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I’ll begin this post by inviting you to revisit two other efforts of mine that have received an extraordinary amount of attention:

taken aback by Bill Pope, and I want to know what Love is.

Next, I’ll admit that I’m not so sure where I’ll go with this particular post. I guess we’ll, collectively, know, only when our paths converge there. Along the way, I just might be looking for something we can all appreciate relative to what life’s twists-and-turns might offer us.

A few weeks ago I ran into Jane Pope and her daughter Madison at a Starbucks. I had my own little Emma Jo with me. We were hanging-out and running errands. We had only just climbed back into my Porsche, and I was looking at Emma Jo while she was describing one of her books to me, when I looked up and past her and saw Jane’s Jaguar. A lot can blow through ones mind in a whirl-wind. But, Jane looked great, and heroic, in light of, well, just everything. But, I started thinking about daughters, and paths, and the future, and the roles of Dads, in the lives of daughters.

So… I pay a lot of attention to my daughters. But, recently more so. It seems like my “spider sense” is up, or something akin to it.

Sure enough, Haley Anne was bit by a spider two weekends ago during a soccer tournament. She led us into the finals and apparently endured agony while doing so. The wound is still puffy and we are apparently at risk of staph – and, the fear of sepsis. Oooohhh God, help me. Then, on top of that she hauled-off and grew up on me a bit more, having just turned fourteen, and is statuesque and gorgeous, and all that. But, while I was fussing over her and trying to teach her, well, something, I was reminded that everything ends up …connected.

I’ve been tracking a group of entrepreneurs working on a very cool (and change-oriented) technology that Bill was championing. I had reached out to Jane to make sure she would benefit. And, then an old roommate of Bill’s found the post you’ve peeked at and likely shared with your friends already. And, I found myself forging pathways that I hope will intersect in a way that will indirectly help Bill with Madison. And, I pray that goodly men (did you know that behind every great man there is some woman rolling her eyes?) will rally to my own children (and, Joanne) if I don’t make it home one day.

Man… I am really struggling with this piece. But, this is transparency. Living the authentic life.

In any event, go to the comments section of the blog concerning Bill. Do it now! You’ll find the note from his buddy Bruce, whom apparently lost his way with Bill. But, maybe now he can shed some light on another path for Madison.

I’ll simply end this post, here, with my restated response to Bruce, within those comments, for the sake of posterity, with the hopes all of it means something, and the convergence is a good thing, given all the unexpected steps.

“Hello Mr. Waller.

And, welcome, here.

No matter your paths I’ll suspect Bill had you in his heart. He was a stout and loyal fellow, that one.

My immediate take-away from your comment will have me pondering the following words from Wayland – “…who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity; whose deed follows his word; … who appears well in any company; a man with whom hanor is sacred and virtue safe”, paints a good picture of “Willie Red”.

It’s also interesting to me that the type of man I most often like to bask with have inexplicably found themselves favored by a college professor at one point or another. I did not know about Bill’s relationship with your Dr. Gabbard. But, I can’t be surprised. Its likely along the same lines as my own with Dr. Pappas at Radford University.

I’m, and only just now, struck by a thought, that is possibly an inspiration… Deliver a hand-written note to Bill’s daughter Madison (via Jane of course). Tell her a story about Bill from his youth. But, make the best example of what a terrific gentleman he was, and how she should only allow for such a man in her own life one day. Bill had high standards. Lets work together to make sure Madison realizes those as well. So, regardless of your lost path with Bill, you can now help, in this small way, ensure his daughter walks the right one.

And, trust me, Mr. Waller… This will help you as well.”

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Last week I found myself driving Haley Anne to summer soccer practice recently and faced with something of a challenge.

We were in my Ford F-150 (also known as the: “big black bad-ass soccer and dog truck”). And, it’s currently my vehicle of choice. Rowdy can sit comfortably in the back, or ride shot-gun. And, there are always soccer balls bouncing around in the back. It’s insight into my life and priorities. It’s cool and formidable, but also practical (it could pull the boat, in a pinch).

We witnessed a yellow Ferrari navigate a corner in good form and amidst a spray of gravel.

Haley Anne turned to me and asked why I didn’t drive a Ferrari (I do drive a Porsche, but she is apparently aware of the difference). “You can afford it can’t you?”, was the secondary question.

I almost told her that I am seriously considering a Volvo Cross Country Station Wagon (and, it’s true, I am).

The question that ended-up dropping out of my face was: “whom do you think has more money, the fellow with a Honda, or the fellow with a Ferrari?”

See… I thought this was a rather sage question. It was certain to set the stage for a ground-breaking dialogue between my beloved daughter and myself that would further establish our bond while I appeared wise, and she my able student.

I’ll pause here and admit that a quick image of Bill Pope popped into my head. I found my heart in my throat (I sure do miss my red-headed-Errol-Flynn-type-friend). I was also quickly thinking this was a good time to get her ready for the news that we are seriously considering a move from the big beautiful house in Milton (Alpharetta) to a more sensible home in the Crabapple area (I’m trying to send a message to my community – more about that later).

It’s still a great question, for obvious reasons. And, it raises so many fascinating ideas around wealth management, good stewardship, and self-image.

But, all that aside, I got a simple shrug with a: “who cares Daddy. Why can’t we have a Ferrari?”

I’m already thinking this is a great challenge (isn’t character always best when challenged?). What steps does this alert me to, and prepare me for, to curb her views around materialism? A defining Authentic Life moment and possibly a Kobayashi Maru.

…sigh. Lift me up, and stay tuned.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

I found myself, and early Thursday morning, looking to the stars while getting ready to walk with Emma Jo to the bus stop.

Amidst the caucaphonic singing of birds I found myself contemplating the twilight, and rapidly processing a broad array of thoughts that included: Gatsby, the “Word” as a lens, Speed Racer (actually, Racer X), and why it is light posts dim when special people draw near.

I thought of Bill Pope, and how he and I would have stood there quietly together, our hands in pockets, putting lines-of-thought together that might have only, and at best, confused (possibly, admittedly, concerned) others. It’s not simple easy understanding where Walker Percy both came from, and where he was coming from.

…and, now this:

Bryan Davidson had opened my eyes Wednesday when he reminded me of something one of his own professors had said to him at Liberty Baptist College: “Death is morbid but meaningful”.

Apparently, and according to this same professor, the meaningful part is because it opens your eyes. It’s how you see it.

Death, that is – someone else’s.

I’m also pondering what death might look like when it’s racing at you, or even creeping up on you. I’ve faced my own mortality in some tough spots. But, I don’t want any of this to be about me, right now.

So… I’m in a kind of “zone” for the moment around the whole Bill Pope situation. I’m not seeking answers, nor understanding. Possibly I am sorting out direction. I do know that I, for one, won’t ever be able to say enough good things about Bill. However, wherever he is – it begins in my heart and memory, and has clearly set a standard for a baring point.

By the way…

…on the tail tale-end of that telephonic exchange with Bryan I asked him how he was feeling (he was sick with what seemed like allergies to everything, including air and all edible things, for years). He mentioned “some dude” put his hands on him at a soulybusiness event, and he was healed.

I asked him if it was John Stein, of course.

And, it was, indeed (and Jesus, apparently).

John, just so you know, is a Healer. It’s true. I don’t even find it odd. But, then, you need to understand John – and man, is that another story. My favorite is a long run in the mountains of Tennessee early morning along train tracks. But, that, another time.

Bill Powis (I call him: “Pastor Bill” – a natural teacher, by the way) is leaning into me as well. I think he likes my torment. But, he also appreciates my open-heart. Man, he would have really liked Pope.

And, if we must be judged, I’ll hope it’s by the men around me.

And, to that end…

I’ll note, and do it here, that Marcus Crocket came back from Bill and Bryce’s funeral with the comment: “I was amazed at the testimonials for Bryce. It made me understand what a great influence in his life Bill and Jane were. They were READY. They lived their lives like Jesus”.

Those are powerful words around a man with a life well-lived.

But, there is more. It’s happening all around us. …change and perspective, I think…

Another dear friend, and agonizingly patient spiritual mentor, Durwood Snead, also lost his seven day old grandaughter this week, ironically named Madison (the name of Bill’s surviving daughter). She held her Mother’s gaze for only a few short hours. In his email to me, today, Durwood said: We talked about how we did not understand why God needed Madison more than He felt we did, but that we had to trust Him because He gave His only Son for us.”

I’m not sure what’s next with all of this. So, now this is something like they. But, we can all count on there being a next what.

This I do know… We’ll need to make our stand her, and now. We must decide, each of us separately, and together, to either reel with these blows, or grow because of them.

We need to be READY.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

NOTE:  Walker Percy (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990) was an American Southern author whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is best known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1962. He devoted his literary life to the exploration of “the dislocation of man in the modern age.” His work displays a unique combination of existential questioning, Southern sensibility, and deep Catholic faith.

I first met William “Bill” Pope when our daughters – my Haley Anne, and his Madison, were in the same Brownies troop.

During a Brownies Father and Daughters night event (I think it was at Alpharetta Methodist) we found ourselves askance at the stiffness of the Daddies and their daughters surrounding us. So, with reckless abandon, and certainly more than a few ‘hoops and hollers’, we proceeded to hurl ourselves down hallways, vying to see whom could out distance the other, sliding on our backsides.

Our daughters were delighted, and Bill and I each had a friend for life.

I often found myself, happily, taken aback by Bill. He was a gentleman – rather along the lines of Walker Percy (The Moviegoer, and The Last Gentleman), I think. And, I always tried to refer to him as my: “Red-headed Errol Flynn-type friend Bill”. He was dapper, soft-spoken and witty. Charming to be sure.

Bill often annoyed me, and he knew it, by “popping in” to visit with me at my offices. I would always find myself exasperated (my staff-driven calendar is both legendary and notorious for it’s lack of flexibility). But, then we would start our visit, and time would go by, and I always found myself a better man for the time well spent.

The last two times I saw Bill he came by with his eleven year old son Bryce so he could update me on their adventures together. I recall Bill standing their with his hand on Bryce’s shoulder, naught but the very picture of pride; his joy evident, and relishing every minute he could share with a friend and his son. A few weeks later Bill drove over a vintage Land Rover he thought I might like.

And, I think it will be moments when I see older cars that I’ll realize Bill’s immortalization, for me. He liked older cars that bordered on vintage. I always felt he valued the qualities of those cars as a reflection of himself. They shared qualities that included, but could never be limited to: reliability, integrity and style.

So… That’s how I’ll remember Bill, best… A man of virtu, flair and style; quick with a firm handshake; and, committed to Jane, their family, hearth, home and community.

The last communication I had from Bill was only this past Saturday night. He had sent me a text message, eager to catch up over a project we were involved with. Bill was one of the few men that could draw me out on a weekend. So, I was looking forward to calling him on the way to a soccer match with Haley Anne. I knew that afterwards I would tell Haley Anne a story; possibly about Bill and me, or at least some other friend, because that’s what Bill made me do best, in this case – be inspired by a great friend.

…but, we lost Bill and Bryce later that night. When Joanne told me numbness selfishly crawled up my legs and desperately tries to continue it’s reconciliation with my heart.

Going forward, we need to make sure we remember to reflect Bill well so that his legacy is our beacon.

This is me raising my hand.

Peace to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

As “they” say: “you’re only as happy as your most unhappy kid”.

My little Emma Jo is learning how to use email. She has her own .me (Apple) account, and is rather focused and demanding when it comes to protocol. For example, I will likely receive a call on my cellular telephone this afternoon from a potentially irate Emma Jo minutes after she launches a communique:

“Daddy, I sent you an email how come you didnot send me one?”

However, this will certainly present itself with an opportunity and an invitation out for ice cream at Bruesters, some hand-holding and possibly roller skating. So, mine is the advantage, to be sure.

As many of you know, Haley Anne is embroiled in a revolution, of sorts, at her Middle school. She was also recently named as a captain on her soccer team. Additional strain on her emerging thirteen year old psyche includes a titanic effort to improve her grades (especially math and social studies) in order to qualify for a new cellular telephone (the current model apparently is not feature rich enough). All this while her heart is breaking over the broken relationship with her erstwhile best friend:

“Daddy I didn’t think she could be so mean!”

[…just wait my love. There is so much grand adventure, promise and heartbreak ahead. And, I want to be there, just off of your shoulder, every step of the way.]

Every earthly father must see the visage of an angel in the face(s) of our beloved (oh, unyielding cherish!) daughters. They can never represent anything but the best that life can promise – all the while inspiring unseemly fear in our hearts around events uncertain. I must trust that my role in Haley Anne and Emma Jo’s lives will offer it’s lasting impressions. And, I can trust their judgment (Haley Anne’s, anyway with Emma Jo only seven). I have only the requirement that holds me true to my own course – and ever vigilant reminder to reflect and represent and lead, some how, by example.

Stay tuned.

I love being a Dad.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

So…

I may well have the coolest job in the world. I might shy away from referring to it as a “calling”. But, I really enjoy the work I do. And, I see evidence, daily, that it’s meaningful.

There are many aspects to what I do. But, relevant to the line-of-thinking tied to this post is my efforts around and through men who start businesses from a “best practices” standpoint – and, also ministries (which are a form of business, but not necessarily oriented around best practices).

I’m guessing I’ll discuss that latter topic on a broader scale later (the list of topics I ache to share is endless, and my energy boundless).

But, readers of this Blog already know that.

In any event, I’m going to share a brief exchange I’ve had in the last twenty four hours with John. He is my good and dear friend. He is struggling. But, it’s a healthy and worthy (possibly noble) form of struggle. It’s cool being around it. Especially having the sense that’s it’s going to end well.

By the way… And, don’t bother rolling your eyes… John is likely a kind of Prophet. And, like many Biblically-oriented figures he often can’t heal himself. But, like any good flame, good things could be drawn to it.

Is this John’s Kobayashi Maru? Or, is my role in walking with such men an example of that un-winnable test always demonstrating, and proves, character development is the best result?

In any event, here’s the exchange. Make of it what you will, or must. I certainly will. In fact, I’ve already started thinking about drawing lines of corollary  thought relative to Charles Darwin, men who think they should start ministries, and the gene-pool (this does not include John).

On Feb 18, 2010, at 6:46 PM, John XXXX wrote:

“Thoughts on doing both e29 and ministry?

Does my passion for ministry exclude the need for work? Is ministry the work?

Ideas coming to mind? You know me and know my heart.  And, you will speak candidly to me.

That’s what I need right now.

Peace & Favor,

John”

What came to my mind, and from my heart:

“I’ve always felt that good work was a form of Ministry in it’s own right.

Show me a man who is evangelistic over his products and services, and you’ll see a man on fire in the belief that he is helping people, supporting his family, and honoring God in more ways than I could describe in this email.

I might humbly use myself as an example. I see evidence, every day, that I am making a keen difference in the lives of good people around me. My own daughter describes my work simply as: “Daddy helps people”.

You know… The Nordic (because there were several varieties) Vikings believed that Valhalla was a  place you went to fight, drink and wench for eternity. This was a reward for doing great work (pillaging was more a hobby) on earth using the skills and strength God (in a manner of speaking) gave them.

…maybe… Just maybe, one reason Ministries fail more often than even secular business startups is because the instigators start on the wrong foot with poorly formed financial models, certainly flawed market validation, and  – and worse, desires.”

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Epiphany alert.

I had an opportunity to revisit an old friend. His grave actually.

Words came to me from many conversations. Mostly me listening.

In and amongst those words I heard:

“Life is too short to spend it hating”.

Perhaps he said that to me because I used to think:

“yeah, but how many people where there as Sarajevo was falling?”

And, a war-cry in my heart, daily:

“Colorado… and, the loss of everything.”

He would also say things like:

“Courage is fear prayed for”.

He was not exactly a Christian; but, he was very much a Believer.

As many of you know, Marc Kutter came by for a visit last week. My primary take-away from that visit was his saying, to the effect:

“Over the past few years I’ve grown stronger in my faith and I learned that everything seems to work-out”.

I might add that troubling matters are rarely as bad as they appear.

And, Marc’s appearance may well be timely.

I’m struggling right now around our house (it’s not feeling much like a home for the moment). The fellow we bought it from almost four years ago failed to disclose a significant drainage issue. We bought the house during the drought. And, there is ample evidence that the drought is over. We’re in trouble. The damage is significant, as is the cost to repair it – even if that is possible. We don’t know that yet. Realtors won’t list it because of the disclosure issues we now face. And, that fellow is a cad. …oh, and he’s a lawyer.

I planned on writing a lot more on a few touch subjects for this post. But, I’m still contemplating. Things will be different after I put life into certain words. However, the story, and the way I handle all of it, is coming.

But, that’s why I’m here, in part.

For the moment I’m praying for some kind of understanding of what I’m supposed to feel, and then what I should do about that. I don’t care for the way this situation makes my heart feel.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

what’s all this about?

I can’t explain what that damn tree means - or, if it might stand for something.

However, here I do discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman.

brian cork by John Campbell

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about this particular Theme:

I'll warn you now that Tarski is theme of this blog created by Benedict Eastaugh and Chris Sternal-Johnson. It is named for the logician Alfred Tarski. I'll recommend his papers ‘The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages’ and ‘On the Concept of Logical Consequence’, both of which can be found in the collection Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics.