"I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land." Ezekiel 22:30

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dear son...

This blog post from a guy named Matt Walsh was all over my facebook news feed today. I'm going out on a limb here and guessing that it resonates - at least with many in my circle of friends.

While he does use & reprint a few less-than-eloquent words, I agree with his sentiment.

Please check out his blog.

In the meantime, I'm going to include Mr. Walsh's letter to his son portion of the post, because, if this blog is still around when my child (which is still in my wife's uterus, and may or may not be a son) is 15, 16, 17, or 18 years old, I want him to read it. Better yet, I'll probably write him my own letter. But you get my point. 
Dear son,

Don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you.
Don’t let any of these pigs and perverts you see on TV be a lesson to you. They treat women like garbage; they possess no chivalry, no self control; they are disloyal and dishonest; they spend all day pursuing pleasure at the expense of others, and they encourage you to do the same. You might be tempted to follow suit. In fact, you WILL be tempted. These male pop stars and celebrities, look at them, you’ll think. They take advantage of emotionally broken, self loathing, confused young women, and they are rewarded handsomely for it. Look at their nice clothes and their nice cars. Look how they are admired and loved. Look, they treat women like trash and other women fawn all over them because of it. This must be how real men behave, you’ll think.

And you’ll be wrong. You’ll be wrong about a lot of things in life — this is what it means to be human — but never will you be more wrong than when you feel the temptation to buy the lies that pop culture sells about the nature of true masculinity. Son, there is nothing glamorous or fun about being a man of low character and no integrity. What you see on TV is a facade. It’s a sales pitch. It’s poison. You see the bright lights and the sexy women, but you don’t see what happens when the cameras are off and these pop culture gods return to their lives as mere mortals. You don’t see them in their big, empty, lonely houses. You don’t see the emptiness in the pit of their souls. You don’t see all the alcohol and drugs they have to use to dull the pain of living a life devoid of real, committed relationships. You don’t see the hatred they have for themselves and for humanity. You don’t see the jealousy they have towards normal, decent men.

Your dad is no celebrity. He’s just an average, boring guy. But he’s got something that every famous and non-famous womanizer envies: He’s got the love and commitment of ONE beautiful, smart, faithful woman. He’s got your mom, and he’ll only have your mom until the day he dies. He ought to be waking up every day shouting praises to the Lord because of that.

Listen, son, don’t let the world tell you how to be a man. They don’t know anything about the subject.

Men are loyal. Men are honest. Men respect and honor women. A man goes out and finds one woman, and he vows to protect and love her for the rest of his life. A man would never betray that vow. Even the weakest and most cowardly man — if he is a man at all — would die for the woman he loves. Your dad is no hero, but let someone try to hurt your mom and watch him suddenly turn into Superman (or Batman, whichever you prefer).

See, son, you don’t have to be big and strong to be a man, although I think you will be one day. You don’t have to be “cool” or athletic. You don’t have to play guitar or fix cars. These are all fine things, but they don’t define a man. A man is defined by how he treats women, by how he keeps his promises, and by how he protects and serves the ones he loves. That’s what makes a man a man. My dad taught me that, he taught it by example. I pray I can do the same for you.

Oh, and by the way, if I ever catch you disrespecting women, I will sit you down and talk to you about it. But first I’ll kick your butt up and down the street. That’s a promise.

Love,

Your old man

From The Matt Walsh blog (8/28/13)

Gov. Nixon's Wimpering Rebuttal to Gov. Perry

If I were British, I would say there was a bit of a "row" between the awesomeful governor of Missouri Jay Nixon and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

But I'm not British. I'm a Missourian. And this is downright embarrassing.

The St. Louis Beacon has a nice overview of the situation. (Click that link to read up on it if you're not familiar with what's going on.)

Basically, Perry paid for ads on Missouri airwaves to "take shots" at our economy and now Nixon is "firing" back.

Barely.

Whereas Perry paid for ads all over the state, Nixon only bought ads on 550 KTRS (because KTRS refused to air Perry's ads).

Anyway, here's the transcript of Nixon's ad [plus some of my commentary]:
“This is Gov. Jay Nixon. [TRUTH!]
“You may have heard that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is trying to get
attention for himself by taking shots at Missouri. He's running radio ads
here to try to get businesses to go to Texas.
“I'd like to thank KTRS for refusing to air these misleading ads and
standing up for Missouri. [I actually do agree with him on this point.]
“Make no mistake, our businesses aren't going to Texas, and here's why:
“One, Missouri has lower property taxes than Texas. And lower sales taxes. [That's because they don't have income tax in Texas. They have to make up the difference somewhere.]
“Two, our students score higher on standardized tests. Graduation rates are
higher. [Not directly an employment issue. Related, but not directly.]
“Three, Missouri's unemployment rate ... below the national average for 4
years. [And what does this have to do with Texas?? I was curious, so I looked into this point. A quick search led me to the Bureau of Labor Statistics state-by-state unemployment rate: Missouri is #25 at 7.1%; Texas is #18 at 6.5%. Whoops.]
“And unlike Texas, Missouri has a perfect Triple-A credit rating.
“I'd like to thank the Kansas City Civic Council and the Springfield,
Columbia, and Callaway Chambers of Commerce for standing with us. By working together we're moving Missouri in the right direction.
“And as for the governor of Texas, he'll learn, you don't mess with folks
here in the Show-Me State.” [Uh oh. Watch out!]
And he didn't even mention Missouri's 12 World Series titles, including one over a team from Texas in 2011.

On a serious note, small kudos to Governor Nixon for sticking up for Missouri. We are a great state, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. However, our governor's pathetic attempt at defending our state, which is suffering under his failed economics policies (or lack thereof) is a little ridiculous and comes off like juvenile whining. If he were really serious about getting back at the Texas Governor, he would buy ads in Texas in an attempt to lure business here to Missouri. Then he would engage in some serious economic reform that would make Missouri the envy of folks in states like Texas. But he knows he can't do the former or the latter - the former because no one would listen, and the later because he's a Democrat.

Clearly, Gov. Perry isn't picking on Missouri just to pick on Missouri. He's running ads in Iowa, New York, California, and others in an attempt to build his name ID for another presidential run. Anyone with the smallest political bone in their body can see that.

Oh, and Governor Nixon, if you're reading this, one radio ad doesn't produce jobs.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Look What I Got!

This came in the mail today.

Watch out world! I can now start blogging from my house (and not just at work or via tablet)!

  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm Not Rushing to Judgement

This story has been making rounds on the internet for a week or so.

California Students Forced to Kneel Before Principal
Claiming it was a "safety policy," California elementary public school principal Dana Carter instituted a policy that required his students to "kneel down on one knee and wait for the principal or another administrator to dismiss them." One parent claimed that her daughter was forced to kneel before the principal "like a king" with her hands at her side until Carter came out, lifted his arms, and told students to go to class.
- Via Breitbart
The way I feel about it compared to many, many others makes me confident that I'm a level-headed guy. And if that's the worst thing you could call me, I'll take it!
 
Many, many people are making this story into a big deal. And it very well could be. But I'm not going to rush to judgment on a story with little-to-no context and details which are vague at best.

Look, on face value it sounds a little weird; but on face value I think it also sounds perfectly reasonable. Let's remember though that is did take place in California - not a state known for sanity, especially from a midwesterner's point of view. It could very well be that the teacher is a narcissistic ego-maniac. On the other hand, it could be that the parents are a bit crazey were waaaaay overreacting. I'm not inclined to take sides in this case.

Here's why:

If you've ever played sports, you've no doubt had a coach tell you "take a knee" then proceed to give you a short long lecture. Your coach probably then said "hit the showers" or something to that affect. Was your coach being an ego-maniac in asking you to kneel before him "like a king"? Or was he instituting a positive behavior intervention?

Or, think of it this way: have you ever been into a middle school as an adult and seen the organized chaos that is the hallway and lunchroom? I have. And it's insane. Kids are everywhere, moving around frantically, sometimes running (even though they're not supposed to), more than likely they're not listening to their teachers.

Now imagine if this particular school in California is made up of, shall we say "students more prone to trouble-making." What would you do to keep things in order? Well, making sure everyone takes a knee is one way to keep the kids from moving around all over the place. Plus, it's easy to spot a kid who is acting up and NOT taking knee. Discipline then becomes very easy.

So, I for one am not rushing to judgement. And frankly I'm really disappointed in my conservative-minded group of friends who have rushed to condemn this. Aren't we supposed to be the rational ones? Let the liberals get all emotional and worked up over some crazy news story. You and I, we're better than that. We need to step back and think a little bit before we react.

Besides, it's California. So why does it matter at all?

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I really appreciate Will Smith. Call him cheesy, washed up, or old, the man has values, and is apparently instilling them in his children too.

Check out this picture of Will Smith and his family during the awful performance by Miley Cyrus at the VMA's last night.


'Nuff said.

Dem. State Rep. Arrested for Pot

I find this story amusing, although I'm not sure why.

From the Kansas City Star:

Missouri State Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, a Democrat, was arrested just after 3 p.m. in Boone County, according to a Missouri Highway Patrol arrest report. He was stopped for failing to respond to a charge out of Moniteau County that he had driven with an expired license tag and without insurance.
During Sunday’s stop, he was cited with possessing a marijuana pipe and up to 1.2 ounces of marijuana, according to the highway patrol’s arrest report.
My question to you as a reader is:

Should pot be legalized? And what are the reasons for your opinions?

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/201remy-lafaver-of-kansas-city.html#storylink=cpy

The End of Freedom is Upon Us

The end is near. They said this would never happen.

Well, it just did.

From The Blaze:

The Albuquerque-based photography studio Elane Photography did not want to photograph the ceremony between Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth because studio co-owner Elaine Huguenin said it would violate her Christian beliefs and that the company only photographs traditional marriages.
The majority opinion for the court stated that the studio violated the rights of the lesbian couple “in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of two different races."
So, what this means is that rights as a business owner do not include choosing clientele, refusing business, or building one's business upon your personal values.

No, if you are a business owner in the United States of America in 2013, not only do you have to provide contraception coverage in your health care coverage, apparently you also do not have the freedom to turn down business from someone whom you disagree with.

Now that's what I call freedom. Interestingly, I seem to recall writing about the demise of freedom way back in 2009.

The discussion is no longer about the definition of marriage. The militant progressive, homosexual "marriage" crowd won't leave it in the bedroom like they asked all us "radical", "backwards" believers in traditional marriage to do, because that was never what it was about. The fight over marriage is not and never was about who can do what in the bedroom - it is about two fundamentally different worldviews, which necessarily must clash in the public sphere.

And now the discussion is apparently over. Dissent will be squelched. If you believe that the fundamental nature of marriage is a unitive, procreative joining together of a man and a woman, sorry, you are hateful. Progressives can't quite comprehend the distinction between WHO can get married (interracial marriage) and WHAT marriage is (man and a woman for life).

The chilling words from the article's first line: "You will be made to care" sound frightfully reminiscent of something one might hear from Mao's Red China, Stallin's Soviet Russia, or some other secular humanist state.

Get ready my fellow clingers! This is not the time to cower from the world. We should renew our efforts to help our fellow men see the light in the darkness. Go to church. Pray. Find friends with whom you agree. We must build communities of like-minded people. Because "if we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately."

Friday, August 23, 2013

I gave in.

I'm on instagram.

I never thought the day would come. (I never thought I'd be on twitter either.)

Find me on instagram: gabehjones.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Student Shot Dead; Nobody Seems to Care

Something is wrong with the world. Seriously wrong on so many levels.

 From The Blaze:
Student Randomly Shot Dead by Gang of Teens Just ‘For the Fun of It’, Police Say
Police say an Australian student visiting the U.S. on a baseball scholarship was randomly shot dead on Friday by a group of three teenagers who later confessed to authorities they killed him “for the fun of it.”
Chris Lane, 23, was jogging in a small Oklahoma town Friday night after visiting his girlfriend of four years when a gang of teenagers mercilessly gunned him down and left him to die...

Have you heard about this story? Maybe; chances are you have not.

Why not?

Because it doesn't fit the narrative. "White person killed by black person" doesn't sell papers or increase ratings.

But it sure raises my blood pressure.

I'm heartbroken about the senseless act of violence. I can't even begin to imagine what this young man's family and girlfriend are going through. I don't want to imagine it. Killing is killing and there's nothing more permanent than death. The fact that these hooligans with nothing better to do took an innocent life "for the fun of it" makes me furious. It's difficult not to say some uncharitable things, so the best I can do is, God have mercy on their souls.

Where is the national outrage? Where are the headlines, the experts and talking heads on TV, where is the president? But how could he know when his own spokesperson didn't know about it.

Well, some folks are talking. An article by John McRorter titled "Don't Ignore Race In Christopher Lane's Murder" appeared on the Time magazine website this morning. I'm sure other outlets will pick up on it too. But will it spark a national riot discussion on race like the Zimmerman case did? We will see. I doubt it though.

Honestly, I wish it didn't come down to this. I wish I didn't have to vent about the hypocrisy in the media and the White House for ignoring a horrific crime. Shame on every media outlet who chose to ignore this or only mention it in passing. We sure heard enough about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. #JusticeForTrayvon was heard around the world. Where is #JusticeForChris? Where are Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other black leaders?

Look, I'm not one to cry "racist." Personally, I don't care what the color of your skin is. We're all children of God. BUT! I do care how you act. Actions can be controlled; skin color cannot. We all know issues of race are some of the most volatile in this day and age, so covering this story, the Zimmerman case, or anything else will not make the problem go away. We need not just a "discussion" on race; we need action.

Until we get action in the right direction, all the words in the world are meaningless.


UPDATE (8/23/13):

Saw this story on Drudge. Why?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"It Isn't Grape Juice and Wonderbread"

My colleague Elizabeth Westhoff published a tremendous blog post recently on the importance of Holy Communion and why it should be taken so seriously. And in case you're wondering, yes, this is intended for a Catholic audience, but even if you're not Catholic you could probably learn something.

Here's an excerpt:
My parish, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, is the mother church of the archdiocese.  It is also one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world, an absolutely breathtaking structure and is, therefore, also the “tourist parish” of our archdiocese.  As such, there are often people who have popped in to take a look and who stay for Mass—Catholics and non-Catholics alike... I have, on occasion, stopped people to request that they either consume the Eucharist if they are Catholic or give it to me so that I could consume it after I have seen them put the Host in a pocket or purse after receiving it.  It isn’t that I’ve named myself “Host Police” and am on a mission to interrupt the reception of the Blessed Sacrament; it’s that, as a Catholic, I know what they are so casually stuffing into a pocket isn’t simply a bit of pressed gluten. It isn’t a “symbolic representation” of something.  It IS the Body of Christ and even if their intentions aren’t menacing and their actions are based on ignorance, it is my responsibility to prevent a grave error from being committed. Again, I assume these people aren’t Catholic and that they simply don’t understand the gravity of what they’ve done...

What you are receiving each and every time you receive Holy Communion isn’t simply bread.  It isn’t simply wine.  It is the Divine.  It is God.  It is, in the truest sense of the word—awesome
I really could not have said it better myself. Which is in itself saying something!

I encourage you to read the whole post on the official Archdiocese of St. Louis blog, Areopagus.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pick Up Basketball Stereotypes

 If you've ever played pick-up basketball, you've seen/been one of these guys.



I don't think I fit neatly into one of their stereotypes. But I've definitely played with people who do.

Where do you think you fit in?

Florida Man Credited with Saving 1,000 Children

If you haven't seen this awesome video, you need to.

Bottom line: If more people would take it upon themselves to save lives, we could end abortion in the country. Not through laws or court orders, but simply by changing the hearts and minds of our neighbors. It's hard work. Hopefully this video can be inspiration for you.

 

Note: In the video when they refer to "the church" they are not referring to the Church as Catholics refer to it (i.e., The Catholic Church); instead they mean Christianity as a whole.

P.S.: I tried to embed the video. If it doesn't work, use this link to watch it on YouTube.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Bigorexia" a.k.a. "Self-Obsession"

Saw this interesting story today pop up on Drudge Report.

The new trend has been called “bigorexia” and it could come with some serious health consequences.
Early in his career, personal trainer Alfonso Moretti was obsessed with building his own muscles.
“It takes over your life. Every decision you make becomes the workout and how your body looks. I used to track and weigh every single ounce of food that went in my body. I used to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning to drink protein shakes. I never missed a workout, ever, ever, ever,” he told CBS 2′s Maurice Dubois.
As many as 45-percent of men have fallen victim to bigorexia or muscle dysmorphia, according to Dr. Michele Kerulis the director of sports & health psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology.
You can read the whole story here.

I find this story interesting because it does point out a problem with our society: self-obsession. Generally speaking, I would say women tend to fall victim to the desire for a "perfect body", or at least that is what we are told. But, I posit that is also because society pushes women to think they need the "perfect body." The truth is, it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, we have a natural tendency to be self-absorbed.

Now don't get me wrong, I like to work out. I've grown up doing it. My dad is a strength and conditioning coach, so I basically grew up in a weight room. I know the difference between being obsessed with size, strength, and looks, versus maximizing and harnessing your body's natural ability. Sadly, not everyone knows the difference, and the line, which isn't much of a fine line in the first place, gets blurred.

My point to all this is this: our bodies are gifts from God. We don't "own" them anymore than you own a rental car. We should strive to take care of them and maximize their potential. At the same time we shouldn't want to look like a slob any more than we should want to look like Arnold. The key is moderation. This tendency towards self-absorption isn't a new phenomenon though. Human nature doesn't change and I can't dictate societal norms from my keyboard (as much as I would like to).

So, the next time you look in the mirror don't degrade yourself for being to fat, too skinny, or too much anything in-between; instead look at your body and your tendency towards self-absorption/self-obsession as a challenge to overcome on your way to becoming the best you that God wants you to be.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"We Must Protect This House!"

You may remember the Under Armour commercials from a few years ago (check this one out here).

I tend to like them, even though they are a bit "neanderthal-ish". Nevertheless, I took this photo tonight with a new statue in front of my house. Therefore, I pose a similarly phrased question:

"Who protects this house?!"

 

Answer:

The Blessed Virgin Mary of course!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mystery Priest Identified: Divinely Inspired PR?

In case you missed it, last week this story broke about a "mystery" priest who helped a young girl at the scene of a nasty accident on Highway 19 in rural Missouri.

Well, just the other day the priest came forward:
The Diocese of Jefferson City has identified the priest as Father Patrick Dowling, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, who currently is serving in prison ministry and in parish ministry to Spanish-speaking Catholics in the diocese.

"Mystery Priest" Fr. Dowling
Fr. Dowling (image via Catholic News Agency)

A statement from the diocese noted that Fr. Dowling was traveling Aug. 4 on Hwy 19 between Mass assignments in northern and central Missouri. He stopped at the accident scene near Center, Mo., where 19-year-old Katie Lentz of Quincy, Ill., was trapped in her car with serious injuries. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported that Aaron Smith, 26, of New London, Mo., had crossed the center line and struck Lentz head-on.
You can read more in the St. Louis Review article here.

I've driven Highway 19 before. It's a simple two-lane highway with cornfields alongside it for miles after miles. Some of the spots along there feel very remote. If something happens, like this accident, it could be awhile before you get help. Which makes this story so miraculous in the first place, even if the priest was not an angel, like people were originally speculating. Just the mere timing of it all was miraculous enough to be classified as a miracle, in my humble opinion.

However, that's not the thing that struck me about all this. Here's what did:

For years, really an eternity it seems for us Catholics, we have heard nothing but negative stories about the Catholic Church in general and priests in particular - be it that the Church won't allow priests to marry, or the abuse scandals, there is no shortage of negative press from the media.

But now we have this wonderful story about a priest who simply did what he was supposed to do in the course of his priestly duties. No doubt this is divinely inspired (and much needed) PR for the Catholic Church. Couple this with the warm reception of Pope Francis and we have what seems like what could be a new springtime in the Church.

So, I pose the following questions:

For my fellow Catholics, do you think this story will change the general perception of priests and the Church? And for my non-Catholic friends, has this story alone changed your perception of Catholic priests, and/or Catholicism in general?

Check out the poll on the sidebar.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe!

Happy feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe!


Today, August 14th is the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe in the ordinary form of the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. In case you don't know the story, Fr. Kolbe was a Nazi prisoner at Auschwitz and offered himself to die in place of a young husband and father. While not technically a martyr under the Catholic definition, he is generally considered a martyr because of his actions. He was canonized in 1982 and is the patron saint of the pro-life movement, among other things.

For more information on this amazing saint, click here.

Global Warming?

Last night my wife and I left the windows open and turned the attic fan on. We're trying to be smart consumers by leaving the A/C off and trying to save some money.

But then we woke up to this...

Brrrrr.

If this is global warming, I'll take it!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

When "Clowning Around" Goes Too Far

I disagree with our President on just about everything. I find especially sickening his recent comments to a Planned Parenthood assembly.
...But!
This is what not to do even if you disagree.
There's a fine line between insulting or degrading a person and disagreeing with someone, however vehemently, with class and dignity. I may have crossed the line a few times with this president, especially considering his views on abortion. However, I try to stay out of that trap and remember that all human beings deserve respect (even though Obama doesn't seem to think so). Yet, that's what we have to do. Otherwise, we're no better off than the next heathen.
That doesn't mean we can't call people out for hypocrisy or actions that are flat out wrong. In fact, we should do so all the more fervently. Some of the best insults and reprimands come from great literary giants like Shakespeare and Chesterton. But they knew how to call someone out, even insult them, in a high-minded and impressive way.
Please, don't degrade people. Come on America. Aren't we supposed to be better than that?

My Favorite Cardinal

I'm a big fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. Meeting any past or present Cardinal player would be pretty cool. But not even meeting Albert Pujols would quite compare to meeting my favorite St. Louis Cardinal... Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis.
It was just a brief meeting, but long enough to get some pictures. I hope to meet this wonderful and holy man again sometime. I've been told he remembers names very well. I wonder if he'll remember mine?

Friday, August 9, 2013

New URL for the blog

Hey everybody!

I was thinking about my blog URL.

"buildahedge.blogspot.com" seemed a little strange after thinking about it for awhile. I mean, I got it. It made sense to me. But it sounded like a lawncare business, which is not exactly what I was going for.

So, I just changed my URL to better reflect the name of my blog.

It's now "AManInTheGap.blogspot.com."

Same stuff. Different URL.

A World Made for the Extrovert

Hi, my name is Gabe, and I'm an introvert.

Well, that's not technically correct. Allow me to explain.

Usually when someone begins an explanation of a concept or theory they begin by defining one or more of the relevant or important terms. I'm not going to do that because, 1) it would take more time than I care to spend looking up the exact definitions, 2) you can do it yourself, and 3) it's not entirely necessary for this conversation.

However, I do want share one way I've heard introversion and extroversion explained. We all have, I think, a general idea of what these terms mean, but the best description I've heard is that introversion and extroversion describe where we get our energy. Yes, we all need sleep, but have you ever met that person who is boring and sleepy in with just one or two people around, but gets really hyper and excited in bigger groups? That's generally what extraverts do. On the other hand, introverts energize themselves either alone or in small groups of close friends, and get worn down and need recharging when in large groups. Both types of people get their energy in their respective ways. And there's nothing wrong with that.

For me personally, things aren't so clear cut.

A couple years ago as part of my MBA studies, we took several personality tests. One such test was from the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies. You can find out more about them and the test here. Of the many different aspects of personality tested, one was introversion vs. extroversion. On that particular measure, I scored a 49 on a scale of 100. In case you're not good at math, that puts me almost perfectly in the middle. The term for someone like me is an "ambivert." An ambivert isn't a true extrovert or introvert. Depending on particular situations an ambivert can be the life of the party or more comfortable at home alone with a pizza and a movie.

Even though an ambivert can go either way, I would argue that I am definitely more comfortable being an introvert than an extrovert, which explains the intro to this post. Being more inclined to introversion has its advantages, but being able to extrovert very well is extremely beneficial in a world that is increasingly geared toward extroversion.

Which is what got me thinking. Just about everything in the world as it is right now is built by and for the extraverts.

Just think about it for a second. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. The media. TV. Radio. Coupons you get in the mail. Heck, even this blog post to some degree, all boil down to one thing: the need for attention. And extraverts need attention because that's where they get energy. Extroverts by their very nature are going to dominate society more than introverts, and thus, I argue, the world has always been dominated by the extroverts and always will be - not that this is a bad thing.

But in this day and age, not only does society glorify the extraverts (and extravert wannabes), but there are more avenues than ever before to provide the extraverts an outlet for their attention-seeking. Again, not that all this a bad thing. The fact is though that we don't operate in a vacuum, so this must have an effect somehow.

So, I want to ask you to just think about how the modern world, so geared towards extroversion, affects the naturally introverted person. Go ahead. Ponder that next time you have a quiet evening to yourself (if you're an introvert), or (for the extroverts) next time you're hanging out with a bunch of friends.

I think all this has a two-fold effect.

First, that we as a society are losing touch with some of the things that make people unique - introversion & extroversion are just one example. There is a lot of pressure from society for someone who doesn't want to put all their information out there for the whole world. For someone who is not naturally inclined to be social, well, it's hard to remain introverted. The "quiet kids" in class get called names, made fun of, etc., which is how things have always been. I just think it's getting worse. Kids are acting out more (bullying, etc) why? Because they feel a lot of pressure to go against who they're hard-wired to be. And then we put them on meds and call it fixed. (That's a whole separate topic.)

The second effect I see is that if we don't find time to shut it all down and get away, we can get so wrapped up in it all that we lose touch with reality. Yes, that may sound a little weird and hippy-like, but it's true.

As a Catholic, I can see this exemplified by the way Mass is celebrated in the Novus Ordo/Ordinary Form and the Latin Mass/Extraordinary Form. The former is a constant stream of external stimuli because it's about visible participation. For an introvert, shaking or holding hands, dancing, or any other extrovert-type activities is uncomfortable to say the least. The latter, the Tridentine Mass, appeals very much to the introvert because it is designed for a different kind of participation, one that is not driven by extroversion. Instead of focusing on other people, we can use that time to forget about earthly things and participate mentally with Christ's Holy Sacrifice. But, I dare say, the extrovert would not be uncomfortable with a Latin Mass either. There is plenty of singing and other stimuli to keep them interested.

Again, I'm not necessarily judging this interesting situation or trying to make a value statement out of it... Although I could get into that. Nor am I scientifically-inclined enough to get into the nitty-gritty and study this phenomenon, although I'd love to read some existing research on it.

What I am saying however, is that the way our 21st century world is set up and operates is geared towards extroversion, and that does have consequences, for better or worse. And I would argue we are already seeing some of those consequences, for better or worse.

Think about it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Of Frustration, Technology, Time, and the Nature of Reality

Well, the title pretty much says it all.
Oh don't worry. There's no way I'm going to delve into all those topics. At this time of night I don't have the energy, motivation, or desire to.
But all those things are the reason behind this post.
See, in trying to post another, entirely different posting, somehow the app on my phone decided not to cooperate and unceremoniously deleted the writing into which I had invested so much of my time and effort. In fact, it did it twice. After the second time I got the point and decided to move on.
Only after a couple choice words for technology though.
It sure is frustrating. That's just the way things go sometimes. Sure, right now I may sound calm, but my wife will tell you that a few minutes ago I sounded like my house had just been torn apart by a tornado.
And that's what got me thinking about context.
"It's just a blog post."
I'm not the kind of guy to do things for no reason. So I hate to waste time and effort. Lost writings can be especially frustrating.
Yet, I think I'm proving that even a sad situation like this isn't all wasted if used properly.
And that's what I intend to do: use it properly.
See, while it might be "just a blog post" to some people, to me that missing blog post represents lost energy, lost creativity, and in a sense, a lost part of myself.
But context means a lot. Ironically, one year ago on August 6th, my wife (fiancé at the time) lost her father. I was pretty frustrated by the lost post just a few minutes ago, but when I came to my senses and remembered the importance of this date, everything became so clear. Context means a lot.
Living and Learning
Life is one big, long lesson. God is constantly giving us opportunities to learn, to grow as a person, and to grow closer to Him. So many times I fail at seeing those lessons that it's amazing that God hasn't lost patience with me. But He hasn't. That's not what He does. And with the importance of this date looming large in my mind right now I realize just how many more lessons I need to learn before I can see my father-in-law again.
In that effort I try to pray everyday the prayer of St. Ignatius:
Take, O Lord, my entire memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and I have come to me from your bounty. I give it all back to thee and surrender it all to the guidance of your holy will. Give me they love and thy grace. With these I am rich enough and desire nothing more.
Talk about context.
Alright, I think I've calmed down enough to go to bed. I will get around to rewriting that lost blog post soon... I promise.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

More Posts to Come Soon!

I haven't been feeling very motivated to write much as of late. Coupled with a busy schedule, a new house, lack of home internet, and other responsibilities adding up, and you have a dormant blog for over a month.
But fear not! I shall return as motivated as ever and start writing more frequently.
My goal is that by putting all this on paper, er, pixel, it will hold me accountable. We shall see...