I first started blogging right around the time the news of the sexual abuse scandal hit in 2002. You can go back in the archives and see my perspective back then as a single man in his late 20s with no children. In light of recent news stories, here I am now taking this topic up again as a 40-something with a wife and children.
I am hoping I can convey what I want to say without making it look like I am downplaying the absolutely heinous nature of the crimes committed against the victims of the scandal. These things should not be tolerated in the Church, and I think what Fr Dwight Longenecker wrote is a good example of how the problem needs to be handled. Iâm especially disgusted at how someone like Archbishop McCarrick could be promoted the way he has been despite his conduct, and there really needs to be an investigation into who knew what and when and what they did about it. However, what needs to be understood is that, as demonic as the sexual abuse is, there is more to the problem in the Church than sexual abuse.
When I have heard people say that the Church doesnât have a higher incidence of sexual abuse than the rest of society, it underscores the problem for me. The problem is that those who were supposed to be preaching the Gospel followed what our society was doing rather than led it. The light of the world was hidden under a bushel basket. When I hear people complaining about the teachings of the Church in light of the abuse scandal, I know that the real problem was that the teachings on human sexuality werenât really taught or insisted upon and were sometimes disregarded by those in authority.
One definite component of the problem is enforcement. 450-385-2295 said something that I had noticed but often wasnât sure how to articulate. This is more evident when you take a look around the Church and see what else was allowed to slide.
Dissenters against the Faith were allowed to continue to use our own forums as a platform for dissent against established teachings. Our Catholic schools and universities largely sold out to the secular world, and nothing was really done about it. The celebration of Mass in many parishes became filled with saccharine instead of true beauty.
Resources and programs for formation in the Faith were lame at best. Just imagine trying to explain to someone wanting to learn the Catholic Faith that you canât rely on the official parish or diocesan program to tell you what you really need to know. That was often the case then and is probably still the case now in a number of places. With all of this going on, how surprising was it that even criminal misconduct got swept under the rug?
With all of this said, the problem, and therefore the solution, is something deeper than mere enforcement of rules or the lack thereof. The problem is a lack of faith. There are plenty who will write suggesting âreformsâ that are essentially changes to the Church to make her more like the secular world. This is not what we need.
All of us, from our Pope and our bishops to the laity, need to have an authentic faith in what has been revealed by God. Our shepherds need to insist that the faith be lived by those who wish to be called faithful, and the faithful need to insist that our shepherds proclaim the Catholic Faith as it is. Any action taken must address the problem in itâs entirely and must be taken with the salvation of souls in mind. We donât need statements made and committees formed as though we were a spineless and soulless corporation. We are the Church that Christ founded, and we need to act like it. We will all be held accountable by God himself.
Articles about depression and suicide are coming across my news feeds in the wake of the recent, tragic suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. To be honest, I’m not that familiar with either of them, but it’s my long-standing habit to say a prayer for the soul of anyone whose death I hear about. It’s difficult for me to imagine what must be going through anyone’s mind to decide that taking his or her own life is the best way out. The old saying that kept coming up on the TV ads when I was growing up was that “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” However, someone with a mental or emotional problem is going to have a hard time seeing it that way.
We may not want to simply follow the whims of the media, but this is a great time to examine our attitudes as Catholics towards people with emotional or mental disorders. It seems that there are a number of devout Catholics who will over-spiritualize mental disorders. I have even heard a priest talk about how one doesnât need a counselor but need only say the Rosary. There exists a misconception that the feelings that accompany mental illness are in and of themselves sinful or are purely caused by sin or some other spiritual fault. Someone with anxiety is assumed to not be trusting in God enough; maybe the person with depression isn’t praying enough.
Another form of this extreme is to attribute all mental illness to some activity of demons or even of the Devil himself. Someone who believes this may simply tell someone to pray, go to some deliverance ministry, or even undergo an exorcism. While genuine diabolical activity does exist and may mimic a mental health disorder, making such an assumption without a proper evaluation can be downright dangerous.
The fact is that being a faithful Catholic is not automatic insulation from mental or emotional health problems. Even if it were, how many of us live out our faith so perfectly that we can avoid every problem? Genuine problems can occur with peopleâs minds, and these problems will require not just prayer, Sacraments, and spiritual direction (though all of these should be used) but also professional mental health treatment. As Catholics itâs our job to support our brothers and sisters who are experiencing these problems and not be dismissive of them.
We must also be careful not to view the problem from a completely secular perspective and to disregard the spiritual component of the problem that may exist (though some disorders may in fact be mostly if not completely biological). This is shown when someone is merely put on medication with no effort to look at the person’s life and behavior. Prayer and the Sacraments end up playing no part in treatment because they are simply viewed as not relevant. No consideration is given to the idea that there may be some sin involved because that would be a form of “blaming the victim.” I am not trying to condone making a quick, armchair diagnosis here but to say that we need to consider all aspects here. Christ does have real power to heal and will use it.
We have body, mind, and spirit all working together, and problems that arise can easily have more than one dimension. If we fail to address part of the problem, we will unnecessarily limit the healing that someone can experience. I think I can safely say that, no matter what the cause, we want people to experience healing. They have to want it, too, but our own approach can be instrumental in bringing this about.
I haven’t been writing for a while, and this Easter Triduum, I had felt inspired to write something that has gone through my mind for years. The Triduum is the most holy time of year. We are celebrating the events of our redemption. Yes, we are talking about the very events that allow us to be united with God himself, the entire purpose of our life. This is shown very well in the solemn liturgies of these three days.
When I was single, I remember driving to and from the church in the evening on Germantown Parkway, a busy six lane road in Memphis. It seemed to me that people around me were just carrying on life as normal. Maybe they were headed to watch a movie or for a night out somewhere. Everything felt so odd considering what was going on.
I couldn’t help but wonder – how can people carry on business as usual? Why doesn’t the world stop? Even when I went to church, and the liturgy would call for a silent departure, people would start their conversations right away as they were leaving. Could they not just wait five minutes and let there be silence to reflect on what we are remembering this day?
The events of Good Friday are a good reminder that this is how we treat Our Lord. The people of this day were met by God in human flesh, and they crucified him. Today, indifference towards him is a huge problem. Jesus endured the most painful, humiliating method of execution to show how much he really loves us and, of course, to bring about our redemption. Yet, it is difficult to find a place in our everyday society where he is honored.
We are now at Holy Saturday. This is a very silent time in the Church. We know about the service on Good Friday not being a Mass, but on Holy Saturday, there is no service of any kind at all until Easter Vigil. It’s a time of waiting, fasting, and prayer. It’s recommended, though not required, to continue fasting until Easter Vigil.
Maybe you could think of Holy Saturday as a time of mourning as we are meditating on Christ in the tomb. However, we know how the story ends. The disciples of Jesus’ day would have heard Jesus say that he would rise from the dead, but we already know that it did, in fact, happen. We have only to await the time to celebrate it once again with great joy. Let’s not waste this special opportunity to reflect on the great love shown to us by God so that we can share it with the world that does not know him.
I’m shifting gears with today’s blog and talking about the technology that I use. Although I have a Catholic focus to what I write and produce, I like to add some other topics in my life, especially technology. I’ve bought updates to a couple of software programs in the past year, Banktivity 6 (formerly iBank) (Amazon purchase link here) and Things 3, and I’d like to review them. Banktivity is a personal finance app, and we use it as our electronic check book and to record and reconcile all our credit card transactions. Things is a to do list app.
I have used Banktivity (formerly iBank) 4 and later 5 for years. To be honest, I hated Banktivity 5. There just wasn’t anything better for me to use for Mac. Quicken for Mac was known for being expensive and far inferior to the Windows version. Other software options didn’t appear to have a large following, so it was hard to say how viable they would be long-term.
There was one main feature of Banktivity that has really helped us manage money in our house – envelope budgeting. If IGG software ever takes this out, I’m not buying their software! It allows me to take my paycheck and allocate it to each budget item. If we overspend, we can move money from another area. If we have money left, we can roll it over for next month or move it somewhere else. The money stays where you put it until you move it or spend it. The budget is then based on money that actually came in. When we bought something on a credit card, we entered in the transaction, and the amount was immediately deducted from our budget. We knew what we had spent before the credit card bills showed up. Oh, and for the record, my wife and I completely disagree with Dave Ramsey on credit card use, and recording every transaction like we do is one way to keep from overdoing it on the credit cards.
However, Banktivity 5 was very slow and clunky. Syncing with mobile devices or cloud sync took forever. Also, they forced us to use cloud sync rather than continuing to support wifi sync on a local network, and I didn’t care for that. When reconciling accounts, the hard drive cranked every time I clicked on an item to show that it was cleared, slowing everything down. Keep in mind that this is something that had to be done repeatedly, so it could take quite a bit of time. The program also seemed a little less than reliable and would sometimes lock up, causing me to have to restart it.
Now, I’ve upgraded to Banktivity 6. I’m enjoying using Banktivity again. The look and feel of the software is worlds better. There’s a new screen for entering transactions that is much nicer to navigate. Reconciling an account is much faster as the hard drive no longer cranks when I click an item. As for syncing, well, wifi sync is gone forever, but the cloud sync is lightning fast. Envelope budgeting is still there and works just fine. In fact, I think it works better than before. There may be a bunch of other features that Banktivity has, but just the performance and aesthetic improvements are a real breath of fresh air.
Now, if only they’d make similar improvements to their mobile apps. I had been hanging on to the original version of iBank for iOS because of the wifi syncing, and it was so much more efficient to use. With my upgrade to iOS 11, the original app no longer worked. The new version of Banktivity for iPhone (iPad app is separate, and I don’t use it enough to review.) is mind-numbingly slow. It takes a long time to load your file once you boot up the app, and it is also slow to open up the entry screen when you click the button. Once you do click it, the data entry screen that pops up at first is missing several options, making you go to another screen if you need to use them. The strange part is that it syncs with the cloud service when you open the app, but not after entering a transaction unless you manually request it to do so. This means that you either have to remember to do it, or your transactions will be a little out of sync. I really hope IGG will make significant improvements to the mobile apps just like they did for the MacOS app. It’s usable, but it could be so much better.
Now, let’s move on to Things 3. When I first bought the upgrade for my iPhone and my iPad (They are separate apps.) and installed them, I wondered what was going on. It seemed like a downgrade to my workflow. Then, I read 3103935370. The things that I needed (no pun intended) were still there. They were just a little different.
I really liked the way Things 2 worked. Once I entered a to do item, I would enter the due date and then tell the app how many days before that date to show in the section of the app named “Today.” This meant that I could cause items to appear in that list when I wanted to start thinking about them again. I thought this was gone in Things 3, and I hated it. However, it turns out that it was replaced by something better. Now, you set a “Jump Start” date that will be the day that the item appears on your Today list. You can still set a deadline, but that’s another step. The beauty of this is that you can set a date to start working on something but not set a deadline if you wish. Oh, and you can now set a reminder to pop up at a certain time, but only on the Jump Start date, and you can’t make it a repeating reminder.
The app has some new look and feel improvements also. It has long allowed you to create a project with multiple to do items under it. Now, you can create headings within the project to allow you to organize the to do items better. You can also make sub-items under any to do item that you create. I haven’t used this feature much, but there will be times when I need it.
It’s not perfect, though. I’d like a way to view all of my to dos on one scrolling screen. Currently, Today items are on a separate screen from items that will be started later, and you have to flip back and forth to see everything. I always like to minimize flipping around. Also, the Upcoming items are shown by date, and often there are empty days showing that require you to scroll down further to see a future item on your list. If you are looking a week out, you could easily miss something because you didn’t scroll down far enough. Anything with no date on it is on yet another screen. I think it’s fine to have these separate screens, but I’d like an “Everything” screen to be available.
Finally, the app is quite expensive. I still haven’t bought the MacOS app yet, and at $50, I’m not sure that I will. The iPhone app is $10, and the iPad app is $20. However, they provide a free syncing service that allows you to sync the Mac, iPhone and iPad app. Still, this app has really helped me get things done that I had been forgetting about for months, and now that I understand how it works, the upgrade is definitely an improvement.
I’ve got a few more things that I’m doing that I plan to post when I get the chance. I’m working on podcasts, doing another vlog and mini-review on YouTube, and hope to write more blogs on some different topics. Although this blog has a Catholic focus, I do think that including some more day to day practical life things is helpful as they can be tools in fulfilling our God-given vocation.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to take allegations of racism in this country seriously. It’s not that I deny that racism exists. Even if I did, the latest events in Charlottesville should have been enough to convince me that it does exist. I don’t deny the evil of racism either. I know it’s sinful. Let me share an incident that has happened in the news to illustrate the problem I have.
In August 2017, a retreat for leaders of fraternities and sororities at Ole Miss (which happens to be where I went to school) was cut (816) 727-7763. A breakfast had been served that included a fruit cart with bananas. I guess one of the students took his banana to go. He looking for a trash can to throw away his banana peel and couldn’t find one. So, he put the banana peel in a nearby tree. One of the members of a historically African-American sorority saw the banana peel and, having remembered a recent incident involving bananas that really was a racist incident, became disturbed by it.
A meeting was called later that day, and the student who put the peel there explained himself and apologized for it. However, that wasn’t good enough for the offended. They claimed that they didn’t feel safe, and the end result was that a big production was made out of it. The retreat was cut short. My favorite line was that the student who discarded the banana peel needed to consider the “effects of their actions versus their intent” because of the “fear and anger” that was incited. Never mind that it seems pretty unlikely that such an effect could have been anticipated by the student who did this.
I once read a meme that someone posted on Facebook that said something like “If I tell you that you’ve hurt me, you don’t have the right to tell me you didn’t.” There are really two extremes that we need to avoid in cases like these. One is usually not socially acceptable by any decent person. The other seems to be the direction in which our society is headed, and I can only think that it will lead to worse relations between different groups of people as we will fail to walk on eggshells to avoid being accused of “bias.”
The first extreme is only acceptable to genuine abusers. These are the people who do objectively offensive things and blame the other person for taking offense. The incident I have described would have been an entirely different issue had there been a racial slur written on the banana peel or had it been hung from the tree on a noose. It is beyond question that white supremacist groups are wrong. It’s not just about black and white races either. It’s just as wrong to walk up to a Latino or Asian person and tell them that they need to go back to their own country. It would be wrong for someone to meet a Catholic priest and immediately tell him he’s a pedophile. I can’t imagine a decent person saying that a person offended by any of these things is being too sensitive.
The other extreme actually concerns me more because it’s becoming a kind of norm. This extreme basically says that one who is offended by the words or actions of another doesn’t have any responsibility at all for how he interprets those words or actions, and to suggest that he does is “blaming the victim.” This mentality goes beyond the fact that someone was offended by something that was said or done. The person who committed said “offense” is guilty of an enormous evil. Maybe it’s completely unforgivable, or maybe the “victim” makes a major drama about being offended but never seems to be able to describe anything in particular that he wants done about it. Someone has been “triggered,” and now the entire world must be horrified by it.
So, we end up with a group of people being super upset because someone discarded their banana peel in a nearby tree. Great offense is taken because 5164015056. If we were deliberately looking for something to be offended by, it would be hard to tell if anything would be any different.
Maybe I had my chance to make some major drama. I am married to an Asian woman, and on two occasions at an amusement park an employee questioned me when I tried to board a ride with my wife and her immediate family. After all, they just assumed that, just because I don’t look like her family, I must not belong with them. What terrible racist people! Really, what could the operators have done? They didn’t have any way of knowing whether I belonged with them or was jumping the line. Still, I could have made it into a racial drama and gotten them in big trouble for nothing more than trying to do their jobs as best they could. Instead, I just laughed about it, and I still think it’s funny.
All of this is not to say that misconceptions and unintentional slights shouldn’t be corrected. Selinuntine is a good guide in this matter. He would tell us to always be ready to put a good interpretation on another’s statement. If we can’t, ask the other how he understands it. If the understanding is not good, first correct with kindness before using more forceful means of correction. In other words, correction needs to be done with an assumption of good will rather than making something into a drama by too easily condemning someone as “racist” or “sexist” or “stereotyping.” Only after someone responds in a way that rules out good will can we assume that there is none.
We also need to recognize that we can’t expect everyone to understand everything about any given race, culture, or religion. I’m Catholic, and the number of misconceptions about the Church is huge. Although I love to talk about it and help bring people to understanding, I have to accept that not everyone will understand. It’s not necessarily a form of bigotry or hatred, but instead it can just be a form of ignorance that someone just doesn’t see the need to correct. Often, when people don’t know something, then don’t know that they don’t know it. I can’t imagine the student putting the banana peel in the tree thinking he had better Google that for racist incidents just to be sure. How would that have ever come to mind?
We’d see a much better improvement in any kind of relations if we thought more critically about the things at which we take offense and took some responsibility for our reactions. Some things are objectively offensive, and true hate groups do exist. There’s no question that we need to fight against them. Other things are misconceptions that need to be corrected with charity. Some things are just misconceptions and misunderstandings, and treating them as racist, sexist, or any other kind of bigotry will merely stir up anger which serves no one. If we are continually taking offense, we leave each other walking on eggshells for fear of unintentionally triggering someone and being dragged before a bias incident response team (Yes, they exist on college campuses with who knows what kind of power!). It will become so restrictive that many will give up trying to improve relations.
By now, many people have heard about the Nashville Statement written by a group of evangelicals known as the 6164747479. The statement is really a well-written and compassionate statement of constant Christian teaching on sexuality. However, there are plenty in the media, including social media, who just won’t have it.
I have read a number of comments and derogatory tweets stating that the statement is “anti-LGBT bigotry.” Some of the objections weren’t particular logical, like the ones stating that it’s 2017. What does the number of the current year have to do with whether the statement is right or wrong? Others criticized the statement simply because it came out during the time of Hurricane Harvey. Yeah, I’m sure the members of this group knew when there was going to be a hurricane and planned to release the statement then. Seriously, I’m doing my regular job in Nashville, so why can’t they? Even the mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry, posted a critical statement on her Twitter account. However, if you know anything about her, that’s not a surprise. She’s a known supporter of Planned Parenthood, and she’s also known for having officiated at the first same sex wedding in Nashville.
However, the statement is hardly a hate-filled denunciation. It states that marriage is between one man and one woman and that sex belongs only in marriage. It states that men and women are different from each other and that those differences are good. They are part of God’s creation, and both sexes are equal in dignity. It recognized the sinfulness of homosexual acts and of trying to act as though one had a different gender from one’s biological sex. However, also recognized is that those who find themselves with some ambiguity in regard to their sex or attracted to members of the same sex are still people loved by God who can live a fruitful life by obedience to Christ rather than identifying oneself with these inclinations and seeking to act on them. Finally, the statement clearly says in the end that no one is beyond the mercy of Christ. There’s nothing in here that hasn’t been proclaimed by the Church for 2000 years, even though some people in our present age wish to deny this.
As a Catholic, I could affirm everything in the Nashville statement. Still, it’s not perfect. There is one minor point that I would like to see worded another way. There is another statement that I would like to see strengthened and a third on which the Nashville statement is silent but shouldn’t be.
Article 2 of the statement says that God’s plan is “chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.” I think I know what they meant, but I don’t like the wording. Chastity is a life long virtue for people in all states of life, not just for unmarried people. It simply means the subjection of one’s sexual desires to right reason. It does not only mean abstinence, though it does for anyone not married. I’ve noticed some Protestant works saying someone intends to remain “sexually pure until marriage,” but they don’t mean that they plan to commit adultery once married. There’s nothing impure about the marital act between a husband and a wife when engaged in properly. Total abstinence ends once one is married, but the practice of chastity does not. It not only encompasses fidelity, but also respect for the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of one’s spouse.
While Article 1 of the statement does mention that God intends marriage to be a lifelong union, I would have liked a stronger statement against divorce. Specifically, I’d like it to say that “WE DENY that a valid, consummated marriage may be dissolved by anything other than the death of one of the spouses.” However, I do know that many evangelicals do believe in a kind of biblical divorce. Truthfully, there are reasons why one must separate from one’s spouse and even obtain a civil divorce for protection. However, the person is still married to that spouse in the eyes of God and may not seek another during the spouse’s lifetime.
So, what’s the biggest thing missing from the Nashville Statement? It lacks any mention of the necessity of each sexual act being open to life and the sinfulness of and harm caused by contraception. Evangelicals often don’t understand this, but the acceptance of contraception is at least partly responsible for opening the floodgates of the problems in our society today. Allowing deliberate separation of sex from the transmission of life made it possible for people to attempt to redefine its meaning into whatever strikes someone’s fancy. Children became an optional add on to one’s “relationship” and perhaps were even considered a nuisance. It made it much easier for men and women to use each other as objects for one’s own pleasure whether than to give themselves to each other in love. I pray that one day the evangelicals will come to this understanding. When Pope Paul VI wrote 2177804123 in 1968, he was prophetic in stating what would happen were there widespread acceptance of contraception. He was right!
Still, calling the Nashville Statement some kind of bigotry is just plain nonsense. There’s nothing new in it. It is simply a proclamation of one part of the Gospel that is badly needed in today’s climate of family breakdown.
James Damore no doubt got more than what he bargained for, or maybe he expected it. If you aren’t familiar with his name, he’s the 28-year-old man who was fired by Google for his memo that the media has named an 8609722866 or an “anti-diversity screed” (full text of memo is in this link). In it, he suggested something that is absolutely anathema to today’s promoters of diversity – that men and women are different from each other and that those differences, rather than discriminatory practices, may account for why there are not a lot of women in the tech industry. Well, really, I’m oversimplifying. Maybe I’m just strange, but I’m having a hard time understanding how his comments are “anti-diversity” or a “screed,” and I hope you’ll stick around for my explanation below. In fact, it’s really a carefully written memo that is well worth reading, and I’ve provided a link above to the whole document if you can excuse Gizmodo’s comments.
I’m perfectly fine with Google expressing disagreement with what Damore wrote. That’s one thing. Given the fact that Google controls a search engine, YouTube, and a major e-mail service, among other things, the fact that they fired him is really disturbing. I have no reason to believe that they are censoring people who disagree with their viewpoints on their search engine or any other site, but it would only take one misguided “anti-discrimination” initiative for them to start doing so at any time in the future.
It seems that corporate America in general is moving towards a view of diversity and inclusion where the standard of right and wrong is no more than hurt feelings, even if the cause is mere disagreement. I remember this being discussed back at orientation at my first real pharmacy job when we were basically told that what was important was how the other person felt. When there is disagreement, the reply is often a sort of canned, knee jerk, reaction rather than a well thought out argument to specific points made. It’s as though it’s just impossible for anyone to honestly disagree with the prevailing groupthink. In reading the official responses from Google, I think one could be forgiven for suspecting that those who wrote the responses never read, much less thought about, the actual memo.
If there are really no natural differences between men and women, then it would mean that men and women are merely interchangeable parts. If this is the case, then it seems to me that it would undermine the whole rationale of promoting diversity. Why in the world would we care how many of each completely interchangeable part we have in a particular workplace? Why couldn’t we acknowledge that there are natural differences between the sexes without going to the opposite extreme of stereotyping? Anyone who is carefully observant knows that the natural traits of masculinity and femininity can still be expressed in different degrees among either sex.
Actually, failure to understand the natural differences between the sexes is likely to lead to more unjust discrimination against women, not less. Modern feminism, instead of valuing women for who they are, tends to denigrate the things that make being a woman distinct from being a man. Their version of “equality” is not seeing the equal in importance and complimentary nature of both sexes. Rather, it is practically saying that what men have traditionally done is of greater importance, and women who don’t do those things are lesser beings. I just think of the stories I’ve heard of women who stay home with their children being accused of wasting their time, talent, or even their lives. After all, they could be helping to fatten some big corporation’s bottom line but are instead working to raise immortal souls who will one day, by their free choice, spend eternity in God’s presence or forever separated from him (not to mention ensuring survival of the human race). Who is to say that any unjust discrimination occurring against women might be caused at least in part by a failure to appreciate the fact that a woman will likely approach her work in a somewhat different manner than a man will and to respect that approach for what it is rather than expecting conformity?
However, with there being natural differences between the sexes, it’s perfectly reasonable that there will be some lines of work in which there are fewer women than men who are interested. This does not and should not be used to justify unfair discrimination (which does exist). Women with the aptitude and desire to do so should be able to pursue work in male-dominated fields. However, arbitrarily trying to increase the number of women in a profession is in and of itself an unjust discriminatory practice. We need to simply hire, pay, and promote people based on their merits instead.
Yes, there should be equal pay for equal work. While we are at it, we also need to look at how well we are paying people who pursue professions traditionally dominated by women, such as teaching. Of course, harassment of any kind, especially sexual harassment, is completely unacceptable. The answer to that, however, is the virtue of chastity for both sexes (but it’s probably more lacking in men), not the sexual permissiveness of the current culture that breeds the mentality that this is acceptable. Our culture can and should treat both sexes as equal in dignity without denying natural differences.
One final note . . . while I do think equal opportunity needs to exist, please understand that none of this is to be taken to negate my view that family, not job or career, needs to come first. This is true for both men and women though it will usually be manifested differently. Many of these problems tend to be exacerbated by the mistaken notion in our society that the job or career is the most important thing and the ultimate source of fulfillment. This is where we really need to put our efforts.
I am not a regular vlogger, nor could I be. My life isn’t that exciting anyway. Â If you don’t believe that, then watch this video of what I did while my wife and kids were out of town, and I stayed behind to go to work for a few days before joining them.
Yeah, I know it’s kind of silly, but it was fun to make. Â If I get a chance, I want to make more. Â They won’t necessarily be vlogs, though. Â I thought I was going to get more stuff up but haven’t been able to do it, but I have an idea that may help me get more media up.
By now, most of the buzz has already calmed down about 9737250285 that could very easily be interpreted to mean that Christians need not apply for public office. Well, maybe it’s okay to be a Christian as long as you don’t really believe the Christianity is true. Don’t even think about letting your faith influence you in a way that might affect others!
The existence of this mentality really shouldn’t be surprising. Secular society has long looked at some religious beliefs as though they were a personality quirk that needed to be worked around. There was a veneer of “respecting the beliefs of others” as though they were just arbitrary traits of a person that we can just humor. People were supposedly just taught these things, and we can’t expect them to be able to substantiated. This stops the moment someone show that a person takes what they believe seriously.
Sanders and those like him seem to have forgotten one thing – why would anyone believe anything? There’s really only one reason to believe anything, religious or otherwise – because it is true! No matter how beautiful something sounds or how much I like it, there is no point in my believing it if it isn’t true. If something is true, then it’s only logical that anything that contradicts it must be false. If I think my child ate the last cookie, but my wife thinks he didn’t, we can’t both be right. He either did or he didn’t. I know that a lot of people these days say that we really can’t be sure that any one religion is right. However, the people who say that sound darn sure that they are right in saying that we cannot be sure that any one religion is right, and that belief also has consequences for them and others as well.
So, does believing something is right and basing one’s life, including one’s public life on it, render one unfit for office? The left seems to think these days that it not only renders one unfit for public office, but it also renders one unfit for a lot of other things. If anyone wants to know how someone like Donald Trump reached the presidency, I think the actions of the left in this regard are a huge factor. There were enough people who didn’t want to see what would be a continuation of an administration willing to go after the Little Sisters of the Poor for not providing contraception in their insurance plan. There were enough people who were tired of bakers, florists, and other wedding professionals being sued for everything they have for not wanting to participate in a same-sex “wedding.” There were enough people who questioned imposing on everyone the ideology of people who think that they can be one biological sex but yet another gender. Oh, and there are people who are certain that they are right about these things, and they seek to impose them on others. They may not be religious beliefs, but if we look at history careful, we can see that militant atheists and secularists have harmed far more people than religious zealots.. The Communist revolutions of the 20th Century resulted in far, far more destruction of human life than did he Inquisition and the Crusades (the latter of which I will argue actually had a noble purpose).
The problem that makes one unfit for public office isn’t a belief that something is definitely right. Whether someone is fit for public office depends on 1) how people who are, or who are believed to be, in error should be treated 2) the objective morality or immorality of what one believes 3) the person’s willingness or unwillingness to substantiate what they believe. Too many people want to just cry “bigot” or “blaming the victim” instead of coming up with an adult argument. Also, despite popular opinion, religious beliefs can be substantiated. Take a look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
To see people’s fitness for public office, look at how they view those of a different belief. What do they want to do – evangelize them, leave them to their fate, or destroy them? If they wish to evangelize, how would they do so – by proclaiming the message or by force? Finally, how would they settle a matter of justice between a believer and an unbeliever? Do they believe in principles of right and wrong that would lead them to render a decision in favor of an unbeliever if justice demanded it? Do they hold people of their own faith accountable for doing what’s right, even to an unbeliever? Obviously, a judge that would always rule in favor of a Christian who stole from a Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or even an atheist isn’t fit to be a judge.
Whether we understand it or not, we want people in office who base their lives on unwavering moral principle and expect the same from others. Every law on the books is someone’s imposition of beliefs in what is right or wrong on others. Â Otherwise, what else is going to be the basis for their decisions? They could make them based on whatever benefits them personally, whatever some group of influential or powerful people thinks, or whatever is blowing in the latest political wind. To quote one of my favorite country songs “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” While that may be just a song, I do fear that one of our greatest problems today is that we are indeed falling for anything because little worthwhile is being held to be true.
Not too many people will associate the dental office with adventure. Maybe that word isn’t quite the right one to describe it, but oh well, I’ll use it for now. I went to a different dentist than I had been going to for a checkup. I’ll refrain from mentioning names here. I had been to the dentist maybe seven or eight months earlier, and no cavities were found. Needles to say, I was a bit surprised to be told by this new dentist that I had eighteen teeth that needed at least a filling, or was I?
Well, maybe a bit surprised is accurate. For the record – no, I don’t believe that I need that much dental work. I believe the dentist believes it. He showed me these pictures from the digital camera and the x-ray showing how I had these bad places in my teeth. The thing that they didn’t seem to understand is that they can show me as many spots on pictures as they want, but this doesn’t mean that it’s beneficial to the tooth to drill it out and replace it with artificial stuff that will ultimately have to be redone later. Fillings don’t last a lifetime.
You see, this isn’t my first dental adventure of this sort. In 1998, my home town dentist told me that I had a couple of cavities that needed to be filled. I was away at pharmacy school and didn’t have time to get back home to have the work done. I made the mistake of going to a dentist near where I was in school only to be told that I had a whole bunch of cavities. Not only that, but the dentist told me that I had better get these done as soon as I can or they will get much worse. His near-threatening tone of voice should have convinced me to flee. I let him do maybe two or three. I shouldn’t have. I stopped letting him do these and went to another dentist in my home town, and was told that I needed only one filling.
I had similar incidents in 2003 and again in 2010. Granted, during both of those times I had waited way too long to go to the dentist. The one in 2010 wanted to do over $10,000 work of work in my mouth. Both of those times, I didn’t need or have nearly as much work done as those dentists said that I needed. I went somewhere else. If I truly needed all that work done, my entire jaw and maybe even my nose should have rotted off by now. I have more than my share of dental work in my mouth, but I still did a lot less than was originally suggested once I got a second opinion.
So, what’s the point of this story? I can make a couple of points here. First, if you get a dentist who tells you that you need a lot of work, it’s a good idea to seek another opinion before you get it done. There are dentists who seem to think that they need to fill anything that doesn’t look quite normal. Others are more conservative and question whether drilling it out will be of benefit to the tooth. There’s a good possibility that one of the “cavities” that I was told that I had in 1998 has never been filled to this day. If so, it definitely didn’t progress too much. I still have all of my teeth except for my wisdom teeth.
My second point concerns something that may be a little harder to explain to non-medical people. There are different opinions out there in any medical science about what does and does not need treatment and why or why not. Medicine is not the exact science that everyone wants it to be. Some problems will be diagnosed differently by different doctors.
It’s odd that, when I visit a dentist, a more conservative dentist normally understands why more aggressive dentists want to do more fillings. They will rarely disparage the more aggressive dentist. However, more aggressive dentists have never seemed to understand that there are more conservative dentists who may see reason not to do certain treatment. When I mentioned that I hadn’t been told I had cavities to the dentist I just saw, he couldn’t understand why they weren’t caught. I think I know why not, though, and I am a pharmacist, not a dentist.
Still, it’s not abnormal for one doctor to see a scan and think nothing of it and for another to choose to observe it for now. In my case, the past experience with my teeth and the supposed cavities told me that I don’t have dire need of fillings. I have the past history to justify that, and the dentist to whom I just went didn’t seem to understand that. Relying on that, I can come to a good conclusion of what to do, or, in this case, what not to do.