AfterGlow: Fishers and Men (Nov-Dec 1997)

By Matt Dabbs

by Phillip Morrison
November – December, 1997

29Lena Lochridge helped make a man out of me.

Chronologically, I was already a man – a preacher, married, a father – but quite naive about the definition of manhood. Lena was the Sunday School teacher for our oldest son. He was probably five or six when she came out after church one Sunday and said, “Today when we were talking about Jesus calling fishermen like Peter, and James and John to be his followers, Richard looked real sad and said, ‘My daddy never takes me fishing.'”

I began to explain and defend, but Lena interrupted to say, “You don’t have to explain anything to me; I just thought you needed to know.” Not long after that, I went to Bill Claypool – the friend who knew the most about boating and fishing – and asked how to start getting a boat and equipment. With a thin smile and moist eyes (he had two older boys), Bill said, “You don’t need to buy a boat; just go get a trailer hitch on your car and use mine!”

Weather permitting, almost every Saturday found us on Bill’s Bay-Bee cruising Biscayne Bay. The fish we caught and the ones we almost caught remain treasured memories for our family. Our children are grown now, but they still enjoy telling about the time Daddy stepped on a slime-covered launching ramp and ended up on his rump in the bay … or the time we ran out of gas and had to be towed in. (I still maintain that it was a clogged fuel line.)

Growing up as a boy during World War II, my ideals of manhood were macho men. My uncles were soldiers and sailors. Our neighbor went off to war and brought me a German uniform belt and a mortar shell. I imagined all of them performing heroic feats, killing the bad guys, and making the world safe for the rest of us.

As I began dreaming of preaching, my ideal preachers were not much different. My heroes were the loud, bombastic, never-in-doubt orators. Preachers less self-assured were soft-soapers, spiritual cowards. We were right; everybody else was wrong.

Gradually, I began to see things through different eyes. I learned that real manhood is characterized by love, tenderness, gentleness, compassion. The one who modeled manhood best taught us to turn the other cheek, to treat people as we would like to be treated. he always made time for children; he deliberately chose the company of people others had made outcasts. When he was reviled he did not try to get even. He endured the shame of the cross because he loved me. Scoffers thought a real man, if he were truly divine, wold have destroyed his enemies and delivered himself from their torture. Much of the world still does not understand that it takes a real man to do what he did.

Thank you, Lena, and thank you, Lord, for helping me to understand more fully the meaning of manhood.Wineskins Magazine

Phillip Morrison

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1584 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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