Monday, February 25, 2019

Devotion 2.25.19

This is the topic with the name that makes things feel awkward.  But the final character trait that is mentioned is…

The Lover

The authors pick this name for a reason, though I might prefer something like “The Artist”.

The key idea to this side of the mature man is that you have a deep appetite for life- for food, for love, for reproduction, for everything which involves sensation.  And in the healthy expression of this side of men, these desires for sensation of the physical world around us are pursued without shame and in a way that cares for others (doesn’t take advantage of the world around us in a self-gratifying way).

I like that the authors even highlight the way many of us experience this we become “buffs” or “fans” of something.  You’ve got the guys who love cars, the hard core fans who devote their clothing to a single team, and even the man who dedicates himself tasting every hot sauce in the known world.

Think for a while about some of those tangible things about which you’re passionate.  Celebrate them as gifts from God and at the same time consider how it fits within your identity as a Christian.  I love Paul’s advice to the Church in Corinth.
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. . . .31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.  (1 Cor. 10:23-33)

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Devotion 2.22.19

Think of some of the most manipulative people you’ve ever met?  Or heard about?   Maybe someone from a movie even. . . .

How about Keyser Soze from “The Usual Suspects”.  (Spoiler Alert!!!)  Here you have a man who appears to be some low-level pawn and he convinces everyone, including a chief investigator, that he’s a nobody throughout the whole movie.  In the end, you find out he is the master manipulator and villain, Keyser Soze himself.  One of the great quotes of the movie is included in the picture below.

Image result for keyser soze
Manipulation is a telling of half-truths or a covering over of the truth by the holder of information.  The Devil loves that game.

But we all have times when we fall prey to this temptation.  The book we’re exploring refers to this side of us as “The Manipulator” or “Shadow Magician”.  Remember, this role of “Magician” in men is played out in the right way when we take on information and pass it on for the good of others.  The “Manipulator” also gathers information, but only doles it out for his own benefit and often at the expense of others.  How often are we tempted to tell half a story or omit half the details because doing so will paint us in a positive light at work… with our wife… with our kids… at church even….

So, it’s important that we not think of this role in our lives as just about being smart, or even wise.  All the information and insights we gather are only good when they are told in truth and for the building up of others.  Pray right now for wisdom and that God would help you find people you can speak the truth to.  People who will love you and help you grow into all God is forming you to be.

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Devotion 2.21.19

Where and how should knowledge get passed on?  How do we help the next generation know what it is to be a man?  What is it to follow after God?  What do they need to know?

How about some tower diving like they do in Vanuatu, a small island in the Pacific?  That’s their male initiation rite.

Vanuatu Land Diving male rite of passage

Not your style, there are plenty of others but what does it look like for us as Christians…. As a church ….?

In the book I’ve been reading they focus a lot on the need for us to tap into the “magician” side of ourselves which passes on the special knowledge we’ve been given and to establish special times and places to pass it on.  One of the things we have going for us is that churches do have the feeling of sacred space.  When you enter in, most of us experience something that tells us this place is something different.  When someone starts teaching, most of us listen in a way that’s different from a regular day in our week. Something tells us important knowledge for our lives is being passed on. 

One of the keys then is that we don’t just experience the passing on, but that we also try to help the generations under us experience this sacredness and initiation.  We need to think about where we fit into that picture, not just with our own children, but with all the youth and children we’re surrounded with here at Hope.  As they come into the sacred space, they’re looking to be initiated and to hear “secret” knowledge passed on. 

I’ve had some men recently step up and help teach some rotations of our youth studies.  What a blessing.  I’ve had a couple of others who have helped with Sunday School.  During the summer a number of men go to Camp.  I’ve had conversations with a few who are really thinking about what it means for them (who may not be teachers) to still care for the next generation here.  Let’s all pray and consider how we can be part of that.

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Devotion 2.20.19

Everyone loves learning secrets right…

Feeling like you’re on the inside of some type of knowledge is a powerful feeling.  And knowing can be used for good or bad.  The third archetype of masculinity that is discussed in the book we’re exploring is that of “Magician”.

Now when you hear this it sounds like something hokey from the past, but the author makes the point that whatever title you want to give it, there have always been people within our societies that have been the keepers and passers on of special knowledge.  As time moved forward, this became more specialized, with people who passed on knowledge in areas of science, technology, business, psychology, and yes religion, but regardless, there are things that can’t be learned simply from looking at the world, and they must be passed on by the “magicians”.

In faith, we speak about “general” and “special” revelation.  There are some things that people can look at and know about the world if they’re relatively honest, which is the general revelation.  People mess up and “sin”.  There are some things that are right (helping others) and some that are bad (e.g. stealing or murdering).  Even the existence of God or something bigger than man is obvious to most. 
But then there is also special revelation.  Everything in the Bible is largely God’s special revelation, the story of God creating and then reacting to the sin of his people by saving us through the sending of his son.  And while general revelation is good and helpful, it doesn’t finally bring us into relationship with God.  For that, we need the special knowledge.  But God doesn’t want it to be a secret.  He needs us to pass it on.  And for that, we must all take on the role of the “magician”, because we’ve had it passed on to us.  Think today of some specific times when someone passed on a truth about God to you. . . . Think about some opportunities for you to pass something on to the next generation as well.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Rom 10:14-15)

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

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