Superman is possibly the most popular and iconic superhero of all time. And, in my opinion, he’s boring as hell. Give me a gritty, morally challenged, scrapper like Wolverine.
I want to see a character that struggles with his rage. One that is dancing the line between righteous warrior and total berserker killing machine. Superman has all the strength, speed, stamina and power our 12 year old brains could imagine. But he doesn’t have anything that truly challenges him. (I mean, green rocks? That’s all you’ve got?). Wolverine struggles with himself. With others. With authority. For Superman even saving the world feels too easy. For Wolverine life is so complex that just living is a challenge. I want to hang with Wolverine.
Seneca (an ancient Roman philosopher) said that no man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. Because he is not permitted to prove himself. After years as a prisoner in a concentration camp, psychiatrist Victor Frankl concluded that there is value in suffering and that the very pursuit of happiness keeps us from it. Hell, Solomon tells us that anyone that gives up just because things get hard needs to stop being such a candy-ass. (That’s in the freaking Bible fellas! Proverbs 24:10 NJW). What these philosophers, psychiatrists, comic writers and prophets are telling us is that if the story of our lives is to be meaningful it must include challenge. We need a war story. Yours may be a story of surviving childhood sexual trauma or the death of your dad. But it could be about getting the kids ready for school all by yourself. It doesn’t have to be incredibly dramatic, it just needs to be truly challenging. If you've never been challenged in a real way, you've never tasted real victory.
I was on an adventure motorcycling trip in the Arizona backcountry in October with a bunch of my buddies. Sadly, my bike broke down almost as soon as we got into the tough stuff. I spent the next 5 days in Scottsdale trying to get it repaired. Meanwhile my buddies encountered some of the most intensely challenging riding they had ever seen. This was monsoon season and the rains had turned the trails into nothing but mud. Riding on mud is like walking on ice. Adding insult to injury, this was no ordinary mud. It was adobe. It stuck to everything and dried harder than concrete. It caked up on tires and snapped fenders. It covered exhaust pipes and caused bikes to overheat. It stuck to boots making every step a misery as they pushed each other’s bikes through. It was so hard, so demoralizing, so daunting, that one of the guys just said to hell with it and gave up. He left the rest of the group and rode his battered motorcycle back to Scottsdale. We sat down to dinner that night at a local brewery and were catching up, comparing stories of my frustration with the shop working on my bike and his with the adobe mud that tried to kill his bike and ruin his trip and suddenly it dawned on him. He said “you’ve been here for days doing everything you could to get back on that trail and I just quit. It got hard and I gave up.” He told me that he felt awful. When I asked him why he gave up he told me that he had never faced any real adversity in his life. And that, when he finally did, he made a poor choice. Sitting at that table warm, dry and clean he yearned to be back out on that cold muddy trail with his pals. Struggling against adversity. At that moment, Todd understood. He’ll never choose complacency over challenge again. Fellas, the truth of the matter is this. You cannot find your limits unless you are willing to push past them. You will always be as weak as you allow yourself to be. But that is a choice. Your choice. Complacency tells you that good enough is great. Challenge will help you find out what true greatness feels like.
This next MAN CAMP is going to work hard to teach that lesson well. Our world shoves complacency down our throats. We’re told that we shouldn’t do things that are hard a thousand different ways every day. Don’t go out and meet your future wife in person, face to face, swipe right and send a text. Don’t tell your crappy kid they need to behave, tell their teacher they should. Don’t go to the gym, take another pill. Don’t work harder, bitch that you haven’t gotten that raise. Don’t tell your wife that her controlling domineering attitude crushes your spirit, ignore her and look at porn. Fellas, God doesn’t want that stuff for us. He made us so much stronger than that. Every time we choose ease, safety and comfort over challenge we lose a chance for growth. We agree with the world. The man God created us to be dies a little more.
Join us at MAN CAMP. Find out how strong you can be.
See you out there,
Adventurer | Creator | Son
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