This was an email I wrote to a buddy this morning. I felt like I needed to remind myself of these things and maybe this will help you in your journey as well. I've taken out a couple things from the email that were more personal in nature...

Thanks for spending good quality time thinking through what you did for that letter. It's always good to engage topics like that with someone else, though I would readily admit, I'm not much of one to fight over doctrine. I love truth and am willing to engage conversation that fights for truth and often I feel docrine prevents people from engaging the deeper truths of what's really the matter with life and faith. It feels deep, but many times is a huge smoke screen to cover up people's real issues like doubt, hypocrisy, anger, and disappointment. People struggle with habits of loveless behavior and cold encounters and angry conversations and overreactions and yet they want to lock horns on issues like the trinity and escatology and eternal security. I find that disconcerting and distracting. It's almost like if they can keep things on the cerebral level of doctrine, it will keep the other people from discovering how difficient they are in matters of commitment, conviction and conduct in the gritty foxholes of life.

Guys want to argue over Scripture but don't want to battle for the hearts of their wives. What's up with that? Girls want to get catty over church politics and the protocols of small group leadership that aren't being followed to the letter of the law, but don't want to address their harshness in conversation with their spouse. That is, in my opinion, a diversion from the issue at hand. Doctrine is worth a sober discusssion, because truth is that important, but truth isn't just beliefs embedded in inspired texts, it's all over the place in the ruff and tumble of living. Until and unless peope want to engage depth relationally, I'm not sure engaging depth intellectually does anything but distract them from the real issues that they should be expending energy to dissect and distill.

One thing I've always loved about you is your pursuit of truth. You are a man of deep conviction and live with a sense of purpose that is flowing from a vision in your heart. That is what drives you and that's respectable. I hope that drive is harnessed and utilized to fight the most critical battles and to construct the most crucial projects...people. Namely, your wife and your children...then your friends and your extended family...and hopefully to the world around you as it flows out of those primary areas.

This is something I have to continually remind myself of. I have immense drive...and it is that very drive that gets me into trouble. I can start to pursue everything but the most important things. I can work hard on everything but the most important things. I can be successful in everything but the most important things. And what do I gain? Really, very little. I gain the world and lose my soul. I end up discrediting everything I say I am with every achievement that is attained out of order. The more successful I become without first being successful at home only calls into question the credibility of my character. This is a jagged little pill to swallow, but it's one that I have to take all the time. I write it to you now only to join the fight with you in battling for the most important things instead of the lesser lovers. It's so easy to give ourselves to mirages and not to our marriages. It's so easy to neglect our kids and chase our tails. And I don't know any other way to keep this from happening than to continually speak aloud about such matters. To raise my own awareness as well as the awareness of those around me. I fear that if I don't I will perish with the rest of the men in our generation drunk on distractions.

These are just some things bouncing around in my brain this morning. I wanted to get them off my chest and into yours. Thanks for the ongoing conversation...it's good for my heart.


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