Category Archives: Chrisitan living

When is a Man at His Best Physically?

Between the research that says adolescence ends in the early 20’s and the radio ads that say testosterone levels start dropping at age 20, I started asking myself- if we mature so late and begin aging so early,when are we men at our best physically?

The Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card has several indicators of men’s physical health that are alarming. While great progress is being made in preventing deaths from heart disease, it is still the number one cause of death among Tennessee men. The report cites obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and poor nutrition as major contributors to heart disease. African American men seem disproportionately at risk for prostate and colorectal cancer, while white men are affected greatly can liver disease, cirrhosis, and lung cancer.

I don’t know about you, but my experience overall with my fellow males, and myself, is that physical wellness too often takes a back burner to other things, especially for seemingly fit and active men.

So when are men physically at their best? Here’s my list:
When they pay attention to their bodies.
When they eat right and stay fit.
When they take wellness seriously.
When they put their pride aside respond to physical issues that threaten their longevity and ability to contribute to their families.

What do you think? And what are your tips for men to be at their best?
(Read the next post in this series here. For the previous post, click here.


When is a Man at His Best?

How the need to be my best has hit me so hard…

I’m 32 years old. Right at that age where the kids think I’m old, but my elders insist that I’m still young. But one thing is for sure- I have realized there are a lot of things I could do in my 20’s that I wish I could still do today!

Physically, I have a lot of work to do to get myself to where I can keep up with my boys (5 and 2 years old) as they keep growing- believe me, I intend to match their stride well into their teen and young adult years. But working a desk job (stressful one, at that), fighting the clock each day for quality self- and family-care, trying to have a spiritual life in the midst of it all- I wonder am I, and even can I be, at my absolute best as a man, husband, and dad?

When is a man at his best? At a certain age? Under certain conditions? At a certain income or level of success? At a certain fitness level?

The 2012 Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card recently came out and it has a number of alarming points of information. I will refer to this state progress report throughout this series as well as other sources of information and inspiration. But go ahead and take a look for yourself and see if you are surprised by this one report on the current status of men’s health.

I have a long way to go in life, and as a man, I have to be at my very best for the sake of those around me.

What do you think? What do men need physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, to be at their best? This series will be updated once or twice weekly- check in often and leave your thoughts!

(Read the next post in this series here.)

But This I Confess…

But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Out of the same fountainhead of spiritual truth, the Apostle and the Jewish leaders pulled very different meanings. The law and the prophets declared to each the coming of the Messiah, spoken of as far back in history as Moses. But the problem was, this Messiah did not look as the people thought he should look; he did not affirm the old ways; he did not abolish the external enemies of the nation. He was humble in appearance; He brought a new and radical covenant; He established a Kingdom of the heart in each man that received Him.

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

With the same expected end, Saul humbled himself after his fall and became Paul; while the elders stiffens themselves evermore in the aftermath of Calvary. Paul endured suffering and counted it all joy; the Jewish council heard words of life and recoiled at conviction’s sting.

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Paul’s confession and hope led him in a life of clear conscience before all. The appointed leaders of men, with the same confession and hope, acted out in defiance to the Word of Life, marring their conscience and demanding further violence to stop the spread of truth.

(Acts 24:14-16 KJV, notes in italics are mine)

Parallel paths so not lead all to the same destination. So it was with Paul and his accusers, and so it is now. We must accept that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

Truth, Justice, and the American Way part 3


Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled by a power within them or a power without them; either by the Word of God or the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or the bayonet. Robert Winthrop, US Congressman, 1847-1849

Truth- In our land, the founding documents stand on the belief that there is an absolute TRUTH, upon which all mankind stands equally.

Justice- In our land, there has been the opportunity to pursue what one pleases, in the manner one pleases, through interacting with other people and institutions, guided by basic human dignity and decency, as long as those pursuits do not infringe on others’ property or rights to do the same.

The American Way- The pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps attitude, has always seemed to prevail in our country because of the dignity that is afforded to all people and the proven value of working toward what you want to achieve in life. There is an assumption hat every person wants something of value out of their lives. And the assumption stands that, if you can dream it, you can do it. If someone else is doing it, you can figure out a way to do it better. You can interact in a community and have the privacy of ones’ views, thoughts and convictions, to live by them and prosper in them.

I believe the issue is that government, in a society that has loose or no attachment to absolute truth, really views people as unremarkable, incapable, and void of intrinsic value as a creation of Almighty God. This is only confirmed when someone’s strong personal conviction has to be smeared in the public eye and subjugated to what has been deemed acceptable by a certain few.

Not the picture of inherent human dignity that I think of.

With Christ as the only Judge, I give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to determining what is right or wrong for you to believe. You’re capable, you can achieve. You’re intelligent, you can decide what is working and what needs to change in your life. That’s the way of things in my America.

So I don’t believe some (or a lot) of the same things you do. Do you give me the same respect to decide that I give you? Or am I intolerant because my convictions are different than yours? Answering those questions is a matter of justice.

If you decide that your lease on life isn’t working out- I can humbly submit to you a way to get a firm grasp on this life and the next. I’ll admit that I don’t always have the best grasp on life either, but I have found something worth holding on to- its the Word of God. It’s objective, clear, unchanging, and reliable. Not only that, you can experience the fulfillment of Christ’s plan in your life; the Bible isn’t just a code to live by, but it opens up a relationship with the God of all creation who wants to dwell in your life.

And the more you get acquainted with it, the more you will find that true Christians really have no reason to be bothered if their beliefs differ from others- we’re only on Earth temporarily, then we’ll become citizens of a Heavenly country. Until then, we want what the majority of Americans want- the liberty to pursue a life that fits with our convictions while providing for the needs of our homes and communities.

There you have it. Am I so far off base? Let me know what you think. God bless!

Truth, Justice, and the American Way part 2


Thousands have rallied to the support of Chik-Fil-A, whose CEO Dan Cathy recently affirmed his and the company’s stance on traditional marriage. Gov. Mike Huckabee, among others, have called for a day of support to Chik-Fil-A (the Governor’s is on Aug. 1st, sign up here).

“No human can call another “bigot” since the word fundamentally means “intolerant of another’s opinions.” Say “bigot,”be a bigot.” John G. Miller (@QBQGuy) via Twitter on 7/28/12

This tweet I read this morning says what I wanted to say in this post so clearly and pointedly, that I had to include it.

In the first post of this series I wrote about absolute truth based on the Bible, which is denied by those who have the view that we should accept any and all lifestyles as valid, homosexuality being at the fore of the news these days. In regard to truth, it is all about absolutes- something is either true, or it is not. But in society today, my view of truth has to be out on the same plane as others who have different versions of “truth” or who deny the truth I believe all together.

To call oneself tolerant, then to turn around and reject a person for their differing views, it to become intolerant. Pretty simple for me to see.

While TRUTH provides the basis for my beliefs regarding homosexuality and gay marriage, it’s JUSTICE that guides the way I live with and among people of differing views from mine, even when they are radically different. Justice has in many ways been distorted as a concept, but I have written a lot about what the Bible presents as being just elsewhere on this blog (see the category on “Justice” or read this old post.

Justice is all about right relationships. The way I relate to my wife, my family, my coworkers, and to God- all of it is spelled out in the Bible. The Bible itself is about God repairing His relationship with us, which was broken by sin. I dealt with a situation in a professional setting recently that refreshed my thinking on the subject of justice and how I relate to others.

In a recent training, in a group of about 13 others, mostly mental health and social service professionals, we were asked to explore our attitudes about suicide. I was in the minority (in fact, the only one) who stated that suicide is wrong and no one has the right to take their own life, with the rationale being that it is against my personal beliefs. There was a hint, just a hint, from the from the facilitator, that someone with strong belief that suicide is wrong would have to be careful not to be hindered by such a belief in working with people who want to end their own lives. While the topic of religious belief was not brought into the group discussion, I had the chance to share with a coworker that my belief in and value for life is based in religious beliefs and moral understanding. And as for me and my house, my children will have a strong direction in life and a sense of right and wrong that is based on the Bible and will make them stronger, more confident adults.

I get asked all the time by students how I reconcile my Christian beliefs with what I do as a social worker- a field which has adopted a lot of “tolerant” and “social justice” views that are not aligned with Christian values. The answer is a matter of true justice- I am there to benefit hurting people by being the hands and feet of Jesus, even if I can’t preach to them in that context. When I meet a teen who wants to commit suicide, I am there to help stop that, not argue the merits of it. And I am driven to do so by the very personal beliefs and convictions I have just described. I am working within the role of helper, and I can’t do that by alienating them with harshness or arguing. But I embody my belief that life is precious, given by God, and should be preserved.

To have a conversation with me in a different context, I would be direct but kind in stating that I believe suicide is wrong. I believe homosexuality is wrong. Abortion is wrong. Not because I have decided that they are wrong, but because my Creator has declared them to be wrong. I have an objective standard; I’m not alone. And I hope, not through my words, but by the grace of Jesus Christ, that you can find the truth that I have found. Until then, I love you, and Jesus loves you. If you pray, pray for me. And I’ll certainly pray for you. That’s tolerance and justice.

What do you think? Let me know! And look for part 3- The American Way.

How Is Your Vision?

“Victims succumb to “fate.” Victors create it. Not all goes their way, but they lament little, asking the QBQ (question behind the question), ‘How can I move forward?'”
(tweet from John G. Miller, @QBQguy, 7/10/12)

This tweet caught my attention as I considered a blog series on the victim vs. victor mentality. A person can not go forward without overcoming being a victim.

I have worked with people who have been victimized in terrible ways by uncaring and even malicious others. I have also worked with families who have gotten caught up in a sense of generational and perpetual victimization.
I do not minimize the suffering of anyone who has been mistreated physically or emotionally.
I only state that in order for anyone to go forward and take others forward with them, the victim must become a victor!

And so, with this simple premise laid out, keep reading as I pull from different sources and contexts to show that victimization can be overcome, survival can be embraced, and leading can occur that changes individuals and families for good!

By Faith… Maintainence

Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines [have] tender grapes.

Small things ruin great relationships.

Little commitments can bring great victory.

The statements in bold are direct quotes from General Superintendent David K. Bernard’s message on Thursday night, July 12th at the TN District UPC Campmeeting.

Dr. Bernard’s opening illustration was that of a marriage relationship. The great problems rarely ruin relationship, but the small foxes definitely destroy the vine of healthy marriage.

By Faith… Our marital and family relationships can be maintained.

The small problems: discourtesy, disrespect, unkindness, inattentiveness…

Can be overcome by small steps of faith: considerate deeds, kind words, reassurance, and attention to the details in a relationship.

Finally, if you catch yourself saying, “It’s not my job to….,” “Why should I have to…,” or “If I have to one more time…,” you are experiencing the effects of little foxes in your relationship.

Ownership and responsibility are the cornerstones of maintaining solid relationships in the home.

What would you say to someone whose relationship is being eaten away by little foxes?