Yes, it’s time to have a conversation about guns, but here’s the deal…

I’m officially tired of the circular, set-on-repeat, merry-go-round stuff we have to endure every single time there’s a mass shooting.  The same, emotionally laden, logic free, road to nowhere talking points, the same groups calling those of us who don’t assent to their demands and ideas “heartless” or that we “don’t care about children” or…name your poison.  I’ve seen much more vile.  Yet, for a myriad of rational, well reasoned, well… reasons, I and many, many, MANY others will never be cowed into a corner and beaten into submission on this.  Read that?  Never. Not gonna happen. And it’s not because we’re heartless.  Precisely the opposite.  It’s not because we don’t care about children.  Precisely the opposite.

Want to know why we resist no matter the level of tragedy?  Okay.  First, quite literally none of the “solutions” that have been actually implemented in the past by well meaning (maybe, maybe not, we’ll get to that) politicians have done anything good.  Like, none.  Signs at schools declaring “gun free zones”.  Laws that say “hey, you aren’t allowed to murder anyone, mkay?” The “assault weapons” ban in the 90’s. (Seriously, what is an “assault weapon”?) None of them have done anything.  Except make things worse. Why?  Because preventative laws of this nature simply do. not. work.  Never have.  Ask those who passed Prohibition.  Only those who obey laws care about laws.  That’s why only punitive laws have any effect (and then only if they are rigorously enforced).

Secondly, guns aren’t the problem.  Never have been. Heck, lawlessness isn’t primarily the problem.  Nope.  And that’s why I’m writing this piece in a fatherhood blog.  Because THAT is the problem no one wants to talk about.  In a world where fathers are marginalized, maligned, and relegated to comic relief, there are sons left with no direction, no male leadership, no father.  And guess how many of these mass shootings have been done by a boy with no father in the home (discounting the WVU shooter, who had a clear history of mental illness)? Approximately all of them.

Peter Hasson wrote a brilliant piece on this in 2015 in the Federalist ( Violence.  Suicide.  School drop out rates. Drug use. Incarceration. Murder.  All of them have a high correlation to fatherlessness, and lack of intentional fatherhood.  But we don’t want to talk about that.  We don’t want to have to deal with those facts.  The truth is, however, that until we do, nothing will change.  No law will fix it.  No sign. No social media crusade. No ban.

Which leads me to my third and last point. Along with the above reasons, it’s the main reason why we will never entertain a “conversation” that limits, curtails, restricts, contravenes, or even hints at banning guns of any type. It is why the second amendment enshrined the natural right of every citizen to keep and bear arms…and it wasn’t for hunting deer. It was, is, and will continue to be to protect and preserve liberty against all enemies…foreign…and domestic.  It is the only one of the 10 rights in the bill of Rights that includes the phrase “shall not be infringed” (by the way, all of those words earlier-limit, curtail, restrict, contravene, ban-have a common synonym.  Infringe).  Know why?  Because it is the only one that guarantees all the others.  Your right to freedom of speech isn’t the most important one.  Your right to peaceful assembly isn’t. Your right against unreasonable search and seizure isn’t.  Your right to a speedy and fair trial isn’t.  The most important right is the one that guarantees all those others won’t be removed.

There are actual deterrents to this kind of tragedy. They won’t stop them all.  But they will stop far more than any sign or rule or law ever will.  And they have nothing to do with stepping on the second amendment. Precisely the opposite.  They have to do with wiping away the boot prints that have already been smudged onto the second amendment, and refusing to leave another. Gun Free Zones must become “Don’t try that in here or else” zones. (We know those work, by the way.  No school shootings have occurred where staff are armed, and signs are posted to that end.) They also have to do with being an intentional and engaged father.  Get in there and BE a father.  If you see a boy who is fatherless, strongly consider fathering mentorship.  When young male elephants are moved from one place to the other without an older bull elephant, they are violent.  When an older male elephant is reintroduced to the pack, the violence stops.  It’s incontrovertible. This will work much more than anything else in the long run, in fact.  Get in there and be a leader to these kids.

We aren’t giving them up, folks.  And it’s not because we don’t care about the children.  It’s precisely because we do.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 20, 2018 in Uncategorized


The Father and the Bad Blacksmith

I’ve been reading some of the seldom quoted from writings in scripture in the last few months, on a mining mission to see what is being left out of popular teachings.  The results are surprising, and, in some cases, very revealing of the overall religious culture we find ourselves in.  But before I dive into one particular teaching from my new favorite prophet, allow me to ask the men reading a few questions.  Men, how well do you relate to the Sunday morning service stuff?  Really, how does it strike you?  Are you able to sing, with gusto, the songs the band or song leader chooses?  Do they resonate deep within your masculine soul?  What about the teaching?  Does it challenge you to, as Paul said, ‘live up to what you have already attained’, or does it leave you feeling weighed down and guilty most of the time?  Is it about advancing the Kingdom forcefully, or is it more about tenderness, the sweet love of Jesus, all that?  In short, how ‘manly’ does the Good News make you feel?

I ask, because many times, I find myself longing for a song, or a teaching, that inspires that warrior heart inside of me.  Most times, I feel like my warrior heart is being told that it is not wanted, and, indeed…not even godly.  This bothers me, for several reasons, not the least of which being because I want to raise my sons to be true champions and warriors.  But popular religion just doesn’t seem to want people like us anymore.  Are you tracking with this?  Then, by all means…read on.

I just finished re-reading, for the umpteenth time, ‘The Barbarian Way’ by Erwin McManus.  Of all his books, TBW is both his shortest…and his absolute best.  If you haven’t read it, stop right here, bookmark it, and go buy it.  This blog will still be here when you get back.

Find it?  Great.  Read it.  It will awaken something long dormant in you that is desperately needed…whether civilized religion knows it or not.

The main thrust of TBW is that we have aquiesced to a calm, civilized religion, where the boats are never rocked, and faith has been stripped of all it’s uncertainty.  The focus is on a small character in scripture, named Jephthah (Judges 11).  Jephthah has the same father as his brothers, but his mother was a prostitute.  However, that is not the main truth of Jephthah.  The main truth of his identity is the first half of the first sentence detailing his story:  “Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior…”.  This is his calling card, his core identity, what God intended he be known for.  “BUT”, continues the opening sentence, “he was the son of a prostitute”.  Ah, there’s the rub for the ‘civilized’ tribe.  His brothers want no part of him, and kick him out of the village.  They forget his core identity, and focus on his inherited status.  Sound familiar?  Lots of religious teaching does exactly the same thing, and it’s killing the warrior spirit in men and boys.  Rather than focus on who God made us, we tend to spend too much time identifying with our inherited status as ‘sinners’.  We forget that the King himself came and broke us out of that prison, shattered our chains, and freed us to be, once again, who the King intended us to be.  And so, like Jephthah, when men begin to live as though they believe that they have truly been freed, religion gets nervous.  In order to regain control, they pound us with our past, and if we don’t give in and put our chains back on, they might even kick us out…at least figuratively.  This is what happened to Jephthah.

But Jephthah wasn’t alone, because the story goes on to say that Jephthah found a band of other ‘worthless men’, and they went out raiding.  I love that line (for some reason, it reminds me of The Goonies, or the Regulators from ‘Young Guns’).  What I love about this is that, while the civilized village ostracized Jephthah, he kept his core identity intact, and just went out with other warrior men and did what warriors do.  We must do the same, men, both for ourselves and for our sons.  If the ‘civilized’ do not want us, we must not give in to the pressure to assimilate (and therefore castrate) ourselves; we must simply go out, band together, and keep raiding enemy territory.  Our sons are screaming for leadership that will take them into who God made them at their core, not necessarily what the hour and a half on Sunday is telling them.

Eventually, war comes to the village of Gilead, and the village elders realize that their civilization will not survive without warriors.  So they go and ask the warrior Jephthah to come fight for them.  Jephthah is understandably terse with them:  “Wait, wait, wait.  You mean to tell me you kicked me out of your little tribe, and now you want me to fight your battles for you?” (paraphrased, of course)  However, they vow to make him the leader of the tribe if he will simply come do what he does best.  And so, the Warrior returns because the civilized are finally made to realize that his core identity is more valuable to them than his past.  Brilliant.

Does this speak to you?  I hope it does, because fathers, the Kingdom needs you to stand up, take up arms, and go to war against the Powers that have been assaulting masculinity for generations.  The church has become largely civilized, and has lost its warrior ethos, and it will probably not like it if you rise up and pick up your weapon.  In fact, they will, before they ostracize you, try to convince you to lay them back down by quoting   Isaiah 2:4-He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.  There’s a lot of that thought process in the church today, and it’s absolutely toxic, because it isn’t time for that yet.  The War is won, but the battles will continue until Christ returns.  Oh, and when He returns?  I’ll bet the civilized religious won’t recognize him, because that sacrificial lamb will have become a Lion.  A warrior.  Wearing a bloody cowl, wielding a sword, with an inferno blazing in his eyes, and a name carved on his thigh.  The Word of God.  And He will lead the armies of God (that includes you and me!) to finish the battle that we were supposed to be fighting all this time…but we’ve done some bad, ill-timed blacksmithing.  In fact, that brings me to my new favorite prophet, Joel.  I’ve heard the Isaiah passage all my life, so you can imagine my surprise (and joy, to be quite honest), when I read this from Joel:

Proclaim this among the nations:
Consecrate for war;
stir up the mighty men.
Let all the men of war draw near;
let them come up.
 Beat your plowshares into swords,
    and your pruning hooks into spears;
let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”

This has modern day implications.  Men, take up those garden tools and turn them back into tools of war.  We are at war, yet our Enemy has had little opposition for a long time now.  Christ redeemed our lives, our hearts, FOR something…not just FROM something.  We are to be His regents, his Holy Priesthood, his ‘set apart ones’ (Saints).  We are to forcefully take hold of a forcefully advancing Kingdom (Matthew 11:12).  This is no time to sit in a comfy chair singing mild love songs with our tail tucked between our legs because the rest of the village thinks all we are is a lowly son of a prostitute.  That is not what is most true of us.


We are warriors.

We are free to stand against the Powers and Principalities.

Our weapons are mighty through God, and perfect for tearing down strongholds.

Let us use them, and teach our sons to do the same.

Civilized religion may not know it yet, but they are going to need warriors one day, very soon.  And we must band together, and go out raiding, even when the village doesn’t want us, keeping ourselves in top form for the day the Village needs people like us.  Our sons need to be raised to be who God created them to be, which means we must rediscover it ourselves, to lead well.


Because our Father is truly God of the Warrior, and God of the Outcast.  And a Master Blacksmith.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


Into the Abyss…

My 11 year old son and I just finished a weekend journey into the abyss; namely, the abyss under Raccoon Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee.  A spelunking excursion.  A time of testing, of adventure.  On both counts, it was a success!

I’ve been in caves before, but those caves were guided tours down well lit walkways, viewing yawning chasms and expansive arenas.  This was decidedly different, and I knew it would be the moment they handed us mining helmets, gloves, and knee pads.  This was a trip that I didn’t initially sign Tyler up for, because I didn’t think he’d be ready for something so tough.  Yet when I told him I didn’t think we’d go, he was adamant:  “Dad, I want to go!”  “Son, you know this isn’t going to be easy at all, don’t you?”  “Yeah, dad, that’s why I wanna go!”  (God, I love this boy!)

Boy, I had no idea HOW tough it was going to be…for both of us.  But what an adventure!

Our guide led us through the well lit cave entrance, where we would wind up sleeping for the night once the excursion was done.  We rounded a corner, and he said “Lights on”.  We turned the lights on our helmets on, and it was the only light source we had for the next four hours.  It’s also one of the last times we were able to stand straight up.  Our first area was a crawl space barely two and a half feet high, and roughly 30 feet long.  Some areas were smaller than that, and required quite a bit of creativity to get through.  One area that was so steep and so slick, that we had to perform rope belays (again, in the pitch, pitch dark) to get up.  Other areas where you simply sat down and slid off the edge of a rock, down to…well, we couldn’t always see where it wound up.

It was what they called a ‘wild cave’ experience.  Yeah, that about sums it up.  Wild.

And exhilarating.

Tyler did fantastically.  He was really challenged in a couple of spots, but I could tell that this was calling out something inside of him, because he never complained, never quit.  It was awesome, as his father, watching him overcome obstacles harder than any he’d ever faced, at least physically.  At the end of every challenging climb or crawl, we’d give each other a high five.  It was a rich experience.

The next morning, after weathering a night on a cold cave floor, with stalagmites dripping colder water into my ear, we wandered out of the cave, into a cold crisp, beautifully foggy morning, changed our dingy clothing, and ate a light breakfast.  I knew I needed to commemorate this event in some small way.  Tyler had done something dangerous, and I wanted to give him something dangerous to remember it.  So we went into the gift shop, and looked.  He spotted a fixed blade hunting knife that he really liked.  Perfect.

He wears that thing like a badge of honor, and well he should.  He is rapidly speeding toward his rite of passage into manhood, his Warrior’s Path trials, and he showed me once again, through this event, that he is going to do just fine.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


Training Up a Child by Training Up Ourselves

So I’ve started a process-started it about 3 or 4 months ago-to get my sorry self in shape.  I’m five feet eight inches tall, and at my zenith, weighed 255 pounds.  Let me save you the math…that’s an atrocity.  I’ve been that way for more years than I care to admit.  I began having trouble sleeping, always feeling tired, and having zero energy, drive, or positive outlook; even took depression meds for a year.

That’s a setup to this story.  God got my attention last year, with really close death fly-by.  I was trying to improve myself, working really hard on fitness…too hard for my condition.  I tore an artery in my neck, that supplies blood to my brain.  I was told that I was extremely lucky, and for six months after getting out of the hospital, I couldn’t lift anything.  Not even my daughter, without high risk.  It was a wake up call…for awhile.  But I didn’t change my habits.  I was killing myself.  I’m not certain I wasn’t subconsciously doing it on purpose, because that amount of fatigue, lack of motivation, and depression can have a cumulative effect.

The scriptures have some things to say about this, surprised as I was to hear God tell me that those verses I’d always heard were also about my poor health.  But I’ve figured out that’s just how God loves to do things-to throw curve balls and surprises, just for fun.  It’s just another of a litany of things I’ve grown to love about Him.  Anyway, here are the ones that took top honors:

1 Corinthians 9:27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

Hebrews 5:14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

2 Samuel 22:35 He trains my hands for battle;  he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.

Psalm 144:1  Praise the LORD, who is my rock.  He trains my hands for war  and gives my fingers skill for battle.

Hosea 7:15 I trained them and made them strong…

Joel 3:10 Hammer your plowshares into swords  and your pruning hooks into spears.  Train even your weaklings to be warriors.

1 Timothy 4:8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path,  and when they are older, they will not leave it.

That last one stopped me cold.  Yes, I am just like most other folks, who tended to overspiritualize these verses, but that last verse has been so overspiritualized that it has lost any sense of practical application.  Father gave me a very practical application, and pointed at my body mass index to illustrate His point.  Did I mention He did it with a wink and a smile?  I love it when He does that.  No shame.  But perfectly understood.

As I write this, I am now 51 pounds lighter.  I have about 30 or so more to go, until I’m at least satisfied.  I have more energy, more drive, a more positive outlook, and the single most important improvement…I can play with my kids again.  My seven year old boy loves to shoot hoops, and we get out on his goal nearly everyday and shoot.  I played basketball as a youth, and it’s great to be in a position to love it again, and not get so tired so quickly.  My 11 year old and I are going spelunking this weekend, spending the night in the cave, and it’s a cave with a few ‘fat man squeeze’ points in the hike.  This time last year, I would’ve had to tell him we couldn’t go.  Now I can.  I’m eating healthy, exercising…and my kids see it.  I have already been training them in the spiritual; now I’m training them in the physical, and doing it from a position of integrity, because I’m practicing what I’m preaching.  It’s the single best way for fathers to exact positive influence and character shaping in their children.  Do it yourself.

Dads, this is a call from a dad who is doing it-get yourself in shape.  Not just spiritually.  But holistically.  Too many young sons and daughters are obese, and it’s our fault for not leading.  But we have an opportunity to change that.  And we must, if we are to lead well.

So, stop reading this blog post, close the computer, get up, and get moving!

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


The Necessity of Fathering Intentionally

Fatherhood is a privelege, one that I am proud to be given the honor of undertaking.  However, fatherhood is hard; it takes a real man with real courage and a great sense of the Larger Story to both father, and father well.  One great reason why is that our sons can be as different from us as night is from day…and we have to be so present, so intentional, that we are able to see the markers of their uniqueness, understand those markers for what they are, and help shape, refine, and call forth that uniqueness, even when it is beyond our own understanding.


That’s hard.

But, it is entirely possible.  No, not possible-necessary.  Necessary, because our sons have been lost to a sea of competing and confusing tides for too long.  Our sons need fathers who are laser-focused on apprenticing them, teaching them the value and true Godliness of true manhood, while at the same time “training him up in the Way God made him”, so that when he is older, he will embrace his identity, and walk in it fully.


Did I mention that this is hard??


Why is it so hard?  Well, one large reason is that we weren’t likely fathered in this manner.  Generations, stemming from the pre-Industrialization era, have been left essentially fatherless, as dads were increasingly taken from their roles and homes, hooked to the industrial plows, and told to produce.  We are products of that continued shift even today.  Yet we have an opportunity to stop that black train right here; some of us will find healing and our True North, able to lead from a strong and fully restored heart, given to us by our Father.

Most of us, however, will have to learn to lead with a limp.


But that’s okay.  The Wounded Warrior is still a warrior, and can still lead his subordinates into battle.  That is our charge, and if we don’t want our sons fumbling around in the dark about their manhood the way many of us have, we must “take up our cross” and lead on, limping or not.  Our sons need it.  We need it.  The world needs it.  The Kingdom needs it.


Yes, it is hard.  But it is worth it.  Every bit.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


A Call to Arms

Discovered this fantastic song just today.  In the realm of ‘masculine’ worship music, a song such as this, even though it isn’t ‘technically’ a worship song, it’s precisely to worship that my heart goes when hearing it.  A lyric or two is a little weird, but men, where does your heart go when you read these words?

This is a call to arms,

gather soldiers

Time to go to war

This is a battle song,

brothers and sisters

Time to go to war

Did you ever believe?

Were you ever a dreamer?

Ever imagine heart open and free?

Did you ever deny?

Were you ever a traitor?

Ever in love with your blood lust and need?

This is a call to arms,

gather soldiers

Time to go to war

This is a battle song,

brothers and sisters

Time to go to war

Ever want to be free?

Do you even remember?

Want to ride out and stand with me?

Ever want to just stop?

Do you want to surrender?

Or fight for victory?

Here we are at the start

I can feel the beating of our hearts

Here we are at the start

Darkness falls,

here comes the rain

To wash away the past and our names

Darkness falls,

here comes the rain

To end it all, the blood and the game

Far, far away

in a land that time can’t change

Long, long ago in a place of hearts and ghosts

Far, far away in a land that time can’t change

Long, long ago in a place of hearts and ghosts

This is a call to arms,

gather soliders

Time to go to war (Far, far away…)

This is a battle song, brothers and sisters

Time to go to war (Long, long ago…)

This is a call to arms,

gather soliders

Time to go to war (Far, far away…)

This is a battle song, brothers and sisters

Time to go to war

This is a call to arms, we own the night

This is a battle song, we own the night


This is what our masculine hearts yearn for-to be called forth into something larger than ourselves, to be commanded to stand, and to know, KNOW in our deepest heart, that we are dangerous, and a threat to evil.  Well, men…we are.  We are of that glorious stock, and this is a call to arms, brothers…time to go to war.  To fight for those who long for freedom.  To stand next to our brothers on the front lines, with our Captain on a white horse, leading us into battle against the Kingdom of Darkness, bringing Light and Life into those dark prisons, setting captives free.  Our sons can rise into their own manhood with a crystal clear example to follow, if only we would answer this Call to Arms.  Will you ride?

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Elephant in the Room

Men, fathers, we have a real problem on our hands, and it is one that needs to be dealt with swiftly, determinedly, and yes, violently, in a sense, because our sons and their identities hang in the balance.  If we would rescue our sons, and help shape them into strong, masculine men of God and Warriors of Virtue, we must address the overarchingly feministic and effeminate state of affairs in our country today, and in the church. Feministic attitudes and overtures are so prevalent, and so ingrained, into everyday society these days, that it feels counterintuitive, and even offensive to a great many, to challenge the norms.  But challenged is exactly what they must be, because we have lost an entire generation, and are at the point of nearly losing two, of men to the ravages of softness and ineffectiveness, in the name of religion.  There’s some ironclad history that shows the trend’s beginnings, which were innocouous enough, as men were off to war, and women and children were the only attenders of weekly worship events, so the approach was tailored.  Yet I see Satan seizing upon an opportunity to ‘castrate the gelding’, as CS Lewis put it, and then actually make people believe he could continue to be fruitful.  A castrated male culture is just about the best thing an adversary of God could hope for.  And I have decided that I don’t mind being the one up front who gets hammered by popular, nonsensical resistance, because the door needs to be forced open.  We need men, and men need to be able to worship and express their allegiance to God and Christ in the way GOD CREATED US, not according to a fairly recent societal shift.  I will always fight for a woman’s nature and God-resemblance to come to the front, because it is how God created himself IN her, and it needs to shine.  However, without men advancing the kingdom in the way God made THEM, it will not work.  I’m tired of tender, loving, kind, soft, effeminite Jesus.  I’m tired of being forced to sing silly songs about resting my head upon his breast, or receiving a kiss from him, or being ‘lost in love’, when it comes to my King, riding on a white horse, robe dipped in blood, sword drawn, eyes on fire, ready for war.  This gentle harmless lamb stuff is being peddled far too much, because it appeals to feminine sensibilities and those of young children.  It will be patently offensive, and many will look at it as even ‘unchristlike’, because of the repainting of Jesus with flowers and makeup, but men have GOT to start relating to our Father and our Brother as the Warriors they are, and the Warriors they created US to be, without apology, without holding back, and without being railroaded into this little, ineffective corral of sickly sweet emotionalism.  Jesus was not a ‘feminist’.  He just held a proper view of everyone, because He created them, and knows them better than some idiotic societal more ever could.  He also had much bigger fish to fry, a kingdom to advance behind enemy lines, and an adversary to war against.  And if we men don’t stop this counterintuitive effeminate approach to him ourselves, we will never advance an inch.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Uncategorized