Bruce Wilkinson
Secrets of The Vine
p. 69
"I believe that men in particular need a tool like journaling to bring a sense of reality to their relationship with our invisible God."
"To abide, we must act."

Males are creatures of action. We do not enjoy casual conversation as much as women.
Give us something to do. Accordingly, the male's relationship with God is best when based upon action. We are commanded to abide in Christ according to John 15, the passage whose exposition makes up the theme of this book. But that abiding is most effective for males when we act -- when we write.

Therefore, you could say that men need diaries more than women... um... uh... I mean... um... journals... I mean journals. Yeah. Journals. Bound in manly leather. With a manly black or brown. Nothing pink here. No cute locks or feather pens, either. Nope.


my, how times have changed...

Ever uttered the words, "How did we ever live without..."? I have said that phrase, usually adding some techie device I suddenly can't live without, on way too many occasions.

Saved is a new TV series on TNT. A character said, "How did we ever live without experts?" He was referring to a shrink, but I think the premise rings true with many other things. "Doctor" and "surgeon" are nearly terms of the past now. We now have oncologists, psychiatrists, opthamologists, gynecologists, neurologists, gastrointestinal specialists, and many others. And this is only the field of medicine.

There are specializations in auto mechanics. You have to decide whether you need a tire shop, a body shop, a detailer, a transmission mechanic, etc. And let's not get into the fields of theology, home maintenance, lawn care, weather, computer technology -- you need only look as far as your local newspaper to find the many sections that our lives are divided into.

But back to the question. What was life like before experts? I have a very limited answer. I wasn't there. I do know that I am thankful that a specialist is more knowledgeable. This would be especially comforting were I in the hospital.

But I think life is more holistic than that. Let's take the analogy further. Let's say I'm in the hospital with a serious illness. The specialist's expertise can perhaps save me, but there are many, many factors at work. My eating habits, my psychological history, my dependence on caffeine, genetic influence (have you seen those commercials about the medicine for your cholesterol and your genes?), allergies, the fact that I was dropped on my head when I was a baby -- all of that matters. My faith even matters. My mental and spiritual states affect my health and recovery.

You say, "Get to the point, Aaron." Okay, okay. I think perhaps that specialization crowds out overall knowledge in the fight for elbow room within my feeble brain. In other words, I am kind of saying that brilliance in one area crowds out general common sense. I think in years gone by, people generally speaking knew a little about a lot. But with every passing year, perhaps ever-increasing numbers know a lot about a little. That is a scary proposition.

Until I remember that the salt-of-the-earth, common folk still are clinging to their limited knowledge. Their common sense. May I never be "too big for my britches" in the realm of knowledge. May I never trade in common sense (also known as truth) for high-falootin' book learnin'.

No, mom, this doesn't mean I'm going to stop the grad program I'm in. Perhaps all will not be lost in my quest for the ever-elusive Master's degree.



The father looks over at his daughter, who is hard at work. He asks her what she is doing, while already knowing the answer. She says, "I'm doing something for you, Dad." She grins. He smiles back, but with a twinge of sadness in the creases of his smiling eyes. He gently places his hands on top of hers, stilling her movements with a firmness that belied his quiet ways.

She always wondered how he could do that. How can anyone be as gentle as a snowflake and as unyielding as a mountain of stone? He was both a fuzzy, cuddly teddy bear and a fierce, powerful, towering grizzly simultaneously. In his presence, she felt both tenderly loved and fearfully small. He held her hands and turned her to face him. He asked quietly, "Did I ask you to do that?"

She looked at him in bewilderment. "What do you mean?"

He smiled and said, "Did you decide to do that , or did I ask you to do that?"

Now, she was thoroughly confused. "I'm not sure."

Holding her hand, he led her to a nearby bench and sat down with her. He said, "Promise me something."

She loved him dearly, and said without hesitation, "Anything."

"Promise me that you will not work for me."

She was surprised. "But who else would I work for?"

He laughed, and the anxiety she was feeling vanished. He said, "What I mean is this: don't work for me, work with me.

"I am working all around you. In your life, in the lives of people you see every day, in millions of people you don't even know. Stay close, and listen carefully. I'll put you in the right place at the right time -- if you'll let me. Don't get distracted by a project you want to do for me. It's wasted work. I've got plenty for you to do already."

What he said made a lot of sense. Then she thought of her project she was working on. "But..." she began. Before she could argue, he put his finger on her lips.

"No," he said. "Don't use your common sense to argue with me. Never forget how much I value child-like belief. Just say yes. Nothing else is required."

Her objections were stilled. She loved him so much. He knew this, and he also knew that she could never out-love him. They would make quite a team, she knew. She said, "I'm ready."
He grinned from ear to ear and said, "Good. Here we go."