If you’re looking for a quick read that will help you understand the fatherless crisis in America, please pick up John Sowers new book. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll never look at culture the same. You’ll see the crisis in movies, hear it in music and be able to respond when you see it in your own community, even your friends and family. A person prepared to help heal the fatherless wound will be needed by all. Here is the second excerpt from John’s book: Left: To face death and life alone Haunted by the face that was once one of our own. Now, a disembodied cry hangs stranded— Afloat on the howling wind, No anchor to plant us amidst our growing strife, No touch to give us feeling, No breath to give us life. Dad and I kept in touch a couple of times a year. I continued taking my obligatory visits to Austin every summer. But those visits were awkward. Like trying to catch up with someone that you never knew in the first place. My entire world was in Little Rock. My best friends, my little league baseball team—the Coyotes, my neighborhood pool, and the [...]
John Sowers is the President of The Mentoring Project, and his book came out last week. I thought I’d feature an excerpt. If you’d like to understand the fatherless crisis, John’s book would be an excellent place to begin…. Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story The earliest memories of my father are the few times he came to visit us during Christmas. About once a year, he would drive up from Austin to Little Rock for the weekend. My brother and I usually stayed with him at the Motel 6. Back then, Motel 6 had the big mechanical beds that, for only a quarter, would shake and make a low humming noise. Sleeping on them was like riding a giant, lumbering submarine. My father usually smelled like an odd mixture of Old Spice and musky sweat. And for most of my childhood, I just thought that was how a man was supposed to smell. Sometimes he let me “drive” his burgundy Monte Carlo, which consisted of sitting in his lap and playing with the dark hair on his arms. My brother Bill and I always ended up fighting for his attention. To us, his attention was a prize to be won. [...]
For my first video book review, I chose Dr. John Sowers Fatherless Generation. If you want to understand the fatherless crisis in America, pick up this book. And believe me, the fatherless crisis is affecting you in more ways than you can count. Here’s the review: Don Miller Reviews Fatherless Generation from The Mentoring Project on Vimeo. Pick up the book today!
Yesterday morning I spoke at Belmont University in Nashville, kicking off a fascinating, campus-wide experiment. Belmont is handing out cash to their students. In denominations of five, ten and twenty bucks, hundreds of students will be handed packets containing cash and asked to “do something” with the money. The idea is they can’t spend it on themselves, and they have to use it to tell a great story. Each student will consider what to do with the money for a few days, I am sure, and then launch into a creative endeavor to make something great happen with the dollars they have been given. If you want to follow along, you can read some of their stories here. I get to be part of this campaign as an experiment to have fun with the concepts in A Million Miles. The idea of an inciting incident involves passing through a doorway of no return. With a twenty-dollar bill in hand, and knowing they can’t spend it on themselves, students will start making things happen, bringing stories into the world that would never have taken place if it weren’t for them, and for the inciting incident of being handed a packet containing [...]
After receiving and reading through more than 500 entries to the Living a Better Story Blog Contest, we’ve chosen our winner. And believe me, this was no easy task. There is no story greater than one human being attempting to live a meaningful life. We read painful and beautiful stories about marriages falling apart and getting back together, children being taken from the world too early, stories of noble ambitions to build orphanages and start schools. We passed around your stories like favorite baseball cards, each of us wanting plenty of you to win. In fact, even as I boarded a plane yesterday, well after we should have chosen our winner, we couldn’t decide. I finally left it in the hands of my faithful and prayerful assistant Tara, who told me when I landed in Chicago that she was having “panic attacks.” The final decision was very difficult, and included a secondary round of questions for about a dozen final contestants. In the end, we chose the contestant we felt the seminar would help the most. Again, it was tough. But the winner is Lori Ventola of Denver, Colorado. Lori wants to start a mobile after-school program helping children of [...]
My friend Anne Jackson‘s second book, Permission to Speak Freely – Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace releases today. I’ve asked her to share one of the essays from her book with you. Anne decided to share seven essays on seven different blogs, this being the first. To read the rest of the essays, check out the links at the end. Anne is also giving away a copy of her book to two commenters, chosen at random, on Friday. So check out the question at the end and leave a comment to be entered to win. You can pick up a copy of the book here. Essay #1 – The First Brick We all remember the first time we had our faith in someone betrayed. The moment when innocence began morphing into skepticism. Mine happened on a playground in the fourth grade. I found myself dusting the gritty hot sand off my hands and knees as my best friends stood laughing at me. Leigh and Amy. Daughters of deacons at the church where my dad was the pastor. As a welcoming gift a few weeks earlier, they offered me the middle part of a three-piece heart necklace. You know the kind. The type that reads “Best Friends Forever” when the [...]
Here’s a secret I learned long ago. It’s a big one and it’ll propel you into a future of greatness…. STOP TAKING SOCIAL CUES FROM YOUR PEERS. Instead of taking social cues from people your age, take cues from people ten and twenty years older than you. Are you looking for a church that has a lot of people who are your age so you can hang out? That’s fine, but try looking for one where most of the people have families and perhaps a little grey hair. Why? Because the sooner you can relate to their priorities, the sooner you’ll be ready for the next stage of life. I’m in my late thirties but I’m more interested in hanging out with people who are retired. What’s it teaching me? It’s teaching me what matters later in life is friendships, family and love. In matters of faith, what matters to them is not theological debate, but closeness with Jesus and unity with believers.
A recent article in the New York Times asks the question why so many people in their 20′s are taking so long to grow up. In the article, Robin Henig proposes: “It’s happening all over, in all sorts of families, not just young people moving back home but also young people taking longer to reach adulthood overall. It’s a development that predates the current economic doldrums, and no one knows yet what the impact will be — on the prospects of the young men and women; on the parents on whom so many of them depend; on society, built on the expectation of an orderly progression in which kids finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and eventually retire to live on pensions supported by the next crop of kids who finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and on and on. The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.” [...]
I’m not a big fan of the “there are only two kinds of people” breakdown of humanity, and yet in the past few years, I’ve found myself wondering if, well, there are only two kinds of people. I’m not talking about people who either like Neil Diamond or don’t, I’m talking about How and Why thinkers. Let me explain: We all live life asking questions, questions about how to get ahead, how to make life more meaningful, questions about how to survive or help people survive. The question how is an American question, and it rests on the presupposition that we know what life is really about. Some friends and I were walking down the street in Vancouver, BC last week and I stopped our group and asked them to look around and count the ads that they noticed. We were downtown in a major shopping district, and even though we could see for blocks, we found only two billboards or posters advertising stuff. If we’d been across the border in the states, we’d have counted, perhaps, hundreds. The difference was striking. Advertising is part of the reason we have become a how culture. Commercials make us think we need [...]
The Living a Better Story Seminar is just over a month away and we already have more than 350 people signed up! We couldn’t be more excited. More than 500 people entered our contest to be flown out for the seminar, and we will be announcing the winner on September 1st. In a way, the seminar will be like a reunion of people who have never met, if such a thing is possible. Fans of the books and blog along with folks who are just looking to energize their story are descending on Portland September 26th and 27th. If you haven’t registered yet, please sign up today! If you’ve already signed up, prepare to closely analyze the major decisions and turns of your life as a way of exploring how God wired you so that, together, we can discover what the best story for your life might be. God used the stories of peoples lives as His primary way of communicating to the world, and we will be looking at the way God interacted with characters such as Joseph, Paul, Moses and a few others who will join me on stage. In the Seminar, you’ll learn to see how God [...]