Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I recently spent a weekend with 100 other men gathered together under the theme, "Soldiers of the Cross." It was shared with us that we are at war -- a war against the devil. The devil is our enemy, and he is on the lookout for those whom he can separate from God. When the devil captures someone, they face an eternity without God. We were given instruction on how we can fight against the devil with our words, our actions, and our lives.

We gathered around the Holy Scripture for encouragement and instruction. We gathered around prayer for wisdom and comfort. We gathered around fellowship for bonding and sharing. We gathered around the table for strength and laughter. We gathered around the piano for singing battle songs of victory and hearty camaraderie.

As I left these guys to go back home, I reflected on the experience and the theme for the weekend. Specifically, I pictured myself as a soldier. I was not drafted nor did I enlist. I have known many soldiers and have a great respect for their commitment and service pledge as summed up in the soldier's oath:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

A soldier promises to support, defend, and obey.

Can I do any less than support the Scriptures, defend the faith, and obey my God?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's Not My Fault

The recent tragedy of the death of the Georgian Luger reminded me once again how often people today just can't admit doing something wrong. The fact that this track was designed and built to produce the world's fastest times, that no padding was placed around potential death traps, and that practice times were limited apparently played no part in the tragic events that led to this competitor's death.

I find it interesting that after the death there was padding placed around pillars; the start was changed in order to reduce speeds; competitors were assigned practice times; and plywood sheets now protect athletes. I wonder why, if there was no fault in the original design and construction of the track, were these after-the-fact precautions taken?

Not to beat a dead horse . . . but if Mark McGwire really took steroids to help his pain, then why wouldn't he voluntarily resign his homerun record? If all he did was to take these drugs to play the game, and if all he ever wanted to do was just play the game, and if the only thing that was important to him was playing the game -- then why hang on to the record? Wouldn't simply having played the game be enough for him?

I recently had some issues with the company that provides my prescriptions. A worker entered my information incorrectly, and the order was rejected. That in itself wouldn't cause many issues; however, this is a medication I need to live. When I called the company to see if I could resolve the issue, its position was that it was my fault for not answering my phone or e-mail messages. Though I was away from my home and there were no e-mails from the company, I was still informed it was my fault.

Yes, it seems as if in today's world there is no one who will stand up and say, "I made a mistake." As men we must teach our sons that there will be times when it is not only the manly thing, but also the moral thing to admit a personal mistake in judgment, action, or deeds. Until men choose to stand up and take responsibility for their actions, it seems our society will continue declining. As long as we doggedly maintain that "it's not my fault" -- no matter what the issue -- civility and courtesy in society are diminished, and we relinquish our roles as being the men God fully intended us to be.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Bowl Let Down

My prediction was somewhat correct, I predicted the Saints would top the Colts by a fourth-quarter field goal, final score 24-21. That was wrong; the Saints beat the Colts 31-17! It was an exciting game and for someone who's fallen asleep during past games, this one was exciting.

In fact, in my opinion, the game was the best part of the whole experience. The half-time show performers were well into the second half of their lives. The light show was entertaining, but the rest of their performance left me with a desire to watch CSI.

The commercials -- ahh, yes, the commercials -- always a highlight were, sad to say, very disappointing this year. Rather than hilarity and out-of-the-box thinking, I got mediocre man bashing. Hey, if I want to be made fun of because I'm a man, all I have to do is drive around with the Garmin on. The little lady does everything but slap me upside the head and call me an idiot. One day I will "recalculate" her! But I digress.

Yes, I thought the first Bud Light commercial showed promise with its remodeled home done as an Extreme Makeover in Bud Light style. The prospect of drinking myself out of house and home is kind of appealing, but the last image with the shower was appalling.

It went downhill from there. Casual Friday from CareerBuilder really crossed the line with the underwear images now burned into my brain. Bud Light struck again with the concept that men will only read a book and discuss it in exchange for a beer. (I will read and discuss a book for much less.)

The phrasing showed promise with, "Guys can cry," "Man's last stand," "Get a spine," and "Men, it's time to wear the pants." However, each phrase only dug deeper at the whole guy-bashing concept. Guys can cry only because they are eating a jalapeno chicken sandwich; men will stand anything in order to drive a Charger; men need to get a spine or they have to go shopping with their wife and miss football (I couldn't figure out who the audience was for this last one, since we are all watching football to watch a commercial about men not watching football); and, finally, men need to wear pants or they will be seen on national TV running around in their underwear.

In fact, even da Bears got in on the underwear kick with the leopard-print-thong thing. With all the underwear shots, I felt as if I was back in third grade and reading The Adventures of Captain Underpants in the coat room.

With an estimated 103 million people watching, America's businesses put forth their best effort -- old people in underwear. I think America would be better off if these advertisers gave their Super Bowl commercial budgets to the government to reduce the national deficit.

Maybe it's time for men to be seen as men -- not some pitiful, ad agency mockery of a man -- but a man who calls a sin, a "sin"; a man who works hard to provide for the needs of his family; a man who dares to show emotion; a man who demonstrates a life built on biblical principles; a man who will love his wife; a man who can change the world; a man who thinks for himself and isn't influenced by incomplete science, bad taste, or lousy commercials.

I will reject the TV hype and be a man, will you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Super Bowl

My prediction is the Saints will top the Colts by a fourth quarter field goal, final score 24-21.

Care to differ?

I also predict the best Super Bowl ad will be from the U.S. Census Bureau, with Anheuser-Busch InBev coming in a close second place. The pro-life ad from Focus on the Family should generate some interesting and thought-provoking responses too.

Who is featured at this year's half-time festivities? You're correct. (Sounds like the start of an old Abbot and Costello routine, doesn't it?) The Who features aging rockers who appeal to an aging audience in the hopes some will stay around to watch the performance. At least we won't have to worry about a costume malfunction . . .

I like the Super Bowl, even if my favorite teams don't play. It gives America something to talk about instead of trillion-dollar deficits, double-digit unemployment, and dirty politics. For half a day Americans are united in eating guacamole, drinking their beverage of choice, and cheering a football team they hardly know. And all this is done while watching the commercials and TiVo-ing the game. We'll sing along with "Pinball Wizard," "My Generation," and "I Can See For Miles." Yes, the day will be fun.

The Super Bowl has become the ultimate man-day. Why? Well, on this day a fair number of guys plow down pounds of junk food and drink ridiculous amounts of whatever they like -- all the while cheering loudly as they confidently declare their opinions about commercials, commentators, game plans, and anything else related to the event. The man with the biggest TV will have the most friends, and the one who brings the most beverages will be the one crowned with the seat of honor -- up front with the speakers cranked.

For myself, I see something a little different on this day.

I'd like to be surrounded by my sons, son-in-laws, and grandsons for the game. For this would be the perfect occasion to let them see I have opinions; I have wisdom; I have convictions; and I can share on more than the game. I would cover life principles: how to be a disciple of Christ, challenges I faced and overcame, and how to handle disappointment and sorrow. For, surprising at it may sound, guys united around chips, dip, and a cold one can share from the heart lessons learned, values held, and some of life's greatest moments. I would especially want the boys around when the pro-life commercial is playing to give me an opportunity to share my Christian convictions.

Unfortunately, my sons, sons-in-law, and grandsons will be watching from their homes across state boundaries and time zones, so I will have to share another time. My last prediction -- and genuine hope -- is that next Sunday becomes a time for some quality male bonding for you. I pray you have a great day and may the best team win.

Go Saints!