/////// An IronMen Moment ///////
The steel I-beam is among the most utilized and most basic structures used in the engineering of large buildings. The top and bottom parts are called the Flange. The middle, connecting section is known as the Web or the Stem.
This is fascinating for participants of IronMen. For a few reasons. First, a fundamental idea in this program is one generation of men (the fathering "Flange") connecting with a younger generation (the young men's "Flange"). Together, they form a generational and spiritual tie, a connection...a kind of "Web" of influence, one to another.
For the influence between them is not one-way, mentor to mentee, father to son -- but both directions as well.
The "Stem" or "Web" between them is what combines to make the entire beam strong. That Web consists of shared experiences, family values, a common faith in the Lord Jesus, training passed from one to the other, Biblical teachings about life shared from heart to heart.
The strength and resilience of the I-beam is a huge discovery in construction engineering. Think of the buildings and bridges designed -- made possible-- because of this one style of beam. The IronMen beam.
The converse relationship may also occur. When the Stem or Web between the two Flanges is overly thin, or disproportionately sized as compared to the two Flanges, it can experience cracking, or structural failure. Some have used the metaphor of generational "passing of a torch" to describe this connection --or, a disconnect -- between fathers and their children.
Much like structural engineers must be highly intentional and deliberate about the quality of the products they use for building, we too must rise to that same challenge. Paul used a similar analogy when talking to the Corinthian believers about how they built on the foundation of salvation by grace (I Corinthians 3:10-15).
"(12) If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, (13) their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work." (niv)
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17). We could extend that analogy by saying Iron also strengthens iron. Two Flanges connected by a Web/Stem.
Food for thought!
Brought to you by the IronMen.