Saturday, August 15, 2009

More From Richard Steele

“Oh what a golden age would return to us if men were but plain in their dealing and punctual in their performances? It is unworthy for a man, a Christian man, to be so vile that nobody can believe him or trust him. How will Atilius Regulus rise up in judgment and condemn this generation who – being prisoner at Carthage, and assured of his own death if he failed his negotiation – was set at liberty to effect a peace at Rome upon the single security of his own word to return if he failed to procure it. But such was his public spirit that he effectually dissuaded his countrymen from a peace, assuring them of certain conquest; and such was the integrity of his spirit that, after this, he fairly returned and accepted a cruel death rather than infringe his word. Ten thousand pities that such heroic acts should be lost for want of a right principle; and ten thousand shames that Christians should break their word for a coin while pagans will not do it for their lives.”  A Plea For Personal Integrity, pp. 38-39.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Young Man In The Middle East

This letter is from one of the young men in a sister church. For security reasons, I left out his name. REB

Greetings from Air Force Central Command (CENTAF) for Southwest Asia.

Despite the 110 degrees outside and the ravaging sandstorms, we run the show for the whole Middle East and the rest of the region.
I just wanted to send a quick update on what’s going on: I got in last week and the work started almost immediately. We had briefings and simulation exercises to get up to speed, and we had to relieve the Squadron from Italy so they could all go home. The rooms here are small but the base has a lot of resources; the commander has really transformed this base from an expeditionary/temporary base, to a fully functional/permanent air base.

The shift is very long, 13 hours, from 6AM to 7PM every day; everyone is always wiped out by the evening. Nevertheless, the day goes by quickly; there has been a lot to do and there will continue to be an abundance of tasks, initiatives, and tactical changes to many of our systems.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m working in a Surveillance/Command and Control position, which is like Air Traffic Control on steroids. Air traffic control deals with take-offs and landings, we deal with the tactical control of fighters, bombers, tankers, choppers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and countless other weapons systems. Our mission is summed up in a local saying: “We put warheads on foreheads.”

This mission is critical; this mission is dangerous. For those of you who have read the news, you know that Iran just launched a Sajjil-2 ballistic missile. All media reports about the missile are true.

Without getting into too much detail, I can tell you that I was
actually on scope when the missile was fired. I cannot disclose any more information than that. We work side by side with the Army’s Patriot Missile system guys to defend against ballistic missile attacks on Middle East assets. The Iranian capabilities are there, and they have shown both the intent and the capability to attack Israel and Coalition assets overseas.

This is no joke; this is no vacation; this really is a war. It may not touch close to home, but just know that what happens here is real stuff. We receive Intel about troops in contact every day. The proximity to danger does not make one mission more important than another; my position be far from combat, but has no bearing on the importance, impact, and tactical necessity of this mission.

There are men under fire at all hours of the day, and my job
is to ensure that those men have the support they need form the air. If I don’t do my job, men die. It’s as simple as that. This war is more real than I could have imagined. Your prayers would
be greatly appreciated. I will try to send an update every month or so. I have to run. Take care, I love you all.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spirit of Titanic Still Alive on Flight 1549

According to The New York Times:

"On board, the pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, 57, unable to get back to La Guardia, had made a command decision to avoid densely populated areas and try for the Hudson, and had warned the 150 passengers to brace for a hard landing. Most had their heads down as the jetliner slammed into the water, nose slightly up, just three minutes after takeoff on what was to be a flight to Charlotte, N.C."

The New York Times continued: “When all were out, the pilot walked up and down the aisle twice to make sure the plane was empty, officials said.”

Jeff Kolodajy, a passenger from Connecticut, stated: “Everyone’s fine. There was a lady with her baby and she was trying to crawl over the seats. And I said, women and children first. She got off.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Love this book; Love this review (I didn't write it, I just wish I had)

"The church of the first century was a magnet to males. Jesus' strong leadership, blunt honesty, and bold action mesmerized men."

"But today's churches appeal more to women and folks over 50."

Males in church are perceived, right or wrong, as passive, bookish, soft, nice, well-behaved, neutered wimps.

David Murrow has written an absolute must-read book for all churches interested in bringing men back, restoring a proper balance of the masculine and feminine spirits within the local church, creating an environment in which men will lovingly take charge, thrive, grow and be soldiers again in the Lord's army.

I don't consider myself a type-A personality. I'm pretty laid-back, studious and love going to church. I've love fellowshipping with God's people. I'm not a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that gets distracted after 10 minutes of a sermon. I don't need the constant stimulus of entertainment to hold my interest, but I found myself burning with a `holy anger' reading this book, mostly at myself for how `feminine' I've allowed myself to become over the years. And please, no more `Jesus is my boyfriend' songs !!

Two other men I know have been deeply affected to the positive by this book and are absolutely fired up about restoring the masculine spirit in their lives as well as their local church. One of them told me recently "I'm hanging up my skirt - not going to wear it anymore."

David is not advocating a bombastic, abusive male domination of our churches. Don't panic ladies, but let men be men. We were created to lead and contribute. "Most men will not invest themselves in anything that does not offer a shot at greatness. Boys do not dream of sitting in a cubicle; they dream of slaying the dragon, rescuing the princess, and absconding with the treasure." The church thermostat, to attract men, must be set on Challenge, not Comfort, Ceremony, Control, Conformity or Confrontation.

It's going to take courage to change the way we do church, if we want to reach unchurched men. Some won't for fear of change that will upset the status quo. Others will find that they will have to leave their churches rather than settle for living lives of quiet desperation. "Men need vision, not just relationships, to stay motivated in church."

One of the most stunning but encouraging statistics was that between 1994-2004, men's church attendance was flat, but men's participation in small, spiritual groups doubled. 9 million additional men joined a small group Bible study. Some folks are finding the traditional church model is not cutting it and have opted instead for a more informal but intense, iron sharpening iron, discipleship format.

Biblical references aside, wolves have a noble bearing, look intelligent, focused, and yes, even a bit 'dangerous'. Labrador retrievers, on the other hand, tend to be gentle, passive, friendly and harmless. And then you have the 'foo-foo' dogs that women dress up in pink sweaters and skirts... 'nough said.

I can't recommend this book enough.


Oh yeah, the name of the book: Why Men Hate Going To Church, by David Murrow [Nelson, 2005]