I Call Shotgun [Book Review]

All godly fathers want to pass on a love for godly truths to their children.

I Call Shotgun is a collection of 64 “letters” from authors and fathers Tommy Newberry and Curt Beavers to their sons.

I Call Shotgun [Book Review]There are plenty of imitation sources of wisdom that are ready to offer ungodly alternatives to our children. By design, fathers are essential to impart godliness in their words and their actions.

This book purposes to impart wisdom through words.

“You only get one shot at life, son.” That’s a great summary of the book’s goal: to equip a son for life.

The introduction is necessary reading in order to make sense of the book. For example, without the introduction the text messages suggestions appear as pull quotes and don’t always relate to the content surrounding it.

Although the book is written from fathers to sons, the authors address other fathers in the introduction this way:

We are confident that you want to equip your son with the understanding and wisdom to succeed in the world today. We wrote this book with you [fathers] in mind.

Some Great Navigation

The letters serve as a catalyst for fathers to write their own letters to their sons, in order to help pass on a godly heritage.

The book’s title, I Call Shotgun, probably refers to the common phrase that requests someone who’ll ride beside the driver—perhaps as a navigator. The subtitle reflects this implication: Lessons from Dad for Navigating the Roads of Life.

Here are a few parts of the book I liked that offer helpful navigation for life:

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Tuesdays with Morrie [Book Review]

I’ve heard for years that I should read, Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. My wife and I picked it up at an estate sale recently and read it aloud.

Tuesdays with Morrie

The greatest takeaway from this touching account of the slow death of Mitch Albom’s friend, Morrie Schwartz, is that you’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die.

Over the course of many Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch visits with Morrie about “life’s greatest lesson,” discussing issues of life such as self-pity, regrets, death, family, emotions, aging, love, marriage, and forgiveness.

“Aging . . . is more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand that you’re going to die, and that you live better because of it.”

Everyone reads a book through the filter of his or her own world view. And although I can appreciate the truth and wisdom of each chapter as it relates to life, I couldn’t help but think the book overlooks the potential insight this life offers to the next life.

“Aging . . . is more than the negative that you’re going to die . . .”

Yeah, but you can’t sidestep the negative. It’s the most-certain event of anyone’s life.

I totally understand that the book isn’t about the afterlife. I get it. Nevertheless, it seems strange to read a book about a dying man sharing distilled wisdom about life and death with no discussion about life after death.

Tuesdays with Morrie does a great job highlighting how death brings clarity to life.

Okay, so you apply those lessons and have a great life.

Then what?

Question: Have you read the book? What did you think of it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Twas the Night AFTER Christmas Poem

I’ve decided that during the holiday season we should change the mall’s name to “maul.” I’ve never seen such mayhem—kids running, parents screaming, angry people in long lines—all to the music of “Joy to the World” in the background. Good grief!

Twas the Night AFTER Christmas

(Photo by Stephane Bidouze, via Vivozoom)

If you decide to head to the “maul” the night after Christmas, you’ll see more of the same chaos—a rush of returns in exchange for . . . even more . . . stuff.

So in honor of these days after Christmas, I’ve decided to try my hand at rewriting Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas classic.

Here she goes. (Ahem.)

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How to Fix Foundation Problems in Your Spiritual Life

Years ago, my grandmother’s 1909 house got a fresh layer of wallpaper. But only weeks later, I noticed in a high corner the wallpaper had buckled, and in some places, it had even split.

Fix Foundation Problems in Your Spiritual Life

(My grandmother’s house, built in 1909)

When I asked her about it she said: “Oh, the house needs foundation work. Every time the seasons change and the wind blows a different direction, the whole house shifts.”

That made sense. For years I shaved inches off most of the doors trying to get them to close. But the repair only lasted until the wind shifted again.

Look closely at the lives of your friends and family. Maybe even your own life.

You’ll see this old house’s problem in vivid display.

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Compliments and Criticism—The Difference May Surprise You

The trouble with most of us,” someone once said, “is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” That’s really true. Go ahead, ruin me.

Complements and Criticism - The Difference May Surprise You

(Photo by diego_cervo, via Vivozoom )

The truth is, we can work ruin by either extreme:

  1. Give nothing but compliments.
  2. Offer only criticism.

Words that compliment and words of criticism both strike like arrows, and they seldom miss their mark.

But the huge difference between them can be surprising.

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Tomorrow, Today, and the Priorities of Someday

Years ago I heard about an odd work of modern art. The artist attached a chair to a loaded shotgun—with the barrel pointing at the chair. The gun had a timer set to discharge at some undetermined point within the next 100 years.

Tomorrow, Today, and the Priorities of Someday

(Photo: iofoto, via Vivozoom)

Believe it or not, droves of thrill-seekers viewed the exhibit by sitting in the chair and staring point-blank range into the gun barrel for sixty seconds. They knew the gun could fire at any moment, but they wanted a thrilling minute in the chair.

(What I would have given to sneak up and poke them in the ribs and yell, “BOOM!”)

Most of us would never dream of taking such a foolish gamble. And yet, how often will we toy with the future by counting on a future that may never happen?

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Expect God to Test Your Vision

I sit still with my face in a brace, wide-eyed and waiting for that imminent blast of air in my eyeball. “Now don’t blink,” the optometrist says. POW! I know it’s coming, but my whole body still jerks. I feel like an idiot.

Sit still, please.

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

Then we do it again with the other eye.

This unpleasant procedure has to happen each year. Without it, my vision isn’t all it can be.

The Lord does a similar thing with the vision He gives us in the Bible. We think we see it clearly until a blast in the eyeball jerks our whole frame of reference.

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Dysfunctional Greeting Cards

I’m convinced some company could make a killing if it had the guts to market dysfunctional greeting cards.

Most birthday or holiday cards gush with flowery sentiments, like, “To the Greatest Father in the World,” or, “Mom, you are my best friend.”

Yeah, well, what if they weren’t?

Greeting Cards

What if your dad was an angry jerk and your mother abused you? What if your brother backstabbed you and stole the inheritance?

Where are the greeting cards for reality?

Just once I’d like to see a card that reads, “Mom, you blew it . . . but I love you anyway. Happy Mother’s Day.”

It’ll never happen.

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