One of the ways I tackle “wicked problems” is by exploring different possible answers in order to help clarify the essential question. My posts on flying and mastering the dragons of manhood have been useful in helping me recognize that the two main questions Knight Club is trying to answer are:
- What does it mean to be a man?
- What can we do to help our sons become those kind of men?
I believe the most critical aspect of authentic manhood is “moral authority,” where people trust you will do the right thing.
In Sheila Walsh’s Will, God’s Mighty Warrior, there’s a scene where Will and his buddy Josh are pretending to be on a quest against monstrous beasts. They run into Will’s large English sheepdog. Josh is starting to defend himself, but Will assures his friend that “I have tamed this wild creature, and now use it to serve me.”
One of the hot trends in education these days is Mastery Learning: students are expected to master a concept before they move on, not just fill their seats until the class moves on. It is similar to Ranks in the Boy Scouts of America, where you need a certain number and type of accomplishments to move from Tenderfoot up through Eagle.
So what is the analogue in Knight Club? What are we mastering?
I often feel I owe my success more to my “vices” than to my “virtues.”
What is a virtue? What is a vice?
- Goofing Off
- Subversive Activity
- Delusions of Grandeur
Society — especially school, but the church is arguably worse — tells us these are crimes to be stamped out.
They’re half-right. I call them the vicious virtues. When misdirected, they can easily destroy both self and society.
But if you can master them — and through them master yourself — you can fix the world.
How do we create an alternative form of learning that embraces creative chaos and harnesses the vicious virtues, rather than fighting them?
I’m in the process of cleaning up my “personal” site on DrErnie.com, and as part of that I’m moving some of my earlier writings to this site.
To start with, I present “Unforgiven”, a more-or-less accurate transcript of the first time God really dealt with me about anger…
A testimony in three persons
The stage appears empty except for a single chair, center, facing right. A man sits on it backwards, facing left, hugging the back of the chair. His expression is grim. A single spotlight shines down on him. Another man walk out from right, and stands looking at him from the semi-darkness. The first man speaks, but remains facing left.
In Which We Slow Down To Feast on the Lord’s Name
Throughout the Old and New Testament, God’s people have fasted to express sorrow, repentance, and desperation. In ways we only partly understand, these acts of physical denial open up our spirits to experience God in deeper and more powerful ways. For Christians, fasting is less an obligation than a privilege: the opportunity to enjoy a special time of intimacy with our Bridegroom despite his physical absence (cf. Mark 2:18-20).
Memory Verse: “‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.” —Joel 2:12-13 (NKJV)
In Which We Forgive Those Who Don’t Deserve It, Because We Don’t Either
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” — Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” — Matthew 5:9
Anger is unique among the seven deadly sins in that, in general, anger isn’t even a sin (cf. Ephesians 4:26). At one level, it is simply an emotional reaction to having our boundaries crossed. And at the highest level, anger is actually a virtue, since it is a significant part of God’s character — i.e., the “name” to which we are being conformed!
At the same time, anger is also the name of one of the most violent and dangerous sins. We can define sinful anger as a self-righteous passion for punishing those who offend us. This is why anger is so empowering and so deadly: it magnifies the sins of others to the point where we ignore our own.
Because anger is so devastating, we need to combat it with both meekness — the ability to restrain our passions in submission to God’s rule — and peacemaking, which seeks restoration and reconciliation instead of revenge.
Of course, that is easier said then done…
Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue
- 10. The Meek and the Peacemakers vs. The Anger-driven
- Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom
- 3.4 (Gentle and healing) Example: Proverbs about the Tongue