Monday, February 11, 2019

Devotion 2.11.19

Any admirers of General Patton out there?

I was reading about the idea of the warrior within men and the author referenced the movie and famous speech of Patton.  In it he says, “I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position….  We are advancing constantly and we aren’t interesting in holding anything!”  If you want to watch the clip, click here (but be warned, he’s a little blue in it)

We may not want to model ourselves on everything in Patton, but he powerfully speaks to the idea of the warrior.  This can get a bad rap and for a reason. There’s plenty of men who have taken the idea of a warrior and turned it into the right to be aggressive, demeaning, and dominate those who are less powerful than them.

But this isn’t the point of the warrior.  The warrior is about the energy that encourages us to “advance” in the face of trials. To look at the problems we have in life (whether it’s at work, home, church, or beyond) and to not sit still, but to rouse ourselves to take them head on.  It’s about taking risks to create, defend, and extend what God wants for us and those around us, even in the face of opposition.

I read that some churches have taken, “Onward Christian Soldiers” out of hymnals because it was too warlike or aggressive, but the metaphors in this song are powerful and they are Scriptural.  So I’ll close by placing the text below so we can consider how God is energizing us to take on whatever battles he has for us today.

1 Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before!
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle, see his banner go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before!
2 At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
On, then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise! [Refrain]
3 Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod;
We are not divided; all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. [Refrain]
4 Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song;
Glory, laud, and honor, unto Christ the King;
This thro' countless ages men and angels sing. [Refrain]

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Friday, February 8, 2019

Devotion 2.8.19

We’re starting a new series this week.  If you have any questions, thoughts, and comments, email me and I’d love to incorporate them.
Reminder- 2nd Saturday Men’s Breakfast is this weekend.  8:30 am at Rudy’s.

Who is the greatest king in history?

I found a list of the 10 Greatest Monarchs in world history and it was interesting to see why they were included.  Many of them focus on military accomplishments and how much territory they ruled.  But there are others who are praised for reforms in legal systems that benefitted all classes, their encouragement of the arts, freedoms granted, economic booms, and even encouragement of morality.

So what makes a “king”?
Image result for king louis xiv

In the book on mature masculinity I’m getting insights from for these devotions, it speaks of “king” as the first and most important archetype for men.  Very few men in history actually have been monarchs but all men draw on this concept.  The idea of a king is someone who is the father of a nation, who represents leadership even from God to the people, who cares for all people by encouraging and rewarding them, bringing calm to their fears, and stewards the resources of others.

What does this look like in regular men like us?  I like some examples from the book. This is what energizes us to take on the financial and psychological stresses of our family and be the calm in the midst of their storms while encouraging them to succeed in their own schooling, work, etc.  It’s what enables us to go to work and confront a rebellious subordinate without having to fire them.  Or to build a relationship with a coworker struggling who we encourage and support through addiction or other family crisis.  It’s the ideal that we will be a voice of calm and reassurance when things at work or church seem like they’re out of control and others are panicking.  The king cares for all and succeeds when they succeed.

Remember, “Whoever wants to be great amongst you, must become a servant.” (Matt 20:26)

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Devotion 2.6.19

Think of some immature actions you’ve seen lately on the part of men…  The last Texas Tech basketball game comes to mind when a West Virginia player decided to take out his frustration at a one-sided loss by tripping a Tech player.   In some cases, this behavior is simply a product of the moment.  I don’t know anything more about this young man and hopefully this action is not repeated in his life.  Other players do have reputations where they continue to lash out in childish ways (e.g. Grayson Allen or Draymond Green).
Where does this and other immature behavior come from in men?
In most, it’s the product of what we learn in our childhoods.  Now certainly, all children are immature- even good children are immature, but there are different versions of immaturity.  The book I referenced in the last devotion, “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” talks about this.  For example, all children start with an understanding of the world revolving around them and are learning to use what’s in their power to control others, but for some, this starts to become leadership. In others, however, this becomes “high chair tyrants”.  Think of aggressive children who make big demands and throw fits.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are some who seem passive but are actually quite manipulative.  Think of the child who sulks until they get what they want (he calls them Weakling Princes).
If these behaviors are met with mature parenting, most kids will learn what is and isn’t acceptable and will start to lead rather than manipulate or bully, but some of this behavior can continue and gets transferred into adult life.  The body is that of an adult, but the actions and moral compass are that of an immature child.  We see it in all walks of life- in our politicians (what a shock), in our bosses, in our dads, and yes, even in our church leaders.
The reality is none of us completely leaves this behind.  Every one of us falls into sinful behavior which draws on immature behaviors we learned can work from our childhood.  The key is for us to recognize this (or listen when someone confronts us with it) and repent.  Paul puts it this way in 1 Cor. 13:11:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Devotion 2.4.19

We’re starting a new series this week.  If you have any questions, thoughts, and comments, email me and I’d love to incorporate them. 

What is, “The best a man can get?”  That’s the question posed by Gillette’s new ads that have drawn big reactions from many.  The coining of the phrase, “toxic masculinity” has also become a lightning rod for debate.

A book was recently passed on to me by one of our members.  It’s called, “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine”.  I like the direction of this book which would have criticisms for many overreacting in both directions on this issue.  Here’s a quote.

“What is missing is not for the most part, what many depth psychologists assume is missing; that is adequate connection with the inner feminine.  In many cases, these men seeking help had been, and were continuing to be, overwhelmed by the feminine. What they were missing was an adequate connection to the deep and instinctual masculine energies, the potentials of mature masculinity.”

I’ve seen some well written articles in the recent debate that make a similar argument.  What we need is more masculinity, real and true masculinity that reflects well what God lays out for us in Scripture from Genesis 1-2 which show man’s role in caring for creation and woman all the way to Eph. 5 which calls on men to show their headship by sacrificing everything for their wives.  Too often, whether it was intended or not, the criticism of the bad actions of males was met by the argument that men needed to give up some of the traits that made them men and replace them with more “feminine” virtues.  Or perhaps needed to be led more by feminine role models.


Bad forms of masculinity don’t arise by accident.  They exist because generations of men haven’t been appropriately mentored or taught and this is another impact of sin.  And just like sin breaks down everything else (including feminism) it can also break down the masculine.  And so we need to pay attention and work hard to encourage each other as men and help pass on to the next generation a strong and mature masculinity.  Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look at some of these basic roles identified by the book and look at how they line up with God’s design. 

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School