It is one thing to blog about my grandfathers who have died, and even my dad who does not (to my knowledge) enter the Blogosphere on any regular basis. I did inform my dad of my thought process, but couldn’t figure out a way to explain the blog to him (or didn’t want to).
But, I am committed to encouragement and a productive look at where I have been mentored well. I spent a lot of energy in the past picking through poor mentoring. This was valuable, but I need to go the other way; at least for awhile. All that to say: this blog is about Fred Lang, who many of you probably know. HA! I just got on Facebook to see how many mutual friends we have – Marsha and I have about 50, and Fred and I are not friends! Hilarious if you know Fred.
I asked Fred if we could meet regularly because I wanted to meet with an older man to discuss life, the Bible, marriage, etc. Fred’s ethos, at least with me, is more dialogue then “come, listen, be mentored by me”.
ethos |ˈēθäs| noun
the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations : a challenge to the ethos of the 1960s.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from modern Latin, from Greek ēthos ‘nature, disposition,’ (plural) ‘customs.’ (cool and old… just like Fred)
We discuss what he is reading. I joke with him that he wants to talk about Justification more than I do. This is funny to dorks like Fred and I because he is a professed Orthodox Roman Cal-Minian, or a 2.5 point Calvinist, or something homogenous, into the Spirit, semi-ecumenical; whereas I just graduated from a niche conservative Evangelical seminary. See? Funny to me, funny to Fred, probably not funny to anybody else! It is a good place and I am thankful for it (my seminary), but I don’t exude the shorter catechism as much as some when it comes to these questions. It is funny to our wives because their thought is, “Don’t you both just like Jesus a lot?”
We discuss marriage. We talk about what it means to be in the church context so much. Fred has been attending and serving in churches 3 years longer than I have been alive.
Sometimes we drink a beer together – Fred seems to be in a Smithwicks place lately. I have moved from a Wheat-beer affection to IPA’s. We smoke cigars of all sizes; Fred likes Partagas and I have been tending towards Gispert.
If I come with questions he doesn’t shy away from them, but if I don’t I always feel like he enjoys just talking. It can go deep, or it can be medium (I’m bad at small talk most of the time). We can talk books, sermons, theology; he recently sent me Dan Pink’s TED talk – which we tried to re-apply to the contexts we know.
The point is that Fred has chosen to mentor me through space. And at every step what he is implying is that I don’t need to be mentored by him the way I think: Older man who knows everything to younger man who knows very little. What I hear from Ferd’s Ethos (purposeful mis-spelling; ask Marsha) is this, “I’m older than you, and we can talk about this, but we’re just fellow traveler’s and I want to know what you think too.” Frank is a slow-burn mentor. Difficult to quantify.
I am more myself, or at least more comfortable with who I am because of my time with Frank.