Manday Movie Review(on Tuesday): Fury


My beautiful wife indulged me in an early Movie Date before High School Football last Friday. We saw Fury.

Wow.  Best WWII flick since Saving Private Ryan. Brutal action. Well acted.  Brad Pitt hit another home run.

Let me warn you.  This is a Manday Monday Movie Review on a Tuesday.  (For those of you new to – I do this thing called Manday Mondays and focus on Manhood Topics. Every once in a while, I beat my chest and post cool things that would interest and challenge men and their brave spouses.  Today is one of those days.)

If you liked Saving Private Ryan (SPR), you will like this movie.  If you liked Band of Brothers you might like this film.  I say that because Fury is graphic. The movie is spectacular and gritty. It’s SPR in a tank.  And that may be the only similarity when it comes to the blunt force trauma violence.  Saving Private Ryan  had a “decency” to its graphic nature. Fury contains almost a Tarantino-like gratuitousness. What is more troubling is the considerable amount of vicious cruelty between the protagonists. The ensemble of characters have little redeeming qualities. In other words, the good guys are not easy to pick out.  This movie is really heavy as a war movie and deserves the R rating.  I was reminded of Platoon and 300.  It’s a good flick.

My recommendation – Go see the film.  There are many leadership nuances in the film.  Enjoy the movie in the theatre. Take it in first. Let it rest on your soul.

With that said, the movie will exceed your expectations if you are looking for a film to fill that Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific void. After speaking with several friends I am told it vividly portrays what the Greatest Generation experienced by witnessing “the cruelty men can bestow upon other men.”

“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.” -Wardaddy.

I will see you again when Mrs. Pitts’ Unbroken and Mr. Eastwood’s American Sniper is released.


The Poser in Me


The Poser In Me - 1For the last year or so I have been facilitating a small study group with a hunger to understand not only leadership values but what has God called us to do. Out of that study there have been several revelations to the developmental phases of a young persons life. We are very blessed to have the opportunity to nurture our young into meaningful productive God fearing people.

But where do we fail them?

I believe one of the early stages of when we let them down is when we fail to “affirm” them. Now, many of you reading this will  not associate with that statement. However, when we look at the breakup of many families today one of the most telling statements heard is of how the kids are NOT valued. Do we allow boys to be boys, or girls to be girls? Certainly NOT! Neither gender can compete “honestly” in any competition. We  teach them from an early age that “misrepresenting the truth” is an OK (no winners, no losers) thing to do. The reality is there are winners and losers. Another reality is…some of those winners have turned into big losers while some of the losers have turned into some of the biggest and brightest stars we’ve seen.

Consider;  Susan Boyle, a Scottish singer who  appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. She finished second, but her amazing talent  captured the world’s attention.  Her 1999 rendition of “Cry Me a River”was watched over 100 million times!  Boyle even made 5 Million Pounds with the release of I Dreamed a Dream. How’s that for a Successful Loser

Boyle was Boyle and under pressure refused to change. She refused to be a poser!

What is a poser?

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Manday: Two Men in the Lion’s Pit-Part Two


The pursuit of Biblical Manhood can be very elusive.  It can be like trying to excel at all the gifts of the Spirit.  Pile on top of that leadership imploring that you need accountability and mentoring just to survive until next Sunday.  Every proclivity is treated as an addiction and a week of spiritual rehab and repentance is needed, again, just to survive until next Sunday.  As being a Heralder of Men’s Accountability, I have had to take a deep breathe and try to simplify this whole process.

The Bible paints an amazing picture of accountability with the example of two men on a roof.  Recall King David alone on a roof when he should have been leading troops to war.  Instead, he lusted after a woman, slept with her, murdered her husband, and then tried to cover it up.  Another man lying on a mat, paralyzed, is carried onto a roof by four friends and lowered through the same roof to be healed by Jesus.  Amazing opposites.  Imagine how King David’s tale would have been different if he had four men advising him to be at war instead alone drooling over bathing women.  An amazing portrait of accountability.

I scoured the Bible to locate a portrayal similar to the two men on a roof that portrayed an example of Biblical manhood.  Over the years, I have noticed two camps in the church-a ‘gentle’ man and a ‘rough’ man.  I’ve heard the Jacob and Esau example used and it did not sit well with me because God loathed Esau.  Still I believe there are two kinds of men. Those that run toward danger and those that stay back and fortify the front. Both are needed and both fill our pews of our churches today. One is not better than the other.  God’s Word gives two examples of two different men that God chose to write about.  Both warriors entered a lion’s pit and lived to tell about it.

Many have heard about Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  Daniel was a slave so favored by King Darius he was chosen to govern the government. Details mattered to him. He was submissive to the authority he was under but he obeyed God’s law.  Daniel never lifted a spear or took a human life. But…Daniel was a prayer warrior on his knees.  He abided in God’s laws, not eating the Babylonian food, and choosing to pray despite a law forbidding him.  Daniel was thrown in to lion’s den as punishment for breaking that law but God protected him.  God shut the lions mouth shut and Daniel survived a night in a lion’s pit.

The other example is Benaiah.  In scripture, we read of a valiant warrior turning the tables and chasing a lion into a pit, and, then killing the large feline.  This man is different from Daniel but needed.  This man runs towards gunfire.  He is a warrior in a different manner.  He is a man of action with his physical nature.  He is a man that seizes opportunity. His hands are calloused and a hard days work for him is the soreness in his muscles.  This man is needed as a warrior.  And our pews are filled with this type of man.  He is a risk taker.  Ironically, he was King David’s head of Security.  Do you not think he knew David was on a roof by himself.  Hmmmm.

So which man are you?  Are you Benaiah or Daniel?

I think all of us have a traits of each.  As I posted last week-I am no gentleman.  You will tolerate a man like me because you sleep better at night knowing I hunt the lions you believe don’t exist.  My life resonates with Benaiah’s.  I hunt those lions.  But when I find myself surrounded or thrown into a lion pit will I have lived my life like Daniel to be spared the tearing of my spirit?

Simplified?  Maybe.  I just prefer these two men as examples of Biblical Manhood instead of Jacob and Esau.



Manday: The Lions That Don’t Exist Part One


On February 23, 2013, I posted an article about two men on a roof as part of my accountability series on Manday. To this day, I have been looking for ways to follow that up and continue my series on Manhood.  It has been a long journey since then.  It is no secret that at Leadership Voices there are different kinds of men that post to this website.  We come from different walks of life.  Some subscribe to the gentleman theory and some subscribe to the “kick in the door first-ask questions later” theory.  We stubbornly subscribe to these theories to a fault.  But ironically, we are great friends. And we are an encouragement to each other.

I am no gentleman.  You will tolerate a man like me because you sleep better at night knowing I hunt the lions you believe don’t exist.

I spent the past month in a class being taught how to investigate crimes against children.  The mental images that are imprinted in my memory still haunt me.  The Bible says Satan prowls like a “lion seeking who he may devour”. There are lions out there seeking to devour you, your wife, your finances, your job, and your health.  And if the lion claws, roar, and teeth can’t phase you and penetrate your comfort zone…it will hunt, seek, and destroy your children.

Lions don’t lick their prey to death.  Lions tear the flesh, break bones, then suck the marrow and life out of their prey.  Then they lick the sinews and blood off their fur.  They are happy like a child with ice cream all over their face.  But it’s not ice cream.  And it’s not a child.  It is a vicious animal who tears at its prey until it can be devoured.  Are you getting the picture?

Christians in Roman times were very familiar with this tragic portrait.  They were often thrown to the lions as halftime entertainment in the Coliseums between Gladiator battles.  So when Peter wrote that Satan is like a prowling lion; that imagery resonated with the early persecuted Christians.  Today, we don’t see the lions or we swat them away thinking they are an inconvenience and can be easily scheduled out of our lives.  Or we just change geography and the lions don’t exist anymore.

Lions don’t exist because we move to the suburbs.  We live in gated communities.  We can watch our property on our cell phones.  We have alarms on our houses and vehicle.  We can locate our children through GPS.  Even our motor vehicles will stop on a dime if we aren’t paying attention to the road in front of us.  If I live my life clean…I won’t see any hardship.  This clean Christian living is easy.

As leaders and men to your family, I caution you as Peter did to be alert and sober.  Always mindful, that you are a target for the enemy.  Be mindful of the lions outside your tent.  Be sober and alert.

(BTW-have you ever kicked in a door…it is an awesome feeling!)

Manday: Speaking to the Ladies

Manday - Speaking to the Ladies - 1Here are some things that I know to be true.

Ladies, if you marry a real man, not a man that is flashy and edgy and is an exciting “bad boy”, but a real man.  If he has demonstrated an ability to make self-sacrifice a part of his basic character and is therefore willing to be a man that will make every sacrifice needed to become the Spiritual leader of your home, I can promise you one thing.  I can promise you that he will have a long term view of love and of life.

And it is that long-term view of love and life that will be the thing that drives his commitment to you and to the family that you and he have established.  Real men have a long-term view of the world.  Many men only think about what is right in front of them.  When you are in front of them, they think about you.  But when they are away from you and your eyes, their eyes have a tendency to wander.  They can be distracted by the short-term and by doing what feels good.

Real men with long-term views are not distracted by what they see and they are not guided by what they feel.  Instead, they are guided by commitment and principles.  The problem is that many times these kinds of men are not the ones that some ladies tend to notice.  I know this for a fact.  And here is how I know.  

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Manday: Sometimes Good People Have Bad Days


faking smart parking

Conversation with a child in one of the many crime ridden apartment complexes I patrol.
Child: “You only arrest bad people right, Mr. Officer?”
Me: “Yes. I do.”
Child: “Do you like to arrest bad people?”
Me: “No. I don’t like arresting people. It’s not fun.”
Child: “Then why did my Momma get arrested last week?”
Me: “What’s your name, son?” (As I go to one knee to talk to the child on his level.)
Child: “Joowan.”
Me: “Joowan? Is your Momma a bad person?”
Joowan: “No. No she isn’t. She loves me.”
Me: “Well, Joowan. I believe you. But…sometimes good people have bad days.”
Joowan: “Yeah. She was having a bad day.”
Me: “I believe you, Joowan. I believe you.”

I posted that story on Facebook over two months ago.  Everyone thought I was Saint or a wise old Yoda.  In that moment, I felt compassion for the child and candidly it was self-preservation for the future cop that would meet this young Joowan when he hated the world and knew all the answers.  Have I always responded with this inspired wisdom and counsel?  No.  As I write this, my head is shaking at the numerous times I have thought-then-said the first thing that comes to mind.  I consider those moments missed opportunities.

I don’t know why good people have bad days.  I don’t know why decent men and women find themselves in the throes of divorce, or why hard workers lose their only source of income or why a young child has to undergo chemotherapy for a chance to live.  I have an idea.  As Leaders, I believe it is an opportunity to respond. How we respond as leaders and men can determine our metal.  It can provide followers peace and solace in troubled times.

Let me share one more story with you.

I was dispatched to an accident.  A woman with a suspended drivers license attempted to pull into a parking space in front of a store.  Somehow, she accelerated and crashed into a fully customized Ford Mustang.  The impact was so intense that the Mustang was pushed up onto the curb and into the building entering the store.  On its journey toward the storefront it destroyed another vehicle parked next to it.  Glass windows and merchandise were destroyed but only the front of the vehicle was in the store.  The Mustang was wrecked. No one was injured. Everyone in the store was safe.  (BTW-The Mustang had its parking brake set.)

The owner of the Mustang was having a bad day.  We quickly learned that the car was his hobby and he poured a lot of T.L.C. and money into it.  I watched him.  He was all business.  He took control of his environment and lead.  He was calm and concerned about everyone’s well being.  Somehow, his friends showed up and they expressed anger and sadness for his vehicle being damaged.  Then I saw disdain and hatred on their faces for the woman who caused the accident.  He wasn’t offended but they weren’t going to miss a chance to be offended, hurt, and angry for him.  The owner of the Mustang was oblivious to all this and his friends were attempting to get him fired up like a posse.  I saw an opportunity, I intervened.

Me: “It’s a good thing you were parked here sir.”
Mustang: “Hmmm. I can fix the car.”
Me: “Think about it. If this space had been empty, she may have driven into the store and hurt someone.”
Mustang: “Oh my god, you’re right.”
Me: “I can honestly say that you, your Mustang, and your choice of parking spaces saved lives today.  If she had not hit your car who knows what damage she would have caused in the store.  Your car stopped her from entering the store and hurting shoppers.”
Mustang: “Thank you, Officer. I feel so much better knowing that.  Did you hear that the Officer said if my car wasn’t parked here, someone could have been hurt or worse.”

The posse was dispersed and crisis averted.  Opportunity seized.   It may sound like I’m tooting my own horn but I want to share with you that leadership will emerge in times of chaos and crisis.

How you respond will determine if you are the Shepherd or the Sheep.  Think before you speak and take action.  Do not miss opportunities to lead.


The Blindness of Showing Up


Courtesy NBC Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Recently, I began watching a new Sitcom called Growing Up Fisher. The show is told from the view of a middle school boy whose father happens to be blind. You find yourself rooting for the Father as he struggles to manage a law firm, a recent divorce, two children, and a new seeing eye dog named Elvis. Sounds bleak but it isn’t for many reasons. The show is worth watching. It is rare to find a kind-hearted show on the tube these days.

The show reminded me of a father who attended every one of his son’s Little League baseball games. He never missed one game during that season. Not a big deal eh? What made it unique is that the Father is blind.

Yes. He couldn’t drive to the game or gripe about traffic or complain about parking too far from the field. He was blind! He couldn’t watch his son play. But he was present and in attendance supporting his son every game.

Walter would sit in the stands with his walking stick and watch his son play baseball. (How he got there…I haven’t a clue.) He may have been physically blind but he wasn’t blind to the needs of his child and the importance of showing up.

What blinds you to the needs of your family? What keeps you from showing up?


Does “Manly Leadership” Have a Softer Side?

Softer Side - 1Can you lead, be a man and have a softer side?

I not only believe that you can, but I think a leader must have a soft side. I don’t mean a soft side that bends the rules or overlooks things that are wrong, I mean the kind of side that is nurturing, is approachable, and is caring. Maybe the first thing we need to remember about leadership is, although leadership starts at the top with the leader, its never really about the leader.

As the leader you need to be hands on, but your primary objective is to empower others to make decisions and take actions that are aligned with your vision, purpose and strategy. These nuances are the softer side of leadership. These things are what can make or break your leadership, and they are not simple. It takes real effort and commitment to empower people and to continuously reward with praise and acknowledgement.

Softer Side - 2So as Men, sorry ladies, talking to the other guys here, are we capable of being soft, and still being an effective leader? I think professionally it is pretty easy to be “softer”, you know the old saying “You can catch more fly with honey than vinegar”. So I want to focus on our leadership of our families, here for a bit. Being a father of girls I have had to learn a little about leading softly as they respond better to a quiet conversation with Dad then to me yelling.

Softer Side - 3

“Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness, I was taught to be kind to everyone;….But when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.”
Al Capone.

We also must remember “Soft Manly Leadership” is not weak leadership.

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When Standing…Falls Short

When Standaing Falls Short - 2According to a US News and World report dated December 28, 2012 “there will be more than 315 million people in the United States when the calendar flips from 2013 to 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau”.

With numbers like these there are many questions that one must ask.

As a society at large… What have we done wrong that America is experiencing a tragedy of “the breakup of the American family”?

It is reported that, “In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers”.

Has it hit yet?

I’ll be honest here, my heart breaks when I learn of the break-up of another family. What happened to the men who now refuse to stand by what they say, what they commit to and to who they have had a part in creating? I’m just reminded this past weekend of how pathetic some men really are. Just another statistic to count. Just another family without a dad. How wrong!

When Standaing Falls Short - 1To be straight… What shiny objects are we chasing? Whose fence are we looking over to see if the grass is just a little greener?

The times in which we find ourselves is quite different than it was 40 years ago but that is no excuse for the way men behave today. I visit my youth quite often because there is much to learn from those days. It is said of those who endured the depression that many didn’t know they were poor, and to that I can relate.

Kids, men, and women, today have by far many more luxuries than either the depression era or those of 40 years ago. But somehow they don’t seem to have enough. Yet somehow they allow those luxuries to come between them and their commitments. Yet somehow they don’t realize that long after moth and rust gathers on those long forgotten treasures…the product of those earlier commitments still exist. Yet somehow those who walk out on their commitments still want to be called dad, or mom. And yes…they are all still statistics.

Where did things go wrong? Who’s responsible?

There is a lot to be learned from the words of Jo Dee Messina.

I want a man that stands beside me
Not in front of or behind me.

Give me two arms that want to hold me, not own me
And I’ll give all the love in my heart

Stand beside me
Be true, don’t tell lies to me

I’m not lookin’ for a fantasy
I want a man who stands beside me

Isn’t it time we started standing on our word, and standing up for the commitments we have made?

So…Where do you stand?

Photo credit: arriba / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: Lauren Manning / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: lleugh / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The Convictions of Man

kinopoisk.ruI have wondered for some time this one penetrating question; What happened to the convictions of man?

I’m sure the period of time in which we find ourselves probably has many of us asking the same question. Let’s consider a few quotes from Saving Private Ryan. Private Jackson says to Captain Miller: “Sir… I have an opinion on this matter.” To which Captain Miller replies: “Well, by all means, share it with the squad.”

Ok squad, to be a man we have to find where that definition comes from. Knowing that God did NOT give us the definition but instead explicitly gave us examples of what it is to be a man of God. Clearly, there are two types of men; a worldly man, and a man who reveres God. We must understand what a man looks like under God’s leadership.

It is important to know that: Responsibility = response + ability.

The Convictions of Man - 2Men have a natural tendency to avoid social responsibility,

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