Will you contribute?

I am working on a new blog.

I believe my calling is to help people become disciples of Jesus, to follow him with every part of our lives. I believe the spiritual disciplines are central to the life of the disciple. The disciplines are practices that cultivate a life in the presence of God. They initiate and maintain an awareness of his presence as well as identify and root out obstacles to an awareness of his presence. So I am creating a blog about the spiritual disciplines as a resource for disciples.

My hope is to provide information and direction about various disciplines to help people move deeper into the life of the disciple. I will write about a variety of disciplines but will include the same basic resources for each:

a description of the history, purpose and practice of the discipline

a written guide to practicing the discipline

possibly a video guide to the discipline

an interview with an expert in the discipline

an interview with a beginner

and a list of resources for further study

I am in the very early stages of planning and want to have a few disciplines in the bag before I “open the doors.” This is where I can use your help. The first three disciplines I plan to post are the inductive study method, breath prayer and Sabbath. I am looking for people who would consider themselves beginners in these disciplines to practice them for at least 30 days and answer a few questions about their experience for the blog.

You can either write your response or we can meet for a brief conversation. The questions are simple and posted below. If you are interested, would you please contact me via either Facebook or Twitter?

(Also, if you would like to be updated on the progress of the new blog, the best way to do that is subscribe to this one.)

  1. What was your experience with the discipline before this experiment?
  2. What drew you to this discipline?
  3. How did you meet God as in the discipline?
  4. When you engaged the discipline, where did you struggle?
  5. What advice would you have for someone beginning to practice this discipline?

I dislike the person I am becoming

I am a Senior Supervisor (Senior Supervisor of Subscriber and Tech Services for short.). That’s it. For at least two years, I have been doing manager level work. I am routinely asked why I am not a manager, and I have (perhaps foolishly) turned down two invitations to post for Manager roles. Now I am frustrated, and my frustration is bubbling over in unhealthy ways.

I work a ridiculous number of weekends, many of which are late evening/early morning software deployments. This coming Saturday night/Sunday morning will be my nineteenth working day in a row, and I don’t get comp days. (Someone should force me to read my own writing on Sabbath.)

I increasingly dislike the person I am becoming. As I crammed work between taking Caiden to a carnival and Isaiah’s birthday party last weekend, I was short with Erin for suggesting we prioritize the party preparations and with Caiden for acting like a normal four-year-old.

Until now I have believed I am managing the work. When I was at the carnival and party this weekend I was present. The phone was away. I did nothing related to work. But the pace, oh the terrible pace is what will do me in. The pace is what keeps me from being the caring husband and father I want to be. I want to lovingly correct my son when he interrupts our conversation. I want to respect and listen to my wife when she offers wise advice. That is who I want to be

I have found family to be a barometer for my soul. I am more myself around them than anywhere else. If my veneer is going to crack and the true state of my heart is going to leak anywhere, it will be with my family. That is both terrible and wonderful. Terrible because they are forced to experience it. Wonderful because I care about my s*** leaking on them more than I do anyone else.

I know the husband, father and man I want to be. It is obvious this morning just how much of God’s grace I need to become that person. So I will practice those disciplines that make me available to God’s transformative grace. If that means I work less and stay the Senior Supervisor of Subscriber and Tech Services and never become a Manager, I am okay with that, because I am more than a Senior Supervisor. I am a husband and father. I am a disciple of Jesus, his representative to the world and that is who I really want to be.

Book review: Killing Lions

I have been reading and listening to John Eldredge for almost thirteen years. His books, teaching and boot camps have played an important role in my life. Recently I have been enjoying “& Sons” an online magazine featuring brief articles from John and his three sons and short films about the journey to manhood. And now John has written a new book with his eldest son, Sam.

41UkeX6yCHL._AA160_The central question of a man is “Do I have what it takes?” We often find the answer as God speaks into our successes and failures while we face down challenges in life. Killing Lions is a series of conversations between John and Sam about some of the common challenges faced by young men today including work and money, women, identity and how we make decisions.

In my experience, these areas are some of the key battlegrounds for men. I know they are for me. John and Sam expose the lies we struggle to deny and the truth we have a hard time accepting in each of these categories. While the book is primarily written to young men, these battles don’t end when we hit thirty, and I (37 years old) found its teaching incredibly valuable. I found it particularly helpful to pause and consider the questions posed by John throughout the book. Questions like, “What is your greatest fear, as a man?”

There are a couple places where the book feels a little redundant, and the chapter “A few questions about God” felt out of place. While these questions and answers are good, I’m not sure they were a great fit in a book about the journey toward becoming a man. But this is a minor complaint.

If you are a man or have sons, I highly recommend this book. It serves as a wonderful companion to Wild at Heart/Fathered by God. If you are looking for something to get you thinking about how to define masculinity and what a boy needs to become a man, I doubt you could do better than the combination of Killing Lions and Wild at Heart/Fathered by God.

I’ll end the review with a handful of my favorite quotes.

“We find that honest work and its fruits are very good things. This is crucial in the move from boy to man. Money forces us to grow up; it is a constant does of reality, and reality is a gift from God. It has this marvelous way of grounding us.”

“But the false self – even when it is built on some part of genuine gifting – will never settle the issue inside. The horrible thing about chasing validation through money or work or women is that you can never let down; you have to keep peddling for fear of falling off.”

“This can be a very revealing experience: How do we handle defeat? Because for men, it sure raises the issue of validation… We must ask God what he thinks of us. That famished craving for love and validation must be spoken to in a defining way.”

“How would you live differently if life was as epic, mythic and urgent as Halo?”

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