Breakdown? Breakthrough. I couldn’t escape one simple thought: I hated myself. No, no, no, here’s what it was: I hated my place in the world. I had so much to say and no one to listen. And then it happened. It was the oddest, most unexpected thing. I began writing what they call a mission statement. Not a memo, a mission statement. You know, a suggestion for the future of our company. A night like this doesn’t come along very often. I seized it. What started out as one page became twenty-five. Suddenly, I was my father’s son again… Hey – I’ll be the first to admit, what I was writing was somewhat touchy feely. I didn’t care. I have lost the ability to bull#$%*. I was the me I’d always wanted to be.
— Jerry Mcguire

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to gather with men around campfires on several occasions.  I realized that there have been prolonged seasons of my life where my normal conversation seemed to profoundly shift when I sat around a fire with other men.  I talked about things there that just didn’t seem to come up in my everyday conversations.  I don’t know if it was that I was more primed, the other men there were more open, or somehow the Father orchestrated conversational magic as we looked into the flames.

It was likely all of those things, but I’ve come to realize that the real catalyst for significant conversations lies far beyond the campfire.  Progressively, I am having campfire conversations in every conversation.  Whether I am sitting around a fire, in a coffee shop, at a conference room table, in the stands at a kid’s sporting event, or in line at the DMV, I seem to have the same conversations about the same things.  I think I have lost the ability to bull#$%*.

I am not arrogant enough to believe that I am not “full of it” sometimes, but I don’t have any energy to pretend anymore.  I think I might actually be becoming the man I’ve always wanted to be.

  • I’ll still tune in when the Spurs make the finals
  • I am a little more concerned about the weather because I like to keep the top down on my Jeep
  • I think things inside the beltway are really messed up in D.C.
  • I am much more aware of college football now that my Bears are no longer the doormat of the Big 12

I don’t, however, have much energy to spend considerable time talking about weather, politics, or sports.  I can’t go through the motions anymore.  I will not go to the things to talk about that keep me from the things that really matter.

I had never connected these two statements in Jerry’s famous opening speech before:

“Suddenly, I was my father’s son again.”

“I have lost the ability to bull#$%*"

Sonship is the necessary understanding to free you up from the other.  Knowing my identity and hanging out with other men who are not posing (pretending), but are honestly living into their own unique identity, has changed everything.  Almost every conversation seems to happen around a campfire.  Sonship, authenticity, the real gospel, and going after God’s best are the necessary kindling.  Pretending, legalism, the religious spirt, and posing, snuff out the campfire in seconds.

I have started envisioning a campfire:

  • Between me and others I meet with one on one
  • In important meetings in my business domain
  • In the center of the table with executive board meetings I chair
  • Between the couches and chairs in my living room
  • On the table between my wife and I on date night

Having a campfire conversation is driven more by a posture of the heart than actual flames.

I refuse to do life on my own and I am not interested in having anything other than campfire conversations.  I am pursuing others that desire authentic discourse about things that really matter and are interested in real change.  If that’s you, let’s grab some coffee, lunch, or a few sticks of wood.

Have you broken down?  Broken through?  Do you need to?

Do you live in a spirit of sonship or more of an orphan spirit?  Do you feel like you are doing life on your own?

Who have you signed treaties with?

When is the last time you sat around a campfire and had a conversation that really mattered?