My First Father’s Day


Nothing can prepare you for parenthood. Not great parents, or bad parents, a lifetime of experience or a generation of knowledge, every parent has to figure it out on their own. My daughter Sydney will be three months old next week. Sometimes I think if I blink her whole life will pass by me, and yet, there are responsibilities that keep me from the quality time we both deserve.

Today Pastor Hennigan challenged the men of the congregation to do more. To set an example as men. Women have had to battle for their voices to be heard; feminism born from a desire to be treated equally. Men have done little, but play defense, as global events have changed the world around them. They say nothing builds complacency like success, and perhaps men just took it for granted that the world would always be theirs. But as I have asked previously on this blog – where are the male role models these days?

Is it the professional athlete? How many pros dropped out their last year of college just for a shot at big league money? Maybe not all, but look at the ones who make the headlines? Kobe Bryant, Lebron James. Great athletes definitely. Can you blame them for using their talents to make a better life for themselves? Is the media to blame for weaving the tapestry of a rising athletes’ legend?

Are schools causing this male decline? In recent years, I have stumbled upon various articles that point out women’s increasing academic achievements and a decrease in men’s scholarly pursuits. An article on MSN discusses whether schools cater to the strengths of girls, while ignoring the needs of boys. In trying to break away from gender role assignments, are we forgetting that boys & girls are different?

Is feminism stomping out the idea of man? Male chauvinism aside, do women really want a metrosexual sap? Is it possible to look for gender equality, and still celebrate it’s diversity? I know that I love Michelle for all her fierce independence, but I also love the fact that she’s a woman who isn’t constantly trying to prove she’s better than a man. Let me clarify that statement; she can prove she’s worthwhile without a chip on her shoulder. While I’m keenly aware of the statistics that continue to point out women make less money than men, is capitalism really the point of feminism?

OK, I didn’t mean to stray off topic. I just hope that for Michelle & Sydney, I can be the husband & father, the man, that God knows I can be. The kind of man Holli described today in her dedication to Daddy’s Day.

Some related links I scouted while thinkin’ about this post. Consider them NSFW

Top 100 Fictional Male Role Models

Today’s male role models are pathetic.

Are Pickup Artists Bred Fatherless?

Christian Stereotypes

It’s hard not to stereotype isn’t it? Depending on your background, experiences, influences, etc., at some point in your life you’ll make a statement or do something that stereotypes another person or group. In the right context stereotypes can be funny. The best comedians make the audience see themselves in such stereotypes.

Today, I want to talk about the Christian stereotype. The one where Christians are seen as God-fearing, Holier-Than-Thou, self-righteous, preachy, pompous do-gooders, and most importantly hypocrites. I know the stereotype well–I used to think a lot like that myself. My experiences with “Christians” only enforced my perception of that stereotype. It’s one of the reasons I did not speak openly about my faith once I decided to embark on a spiritual quest. I didn’t want to be considered one of “those people.”

I believe this stereotype is reinforced by certain celebrities, evangelicals, and other folks who are in the public eye. This morning I was listening to the Jagger Mafia on Live 105.3FM, and they were discussing the recent interview Hulk Hogan had with Larry King. In that interview Hulk talked some about the accident involving his son Nick, in which the passenger of the vehicle John Graziano was critically injured. Jagger played some clips from the Larry King show, as well as taped conversations that were released by the jail facility where Nick Hogan is being held.

The disappointing thing about Hulk Hogan was how many times he invoked Jesus, spoke of being a good Christian, and yet took no responsibility for his lack of parenting skills or his son’s mistake. At one point Hulk even stated that being in a coma would make John Graziano a better person. Not only did Hulk come across as a hypocrite, but the negative Christian stereotype was in full swing. This type of behavior belittles true Christians who are perceived as using their beliefs for publicity stunts.

I will be the first to admit that I am far from perfect, and while I aspire to be a better Christian, I make mistakes (and sin) all the time. That’s right, I sin. I am a sinner. During this journey of faith, I have come to accept that fact. What I don’t do is hide behind my faith, or use it as an excuse for my behavior. I don’t make black & white decisions based on my faith, because honestly, I’m still learning, still wrestling with what I’ve learned, still trying not to sweat the small stuff.

Longtime readers know I don’t shy away from topics such as abortion, feminism, and homosexuality. Many would argue that my opinions contradict being a Christian, but I choose not to isolate myself from dissenting ideas. How can a person grow if they are only exposed to one experience? How can I become closer to God if I don’t learn as much about the world-both good & bad? How can I not love my sister Lesli just because she’s gay?

Yes, I have done stupid STUPID things. I think part of being a Christian is the drive to be better, not just in what we do or say, but in every aspect. Some days I do better than others. Today, I didn’t give the finger to any other drivers, not once. Oh, I screamed some profanities in my car, but no tailgating of other drivers for 10 miles. Guess that means I’m not excused yet from anger management classes. Heh.

I totally respect your right to choose your beliefs, and I don’t condemn people because they’re Jewish, Agnostic, Aetheist, Buddist, etc. I think such beliefs are very personal, and who am I to judge another person? Some of my closest friends are Jewish, one of my best friends thinks Jesus was an alien, and Lesli is more deserving of a decent afterlife than I ever could be.

This is one Christian who doesn’t have all the answers…

UPDATEBen has some insights into what makes a “Christian.”

Church – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

BIG THANKS to every ALC Lifer that shows up every week. (I think I also mentioned today that people who showed up for church today “wanted to” and people who didn’t show up…”didn’t want to”! Your life has been changed by that comment, admit it.)”
Pastor Jeff Hennigan, Abundant Life Church, Plano TX.

I have never been much of a church goer. At least, I haven’t been since garnering some sense of independence from my parents. Growing up, I sampled a Smörgåsbord of religious denominations including Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran (but we don’t talk about it), Baptist, and others simply defining themselves as Christian. As a child, I had little understanding or appreciation for the church. Entering into adulthood my church experiences while not negative, had little impact on my life experiences.

My church visits were limited to holiday sessions–annual meetings celebrating Christ’s birth, and His resurrection. I made an effort over the years to find a church, and while I never attended regularly, I continued on my journey of faith.

Last year I started attending Abundant Life Church after an invitation from Ben. While I don’t sit in the pews every Sunday (I am trying to be better), it doesn’t matter. Let me clarify that statement, while Pastor Hennigan certainly challenges me to attend, he along with the congregation, have welcomed me at every turn. Technology also plays a strong part at ALC Plano (as called by its members). Big God Radio makes it easy for me to stay connected on the road with the ability to listen to Sunday services live via the Internet. ALC Plano also creates podcasts of their worship services. Pastor Hennigan maintains a blog, and even Twitters with the best of them.

But it’s not the Pastor, the congregation or even the cool technology, that has me up before 8AM on a Sunday. It’s the feeling, the one I always heard about, and saw acted out on TV, that envelopes me when I participate in the morning’s worship. For the first time, in a long time, I can say that I feel better after attending Sunday service.

Looking from below…

A man was helping one of his cows give birth, when he noticed his 4-year-old son standing wide-eyed at the fence, soaking in the whole event.

The man thought, “Great…he’s 4 and I’m gonna have to start explaining the birds and bees. No need to jump the gun – I’ll just let him ask, and I’ll answer.”

After everything was over, the man walked over to his son and said, “Well son, do you have any questions?”

“Just one” gasped the still wide-eyed lad.

“How fast was that calf going when he hit that cow?”


A few years back I was hangin’ out with a buddy of mine and his two boys. In the process of rompin’ around one of the kids tripped on the carpet and face-planted right in the middle of the living room.

My buddy started laughing and before I could wipe the panicked look off my face his son looked up and started laughing too. “He’d be cryin’ like a baby if the wife was here. First rule of child-rearing – kids mimic adult behavior.” Apparently when the boys encountered something their kid brains couldn’t quite process they looked up at the parental units for the proper response.

It’s been a week since all the hoopla of the Superbowl and between the class action lawsuit and JT’s apology last night I got to thinking. How many kids would have noticed (or for that matter cared about) Janet’s boobie flash if a bunch of parents hadn’t flipped a nut?

Was it in bad taste? Sure. Wrong venue and timeslot? Okay. But did it shake the moral foundation of this country? Please…

Yes, I know I’m harping on a topic that by blogging standards is 2 years old, but as I’m in a government class this term, in the STATE OF TEXAS, where Bush is not only a hero, but will inherit his own highway with his initials on it one day… err… I digress.

Point is the conservative viewpoint is understood as THE viewpoint `round these parts. I get it. I certainly am not offended by it and don’t mind intelligent debates on whatever topic I happened to get speared with. I do have one request. I will gladly respect your right to look down on us from your morally superior high horse IF you treat the “deviant” as humanely as possible.

When touting the death penalty, I don’t revel in it by saying “Those f#ckers deserve to die, I’d pay to see it for myself.”

When voicing my opinion on abortion I would never say “Those bitches deserved to get knocked up so they better grow up and deal with it.”

Of course the best line from this week “All gays are going to hell anyway so why do I have to make their time on Earth any more enjoyable?”

I’m aglow with the kindness of God’s love that emanates from you my Christian brethren. There are plenty of things that I don’t like about this world and sure if I controlled the Etch-a-Sketch of Life maybe I would do something about it. But I don’t see the need to demoralize someone else or their views. A wiser man than me once said “Hate the sin, not the sinner.”

Jesus didn’t hang with just the righteous. Believe that.

Am I doing enough?

drunk picturesI never really paid that much attention to politics. When I was younger my understanding equated to this simple fact: A Democrat in office meant we moved around like gypsies and Dad didn’t make as much money while the family would thrive financially in one place if a Republican was in office. An over-simplification I know, but that was my reality as a young boy.

My ignorance continued into my early adult years and when I voted for Reagan in my first election I did so because I thought he was simply better during the debates. Better didn’t translate into a meaningful understanding of the issues, just his speech writers did a good job and he had more charisma than his opponent. I’ve lived most my life ignoring the issues because honestly they never personally affected me.

Things are different now.

The United States is one of the greatest countries in the world, but I think “we the people” take that for granted. Recently, I have attempted to stay current with the news and much to Michelle’s dismay I do A LOT of reading on the Internet these days. I would agree with Kevin Holtsberry that both sides arguing over the War with Iraq really have nothing new to say. I think it’s as impassioned as the abortion issue. Opinions are either for or against, but neither side will be easily swade. I think it’s great that we are blessed with the freedom to express our opinions EVEN if they are in the minority. However, I worry about our civil liberties being taken away during this crisis.

I wonder how many people are apathetic to these news events as I once was?

I wonder if voter turnout for a presidential election will ever be as high as 70%?

I wonder when the next significant socio-economic change will come to this country or if we’ll step backwards and continue on this Puritan trend?

I think we really need a valid third party to shake up the political structure in the US.

I think not reporting the news is the same thing as censorship.

I’m older than 25 and I agree that today’s generation has it too easy.

I would like to see less legislation and a little more personal responsibility. Laws on reckless driving already cover stupid people using cell phones without a headset. Some people can walk & chew gum at the same time some can’t.

I think this next election I’ll actually vote instead of playing EverQuest all day.