Mad Man Crush Monday: Mark Messner

Some say that we are the sum total of our experiences & the people that we know & do life with.

In light of that sentiment the first Monday of the month we are going to take a look at the men that have made us the men, for better or worse, that we are today.

Some of these men we know personally, while some of these men inspire us from afar through their public lives. Some are “God fearing men”, while some are “far from God”. Some are alive, while some are long gone. Some are extraordinary men of influence, while some some hold the greatest of wealth in their “common” & “ordinary” day to day life impact on our lives.

Through this monthly post we should each be encouraged to take a moment to recognize these men in our lives. Men that have not simply inspired us to be the men we are today, but through their examples charge us to be ever becoming greater men of influence & service.

Until I realized that I should write this post I don’t believe I honestly took the time to recognized how important of an influence this man had been on my life. A man who after careful consideration stood head and shoulders above all of the rest. A man who’s relationship with me has stood the flawed, torn, weathered, and storied test of time. He holds my deepest darkest secrets, knows my greatest failures, every perverse joke I have thought, has heard the strongest longings of my heart, and has zero tolerance for any of my crap.  On September 15th 1972 I met the man who would be come my life long partner in crime, closest confidant, arch nemesis, and closest friend. I was 3-years-old and that man was my new born baby brother Mark.

Before services like Spotify and Pandora started introducing us to a world of music, people’s musical tastes tended to be fairly narrow. Not my brothers. While I limited myself to the likes of the Stones or David Lee Roth-fronted Van Halen, my brother, who at that time would have been at least 10-years-old, had the most diverse record collection of music that I knew of. While he certainly enjoyed some sweet Eddie Van Halen guitar solos, he was also immersed in the likes of Duran Duran, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Dolby, Kenny Rogers, and The Police, just to name a few. To this day I have no idea what I am going to get to hear when I am on a car ride with him. It could be anything from some blues great, to southern fried rock, to the latest hip hop or even the Walk Hard Soundtrack. My brother showed me that I didn’t have to be so narrow in my musical interests and that there is a wide world of creativity out there to inspired me.

Around seventh grade my brother used to hang out at the Guitar Center near his grade school. His intention was to work there so he could buy a drum set. Being only a kid, they couldn’t hire him, but he worked all the same. If there was anything that needed to be done when he was there he would jump at the chance to work. At first, they just let him hang out as “payment” for his hard work. But, then they started giving him used drum kit pieces and he eventually built his own junk drum kit. Those were some of the early formations of Mark’s work ethic and determination. When you work with Mark you can’t help but be inspired by his determination. Through his example I am continually encouraged to actively pursue what I feel I am called to do, regardless of financial compensation.

My brother loves a great meal. My brother loves to share a great meal. My brother can make a great meal. My brother is a generous man with the gift of hospitality and a certain flair in the culinary arts. Whether you get a chance to be invited to his home, he takes you to his favorite new place, or you find him at the Anchor whenever he is in Minneapolis, you are bound to have him share some aspect of the meal that he enjoys with you.  And, should you ever have the chance to be asked in to his home, you will count yourself a lucky man as there is always plenty of Spotted Cow and there is a good chance he will whip up a batch of his soon to be famous “Monster Mark Cookies.” Seeing Mark in these elements continually inspires me to be at the table with others sharing with them good food, drink, and community.

So now it’s your turn. Who is that guy in your life that is like my brother is to me?

Who removes your artistic narrowness, opens you up to your creative nature, that part of our DNA that screams we are “co-creators” with God?

Who is it that inspires you to work hard and passionately pursue a goal?

Who is that inspires you to be more generous and giving of the things that you love?

Who do you need to write to today and say “because you are in my life I am a better man than I could be without you”?

– Roger Messner

18 thoughts on “Mad Man Crush Monday: Mark Messner

  1. Cool post, Roger. Thanks for sharing it!

    I can’t say I really feel this way about anyone that I can think of. I don’t know if that says more about me or the people I’ve been surrounded by or have surrounded myself with.

    I’ve heard that you’re the average of the 5 people you’re closest to. That means that of the 5 people with whom you spend the most time, you’ll be looking up to or trying to achieve the place of 1 or 2, you’ll be leading or looked up to by 1 or 2, and you’ll be more or less equal peers with 1 or 2.

    While I don’t think there’s an exact science to that notion, I do think there’s a lot of truth to it, and I’ve tried to be more conscious about surrounding myself with people who I admire and want to be like in some way. For example, in each area of my life – professionally, spiritually, relationally, etc. – I want to have someone whom I admire in that area who I can look up to and model myself after in at least that area.


    1. Joey,

      I is are be a Chicago Public High School graduate , but I believe I actually followed your math. 🙂

      I appreciate and echo your words. Since thinking of doing this monthly post I have been really thinking about the people I surround myself with and in this case specifically the men who influence my life. It really is my hope to encourage us to seek & honor these relationships.

      For example you are one of the guys that inspires me to write. Not because you make it look easy, but because good creativity inspires.

      Thank you for your comments & as you pursue those relationships I look forward to some day seeing a postabout a guy that has inspired you in some way.



  2. This is a great post, Roger. I have a ton of these guys in my life. It’s really nice to hear about how your brother has influenced you.


  3. Roger, you wrote: “Through his example I am continually encouraged to actively pursue what I feel I am called to do, regardless of financial compensation.”

    That’s also a beautiful manifestation of the freedom the Gospel give us. Your brother modeled that for you. Great stuff!


    1. Frank,

      Wow. I actually hadn’t thought of it that way. But, now that you mention it I can’t help but see it that way.




  4. Your post is timely. Over the weekend a friend Kris and I knew passed away. Ken was the pastor of the oddball church we met at in Madison, Wisconsin. He was a wise and thoughtful guy and married us just over 27 years ago. The thing about Ken was he shared his weaknesses and questions even as he encouraged me/us to go further. Sort of like your brother, I suppose. Sort of organic–just the way he was. 30 years later I recognize bits of Ken’s vision for the people of God in both Kris and I. Now that is influence. Thanks for writing.


    1. Kirk,

      30 years of influence that continues to cultivate through the lives of you and your life…I would say that is pretty significant.

      I am really sorry for your loss, I can only imagine.



  5. Some of the most impactful people in my life have been past roommates. I moved to Minneapolis with a couple of roommates from college and have had other roommates that have impacted me since then. There is more time to learn from people who are smarter than you when they have to use the same kitchen as you do.


    1. Jason,

      I’ve know some of your roommates.

      Impactful indeed!

      Thank you for sharing.

      Maybe some day you could share some of that kitchen wisdom on a Mad Man Man Crush post of your own




  6. Reading through this made me give thanks for the many men who walk alongside me. I think it is awesome that your brother fits this roll. For me, I know that I have been blessed by so many people, but especially by my mentor. I am a very shy person, and his outgoing nature has rubbed off on me quite a bit. He is always encouraging me to try new things and challenges me to be more than I am. There is always an effort to look at things in a positive light and a constant encouragement to pursue Christ. There are only two or three people I’m always excited to see, and he is one of them.

    Thanks for writing this post Roger.


    1. Sean,

      Thank you so much for sharing. Isn’t great when we actually know how someone effects us? In your case how your mentor’s outgoing nature has rubbed off on you. I can certainly echo the sentiment of being excited to see a few people. But, as I have been thinking through future posts I am beginning to realize there are lot more awesome guys in my life than I had originally recognized. I am actually struggling to focus and narrow down the list for future posts. As I have started to recognize these influencers I am excited to see them, hear them speak, listen to their next podcast, consume their next record/book/movie. I am also excited to revisit those that have been an amazing influence in my past and because of where I was at I totally missed it. Keep looking and you will probably recognize more than a few guys. And keep being encouraged by you mentor to be more outgoing. And, when us extroverts drive you nuts give us a little grace.

      Thank you again,



    1. Wow!

      Thanks for linking us.

      Sadly there is at least one guy that passed away & I miss him dearly. One day I will be writing about him for certain.


  7. Whoops!

    This segment is actually called “Man Man CRUSH Monday”

    Although, like a cruch (re: crutch) I have leaned on these guys more than once.


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