SUMMARY: As men, we have a pattern that we adopt in our decision-making. There are five which are common patterns for men which will not meet with lasting success. It is only God’s preferred decision-making strategy that will endure and produce lasting transformational change. In this Resolute Podcast, Vince Miller interviews Dr. Greg Bourgond, author of “A Rattling of Sabers” and president of Heart Of A Warrior Ministries on the fears that men face and how to battle with them as a man of God.
Vince: This is Resolute and the Resolute Podcast. Where we make men better. I am Vince Miller, your host. And today we’re in a series entitled, “Preparing for Battle.” And today we’re discussing the topic of situational lifestyles for men.
Men welcome back to the program. If this is your first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Resolute exists to make men better. Because we know men today face unique challenges in their quest for Godly manhood. For more information, our program for individuals and groups, go to beresolute.org – where we have numerous great tools for men on our website. One is our free men’s Daily Devo. It’s short, straightforward and sweet to get in your inbox. Please check it out, along with all of our other resources. And now gentlemen, let’s dive in.
Well today, once again I am joined by Doctor Greg Bourgond. He is President and Founder of Heart of the Warrior Ministries. His previous work experience includes 10 years in the defense industry and commercial business, and over 18 years in various ministry positions across the US. Greg has served as a consultant and teacher in the areas of leadership formation and development. Specifically personal and spiritual formation as it relates to men and ministry to men.
I’m excited to have him with us again today. We are looking at his book, “A Rattling of Sabers.” And specifically today, we’re discussing a chapter where he addresses situational lifestyles for men. So Greg, welcome back one more time. Good to have you with us.
Greg: Good to be here.
Vince: So I – so as I continued reading your book, I think I was really struck by not just the imagery in, “A Rattling of Sabers.” But what really caught my eye as a man was these 5 situational lifestyle strategies. And why they captured me, was because I could see how I could fall into some of those.
Vince: And I saw stages of my life. Does that make sense?
Vince: Where I fell into one of them. Yeah, I’m just going to – I’m going to name a few, and then you can talk about one I think that you really – that you think is depictive of maybe a generalization about men today. But you talked about these 5 situational lifestyle strategies. Pinball Wizard, which is just the reactionary pattern. The Electric Current, which is the avoidance pattern of manhood. The Superglue – which is the transference pattern. Log Jam – which is the indecision pattern. And then The Loose Cannon, which is the driven pattern. Why don’t you just speak to me generally about those patterns and–
Vince: And why do these describe typical manhood today?
Greg: Well there’s situational patterns we adopt over a lifetime. That either was modeled to us by people that mattered to us. They may have risen out of a crisis that we experienced when we were young. It’s kind of like a batting average. When we finally adopt these – and it’s often tied to your personality temperament. We find out if it’s successful – 3 out of 10 times, that’s a good batting average. So they become ingrained, but they’re not healthy because they never produce lasting transformational change. They’re unhealthy patterns.
So when you take a look at these 5, it’s hard to say that a person falls into one and not the others. Because there’ll be characteristics in all of these patterns that’ll manifest themselves over time. But there is a default pattern that all of us embrace. What we’ve learned how to navigate life – how we’ve learned how to navigate life. So we keep using that. The trouble is, is that if we don’t change those patterns to something that’s more lasting, that’s biblically informed – it’ll create all kinds of chaos in our life.
For instance, the driven pattern. That’ll manifest itself, and that will blow through everything and everybody to get to a particular goal. Once we get into a boardroom as an adult, that doesn’t work very well. Because that can destroy our career. It can actually destroy a family. When we talk about the Log Jam approach, that’s when we decide not to decide which is to decide. So when we’re confronted with a critical decision that we have to make, and we don’t make it – it creates 100 more decisions we now have to make. It creates this Log Jam that’s impossible to get out of.
So one thing you could do is dynamite it and move downriver. And we create another Log Jam. And the idea is, is that – we’ll leave a marriage, we’ll leave a job, we’ll leave a family, we’ll leave a responsibility – only to create the same scenario downriver, to create a Log Jam for our life. So that’s a very unhealthy pattern. The transference pattern is – we’re not satisfied with who we are. So we adopt the persona of somebody we admire. But one size of clothes doesn’t fit everybody. And we become somebody we’re not. And it comes to a place where we lose our sense of identity.
Greg: We transferred our identity onto somebody else, who will always let us down. The only one who will never let us down is Christ. The Electric Current one has to do with choosing a path of least resistance. Every time a crisis comes up, we’re looking for a way out. We’ll either avoid it, or we’ll try something else. We’ll find the path of least resistance, instead of confronting the issue head on.
And the Pinball Wizard one is bouncing from one crisis to another. And people who are– Adopt that particular situational lifestyle, when there isn’t a crisis, they’ll create one. Because they always have to 06:09 in a crisis. That explains why a mother will gravitate to a child who’s always in trouble, to the detriment of all the rest of the kids. Because they’re always identifying with a crisis. And so they’ll create a crisis if they don’t see one. And it’s like a pinball. You’re bouncing from one crisis to another.
But all 5 of these patterns, established over time – become so ingrained, we don’t even realize we’re acting on them.
Vince: Yeah, so I – so I would assume as guys who are listening today – that they probably thought of someone who fits that pattern, but–
Greg: Course not them. Somebody else.
Vince: Yeah, of course – somebody else. But I’ve got to tell you, as I read these – I was moved to really think about myself. And I took a reflective approach, and I says, “Well, who was I?” And, or, “Who am I?” And I would say early – my early life, definitely the avoidance pattern. I had a very difficult family growing up. Father wasn’t around. Second father wasn’t around. Mom had a lot of boyfriends in the house. And so I learned to deal with things by avoiding problems. That’s how.
Greg: See, for me – I’m a– “Hi, my name’s Greg Bourgond, I’m a reformed Loose Cannon.” I mean, that’s how I lived most of my life as I was growing up. Is blowing through everything and everybody to get to that particular goal.
Vince: Yeah, yeah.
Greg: And the trouble is, at the end of your life – if you live that way, when you’re ready to embrace others that you care about, there’s nobody left. Because they’ve all abandoned you. And you live a very lonely life. Because you’ve destroyed all the relations, the field of relationships is strewn with broken promises, unfulfilled commitments. Because you had your mind on the goal. It’s a breeding ground for workaholism.
Vince: Yeah, sure. And a lot of these things have like manifestations – evils – that manifest from them, that affect the people around us. And I would say that it’s really challenging to become spiritually aware of those – first off. And then it’s even more challenging to change them. But God is calling us to change. Which is why we’re so moved by the preferred lifestyle.
Because now you’re saying you’re giving me a goal. I know I’ve got problems, I know I want to fix them – right – as a man. That’s why I’m in ministry, that’s why you’re in ministry working with men. Because we just feel we want to help other guys discover the freedom that we’ve discovered in the Bible, through Christ, in his grace for each one of our lives. So tell them the bulls-eye.
Vince: Tell them the bulls-eye plan here.
Greg: Well let me just set it up a little bit. Most of us think to live in a western culture, that we might’ve been an accident or a coincidence or a happenstance. But we were on the heart of God before we ever came to be. God superintended our formation in our mother’s womb. He knew us before we ever were. He set the days for us, and Ephesians 2:10 says he’s even declared a purpose for our life in advance.
So in order to reach that, we have to move from shotgun to laser beam in our life. And one way to do that is to embrace God’s preferred lifestyle. The bulls-eye is Godliness. God is calling us to Godliness. It’s not just a concept, it’s not an abstract term, it’s a lifestyle. So the bulls-eye has everything to do with practical Christian piety. Which includes holiness, goodness, devotion, and reverence to God. It finds its basis really in a proper understanding and knowledge of who God is. And out working and a yielded life to God, through Jesus Christ. That’s where we find purpose, intentionality, and direction for our life.
One of my favorite passages is Titus chapter 2, verses 11 through 14. As a matter of fact guys that go through phase 1 of a Heart of a Warrior, that’s one of the passages they have to memorize. Because it encapsulates the gospel, and not only talks about savior-ship – the benefits that accrue to your account when you receive Christ. But the obligations and responsibilities you have for being a follower of Christ. Let me just quote it for–
Vince: Yeah, please.
Greg: For the listening audience. “For the grace of God that brings salvation, has appeared to all men.” Of course, they’re referring to Christ. “Teaches us to say, ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age – while we wait for the blessed hope. The glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, the deity of Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness.” And here’s the key. “To purify for himself a people that are his very own eager to do what is good.” So that encapsulates – I think, the whole concept of a road towards Godliness. It moves you from Shotgun to Laserbeam.
Vince: Yeah, and it gives me like a clarity about really what I’m trying – not just to not do, which I think is a fault, right?
Vince: Sometimes, we just try not to do something. But it’s about trying to focus and do something in a very central way. And I think sometimes men don’t hear that message. I don’t know if you agree with that or not. And I don’t want to take us too far off track. But I – I sometimes think men hear a lot, “Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t.”
Vince: Feel ashamed. And then yeah, sure – situationally understand that they shouldn’t create a Log Jam and live situationally like that. But they’re not really sure what to do. And I think you’ve packed – you’ve really painted a picture using just a few verses of the Bible of– Really our aim is to be a man of God.
Greg: Yeah, it’s not don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t. God is calling us to be, be, be, be, be.
Greg: So it’s a matter of being-ness. Because once we understand our identity is in Christ, that’s our being-ness. We’re ready to engage the doing-ness of our life. And because it informs, it conditions and it establishes the parameters in the direction that God wants us to embrace.
Vince: Okay, so give us – it sounds like I know what the actionable would be for today, Greg. But just give us in a few words – what would you tell guys that are listening? How can we apply a message like you’ve shared with us today into everyday life? What should guys do?
Greg: Well, first of all, understand who you are in Christ. Understand the concept of the idea that nobody really cares today what you have to say – until they observe how you live. And if you live a life of integrity and authenticity under the authority of God, people will ultimately want to hear what you have to say – even if they disagree with you. Because they cannot get past a life well lived.
There is a legacy we’re creating. It may be a bad legacy. No legacy is still a legacy. It may be a corrupted legacy. But what God has called us to is a Godly legacy. Legacy is the aroma left in the nostrils of those God’s called us to influence long after we’re gone. And that begins with our family. Starts with our spouses if we’re married. It extends to our children if we have them.
So the idea is, we have a legacy – a destiny to embrace. And so in order to do that, it takes dedication, devotion. It takes an absolute commitment and a focus. And because we’re not in this alone – we have others to come alongside us called mentors, that can help us on that journey.
Here’s another idea that I think would be helpful for the men that are – are listening. We overestimate what we can accomplish in the short term, and underestimate what God can accomplish in us in the long term. It says in Scripture that God is incrementally transforming us. He can do it by a cataclysmic event, by a crisis. But more often than not, it’s going to be incremental. With unveiled face, beholding the glory of God – we’re being changed into his likeness from 1 degree to another. And that comes from the Lord, who is the spirit.
So that tells me it’s incremental change. Oftentimes, men don’t know they’ve changed until people around them inform them, “You’ve changed.”
Vince: So true.
Greg: And so, we get discouraged. Because we don’t see these dramatic changes in us, but they’re subtle. And they’re incremental. And I – I’m always interested – when I finish one of my groups – we have a celebration in our home where the men are invited to come with their spouses. Because they have to declare verbally to their spouses how they intend to live their life.
And it’s always amazing to me how dramatic that event is. And to realize that these men have dedicated themselves to make a change in their life that’s going to count for something. And they’re willing to share it with people that matter. And that’s where transformational change takes place.
Vince: Yeah that – that is a great place to end today. Because I think that’s just such a clear call to action. It’s like – you – the past does not have to define you guys. It does not have to define you.
Vince: It’s the gospel that defines you. You live in obedience, one day at a time. And occasionally you look back. Not to – just to reminisce the past, but to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going. And sometimes we just need people around us to affirm that we’re continuing to challenge ourselves to live in that Godliness. Greg, thank you again for being on the show.
Greg: My pleasure.
Vince: Well gentlemen, that’s the show. Thanks for listening. Guys, I want to encourage you to find a couple of other men to join in with you. Because listening on your own is great. But finding other men to join in with you is way better. And if you’re a passionate guy who has men around you that you want to lead – you have got to check out our group content online. We provide men that you lead with a game plan for their spiritual growth. Around dozens of topics that strike at the heart of the gospel, and of men. It provides you with a game plan for the men that you lead.
All you need to be able to do is play a video, and purchase the handbooks. And you can mentor men all around you. Check it out at beresolute.org, or send me a direct email at [email protected] I want to hear from you, and ways that I can support you in your journey.
And guys, I hope you enjoy this podcast. But please know, that the time that we spent together today is worthless unless you act on it. So do something today. By getting off the bench, and into the game. And I will see you right back here next time on the Resolute Podcast.