One of my favorite lines in all literature is from J.R.R. Tolkein’s, “The Hobbit”. It is the place where Bilbo Baggins steps out of his house to join the company of dwarves in helping them regain their kingdom under the mountain. As he runs down through the Shire, one of his neighboring Shire-folks says, “Where are you going?” His response: “I’m going on an adventure”. And so it begins.
Another quotable line from the same story is a scene where Gandalf is trying to encourage Bilbo to take the journey as their “burglar” and tells him he’ll have a tale or two to tell upon his return.
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Bilbo: Can you promise I will return? Gandalf: No. And if you do, you will NOT be the same.
This is the very heart and soul of the journey. It’s the transformation that happens because you ventured off the trail or went out your door. It’s produced by conflict that pits an adversary against a protagonist. And it is the echo of the God arc that makes it true and powerful.
We invited you to join us on a journey back in the summer of 2022. We have spent the last five months in Bilbo Baggins’ house, like the dwarves did, trying to lay the foundation of the mission and why you should come along. But now, it’s just about time to head out the door.
Later in the sequel to The Hobbit, “The Lord of the Rings”, Bilbo tells his nephew Frodo something alarming:
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
My son, Ben, just sent me another one of his ‘prompts’; a question about the process for me to consider. He wrote, “How do we communicate the necessity of this endeavor in a way that puts both the men and boys on mission together in this journey?”
I responded about the importance of sharing vision. I can’t imagine a better siren call than stating the case of lost boys in our time. This is not a pot that needs stirring. We are not the only ones alarmed by what is happening to our boys in today’s culture. That IS the desperate need. We only need to provide the rallying cry, the weapons and have a plan. We are not the only army fighting this war. We can join with others on our side of the battle, but we need to find a way to plug some of the holes in the dam that aren’t necessarily being addressed (well) by others so that we can help turn the tide of lost boys becoming ineffectual men in a world that demonizes and discourages them from biblical manhood.
We have spent the last five months stating our case and philosophizing causes and solutions. We have developed a strategy and we are ready to go out the door.
Before we go, another Gandalf quote from “The Fellowship of the Ring”. As Frodo considers the road ahead;
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Perhaps you have been called to join us in this fight. Then, we must agree on certain terms. Most call this, a manifesto.
The word manifesto is from the Latin manifestum, which means clear or conspicuous. It is defined as a declaration of one’s belief’s opinions, motives, and/or intentions. It functions as both a statement of principle and call to action. While it can be private, this manifesto is a public declaration and call for change.
As we close this initial phase of presentation, we hope that this document serves to cast vision, remind us of our purpose, and always reenergize our passions. In the spiritual realm, I would use the word, ‘calling’. I remember when I was “called” out of the military to serve in God’s army. It was a very distinct and recognizable series of events. During the decades of ministry that followed, I would often go back to that ‘calling’, which I captured in journals and writings, and remember the path God had placed me on. I set out a mission statement that evolved, but never really changed. It too, helped me ‘stay the course’. These documents were like a manifesto to me. They gave me Vision. The Bible says, with it the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)
And so, this is our manifesto for Treign Up.
We are created male by God’s design. We become men as we grow in wisdom and stature and are affirmed by the company of men. We become Godly Men by being an apprentice of Jesus Christ and becoming transformed into His Likeness through the Holy Spirit.
· The Bible is the Word of God. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit and inerrant in its recording of all history. Therefore, it frames our worldview and informs all that we believe. · The Bible says that God created male and female in HIS image. (Gen 1:27) He made them equal but different and gave them a mandate: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Gen 1:28) · That all creation, including man, was cursed as a result of sin. But God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, Jesus, into the world to save it; not condemn it. (John 3:16,17). Through Jesus, God would also restore his initial intentions for mankind in the Garden of Eden. · Jesus was God incarnate. He was born of woman and grew to become a man. In his life, he showed us by His example and taught us by His words, what it was to be a godly man. (Luke 2: 52) · As the spotless lamb of God, He showed the primary characteristic necessary to be a godly man: Sacrificial Love. He took ALL sins both past and future, upon himself, and crucified them on a cross where He endured a violent and horrific death. (John 1: 29) · He was then buried in the ground, but after three days rose again to life. His victory was the first fruit of all who would come after him by their confession of faith and receiving the free gift of salvation he sacrificially offered us. (1 Cor 15: 20)
In the church age that has followed, Satan, our adversary and the enemy of God has continually attempted to thwart God’s plan for mankind to rule and reign (with God) forever. (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 20:4) As the end of time draws nearer, His attacks upon the saints of God have increased in fervor and intensity. His deception is the same as his original deception: “Did God Really Say That?” (Gen 3: 1) This deceptive, lying, misrepresentation of God’s purpose for mankind has resulted in the current confusion of gender identification, sexual orientations, and the God-ordained purposes for men. Satan’s deceptive strategy has resulted in gender confusion; role-reversals; toxic masculinity, effeminate masculinity, and the marginalization of godly manhood to the extreme fringe of society to the point that our boys are now demonized and demoralized. The destruction of the nuclear family has left them without father figures and male role models to lead them out of this dilemma and into biblical manhood. The portrayal of men by Hollywood, feminist, and politicians who play identity politics, have made them feel dangerous to themselves, their communities, and their cultures. Society is in desperate need of breaking these deadly cycles and restoring the place of men in culture according to God’s Word.
To that end:
We, as a community of godly men, are compelled to action. We vow to take the young boys in our care and agree to guide them on the journey to godly manhood. We will accomplish this through:
As God is our witness, this is our battle and we must not fail this next generation.