Contact Us    

Lunch Club for Men

To become a positive influence takes time and friendship.

by Jonathan Wilson
December 6, 2004

Bookmark and Share

Lunch Club for Men_Dear Jon-to become a positive influence takes time and friendship I moved back to Chicago after spending a few years away, and reconnected with some of my best friends. I was serving a church now: when I had left Chicago I was a long way from being pastoral in either career direction or personality. My best friends are the kind of guys that actually welcomed the change. 

Part of my journey in to ministry followed along the path of the Promise-Keepers, a Christian movement for male spirituality that reached its peak when over a million gathered in Washington D.C. in October of 1997. I was there. Like many other men, I have moved on from official affiliation with Promise Keepers. However, something of its priorities stayed with me. Soon after moving back I proposed that some men, including my best friends but not closed from others, get together once a week for lunch. Most of them were punching clocks, and I knew from my earlier career choices in cube-ville that one hour taken from the middle of the day to spend with friends would be good medicine for the soul. We chose Wednesdays.

One of the legacies of this lunch club is, I am proud to say, the Partial Observer. The lunch club is not the only formative antecedent to the Partial Observer, but it is one of them. The founding editor, one of my best friends, brought the idea up at a Wednesday lunch club meeting. One of the founding contributors gave this on-line journal its name at this same lunch-club meeting.

We have rotated our locations, including both fast food and table-served restaurants. Pizza one week. Tacos. General menu. We are recognized by the establishments as approximately monthly regulars. The rotation of restaurants has not changed much, but membership in the lunch club has changed, normally with the fortunes of employment. The P.O. editor now lives in another state. Others have returned to health and are more regularly with us. 

Through it all there has been a stalwart nucleus of four men. These four men were eating lunch together every Wednesday through the Bush/Gore disputed election, the 9/11/01 attack, war in Afghanistan and Iraq, all three releases of the LORD of the RINGS trilogy and the final two MATRIX segments, the rising and falling fortunes of the Cubs including a foul ball debacle, the 13-3 Bears season and all their heart-break since,  and the deaths of George Harrison, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles.

I am happy to say that my goal in forming a lunch group for men has paid off. These ongoing relationship has allowed for the lives of these men to be shaped through positive influence. You are assuming that I, the evangelical pastor, am the one doing the positive influencing. I wish that were true, but no. 

That influence has not come from me. I am the life that has changed. For four years, in a world convulsed by a war on terror, and in a culture assaulted by the vacuous and the insipid (such as "The Da Vinci Code," the debunking of which has become for me a personal crusade, much to the mirth of my lunch group) we have gathered and we have eaten like pigs. All of us, save one man. The thinnest of us, the one in the best shape, continued to follow disciplines in eating despite our good-humored peer pressure.

This man never criticized the habits of anyone else. He did not make his eating habits a matter of moral superiority. He simply continued to eat less than everyone else. He ate less because he ordered less. 

A turning point for me came up as we lamented the fortunes of the local small college's football team. Being a rather heady group, some of us with graduate degrees and others of us with that capability if not the interest, we began to joke about the possibility of going to this small college for graduate school and suiting up for their rather pathetic squad.

I pointed out that the only one who would have a decent shot at actually playing in college sports at that moment, was the only one who HAD played college sports, and who had therefore exhausted his eligibility. That man was the one among us still in shape, still thin, eating less than everyone else. That became, for me, a moment of enlightenment.

That man had stood with me in my wedding party, along with the editor of the P.O. and another stalwart member of the lunch group. That man would be embarrassed to be named as the one whose four years of quiet example finally, finally, sunk in.

I don't chide him to order more or to eat more. Instead, I have submitted myself to a little discipline this Fall. By Thanksgiving I had lost 25 pounds. I am much closer to the weight that I should be.

That is what sitting with guys once a week for lunch can do. One guy's quiet influence can make a difference in others, when a guy makes the time for others. I am pretty confident that the man who inspired me to do better about my food and my weight, is going to read this, so I want to end by saying, thank you for taking the time to eat with me once a week.

Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
Lunch Club for Men
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Jonathan Wilson
Hitler in Rehab
It is time for the quest of Hitler sympathizers to be demolished.
by Jonathan Wilson, 3/3/09
A Mystic Reads Rand, Part V
Celebrating success without guilt.
by Jonathan Wilson, 8/20/05
A Mystic Reads Rand, Part IV
Excuses and Excellence
by Jonathan Wilson, 8/6/05
A Mystic Reads Rand, Part III
Theism, Consciousness, and Objectivism
by Jonathan Wilson, 7/23/05
A Mystic Reads Rand, Part II
I. The Premises of Objectivism: Atheism and Consciousness
by Jonathan Wilson, 7/9/05
50 Years After Atlas Shrugged: A Mystic Reads Rand
Introducing a religious Libertarian's response to the creed of a Libertarian Atheist
by Jonathan Wilson, 6/11/05
Bush Will Deliver
Bush did not live up to the promises of the 2000 campaign. Why his second term will be different.
by Jonathan Wilson, 11/3/04
» Complete List (43)

Recently Published
View Article A Prodigal Father's Day
The patient, persistent, unconditional love of our Heavenly Father
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 6/18/21
My Girl Friday
A toast to all administrative assistants
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 6/11/21
Two Giant Hands in Tulsa
Praying for forgiveness and healing
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 6/4/21
To a Field of Dreams
Memorial Day ponderings
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/28/21
Don't Mask! Don't Tell!
It's about time for about face
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/21/21
Liz Cheney's Not Lon Chaney
Why recent events on Capitol Hill resemble a horror show
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/14/21
A Mothers' Day Hymn
Remembering our moms with gratitude to our Heavenly Father
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/7/21

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2021 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top