Winters Gives Men Hope

Winters_review_20200224David L. Winters. 2020. Exercise Your Faith: Defeating the Lies Men Believe. VA: DAVIWIN Publishing.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

For most of my adult life, church men’s groups have been a flop. Men generally had a good idea of what life was about (even if it was pathetically wrong) and saw no need to talk about it in a group. Five to ten years ago, that sense of identity started to come apart at the seams and men started trickling into men’s group meetings, even if they did not stay long. Now, with grown men committing suicide in record numbers, the need for men to attend to their inner lives faithfully has become a national crisis.[1]

Introduction

In his book, Exercise Your Faith: Defeating the Lies Men Believe, David Winters describes his work as a:“treatise about being a guy in 2020s” (viii). He works out this treatise proverbially by confronting 31 lies that men often believe about who they are and what it means to be a man. Satan is the father of lies and, as men, we often succumb to these lies—perhaps, out of ignorance; perhaps, because we want to believe them.

The photograph on Winter’s book is a case in point. Many men believe that they need to have a body like a personal trainer (like the man on the cover) to be a real man. Women often share this belief. This belief is highly corrosive for the other ninety-nine person of men, like myself, who don’t live in a gym. Although I managed a soccer team in graduate school, when I tried to keep up with a team after I started working I repeatedly injured myself because I no longer had time to train three hours daily. As I started putting on weight, my self-image plummeted—with a little help from my highly disciplined wife.

The Lie: Masculinity is Now Toxic

Perhaps my favorite Winters lie-buster deals with the idea that masculinity is now toxic, as suggested in a recent political ad by Gillette (link). Winters’ writes: “Some special interest groups try to convince men that any assertiveness is toxic masculinity.” (12) He advises: “Be who God made you—within the guardrails of Scripture.” (12) He goes on to highlight four “God-given attributes that all men should aspire to possess.”(13) They are: courage, faith, love, and protection (13-14).

Winters clearly stays close to his understanding of the biblical mandate for masculinity. He also eschews some of the hot-button he-she food fights that have arisen in the church. However, he does not shy away from the problem that many today want to abandon Christian teaching on sexuality and gender identity. He cites, for example, a 2015 study that reported a staggering forty present of transsexuals reported attempting suicide (James and others 2015; 8).

The Lie: Death Has to Kill You

When I worked as a chaplain intern in Providence Hospital, I noticed an alarming trend among my patients: about half of them exhibited physical ailments that stemmed from repressed grief. The presenting diagnosis could be virtually anything— backache, suicide, addiction, medications not working—but when you asked about the patient’s family life, someone close to them had often died in the past year.  This experience gave me a profound appreciation for anyone willing to talk openly about grief.

Winters talks about the death of his father at the age of 65 (I am 66) from emphysema (97). He writes:

“For those who don’t know if they believe in eternal life, all you need do is watch a few people before and after death. It’s easy to see that something profound separated from his body.” (100)

This comment made a big impression on me because my younger sister died in 2007 and I experienced this precise observation—a year later I entered seminary. Winters talks about walking around in a daze for the year after his father died (101). He advises men to read what the Bible says about death, analyze your fears in view of scripture, and sort out what you believe about death before you are confronted with it (102-103). In my case, I found a book by Michael Card, Sacred Sorrow, most comforting.

Assessment

David Winters’ Exercise Your Faith is a readable and helpful guide to dealing with masculinity in our time. Winters bares his soul revealing stories that few authors have the guts to write and puts them in a Biblical context. This is something that men need to hear. Christian men’s groups will want to pay special particular attention to this book.

References

 Card, Michael. 2005.  A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament.  [Also:  Experience Guide].  Colorado Springs:  NavPress. (review)

James, S.E., J.L. Herman, S. Rankin, M. Keisling, L. Mottet, and M. Anafi. 2016. The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

Footnotes

[1] As a writer and pastor, I welcome any book offering insight into this male identity crisis. I want to thank David Winters for giving me a pre-release copy of his book.

Winters Gives Men Hope

Also see:

Murrow Invites Churches to be Man-friendly

Scott Writes Pro Email Newsletters

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Lent_2020  

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More Humility: Monday Monologues, Podcast on March 9, 2020

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b
Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on humility. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

More Humility: Monday Monologues, Podcast on March 9, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Lent_2020

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Prayer for Humility

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Humble Father, Loving Son, Ever-present Spirit,

We praise you for your mercy shown through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Walk with us day by day and grant us a humble spirit that we might enjoy your blessing, forgiveness, and healing.

Keep us focused on your mission, not our own.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Prayer for Humility

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Oración para Humildad

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Padre humilde, Hijo amoroso, Espíritu siempre presente,

Te alabamos por tu misericordia mostrada a través de la vida, muerte, y resurrección de Jesus Cristo.

Camina con nosotros día por día y concédenos un espíritu humilde para que podamos disfrutar de nuestra bendición, perdón, y sanación.

Mantennos enfocada en tu misión, no en la nuestra.

En el precioso nombre de Jesús, Amén.

Oración para Humilda

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Living Out Poor in Spirit

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101So when they had come together, they asked him, 

Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? 

He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons 

that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 

But you will receive power 

when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, 

and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem 

and in all Judea and Samaria, 

and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:6–8)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

The First Beatitude—Honored are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven—pairs humility in tension with power. Humility makes room in our lives for God but pride pushes God out. Guelich (1982, 262) writes: 

This tension between the Kingdom present and the Kingdom future, between the fulfillment and consummation of God’s promise of salvation for human history, applies not only to history but to the experience of the individual.

Ladd (1991, 57–69) sees the kingdom of God as already here, but not yet fully realized.

Kingdom of Heaven

The obliqueness of the First Beatitude arises because the phrase, kingdom of heaven, is a circumlocution (a round-about way of describing) for the name of God. In Jewish tradition, the covenant name of God (YHWH) is holy and can only be properly used in the context of public worship; in other contexts, other words—such as kingdom of heaven, LORD, or, simply, the Name—are substituted out of respect for the holiness of God’s name. With these substitutions, the First Beatitude might accordingly be rewritten: honored are the humble, for God will come into their life.

Understanding the First Beatitude sheds light on another distinctive teaching of Jesus. Jesus and John the Baptist both taught—“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt 3:2; 4:17)—but John focused on judgment while Jesus focused on forgiveness. Because forgiveness leaves space for God’s judgment and humility makes forgiveness easier, both forgiveness and humility work to make room for God in our lives (Matt 6:14–15).

Humility in the Old Testament

Humility signals that God is welcome in our lives, as the life of Abraham illustrates. Abraham was clearly hospitable, a kind of humility (Gen 18:2–5), and God blesses him: “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:3) God’s blessing is clearly meant to be shared—Abraham is blessed to be a blessing to others. God blesses Abraham with His presence, with sharing His plans for the future (Gen 18), and with offering His provision and protection in spite of Abraham’s obvious duplicity (Gen 20). 

The importance of humility is most clearly stated in God’s response to King Solomon’s prayer dedicating the first temple in Jerusalem:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chr 7:14)

Here we see that humility is a precondition for God’s presence, forgiveness, and healing.

Space for God

Pride, the opposite of humility, may also be an occasion for God’ to enter our lives, as is revealed in Jesus’ response to the disciples’ impertinent question in Acts 1:6-8,cited above.

In his response, Jesus tells the disciples that they cannot usurp God’s sovereign authority and then, like a good leader, refocuses their attention on the mission. In his explanation of the mission, Jesus refers to the two types of time, translated here as times (χρόνος; “chronos”) and seasons (καιρός; “kairos”). Chronos time is time measured by a wristwatch (or calendar) that might be thought of as is a season of waiting on the Lord. Kairos time is a moment of divine revelation, a crisis for us when everything changes.

When we humble ourselves, we invite God to enter our lives, which can be a time of blessing, forgiveness or healing. When we do not, God acts sovereignly to accomplish his plans, with or without us.

REFERENCES

Guelich, Robert. 1982. The Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding. Dallas: Word Publishing.

Ladd, George Eldon. 1991. A Theology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdman.

Living Out Poor in Spirit

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

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Vivir Pobre en Espíritu

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102 Entonces los que estaban reunidos, Le preguntaban: 

Señor, ¿restaurarás en este tiempo el reino a Israel?

Jesús les contestó: No les corresponde a ustedes saber los tiempos 

ni las épocas que el Padre ha fijado con Su propia autoridad;

 pero recibirán poder cuando el Espíritu Santo venga sobre ustedes; 

y serán Mis testigos en Jerusalén, en toda Judea y Samaria, y 

hasta los confines de la tierra. (Acts 1:6-8)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

La primera Bienaventuranza—Honrado son los pobres en espíritu, pues de ellos es el reino de los cielos—pone humildad en tensión con poder. La humildad deja espacio en la vida para Dios pero orgullo empuja a Dios lejos de nosotros. Guelich (1982, 262) escribe: Esta tension entre el reino presente y el reino futuro, entre al cumplimiento y consumación de la promesa de la salvación de Dios para la historia humano, se aplica tanta a la experiencia de la individuo como a la historia colectiva.⁠1 Ladd (1991, 57–69) ve el reino de Dios como ya aquí, pero aún no realizado completamente.

Reino de los Cielos

La oblicuidad de la primera Bienaventuranza surge porque la frase, el reino de los cielos, es un circunlocución (un modo indirectamente de describir) por el nombre de Dios. En la tradición judía, el nombre covenantal de Dios (YHWH) es santo y puede solo usarse adecuadamente en el contexto de adoración publica; en otros contextos, otras palabras—como el reino de cielo, Señor, o, simplemente, el Nombre—se sustituyen por respeto a la santidad del nombre de Dios. Por causa de estas sustituciones, la primera Bienaventuranza podría reescribirse en consecuencia como: honrados son los humildes, porque Dios entrará en sus vidas. Entendiendo la primera Bienaventuranza arroja luz sobre una otra enseñanza distintiva de Jesús. Jesús y Juan ambos enseñaron—“Arrepiéntanse, porque el reino de los cielos se ha acercado” (Matt 3:2; 4:17)—pero Juan enfocó en el juicio mientras Jesús enfocó en el perdón. Debido a que el perdón deja espacio para el juicio de Dios y la humildad facilita el perdón, ambos perdón y humildad hacen espacio para Dios en nuestras vidas (Matt 6:14-15).

La Humildad en el Antiguo Testamento

La humildad sígnale que Dios es bienvenida en nuestras vidas, como lo ilustra la vida de Abraham. Abraham es claramente hospitalario, una espacie de humildad (Gen 18:2-5), y Dios lo bendice: “Bendeciré a los que te bendigan, Y al que te maldiga, maldeciré. En ti serán benditas todas las familias de la tierra.” (Gen 12:3) La bendición de Dios está claramente destinada se compartir—Abraham es bendecido a ser una bendición a los demás. Dios bendice a Abraham con su presencia, con compartir su planes para el futuro (Gen 18), y con ofrecer su provision y protección a pesar de la duplicidad obvio de Abraham (Gen 20). La importancia de humildad se afirma más claramente en la respuesta de Dios a la oración del rey Salomón que dedicar el primer templo en Jerusalem: se humilla Mi pueblo sobre el cual es invocado Mi nombre, y oran, buscan Mi rostro y se vuelven de sus malos caminos, entonces Yo oiré desde los cielos, perdonaré su pecado y sanaré su tierra. (2 Chr. 7:14) Aquí vemos que la humildad es condición previa para la presencia, perdón, y curación de Dios.

Espacio para Dios

El orgullo, lo opuesto de humildad, podría también proveer una ocasión para la entrada de Dios en nuestras vidas, como se reveler en la respuesta de Jesús a la pregunta impertinente de los discípulos en Hechos 1:6-8, citado anteriormente. En su respuesto, Jesús les dice a los discípulos que no pueden usurpar la autoridad soberano de Dios y luego, como un buen líder, reenfoca su atención por la misión.  En su explicación de la misión, Jesús refiere a dos tipos de tiempo, traducidos aquí como los tiempos (χρόνος; “cronos”) y épocas (καιρός; “kairos”). El tiempo de cronos es el tiempo medido por un reloj de pulsera (o calendario) que podría se pensar como una temporada de esperar para el Señor. El tiempo de kairos es un momento de la revelación divina, una crises para nosotros cuando todas cosas cambian.  Cuando nos humillamos, invitamos a Dios a entrar nuestras vidas, lo que puede ser un tiempo de bendición, perdón, o curación. Cuando no lo hacemos, Dios actúa soberanamente para cumplir sus planes, con o sin nosotros.

Notas

1 This tension between the Kingdom present and the Kingdom future, between the fulfillment and consummation of God’s promise of salvation for human history, applies not only to history but to the experience of the individual.

Referencias

Guelich, Robert. 1982. The Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding. Dallas: Word Publishing. Ladd, George Eldon. 1991. A Theology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Vivir Pobre en Espírit

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

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Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Schaefer Makes Sense of Twitter

Schaefer_review_20200202Mark W. Schaefer. 2012.  The Tao of Twitter:  Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time.  New York:  McGraw Hill. @markwschaefer

Reviewed by Stephen W. Hiemstra When I expressed interest in learning how to use social media more effectively, a friend quickly remarked:  whatever you do, don’t start Tweeting!  Probably the hardest part of learning to use Twitter has been to overcome the pre-conception that it’s used primarily by celebrity fans.  Mark Schaefer’s The Tau of Twitter has vanquished pre-conceptions and convinced me that Twitter is a business tool here to stay.

Introduction

What is Twitter?  Twitter looks like a personalized wire service or  stock market price feed.  The limited space in a Tweet assures that only short messages are transmitted which means that it is easy to view many Tweets quickly.  For news junkies and market watchers, Twitter has to be addictive—it is more than a non-stop pajama party for fifteen year olds.

Organization

So what does Schaefer say about it?  The book is organized into seventeen chapters.  The introduction and first two chapters explain how Twitter can be used in business.  Chapter three examines Schaefer’s basic social media strategy (The Tao Explained).  Chapter four explains business benefits.  Chapters five to seven explore Schaefer’s strategy in more detail.  The remainder of the book covers advanced Twitter concepts.

Three Taos of Twitter

Schaefer’s strategy in using social media revolves around three principles:  Targeted Connections, Meaningful Content, and Authentic HelpfulnessTargeted Connections means concentrate on following and be followed by people likely to find your business interesting.  This is just basic networking.  Schaefer talks a lot about his Twitter Tribe—a group of about 200 contacts who share your basic interests.  Meaningful Content means that you introduce information that is both helpful and interesting.  Most professionals today are specialists—talk about your area of expertise.  Authentic Helpfulness means that you express honest interest in what people are doing online.  Just pretend a colleague has walked in your office asking advice and you get the idea.

What makes Schaefer’s discussion interesting is how he mixes business and personal interests.  Several times he reminds the reader that “social media” begins with the word “social” or alternatively “P2P”—person to person.  People want to do business with people that they like being with.  For those of us who are not the life of the party, this whole discussion can be a bit intimidating—life in business causal—but the point is that networking is very personal.  Twitter is not a place to sell, but rather a place to establish relationships.

Assessment

Schaefer’s The Tao of Twitter makes Twitter more inviting, more accessible for business professionals.  Baby boomers may be shocked to learn that real business gets done in Twitter.  Millennials may discover that business requires a different protocol than Twitter’s social side.  Still, this is not a how to book that will substitute for the help system in Twitter.  Professionals outside of the world of business may also need to tweak Schaefer’s rules of thumb to fit the ethos of their own fields.  Given those caveats, The Tao of Twitter is an authentically helpful book.

Schaefer Makes Sense of Twitter

Also see:

Scott Writes Pro Email Newsletters

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Humility: Monday Monologues, Podcast on March 2, 2020

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b
Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on humility. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Humility: Monday Monologues, Podcast on March 2, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Lent_2020  

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Sabbath Prayer

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101By Stephen W. Hiemstra

 

Lord of the Sabbath,

We praise you for creating us and placing us in a beautiful world, for enabling us work to support our families, and for allowing us time to rest.

In this weary world, teach us to rest and to offer hospitality to those around us.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, help us to be humble like salt, that flavors, preserves, and graces every table and to radiate your light when darkness threatens to overwhelm.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Sabbath Prayer

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Oración del Sábado

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Señor del Sábado,

Te alabamos por crearnos y colocarnos en una tierra hermosa, por permitirnos trabajo para apoyar a nuestras familias, y por darnos tiempo a descansar.

En este mundo cansado, enséñanos a descansar y a ofrecer hospitalidad a quienes nos rodean.

En el poder de tu Espíritu Santo, ayúdanos a ser humildes como sal, lo que aromatiza, preserva, y adorna cada mesa y a irradiar tu luz cuando la oscuridad amenaza a sobrecoger. 

En el precioso nombre de Jesús, Amén.

Oración del Sábad

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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