Monday, November 9, 2015

Paraphrasing the big questions

My parish sponsors an intermittent educational and fellowship initiative for men that organizers call "Toward Discipleship." It's good stuff run by friends, and motivating enough to plant dozens of us in a conference room at ridiculously early but schedule-accommodating times on Friday mornings.

Current talks have focused on what might be called the developmental stages of authentic Christian manhood. Speakers cleverly decided to associate each developmental stage with a key question. That's an effective strategy, especially for people like me, who'd rather take notes after a talk than during a talk.

At the five-week mark, this is what I remember:

  1. The key question in stage one, Boyhood, is "Am I the apple of my father's eye?" 
  2. In stage two, the Cowboy phase, the key question becomes, "Do I have what it takes?"
  3. A Warrior ethos appears for stage three, and the question there is "Are there things worth fighting for?"
  4. Stage four is the Lover, and ideally it tempers stage 3, because it's the other side of the same coin, when you realize that not everything is or has to be a fight. The lover's question is "Can I find the good, the true, and the beautiful?"
  5. Comes then the King. His question is "How do I use my power and influence for good?" Put another way, that question can be understood as an inquiry into the application of mercy: How do I raise other people up?
  6. The last stage in this series (and perhaps in life) is The Sage. I'm not there yet, but I look forward to updating this post when the question posed by the sage is described.
    UPDATE: It turns out that the question for the Sage stage (ha!) is "Am I able and willing to mentor someone else?" Makes sense!

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