?

But really that’s the kind of thing we see almost everywhere we look, not just in church. It’s a foundational plank in how western culture manages men these days. Have you ever heard somebody say something like “The greatest adventure you’ll ever live is [insert obligation]”. That kind of thinking rises up from a world of undressed wounds where playing it safe is  a primary motivation. When we’ve been hurt deeply and nobody was there to play a father’s role of interpretation and initiation for us, then the desire to avoid pain is often the best motivation we have left. So we only take on the challenges we know we can win. We only risk what we can afford to loose. We take that soul-deep desire for adventure and try to channel it into artificial adventures like sports.

But what troubles me most about this brochure is that these folks should know better. They’re using the language, arguably calling man into the deep and powerful life of spirit…and then offering chores. It’s a horrible bait and switch and acts to convince millions of earnest Christian men and women that the biggest, most important thing the King of the Universe has for them is service.

If the version of the Gospel you heard goes something like “Sin less, give more, sit down.” then please believe me that there is MORE.

Pumped For This Journey

John —  February 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

campThis morning, part of our team is headed north of Seattle to join other men at a Calling Intensive led by Gary Barkalow of The Noble Heart Ministries. As I (John) packed up I saw one of our alumni, Jeremiah post a message out to his social networks that he was “Pumped for this journey!” I remember seeing Jeremiah a year ago on his way to his first Bootcamp. He had hopped off the train and the look on his face was of pure excitement and delight in what was ahead of him.

Everyone knows how tough the world is right now. Every day seems to be a struggle to find hope to get us all through. But where are we finding excitement in the Story?

Last night at our leaders meeting, the guys on the team that were headed north were joking about who had or had not done the pre-event assignments? These assignments were pretty involved too. Some of them took days to complete. In the busyness of life it is easy to let things slip, get caught in the many traps of duties and punch-lists. Our days can become one drudgery after the next. Excitement in anything can be so hard to find.

I bet Jeremiah did his homework though.

What are you “pumped for” today? What risk is God asking you into this moment? Do you have an answer? Go ahead and ask Him.

But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31