Archive for the ‘Manliness’ Category


Posted: December 16, 2009 in Life, Manliness

Shortly after I joined the Art of Manliness social network there was a post on reviving the art of letter writing and then another on stationery. I have been notorious for my lack of communication in general, but particularly in the area of mail correspondence. Nevertheless, the posts struck a chord within me. Shortly after that I finished a letter that had been sitting in my Bible for some months and mailed it. I resolved to communicate better in general and write more in particular. The issue of stationery bugged me still though. Not because I disagreed, but because I lacked both the funds and opportunity to get any decent stationery (living as I do in a very remote, economically depressed area).

Where there is a will, there is a way. I think I remember hearing that somewhere. I decided the other day to stop moping or giving excuses and to create my own. It really wasn’t that difficult. I used some smoke grey colored paper I had on hand for some purpose long forgotten and Apple’s “Pages” application from the iWork suite. I created several half page sized social sheets and even self made some matching envelopes. They turned out pretty decent. I penned a long overdue “thank you” card and popped it in the mail that afternoon.

The next day the recipient popped by and thanked me for the card (our area is so tiny we have same day delivery in town).

It’s a great feeling to have expressed my appreciation for someone else’s help and to have done so using something I created myself.


Color Coordination

Posted: December 11, 2009 in Manliness

Dudes, color coordination is not just for chicks.  Here are some basic principles when dressing up a bit (so I’m not talking about lounging in a pair of Jeans, T-shirt and combat boots here).

  • Socks: Sock color should match your pants, not your shirt or shoes.
  • Shoes: Wear brown shoes with brown or blue pants/suit.  Wear black shoes with black or gray pants/suit.
  • Belts: Match your belt to your shoes.

* More on overcoats and hats later.

The Man Book

Posted: December 10, 2009 in Manliness

I finally have my copy.  A big thanks to a friend who purchased the book for me.

If your unfamiliar with the book and/or the website, I recommend both.  The Art of Manliness website is a great place for guys to discover and discuss the classical art of being a man.  I have discovered all sorts of aid and information on the website and am heartily looking forward to thumbing through the book.

The following are some basic principles on having a discussion with another person with whom you disagree, particularly in political and religious matters.

I would like to give credit where due, and thank Andrew Barbour who posted an article entitled, “How to Argue” on The Art of Manliness website.  His article helped me to formulate much of what I’d been thinking over the past month into a cohesive unit.  I have even stolen verbatim some of what he stated in his article.

First, we need to understand that the words Argument and Debate do not necessarily mean “heated disagreement,” “fight,” or “conflict.”

An Argument is an exchange of diverging or opposite views or a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others of your position.  Debate is a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.

Contrary to what seems to be the popular understanding it is possible to have a friendly debate.  It is possible for brethren and sisters in Christ to disagree, to discuss their disagreements, to debate points of theology and doctrine without getting all hot and bothered, without losing the bond of peace, and without breaking friendships.  Remember, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV).

How do we overcome the popular concept of these words and allow yourselves to be sharped?  Here are a few pointers:

  1. What’s Your Purpose: While the dictionary definition of argument includes the aim of persuading others of your position, you ought to assume that you never will.  You can certainly hope for it, but ought not expect it and do not argue like that’s your goal.  Rather, set this as the primary goal of any discussion: the solidification of your own ideas and beliefs.  A maxim of education states that teachers always learn more than their students.  The same principle is true of honest debate.  An honest participant in an argument will find that in being forced to explain why they hold a particular belief, their assumptions will be challenged and weaknesses in their argument exposed.  As in medicine and auto mechanics, it’s always easier to treat the problem once the problem has been diagnosed.  Especially when engaged in debate with a Christian brother, be thankful they have helped you diagnose a weakness in your theology.  Much better them than a pagan who has no love for you or the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. You Are Not Alone: This is really a sub-point to number one:  Keep in mind the others around you.  This goes doubly for “online” discussions.  While you should not assume you will change the opinion of the person with whom you argue, there will likely be others present.  you have a much better chance of winning these observers to your way of thinking.  Consider the debate an opportunity to convince someone else of your case.
  3. Clarify Through Questions: Respond to points you disagree with by asking questions.  Jesus often answered questions with questions and thereby disarmed his opponents (e.g. Jesus and the Sadducees in Matthew 22).  To be sure, this is the mark of a master at debate.  Yet even the beginner can employ the basic question for the purpose of clarification.
  4. Don’t Put Words:  Again, really a sub-point of three above: Don’t put words in people’s mouths.  Never inform the person with whom you debate of their own position or what they think.  Ask questions!  You may clarify their position by asking them, ‘Okay, so what your saying is A, B, and C, is this correct?” You want to point out an inconsistency? Feel free to ask, “Well, given your position that A, B, and C, what if D?”
  5. Know Thyself: or at least the subject in question.  Most people today are woefully ignorant on matters of substance.  If you are unsure of a subject, have the humility to admit this and the maturity to be instructed.
  6. Give Credit Where Due: Acknowledge the strengths of the other persons argument.  Remember that your goal is to strengthen your own belief.  By acknowledging the strengths in other’s arguments you will have the opportunity to strengthen your own understanding of the topic and develop a more detailed and sound position of your own.  You will also appear more reasonable to your opponent (and thus, a person whose opinion may matter).
  7. Watch Your Mouth: Never resort to personal attack (name calling, etc.), hyperbole, interruption, etc.  Remember, this is not a fight.  Do not turn a chess match into a Mixed Martial Arts bout.  When he takes your bishop, you do not put him in a headlock.
  8. They Are Not The Enemy: This harkens back to points one and five.  The FDA and drug companies are not enemies. A football coach and his team are not enemies. A book editor and an author are not enemies. The challenges posed are there to identify weaknesses so that they can be fixed, and drug companies, football players, and authors willingly undergo these trials because they want to make sure they put out the best product possible.  This is particularly true when engaged in theological debate with a brother or sister in Christ. Your opponent is there to help you fix your own argument that you may be better “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV).

We need practice in these principles and to be challenged in our beliefs.  One event I would like to see implemented in more churches is something we’ve called the “Bull Pen” at WBF.  The idea is the same as in baseball: a place for the pitcher to warm up before taking the mound.  In the church, this becomes the place for men (in our case) to gather and discuss matters theological.  It is a time to debate in safety and “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 ESV).  Then when we take our faith into the marketplace, we are better equipped to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Manly Posts

Posted: October 24, 2009 in Manliness

Some great posts on manliness from The Art of Manliness.

Fixed It!

Posted: October 8, 2009 in Manliness

I fixed it!  I finally replaced the A/C and heater blower motor in the van.

The blower motor went out during our family vacation in July, while on the road through Navada with a van load of kids.  Not fun.  I took out the old one a month or so back only to discover I’d purchased not the primary motor, but the auxiliary blower motor (for the back of the van) by mistake.  We finally bought the correct motor last night and I installed it this afternoon after school.  And it works!

Tomorrow the girls and I will actually have heat on our drive to school.

A Guide to Sportsmanship

Posted: August 8, 2009 in Manliness

One of the things that bugs me about athletics in America is the dearth of good sportsmanship.  I do not enjoy watching most sports for this reason.  Bad sportsmanship seems to be the accepted norm be it youth or professional sports.

This, in my opinion, is simply one more symptom of the loss of true masculinity.

The Art of Manliness website has a great article on Good Sportsmanship.  I recommend reading this article be you male or female, young or old, athlete or spectator.

Be a Good Sport: Guide to Sportsmanship