Speaking of men and the whole masculine race (oh, we weren't? Well, it's time we did then), I love that episode in Garrison Keillor's book, We Are Still Marriedabout the Lake Wobegon Schroeders. 

In case you don't know, that's the name of a baseball team "so named because the starting nine were brothers, all sons of E.J. Schroeder. Old E.J. would always get ticked off whenever one of his boys swung at a bad pitch. He'd spit and curse and rail at the boy. And if a son hit a home run, E.J. would say things like: 'A blind man coulda hit that one.' Or 'your gramma coulda put the wood on that one!' 'If a guy couldn't hit that one out, there'd be somethin' wrong with 'im, I'd say.' 'Wind practically took that one of here didn't even need to hit it much'" Things like that: then he would invariably lean over and spit. 

The greatest distinction of E.J. Schroeder's sons was that they could never, ever please their father. "If they did, he forgot about it. 

"Once, against Freeport, his oldest boy, Edwin Jim Jr., turned and ran to the centerfield fence for a long, long, long fly ball. He threw his glove forty feet in the air to snag the ball and then caught the ball and the glove together when they came back down. When he turned toward the dugout to see if his dad had seen it, E.J. was on his feet clapping, but when he saw the boy looking at him, he immediately pretended he was swatting mosquitoes. The batter was called out; it was the third out. Jim ran back to the bench and stood by his dad. E.J. sat chewing in silence and finally said: 'I saw a man in Superior, Wisconsin do that a long time ago. But he did it at night, and the ball was hit a lot harder.'" 

Of course, don't forget, this is "Lake Woebegon," where truth and fiction never quite keep their boundaries. But fictional or not, there is plenty of truth to it. 

Too much truth, if you ask me.

One of the most notable verses in all the Bible is that one about "reaping the whirlwind". It shows up in Hosea 8:  "For they have sown the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind."  Hos 8:7

It's talking about Israel and her apostasy, of course, but it sure does apply to all the rest of us as well. And look at what we have been sowing with our broken families and absent fathers; fathers disaffected and impossible to please! My! What a 'whirlwind' is brewing on the horizon! I believe with all my heart that our current state of lawlessness and slander and sheer disregard for Truth and purity and justice can be traced to the absence of godly men. 

Men—my brothers!—God is calling each one of us to lead our families in the light of God's Truth; and to love our Children the way God loves us. Yours is a most holy calling! You are called to be bold in your insistence upon Truth and Righteousness, and to love people with all the affection and compassion of Christ! 

I wonder what old E.J.'s father was like. Can you imagine? And his father's father before him? There's a lot of 'sowing' in that poor man's past! 

Our Scriptures challenge you to be "Men, approved of God, entrusted with the Gospel  who are not trying to please people." 1 Thes 2: 4

Scott Larson is a pastor who works in youth prisons and youth camps, the founder of a ministry called StraighAhead. In one of his books he tells the heartbreaking story of one of his teenagers: 

"I remember being approached  by a 16-year old boy named Ricky after the very first session of a weekend retreat: 'I hope you're not going to ask us to make some kind of commitment to follow God with our lives, 'cuz if you are, I'm going home right now.'

"Without pausing for breath, Ricky continued: 'I've been coming here for a long time, and I've made these promises year after year, promises I can never keep, and I always end up worse off than before, with God even more mad at me. Right now, I'm sinning, breaking another promise I made to Him. So I just want to make sure that's not where you're headed this weekend, Is it?'

"Feeling sad for Ricky and not really know how to respond to him, I took a shot in the dark and asked: 'Ricky, what can you tell me about your Dad?'

"He proceeded to tell me his story, going all the way back to the fifth grade. One thing he mentioned was the way his dad always came home to greet him. 'Every day when my Dad came home from work, the only thing he would say to me was 'Have you done your homework yet?' It was a pretty safe bet that he hadn't. Then one day I decided to surprise him. When he got home, I met him at the door, 'Guess what, Dad I did all my homework!' His response was 'Well, get started on tomorrow's then.'

Larson writes: "I was no longer surprised that Ricky felt as he did about himself and about God. He had learned that, no matter how close he came, the mark of approval would always move a few notches higher. He would always come up short.'" Scott Larson, "A Place for Skeptics

My! What a difference is our true Father in Heaven! Remember how Jesus described Him once? "Running to meet" that prodigal son! Eager to pour out His favor upon him!

Men, our BOLD. Men's fellowship is starting again! I'm excited! Mark your calendar! Schroeder Ranch Outing May 17-19! (no relation to "E.J." by the way!)  


See you Sunday! RAS

Smarter than Einstein
The Gang at Kosmophilos State Prison