www.mmqmagazine.com | www.mmqmagazine.blogspot.com
ISSUE 3 [SUMMER 2008]
père pressure [ are celebrity fathers
making the task of raising your children harder?]
SINGING OF HIS LOVE FOREVER [ DELIRIOUS? DECIDE TO CALL IT A DAY] SUICIDE AND THE MODERN MAN the demise of the lads’ mag?
NIGEL BENN [
mandate men’s quarterly
THE DARK DESTROYER steps into the light
• LIFE-CHANGING MOMENTS: KEVIN MAX • tHE Father FACTOR • JOEL EDWARDS’ agenda for change • THE HUMAN EMBRYOLOGY BILL OUTFLOW
elcome to the Summer 2008 issue of the Mandate Men’s Quarterly (MMQ). After the last issue of MMQ we received very encouraging feedback regarding the new masthead, format and the general look and feel. We are delighted that the magazine is considered to be a resource for Christian men as well as a means of introducing men to the Christian faith by demystifying and breaking down the religious façade so that it is easier to commence the journey to faith. Our cover story for this issue features a familiar face who has made that journey. Most of us will remember Nigel Benn, who, in his guise as the ‘The Dark Destroyer’, literally pulled no punches in the ring. Boxing aficionados cannot forget the epic bouts with Chris Eubank or the fight with Gerald McClelland which, sadly, ended with such tragic results. Even if you are not a boxing fan there is much to be learnt from Nigel’s journey to fame and fortune and more so from his journey to faith (Check out www.mmqmagazine.com for a sneak preview of the interview on MMQ TV; our YouTube channel). The lead feature looks at a new phenomenon being labelled the ‘Celebrity
Dad Effect’ where us mere mortals are left feeling less than adequate in comparison to celebrity dads like David Beckham, Will Smith and Brad Pitt. These men seem to have fatherhood, fame, and success in their chosen fields in the bag, all without even breaking sweat…but is that really the case? Our other feature includes a chat with Stu G from ‘Delirious?’, arguably the most successful UK Christian rock export, as we explore life post Delirious?. We also catch up with Kevin Max, formerly of DC Talk, as he tells us about his life changing moments. Be sure to tell your family and friends about the magazine, or better still buy three or four copies and give them to people you care about, including the guy at work who may be searching for something lasting. Sharing our faith has never been easier! We welcome your feedback, so please let us know what you are thinking by getting interactive with us on our all new magazine website www.mmqmagazine.com. Agu Irukwu MMQ
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY
Watchman & RapMentors
Delirious? decide to call it a day
Samaritans’ AMV BBDO Ads
The rise of the worship activist
‘UK one of worst places to live’; Search for black role models; Basic Instinct author writes book on faith; Human fertilisation and embryology Bill
Joel Edwards’ ‘Agenda for Change’
Tube Watch In View
Universal USB chargers
13 Singing of His Love forever 19 Comment 21 Books
22 She Says
M.O. Ehioze-Ediae pens an ode to fatherhood
23 A Man After God’s Heart
The Spiritual Man and Leadership: Dr Okey Onuzo talks about the man
submitted to a higher authority
Academic reformation and the three wise men
The Father Factor
event review 30 MMQ goes to Silverstone
Editor-in-Chief Agu Irukwu Deputy Editor-in-Chief Dr Shola Adeaga Editor ‘Lanre Iroche Managing Editor Colin Tomlin Contributing Editors Sub-Editor Tinuke Akinbulumo MANDATE MEN’S MINISTRIES 112 Brent Terrace, Brent Cross London NW2 1LT www.themandate.org www.mmqmagazine.com
Contributors George Luke is a writer and radio presenter/producer. His written work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines and he has presented the ‘World Beat’ series on UCB UK for the last eight years. George lives in London and his hobbies are music, reading and herbal teas (preferably apple-flavoured). Gareth Wallace works in Westminster as a lobbyist. He enjoys rock concerts, thought-provoking movies, reading about history and eating curry. To get around he enjoys cycling, sailing and driving… especially if the driving involves a certain degree of adventure.
the key requirements for a successful racing partnership
32 Stepping out of the Shadows Former world champion Nigel Benn talks to Colin Tomlin about his life in the Light
38 Throwing Away the Gift Caspar Murphy analyses the growing malady that is male suicide
40 The Celebrity Dad Syndrome
Joseph Onwuchekwa finds trying to be a good dad made much harder by a wellintentioned bunch
46 Given a Sporting Chance? Gareth Wallace finds positives in hosting the Olympics in Beijing
50 What Price Freedom?
Ben Cooley finds a darker angle to the sex industry
52 The Demise of Lads’ Mags?
Rapidly falling sales cause ‘Lanre Iroche to wonder whether the end is near for a once booming industry
faith in sports 54 Trust, Integrity, Commitment
Simon Butler highlights
toolkit 57 Gadgets
Technology for the home
Live out your Formula 1 fantasies by learning to rally drive
What to do when you lose your wallet
Ironing your clothes
global village 64 Beijing
At the heart of the Games.
61 MMQ Recommends
Grand Slam venues: Flushing Meadows, Melbourne Park, Roland Garros.
life changing moments 66 Kevin Max
The singer and songwriter shares his life-defining experiences.
Joseph Onwuchekwa is a lawyer whose first love is writing. His outlook in life is very simple: “If you get it right the first time you were either incredibly lucky or more than likely received divine assistance.” Caspar Murphy is a UKCP registered Psychotherapist, qualified Life Coach and Director of a mental health charity in Sussex. With a long standing interest in the emotional and psychological well-being of men, Caspar is helping to establish a Men’s Mentoring programme in the church he attends. He is also part way through a PhD focusing on ‘Men, Faith and Therapy’. Simon Butler is Curate at St Giles’ Church, West Bridgford, near Nottingham. He writes and preaches on a wide variety of topics, with particular concern for making the church relevant to modern men. Simon is a freelance motoring journalist and spends much of his spare time behind the wheel of various racing cars. Ben Cooley is the Founder of Hope for Justice, an anti-slavery and human trafficking organisation. He is passionate about mobilising the church to take a stand against the injustice of modern day slavery in all its forms, by raising awareness and giving people the practical tools they need to make a difference in their generation. Ben is a popular speaker and a trained opera singer. Additional Contributors M.O. Ehioze-Ediae, Dr Okey Onuzo,
Otty J. Warmann, John Zach. layout & design: email@example.com
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY
OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2008
DIGEST Men@Work Watchman & RapMentors
avid Williams, otherwise known as Watchman, is one of the UK’s foremost Dancehall artists, a Christian with a prophetic message for the young and disenfranchised. This Brixton South native launched his musical career with the 1997 release of “Contemporary Christen”, an album which reached the number one spot in the UK Gospel album charts and saw him nominated for a ‘Music of Black Origin’ (MOBO) award. Prior to Christianity David was a violent and aggressive young man, who failed to retain composure and restraint when angry. On account of his perpetually bad behaviour he was left with a criminal record amongst a string of convictions, including three assaults on police officers. After being thrown out of the family home, he ended up in a six bedroom hostel in Peckham, where he was soon the only tenant, having beaten up everyone in the house. Refusing to re-house him, the Housing
Association allowed him to keep the house. And, rather than live alone, he had girls in every room, going from one to the next until his soul was “settled down for the night”. It was following a false arrest, while in custody awaiting trial, that the Lord spoke to him through Ezekiel 3.17. “Son of man, I have made you a Watchman for the House of Israel, therefore hear a word from my mouth and give them warning from me” Not understanding, he closed the bible and opened it again. This time it opened onto Ezekiel 33.7, and to his amazement, it read the same as the previous passage of scripture. In his more famous persona, Watchman, above far right, has started an initiative designed to encourage adults and responsible teenagers to become mentors to challenging young people, and has now been appointed to mentor young people in the boroughs of Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark, by the Youth Offending Teams of the Five Borough Alliance
(FBA), a coalition set up by the London boroughs in 2006 to develop longterm, effective solutions for dealing with difficult young people. His organisation RAP (Reaching All People) Mentors has now embarked on a recruitment drive and is calling on men and responsible teenagers from within the community to become mentors to some of the most challenging young people aged between 11 and 18. Watchman is keen for his RAP Mentors programme to play a part in ending the postcode wars that occur between young people living in different areas. He commented, “I feel greatly honoured that my mentoring programme is being recognized for all its hard work, particularly when I think about my own personal journey. I fully identify and empathise with the young people I work with, and I give them hope that it is possible to change.” More information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0207 733 0400.
The Erosion of Fatherhood...Black role models wanted... OUTFLOW
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY
DIGEST | IN VIEW
UK one of worst places to live in Europe
ecently published research suggests that the United Kingdom offers a quality of life superior only to Ireland’s in Europe, despite taking home the highest incomes in the uSwitch.com European quality of life index. According to uSwitch’s findings, based on the assessment of 19 different factors in ten major countries across Europe, British families earn more than £10,000 over the European average, but pay 18% above the average price for diesel, 6% more for unleaded petrol, 49% more for gas and 5% more for electricity. In addition UK spending on healthcare and education was below the average, with life expectancy the third-lowest at 78.9 years. Workers have the third-highest retirement age and suffer the shortest holiday entitlement. Spain topped the uSwitch index despite families earning an annual net income of £16,789 - £8500 below the average – with France placing second. The French boast the second-highest healthcare expenditure and highest holiday allowance, while Spanish residents enjoy low taxation, cheaper goods and a generous holiday allowance.
Search for role models to inspire black boys
Author of ‘Basic Instinct’ writes book on faith
he upcoming release from the man who penned dark thrillers such as Basic Instinct and Jagged Edge tells the story of his spiritual conversion and his newfound devotion to God and family. In Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith, Joe Eszterhas describes how his life got turned around during the summer of 2001. After a lifetime of wild living Mr. Eszterhas was diagnosed with throat cancer. 80 percent of his larynx was removed and he was urged to quit drinking and smoking. “I was going crazy. I was jittery. I twitched. I trembled. I had no patience for anything… Every single nerve ending was demanding a drink and a cigarette,” he wrote. He plopped down on a curb and sobbed. And for the first time since he was a child, he prayed: “Please God, help me.” “I couldn’t believe I’d said it. I didn’t know why I’d said it. I’d never said it before.” But he felt an overwhelming peace. His heart stopped pounding. His hands stopped twitching. He saw a “shimmering, dazzling, nearly blinding brightness that made me cover my eyes with my hands.” He went from doubting if he could make it through life without tobacco and alcohol, to knowing that he could “defeat myself and win.” He has turned down hefty offers to write scripts for movies with sinister plots and dark themes, like the 16 other ones he wrote that made it to the screen - some paying as much as $3 million a script. Mr. Eszterhas said he spent too much of his life exploring the dark side of humanity and does not want to go there anymore.
national search to recruit black male role models was recently commissioned as Communities Secretary Hazel Blears called for black and mixed heritage men to take a lead in inspiring the next generation of black boys to achieve and succeed. The creation of the first ever black boys’ national role model programme was part of a package of measures designed to help raise the aspirations and attainment of some of today’s young black men, and males of all ages from a Black African, Black Caribbean or Mixed Heritage background have been encouraged to apply to become national role models. The modelling programme was one of the recommendations made to the government by an independent panel, which recognised how celebrities and those who glamorise a world of crime, drugs, guns and gangs often make up the role models of this unique group. The programme will seek to challenge stereotypes and shine a light on positive images of black male achievement. At least twenty national role models will be selected by an independent panel comprising fashion designer and businessman Ozwald Boateng, entrepreneur Tim Campbell, founder and Director of Operation Black Vote Simon Woolley and Metropolitan Police Superintendent Leroy Logan, along with four young Black men. Once recruited the national role models will share their stories in a variety of ways, including events and visits to meet with young Black men across the country. This will be community led, but might include schools, youth clubs and young offender institutes. As well as these specific visits the message and story of the role models will be amplified through use of podcasts, webchats and wider media activity. [Further information is available @ www.campaigns.direct.gov.uk/reach]
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rather wonderful series of adverts were recently donated to the Samaritans charity by advertising agency AMV BBDO. The ads, which adopt the strapline ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help’ feature individuals in varying forms of crisis who deny that anything is the matter when approached with help, despite these crises including choking on a morsel of food (Heimlich), being chased through the woods by flesh-eating creatures (Zombie), being buried neck-deep in burning sand (Western), and being caught in a Trapper’s net in the jungle (Trapped), driving home the message to ask if help is genuinely required. URLs: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy8ksUxOQ-s (Heimlich); http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=TF4L6fE5tss (Zombie); http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y7i0EBKh9uA (Western); http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=O2i4Jro7FTM (Trapped)
DIGEST | IN VIEW
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill Eroding the Value of Fatherhood
ay 20 2008 will probably go down in history as the day British politicians voted overwhelmingly to denigrate the value of fatherhood in the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) process. Voting by 292 to 217 (a majority of 75), MPs decided that women wanting fertility treatment will no longer have to show that there is a father in their relationship. Defending the change, Ministers said it would make it easier for lesbian couples and single mothers to have test-tube babies. A second attempt by the Conservative front-bench to amend the bill to ensure that IVF clinics would need to consider the need for a “supportive parenting and a father or male role model” was also rejected by a vote of 290 to 222, a majority of 68. Opponents to the changes entrenched in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill argue that the vote boiled down to a decision between the welfare of the child versus the rights of the adults. The flag bearer for the opponents of the bill, former Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, issued a strong appeal, observing that “We want people to recognise that fathers have a major role to play, and if they’re not around let’s find a way of making sure their influence can be found.” However, after a three hour debate it was clear that the House was convinced that the term ‘father’ wasn’t relevant to the parenting roles of 21st century Britain and reflected this in its voting. The votes mean that existing legislation, which calls for clinics to recognise the “need for a father,” will be amended to only require “supportive parenting.” The longer term effect is that children born via the IVF process no longer have the right to be told who their fathers are upon attaining majority. In a nutshell fatherhood just got erased from the life of children born through the IVF process into a non-traditional household. For male children born via IVF to a lesbian couple, in particular, it sends out the message that when they become adults they’ll have fewer rights
than the mothers of their own children, should those children also be conceived via IVF. Interestingly many opponents to the Bill have been single mothers, who have raised, or are raising, children without a man in the house. Tracey Wilkinson of the Equal Parenting Alliance Committee says, in reaction to the outcome of the vote, “my concerns centre on the fact that the next logical step in the process of the removal of the need for a father in IVF would be to remove the word ‘Father’ from
The Government is being driven by a tiny minority to change the law for everything.” - Iain Duncan Smith birth certificates and then perhaps even ‘Mother’ and to replace them with terms such as “birthing parent” and “supporting parent.” Two weeks after she made this remark, MPs voted for changes which could see two women listed as parents on a child’s birth certificate. Once again Iain Duncan Smith attacked the controversial clause, which ministers insist is vital to ensure lesbians are not discriminated against. Mr Duncan Smith queried “What kind of message is this sending to fathers? If you go to disadvantaged communities you see fathers have gone missing because they see no necessity to stay in their children’s lives. For the first time, the state has a view that fathers are not important in the upbringing of their child.
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY
DIGEST | IN VIEW
Embryology Bill Continued from Page 9
© Simon Kimber
We are going to be engineering families where fathers are not included. The Government is being driven by a tiny minority to change the law for everything. The vast majority of children born to a family without a father will see a reduction in their quality of life.” The main difficulty in coming to terms with the government’s argument is the fact that lesbians have had access to IVF treatment as single women so there was no real need for a change in the law. The feeling among many was that the government was determined to do something symbolic for lesbian couples because children born to lesbians as single women are able to apply to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for the identity of their father once they turn 18. Dan Boucher, of Christian charity CARE, says: “The Government is facilitating the creation of children with the intention they should be denied a father from before they are born, when the balance of established research shows fathers bring something important and distinctive to parenting. We cannot ignore this without giving the impression that we are more anxious to champion the rights of adults than we are to promote the best interests of children.” In another development that could be rightly deemed contradictory and possibly even discriminatory is the plan by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to introduce measures in the 2008 Welfare Reform Bill that force mothers to name their child’s father on birth certificates to improve collection of child maintenance from absent fathers. Defending this particular decision, Ministers say the plan underlines the right of all children to two parents while scrapping the barriers to unmarried men playing a full part in their babies’ lives. It is also hoped the system will improve the payment of child maintenance by absent fathers and help reduce the burden on the state. James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “It is crucial that both mum and dad recognise the role they play in their child’s life and how that shapes their child’s identity.” Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, added: “Every child has the right to know who their parents are and we want to make things as easy as possible for both parents to take responsibility for their children.” A cynic might remark that the distinction between the government’s positions on both Bills is financial; after all the potential increase in revenue to the coffers of the DWP is something the beleaguered Child Support Agency was never able to achieve. The DWP’s purported support for the role of fathers is unlikely to provide any quantum of solace for those women who’ve suffered domestic violence at the hand of some absentee father they never want to see again; neither will it convince the legions of critics concerned about the diminishing role of fathers in the 21st century family model. 10 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 10 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
power portable T
he Phillips Power2Charge SCM7880/05 adapter, front, enables you to charge portable devices without having separate chargers and cables for each. It can be used to create a universal charging outlet at home or on-the-move, making sure your portable devices will never be out of power, regardless of where you use them. The USB adapter provides up to 15 hours of portable power without the need of a power outlet, providing an easy way to avoid running out of power with any portable devices on the go. When fully charged, this power solution is able to provide up to 15 hours of power. Interchangeable connector tips make the device fully compatible with most portable devices from a very wide range of brands. Simply choose the connector tip to match your portable device. A world plug is included for compatibility across the world, meaning you can use this device almost anywhere you go on your business trip or holiday. The Rechargeable power pack Power2Go SCE4430/05, behind, ensures that you never run out of power on trains, airports, stations or wherever there is no wall outlet available. When fully charged, it is able to provide up to 30 hours of power.
DIGEST | INCOMING
universal usb chargers |£39.99
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 11
DIGEST | INCOMING
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singing of his love forever
he sixth day of July in the year two thousand and eight will forever mark the end of an era in Christian music, as arguably the best Christian band to come out of the UK announced on that day that the time had come for them to take a break from recording and playing together. Having been together for fifteen years and fourteen albums, Delirious?, who gave to the world ‘I could sing of Your love forever’ and other Christian classics, came to the difficult decision that, at the end of 2009, the band would call it a day. The decision was triggered by a request from lead singer Martin Smith to be released from the band to pursue new projects and spend more time with his wife and children. Martin’s decision followed an announcement in January that drummer Stew Smith would be leaving the band to spend more time at
home with his family, as well as concentrating on setting up his own creative design agency. During Stew’s final performance with the band, in Sydney at the Hillsong Church on 28th April, guitarist Stu Garrard (Stu G) said: “Contemplating our sets today I’m struck that I’m sharing the stage with Stew for the last time. A marker will go in the ground today. Tomorrow will, and needs to, look different. It’s not a simple transition, it’s re-invention”, and Paul Evans was added to the roster as Stew’s replacement days later. Fans of the group – and there are millions of them – will be looking back to that statement and wishing that tomorrow didn’t promise to look so different after all. Delirious? – made up of Martin, Stu, bassist Jon Thatcher, keyboard player Tim Jupp (and a
An Agenda for Change...Fatherhood Factor...Worship Activism...
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 13
FEATURE | DELIRIOUS?
“One minute we were in a nice church, hotel or conference centre and the next just outside, or a block away from, a slum and the extreme poverty and diseases that come with it.”
Stew and Paul at different periods) – was a result of a youth event on the South Coast of England in 1992 called ‘Cutting Edge’, during which the band got together and began to write songs. Little by little the songs found an audience and the band became a bit more wellknown, eventually becoming too in-demand to continue juggling playing with fulltime jobs, becoming fulltime musicians in 1996. A mere matter of weeks before the announcement was made, MMQ’s Colin Tomlin got in touch with Stu to discuss both the band’s success and longevity, not realising that this was possibly the final time such an opportunity would present itself. “Those years were very exciting,” Stu begins. “We have done lots of things. Our vision has always been to make great music and write songs through the eyes of our faith, whether that is a congrega14 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 14 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
tional song, or a love song, or just a story song. It is all coming from those roots and we want it to be as good as anything else that is out there.” When asked how the name Delirious? came about, Stu explains that, “It is always hard to come up with names for things, but the dictionary definition is ‘to be wildly excited’, and when we were starting out that is how things were. It was a very exciting time; we were riding a bit [on the] crest of a wave of a movement [and] felt delirious about the music, about God and about the future. The record company that we started with was called ‘Furious’ and we had to find a way of publishing the songs, and we called that ‘Curious’! So it is all kind of linked in.” With instantly familiar tracks including ‘Heaven’, ‘Investigate’, ‘Our God Reigns’ and the aforementioned ‘I could sing…’ Delirious?
REBOOT | DELIRIOUS?
“CompassionArt is quite a landmark in the music industry because the record companies and publishing houses decided that they would forgo their income and give it all away.”
have become synonymous with sincere and heartfelt worship, skilfully written and wonderfully composed. It is little wonder that their fan base extends far beyond the British Isles. “There are more people there,” Stu responds to MMQ’s suggestion that the band is more popular in the US, “so probably more people know us. It’s actually quite hard to [say where most of our fans are] because we are in America a lot. We do a lot of work there and we love being there, but really in the last few years we’ve spent more time travelling all around the world.” Still there are Christians who can honestly claim not to know who Delirious? are, or what their names are, or what they look like, but few can claim never to have heard the melodic strains of the song which has arguably become the band’s signature tune. “Martin wrote that one when he was on holiday once,” Stu says of
‘I could sing…’ “He was on holiday, literally overlooking mountains and the sea, and started writing the lyrics ‘Over the mountains and the sea, your river runs with love for me’, so yeah, it has been a good song for us.” The band’s latest – and as it turns out, final – studio album, Kingdom of Comfort, was put together at a time when the band reached a turning point where they were wondering ‘what is all this about?’ in terms of Christian music as a whole and also in terms of its own expression of Christian and worship songs. At the time they had been exposed to countries where extremes of poverty and wealth exist – places like India, Brazil and a number of African nations – where one minute they were in a nice church, hotel or conference centre and the next just outside, or one block away from, a slum and the extreme poverty and diseases that come with it. a
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 15
FEATURE | DELIRIOUS? L-R Jon Thatcher, Martin Smith, Tim Jupp, Stu G, Stew Smith
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REBOOT | DELIRIOUS? “That started to mess with our heads so we were on a journey with that as a band and individuals and it got us thinking. We have been really inspired by a guy called Rob Bell, from Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan; one of the things he taught was a series he called ‘The New Exodus’ and listening to that while experiencing this stuff it was just a real challenge. ‘Do I hear the cry of the oppressed and the poor?’ was a question that came up and I suddenly realised that I had become comfortable and safe in my lifestyle and in my Christianity, and thinking that [made me] feel uncomfortable; uncomfortable with the comfortableness. That really rocked us and [remained with us when we] started to write songs for Kingdom of Comfort. The question was ‘What are we building? Are we building ourselves a kingdom of comfort or the kingdom of heaven here, knowing that heaven is a place [for] now rather than [just] a future destination?’
the most gifted guitarist in the world’ is modest when this idea is presented to him. “It’s funny, you don’t ever think about that,” he says of MMQ’s suggestion that it must be a major advantage to be able to call someone up and open with ‘It’s Stu from Delirious?’, “but yeah it is cool to have some friendships. “While I was privileged to be on the songwriting team, and also to play on some of the recordings, it was something that Martin spearheaded. Martin invited everyone but really it was through relationships; you know we’ve got good relationships with most of these people so it was really Martin making a few phonecalls and [sending out] a few emails a year to eighteen months in advance to [so everyone] could clear stuff in their diary.”
When asked about his thoughts on manhood, Stu is to the point. “I like being a man actually.” He adds that Possibly in response to the feelings what makes a man is probably his generated by this introspection the ability to be comfortable in his own band pledged a proportion of the skin. royalties from Kingdom Of Comfort “I’ll tell you about church now,” to the Prem Kiran charity in Mumbai, he says. “People kind of talk about India, a feeding, health and education church and you relate it to your centre for children of commerical sex church, or the church at the end of workers. Delirious? visited it a number Delirious? will be sorely missed but leave the road, whereas there are so many of times before making the pledge, and behind a rich legacy of songs by which we expressions of church. And church is even took their own children along to the whole thing; it is not one particular can remember them. see it firsthand. thing. Something I am thinking about Speaking at the time Martin at the minute is that I appreciate the explained that, “Whilst touring through India we visited a humani- Catholics, I appreciate the Church of England, I appreciate the Pentarian project in one of the red light districts in Mumbai. Frankly tecostals, I appreciate what is going on in Florida at the minute it was a shock to us to see women enslaved in such circumstances because we need all of it. We need the radicals who go and march but moreso their own children growing up in a completely hopeless for causes. I think that we do not have to be defined by a style or environment. a certain brand but we can be part of all of it and that is a really “The team there were taking these kids off the street at important thing to know about church because it is not ‘church’ it night and housing them, feeding them and giving [them a] basic is just one church. And I think that as a man in that we shouldn’t education. It’s hard for a rock band to know how to respond but be quiet, we should be leaders and take our place in that.” we knew our hearts had been pulled out and put back a different On the subject of fatherhood he says, “I have two teenage way. We had to do something.” daughters and I think it is not easy. Sometimes I worry about the kind of world that is developing and the extremes are getting This experience perfectly encapsulates the Christian band dynamic, further apart. I worry about polarisation in the world and all the where the spiritual journeys of the individuals incorporate, dualisms that this promotes. I worry for our children in terms of without being restricted to, the journey of the group. And this that and I think that someone somewhere has got to be moderate has been evident in some of the undertakings of the members in enough to start engaging with these extremes both within Christhe aftermath of the band. A prime example is CompassionArt, a tianity and between religions and in politics as well. We have to charity created by Martin and his wife, Anna, after an experience engage people and not have a judgemental or condescending view similar to Mumbai. It defines itself as ‘a charity that joins the dots of each other, [but to] start standing in the gap and loving your between art and poverty [by raising] money to help breathe life into neighbours and your enemies, which is what Jesus talked about the poorest communities, restoring hope and igniting justice.’ and is something that we don’t really see in action. And I would “The idea was to get twelve songwriters together on a retreat say I don’t really see it in action in my own life either but I want in Scotland and to see what happened,” Stu says of the project. to.” “What basically happened was a whole bunch of songs got written with a real emphasis on justice and the poor and after that they It goes without saying that Delirious? will be sorely missed, though all got recorded and all the royalties and monies made from these the rich legacy they will leave us, in the form of their varied consongs will be going to the Compassion Art charity.” tributions to Christian music over the past decade and a half, will To get a proper grasp on the scale of this project means to ensure that they are never forgotten. The band has committed to know the scope of the artistes involved. In addition to Martin and play all their scheduled concerts in 2008 and 2009, though they Stu, the singer/songwriters include Tim Hughes, Matt Redman, don’t expect to add many more dates to their existing schedule. Darlene Zschech, Israel Houghton, Michael W. Smith, Graham The UK tour in October will be their last. Kendrick, Andy Park and Steven Curtis Chapman. With their break-up in mind the band reminded its fans that “It is quite a landmark in terms of the music industry because it always used to say that it was taking their act ‘wherever it goes’ it meant that the record companies and publishing houses decided and each member is pleased that the music ended up going further that they would actually forgo their income and give it all away,” and deeper than they could ever have dreamed. It goes without Stu continues, “so I think that it is probably the first time that this saying that, whatever the future holds for Martin, Stu, Jon, Tim, has happened.” Stew and Paul, they will continue to sing of His love forever. The ability to pull together a virtual Gospel Music Hall of Fame is reflective of the rich success Delirious? has enjoyed in the music Kingdom Of Comfort was released in April and is available in most record industry, though Stu – described somewhere as ‘unquestionably stores.
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 17
18 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 18 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2008
REBOOT | COMMENT
THE RISE OF THE WORSHIP ACTIVIST
There are few moments that can match lifting our hands to heaven as the band plays our favourite worship songs in our well-built auditoriums. But, as George Luke wonders, what impact does our professed love of our God have on those who really need His touch?
orship music is today the most lucrative genre within Christian music, having gone from being something you only heard in church on Sunday to a phenomenon that packs stadiums. But while we’ve all been busy celebrating worship music’s increasing popularity (or having doubts about it) many of us haven’t noticed another side to worship that’s also been gradually growing: the ongoing rise of what I call ‘worship activists’. Worship activists are the point where worship and social action meet; where time spent focusing upwards drives you outwards. The worship activist is the guy you see leading worship in places where Christians are encouraged to stand for those less fortunate than themselves – whether that’s other Christians who are persecuted for their faith, people affected by HIV and Aids, young girls sold into sex
The worship activist is the guy encouraging his fellow Christians to stand for those less fortunate than themselves.” slavery, or the poor or dispossessed of any description. Two of the UK’s most popular worship leaders have recently launched charities with a social action focus: Muyiwa Olarewaju
of Riversongz, and Martin Smith, leader of Delirious? “Growing up, I can’t recall my parents ever having birthday parties for us,” says Muyiwa, whose Riversongz Foundation works with underprivileged children in Africa. “It’s interesting to see what effect this has had on me now, because I don’t really get excited about birthdays. But one thing my parents did do – which made a huge impression on me – was that at a certain time of the year, they’d throw a massive party for underprivileged kids in the area. That was something that’s stayed with me. I’d always said that I wanted to do something for poor and underprivileged children; that I wanted to work with them somehow. “There’s a huge relationship between worship and social action. I run a course on worship, and one of the things I point out to the guys I teach is that worship is not complete with just the singing and dancing. There’s this saying we’ve been quoting for years: “worship is a lifestyle.” What the heck does that mean? When you look in the book of Hebrews, it talks about the fruit of your lips giving thanks. It talks about worship. But then, it says ‘do good to all men’. And then it says ‘obey your leaders.’ So in this one discussion about worship, it talks about social justice, and about being kind to your neighbours. So for me, theologically, the Bible makes it clear. It’s not just worship in spirit and truth; it’s also ‘do good to others.’ You see examples of it again and again and again. So for me, there’s a clear line between what God says in worship, and how that impacts on our communities and the world around us.” Compassionart – the charity started by Smith – made its world premiere in April at the 2008 Dove Awards. The charity is dedicated to seeing works of art generate income for the poorest of the poor. In January this year, the charity brought together some of the biggest names in Christian music – people such as Graham Kendrick, Israel Houghton and Darlene Zschech – for a week-long retreat, during which they wrote 22 songs. The proceeds from those songs will all go to charity. “There are two amazing forces that exist in the world: Compassion for those in need and Art that helps us see beyond ourselves,” Martin Smith said. “What could happen if you brought the two together? What could happen if you gathered some of the top songwriters in our scene to bring their art to the table for the sole reason of raising money for the poorest of the poor? Well I can tell you, it was amazing!” “Worship and justice, we see in the Bible, are intrinsically linked,” says Tim Hughes, another artist who was involved in Compassionart’s retreat. “There’s a verse in Amos where the prophet speaks to the Israelite people who were building huge mansions whilst neglecting those who had nothing. And God says: ‘Away with the noise of your songs; I cannot stand your religious festivals. But let justice flow like a river, and righteousness like a never-failing stream.’ For me as a worship leader, that’s quite a wake-up call. It’s like God saying to me, ‘Look – I’m not interested in how great your band sounds, or what amazing songs you’ve written. Are you caring for the lost? Are you looking after the oppressed, the a
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 19
REBOOT | COMMENT widow, the orphan… the people who have nothing?’ That’s the thing that really gives glory to God and makes our songs become a sweet sound; when they’re earthed out of a heart of compassion and love. “Jesus’ mandate was ‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach good news to the poor’. If our worship doesn’t capture a sense of God’s heart for the poor, the lost and the weak, then we’re missing out. Justice is the second most prominent theme in the Old Testament, whilst in the New Testament’s synoptic Gospels, one in ten verses addresses issues of poverty. It’s a very important theme, and must be part of our worship.” “When you’re involved in leading worship as much as we are, it does create a hunger for social action because you’re aware of the fact that you’re only singing, whereas the world is dying,” says Chris Hale from the Asian worship group Aradhna. “That causes a pain in you when you’re singing on stage. There’s an actual physical pain in your body that goes, ‘Lord, I realise that you love it when I worship you, but I also realise that there’s a world that’s dying out there.’ That hunger has led us to people in India who are spending all their time working amongst the poor.” One worship leader most people in Britain would associate with social activism is Andy Flannagan. Andy’s heart for the poor and oppressed has made him the worship leader of choice for any Christian group or event that has social action at its core; Make Poverty History; Speak!; Faithworks; the Micah Challenge…Andy’s led worship for them all. It was a trip to Bangladesh five years ago that first got him thinking about issues of poverty and exploitation, and how to deal with them as a worship leader. “I went with Tearfund, ostensibly to look at some of the garment factories in Dhaka, the capital,” Andy says. “Dhaka has 5,024 garment factories; something you’re wearing right now has most likely come through Bangladesh, even if it doesn’t say ‘Made in Bangladesh’ on the label. In some factories we visited, we saw people sewing ‘Made in the USA’, ‘Made in the UK’ and ‘Made in Germany’ labels onto clothes! “We wanted to see what conditions people were working in, and also what age they were. Sadly, what we found was the classic stereotype: young girls between 12 and 14 who should be in school were forced to work in poor conditions. These folks had moved away from the country; from the agricultural economy that was there before Britain arrived in Bangladesh and wiped out that agricultural economy by saying ‘You don’t want to grow your own crops; you want to grow indigo dye for us.’ And then when we found somewhere cheaper to do it, we just moved on. I felt a real shame as a British citizen being there, knowing that not only had we left this economic hangover, but also a cultural hangover. Quite often, we noticed that when we met people, there were only two mindsets they knew how to work in: the slave or the master.” Tearfund have since launched a campaign called “Lift the Label”, to get people to think about how our consumer choices in the West affect people in the poorest parts of the world. The activist heart isn’t restricted to worship leaders. World Vision has a long history of working in partnership with Christian music artists. And though many people wouldn’t associate hip hop – even the Christian variety – with worship, Greenjade’s relentless work getting young people to steer clear of guns and gangs definitely earns them the ‘worship activist’ tag. The same goes for Jahaziel – not just for his contributions to the anti-gun campaign, but also for his song “Til Ya Crown Comes”, on which he stands in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world. “Anyone calling themselves a Christian, we believe, should commit themselves to being God’s physical helping hands in whatever God has drawn them to,” says Greenjade rapper Wizdom. “For us, we saw a need for Christ’s voice to be heard answering the issue of violence amongst our young people. It was important that we did something that would actually have an effect on ‘road’ level and not be another token gesture. We’ve been in schools now for three years and can honestly say we know that our action has resulted in saving at least one 15-year-old boy’s life, physically and spiritually! The Word of God encourages us to be doers of the work not just hearers. GreenJade are committed to doing the work and not just chatting about it.” 20 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 20 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
REBOOT | BOOKS
AN AGENDA FOR CHANGE Having observed the state of the British church for close to twenty years Joel Edwards documents his observations and recommendations in a controversial new title.
oel Edwards could easily be described as a thinking man’s Christian, or better still a Christian man’s thinker. He has an uncanny ability to simplify complicated ideas into very simple concepts and is a skilled and astute communicator. In his current role as the general director of the Evangelical Alliance UK he is a passionate advocate of both diversity and unity within the church that results in real change in real lives and communities. His book, ‘An Agenda for Change’, is the start of a conversation with spiritual and societal transformation at its core. JE on the book: I have been really encouraged by people’s responses so far. A number of people have described it as ‘challenging’, ‘dangerous’, ‘really encouraging’. A bishop was the first to read it and his response was, “You do realise it could get you into a lot of trouble?” The level of interaction and responsiveness to the material has been really encouraging and, most importantly, people seem to be buying the book. I think our ratio so far in seven venues has been about one in three persons buying a copy after they hear the talk, which the publishers tell me is very encouraging. JE on the need for change: The challenge for the church has always been that it experiences reformation on an ongoing basis. There is never a time when the church stops to evaluate itself, its mission and its response to the world. If we are serious about changing and engaging the world with the message of the kingdom, there are three things we need to consider: how we present Christ credibly to the 21st century; how ‘evangelical’ is understood to be ‘good news’ because that is the meaning of the word; and how we position ourselves for long term spiritual and cultural change, so we are not just surviving or trying to keep our heads down, hoping things will work out. We want to respond positively to these spiritual and cultural changes.
revelation and the unchanging God, is that we think that being right with God means being right about everything else and so there can be an inflexibility in our engagement with the world. We have to consider how to change the packaging and response to other people so that we continue to provide unchanging truth for a changing nation. JE on evangelism in a democratic environment: The idea that the church needs to gain permission to speak into its culture, that it can’t just barge in and shout at the culture but has to receive consent in order to be heard, is its biggest challenge. If we jump to the conclusion that because Britain is a Christian nation we have the right to tell people how to behave, then we make a sad mistake. If, on the other hand, we recognise that we are in a democracy in which we have to argue our case, demonstrate our value to society, prove that the things we are saying make sense to our culture and society, exist for the common good, and lead to wellbeing, spiritual nourishment and a better world, then we have to earn that right. That has always been the case in the Bible but we just haven’t paid attention to that fact. We earn the right to speak when we stop coming across as though the only reason we are on the planet is to defend our own rights and interests, when we stop giving people the impression that our sole purpose is to remind them of how bad they are and how corrupt the whole world is. When we stop telling people about the love of God, when we stop telling people about good news, we lose the right to speak. If we can begin to convince them that good news is about freedom from poverty and from disease, about what happens to children who are excluded from schools and people whose rights and privileges are taken away because of injustice, if we can show them that we are there for them and that the good news of God is about jubilee for everyone, we gain the right to speak. Joel Edwards’s ‘An Agenda For Change’ is available in all good Christian bookshops, or visit www.eauk.org/A4C.
JE on the evangelical challenge: The difficulty with us evangelicals - Pentecostals, Charismatics - who believe in the concept of absolute truth, divine
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 21
REBOOT | SHE SAYS
THROUGH A DAUGHTER’S EYES Having lost her father at a very tender age M.O. Ehioze-Ediae pens an ode to an oft-underappreciated role.
was three and a half years old when I was told that my father would be living in the hospital for a while because he was feeling unwell. I was told he was suffering from some ailment called cancer that made him tired all the time. He looked the same to me but if they said he was ill, then he must have been. The only thing that bothered me was that he would no longer live at home, but when I was told I could visit him everyday, I wiped my tears away and skipped away content. All was right in my world again. My father was my whole world. He took his role as my protector very seriously. No one was allowed to upset me, not even my mother. For every tear I shed, someone somewhere was guaranteed a tongue lashing. Every evening I would sit at the bottom of the stairs, looking through the glass door, eagerly awaiting his return home from work. As soon as I heard his car at the gate, I would rush out of the house, momentarily forgetting my fear of the guard dogs, and throw myself into his arms. In those arms I felt like no harm could come to me. I felt untouchable. When he drove, he would let me sit between his legs. Not a safe thing to do and now I’m older I wouldn’t recommend it, but he couldn’t be in the same space as me and not have me in his arms. Princess, that’s what he called me. He really did make me feel like I was the most special person in the world. Sadly my relationship with him didn’t last very long as he died a few days before I turned four. It was difficult growing up without a father because his death drastically changed the dynamics in my household and my extended family. While I wish he was still with me, I am grateful for the time we spent together. Every time I think about him, I feel warmth engulf me. He may not have been around long but he definitely made every moment we spent together count. Life is unpredictable and sometimes we cannot control our circumstances but 22 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 22 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
Whether you find yourself in the stereotypical ‘cereal television advert’ family or not, the most important things is for a father to let his children know that he loves them and will be there for them as long as he has breath in his body.”
what we can do is make the most of what life throws at us. As I grew older, I watched my friends with their fathers or listened as they talked about them. The only thing that kept bitterness at bay was the knowledge that, though he was no longer with me, he had loved and cared for me with every fibre of his being, and even death could not take that away from me. In the words of the famous writer, Anne Sexton, “It doesn’t matter who my father was, it matters who I remember he was.“ The importance of a father in the life of a child cannot be overemphasized and try as a mother may, she cannot play daddy. My mother did all she could and more but it just wasn’t the same. In an ideal world every child should have a resident father and mother and live happily ever after but it’s no secret that the world is far from perfect. Given the fact that man in himself is imperfect and mortal, it is inevitable that some children will grow up in a different household to their fathers or indeed, without fathers altogether. Whether or not you find yourself in the stereotypical ‘cereal advert’ family, surrounded by a white picket fence, the most important things is for a father to let his children know that he loves them and will be there for them as long as he has breath in his body. Fathers, you are truly special. Surely you must know how much your children adore you?! Unlike the rest of the world, whose love and trust you have to earn, a father has to give his children reason not to love and trust him! Jean de la Fontaine famously said, and I quote, “It is impossible to please all the world and one’s father.” The good news is that more often than not, a child would rather please their father than please the rest of the world. The bad news is that it is easy for a father to manipulate a child’s need to please them. One must ensure that a child knows that regardless of their mistakes, you will always be proud of them, giving them the freedom to be themselves and pursue their own destiny. Afraid the freedom will expose them to the undesirable facets of life? A wise man once said to train them in the way that they should go so that when they are older, they will not depart from it! It must be pretty daunting to know that someone is looking up to you and relying on you to lead them along the path of righteousness and truth. Fear not, you have God and His word to guide you. Like Paul, press on towards the goal which is ahead...the pride that you feel when your child grows into a remarkable adult and the chance to pat yourself on the back for a job well done! I salute you fathers. May your days be filled with pride and joy in your offspring and may you find fulfilment in your mandate.
REBOOT | A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART
THE SPIRITUAL MAN AND LEADERSHIP by Dr Okey Onuzo
n a sense it can be said that a man has leadership thrust upon him; this derives from the Scripture (Genesis 3:16) in which God says to Eve: “… Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” A man may be called to lead at various levels in society; however, of all the leadership roles he may play in life, it can safely be said that the one at home is the hardest and the most complicated. This is because it is at home that he is called to shape the destinies of individuals and nations in a very unique way. So much has been written about leadership by the gurus of the day that one wonders if there is need to write more. But it must be said that the spiritual man is a unique kind of human being in the world. His values and his priorities are different from those of the natural man. Because he is born of God by the Holy Spirit through repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour (John 1:1213), he is working for a boss who has goals and objectives far more comprehensive than any boss on earth can conceive. It is this uniqueness of the spiritual man that the Bible was referring to in I Corinthians 1:2, where it said: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” The spiritual man knows that while he is here in the
world he is called to receive decisions and not make them. Men may counsel him directly, and through books he may have learnt and imbibed leadership principles clearly articulated. In the final analysis, however, whatever he does in a leadership position must first go past his Boss’s table for clearance. Why must this be so? It is because the ultimate Boss of the spiritual man can proverbially see round corners without mirrors. Let me say quite categorically that when we study and imbibe leadership principles articulated by men and women of intellect, it is one of the ways we can multiply the tools available to the Holy Spirit for use in guiding us. But a spiritual man is essentially following his Leader, the Holy Spirit. When we are led by the Spirit of the LORD whatever we have gained in our studies can be put to their best use. But because the Holy Spirit first searches the mind of the omniscient God before giving us counsel, what we do always transcends what we have learnt (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). This is because the counsel we receive from Him is an integrated counsel that has factored where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. For example, a gentleman once said that auditors told him at the end of a certain financial year that his gross earnings had fallen by 10%. The natural counsel was to downsize in some way and tighten things up just in case the trend continued. But when he took the matter to the LORD in prayer, the Holy Spirit counselled him to raise wages by an average of 10%. He effected that decision with some degree of trepidation and waited several months to
The spiritual man knows that he is here in the world to receive decisions and not make them.
gauge the impact. When the auditors returned at the end of the year, they were surprised to see that his gross earnings had increased by 20%. Decisions like the one above are not universally applicable. An expert may tell you that it had a motivational impact on the workers, but it would be a costly mistake to use it everywhere and in every situation as a turnaround principle. This is because when the Holy Spirit searches the mind of God about a particular situation, what He comes up with is tailor-made for that situation. It may be a general principle that one can use here and there, but not necessarily in every situation. This ensures, among other things, that we stay in touch with the Holy Spirit always, instead of trying to second-guess Him. The spiritual man can be said to be facing his trickiest challenge when leading his family. He is called to make decisions that affect the present and future of the entire members of his family. He is called to make inputs that will define character, shape visions, and inspire godliness in his next generation. He is called
to model love and friendship and to inspire the spirit of service and sacrifice in the next generation. His children are watching daily to see how he demonstrates kindness, affection, sensitivity to the feelings of others, self-control and a depth of meekness that should govern every word and conduct. I recall that several years ago the Holy Spirit used Joshua 3:3-4 to guide me. When paraphrased, it says something like this: “Keep your eyes on the ark, for you have not been this way before.” The Communion of the Holy Spirit is therefore the most important leadership tool available to the spiritual man. What the Holy Spirit says to us fits Biblical principles into life without being dogmatic. It also factors our endowment and the impact of our environment into decisions that affect our destinies. This is the way the Bible puts it: “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you (Ps. 32:8).” Again in Psalm 16:7: “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.” The Communion of the Holy Spirit works effectively at home, at church and even in the boardroom. No matter the decision we have to make, and no matter the subject or object, those who hear God can sense His voice of counsel and direction. The leadership style of the Spiritual Man is modelled after the greatest leader the world ever knew, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And this is what Jesus said about His own modus operandi: “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me (John 5:30).” The LORD God Almighty has given the mind of Christ to the Spiritual Man and sent him into the world to rescue and direct the lives of men, families and nations towards the fulfilment of their destinies on earth. Are you a spiritual man? Do you hear God?
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 23
hen the then Secretary of State for Education and Skills, David Blunkett, announced in March 2000 the Labour government’s City Academy programme, aimed at transforming secondary education, the sceptics immediately went to town, denouncing the merits of such a scheme. However those with foresight quickly jumped on board, recognising the immense opportunity it afforded them to get involved in steering the course of education in the UK. Three of those visionaries were Sir Peter Vardy, Graham Dacre and Bob Edmiston. Vardy, Dacre and Edmiston are three men with a lot in common. Firstly, they’re all well-publicised Christians; secondly, they’re all immensely wealthy and feature regularly in the Sunday Times Rich List; thirdly, they all made their fortunes in the motor trade; and, fourthly, they all share a common vision to see Christianity play an influential role in shaping the educational curriculum of UK schools. City Academies were legally created by the Learning and Skills Act of 2000, which amended the section of the Education Act of 1996 relating to City Technology Colleges. Academies, as they’re now known, are state-funded independent schools established to provide a first-rate free education and managed by sponsors from a wide range of backgrounds, including high performing schools and colleges, universities, individual philanthropists, businesses, the voluntary sector, and the faith communities. The idea behind the setting up of these academies is to create academic centres of excellence that make a complete break with cultures of low aspiration, which apparently afflict many communities in England and their schools. While some existing secondary schools have been converted into academies, many have been started from scratch with a combination of public and private sector funds. In return for contributing ten per cent of the academy’s capital costs, (approximately £2m of the £25 million typically required), the sponsor is able to input into the process of establishing the school, including its curriculum, ethos and building (if a new one is being built). The sponsor also has the power to appoint individuals to the academy’s governing body. The remainder of the capital and running costs are met by the state through Local Authority funded grants. The length of time it takes to establish an academy varies, depending on the individual project and whether the Academy is being created from a preexisting under-performing school or being built from scratch. All academies are bound by the same School Admissions Code, SEN Code of Practice and exclusions guidance as other state-funded schools and are required to follow the National Curriculum programmes of study in English, Maths, Science and ICT, but each is unique. Sponsors are called upon to challenge traditional 24 OUTFLOW
REBOOT | EDUCATION
ACADEMIC REFORMATION and the three wise men Words by John Zach
Above: Images of Emmanuel College, King’s Academy and Trinity Academy, all part of Sir Peter Vardy’s Emmanuel Schools Foundation. Right (L-R): Graham Dacre, Bob Edmiston and Sir Peter Vardy.
thinking on how schools are run and what they should be like for students. This is where faith communities have been given almost a free hand to create faith academies with government backing and a large proportion of public funding. Even though the Education Act 2002 repealed the arrangement that allowed schools with a religious character to reserve places for children of their own faith or denomination, faith schools are still allowed to give priority for admission to children on the basis of religious affiliation. This arrangement means that children from all backgrounds can be exposed to the influence of studying in a faith community and this has long been a bone of contention with opposition groups many who do not boast any faith persuasion. The Christian-influenced City Academy schools sponsored by the likes of Vardy, Dacre and Edmiston are in high demand, with parents battling to secure admission for their children, but the schools’ curriculum hasn’t been without controversy. In particular, opposition groups find the decision to place emphasis on the teaching of creationism alongside evolution (Darwinism), coupled with the condemnation of the practice of homosexuality, offensive. In this respect Bob Edmiston’s views are well defined. He informed the Times Educational Supplement of 7 April 2006 that “Our country is based on Christian values - the fact that our schools have a Christian ethos should be of no concern.” His views are firmly supported by Vardy, who in a BBC Radio 4
interview in March 2002 stated that “It was the churches that started education, and it’s amazing that it’s come as such a surprise now that churches and Christians believe in creation”. As expected the Academy model is proving very attractive to Christian organisations as a way of influencing education on a small financial outlay. Of the 46 academies opened by October 2006, about 14 were entirely in the control of Christian organisations or evangelical Christians, with more being established every year. Undoubtedly, these organisations have the power to decide what is taught and how it is taught. For instance Bob Edmiston sponsors and controls two City Academy projects in Chelmsley Wood, Solihull and Woodway Park, Coventry, both called Grace Academy as a tribute to his faith. Graham Dacre is the founder of the charitable Lind Trust which, in partnership with the Bishop of Norwich, has set about creating a new academy on the site of Heartsease High School. Sir Peter Vardy is the visionary behind the acclaimed Emmanuel College in Gateshead which achieves consistently outstanding academic results and regularly receives glowing Ofsted reports. Another Vardy sponsored school is King’s Academy in Middlesbrough. As other wealthy Christian investors, like engineering magnate Eric Payne, step forward to sponsor academies it is easy to imagine a future Britain where God once more features prominently on the educational curriculum and academic agenda. No doubt Peter, Graham and Bob will go down in history as pioneers of the academic reformation.
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 25
REBOOT | FATHERHOOD
THE FATHER FACTOR
With the evident link between good parenting and successful offspring Otty J.Warmann wonders whether the cure for all society’s ills doesn’t lie in diligent and responsible fatherhood.
ahweh, James, Earl, Anthony and Lincoln. The first of these names is one you are probably familiar with. The others, though not instantly recognizable, have contributed much to modern society. Each has been through that thing which makes men laugh and cry, endure sleepless nights, sport premature grey hairs (or lose it altogether) and purchase people carriers. Their contributions are similar and, importantly, came in spite of differing backgrounds, social class and location. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about fatherhood. Fatherhood is an age-old concept that thrusts large responsibility on the man for the survival and wellbeing of his child. Having celebrated Fathers Day a few months ago, I would like to believe that the occasion accorded a big pat on the back for all. However, I am not naïve enough to believe that there weren’t children without a father to celebrate or fathers too far removed from their children, by choice or otherwise, to have really enjoyed the sentiment. It is true that the single mother is no longer uncommon in today’s culture; 26 OUTFLOW
26 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
My dad has been the biggest influence on my career. He’s brought me up well and set standards for me.” - Micah Richards neither is the father whose presence in the home is sorely missed. Unquestionably the role of the father is a challenging one. Even so, I suppose that too many have abdicated their responsibility without fully understanding its importance. Rather than dwell on the negative connotations of poor fatherhood, I prefer to expose the explicit links between good fathers and successful children. You see, the four lesser known names mentioned at the beginning of this piece are all credited as successful fathers because of the impact their influence has had on their children. For improved perspective I might add
that their family names are, respectively, Jordan, Woods, Hamilton and Richards – fathers to the well-known sporting stars Michael (basketball), Tiger (golf), Lewis (Formula 1) and Micah (football). Today we enjoy the prowess of these athletes (and many others not mentioned) because, by their own assertion, they either have, or had, fathers who pushed them, directed them, encouraged, disciplined and loved them. Men have been charged with an assignment to ‘train a child in the way he should go [so that] when he is old he will not turn from it’ (Proverbs 22.6). As the scripture instructs, fathers should ‘teach’ their children the values and principles required to navigate the waters of life. For the Jordan and Woods families discipline was high on the curriculum. With fathers hailing from military backgrounds, one as a Lieutenant Colonel and the other a Commander Sergeant Major, it is little surprise that both Michael and Tiger are renowned for their diligence and fierce application to perfecting their craft. Despite both being naturally gifted, their success lies in choosing to work harder than their competitors. Tiger has been known to hit golf balls for 14 hours in a day, and Michael possessed a similar ethic as a player. Fathers must model what their children will emulate. I smile when Jesus states, “My Father is always at work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5.17). To ensure Lewis Hamilton was able to pursue his dream of becoming a driver, his father simultaneously worked three jobs. I am sure that seeing this would have encouraged Lewis to be dogged in pursuit of his goal. The principle applies in so many ways. You want to raise honest children? Be honest. You want integrity to be their middle name? Make it yours. Wouldn’t mind ‘role model’ to be on their resume? I think you get the picture. And there is so much more. A father must correct his child. In fact, so paramount is this that the Bible considers doing so to be proof of love (Proverbs 3.11-12). The case of Micah Richards is applicable. Having grown up in Chaplestown, renowned to be one of the ‘rougher’ parts of Leeds, it is likely that without guidance Micah would have followed many of his contemporaries into drug use or gang violence. Interestingly, his next-door neighbour, an exteammate of Micah’s who was reportedly a footballer of greater ability, grew up without a father figure and is today in jail. This is in stark contrast to Micah’s current status as an England international and arguably Manchester City Football Club’s most valuable asset. It is little wonder therefore that Micah speaks so highly of his father: “I’ve been able to deal with what’s come my way. That’s down to dad. He’s brought me up well. My dad is a strong character. He is very principled. He has set standards for me. He has been the biggest influence on my career.” How different would society be if more children could speak of their fathers in this fashion? As men, we are called to lead, direct and guide. This is the case within marital relationships as well as between father and child. Our heavenly Father states, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is
best for you, who directs you in the way you should go” (Isaiah 48 v.17). Mr. Woods displayed a similar confidence in knowing how to raise Tiger. Having detected his golfing ability at an early age, he made it his goal to harness it correctly. Today the consensus is that, ‘Earl Woods guided, nurtured, managed and inspired his child prodigy’. I get the feeling that some fathers would argue it is difficult to model this level of foresight concerning their children, or that it is not always as clear cut as in Tiger’s case. Though I agree in part with this sentiment, I feel more strongly that if the necessary time and attention is invested into our children, foresight is not beyond any father. Inevitably men will be stronger at some aspects of fatherhood than others. Even so, there should, one feels, be some common traits that are paramount and these are to love and to feed their children; and I don’t simply speak of the food that nourishes the body. All the fathers mentioned fed their children encouragement, praise and wisdom. Fascinatingly, these must be communicated in time spent, conversation and actions. Its value is of a far higher premium than anything which is tangibly given. Why? Because these are the experiences that shape and stay with us; they cannot be tainted by inflated interest rates. Sound judgment would advise that fathers feed their children early, before outside sources less qualified indulge themselves. I often enjoy reading the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan. In spite of all that Satan said, Jesus’ response always began with, ‘It is written…’ Considering that all scripture is ‘God breathed’, effectively Jesus is saying ‘My daddy says…’ As a teacher, I have heard kids say that too. Their dad has told them something and as far as they are concerned, daddy knows everything so you cannot convince them otherwise. Fathers must equip their children to face equivalent testing. For Micheal Jordan, perhaps his greatest test was when he failed to make his college basketball team. Devastated, he may have been forgiven for concluding that basketball was not for him. But it was at this time that his father encouraged him further and taught him to deal with disappointment. Needless to say, Michael returned the following year, made the team and the rest, as they so poignantly say, is history. And then there is the greatest commandment of all: to love. ‘The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands’ (John 3 v.35). Hearing the way these athletes speak about their fathers makes it clear that above all the worldly success they have enjoyed, a special bond that is established in love exists. Speaking about his late father, Tiger once said, “My dad was my best friend and greatest role model. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.” Am I saying that to be a good dad means that your child will become an athlete or prominent personality in society? Or that fathers must join the military or work numerous jobs? Of course not! Good fatherhood, much like leadership, is delivered differently, dependent on the many variables that make us unique, and
The inscription on a statue of Tiger and his late father, unveiled in 2006, is a quote of Earl’s, which reads, “I challenge you to make a difference in the world, to reach higher and farther than you ever imagined.” life interesting. What should be common to all is a desire to escort children along the path of becoming who God designed them to be. I contend that doing so would offer far greater satisfaction than worldly fame or fortune, both to the parent and the child. And yes, undoubtedly there are always exceptions to rules or norms, so those without any recognizable father figure need not feel discouraged. Fatherless children can be successful, just as youths with good parents can grow into troublesome adults. However, I would still play the odds that say good fathers raise good children. It is time for fathers, and those aspiring to the role, to step up. I am aware that the rise of the ‘independent woman’ has convinced some men that they are not needed. The lady already has a house, a car and can even be impregnated by IVF treatment. However, technology and science can advance all it likes, and women can attend all the ‘empowerment’ retreats and seminars they wish; God did not make a mistake in creating man and nothing will ever effectively replace us. Just as there are certain things only women can do, the same is true of men. Not only do our children need us, but society does too. Have you considered that many of the social problems we face today can be solved at home? I am certainly not against anti-gun campaigns and other initiatives of this nature, but I don’t suppose they would be necessary if men would be men. Fatherhood is more than getting a woman pregnant. Fittingly Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14 v.9). Effectively, he was saying that he behaves as his father does and in doing so, we see God through him. Essentially this is why Jesus was a model of perfection, as his father still is. Fathers must strive for this to be their testimony. I smile when people use the phrase, ‘like father, like son’, because it is so true. I have seen boys repeat phrases their fathers use, or physically look similar, or treat women as their father has modeled. I have seen girls tie their laces as taught by their father or present themselves with the same attention to detail their dad displayed. The influence that fathers potentially have is quite humbling, and yet we appear to live in an age where, for a number of aspiring dads, the model of good fatherhood is not to be like their own biological fathers. This is a tragedy that needs addressing. My question to you is this: when people look at your son or daughter, who do they see?
EVENT REVIEW | MMQ @ SILVERSTONE
MMQ goes to the races
Not content with magazines and other resources for men, Mandate Ministries took the next natural step - it sponsored a race car. 30 OUTFLOW
Clockwise from top left: Welcome to Silverstone; The MMQ Mobile; Colin Tomlin and Joseph Onwuchekwa get to grips with the peculiar quirks of Formula Ford; The car in action; Colin attempts to showcase his vast knowledge on the subject; Simon Butler, the ‘Racing Vicar’. Main image: Back to the garage after a hard day’s racing.
he afternoon of Thursday 8th May 2008 saw the MMQ Team converge upon Silverstone for the sponsored ‘PowerNights: Thursday Evening Summer Motorsport’ event. There were motorsport virgins aplenty, with this being the first trip to Silverstone – or any kind of live race – for each of the team members. The most important debutant, however, was the MMQ-sponsored Formula Ford single-seater car, driven by regular MMQ contributor Simon Butler. While this wasn’t a first for either car or driver, it was the first with the MMQ masthead sitting proudly on the side of the vehicle. Butler, the ‘Racing Vicar’ introduced in the Spring edition of the magazine, describes the British Formula Ford Championship as the most vibrant single-seater championship in the world, one which is attracting a huge amount of interest from motorsport fans around the globe. MMQ looked on as Simon placed six in the final grid after two races, something he appeared not very pleased about. OUTFLOW
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 31
out of the shadows Nigel Benn drops the gloves so he can take up his cross.
Interview by Colin Tomlin Words by ‘Lanre Iroche Photographs by Ade Okelarin
sk a boxing fan, any boxing fan, what the greatest fight they had ever seen was, and there is one that will crop up time and again. It may surprise non-boxing aficionados that the fight in question didn’t involve anyone by the name of Tyson, Lennox or Ricky but this fight took place in the Docklands on February 25th 1995 before a crowd of over ten thousand, with another 17 million estimated to have watched on TV, and was a title bout for the WBC Super Middleweight championship. In one corner stood the American challenger, a man considered by many to have been the most dangerous inside a boxing ring at the time. In the other was the British World champion, a man one writer described as the most exciting, simply because you weren’t sure which version of him would show up for the fight. The WBC title was the second in what had been a relatively short professional career for Nigel Benn and the challenger was a man whose pedigree was unquestioned, a WBO and WBC world champion of the middleweight division who had moved up in weight class to contend for this title. While the home fans continued to place their trust in the man they called ‘The Dark Destroyer’, most pundits felt the challenger would be walking away with the gold. After all Gerald McClellan was a man who rarely took a fight the distance – he had the quickest knockout time in middleweight history – and one pundit was quoted as saying that Benn only stood a chance 32 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 32 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2008
“if he could get past the first three rounds”. The fight seemed to support this assertion as Benn was sent crashing through the ropes in the first round – he would later be dropped in the eighth as well – but the English champion came fighting back with the flurry of punches that stunned the challenger. The fight was the first time McClellan had gone beyond the eighth round in his professional career and writers still eulogise about Benn’s refusal to lose. No-one can really say but, whether due to pain, fatigue or bewilderment, or a combination of all three, McClellan dropped to one knee in a corner in the ninth round. He returned for the tenth and Benn connected with a straight right which forced him to drop again, only to get up at the 8 count to meet an uppercut from Benn that sent him down for a second time in the round. McClellan stayed on his knee for the full 10-count, Benn had retained his title against the odds and that seemed to be that. The rest of the story is one that is as familiar to those who loathe the pugilist’s sport as to those who follow it religiously. McClellan collapsed in his corner and was rushed off to hospital, where he had to have emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain. He survived but spent weeks in a coma and was found to have suffered extensive brain damage once he had regained consciousness. He lost his eyesight, the ability to walk unassisted and became 80 percent deaf. a
FEATURE | NIGEL BENN
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 33
FEATURE | NIGEL BENN
“I would rather learn Psalm 119 than win the world title.” 34 OUTFLOW
34 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
FEATURE | NIGEL BENN It is poignant that a night that should have gone down as the greatest of this talented boxer’s career will be forever be remembered for the tragic misfortune of his opponent and Benn’s bout with McClellan still remains the most regularly cited by those campaigning for the sport to be outlawed, more than thirteen years afterwards. Benn himself is long retired to the Spanish island of Mallorca, where he lives with his family. At 44 he is fitter and trimmer than many men half his age and when MMQ meets him it is both difficult and easy – he still has those ‘you might not want to mess with me’ features – to imagine that this is the same dreadlocked Dark Destroyer of over a decade ago. A man whose delivery is as honest and to-thepoint as his ferocious jabs, he talks to MMQ about life, boxing and getting involved in a new type of fight for a much greater prize. MMQ: The first question, really, is who is Nigel Benn? NB: It is so funny [that] you ask me that. I think about maybe a year ago, two years ago, I was still struggling with who I was. Really, I mean I was in tears. For twenty-odd years I had been somebody that [wasn’t] really me. Wherever I’d go I’d get “Dark Destroyer” and would think ‘Yeah, that’s me’, but it wasn’t. That wasn’t the man God created; the media created him, but you just go with it. You think, ‘Yeah, I’m the best thing since sliced bread’ and you get caught up in all that. I was caught up in that for so many years; and it wasn’t just the money. It was the drugs, the women, everything that was thrown at you, and you get sucked in. It is hard to deal with, really hard. But Jesus found me [and] that’s why I am now the man God created me to be. It has taken a long time and I had to go through the pits of hell – well, I don’t know what hell is like but it wasn’t far from it – the heartache o f
MMQ: And what would you say was your identity now? NB: I am a son of God. The one thing about being born again, as Luke 9.23 says, is taking up my cross and following Him [and that’s what I’m trying to do]. You know, just being a servant. MMQ: So I guess the Dark Destroyer is dead and Nigel Benn, the son and servant of God, has taken his place? NB: Amen to that. It is so funny; we had like a thousand to fifteen hundred [press] clippings from about 1986-1994 [which] we just put in the garden. We burnt every single bit of it. My wife never loved boxing. She said she would rather live in a council flat with nothing than to go through what we went through. She was never materialistic and I found a woman who didn’t really care about wealth, absolutely not at all. MMQ: And of course it can’t have been easy for her seeing you get battered and bruised in the ring. NB: When I fought Gerald McClellan she nearly got in the ring. They had to stop her from going over when I got knocked down. She wanted to get in the ring. Coming out of that fight I had a damaged nose and jaw, two damaged kidneys and a shadow on my brain. That was just from one fight and she’s seen me go through that throughout my career. MMQ: Who would you say was your greatest influence growing up? NB: My dad was my hero. He brought up seven hardcore boys. [He and mum] worked two jobs and were great role models. He [was the one who] encouraged me to join the army. I was going off the rails so he said, “Look boy, you better go and join the army and look after yourself.” I spent four years in the army and I owe a lot to it. The army made me what I am today. MMQ: Would that be in terms of discipline, focus? NB: Discipline-wise and the boxing, I learnt that all from the army. I’d get up early and I’d train. I love training. I would train in any kind of weather. MMQ: So boxing started in the army? NB: It started when I was eleven or twelve. I grew up with six brothers [so] we used to fight. MMQ: Every night is a title fight… NB: Yeah…we loved each other though we all used to fight. I can’t speak more highly of my mum and dad but we had some ‘rumbles in the jungle’ [back then].
hurting mother, father, brothers, friends, my wife. Y o u know, just getting caught up in it.
MMQ: You turned pro in 1987 and had your first win over Graham Ahmed? Then in 1989 you fought Michael Watson. 1990 saw the first of the epic bouts with Chris Eubank. NB: I remember that fight well. I remember all my fights really. I think when I was defeated by Michael Watson that was like [having] the whole world on my shoulders because that day I’d just got my hair all plaited and the outfit I had on, this sparkly outfit…It was all sparkling white, gold and sparkling white, but the difference is I
never knew the material had to be treated. I was itching all over. The [Watson] defeat was really hard to digest because you think you are invincible, that nobody can beat you. It was like the world crashed down on me; I cried my eyes out. Then I went away to America and won a world title and when I came back I met Chris. I’d never met anybody like him. For one thing he is as hard as granite. He is really rock solid. He and Michael Watson made me look small. Chris had to shrink down [in size] to make it [in his weight division]. MMQ: That fight in 1990 was THE fight of that year because you had two people who, by all accounts, hated each others guts. Plus there was a lot riding on that fight. NB: It was all down to ignorance. I was meant to [weigh in at] eleven stone six for the fight, but I was like twelve stone. This was two hours before the weigh-in. I’d been eating healthily but I’d been watching videos so all the food I’d been eating was just sitting in my stomach. So in the morning I had to run three miles on the treadmill and I had to spend at least half an hour in and out of the steam bath. In about two hours I got down to eleven stone six and three quarter pounds. Not taking anything away from Chris because it was his night, [because] no matter what I had done he would have beaten me. It was his night. I think by the third or fourth round he got his thumb right in my eye and every time he hit me [after that] it was like a needle prick in the eye. When the referee stopped it I thought praise God for the referee because I was in so much pain. It was [Chris’] night and he enjoyed it, praise God. MMQ: And then of course you met again in 1993 and a lot of people reckoned that you won that fight, even though the result was a draw. NB: That was not as good as the first because [during the first fight] we didn’t know each other’s moves. But the second fight was like ‘Okay, I’ll hold onto you too’. But I got that belt round my waist [and] I got my paycheck, so it wasn’t too bad. I really thank God for bringing Chris around because I needed him and he needed me. MMQ: And then we get to 1995 and Gerald McClellan… NB: I know the fight well. It is so sad. I’d been working with Don King and they asked me to fight Michael Nunn for a hundred grand less. I was like “Fight Michael Nunn for a hundred grand less? I am the champion.” Only one person had me down to win, everyone had me blown out in one or two rounds. But that’s not me. If you knock me down I am going to get up, and in the first round he really battered me. Danny Mancini took over as my trainer, because the other guy was inexperienced and this was a big fight. [Even when I was getting battered] Danny said to me, “Look at him, look at the state of him.” He wasn’t in a state but Danny made me believe it, so I said, “Yeah, ring the bell, ring the bell!” Now if my other trainer had said to me, “Nige, you are getting battered in there, he is beating you up,” my morale would have dropped. Even when [McClellan] put me down again in a
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 35
FEATURE | nigel benn round eight I got up and I shook him. To be honest with you, for financial reasons I HAD to win. To [maintain] the lifestyle that I wanted to live, I had to win. MMQ: And how do you deal with the repercussions of the fight? NB: My agent and I put on a big show at the Grosvenor Hotel for him and when I met [McClellan] it was really sad to see. It was like, “Who is that?” “Nigel.” “Who is that?” “Nigel.” “Who is that?” “NIGEL!!!” He had me in tears because he said, “Did you do this to me? It’s okay, I forgive you.” And he kept on repeating it. His sister is a nurse and she’d been looking after him for years, and it was the first time that we had come face-to-face. We didn’t say a word, we didn’t even look at each other, we just held hands and sat on the bed and we just cried. I didn’t look at her, I just cried. We [did] what we could [for him]. Thank God I was in a position to be able to do that. MMQ: And you were partly able to do that because boxing made you a household name. NB: All I ever wanted was my terraced house and my BMW. That was it. Then all of a sudden it all changes. Everybody wants a piece of you. You go from the police stopping you in the streets for speeding to them asking for your autograph. Everything changes. [And while] that may be the good side there is always the other side: the drugs, the sex, the rock and roll. MMQ: And you got caught up in all that? NB: It’s all there and you [do] get caught in that. The women, the fame, the drugs. All that sort of stuff. It’s a long story which I hope will be out this year when I release my book. MMQ: But you left the boxing ring for good not too long after the McClellan fight? NB: When I fought Steve Collins (the WBO champion Benn fought on two occasions), things started changing in my life. I had lost the will to fight and [if I’m honest] was searching for love and acceptance. MMQ: And that search set the Dark Destroyer on the road to ‘The Light’? NB: All my life I kept [falling into the temptation to] have affairs. There was this hold that I could not break and I kept asking myself “Why are you doing this?” “Why do you keep hurting this woman that you love so much?” I was struggling with this addiction to women [in my] search for someone to love me. I just wanted someone to put their arms around me and love me for me. In 1998 I [drove down] to Streatham Common and decided to take my life because I was in so much pain. I remember I put a hose from the exhaust into the car but on three occasions it fell out of the window. I guess I realised then that God had other plans for me. And that’s where I believe that I had an encounter with God. I just knew it had to be God, why I did not die [after] taking sleeping tablets and wine. MMQ: So that was your turning point. How about the process of transformation? How was that? 36 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 36 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
Many of us men seem to think God needs us so much that we need to neglect our homes to do His work. We need to talk care of business at home first.” NB: I started going to church and at one of the meetings (at Pastor Tony Miller’s church) I met a prophetess called Sharon Stone who told me a lot about my life. She talked about God wanting to ‘repair the cable to my family life’. I didn’t really understand what she was saying [at the time but] soon after that things starting changing. I started reading the Bible with my wife and I remember being captivated by the story of David. When I was reading it was as if I was right there with David. I was right there running, fighting. It took my breath away. My life began to change and I had to confront my old life. I had to confess to my
wife about having affairs [throughout] the seventeen years of our marriage. I had to stand in front of my wife, my pastor, my church and humble myself by telling them the truth. The thing is, even though it was very humiliating it was also very liberating because for the first time I had stepped out of the dark and really into the Light, just as it says in 1 John 1.5. I felt such peace and love, the very thing I was searching for all my life. MMQ: What is the focal point of your life now? NB: Jesus! He has to be the focal point because he took me out of a pit. So for me being in a place of repentance means I can be a good example to my kids. It is so rewarding seeing my kids grow up, especially my daughter. She was a female version of me but now she has found the Lord and is happily married so I feel so blessed. This is all from Jesus being in my life. His word says “draw near to me and I will draw near to you. You draw away from me and I will draw away from you”. He has helped me to see things from a totally different point of view. MMQ: You talk about your wife a lot and it is clear that she is special to you. Tell us about her? NB: She is my helper [and] my best mate. My wife is the best helper ever. She is the best! I honestly believe God put me with her
FEATURE | NIGEL BENN
know, but I’m her helper as well. I don’t look at it one way; we are both together and we are trying together to be as one in the body of Christ. The most important thing is for men to have unity with their wives. In 1 Timothy 3.5 it talks about a man managing his household before managing God’s church. Many of us men seem to think God needs us so much that we need to neglect our homes to do His work. We need to talk care of business at home first. We have to be able to open our ears to hear what [our wives have to] say. I used to be like, “Yeah okay, I’m just watching football” [but I’ve realised] you have to have time with your wife, [to know] what she is really thinking, what is in her heart. It is like when you get up and spend quality time with the Lord, not speaking, just listening. We are too quick to tell Him what we want or what we need.
Benn with daughter India
because if not I’d be in debt or in a mental institution. I would have lost everything and I would have tried to come back [as a boxer]. How many boxers come back and make it? I used to have £2000, £3000 in my pocket when we first met and she never said anything, and then after two years she said, “What have you got to have all that money for?” She used to give me like £250. But I love her for that because [of] what I am feeling now. I may moan but we laugh about it and I thank God for giving me such a wonderful woman, because she has guided me. [She] looked after my kids from my first marriage and my kids and I love her to death. Well not to death but you understand [what I mean]. We actually got married on the sixteenth of May this year. We have been married three times, never been divorced, but now we are truly born again and now I understand what my vows mean. I didn’t when I first got married. In Ephesians 5, the Bible says a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh. So I’ll help with the ironing and the cooking. I love cooking anyway but I try to take something off her workload. I do the homework with the children, I do the studying with them, I read with them. Even if the washing needs putting on, I try and do what needs to be done in the house and not leave it all to my wife. Before, I had never been accountable, but now I am accountable to my wife. We have to always be in agreement. God made Eve to be Adam’s helper, you
MMQ: And your family, how do you see your role as a godly father to your kids? NB: I have seven children, a son and two daughters from my first marriage and a son and two daughters from my second marriage. I also have another son. What makes me feel good is knowing that my first son and daughter are now both Christians. [With the children] I look at my past and how [my actions] affected their lives and what happened in the past. The thing is that we all have to look at ourselves and check how we are raising our children. Sometimes I am a bit strict and we have to be careful how we bring Christ into our home. We need to find ways of making it fun. I am learning to love my kids as Christ loved me; being patient and not harsh. I need to give the children a soft word as the Bible talks about a gentle answer turning away wrath, while a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15.1). I am just trying to be a father that loves the Lord but without bombarding the children with it. For me as long as my kids have a personal relationship with God then I’m happy whether they are a sportsman or a waiter or a missionary. As long as they truly know Jesus that’s all that matters. MMQ: What does being a man mean to you? NB: Standing up and being counted as a parent, as a husband, and standing up to your responsibility. Being able to respect your wife and your kids. It’s about looking after your kids. It’s also about playing a part in the household as well. We are not talking about being physically strong and being able to punch someone. That’s not being a man. It’s about being a gentleman, being accountable. And you have to be otherwise we lose it. MMQ: What message of hope do you have for the men in the UK? NB: In a nutshell, there is no other way to live than to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I could talk about things like prosperity and long life but it’s none of that stuff. It’s just about having a personal relationship with Him. If I tell you anything else then I’m not telling you the truth. Jesus tells us “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…”
It’s all about the Great Commission. If it’s not about Jesus then there is no point in me talking. It’s just hot air.” So he is saying “Come to me how you are and watch me change you”. So if you’re struggling with drugs, sex, cigarettes [or] any addictions, the change only comes through Christ. He says “Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open to you”. He tells you [this] but you’ve got to believe it. The hope for any man is through Jesus. The only solution is finding Jesus and anytime I can, I talk about it. MMQ: What’s your take on the spate of violent crimes taking place in the UK? NB: The gun crime is just out of control. There is no authority any more. It is like they’ve given the authority to kids. When I was growing up, if I was cheeky I’d get a clip round the ear from the police and then I’d be in more trouble when my dad would come to get me. Nowadays, you’ve got guys shooting or stabbing people and boasting about getting [a life sentence]. When I was in Wales the other day, the press came down to find out what I was doing with my life [and they were] talking about the stabbings that have been going on. And I was saying that life is changing; even what [the young people] are watching on TV. Everything is just opening up. They want to take Jesus out of schools; they want to take religious education out. And you can see the consequences of not having Jesus in the schools. I was saying to the journalist that we are protected by Jesus. We are protected by His blood. In Deuteronomy 30.19 God says “I set before you life and death; a blessing and a curse….choose life”. So He is saying we are given life and death. By choosing life we are protected. By us choosing Jesus we have eternal life in Heaven, where our spirits live on. [But] they don’t understand that. They don’t understand [that] the only solution is finding Jesus. It’s the only solution and anytime I can, I talk about it. MMQ: What can we expect from Nigel in the future? What do you believe that God has in store for you? NB: I think God wants me to help men who’ve had lives where they think there’s no way out. He wants me to spread the good news and encourage men. He wants me to dedicate my life to Him and prepare myself for what He has in store for me. As my wife tells me I need to dedicate my life and prepare in the same way I dedicated it to boxing when I was a world champion. It’s all about the Great Commission. I can’t talk about anything else. It’s all about Jesus! If it’s not about Jesus then there is no point in me talking. It’s just hot air. It’s all about Jesus.
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SPECIAL FEATURE | CHRISTIAN FASHION
THROWING AWAY THE GIFT Men & Suicide
Records suggest an increase in male suicide rates, or at least in systematic suicidal thought patterns amongst the male of the species. Words by Caspar Murphy
“The thought of suicide is a powerful solace: by means of it one gets through many a bad night.” (Nietzsche: 1886)
s a psychotherapist, I find myself sympathetic to this arguably tactless remark from the famous 19th century German philosopher. My profession has required me to immerse myself in the painful realities of the troubled minds of hundreds of men and women that I have seen over the past 11 years of clinical practice. I acknowledge the ‘comfort’ that suicidal thoughts can bring to a chronically depressed individual. Indeed, I would argue that suicidal thoughts are not simply the preserve of the distressed or unwell; they thrive just as abundantly in the ‘mentally well’ community. However, it is here that this communication of inner distress often remains taboo, as the mere mention of thoughts of suicide often leads to catastrophic reactions from loved ones, family and friends. Veiled, and sometimes explicit, threats of being dragged off to a GP, or even to hospital, often terrify an individual enough to ensure that they rapidly bury their suicidal thoughts even deeper. There then often follows a collective sigh of relief, and the whole ‘unpleasant business’ can be written off as a temporary glitch. However, it is this avoidance of reality that should sound alarm bells for all of us, particularly men. As we can see from the plethora of articles about men’s struggles with emotional expression, including the professed crisis of male identity, the existence of the ‘transitional’ man, the ‘metrosexual’ man, the ‘strong’ man, the ‘feminised’ man, it is arguable that male naval gazing has rarely received such flagrant encouragement. However, whilst this phenomenon of ‘man as interesting emotional object to observe’ has increased in this first decade of the 21st century, the numbers of men who continue to be so distressed and depressed that they are prepared to either kill or seriously harm themselves has also 38 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 38 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
increased. A brief internet search of male suicide statistics reveals contradictory results, contrasting from a steady decline in the UK since the 1990s, to an escalating global phenomenon. Whatever the absolute figures, either for this small island or across the wider world, the messages are unequivocal; men continue to kill themselves and men continue to struggle to verbalise their distress.
“Sometimes it can feel easier to kill yourself than to show your despair to others.” (Seidler V.J: 2005)
his thought provoking statement can be found in the introduction to a book about male health and emotions, from a scholar and professor at Goldsmiths College. It forms part of his response to the global phenomenon of rising numbers of male suicides. This short sentence resonates powerfully for me as it encapsulates the enormity of the challenge facing many of us who work with men in distress today. In my professional capacity, my approach with men who may be contemplating suicide is to actively encourage the free expression of suicidal thoughts, to positively promote the articulation of negative feelings about themselves and the world around them. My professional, and personal, experience has taught me that to be listened to empathically and non-judgmentally is one of the best means of overcoming despair. But if the response is one of disbelief, horror, and condemnation, compounded by statements such as “You must stop feeling that way, you have so much to live for,” and/ or “You’re a Christian, it goes against God’s word”, the suicidal person is likely to withdraw from discussion and feel unbearably ashamed of their feelings, and also to feel weak in their faith. Such shame can lead to a lonely journey where powerful, destructive emotions become internalized, ultimately increasing in strength and urgency as any hope of release from despair drifts away. In
FEATURE | MEN AND SUICIDE
some c a s e s the only relief the suicidal person may subscribe to is one of self-destruction. As a Christian, I am conscious of the varying views from fellow Christians towards suicide, and even to suicidal thoughts, including those that any person committing suicide will ultimately find themselves in hell as it is God who decides when and how a person should die, and that to take that power into your own hands should be viewed as blasphemous. However, I am also aware that suicide is described in the Bible on a number of occasions, examples including, Saul (1 Samuel 31: 3-6), wounded and defeated in battle, and electing to fall on his own sword, with his armour-bearer choosing the same fate immediately afterwards; Ahitophel (2 Samuel 17: 23) through hanging himself, following his failed plot to overthrow David; Judas (Matthew 27:4-5) through hanging himself after betraying Jesus. With the description of these suicides confronting us in the Bible (I believe there are seven suicides in total – all of them Men) I feel that they provide an opportunity for us as Christians to talk to our brothers who are in distress and struggling to express their inner thoughts and feelings, no matter how uncomfortable these may be for us to hear. Simply adopting a position of condemnation, punishment or silence slams the door shut on the potential for true sympathy, sharing or healing. It may be unpalatable for some Christians to consider, but suicidal thoughts, along with other expressions of internal distress, are often demonized by many men, and women, as metaphors
The number of men who continue to be so distressed that they are prepared to kill or seriously harm themselves has increased.” for moral weakness and failure. Many Christians consider any form of psychological vulnerability, including depression, as a moral lapse. But, as we can see from the following statement, and regardless of your moral viewpoint, there are large numbers of men, including many young men, in our communities right now needing emotional and psychological support with feelings of suicide.
“67% of young men (aged 16 – 24) and considered to be suicidal, said they had nowhere to turn to for emotional help.” (Samaritan’s survey: 2004)
feel that there is an opportunity in this new ‘cultural shift’ that sees increasing numbers of men becoming interested in their inner selves, to start to ask some deeply uncomfortable questions of
ourselves and each other. We have a choice; do we purely engage in an intellectual debate about power and gender dynamics? Do we rage against female insensitivities towards our fragile male egos? Do we embark upon a competition with other men to determine who is the most mentally healthy? Or, can we do something different? We can choose to tackle headon some of our most complex psychological struggles; truly seek to embrace those fellow men who are contemplating ending their lives because of the depth of despair they feel. I view this cultural climate as an opportunity for all of us men to embrace a new maturity, and risk a new one approach to understanding each other, one that requires us to replace condemnation, shame and silence about male suicide and male despair with overt compassion, love and dialogue. If encouraging some men to express their feelings may ultimately save their lives then I feel this is a risk worth taking.
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 39
SYNDROME They’re rich, they’re goodlooking, they’re famous, and according to Joseph Onwuchekwa, they’re making your job as a father that much harder. 40 OUTFLOW
40 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
FEATURE | THE CELEBRITY DAD SYNDROME
s a married father of three working an inflexible nine-to-five shift that involves a forty-mile commute, I’m left pondering the fragility of fatherhood in the 21st century each time I surf the net, turn on the TV, or flick through a newspaper or magazine. Why? Because with the credit crunch encroaching and limited income or time at my disposal my vulnerability becomes more apparent in the face the utopian celebrity fathers who seem to have perfected the work-family life balance; on the face of it they seem to have it all and, if a recent UK poll is to be believed, they’ve put non-celebrity dads under pressure to up the ante. At a time when fatherhood is on the receiving end of seemingly endless negative press, plus a political bashing by the Whitehall brigade, the average father is under ever-increasing pressure to live up to stereotypes often glamorised by the government or the media. On the one hand every stabbing of a teenager or poor academic result is linked to either the absence of fathers or appropriate fathering; on the other MPs are making it clear that fathers are an unnecessary extra in adoption or IVF processes. Couple this with polls that indicate that 85% of British fathers suffer from an inferiority complex whenever they catch a glimpse of David Beckham, the archetypal celebrity dad, and you can see the problem we are faced with. What are the hallmarks of the perfect celebrity dad? Imagine a man holding down a well-paid, well-publicised, supposedly demanding career, hogging the limelight and hounded by paparazzi, juggling all that with being the world’s best father. I cringe whenever I see photos of the latest celebrity dad emerging from a store on Rodeo Drive or strolling through some theme park with his precious human cargo carried shoulder high, with a caption beneath describing said individual as the ‘perfect doting father’, not because I doubt the celebrity dad’s credentials but because, when compared with my own everyday existence, it’s an image that induces guilt. Let’s face it, if the press is to be believed then the celebrity dad has it all: fantastic career, chiselled good looks, trendy wardrobe, great tan (even in winter), an unlimited expense account and, above all, time. Time, that most precious of resources, one that instantly makes the difference between a good father and a not-so-good one, increases in value when properly utilised and embellished with wealth. For the regular dad who’s struggling to earn a living, holding down a job or two resulting in long hours and an inadequate income while trying to find time to devote to his children, the inability to make time is often the bitterest pill of all. With David Beckham, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Seal all vying for international honours at the top of the tree, even lesser known celebrities like Gordon Ramsay and Freddie Flintoff still have sufficient public kudos to bowl over the regular dad. And in an age where image is everything even the average dad can gain popular approval just by imitating the style of his preferred celebrity dad. Just like porn and junk food,
Tom Cruise, above with wife Katie and daughter Suri, and David Beckham, below with sons Romeo and Cruz, are considered ‘hands-on’ fathers.
One in four children admired footballers more than their own dads, 14% admitted looking up to their dads, and more than three quarters said they would go to their mothers when they had a problem.” a tantalising message has gone out to society that glamorises the celebrity dad’s approach to fathering. The six million dollar question might be when did this trend start? Is this a recent phenomenon or a perpetual template that plagues every generation? One is mildly tempted to tiptoe back to one’s childhood to compare trends in an attempt to discover whether fathers of yesteryear harboured a similar aspiration to emulate the understressed, infinitely flexible parenting style of their own celebrity icons. However, I believe that the answer may lie in the greater degree of visibility that has been granted to our 21st century celebrities, thanks mainly to the technological revolution. I certainly don’t aspire to live the life of a celebrity; however I do aspire to be a better father, possibly even a trendy one. The kangaroo pouch I see extending in front of me anytime I glance at my full length reflection, courtesy of fast food lunches and late dinners, can be converted into a six pack by following a disciplined dietary pattern and exercise. The wardrobe can be spruced up with a bit of creative flair
courtesy of the sales and a handy credit card. But what can I do about time? For me time has always been the big issue and I’m concerned that even the most radical time management plan may not sufficiently redress the deficiency to bring me into this league of extraordinary gentlemen. Apparently I’m in good company, as a recent CBBC Newsround revealed that one in four children said they admired footballers more than their own dads, while only fourteen per cent admitted looking up to their dads. It gets worse. More than three quarters said they would go to their mums when they had a problem. What was the primary reason for this dismal result? Time; the fathers of the kids surveyed were too busy working long hours and the kids didn’t get to see them as often as they would like. These results look even more deplorable when one considers that David Beckham’s parenting skills were singled out for praise alongside Conservative Party leader David Cameron’s by the Archbishop of Canterbury earlier this year. Dr Rowan Williams told BBC One’s Heaven and Earth programme that there was “quite a history of [children] not having good, robust role models”. But he said it was “rather good that at the moment, from David Cameron through to David Beckham, we’ve got quite a lot of good public images of fathers taking their fathering seriously.” Another time-related downward trend is the inability of many dads of newborns to take advantage of the statutorily provided paternity leave as revealed by The Observer in May. It appears that many dads can’t afford to take the time off even though they would like to because the change in the rules means that not everyone is entitled to paternity pay, and even where they do the benefit is so low that many don’t bother to claim. Many working for small employers have been offered unpaid leave instead which is about as palatable as a vegetarian dish to a carnivore. Even the more radical dads who opt for the status of stay-at-home dads don’t fare better. The Daily Mail reported in the same month, quoting a report by uSwitch.com, that there are 197,000 dads looking after their children compared to 125,000 in 1993. However this was cancelled out by a fall in stay-at-home mothers. The root cause of this particular trend as expected was financial. uSwitch’s survey found that couples think they need an income of around £31,731 for one of them to stay at home full-time, yet the average male income is only £28,464. Ann Robinson, uSwitch’s consumer director was of the view that “Economic factors are taking away the choice for many young families today. As a result, both parents and children a
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 41
FEATURE | THE CELEBRITY DAD SYNDROME are losing out”. From the above, it is clear that at some point even the best intentions must bow to overwhelming fiduciary concerns and cause many fathers to return to the work place with all the commensurate disadvantages of having been out of the workforce for a while. Therefore you could be forgiven for exhaling an envious sigh when reading news reports about how Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey cleared his work schedule so that he could be a stay-at-home dad for a while as he didn’t want to “wake up bald and old and having missed out on years of his kid’s life that he couldn’t get back”. Whilst one celebrates the decision it is clear that not many regular fathers are in a position to exercise this option, if indeed it could be called an option. uSwitch’s research also found that 29 per cent of babies under a year old have both parents out at work, while 44 per cent of children under two have both parents out at work. According to official figures, the proportion of children under five whose parents both work passed the 50 per cent mark in the early years of the decade. Sally Russell, director of Netmums. com, said: “In the past the male and female parenting roles have been very clearly defined, but we are now seeing increasing numbers of parents both opting to work. There are also fewer stay-at-home mums, meaning the role boundaries are increasingly blurring.” It would appear that the biggest constraint on regular dads making time to be with their children is the money factor. Sadly the lack of funds isn’t the only fetter on parental time because quite often it’s the opposite. Those who work in London’s square mile, nicknamed ‘the City’, face a similar dilemma even though they get a fat wage packet embellished with healthy bonuses, as to whom ‘much’ is given much is expected. The much that is often expected includes the city dad’s weekends and long trips to places like Singapore to close certain deals. So whilst City dad can afford the paraphernalia of expensive gear for their kids, with possibly a Playstation in every room, exotic holidays and lavish birthday parties, quite often they can’t make time to chill out with their offspring, thereby defeating the whole purpose of financial privilege. It is therefore clear that both City dad and the regular dad may be jointly frustrated by shortcomings in their parenting role visà-vis that of the celebrity d a d s w h o seem t o have all
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Celebrity Chef Anthony Worral-Thompson, above, was voted Epson Celebrity Dad of the Year 2005, while Will Smith, below with his family, represents the kind of father many would like to be.
40% of men felt they suffered from post-natal depression.” the time in the world. This undoubtedly has a knock-on effect on their marital relationships, resulting in separation or divorce as the pressure forces them apart. A poll of 4,000 fathers by the website Netmums. com found that, because of the unrealistic portrayals of fatherhood by celebrity dads like Beckham, a third of them were unsure if they would stay with their partner for good. Unsurprising considering over 40 per cent of those surveyed believed they were suffering from a male version of post-natal depression. It is probably why the media is reporting that many unhappy wives of City bankers are rushing to divorce their partners before the credit crunch bites in to ensure that their payday isn’t watered down. For the regular dad determined to examine the utopia that characterises celebrity dads a little more closely, in most cases he will discover behind the glossy paparazzi photos a retinue of staff assigned to different roles to ensure that out of the public eye the celebrity dad doesn’t lose the cool reserve that’s earned him his reputation. With insight, the regular dad might see through the charade and reassess himself in light of his new perspective. Such a man may discover that relative to his resources he is a much better father than he realised and that by making further sacrifices within reason he has the capacity to outshine even the most camera-bold celebrity. But are all celebrity dads perpetuating a make-believe image to increase their profile and credibility at the expense of us lesser
mortals? There are some that, on the face of it, make parenting choices that many in similar positions wouldn’t. For instance, while still at Manchester United, Beckham famously missed a training session before a crucial game against rivals Leeds United as he wanted to be with his first son Brooklyn, who had a cold. Despite publicly denying the rumours, his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, was said to have disapproved of his missing training and left David out of the match. Explaining why he missed training before the Leeds game, Beckham said: “I put my duty as a father and the health of my son ahead of my football. I think I would always do that. Any parent would, in the same circumstances. Being involved is being involved whether you work at a job or work at being a father: men who are closely involved in being fathers are more, not less, likely to be successful at work – men who care, care about their work as well as their children - it’s not an either/or situation.” Cruise is another celebrity dad who appears to be sincerely hands-on. He’s purportedly excellent at changing diapers and he’s often photographed attending school baseball matches involving his adopted children. He also belongs to the growing elite of celebrity dads, including Steven Spielberg and Guy Ritchie, who frown on their children watching TV, something that would be unthinkable in many less financially well-off homes where children have TV sets in their rooms. After all is said and done the truth of the matter is that celebrity dads will never truly experience many of the challenges of fatherhood that confront average nineto-five dads who lack either the autonomy or financial clout in their careers to make gutsy decisions about their parenting roles. With this in mind it may be time for us noncelebrity dads to stop eyeing the celebrity dad model of parenting and adapt one that suits our peculiar circumstances, one that is realistic, flexible and achievable. Some UK celebrities have joined forces with the DfES and the UK’s top parenting organisations to create the ‘Parent Know How’ campaign in response to strong evidence which shows that parents getting involved with their children, particularly at home, is the single most important factor in a child’s development and future success, even taking into consideration wealth, education and other external factors. The campaign encourages parents to get involved with their children and highlights three achievable ‘Together’ messages, namely (a) eating together without the distraction of TV reinforces the ‘family’ unit helping to provide stability for the child; (b) having fun learning together asking children to recall what they learnt at school each day will improve a child’s confidence, consolidate their learning and develop their communication skills and (c) keeping fit together is the key to a healthy relationship and joint experiences often help form bonds between parents and children. But what about the time element? It’s clear that making time will always be a sacrificial choice, one that requires affirmative action even if that means a change of job or career.
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SPRING 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 45
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GIVEN A SPORTING CHANCE?
In the end, Beijing was an unqualified success, but while the debate about appropriate political stances raged on, Gareth Wallace was able to put a positive spin on holding the Games in the Chinese capital.
SUMMER SPRING 2008 MANDATE MENâ€™S QUARTERLY 47
SPECIAL FEATURE | SUMMER OLYMPICS
must confess that sport and I do not always mix; the closest I get to really good exercise is when I am late for work and I have to pedal my bike much faster than my legs would like to have to! In the last edition of MMQ my article covered ground closer to my skill sets, namely waxing lyrical about politics. While that might be of considerable interest to me I am sure that most MMQ readers would have been much more captivated by Ed Baylis’ sporting tale of derring-do in rowing across the Atlantic. It seems that even if we do not practice it very well ourselves, sport is a universal language of human achievement. It is also perhaps the most high profile form of international entertainment. Small wonder that it has a much greater following than politics! The arena of sport that is increasingly grabbing the headlines in this Olympic year is the Olympic Games. The United Kingdom is in preparing for London 2012 and Beijing is limbering up for this summer’s Games. While politicians jostle on the starting blocks for the political spoils of running a successful Olympics the athletes are lining up to put all the years of exhausting preparation into practice and to fulfil their goal, a gold medal and Olympic glory! To succeed in their sport athletes have to be focused, disciplined and hard working. Sir Steve Redgrave seems to be the epitome of an Olympian. Yet the five times gold medal winner admits, “I hated training. It was a means to an end. To keep fit now I have to motivate myself with a goal”. The Bible uses this challenging yet inspiring sporting metaphor when explaining the Christian life. In the book of Hebrews Paul writes: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Sir Steve is not only committed to having goals and putting in the effort to fulfill them, he has also demonstrated his concern for doing what is right in other spheres. A mentor of younger athletes, selflessly passing on his skills, he is also campaigning on issues of justice such as promoting fairly traded clothing. Yet there is another way for sports celebrities to use their position and the universal popularity of sport to promote justice, by taking part in a sporting boycott. This is where politics and sport can collide, especially where the Olympic Games are involved. The idea of using sporting events, and particularly the Olympics to try to bring about political change is not new, but with the 2008 Olympics being hosted by China, a nation with one of the world’s most troubling human rights records, the controversy is raging about which ceremonies politicians should attend and whether or not athletes should protest at the games, or even boycott the Olympics altogether. Sir Steve Redgrave is not impressed with sporting boycotts; indeed on the 6th of April he carried the Olympic torch in London as it made its way towards the Beijing Olympics accompanied by the 48 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 48 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
Despite his gold medal haul, Jesse Owens did not set out to protest at Berlin 1936. It was the colour of his skin that caused controversy in Nazi Germany, and Owen was even snubbed and made to suffer racism on his return to the USA.”
infamous blue tracksuited Chinese Police and vocal pro-Tibetan protests. Sir Steve says that “Sporting boycotts are an easy tool for governments to grab the headlines. After all, it doesn’t cost them anything not to send a team. America could have brought the Soviet Union to its knees in 1980 by refusing to sell it grain, but that would have affected its own revenue. They made their point by boycotting the Moscow Games. I nearly went to Moscow as an 18year-old, but a lot of sponsors pulled out, which meant we could only send a slimmeddown squad.” This raises an important point. Many argue that the sporting boycott against apartheid in South Africa had more of an effect because it was part of a package of sanctions against the racist Apartheid regime. It seems that too often Governments, including Britain, have been keen to put pressure on their own athletes to make a political sacrifice that they are unwilling to make themselves.
James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens won four Olympic Gold medals during the 1936 Games in Berlin, right under the noses of the Nazi leadership. Owens did not set out to protest or make a point. It was the black colour of his skin that caused controversy in Nazi Germany. Justice was served by competing and winning, more poignant and profound than words. However what seems even more shocking was that Owens was snubbed and suffered racism on his return to the USA. When the talk was of an England Cricket boycott of Zimbabwe in 2003 the British Government could not force the English Cricket Board to halt England from playing but huge pressure was put on the team to try to prevent the match taking place. However critics claimed the British Government was taking the easy option because they were not stopping British companies from trading in Zimbabwe. Perhaps all nations must examine their own records amidst the frequent scramble
SPECIAL FEATURE | SUMMER OLYMPICS
for the moral high ground that accompanies the Olympic Games. The mere fact that the Games are being held in China is thankfully once again focusing the world’s attention on human rights and democracy in the world’s most populous nation. Some say that athletes should take part but protest while doing so. However it seems that the British Olympic team, in accordance with Olympic rules, will be banned from making political protests in China this year. But how does this silence sit with politicians and activists trying to persuade China to intervene positively in Darfur as well as open a dialogue over Tibet? Lord Moynihan, current chairman of the British Olympic Association and winner of a silver medal in the boycotted Moscow Games of 1980, says, “My deeprooted conviction remains that athletes should compete in Beijing. There is a real chance for change in China. Ironically, the greatest challenge may come when the
flame is extinguished on August 24. Many human rights campaigners will wish that the Olympic Games were an annual event; and that the permanent site was Beijing.” But can we rely on such publicity alone to shine a light on Human Rights abuses? Would a more powerful signal not be sent out by a more direct sporting protest? Former Zimbabwean pace bowler Henry Olonga was Zimbabwe’s first black cricketer and the youngest player to represent his country. Henry, a committed Christian, achieved international recognition along with team mate Andy Flower in 2003 by wearing a black armband in a Cricket world cup match to protest against the policies of Zimbabwe’s government. Henry commented, “That year changed me. Things I used to think were all important just weren’t any more — my career, for example, which previously I had based my whole life around. Did I change the world? Probably not. Did I change
Zimbabwe? Probably not — but I played my part. And if I hadn’t embraced the moment, I could have been a nobody.” While there might be strong arguments for and against sporting boycotts perhaps these are actually differences over method. The athletes and politicians who are arguing about how to maintain their principles are doing so with shared positive values of freedom, excellence and fairness. We should be careful not to lose sight of these positive values that we wish to promote as a society even if we sometimes disagree about the methods we use to get there. The challenge for us sporty or not is to stand up for our principles not rely on others to make the sacrifice for us. Gareth Wallace is Policy Networks Development Manager for Faithworks www.faithworks.info. Gareth’s day job involves bringing together politicians, Christian activists and charity workers to try and best serve society. Gareth shares his office with six girls, five goldfish, two men and one bicycle.
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 49
FEATURE | HOPE FOR JUSTICE
esions are seen rv pe al xu se nt oi dp an st al on From a traditi ed and their loved lv vo in s al du vi di in e th to ly as harmful on e even greater ar e er th s, er ov sc di ey ol Co n ones. But, as Be ade. victims of the ills of the sex tr
the UK have paid for sex? It id you know that 1 in 10 men in to think that one out of every makes uncomfortable reading hbours and work colleagues neig ds, frien e ten of your mal e. It becomes even more trad sex may have been involved in the phy the booming global pornogra shocking when you look at on in 2007. billi 97 US$ of e valu ated industry that had an estim in society sex is viewed as a It’s increasingly apparent that other product. If you walk into any like d ume commodity to be cons f that you need to avert your shel a newsagent it’s not just the top es are now displaying soft azin mag ’s men am stre eyes from. Main ld have been unthinkable wou h whic porn and semi-naked images ing barrage of highly end a never twenty years ago. There is billboards and the es, azin mag TV, the sexualised images from Sex is used to sell ss. acce to er easi internet has made porn even easer cars to show gel in our incr everything from aftershave and e objects to mer me beco have en Wom ingly voyeuristic society. reduced to their physical appeal. look at and their worth has been
d up young girl who had been rape most horrific ways and met a d do this to coul man a that alled app to ninety times a day. I was le now I feel compelled to tell peop her. It changed me forever and what is going on. deliver the needy who cry out, It says in Psalm 72, ‘For he will . He will take pity on the help to ne no-o have the afflicted who from death. He will rescue y need the weak and the needy, and save d in nce, for precious is their bloo them from oppression and viole NIV) his sight.’(Psalm 72:12-14 s of a loving father, one that seek These verses reflect the heart in it’s do, ers fath t ren. This is wha to protect and rescue his child do pring. Yet many are failing to our very DNA to protect our offs up ding stan be ld shou As men we what they were designed for. assadors of amb as use beca en wom ed abus for the rights of these them. Christ it is our duty to protect tiful little girls and if anything beau two of dad d I am the prou until they were safe. I would rest happened to them I would not
those closest to us, but each on ly on e lu va of e ns se a e ac pl We often de is God’s daughter.” tra x se e th by d ge ma da ing be n woma
nant cultural norms it becomes When you consider the predomi men in the UK are also buying y man less of a surprise that so sex. problem. You don’t use porn Perhaps you think this is not your That’s what I used to think sex. for and have certainly never paid nit held by a campaigning orga until one day I went to an even women that out find to ified horr was sation, Stop the Traffik. I trade, were being abused in the sex and children across the globe an industry that is by lued deva and ed, reat they were being mist just men. I discovered that it wasn’t controlled and perpetuated by ity mun com and city in my country, happening in far off places, but lem. and that made it my prob es an life is a global issue. In plac The growth of this trade in hum ding bree the me beco has rty pove such as Mumbai, India, extreme e. I of human degradation and abus ground for the worst excesses and worked ago ks wee few a ice Just for travelled there with Hope in h rescues children from brothels alongside an organisation whic violated in the been had who ren child of ies Mumbai. I heard stor
50 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 50 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
ious them because they are my prec give my own life up to protect e on those closest valu of e sens this e plac only we daughters. Often g for each woman and child bein to us, but God’s heart burns are they rs, ghte dau his y are all damaged by the sex trade. The e er and we need to place the sam cherished by their heavenly Fath value upon their lives. our to be influencers and leaders in As Christian men we are called We . stice inju nst agai d t take a stan society and this means we mus that the father so le erab vuln the of lf beha need to speak out on generation. heart of God is heard within our Justice are holding a national For e Hop 8, er On Novemb Arena in Birmingham. It is an NEC event called The Stand at the and ch to unite, to be equipped opportunity for the whole chur Maybe together ed. abus and en brok the stirred to action to help date tion. God has given us a man we can become part of the solu to do it. We need a new ority auth the and ld wor to change our one scared to stand up. Will you be generation of men who aren’t of them?
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 51
In the 1990s they appeared to be the future of men’s magazines, but recent sales suggest that all may not be well in the industry, causing ‘Lanre Iroche to wonder:
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t seemed a sure-sell. Men would always love booze, beautiful women (preferably if we could see as much of them in their ‘natural state’ as possible) and bawdy behaviour, so why not saturate the market with magazines that provided just that? Well, according to recently published ABC industry sales statistics, things aren’t that straightforward. Dennis Publishing’s Maxim, which promises ‘Girls, Entertainment & Sport’, saw its average monthly sales plunge by 44.5% in the first half of 2008 and by 59.6% year-on-year. Its sales crash was mirrored by IPC’s Loaded, which slumped by 20.8% year-on-year, and Bauer Consumer Media’s FHM, 10% over the same period. Bauer’s weekly title Zoo lost 13.6% of its circulation, while IPC’s rival Nuts lost 9.8%, albeit from a higher base. These figures are a far cry from the heyday of the 1990s when lad’s mags dominated male readership. Loaded, the magazine that defined the ‘new lad’ generation in the mid-1990s and sold more than half a million copies a month at its peak, came to symbolise the genre and attracted a wide readership through its tongue-in-cheek journalism and ability to persuade celebrities to dispense with most of their clothes for photo shoots. Its main rival, FHM, once sold more than 700,000 copies a month. As sales began to drop the reaction seemed to be to adopt greater levels of nudity in a bid to halt the slide. Nuts and Zoo were introduced in a bid to exploit the blossoming weekly glossy genre blown up by weekly tabloid Heat, and were initially lapped up by young male readers when they went on sale in January 2004, but even they now appear to be running out of steam. They too plunged quickly downmarket and have been criticised by the shadow culture secretary, Michael Gove, for their representation of women. In his speech delivered to the IPPR, ostensibly about relationships in politics, Gove condemned Zoo and Nuts for “painting a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available”, adding that the images they “use and project reinforce a very narrow conception of beauty and a shallow approach towards women. They celebrate thrill-seeking and instant gratification without ever allowing any thought of responsibility towards others, or commitment, to intrude. We should ask those who make profits out of revelling in or encouraging selfish irresponsibility among young men what they think they’re doing.” Some have suggested the target audience is flocking to the internet for its fill of scantily-clad women, jokey pictures and quirky news stories, and point to the launch of free magazines such as Sport and Shortlist as an alternative cause.
Others believe the decline was inevitable once the novelty had worn off. Anthony Gibson-Watt, buying director at media agency Zed Media, referred to lads’ mags as ‘stag-do material’, adding that: “People dip in and dip out of them. I don’t think there are many blokes who would be happy to read Zoo or Nuts on public transport.” Phil Hilton, a former editor of Nuts, believed the falling circulations were possibly down to a “new mood among Britain’s young men” who wanted “less blokey” role models. “It is possible we may be about to see one of those periodic shifts in fashion and manners in which modern man no longer wants his women quite so topless.” Eric Fuller, the managing director of IPC Ignite, begged to differ, pointing out that Nuts was still selling more than 12.2m copies a year and highlighted its expansion online, where monthly users have doubled in the past year to 1.4m, and as a television channel. He said newsstand sales of men’s magazines were still up 84% on five years ago, before the weekly titles first launched. He warned against confusing the natural ebb and flow of competition with a structural downturn
Magazines like Loaded and FHM used to be far more diverse in their content. Right now they’re all cut from the same cloth, they’re runof-the-mill plastic, bigbreasted and fake.” in the market as a whole. Zoo editor Ben Todd also spoke up in defence of lad mag culture, claiming that “Every magazine and TV station uses glamorous pictures of either men or women. In essence, we are like light and cheeky Victorian postcards.” This is despite Zoo proving adept at courting controversy, with retailers having ordered it to cover up in the past. Some argue that the general financial climate might be to blame, explaining that, as prices rise, spending on discretionary items such as magazines may come under more pressure, but this argument does not necessarily explain the slump in the sales of the weekly mags, which, more than anything, claim to provide an escape from the doom and gloom of everyday life. Especially as Esquire, GQ and a host of high-quality magazines experienced a surprise increase in the latest half-yearly circulation figures, showing the strength of upmarket titles in the face of the credit crunch. Former FHM editor Mike Soutar believes the titles are engaged in a reckless rush downmarket in an attempt to shore up sales. Soutar is credited with popularising the format at FHM, and also launched Nuts magazine for rival publisher IPC, where he was
elevated to the board before leaving last year to found his own men’s magazine, Shortlist. “I’m really proud of the enormous circulation success we had with FHM, and we transformed the market with Nuts. Clearly, they’ve taken the titles downmarket and that was a deliberate decision. By increasing the nipple count they’ve attracted a younger audience. “With Shortlist, we have proved a lot of people wrong. You can appeal to a wide variety of men - upmarket and intelligent men - and no one thought that was possible. They said ‘it’s only a matter of time before you put breasts in it’ and ‘you’ll never get picked up by men’. But I must say I’m not smug about it because I’ve also been in the trench of the lads’ mags wars and you do what you’ve got to do to beat the opposition.” Jamie Jouning, the associate publisher of GQ, in explaining the surprise success of high-quality magazines, said: “The top tier of the population is still spending, and we are seeing strong results from luxury-goods companies. These companies are spending heavily on advertising, as they know there are a lot of people out there who still want their products.” James Brown, founding editor of Loaded ascribes the problems to lads’ mags not offering anything different to what is available online. “Why would you pay for a magazine when you can access exactly the same sort of information, constantly refreshed, for free? “When magazines like Loaded and FHM were at their peak there weren’t any online offerings at all. They were also far more diverse in their content. Right now they’re all cut from the same cloth, they’re run-of-the-mill plastic, bigbreasted and fake.” Of weekly titles Nuts and Zoo, he says: “I really think it’s the same old stuff again and again, every week. They’re totally, utterly predictable and stale. “Readers grow out of magazines,” he adds. “You buy a magazine at a certain time of your life, you’ll have a particular favourite for four or five years and then you move on. And those readers aren’t necessarily replaced as other media might have emerged that they want to read instead.” His are views shared by Joe Barnes, editor of Front magazine, who have taken a different spin on the lad mag genre. “What we’re doing with Front is to try to offer something new and we’ve gone for an alternative, rockier, sort of Emo audience... you can’t see Nuts and Zoo appealing to them. The big publishing companies have been a bit slow to react to the changing interests of 20-yearolds.” This, he says, is the real problem. “The novelty has worn off [and] people have seen it all before. [Titles] like Maxim are quite an old genre of magazine now. I think they need to reassess and look at what young British blokes are into today. “The audience for lads’ mags has changed a lot,” he says. “For example, when they’re on a train journey, they’ve got an iPod, they might have a PSP, they might watch a film on a laptop or on their iPhone - they’ve got so much more to do than just read a magazine. That’s why the market is in trouble.”
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 53
FAITH IN SPORTS | TRUST, INTEGRITY, COMMITMENT
Trust, Integrity, Commitment Ingredients for a successful partnership Words by Simon Butler
here are three ingredients that are vital to a successful Driver & Codriver relationship. Together they form a foundation on which all the great pairings, such as Nicky Grist and the late Colin McRae, are based. The first ingredient is trust. Without it, success will never be forthcoming. To drive at full speed, a rally driver must implicitly trust his co-driver, not pausing for so much as a second to question him. Trust is not easily gained, it is earned when a person demonstrates certain character traits over a prolonged period of time, showing that they are able to bear the burden of trust placed upon them by another. The second ingredient is Integrity. Being a person of integrity means not taking the short cuts. It means delivering on promises. Being someone who can be relied upon. Without integrity there can be no trust - as an ancient proverb writer so sagely noted, “The Integrity of the honest person guides them, but the deceitful are destroyed by their duplicity”. The third ingredient is commitment. And it is on this that I’d like to focus. Allow me to develop this through a sporting analogy: John C Maxwell, a well respected American management Guru says “There are no half hearted champions”. To be a champion requires total commitment, the half hearted fall by the wayside.
But what is commitment? Commitment is not an emotion, it is a character trait. We’re used to thinking about commitment as being emotionally driven, but this not very helpful. Think for example of a married couple who remain faithful to each other and their marriage vows even when the feeling of being in love is absent and the emotional intensity of their life together is at low ebb. They remain committed regardless of 54 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 54 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
Colin McRae (L) with co-driver Nicky Grist. the emotional impulses which they know will change. Their commitment, at times, remains despite their emotional inclination, rather than because of it. Commitment, rather than being emotionally driven, is sustained by will power. Commitment is often born in adversity. Some years ago in the World Rally Championship, the late Colin McRae and his codriver, Derek Ringer, suffered a series of enormous crashes on one stage of the rally. Miraculously they managed to hold the car together with duct tape and kept on going. They crashed time and time again, but each time they crashed they repaired the car to get it to the finish. Eventually they had to push the car over the finish line. They could have retired after any one of the crashes, but they kept going until the finish. In so doing they demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment. Commitment means making it to the finish, and staying until the end. Commitment is not dependent upon gifts or abilities. There is no doubt that the great drivers and co-drivers are exceptionally skilled at what they do, they possess extraordinary ability and we often assume that it must be easier for them to be committed because of their natural flair for their sport. However, this is simply not true. Commitment is not made easier by ability, and conversely lack of ability does not excuse lack of commitment. Commitment means giving 100% to the things we do easily as well as the things that
are more difficult for us. Commitment is based on values. Before a big event, the driver and co driver know that they are committed, they want to win more than anything else and they will do all they can to secure victory, that much is sure, and in some ways this is the easiest time to be committed. But what about when the race ends, when the car needs developing, when tyres need testing, and electrical systems analysing – what then? The very best are somehow able to show the same level of commitment in the boring and mundane work as they are in the heat of competition – Ayrton Senna was renowned for being as committed to testing as he was to racing – why, and perhaps more importantly, how? Commitment lasts when it is based upon values that you hold. To remain committed you must base your commitment on something other than the buzz of the moment or the project, or the hype of the event – you must base it on solid life values. A commitment based on firmly held values is a commitment that is easier to keep.
What are your values? King Solomon, King of Israel, who was responsible for writing a great number of proverbs and wise sayings valued integrity and commitment. He saw through a great many projects and was committed to leading and governing his people. His commitment was based on his ultimate value – that he was a ruler who sat under the authority of God, by whom he would be judged. This compelled him to act wisely and justly – aware of the ever present God to whom he would answer. For Solomon, this ultimate value ensured that he was, although in no ways perfect, trustworthy, a man of integrity, and a man of deep commitment in all that he did. Why not take some time to assess your most deeply held values and determine how they affect your trustworthiness, your integrity, and your commitment?
SPRING 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 55
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FASHION & STYLE - TECHNOLOGY - GROOMING - FITNESS & HEALTH
Home Science Technology to improve your home life
hether itâ€™s a portable photo printer that fits snugly into the palm of your hand, immediately above, or a wireless music system that can fill your entire house with sound, top, or even a communications system that makes the most of both landline and Skype technology, left, modern inventions continue to do their level best to make your life that more comfortable. Some will appeal to the slouch in you, while others will endeavour to bring fitness to your doorstep, but all will probably bring out the child in you. Overleaf we focus on some of the better gadgets to ease the routine of everyday life.
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MENâ€™S QUARTERLY 57
TOOLKIT | GEAR
Sonos BU150 The Sonos system remains the gold standard for multi-room music and the BU150 comes with two ZonePlayers, each covering a different room. Adding an extra zone or two is straightforward, though rather expensive, and one system can contain 32 zones. The CR100 controller retains its sumptuous full colour display from its previous incarnation, and the overall weight and ergonomics of the remote make it a joy to use. Aside from the new styling, the biggest improvement over the original Sonos is its wireless range. SonosNet 2.0 is built into the new ZonePlayers, and this combines the Sonos mesh network with MIMO technology to double the range of the wireless signal.
Samsung DVD F-1080 It is said that size doesn’t always matter, and this is true in this case. While it may appear to be a portable device, the F-1080 is actually a home DVD player, designed specifically for those who live in box rooms and broom cupboards. With an HDMI output which, thanks to the internal scaling, is capable of outputting video content right up to 1080p, and component and composite connections along with support for DivX video, functionality wasn’t compromised at the expense of size. For audio, there’s a digital coaxial output and Dolby Digital decoding, though there’s no support for DTS soundtracks. Still, the DVDF1080 proves decent enough with movie soundtracks, with clear dialogue and a fair amount of punch. Picture-wise, the F1080 puts up an impressive show, delivering bright colours and remarkable detail recovery. Retailing at £70 it represents solid value for money.
Philips VOIP841 While this sleek, attractive DECT model isn’t the first phone to include support for Skype’s VoIP calls no other home phone so effortlessly combines home and VoIP calls. The VOIP841 has a strong battery life, excellent range and works with more than one handset. Thanks to DECT you can easily add extra handsets, which only need to connect to a mains supply rather than the phone socket, so you can put the phone on a different floor to the phone line. The phone links not to the PC but direct to your broadband router by Ethernet cable, and while the base station has to be next to the router, the phone handset and its charging cradle can go anywhere within your router’s wireless range. Making calls is simple too – you just dial the number and choose whether to use the landline or to dial using SkypeOut. These cheap calls are routed through the internet until they terminate in a landline or mobile and work out pretty cheap if you’re calling abroad, but are less useful for local calls. Calling other Skype users is, of course, free, so it might not be a bad idea to arm your network of family and friends with one of these handsets. The list of your contacts also tells you their status, making this easier to use than most home phones.
Samsung HT-BD2 You only have to take a look at the HD-BD2’s massive box to realise that you’ve got a lot of equipment for less than £800. There’s a stylish main unit, a boxy subwoofer, and seven attractive satellite speakers – a horizontal centre, four stalklike floorstanders, and two compact rears. The good spec news doesn’t end there: there’s 1080p/24fps support for Blu-ray, decoding of all the HD sound formats, two optical inputs for a Sony PS3 or Freesat box, and DVD and CD playback. The overall detail and edge-definition is terrific, with the 24fps support working a treat in action flicks. The HD-BD2 also pleases with sound: 5.1 effects are redirected to take advantage of the extra speakers, and the high detail levels of the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack carry through from the speakers.
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TOOLKIT | GEAR
Polaroid PoGo If the idea of a tiny, fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand portable printer isn’t enough to get your gadgetry juices flowing, consider the following: the PoGo doesn’t need ink cartridges, toner, ribbon or anything else that makes printers score highly on the gadget annoyance scale. Using Polaroid’s Zink technology, the PoGo heats up the special thermal paper to develop each colour, meaning you never have to splash out on ink cartridges. The printer connects using Bluetooth or USB to phones or cameras and chucks out a 2x3in print in under 60 seconds running on a rechargeable battery. They’re dry to the touch as soon as they’re spat out, and you can then peel off the backing and use them as stickers. At £100, the Pogo is cheaper than many other portable printers and beats them on size hands down.
Nintendo Wii Fit Wii Fit takes the concept of games as exercise to a new level with the inclusion of a balance board peripheral that can tell you exactly how well, or how poorly, you’re doing with its various activities. It’s a decent alternative for those bored with the repetitiveness of going to a gym or too self-conscious to join a yoga or aerobics class. At the core of the Wii Fit experience is the balance board, an elegant-looking yet surprisingly sturdy peripheral which features several internal scales that can detect changes in weight and pressure as you’re standing on it. The board interacts wirelessly with the Wii, and takes four AA batteries (which are included). Like the Wii Remote before it, it is intuitive to use once you get into an exercise or game in Wii Fit, with its extreme sensitivity allowing it to pick up even the most minute shifts in weight. In structure, Wii Fit is broken down into a series of exercises that players can do regularly to improve their health. These exercises are split into four different categories: yoga, muscle, aerobic, and balance. Virtual trainers guide you through the yoga and muscle exercises, offering praise or criticism depending on how well you’re doing. The aerobic and balance activities represent the fun side of Wii Fit, with 18 games to choose from. The aerobic games include hula hoops, Wii Sports-like boxing, step dancing, jogging, and more. The balance activities are what most casual users of Wii Fit will first gravitate to, and include ski jump, ski slalom and snowboarding.
Condiment Gun This brilliantly ridiculous sauce dispenser looks just like a comedy cartoon six-shooter and is ideal for anyone who loves squirtable condiments such as ketchup, mustard and brown sauce. All you do is load up the Condiment Gun’s cartridge (two supplied) with your favourite sauce, slip it in and squeeze the trigger. Crafted in sturdy plastic, the Condiment Gun is ideal for outdoor cookfests and it’s liable to make you fall in love with ketchup and mustard all over again. As well as its comedic value, this colourful squirter will deliver its saucy contents in an accurate stream, so you won’t have to worry about inadvertently drowning your beautifully cooked grub in one of Heinz’s 57 varieties.
The Sonos BU150 retails at a maximum of £700; the Samsung DVD F-1080 retails at a maximum of £70; the Philips VOIP841 retails at a maximum of £100; the Samsung HT-BD2 retails at a maximum of £775; the Polaroid PoGo retails at a maximum of £100; the Nintendo Wii Fit retails at a maximum of £70; the Condiment Gun retails at a maximum of £15.
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SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 59
TOOLKIT | THRILLS
Learn to Rally Drive
As it’s too late to fulfil your Lewis Hamilton fantasies MMQ recommends the next best thing at the Gwynne Speed Rally School. 60 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 60 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
TOOLKIT | THRILLS
f you have ever switched on the ‘Dave’ channel on digital TV you have no doubt seen a round or two of the World Rally Championship. Fearless men hurl their highly tuned cars through forests, along the edge of cliffs and across deserts, battling the clock and each other. For sheer adrenaline-pumping action it doesn’t get much better than this!
The day begins with a thorough briefing. Although everyone is itching to be let loose in the car it is vital that the drivers understand basic vehicle dynamics, as without a good theoretical knowledge it is impossible to implement the practical techniques.
I went along to the Gwynne Speed Rally School to see if I could be the next Sebastian Loeb…
The track, or stage to use the correct term, is dusty and open – which is fortunate because most drivers head off into the scenery at some point. After one or two slow reconnaissance laps the instructor begins to talk through some of the particular techniques required to drive a rally car quickly, how to use the handbrake, controlled drifting, left foot braking, are all explained and once implemented see a dramatic increase in speed.
In reality the closest that many of us are ever likely to come to the ultimate rally adventure is to get behind the wheel on an experience day. Experience days allow you to ‘have a go’ and try some of the basics in a safe and controlled manner, benefiting from expert tuition from an experienced driver. Gwynne Speed Rally School run half day and full day courses suitable for absolute beginners which give
With the briefing completed, it is time to hit the stage. Gwynne Speed use fully prepared Peugeot 106 rally cars. Small, lightweight and manoeuvrable they are an ideal beginners car and quickly inspire a sense of confidence behind the wheel.
After several lapping sessions, and with confidence rising and lap times falling, the stop watch is brought out. Each participant has 3 flying laps of the stage to set a quick time and determine the over-all winner. I’ll leave you guessing as to where I finished…
What to do if you want more… A lot of people who attend an ‘Experience day’ are left wanting more - the thrill of driving a competition car is too great to be confined to a one off outing. For anyone in this position another experience day is rarely a satisfying option. In general you’ll be going over the same ground once again and the opportunity to progress and improve your ability is limited.
Gwynne Speed have a solution… As well as running regular experience days, Gwynne Speed are also able to offer a host of follow up services. From advanced one-on-one tuition to a full season in one of their expertly prepared cars, the team at Gwynne Speed will help you to climb the rallying ladder as high as your talent or budget will allow.
guests t h e chance to sample a Peugeot 106 Rally car and learn some of the basic elements of car control, braking, and drifting. Unlike some rally schools Gwynne Speed keep group numbers small to ensure the maximum amount of driving time for each participant, and even more unusually add a competitive element to the day timing each driver to determine the fastest over the stage.
After an initial ‘Experience day’ the next port of call should be an advanced one-on-one tuition session. Rather than simply allowing you to sample the basics this gives you an opportunity to develop your technique behind the wheel with one aim – to drive faster. It is possible to go into far more detail and to tailor the course to your exact requirements – something that is rarely possible on an ‘Experience day’. Progress is likely to be significant as you push the car and yourself harder and harder. My time with Gwynne Speed on their one-on-one tuition day was excellent, I left feeling as though I’d really begun to understand how to drive a rally car well. For anyone contemplating entering a rally it is advisable to have a number of one-to-one sessions before going on to get your racing licence and entering a competitive event. If you do obtain your licence and wish to enter an event Gwynne Speed are able to provide a full preparation service for your own car or provide you with the use of one of their own machines. For more details and prices see: www.gwynnespeed.co.uk or call 0871 230 9500
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TOOLKIT | LIFE
Things to do: When you lose your wallet 1 Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that it’s been stolen. Try contacting businesses that you’ve frequented or friends who you’ve visited, and retrace your steps to find out when your wallet last left your pocket. Most banks and credit card companies will put a temporary hold (usually up to 48 hours) on your cards and accounts, so there’s no need to cancel everything until your wallet is truly gone for good. If you are able to recover your lost wallet, check to make sure that all of the correct contents are there.
2 When you know that your wallet is gone, the very first thing you should do is to contact the police. They may not be able to find it, but a police report will help you later on if any insurance or liability issues arise.
3 Unlike credit card companies, banks may hold you responsible for losses incurred from debit card withdrawals and purchases, so it is important that you contact them also. A temporary hold on your account can also alleviate losses until you have a police report about your lost wallet in hand.
4 While credit card companies will pick up the tab for fraudulent charges if your card 62 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 62 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
Don’t jump to the conclusion that your wallet has been stolen.”
risk for identity theft, as someone with all of your personal information could apply for a new credit card or attempt to open a bank account in your name. To lessen the chances of identity theft, make sure to contact all three of the credit reporting companies and have a fraud alert integrated with your credit report. What this means is that a new bank account, loan application or purchase that requires a credit check will be flagged and the credit agencies will need to contact you for verification. Once you’ve spoken to the fraud department at each of these agencies, you can also order a complimentary copy of your credit report for review to ensure that everything is as it should be.
6 is lost or stolen, it doesn’t mean that they will do so without a hitch. As a cardholder, it’s up to you to dispute any charges that aren’t yours and wait for a resolution. Sometimes these charges will stay on your balance while an investigation is ongoing, so the sooner you report your card as lost or stolen, the better. Don’t wait until your next statement to look at your monthly charges. Check online or speak with your credit card representative to determine if any of your recent charges are fraudulent; this will enable an investigation to begin immediately.
5 The activity that goes on through your bank accounts and credit cards is regularly reported back to the credit bureau through three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. When your wallet is stolen, it’s not just the fraudulent charges and account activities that can be troublesome; you’re also at
One of the most troublesome aspects of a missing or lost wallet is the replacement of important cards. Your driver’s license or government-issued identification is the best way to identify who you are. Think of any other cards you may need to replace, such as your National Insurance Card, and then take the appropriate steps through government-issuing channels to have them replaced.
7 If your wallet does get lost, there is reassurance to be found by taking additional safety precautions with your next wallet. Consider a cardholder that will keep your important cards together and away from your wallet. Other measures like keeping important account numbers in a safe place for emergency situations and checking your pockets regularly for your wallet are also proactive ideas. While you don’t want to lose your wallet, the very least you can do is be prepared if it does happen to tumble by the wayside.
TOOLKIT | GROOMING
Getting started The first step is to fill the iron with water before plugging it in. Set it at the required temperature, according to the fabric of the article you are ironing. Check the tag on the inside of the waistband of your trousers or collar of your shirt for ironing instructions and fabric composition. For trousers, however, the tag can sometimes be found in the seam of the leg. To know whether the iron is hot enough, flick some water onto its metal surface. If it sizzles, it’s ready. If the article of clothing is extremely creased, spray some more water onto the fabric with a water bottle. Otherwise, you should iron the article once it’s completely dry. Another tip: don’t iron something that’s stained, as ironing an article that has not been washed first may make the stain more permanent.
Wrinkle-free shirts Unbutton the shirt all the way, not forgetting the sleeves and collar, and lay the shirt flat on the ironing board. Start by ironing the back of the shirt; lay it “face down”. Move the iron up and down, working your way along the shirt. Don’t keep the surface of the iron on the fabric for more than a few seconds, or else your shirt will burn. Once you’re done ironing the back, work your way along each side of the article, by gradually rotating the shirt to each side of the ironing board. Now on to the sleeves. Lay the shirt on the ironing board so that the sleeve you are ironing is parallel to the ironing board. Press the back and front of each sleeve, and make sure to maintain the shirt’s creases. Don’t forget to iron the opened cuff of each sleeve. Last but not least, iron both sides of the shirt collar, then iron the folded collar to maintain
its creases. When you’re done with the shirt, hang it up on a hanger, where it’ll be ready until the next time you wear it again.
Perfect pantaloons As with a shirt, check the ironing instructions and fabric of the trousers. It’ll be easier for you to find the tag once you turn them inside out. Keep them inside out for the first step. Start with the upper part of your trousers; the waistband and crotch, move down to each pocket, and finally to the cuffs. Turn them right side out, and in order to get a flat surface when ironing the front, pull the waistband on the pointy end of the board, as if you’re “dressing” the ironing board. Press the upper-front part of the trousers, including the waistband. Place them parallel to the ironing board (lengthwise, so that both legs are facing the same direction), and press each leg by moving the iron back and forth along the trouser leg. Remember not to iron out existing creases; keep these creases in the same place by ironing along the line. Take the cuff of the leg you’re ironing and bring it over towards the waistband, so that you can iron the inner part of that leg. Repeat these 2 steps for the second leg. Iron the cuffs of both legs and hang up your trousers when you’re done, either by the waistband or by the cuffs, or on a shirt hanger, by folding them in half and maintaining the creases. Remember to give yourself enough time in the morning or before going out so that you can iron your clothes carefully and with peace of mind. Very important: Don’t forget to turn off the iron and unplug it once you’re done, and let it cool down for a few minutes before putting it away.
Ironing Your Clothes OUTFLOW
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GLOBAL VILLAGE | BEIJING
Beijing The face of a new China Olympic association nonewithstanding, China’s capital city has plenty to offer the casual visitor.
hina’s second largest City and the venue of the 2008 Summer Olympics is a potpourri of the political, historical, cultural and the post modern and strives to offer visitors a diverse plethora of activities embellished with an air of mystique. Situated at the northern tip of the North China Plain, Beijing is one of the four great ancient capitals of China and is internationally recognised as the seat of power for and main gateway to the People’s Republic of China. For decades Beijing has beckoned to a disparate audience flaunting endless possibilities for the adventurous mind and promising a once in a lifetime experience for those brave enough to venture in. With Cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong vying for honours in the concrete jungle stakes, Beijing stands alone as a timeless environment where creature comforts can be enjoyed in close proximity to the nostalgia of ancient China. 64 OUTFLOW OCTOBER 2007 64 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2008
The city’s climate is hot and humid during summer and cold, dry and windy during winter. There is the perennial problem of smog with air pollution levels characterised as excessive and the air quality a source of concern. That said the Chinese government has taken vast strides to improve the air quality spending upwards of $17 million primarily by reducing motor traffic and closing the most polluting petrol stations. Recent data estimates Beijing’s total resident population at over 17.5 million. Though the nationals speak various Chinese dialects including Cantonese, most people speak Mandarin or a Beijing dialect of it. A natural starting point for the new arrival in Beijing would be a tour that takes in the infamous Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. Tian’anmen Square is a vast plaza at the core of Beijing, surrounded by quaint old buildings, which gained notoriety for the role it played in various historical events, most recently the students protest of 1989. Tian’anmen is
where Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. A huge portrait of him remains on the Ming dynasty gate where he made the famed proclamation. In close proximity to it lies the Forbidden City whose title is more ominous than the site actually is. Once the Chinese Imperial Palace for over four centuries today it houses the Palace Museum but still looks as grand and intimidating as it always has. To get the most out of this site it is recommended that the visitor spends at least a day here. Who travels to China without paying a trip to Temple of Heaven a complex of Taoist buildings situated in Xuanwu district within Beijing dating back to 1406? Despite its pagan roots it is still one of the most popular sights for tourists. In preparation for the Olympics the complex has received a multi-million dollar facelift. No visit to China is complete without the visitor being photographed along a section of the Great Wall of China. Stretching over 4000 miles, the Great Wall was built
GLOBAL VILLAGE | BEIJING around 6th Century BC and rebuilt at some point in time before 16th Century to protect the northern borders. Though large sections of the wall still remain most parts have eroded or been demolished in the course of constructing other projects. That notwithstanding it’s still a highly recommended venue to visit if only for the sake of bonding with history and getting
giant Panda), Beijing Opera Evening Show and biking tours. The guiding principle is to maximise the moment by resisting the cheap all-in-one tourist packages and go for the full experience. The biking tour in particular allows the visitor to have a degree of autonomy as they pedal around the sights following a designated route. One of the more amusing tours that
that all important photograph. There are various tours that offers the novice a cut price deal that guarantees that one sees all the famous landmarks in a single day but visitors are warned that you get what you pay for as such budget tours don’t give the visitor the full experience. Better to join the guided tours with English speaking interpreters who will spend a day covering a couple of sights but apportion sufficient time for the visitor to soak up the full experience. Other attractions include tours to the Summer Palace, Beijing Zoo (home of the
would bring a smile to the face of even the most cynical is the tour of the Carbon Neutral Company which supports carefully screened clean energy and resource conservation projects which save CO2. In a city which has a constant blanket of haze obscuring the sun highlighting the degree of atmospheric pollution it is amusing to think that one could tour a factory where just by supporting the 150 worldwide carbon-reducing projects one’s carbon print can be offset. Another favourite pastime in Beijing is
The US Open tennis tournament is one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, first contested in 1881. Chronologically, it’s the fourth and final event of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments and is held annually in August and September over a two-week period. Each major is played on a different surface, and since 1978, the tournament has been played on acrylic hard court. The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, where the event is held, is easily accessible by public transportation and there are sufficient attractions for the touring fan. Premium dining experiences abound, from Cuban-inspired Restaurant & Bar, Mojito, to Champions Bar & Grill, a classic American steakhouse. The Avenue of Aces forms the pathway between the east gate entrance and the historic Arthur Ashe Stadium. Your personalized paver will forever link you to the US Open.
shopping for cheap imitation designer labelled clothes and gift accessories at the famous Silk Market. However tourists are asked to beware of handing over the asking price which is usually hiked to rip them off. There’s also a problem with being hustled by the indigenes who can allegedly smell a tourist a mile off even if that person was a fellow Chinese. Transportation is plentiful and there are many options though some are admittedly more practical than others. The Beijing Subway is currently undergoing a hasty renovation and expansion because of the Olympic games and is supported by a healthy dose of buses, trolleybuses and taxis of various grades. A trip in a Rickshaw – a three-wheeled bicycle is a pleasure not to be bypassed even though it is often more expensive than travelling by taxi. The golden rule is to always agree a price before clambering onboard otherwise a rude shock awaits the gullible passenger at his destination. Despite vast road networks traffic is precarious with frequent gridlock which makes travelling by bus, taxi or hire car, unpalatable. Trains arrive every 2 minutes and are less crowded than buses. Many locals tend to commute by bicycle. Travelling out to Beijing is a lot easier than it once was, with daily flights departing every major airport in the U.K. In a bid to promote tourism and patronage during the 2008 Olympics many hotels have slashed prices by up to 30 per cent. For the tourist seeking a package deal it’s best to check out online deals at sites like Expedia.co.uk which present a variety of options that include accommodation and free tours to all the major sites.
Grand Slam bingeing
The Australian Open is held each January and dates back to 1905, when it was contested on grass. Since 1988, the tournament has been held on hard courts. The two main courts used in the tournament are Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena and feature retractable roofs, which can be shut in case of rain or extreme heat. Held in the middle of the Australian summer, the Australian Open is famous for its notoriously hot days. Hence, it is the only Grand Slam tournament that features indoor play (though work has commenced on a retractable roof for Wimbledon’s Centre Court). Melbourne Park is located by the Yarra River and is a part of the sporting and entertainment precinct that also includes Olympic Park and Yarra Park. Adjacent to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it plays host to a number of other sports and musical events throughout the year.
Tournoi de Roland-Garros is held over two weeks between mid-May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros, and is the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world. The event began as a national tournament in 1891 as the Championat de France International de Tennis, opening itself to international competitors in 1925, with the event held on a grass surface. Year-round tours are available at the stadium, as with all the other Slam venues, where you can get the inside track on every aspect of the world’s greatest clay court tournament. A visit would even take you within the stadium’s inner sanctum: the players’ private area, the changing rooms, the media centre and the Philippe-Chatrier Court, and are led by professional guides in either French or English, from as little as €7.50.
SUMMER 2008 MANDATE MEN’S QUARTERLY 65
LIFE CHANGING MOMENTS | KEVIN MAX Northpointe Christian High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983
do that in a Christian School. We (Michael, Toby and I) made our first demo CD in Pitman, New Jersey.
I remember singing an old AfricanAmerican song at an assembly – which is when the whole school gets together to listen to a musical piece – an old spiritual that got everybody talking because, here I was, a white guy that could sing like a black guy, and everybody thought that was quite amazing. So I got quite popular in high school from that one show and it gave me a lot of confidence to think of myself as a singer in the future.
The Jesus Freaks tour, June 1996
The birth of dc talk, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1987 I met Michael [Tait] and Toby [Mac] at Liberty and we started playing in the local area. I’d been singing with a band I started with some guys on the campus; we played at a college party that got broken up by the Dean for being too wild. I think we incited too much excitement, and you just don’t
We were playing sold-out shows virtually every night, playing in front of 15,000, 20,000 people, which was a huge crowd in America at the time. We were on pollstar giving Rod Stewart a run for his money so it was quite an experience to be performing in front of that number of people. The president of EMI Virgin saw one of our shows as a result of the press the tour was generating and he was amazed to see all these kids singing the lyrics back to this band that he had never heard of, and because of that we got signed to Virgin records.
Going solo, 2000 We did a solo album tour, where each of us performed songs off our records and came together as dc Talk towards the end of the
set, which I thought was really interesting because no other band had done that: doing solo records and then touring together as a band.
Putting ‘Stereotype Be’ together, August 2001 I had what I thought was one of the best bands on the planet playing my songs in the studio: Adrian Belew, a guitarist who played for everyone from Frank Zappa to Talking Heads and David Bowie; bassist Tony Levin, who played for John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson and has been known to play with people like Seal and Rod Stewart; and drummer Matt Chamberlain, who was the original drummer in Pearl Jam before going on to play for groups like The Wallflower and Tori Amos. It was a pretty phenomenal band; they were very creative. We had a great time recording those songs for that first solo album. The Blood, the new Kevin album, is due out in ...
KEVIN MAX SINGER, SONGWRITER
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JUNE 2006 SEPTEMBER 2007
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