Think about the never-ending trail of American heroes, Superman, Lone Ranger, A Man Called Hawk, Rambo, Bruce Lee, Billy Jack, Black Panther…where are they all now…when America needs them the most? On the other hand, 2,019 plus years later and counting…Just sayin’.
Simon (Peter) went on to stand and fall (three times) before he rose to defeat Satan. But we need to know, especially in our modern age of un-paralleled creature comforts, that Peter’s ride was anything but smooth, carrying the Light of the Cross every step of the way to his own death in Rome, where they finally crucified him…up-side down.
But WHO “are those who have continued with Me in My trials” today? Think of the confusion and chaos in the moment of Peter’s three consecutive denials. Their world had literally been turned upside down…very similar to the one we presently find ourselves in. It’s the easiest thing in the world to stand up and speak out for truth, until truth becomes falsely accused and hunted by the mob. You have to be crazy to stand up then…or do you? When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind. ~ C.S. Lewis
I’m thinking of the journey I’m on right now with twenty of my Christian brothers, winding our way through the stages of manhood in John Eldredge’s wonderful book, Fathered by God. This week we are in the Cowboy Stage. Its really quite remarkable to see grown (many of us well-seasoned) men from varied places and backgrounds, with amazing stories to share, open up to each other with such honesty, integrity, and the united purpose…of realizing we all share the same Father in Heaven, and discovering His expectations of us are the same as we have of our own children. We’ve all heard the term “helicopter parents”, but I had never heard the term “lawnmower parents” until this past Thursday evening. What I find so fascinating in all of this, is how all the adventures we dreamed of in boyhood, that tested us in our cowboy years, have finally come home to roost in the here and now…bigger, deeper, and way darker than any of us could have possibly imagined.
The whole entire point of our cowboy years is to experience that “we have what it takes”, so that we are completely confident in application when the moment of truth arrives…as it always does. As Eldredge himself points out with an old African proverb on page 70, “I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.” It is impossible to escape the magnitude of what is coming. The planetary forces of good and evil are closing in on us as never before. The only way to escape the crushing middle is to choose a side…not in a whisper. Not in a secret you tell yourself. And not in a thought you hide from those you love. But in a William Wallace-like shout your 1st grade teacher will be able to hear from the next life! Cue the Warrior…
“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” ~ St. Pope John Paul ll