Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I just watched the Bourne Ultimatum with my family. Of course, the movie was awesome, but it reminded me of a conversation I had with my friend BJ about discipline. We talked about how cool it was that humans can do so much if we put our minds to it. Jason Bourne is a super hero simply because of his training. There are a million other movies/people who are similarly cool. Hitman, Batman Begins, etc.

There are also plenty of real life examples of discipline. There are Jews who memorize the Torah. The entire Torah. Eastern Monks become masters at martial arts. Even people who live in a disciplined setting for a few years have their lives changed. I know people who go into the military as slobs and come out four years later as upstanding and disciplined men.

People use discipline to accomplish great things. In general, though, it does not seem to be a very American attribute. In school, procrastination seems to be the rule. Why do an hour a day when you can do five hours the night before? Likewise in the church, even the most pious churchgoer has difficulty spending even 10 minutes a day reading the Bible. There is no society or authority to enforce discipline.

In Boot Camp, you learn quickly to wake up on time, make your bed, and look sharp by 5AM every morning. Perfection is expected. You get yelled at and mocked if you are less than perfect. They don't ask nicely to wake up early and do PT. You know that waking up that early and exercising is good for you, but you'd never do it on your own (if you are a normal American). They demand you do what you know is best for you.

Sometimes I wish this was true of the church. Not in an obligatory, legalistic manner, but in a voluntary and manly manner. I want to go to a Bible boot camp or join Bible ROTC. I want someone to kick my butt at 5AM and help me do what I am too weak to do by myself. I want to be mocked by my peers when I don't show up. I want to be ridiculed by my leader when I am late. Why? Because I know I am capable of so much more.

Nobody has ever done anything like this to me. It's understandable given draconian enforcements to orthodoxy of the past. However, I think the pendulum has swung way to far on the side of softness. Especially for men.

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self‑discipline."

And this is speaking of external discipline ("chastening" in the KJV):

Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

And added the day after initial writing:

1 Petet 1:13 (KJV) "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"
In writing this, I now realize this is all one big intellectual excuse. If only ______, I would have discipline. I need to gird up my loins and be disciplined. Tomorrow I need to wake up early, exercise and read my Bible. I need to not waste time playing video games our lounging around the house. While it would be great if there was something to help me, I have it in me to do it myself and I need to stop complaining about the state of the world and do what's already in me.

I will post tomorrow and let you know how much a man I am.

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