The Week-est Link, March 28. 2008: Blogging Tournaments, Disney World, Blog Gems, and Violence
2. Said at Southern has a terrific March Madness-like contest going on right now (replete with brackets and all!) that has the dual purpose of 1) finding out which SAS-related blog is the big dog on the block and 2) giving exposure to unknown bloggers and linking them to better-known bloggers. It's a terrific idea, though Tony Kummer and Timmy Brister are known for terrific ideas. The "Madness" is in its second round, and somehow, inconceivably, consumed made it to the second round. Sadly, folks, we're currently getting smashed. Oh well--I suppose this blog is something like NCAA cinderella Siena. At least, like them, we made it to the second round!
3. Together for the Gospel has multiple videos up from the 2006 conference. They will be well worth the time it takes to load and watch them. I was there to witness most of this content in person, and I can say that it made an impact on me. Less than three weeks to go 'til 08!
4. Slate ran a hilarious series exploring the weird sub-galaxy of Disney World this week. Not everything is nice (or rated PG), and I don't love the paranoid, mocking nature of some of the author's writing, but he also unearths some pretty realistic insights about this strange place. I don't know about you, but animatronic robots give me the absolute creeps.
5. Introducing a new feature on this blog: "Blog Gems". I want to bring to your attention worthy blogs that you may not have heard of. I'll do this on Fridays, and I'll generally only give you one link so as not to water this feature down. Today's Blog Gem: Redeeming History, a blog written by Trinity Evangelical Divinity School PhD Student Mark Rogers. This blog, written by a very sharp Historical Theology student, is devoted to spreading the riches of Christian history. It is well-written, well-researched, and spiritually profitable. Mark is a good friend and a future scholar, and I could not encourage you more to check out his young but very good blog. I may not have many readers or much "virtual clout", but many people have been very kind to me in giving my blog attention (Tony, Timmy, Justin Taylor), and I want to extend that kindness to others. Email me at owendstrachan [at] yahoo.com if you think you might qualify here.
6. Last words on the violence issue (I promise). Let's cut to the chase: I think it's rather foolish to think that one needs to watch shows devoted to acts of brutal, needless violence in order to train one's son to be a robustly masculine protector. We need not freak out about violence, but neither should we think that the worst iterations of it (i.e., meaningless, needless violence) serve as the best instructors of our children. That's just silly. If you want to cultivate a strong man, a good man, a man who knows his body and can use it for good, train him in biblical truth. Teach him. Show him how to use his body. Wrestle with him. Teach him about safe, bounded, harmless (relatively) violence. Allow him to participate in contact sports, albeit those (in my opinion) that do not glorify or rely on violence (e.g., basketball, baseball). In these ways and others, you will acquaint your son with his body, teach him to use it productively (an important word, no?), and ensure that he does not equate physicality with hurting people--which so many boys today, whether Christian or otherwise, do. This is productive training.
It is silly to think that we need to expose children to bloodsport to train them up. Simply put: we do not. Our children need not be awkward, unexposed to physical contact and play, but neither do they need to love violence and crave it to be robustly masculine men and protectors of others. Those who argue along these lines are overextending the bounds of credulity, in my humble opinion (though I appreciate my friend Reid's thoughtful piece on this subject, even if we do come to different conclusions).
My father never watched a brutal fighting match with me, but he trained me to be a protector. I never played football, or wrestled, or watched brutal combat fights (either real or otherwise), and I never relished violence. I wasn't a wuss, though; I loved sports, and I liked some degree of contact. My father oversaw all this, and he exuded a spirit of tenderness toward the women in his life, being primarily his wife and daughter. I never had any doubt that Dad would protect us to the death, and I don't have any doubt that I would do the same for my family. I am thankful that he did not think that I had to become hungry for brutality to develop this instinct. He didn't think that, and I didn't need it. I simply needed what we all need: an unapologetically masculine, physically capable, compassionate man in my life, showing me on a daily basis what it means to be a strong but restrained, able but careful, manly but gentle man of God.
That, and not any form of violence-glorifying media, is what we need more of. Not UFC, but good dads. Not TKOs, but good dads. Not wrestling that hurts, or football that brings concussions, or chest-beating fury, but good, godly, wise, masculine dads.