Five Wounds Men Must Face

This Thursday, October 2nd will be the 4th session of our Men's Fraternity: Quest for Authentic Manhood at The Moody Church. And this session promises to be a "doozy." We will be discussing "Unpacking". We will specifically be talking about five wounds that men must deal with in their lives:

1) The Absent Father Wound
2) The Overly Bonded with Mother Wound
3) The All Alone Wound
4) The Lack of a Manhood Vision Wound
5) The Heart Wound....

This will be a doozy, because last week's session, "Looking Back" brought many of us in the room to tears. I saw lots of strong men wiping tears from their eyes...I was ready to bawl at just any given moment.

I can identify with at least three of those wounds: Absent Father, All Alone, and Heart wounds...and I'll write more later, I'm sure.

My ONE experience with Senator Barack Obama: A Personal Testimony

In May 2005, I was having a horrible time trying to secure a VA Loan to buy my first condo.... The Veterans' Administration had several things on their "files" about me that were patently untrue, and I had no idea where they came from. I had solid evidence to the contrary of everything the VA supposedly "had" on me.

After the voluminous phone calls, and the elevated blood pressure, I called Senator Obama's Chicago office. His administrative assistant in that office, asked me to fax a letter, with all the appropriate documentation to the office, and that it would receive immediate attention. Best I can remember, that was on a Tuesday.

Two days later, I received a telephone call from Senator Obama himself, asking me to explain a couple of details to him. He also served on the Veterans' Affairs Committee at the time (the main reason I contacted his office, by the way).

The following week, I got a call from his administrative assistant here in Chicago, saying that the issues I had raised had been resolved. She gave me the name and number of someone at the VA that I should contact to verify the resolution of the matters at hand.

I contacted the VA representative, and indeed, the issue had been rectified, and corrected at the Senator's request. My personal testimony.

DISCLAIMER: Long ago, I felt that Senator Obama should not run for the Presidency...and as of today, I have no plans to cast my ONE vote for him.

So what are we "in for"?

Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulsson claims that we, the taxpayers of this nation, should bail out "Wall Street" to the tune of 700 Billion Dollars.

The House of Representatives has said "no"...and I just may agree with them.

The President of the United States, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve has said that our economy is in peril, and that we are risking an era worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s unless we "do something and do it quickly."

I'm just not sure about all of this. We are spending 10 billion dollars every month in Iraq. We have terribly inferior support-systems set up for our returning veterans--and for veterans in general. We have a serious healthcare crisis in this nation--one we've had for as long as I can remember. We have a serious educational crisis in this nation--but yet we want to throw more money at the school systems, instead of requiring absolutely accountability from the parent's house to the school house.

We are allowing Governor Palin (and her God) to be mocked and blasphemed...and we might even laugh at Tina Fey's parody (though I don't watch Saturday Night Live).

Our society seems to be running amuck, and we just don't care--unless it touches our wallets, and reduces our savings/401k plans, etc.

So what are we "in for" in these United States? Anyone have any ideas?

The Four Faces of Manhood
We are embarking on the 3rd week of Men's Fraternity: Quest for Authentic Manhood at The Moody Church. We meet every Thursday morning, beginning at 6 a.m. and finishing at 7:30 a.m. We have a 45-minute video presentation, and then 45 minutes in our small groups, discussing the materials, sharing with one another.

Last week, we discussed the "four faces of manhood." These are King, Warrior, Lover, and Friend. WOW! These were very "telling" and "revealing" for all of us guys--many who have never thought of these "faces" before.

One of the discussion questions at the end of the video was: "Which of these 'faces' do you most closely relate to?" And a follow-up question, "Which of these faces do you need the most help in relating to?"

I'm a terrific friend. I'm not much of a King, an okay "warrior" (I personally would have found another term to use, instead of 'warrior'), and well, "Lover"---haven't been in much for that.

The guys in my small group agreed that I'm a very, very good friend. And in a time when most men have few, if any, friends--I consider myself very fortunate indeed.


So, my ABC-induced "drought" for entertainment has finally come to an end.

DANCING WITH THE STARS began it's SEVENTH season last night, and it was spectacular.

This time I'm not sure who will come out the "champion" for the coveted mirror-ball trophy, but I would guess either Warren Sapp (whom I had never heard of until last night) or Brooke Burke (again, never heard of her before last night).

I can't dance my way out of a very soggy paper bag....that's the reason I love watching other people "learn" and "perform."

The most entertaining performance, of course, was Cloris Leachman. I'm surprised this 82-year old rector of "Our Lady of Geriatrica" would put herself through such torture.

But, she was funny. Now, I'm just waiting for her to pull out the oxygen tank...

When it rains, it more ways than one.

I'm only 46 years old...and I can't remember "times" such as we are witnessing these days:

Record flooding in various parts of the country.
Record financial collapses of MAJOR financial institutions, some of them household words.
Record fundraising/fund-spending by political campaigns for the White House

These are indeed "perilous" times. The Apostle Paul warned young Pastor Timothy (some two thousand years ago) that he was living in "perilous" times. And those times are still with us.

I was thinking about this at lunch today: Many people trust in their riches, whether it be their retirement accounts, their 401ks, or their other "investments." The skyline on Wall Street is much bleaker than it was a few days ago. So, what we can surmise is that our "financial systems" are not fool-proof, nor fail-proof.

Are you scared?

Where do you place your "trust"? Is your confidence in the "economy"? Do you really believe the new occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (next January 21) will make a significant difference?

I'm just crazy enough to believe that GOD HIMSELF holds the future. That He really does care for those who are in relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Riches and wealth WILL fail--just look at Wall Street today. How the mighty have fallen!

But we know this much: God never fails.

Overcompensating....That's me...

This is such a complicated, and drawn-out area of my life. I've wanted to share about it for such a long time. And I've never been sure of when the 'right time" would present itself.

I guess now is "that time."

As I've mentioned in some earlier posts, I grew up without my biological parents. They abandoned me when I was a baby, but hung around "in the neighborhoods" both emotionally and physically. When I started college (at age 18), I decided to 'change neighborhoods'.

I never went hungry. God always provided. I always had clothes to wear, even if it meant wearing the same three outfits for a long time. I never went naked.

But I also went "unloved" in many ways.

My precious Grandmother Hoover did her best to raise me--and she deserves unending applause for her efforts.

But I wanted to be loved and accepted. I wanted to "belong" to someone.

So, I learned to do alot of things, and to do them well. I learned to play the piano (cutting grass for two dollars an hour so I could pay for lessons), I learned to write and communicate in my writing. I learned to express myself.

I learned to cook great meals. And today, when someone mentions my name, the next thing I often hear is "Yeah, he's that guy who is a wonderful southern cook. Great biscuits, if I remember right."

Okay. Okay.
I learned to make homemade biscuits from the very best teacher: My grandmother.

That seems to be my trademark in many ways, whether I like it or not. I still have folks that I've not seen in many years who will "email" me and ask, "Can I have the recipe for those biscuits of yours?"

Sure. Except for one small problem: There is NO recipe. I just use self-rising flour, Crisco shortening, and some buttermilk (or regular milk).

I guess what I am trying to say is this:

One of the major flaws in my life is that I want to do everything PERFECTLY (and sometimes I even succeed). But I also realize that my inner drive to be "the best of the best" is nothing more than emotional overcompensation. My security, emotionally and relationally, is in my performance.

I asked someone, not long ago, what they would remember most about me, if I were to suddenly move away or die. Their immediate answer was, "I would remember you are a wonderful cook, and how much I like to eat at your house."

I hope my legacy is not that I am a good cook, or even a great cook (and trust me, lots of people are much better in the kitchen than me). I hope my legacy is that I am a man who loves his God, and loves people.

For all the lack in my earlier years, I've more than compensated...I guess.

But why the "game"?
What about you? What do you "overcompensate" for you in your personal life and habits?

I'm still struggling with these "issues."

Sobering News..Father Wounds..

My stepmother, Marie, called me last night. She and I have been very close for a long time. I adore the woman. She is a great mother, a superb grandmother, and just an all-around terrific person.

She and my biological father divorced about 20 years ago, after more than 20 years of marriage. She couldn't take the physical and emotional abuse from him anymore. And I certainly don't blame her.

Her reason for calling me: My biological father has colon cancer, and has less than three months to live.

My biological father, Bobby, abandoned me when I was just a baby, dropping in and out of my life at his own convenience until I was old enough to go to college.

I've not seen him nor heard his voice since 1992--at his mother's funeral. My precious Grandmother Hoover raised me, and did so without any help from either of my parents.

I'm pretty ambivalent about both parents at this stage in my life. I neither love nor hate them. And I'm not sure how I should feel.

Any ideas?

Why I will not vote for BARACK OBAMA for President in November...

I enthusiastically supported Barack H Obama for the United States Senate in 2004.

However, I early on stated that I could not support him for the Presidency, simply because he doesn't have "what it takes" at this present moment to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Here are my main reasons for not casting my ballot for the McCain/Biden ticket:

First, his campaign has spouted the slogan, "Change We Can Believe In"...but hasn't bothered laying out the specifics of the "change"--so I can decide whether I want to believe in it or not. It's okay to champion "change"...but then the question becomes, "Change to what?"

Second, Senator Obama has ZERO military experience and policy knowledge. That scares me. That always troubles me for every person who wants to be the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces. While I don't believe that extensive military knowledge and experience GUARANTEES success, it certainly doesn't hurt one's ability as the CIC.

Third, while the rhetoric has been lofty, (and often inspiring), I wonder if Senator Obama knows how the country will pay for all of the "stuff" that his "changes" will super-impose on the nation. Democrats are often accused of being "tax-and-spend" liberals...and while that isn't always true, I wonder how the Democratic Party will pay for all the "changes" that seem to be in the political air.

Fourth, for someone who wants to "change Washington", he picks a 36-year veteran of the Washington establishment, who has been in the Senate his entire political career...and has had two failed bids for the Presidency himself. That isn't much of a "change" in my opinion.

Fifth, the people of Illinois sent Barack H Obama to the United States Senate in 2004. He hasn't fulfilled his first term as our Senator--and now he is seeking the highest political office in the land, and possibly the most powerful office in the world. How can I be sure that he can do the job?

Sixth, the people of the United States NEED and DESERVE a person occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who knows how to definitively answer basic moral questions. Particularly, "life issue" questions. These are not above "his pay grade"....These are things he must know.

What CNN had to say about Governor Palin's Religion....

WASILLA, Alaska (CNN) -- For more than two decades, vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was a practicing Pentecostal.

Sarah Palin asked church members to pray for $30 billion natural gas pipeline in Alaska.

She belonged to the Wasilla Assembly of God church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. But though she attended the church from her teenage years to 2002, the Alaska governor hasn't talked much about her religion since joining the Republican ticket.

Palin's former pastor, Tim McGraw, says that like many Pentecostal churches, some members speak in tongues, although he says he's never seen Palin do so. Church member Caroline Spangler told CNN, "When the spirit comes on you, you utter things that nobody else can understand ... only God can understand what is coming out of our mouths."

Some Pentecostals from Assembly of God also believe in "faith healing" and the "end times" -- a violent upheaval that they believe will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming.

"Our basic belief is that God is God and he knows where history is going and he has a purposeful plan and within the middle of that plan we live in an environment in our world where certain events would take place," says McGraw. "Sarah wasn't taught to look for one particular sign -- a cataclysmic sign. She knew as every Christian does ... that God is sovereign and he is in control."

The McCain campaign says the governor doesn't consider herself Pentecostal. Watch Palin's father talk about her religious upbringing »
McGraw says Palin's Pentecostal roots may be being downplayed for a reason: "I think there may be issues of belief that could be misunderstood or played upon by people that don't know."

Don't Miss
AC360 Blog: Palin's pastor speaks
Palin's rise is talk of her town
iReporters: Is Palin held to an unfair standard?

When asked by CNN about Palin's beliefs, campaign spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton would only say the Republican vice presidential candidate has "deep religious convictions." Watch how Palin's religious roots formed »
But how might her religious beliefs impact policy in Washington if the Republican ticket is successful?

Palin's former pastor says he has no doubt her religious beliefs will influence her decision making when it comes to government policy. Regarding her desire to build an Alaskan pipeline and explore for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, McGraw told CNN, "Sarah knows that in Genesis, God creates the world and it's very good and that we're supposed to be caretakers in terms of not destroying the environment, so there's no way that Sarah is going to exploit or damage the Alaska tundra in the name of getting gas if she doesn't have to."

Palin's neighbors react to her swift rise
Six years ago, Palin left Assembly of God to join the non-denominational Wasilla Bible Church. But the Assembly of God says she still returns for special conferences and events, such as the graduation of ministry students in June. Video of a speech she gave at the church just two months before joining the Republican ticket is making the rounds on the Internet.

Speaking of the troops in Iraq, Palin says on the video, "Pray for our military men and women who are striving do to what is right. Also for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for -- that there is a plan, and that plan is God's plan." Watch Palin speak at her former church »

Her campaign says she doesn't mix her faith with government business. But Palin did ask her audience to pray for a $30 billion natural gas pipeline she is on a mission to build in Alaska. In the video Palin says, "I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas pipeline built. So pray for that ... I can do my job there in developing my natural resources. But all of that doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's heart is not good with God."

McGraw, who was her pastor until 1998 and while she was mayor of Wasilla, says that Palin attended discipleship classes to strengthen her Pentecostal faith and that he counseled her on how to become a better leader.

"Everyone has a way of viewing the world and Sarah does too and hers would be shaped by the common-sense practicality of how she's been shaped by the Bible -- which is basically the world view that says God loves people, people can access him and he's given us wisdom for living," McGraw says.

He says Alaska has seen Palin's faith play out. As governor she passed ethics reform and took on what she's referred to as a "good-ol'-boys network." However, she has said she would not seek to impose her religious views on others. "I think one of the most obvious ways it plays out is what you've seen -- is being courageous enough to deal with deception and corruption," McGraw says.

Palin now attends the Wasilla Bible Church. She was there on August 17, just days before entering the national spotlight. David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus, was a speaker. He told congregants that terrorist attacks on Israel were God's "judgment" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity. Brickner said, "Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. When a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment -- you can't miss it."

The McCain campaign says Brickner's comments do not reflect her religious views. Palin's spokeswoman says she is pro-Israel.

Pastor Ed Kalnin, the senior pastor of Palin's former Pentecostal church, has also come under fire for his comments. In 2004, he told church members if they voted for John Kerry for president, they wouldn't get into heaven. He told them, "I question your salvation."

The Assembly of God issued a statement online in response, which said Kalnin was "joking" when he suggested "Kerry supporters would go to hell." The statement went on to say: "We do acknowledge in hindsight that it was careless, and we do apologize for that. This statement is not written as a defense, but as a clarification."

Palin has done little while in office to advance a social conservative agenda. She told The Associated Press in an interview in 2006 that she would not allow her personal beliefs to dictate public policy.

"I've honestly answered the questions on what my personal views are on things like abortion and a lot of controversial issues," Palin told AP. "I won't hesitate to answer those questions about what my personal views are, but I am not one to be out there preaching and forcing my views on anyone else."But in the last week, her religious background and outlook has certainly spurred debate far beyond Alaska.

I'm excited...

About the McCain/Palin ticket for President and Vice President.

I was a "McCain man" back in 2000 before the hyperactive "Bushies" did their "hit-and-run" on the former Prisoner of War, and current Arizona senior Senator.

I've always had tremendous respect for his political positions, and for his wonderful service to this country.

And what can I say about Governor Sarah Palin?

First, she's just HOT!

She has more executive experience than Obama, Biden, and McCain combined!

And she's a Pentecostal! Can't go wrong there!