My wife and her girlfriends have been swearing by Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand GIfts, for awhile now. I recently followed a link to one of her blog posts called The Real Truth about ‘Boring’ Men — and the Women who Live with Them: Redefining Boring.
Though I’ve always thought of Voskamp’s blog and her book as being written for women I really enjoyed her post. In it, she writes in the form of a letter to her sons. Voskamp provides some serious challenges and encouragement for men who want to romance their wives in a Christlike way. Her main premise: the world pushes us to pursue flashy, shallow demonstrations of romance but our call as Christian men is to romance our wives day in and out–through the boring and the ecstatic.
Sure, go ahead, have fun, make a ridiculously good memory and we’ll cheer loud: propose creatively — but never forget that what wows a woman and woos her is you how you purpose to live your life.
I’m praying, boys — be Men. Be one of the ‘boring” men – and let your heart be bore into.And know there are women who love that kind of man.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t flashy – because love is gritty. The kind of man whose romance isn’t about cameras — because it’s about Christ. The kind of man whose romance doesn’t have to go viral — because it’s going eternal.
I don’t have a lot to say besides watch this movie. Wait until you have a free half hour and watch it. There’s a lot of understated goodness in this film about men and wilderness, fathers and kids, husbands and wives.
(here’s the link if the video doesn’t show - http://vimeo.com/heliocollective/searchingforwest )
The Anima Project is a group that is making awesome art for Jesus in the form of short videos. The other day my Facebook news feed exploded with my female friends sharing the link to a video for women by The Anima Series called Who You Are: A Message To All Women. The video was spot on with gospel truth, cool music, and an engaging, artistic style.
Lo and behold, The Anima Series has a companion video for men–Who You Are: A Message To All Men. Check it out.
(here’s the link if the video doesn’t appear - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTAn-tk2pDA&feature=youtu.be)
If you’re like me, you might find yourself a little uncomfortable with someone saying so many good things about you. The video might expose a little of your cynicism. If you find it uncomfortable to open up, get a little vulnerable and just soak up the good gospel truth about who you are when someone tells it to you, then watch the video again and practice owning what’s yours in Christ.
We have a lot of self-defense mechanisms that prevent us from believing the good things God has said about us. We have also bought lies from people, culture, Satan, and ourselves. Those lies can become deeply entrenched in our minds and hearts and make it hard to receive truth. This video is a small opportunity to do what should become a daily practice for you–filling your head with God’s truth about who He is and who you are in Him.
I was reading me some Andrew Murray today and came across a text that fits well here on the man blog. If you have yet to meet Mr. Murray, his passionate love for God, and his obsession with Jesus, I recommend you do so today. The book I’m reading is Humility.
Murray makes a keen observation that, as men, we can often give more attention to developing and displaying the “manlier” virtues like courage while devaluing those that are less glamorous such as humility. The truth though, is that Jesus is always our example of what a real man is and he is the most humble person to have walked the earth.
From Humility -
In striving after the higher experiences of the Christian life, the believer is often in danger of aiming at and rejoicing in what one might call the more human, the manly, virtues, such as boldness, joy, contempt of the world, zeal, self-sacrifice–even the old Stoics taught and practised these, while the deeper and gentler, the diviner and more heavenly graces, those which Jesus first taught upon earth, because He brought them from heaven; those which are more distinctly connected with His cross and the death of self-poverty of spirit, meekness, humility, lowliness, are scarcely thought of or valued. Therefore, let us put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness,long-suffering; and let us prove our Christlikeness, not only in our zeal for saving the lost, but before all in our intercourse with the brethren, forbearing and forgiving one another, even as the Lord forgave us.
Fellow-Christians, do let us study the Bible portrait of the humble man. And let us ask our brethren, and ask the world, whether they recognize in us the likeness to the original. Let us be content with nothing less than taking each of these texts as the promise of what God will work in us, as the revelation in words of what the Spirit of Jesus will give as a birth within us. And let each failure and shortcoming simply urge us to turn humbly and meekly to the meek and lowly Lamb of God, in the assurance that where He is enthroned in the heart, His humility and gentleness will be one of the streams of living water that flow from within us.
Read the rest of Murray’s book, Humility, online here.
I recently reviewed a book called, You’re Stronger Than You Think by Les Parott. At the end of that book, Les shared something called The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith. I guess this piece has been around since the late 60′s but it’s brand new to me. The Paradoxical Commandments reminds me a lot of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, If, which you can find on this blog and where Dr. Keith almost certainly got his inspiration.
If you’re interested, Dr. Keith has written several books and has a whole website built around his commandments. The main idea is that there are always lots of reasons not to be great and to do great things but you should be and do so anyway. Are you up to the challenge?
The Paradoxical Commandments
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
I recently read a book called You’re Stronger Than You Thinkby Les Parrott. I picked the book up despite it’s cheesy name because I recognized the author’s name. Les Parrot and his wife Leslie, wrote my favorite college textbook (insert ‘nerd’ here) for a psych class I took and since then I’ve payed attention to their work. Les and Leslie are christian psychologists or psychiatrists or some such and they have a lot of good things to say about living healthy lives and being emotionally and mentally well.
I heartily recommend You’re Stronger Than You Think to anybody who wants to live a fuller life and, in this case, to any man seeking strength. Les Parrott presents an extremely gospel-centric message about how to harness the power of your Mind, Heart, and Soul. With the mind Les encourages you to Think Simply, and Think Expectantly. With the heart he says we should harness the Power of Feeling and Being Vulnerable. And finally, with the soul, we learn to leverage the power of Being Emptied and Being Bold.
Les gives practical challenges to help you put what you learn into practice at the end of each section and he’s provided lots of fantastic quotes to bolster his message along the way. I was really challenged and encouraged by You’re Stronger Than You Think and I hope you pick up a copy and discover some reserves of strength you didn’t know were there within you.
The phenomenal decline of men in recent years has been well documented and can be seen in almost every sphere of life. Brooks briefly reviews a book by Hannah Rosin called The End of Men and agrees with her conclusion: that men are not as good as women at adapting to the socioeconomic changes happening in our times. Women are simply thriving in the new economy and under the new social rules while men are clinging to old mores that seem to no longer be valid.
The answer, Brooks and Rosin say, is for men to be more adaptive. In what I’ve discovered to be a typically brilliant turn of phrase from Brooks, he says that if Rosin is right in her assessment of the plight of men, then “men will have to be less like Achilles, imposing their will on the world, and more like Odysseus, the crafty, many-sided sojourner. They’ll have to acknowledge that they are strangers in a strange land.”
Personally, I’d say there is a lot more to the problems and solutions of men than simple adaptivity or lack thereof. The shortage of men with qualities like spiritual fortitude, character, integrity, honor, strength, confidence, and general christlikeness would have a lot to do with it as well–not to mention our culture’s tragic failure to teach men how to be men. Adaptivity may need to make its place into that list though.
David Brooks is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. He has written an interesting article titled Honor Code, which discusses the way modern education may be estranging boys. Essentially, his argument is that the esthetic and “honor code” of much modern education is unappealing, uninspiring and negatively biased toward men and that this should change.
Brooks frames his argument by using the picture of Henry V of Shakespeare’s play as an example of a man who is admirable and yet would have been viewed as a problem child in today’s educational system. Give the article a read and tell us what you think. While you’re at it, check out Brooks’ other work. He covers a wide range of material and is always insightful.
In this second Man-Jewels collection there is nothing particularly spiritual or life-altering. What Man-Jewels #2 can offer however, are a few laughs, some cool factoids, and a brilliant desktop photo.
An infographic about beards and how their perception, use and cultural significance has changed throughout history. Depending on your value system the infographic may leave you wishing you could grow a beard or have you out buying a new razor. Personally, I agree with the author/artist’s conclusion: “Don’t shave–find a woman who’ll embrace the beard.”
The Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness
If you’ve watched Parks and Recreation then you know that Ron Swanson is one of the manliest characters ever to appear on your TV screen. His pyramid of greatness is used on the show for educating children about what really matters. Click the image for the full size version.
My wife actually introduced me to this video…which is why I married her. Thanks to Andy Swartz for reminding me of the awesomeness of Barats and Bereta’s Mantage.
Rambo vs. Robert Pattinson
There are a lot of things wrong with this poster–logical fallacies, stereotypes, etc.–and yet, it just touches my heart. Thanks to Richard Seldomridge for the reference.
If you’ve got some good ideas for future Man-Jewels collections, let me know!