This week I’m featuring posts from my newest release, Father Fiction. These are new writings, not previously released in the books original form. The book hits stores today. Father Fiction spells out some practical advice for people who grew up without dads, but it’s great for mentors and single mom’s too. I should warn you the book is very plain spoken and blunt. It’s perhaps the most direct book I’ve written, and I don’t hold back on my opinions. I don’t hold back because over time I’ve learned exactly what I needed to hear having grown up without a father. This first piece is taken from a chapter about dating: From Father Fiction: “…We also want to understand why we are attracted to the opposite sex, and there are many reasons. I want to talk about the two dominant forces that draw you to the opposite sex. The first is the desire to reproduce. This is what your body wants. The second is the desire for redemption. This is what your soul wants. At a young age your hormones were going crazy. We think we are in love but the truth is, we are in lust. We just want to [...]
My latest literary endeavor, Father Fiction, hits shelves tomorrow! I previously released this book under the title To Own a Dragon, and it sold more than eighty-thousand copies, however, I bought back the rights because the distributor had some trouble getting it out there, and have now rereleased it with a larger publisher. The book has four new chapters that, I believe, add a great deal more value. Previously, the book was geared toward men who grew up without fathers, but I heard from so many women, I dropped all that language and opened it up for anybody whose dad may not have been around, either physically or emotionally. The new content in the book includes a chapter on how I met my father after thirty years of not hearing from him, a chapter on the pitfalls of self pity, a chapter on dating and what the opposite sex really finds attractive, and a chapter on how intentional friendships can keep you out of trouble and help you succeed. Ultimately, Father Fiction is the most practical book I’ve written. It’s an advice book, essentially, helping readers of any age avoid the mistakes that hold people back. I’m amazed at how [...]
Today is Good Friday, also known as Dark Friday, a day when, around the world, Christians memorialize the crucifixion of Christ, an event we believe was God’s method for absolving the sins of those who believe, an act of great kindness and love and evidence of God’s desire to be reunited with mankind. Millions will attend services today, and millions more will, at some point, stop to reflect in their own way over this mysterious relationship they have with Jesus, a relationship the Apostle Paul states must be experienced to understand. Paul even states that those who have not experienced Christ would consider us fools. I think it’s safe to say that has become true. When Christ died on the cross, the disciples didn’t know he was going to resurrect in three days. Peter tore his clothes and ran through the streets (an outward sign of grief and distress, often over a tragedy.) I wrote this letter as a reflection, trying to imagine what it must have been like to have been Peter, to have had to explain to his friends and other followers of Christ what had happened. I thought it might be appropriate for Good Friday. My Friends, [...]
From the Associated Press: “Christian Singer/Songwriter Derek Webb to co-host the view during a month-long (June) leave in which Emmy-award winning host Elizabeth Hassleback will be on sabbatical. Derek’s career began as co-lead singer of the Christian pop band Caedman’s Call and continues as a solo artist with much critical favor. His music has appeared on television shows including Greys Anatomy and The Discovery Channel’s The Deadliest Catch.” It looks like The View is trying to keep their evangelical audience in tact during Hasselback’s leave, so they are bringing in Christian men. It’s cool to see media becoming more open about the fact so many of their viewers are Christians. Should make for some terrific conversation, I would think. I’m only frustrated I never got the call! So Derek will host only one episode (give him more!) and other Christian men will be taking the other episodes, including Joel Hunter, Jim Wallis, Max Lucado (Max Lucado has always been a huge draw for the ladies), Gary Haugen, Pastor Rick McKinley, Erwin McManus, Dan Haseltine and Brandon Heath. Mark Driscoll will also be filling in for Whoopi Golberg for one episode in August. Great job, guys! Have fun. I’m available too. Just [...]
The Mentoring Project is coordinating a nation-wide garage sale to raise funds so we can provide even more mentors for kids. Here is how you can get involved: 1. Decide to host a local garage sale in your area (or in your garage!) and download our easy guide. 2. Get a group of your friends to donate their unwanted stuff and stockpile it in your garage. 3. The night before the garage sale, buy some pizzas and price the stuff. 4. Sell the stuff and donate all or part of the proceeds to The Mentoring Project. It really is that simple. And with the proceeds, The Mentoring Project will create even more programs in even more churches until the church in America provides the best solution for the fatherless crisis in America. You can also help us by retweeting this page or sharing it on Facebook. Thanks so much. We can’t do it without you!
Yesterday afternoon, I talked with a friend on the phone who has been a pastor for more than twenty-five years. He’s an upbeat, optimistic guy who has brilliant ideas and loves shepherding the people who come to his church. I have always thought being a pastor is one of the hardest things a person could do, but my friend makes it look easy. It never occurred to me how hard his job was until I asked him how I could pray for him. He told me that the coming week was going to be difficult, that he had to officiate two funerals, one of them a suicide. He said he’d done many funerals, but these two were very close to his heart. Can you imagine having to speak at a funeral? Moreover, can you imagine having to speak for God at a funeral? Can you imagine having to speak for God at a wedding, even? And not only that, can you imagine having to preach a sermon every week, lead a staff, counsel broken marriages, provide vision for a community, and all under the microscope of a small percentage of people that would judge you if you drove a nicer [...]
Have you ever met somebody who has been hurt, wrongfully hurt and is bitter about it? It’s difficult to have compassion, even though they have a right and reason to be bitter. We may want justice for them, and may even have empathy, but there is something imperfect about the story. And yet I find bitterness is easy when I’ve been wronged. Vengeance is a normal reaction, it seems, a human reaction. What else are we supposed to to with our pain?
Years ago I read a book called Country of my Skull, about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. The TRC was a commission put together by Nelson Mandella to hear cases of crimes against humanity committed under apartheid. Mandella asked Bishop Desmond Tutu to head up the commission [...]
Generally speaking, you are either a Republican or Democrat, a Calvinist or Arminian, you either believe we are shaped by nature or nurture, you either like Neil Diamond or you don’t, and even as you read this, you either agree with the statements I just made or you disagree. We think Fox News is brainwashing or truth-telling, we are Democratic or Marxists, evolutionists or creationists. There is either right or wrong, good or bad, beautiful or profane, right? Such thinking wouldn’t make it through the door of an undergraduate course in logic, yet it’s commonplace in our arguments. And it’s a problem. Black-and-white, either-or thinking polarizes people and stunts progressive thought. Moreover, we begin to believe whatever thought-camp we subscribe to is morally good and the other morally bad, thus demonizing a threatening position, further stunting our ability to think and find truth. Instead, we are armed with ammo from the twenty-four hour news cycle that helps us defend our identities rather than search for truth. There are places where this sort of thinking doesn’t prevail, however. I remember hanging out at Reed College, back in the day, and wondering how odd it was that people’s identities weren’t attached to [...]
I’m enjoying the direction the new blog is going. Forcing myself to tackle an issue or share some bit of life each day has been a terrific exercise in both writing and thinking. And I’ve enjoyed our dialogue, as well. I try to chime in once or twice per blog, but I read every comment. Thanks for your interest. Here is what’s coming up this week: Monday: The Problem with Black and White Thinking On Monday I’ll look at the problem of black-and-white thinking and how it stunts intellectual growth. My guess is this post is going to stir up some controversy. We shall see. Tuesday: The Greatest Impact You May Have May Come Out of Your Pain On Tuesday I will be talking about the benefit of hard times. This blog will be especially interesting to those who are hurting right now. In this blog I talk about some of the hard things that have happened in my life and what good things have come from them. I truly look at dark seasons different these days. Wednesday: The Reasons Pastors are Important I’ve noticed a lot of cynicism about church (and engaged in some in my day) and yet [...]
Years ago I read a little psychology book by Don Riso and Russ Hudson about personality types, a topic I geek out on, to be honest. The book talked about the character faults of different personalities, and as I read my own, I became a bit dismayed. I wondered how I could change negative characteristics that seemed to be interwoven in my DNA. How would I change who I seemed to be in my core? There are spiritual answers to this question, of course, but I am talking about something more practical. I’m talking about how we stop feeling jealous or talking too much or giving in to self pity. I was greatly helped by a short piece of advice at the end of the book. The authors hardly focussed on the advice, almost mentioning it in passing, but I may have gotten more from that single mention than anything else in the book. If you grew up in a home or faith tradition that made you feel guilty all the time, did it work? Did you change? And what do we do with truths from scripture that tell us there is now no condemnation for those who are in [...]