AORTA Adolescence: The Perpetual Practice of Growing into Christ

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It may be too late to have a happy childhood, but it is never too late to have a turbulent adolescence!

We as a society have lost sight of what it means to grow up. And that’s a good thing!

The gift (and curse) of the Enlightenment is that each of us must answer the question: who do I want to be when I grow up?  It is tempting to envy our ancestors and traditional cultures who had well-defined “markers of maturity”, e.g., marriage, mortgage, and making money.  There is enormous security, stability, and support in having society validate who you are supposed to be.

But there is also enormous danger, especially for Christians.

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The Virtue and Emotion Pride

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One of the most controversial aspects of Knight Club is that it treats pride (“By Myself”) like anger (“Not Fair”): an emotion which is prone to sin, but is not necessarily a sin — and can even be a virtue.

While it is true that the vast majority of Bible verses mention pride in the context of sin, a number acknowledge its positive role. Here are some that are often translated using the word “pride.”
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Meet the Dragons of Knight Club

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The great challenge of manhood is learning to harness our emotions to serve a good purpose. As I mentioned earlier, I believe we need to harness (not slay) these Four Dragons of Manhood: Desire, Fear, Anger & Pride.  Here’s a more comprehensive summary of my current understanding:

Dragons The Green Dragon of Desire The Yellow Dragon of Fear The Red Dragon of Anger The Blue Dragon of Pride
Color Green Yellow Red Blue
Emotion Desire Fear Anger Pride/Glory
Breathes Vines Light Fire Water
Says “Mine!” “I’m Scared” “Not Fair!” “By Myself!”
Verse: Psalm 37:4 1 Peter 1:17 Ephesians 4:26 Galatians 6:4
Nurtured By: Hope Wisdom Love Faith
Reined In By: Patience Responsibility Gentleness Obedience
Experience God’s: Generosity Justice Mercy Predictability

Therefore I urge you who have been chosen by God to live up to the life to which God called you. Always be humble, gentle, and patient, accepting each other in love. — Ephesians 4:1a-2

Knight Club: Moral Authority and the Fourth Dragon

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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.

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LEAD! B.5 From Pride to Humility

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In Which We Humble Ourselves Before God and Our Elders, Who Exalt Us

This week we shift our study of wisdom from the “theological virtues” (faith, hope, and love) to what might be called the “blessed virtues” from the Beatitudes. We will follow Peter Kreeft (below) in contrasting them with the Seven Deadly Sins, beginning with Humility vs. Pride:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 5:3

Pride is the first and deadliest of the deadly sins. It can be defined as “trusting our own name rather than God’s” — relying on our own character and identity as the ultimate authority.

In contrast, humility is recognizing the painful fact of our own poverty of spirit, so that we empty ourselves in order to receive our heavenly King.

Assigned Reading
  1. Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue

    • 6. The Beatitudes Confront the Seven Deadly Sins
    • 7. Poor in Spirit vs. Proud at Heart
  2. Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom
    • 8. Pride, Humility, and the Fear of the Lord
    • 3.2 (Truth) Example: Proverbs about the Tongue

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LEAD! B.4 From Folly to Love

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In Which We Are Rescued from Our Folly by God’s Love

theo_love

Love is the primary virtue of the Heart. It is both a Decision that gives rise to Emotions, as well an Emotion that gives rise to Decisions — and it needs both to thrive. It can be defined as “the ability to pursue another’s glory — even at the cost of your own.”

Love is particularly needed by the Fool, whose emotional damage drives a cycle of self-punishment disguised as the pursuit of pleasure. The only way out is to purify our hearts by receiving God’s love and forgiveness, to the point where we love Him more than the false gods we’ve served — and discover what it means to genuinely love ourselves…

Assigned Reading
  1. Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue

    • 5.C (Love) The Three Theological Virtues
  2. Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom

    • 6. The Fool

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LEAD! Part B: Christian Character

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As mentioned earlier, the LEAD! Bible Study is a tripod, built on three legs:

  • theological education
  • character formation
  • skill development

Having finished writing the lessons for Part A, we now turn out attention to the second trimester (which the class will start in January). This blog post is for the initial outline; as before, the final version will be part of the living syllabus at https://2transform.us/lead/
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