The Local Class: The Quest for Authentic Manhood

The Quest for Authentic Manhood

This is, I believe, the most critical problem in the Church today – the lack of authentic manhood. We’ve started a 24 week course at our church using the materials of Robert Lewis, which has strong parallels to the John Eldredge materials. The course meets once each week on Tuesdays, either at 6 AM OR 7 pm, each an hour and a half. Workbook is$10. Address is Southwest Hills Baptist Church, 9100 SW 135th Ave., Beaverton, OR. We meet at the SE corner in the “Residence building”. You’ll see some cars there. Good idea just to email or FB me and I’ll pass it on to the teacher, then come. I do the 6 AM one – less traffic.  Men only. September 23.

War is upon you

Copyright Aragorn speaking to Theoden

California derecognizes Intervarsity on state campuses. Freedoms lost.

War has been declared in America by the Enemy on the Church.

What are you going to do about it?

When the Enemy steals your young people, you’ve lost the generation.

Loss of freedome at colleges

Creative Commons Jennie Pollock

From Christianity Today:

Intervarsity has been derecognized in California by the state universities.

What this means.

 

 

An interesting question – Where are the young people today?

Let’s try a fun experiment. Take a look at this video. You may have heard the song before – it’s the Hosanna song from Hillsong United. Turn up your sound and set the screen to full-screen (button in lower right). Let ‘er rip. Then I’ll show you something.

(Note: Just the sound track is not enough. you need the video to see this. If you are in the Portland area and can’t see it on your computer, you can stop by my place and watch it.)

The song she is singing is “Hosanna”. We sing it in our church a lot. The lady is Brooke Fraser. She’s the lady that wrote this song. She also wrote “Desert Song”, which we sang in our service today. She writes a LOT of songs and also does a lot of mission work with her giftings. She is 30 years old as I write this post. As the camera sweeps over the audience, you will see that there are thousands of people there, and they are almost all young. Born after 1980. including Brooke. She isn’t performing – she is somewhere else. If you view this same page in YouTube, you will see it has had over 10 million views. It has gone viral.

What is Strange Here?

If you have done ANY church growth research, you will know that this generational group is lost to the institutional church. Pew Research Center, in a study four years ago, says this generation is the least religiously engaged generation in 100 years. Barna research will tell you that today nearly six in ten (59%) will walk away from either their faith or the institutional church in the first full decade of their adult life. (This is NOT true of the church I am a part of in Portland.)

So what is happening here? If I were in that generation in most institutional churches today, I would be very upset with the institutional church as I see it. If I were moving into in my adult life, I would see a broken culture. I have a college loan that will take me years to pay off – and that is if I can find a job. If I find a job, the government will take more than 50% of my income in taxes. The public school tells the kids the Bible is a banned book and can’t read it in school. The required courses are propaganda. The Federal government has completely collapsed with what appears to be a pagan President acting illegally and a Congress that is asleep. If I were in most institutional churches, I would wonder how the church has failed me and America. Where is the Holy Spirit in all of that?

Back to the Present

I shift back to me as an older person today and I felt I needed to speak into that. Tell a story, a “fictional” story. Be careful not to throw the blame to any person, organization, the institutional church, or political party. It is a spiritual problem. As this story starts, it is “2032” and a young man 25 years old  is walking a wilderness trail in the Washington Cascades. It is not just a physical wilderness, but also an emotional and spiritual wilderness. He is lost. He’s a Millennial; but that generation doesn’t like the word. It’s not used here in the book, only his age. He’s been told a three day hike will take him to a strange “Church” – a group of people living and working at a government research station.  The Table of Contents and the entire first chapter is available here and you can read it if you wish.

The second chapter is where this dude meets this “Church”. I really can’t use that word here in the book, as the reader is assumed to have very weak ideas about what Jesus meant when he launched it. The people responding to our hiker has to BE the church if I wish to communicate anything. You see servant leadership, healing, compassion, profound caring, light, heroes – all rolled into the encounter. And this strange community has a big job and want him to be a part of it. They plan to turn America around completely, with the Lord’s help. Crazy, isn’t it?

Want to read the story? Go here. The book price is $11, but there is also a Kindle edition at $3.99.

More from Brooke and Hillsong?

Brooke and Hillsong United sing “Desert Song”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcfzU8MHKME
The story behind Desert Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEE4gvyFN2s

T

 

Waking the dead. Where’s the Church today?

The lion roars again. Where's the Church?

Creative Commons, Bert Lamers

The story is set in the year 2032. The American President at that time is a sociopath (see http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201305/how-spot-sociopath). Of the Senate leaders, one has senile dementia and involved in illegal actions, another is mentally unbalanced. Neither the Senate or House is willing to hold the President accountable for his actions.The southern border is open and terrorists are taking advantage of that. The IRS has overstepped its power and no one has stopped them, the government is mandating an educational system loaded with propaganda. The government is exercising surveillance without regard to any laws. There are wars in the Middle East that threaten America and there is no intelligent foreign policy. Congress is ignoring their Constitutional mandate to impeach and put the President on trial as the President continues to play golf, vacations, gives fund-raising speeches, lies and is lost to any reality.

Inside of this context steps a lonely young man hiking in the wilderness. It’s not just a physical wilderness, but also an emotional and spiritual wilderness. His church (with a little “c”), as most churches, has yet to pick up arms in a battle that defines if America can even continue to exist. There, deep in the wilderness, the young man meets Church. This Church will change his life forever, but could cost him his life.

The lion has roared again.

Enjoy suspense and adventure. The book Breaking Light: Birth of a Hero is available now from Amazon. It is Book 1 of a series.

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Excerpts from Breaking Light (Restoring America) Book1, Book 2 (coming)

Two speeches – Heroes, Hearts, and Leadership

Breaking Light: Birth of a HeroSuppose you had to write a speech for the President of the United States that he will be giving. Assume this President is taking the reins after the failure of the last “president”. The man stepping into the Presidency now is a devout and committed Christian. What would write for him to say?

When I wrote my last book, Breaking Light: Birth of a Hero, in the story the next President of the United States steps to the stage twice and has to deliver two speeches. The first speech is to an inside group of committed Christians. The second speech is to America at large through the established media channels. What should be the content of each these speeches? Suppose you were writing each of these speeches, as I had to do, what would you say? The name of this guy of this guy in the story is easy for me to define. I named him  Mark Pearson in the book. Some tried to tell me this was a fantasy character. He isn’t. The first name is the same as a politician that didn’t live that long ago and worked in Congress from Oregon, Mark Hatfield. What is this Mark in the story going to say in these speeches today?

Now, here is the second question: What is the best political speech you have heard in your lifetime? Before going further reading this post, wrestle a bit with both questions a bit – maybe in your journal.

To prepare Mark’s  speeches for my book, I turned to searching the Internet. For many, people see the top speech of the last century was the speech given by Ronald Reagan to the world after the Challenger shuttle blew up shortly after its launch. You can find this speech an video at http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ronaldreaganchallenger.htm. This famous Reagan speech was written for him by Peggy Noonan, a very well-know speech writer who was writing for Reagan at the time. She still writes today. My own “Mark” in my book faces a crisis even worse than the Challenger disaster as he prepares to step into the Presidency after another “President” has been leading the country down a dark, dark path. In my story, that evening at the reception before him sit members of an secluded, non-denomination church that doesn’t even have a mission statement. Only a mantra (Luke 4:18-22).  Mark’s political party is never identified, but there is really no competition for the job any more. Mark is hurled into it from what this band of Christians did, risking their own lives in doing it.

Just before Mark speaks, it is Tom, the “pastor” of this strange church, stands and thinks Mark for committing to the try for the Presidency. He thanks Mark for taking the physical risks of the pursuit, the financial risks, the time risks, and the times he had to spend away from his family. Mark turns to Tom, fire in his eyes, and says one of his most memorial lines that evening, “Tom, I had no choice. And neither does anyone else in this room.”

For the rest of Mark’s speech and his second speech to the media, you will need the book.

($10 paperback, or $3.99 for Kindle version)

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Lifts – The DWTS lifts that Amy Purdy did.

I guess one reason I was so impressed with Amy’s dancing is that in 1989 I found the neural system of my own body completely physical destroyed by something that was bacterial, a virus, – the doctors don’t know. In about 24 hours I was paralyzed from the shoulders down. The doctors told me I would never walk again. I walk today, and the doctor’s don’t know how I walk. The Good Lord did it. – that’s all I know.
amypurdy200Amy is a double amputee. No feet, no legs. That’s the way some people would see her. Amy – and Derek, would tell you she has three sets of feet, and that gives her an advantage over the others.

When Amy finished this freestyle dance that blew all of us away, the first question from judge Carrie Ann was “Why so Many Lifts? You dance so well as well as doing the lifts perfectly. Why do so many lifts?”

Amy didn’t try to answer. She was still in shock from what she had just done. But really -Do you ask an author why he wrote that book? Or a painter which he painted that picture? Or a musician why he composed that music?

To get some answers to Carrie Ann’s question, let’s look first at what a “lift” is to a dancer. Les Goodman, a DWTS judge, defines it this way:

“when both feet leave the ground, and you do a movement you can’t do alone.”

Really, now. Isn’t that what Christianity speaks to us about? What is faith, anyway?

The lift is forbidden on DWTS with the exception of one dance, the freestyle. To do so on the other dances will incur the wrath of the judges and you will lose points. There are two reasons for this rule:

  • Safety. A set of lady’s heels flying through the air can do a lot of damage to a partner if they contact the face. It is particularly true of a team dance.
  • The lift often involves physical strength on the part of the partner. This will put some contestants, and even some of the pros, at a disadvantage. For an amateur, it would be very dangerous.

In the freestyle dance, this limitation is released and lifts are permitted. Watch the lifts that Amy and Derek did in their freestyle: (Get the words that are sung! There’s an option (Settings) near the lower right that will turn the captions on for you to see the words. Notice how she synchronizes her dance and lifts with the words. Also, be sure you run full-screen.)

One lift after another. It progresses and she does the slow leap (Lift) that seems to defy gravity. Eventually they move to the edge of the light where a rope in the shadows could lead her to an ultimate lift. She takes the rope (takes the risk), which carries her, still dancing, above anyone in the room and she dances above all others, holding on to the rope with only one hand. Notice she does not climb the rope. An unseen force that you can’t see sweeps her away and up as the audience goes wild. As she comes back and returns to Derek’s arms, he carries her to the judges as she tries to choke back her tears. Her face looks something like the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The camera shifts to her mother, stunned and trying to choke back tears. Beside her mother is the father, who gave her one of his kidneys when both of her’s were destroyed.

Now the question comes.
From Tom: What was it like?”
“[Freedom,] anti-gravity, beyond limitation.” She replies, still somewhere else. She still hasn’t come back from what happened.
“Seems to define you, doesn’t it?” Tom asked.

Did you get the words to the song here that she danced to? “I dare you to love / I dare you to cry / I dare you to run / I dare you to try / I dare you to fall / and lay on the ground / I dare you to feel / I dare you to be here now.”

Here is an interview with her from a newspaper:

http://www.accesshollywood.com/amy-purdy-and-derek-hough-our-accomplishments-are-better-than-the-dwts-trophy_article_94512

Here is the behind-the-scene story from Derek about putting it together:
“I just envisioned Amy spinning in the air, ascending and being transcendent of dance. I looked into the rope thing and I asked my friend, “Hey, is this possible?” He was like, “Yeah, it’ll take a couple weeks to teach her that.” And I was like, “Well, we have an hour.” And it’s all back muscles, which was what she was having problems with, so it was wild to see her up there. It was just incredible. And for her to let go and do it with one hand was awesome.” For more, see his Facebook blog.

Incidentally, her vision was never to win the mirror ball. Derek say he sat with her at the beginning and asked her what her goals were for the show. Derek said getting the mirror ball was not on the list. Each night, unknown to us, she brought physically challenged people for the audience. To see, one of them with two prosthetics, go out on the stage during a commercial break and begin to dance – that’s what got to her. She achieved all of her vision and more (came in #2).

As to the judge’s question off why so many lifts, Carrie Ann answered it herself When Amy got to the chorus of the song. It’s the story of Amy’s life. Listen to the words – and you will weep.

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Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love

Awesome video of Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love synchronized with the videos – one of them my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies. As you watch the video, it takes you into the story. I watched this today as I move the notes from my favorite muse into the final chapters of my Breaking Light book. One comment says the most lovely and beautiful video on Youtube.? I agree.
Ignore and click off the ad for the video converter – you won’t need it. Click the button to go full screen and enjoy.

Question: The third and last video intrigues me. As she begins her dance, you see the dancer in the wilderness. The red cape is binding her. She is not free to dance at her full expression. With nothing more than a twist,the cape floats away from her beyond the cliff. She is now free – and look at that dance. Awesome, gravity-defying. Then, as if she thinks her life depends on it, she risks everything to try to recover the cape and fails. The cape mysteriously appears again. A short dance with the cape follows. What is that all about? What is the cape a symbol of?

Now a comment on the second video: In this movie from which the clip is taken, A Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino is playing a blind man and is planning to commit suicide in a short time. As she dances, the scent of the perfume she is wearing becomes much stronger from her excitement, and because he is blind his sense of smell is much more acute. How many senses does he have here? smell, touch, her moans and signs -yes, he does see her, better than we do. He identifies correctly her perfume on meeting her. She has never danced before. This is the only movie that I have watched where I felt that the swearing at the beginning of the movie was essential to the plot line. The fact that it isn’t there at the end of the movie tells me he is not longer the same man,

Want to watch Leonard Cohen put this performance live? See it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6JssTdnvw#t=0

Kseniya Simonova’s Sand Drawing

The Painter

This is one of the most creative experiences I have seen. She’s painting with sand. There is no brush, paint, or paper. And it’s animated. It’s from Ukraine Got Talent.  She is obviously telling a story, and it leaves the judges in tears as they begin to realize they are in the story ( 8 1/2 min.).Yes, she won the contest, now makes lot of money and is famous.More important to her, however, are the lives of people who are changed after seeing one of her shows – the woman who decided not to get an abortion, political leaders making the decisions for peace after seeing the “bomb” in this story killing the baby. RUN EACH OF THESE FULL SCREEN FOR MAX EFFECT. In the next video (below) she tells the result of her showing.

For her story (her bio) with English subtitles (13 minutes) (Turn off the
advertisement if you can’t see subtitles) , see this. Notice the starting dreams she had and how the war affected her. How did she feel? Notice how the young man reaches in and kicks her out of this and the box she had put herself in, turning her depression into an extraordinary gifting.Notice the work, however, in birthing her dream – finding the right sand and technology. The most difficult thing, however, was finding a way to do the transitions in real time. The above program was done real time.

My favorite is “My Angel”. Profound. Simply awesome:

 

 

Starting a small business

Kawasaki

Ben Sparks/wikimedia commons

If you are starting a small business, one of the great leaders than can help you as an entrepreneur is Guy Kawasaki.

Here are some great short speeches by Guy Kawasaki on starting a business you will also find him highly entertaining.

A short talk on creating a mantra instead of creating a mission statement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT7xlFTinIw

Here’s an article by Guy on the issue of change, and the necessity on involving women in defining your business model (hilarious).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzwAcPTwm08

Guy is also a Christian. Here is a post from his own blog that tells you a little about his faith.

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/12/evangelism_eter.html

 

Gravity – The Movie and Its Metaphor

The movie opens in local theaters October 4.

gravity movieThe Plot Intro

Medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on her first space shuttle mission, accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who is commanding his final expedition. During a spacewalk, debris from a satellite crashes into the space shuttle Explorer which mostly destroys it, leaving them stranded in space with limited air.

Overview

There are only two real actors in the movie: Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) who is a newbie in space and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a veteran astronaut. Other cast members are only voiced. One review I read says to see this in 3-D even if you hate 3-D to get a full sense of the explosion and debris that is coming at the astronauts (and viewer), which adds to the story and your suspense.

The Metaphor

The film has a VERY powerful metaphor. Alfonso Cuaron was the writer-director, and in the October issue of Wired at the library and on-sale now tries to define the metaphor as he saw it. Here is my own version of the his metaphor.

Everything in the movie is a metaphor for the main character (Sandra Bullock). The character and background (the universe) are equally important – one informs the other. Bullock is caught between Earth (Place, Home) and the void of a universe. The debris in the movie that is coming at her is a metaphor for adversity, spiritual warfare. Bullock lives in her own bubble (spacesuit) and is trapped there. She has trouble communicating (there is no sound in space or the movie, only a music track). I think of the spacesuit as the institutional “church”, religion, and all of the traditional “bubble” that we live in that for many has become a prison. Within that, she has problems communicating. In the movie, she has to get out of the spacesuit because it is suffocating her. In the end, the basic story is about rebirth as a possible outcome of adversity.

I have a question at this point. I haven’t seen the movie and can’t answer it. Where is the Church, as the Body of Christ, in this? Is it here somewhere in the metaphor of the movie? I have an idea, but will wait until I see the movie. I think it will surprise most people if I am right.

The Actors

Both actors said their roles were extremely demanding and the director said it took five years to make the movie. Scientists and astronauts were interviewed to get the space shots and plot correct. A full animation of the movie was done so they could align the final shots against the CGI. Sandra said she kept her young son with her on set to keep her emotionally together, and much of her work was learning the detail choreography for her “dances” in space.

This was a new type of film for George Clooney as well. The director offered to use stunt actors to relieve Clooney of some of the difficult physical contortions. He refused, and wanted to do everything himself. The director found out later Clooney  was going home each evening physically destroyed. Eventually, the entire animation had to be redone to the story that you see in the film.

The Trailer

For the trailer, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDfaNfg_baE


Carl is a researcher, writer, speaker based in Portland, Oregon. He has authored many books and available for speaking engagements. Order his latest book “Beyond Illusion” directly from this website or enjoy the Kindle version on Amazon.