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Gordon MacDonald's Influencer, Recovery, and Provocation

The men and women who have powerfully shaped my life as mentors and spiritual guardians are almost all gone now. I lost another of them this past month.

This was the man …

  1. Who invited me to take a room in his apartment when I was a junior in college. Over the two years I lived under his influence, I learned to make my bed and put the toilet seat down, pay my bills on time (especially my rent), pray and read the Scriptures on a regular basis, and spiff up my conversation skills to a reasonable level of intelligence.
  2. Who did not overreact or berate me when—after quitting competitive running—I decided to experiment with smoking cigarettes. All he asked was that I not smoke in his apartment. I quit some weeks later when I didn't have enough money for both food and cigarettes and realized that he would not be donating to my "poverty."
  3. Who was unafraid to inform me (respectfully) when I was not conducting myself as a young man with dignity, Christian honor, humility, and consistency. He was quite aware that I had more growing up to do than just not smoking.
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