By Paul Koch

Last week, I travelled to Fort Wayne, Indiana for the 32nd Annual Symposium on Exegetical Theology and the 40th Annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions. These two conferences hosted back to back at the seminary are always packed full of great insights and discussion by top-notch scholars. To be sure, leaving the beautiful confines of Ventura, California to travel to Fort Wayne in the middle of January isn’t always to joyful undertaking. Nonetheless, I go every year. I go for the opportunity to learn and so that I might be a better pastor and teacher, but most of all I go because every year I gather together with a handful of very good friends. It is their presence, their laughter, their banter in the bars late into the night that make it all worthwhile.

By Paul Koch

In my experience, women fight differently than men. As a father of five, one boy and four girls, I have witnessed the clear difference in their strategy and tactics. My son seems to have a deep instinctual desire to fight with a physical exchange, a trading of blows to make his point. In fact, you can see the torment he goes through when he restrains from physical retaliation toward one of his sisters because he has been taught from the get-go that you don’t hit girls.

By Scott Keith

The other night, I took my children to see the new Marvel Comics movie, Dr. Strange. On the whole, it was not one of my favorite Marvel flicks. In fact, I was more struck by the young man sitting in front of me than I was by the movie. He was, I think, what you would call a “hipster.” He wore hiking boots with rolled up jeans, a buttoned up wool flannel shirt, and a beanie positioned above his ears with the pointy top rising off the top of his head. Frankly, he looked like a skinny lumberjack parading through the streets of San Juan Capistrano.

By Paul Koch

“For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother…”

I had a t-shirt in college with that line on it. I had no idea that it was penned by Shakespeare. I didn’t know it was from the famous St Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V or that the actual battle of Agincourt in 1415 inspired the scene, but I knew, without a doubt, the truth of the words.

By Scott Keith

My good friend David Rufner sent me an article recently that didn’t surprise me but did rile me up a bit. Written by David French, the article was in the National Review and titled “Young American males are losing touch with a critical element of true masculinity.” What grabbed me was the first few lines of the article. There, French says, “If you’re the average Millennial male, your dad is stronger than you are. In fact, you may not be stronger than the average Millennial female.”

By Scott Keith

“As for myself, I judge the loss of all one’s possessions easier to bear than the loss of one faithful friend.” – Martin Luther

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis

Last week on the Thinking Fellows podcast, Dr. Rosenbladt and I interviewed one of the hosts of Front Porch with the Fitzes, Pastor Joel Fitzpatrick, on the topic of masculinity. It was interesting to me how quickly our conversation turned from masculinity to the subject of male friendships. (Fodder for another show, I’m sure.) What has become evident to me over the past several years of research is that the two topics––masculinity and male friendships––cannot be separated.

By Paul Koch

While I much prefer my neighborhood Ace Hardware store to the Lowes across town, there is something that makes the trip to Lowes worthwhile. It’s not so much the personal shopping experience (I’ll take the knowledge of the guys and gals at Ace over Lowes any day, plus they have free popcorn!), rather it’s the spectacle that you can find at Lowes that makes it a joy to go. I’ve begun to notice something delightful in the wide and spacious aisles at Lowes.