Being Faithful Isn’t Manly?

Football Praying

Whether on the college campus or not, in America I’ve noticed that the public doesn’t seem to think that having faith is manly. People seem to think that people who pray are a bunch of sissies who have problems controlling their feelings. A “real man” takes care of things himself and leaves nothing to chance, they claim.

Obviously I’d beg to differ. As a man myself, I have found that my faith has taught me how to grow as a man and be the best one that I can be.

First off, a man must be rational. This is the first task of any man, to wrestle with and find the truth so that they can live the best life possible. What sort of man lives his life according to some sort of fairy tale searching for the fountain of youth or Atlantis? A man ought to live for the truth, not some sort of fake reality- someone who lives in their own little world isn’t a man… the proper description would be insane. There is a God and an eternal reality for us all, and this can be known through philosophy and reason. After wrestling with this and coming to know the truth, the best way to live as a man is to keep that in mind at all times so that we can learn to be responsible protectors of creation and providers for those in need. And who is a better example of this than Jesus, who taught us that the things of God are worth so much more than the things of the world. Just take a look at the beatitudes in Matthew 5!

A man is responsible, he doesn’t just let his life slip away due to alcohol, drugs, pornography, or any other addictions. A man lives with clear convictions and holds to them even if that means that he might have to suffer for them. A man is accountable for his actions and strives to be the best son, father, coworker, citizen, teammate, etc. everyday. Who is a better example of this than Jesus, who followed God with all that He did so that He could teach humanity how we can live best.

A man is humble and a team player. Nobody wants to be on the same team as a ball-hog or work with a coworker who never communicates with the rest of the team. People who are angry and unreasonable ruin relationships and leave a trail of inefficiency behind them. They are a cancer to whatever group they are a part of. Through faith, we learn that we need to encourage others at all times and realize that our talents are merely gifts from God to be used for the benefit of all of humanity instead of being used for selfish gain. Jesus taught us this by never showing off His power any more than He needed to, but simply trusting in God that eventually the disciples would learn to be faithful and follow Him with their whole hearts, without forcing them to.

A man protects those entrusted to him, especially his family, friends, and nation. A man doesn’t just lie down and let evil happen to them, but sacrifices even to the point of death for those under his care. With a secular philosophy, there isn’t much reason to do this at all. In that case, it’s a dog eat dog world where the poor get poorer and those defenseless get taken advantage of without men who stick up for those in need. But we all know that a real man never wimps out of protecting others. Jesus is a fantastic example of this because He gave up His very life freely so that we all could be saved from eternal damnation. God didn’t just sit back and say, hey, I’ll let someone else do the work.. maybe John the Baptist or Elijah! No! God Himself came down as Jesus, walking the walk instead of just talking the talk.

A man provides for his family and those in need. What do you call the boss who lives extravagantly while his employees are barely making minimum wage? What do you call the father who fathers a child but leaves the mother to raise him or her all alone? What do you call the dad who finds time to drink with his friends every night while his children never get to see him? These are obviously selfish and horrible examples, but by living with faith, we can learn to put others first before ourselves instead of forgetting that essential way of life. Jesus gave us a great witness to that when He bent down to wash His disciples’ feet, showing them that the last will be first, and the first will be last.

A man honors his God. As a father, you expect your children to respect, obey, and have a relationship with you. If they don’t, it is very disrespectful. In a similar way, we need to apply this to our relationship with God. God is our Father. Do we respect Him in how we act and talk about Him? Do we speak with Him? Do we love Him? Just a like a good father, God loves us unconditionally and desires to have this relationship with us. Who is better to consul and comfort us than our loving Father?

What I really seem to have focused on is how having faith helps us to be the best men that we can be. It seems to me that without faith, there is no need for virtue. And without virtue, there is no manliness. Come to know Jesus and live for Him, and I promise you that He will constantly challenge you to become a greater man than you were before.

This is an awesome clip I wanted to throw in here with some of the Seattle Seahawks players- who will be playing for the Super Bowl next weekend- talking about their faith.

Too Wise to Get Married?

Many “wise” and “experienced” Americans love to advise young adults to never get married, since “it isn’t worth it.” I may not be as experienced, but I’d like to disagree.

Is this really the best message to be sending to the youth of the world? This message demoralizes young adults, making them think that they are not perfect enough to get married. It makes marriage seem hopeless and a waste of time. “Live for yourself first.” I don’t know about you, but when I live for myself, life is booooorrrriiiinnnggggg. It’s when I’m helping others out that I come alive.

I agree that you need to go into marriage with the right mindset, it is a big responsibility, but you can’t just throw out the baby with the bathwater. Complaining about how bad it is isn’t helping anyone have a better marriage.

A major issue with this line of thinking is that it signals that marriage is only about what is best for ourselves, and if not, we can take the easy way out. If my spouse doesn’t treat me right anymore I should just end it. If I’d rather be with some other woman, I should do that since it’s all about me, right? If my kids are too much work I don’t have to be responsible for them. That’s the line of thinking that has been encouraged, and it leads to bad consequences for spouses and children everywhere.

The ridiculous thing about that line of thinking is that that’s not even LOVE. Our culture likes to say that everything’s about love, right? Well if marriage is all about love, then it shouldn’t be about us. Love isn’t selfish, it’s selfless. Marriage should be about doing all that we can for our spouse and for our children. It’s about doing what is best for them even if it is an inconvenience for you.

Of course marriage is hard. We understand that, and I’m not arguing against that. Often it is not the big decisions but lots of little ones that breeds tension. But that doesn’t mean that marriage doesn’t work. We don’t drop out of school because we have to do homework until late at night every night. We don’t quit work just because it is hard. Living your faith is difficult, but we don’t give that up because of that. If you want to do ANYTHING good in life, it is going to be hard, but it’ll be worth it.

The mindset that marriage is all about us seems to be a reason for many of the problems in our society. Divorce, abortion, contraception, cheating, single parent homes, domestic abuse, and more are the result of me-first marriages.

Instead of complaining about how hard marriage is, we need to encourage each other that marriage and love is worth it. It is about selflessly helping your spouse and children, building a foundation for a great society. A society with strong families has a strong foundation.

Our society needs to learn how to love again. When we learn how to love, we will learn that marriage is worth it. Bashing marriage will not help to foster stronger families and a stronger society. I don’t know about  you, but I’m too wise to not love.

The Case Against Same Sex Marriage

Many people, especially the youth, seem to be very frustrated with the Church, other Christians, and all others who seem to be “traditional to a fault” by not allowing gays to marry. From their point of view, it seems like there would be nothing to lose by allowing others to do what they want, what they say would make them happy. And we’ve seen examples of same sex relationships working out and even responsibly raising adopted children, which gives their argument some weight. So how could somebody have the opinion that they could forbid someone else from doing what they think makes them happy? I’ll attempt to explain.

Are there situations where we should tell others that they can’t do something?
Yes, of course there are legitimate examples of this. Many children on Halloween night know that they will be really happy if they eat all of their candy all at once, for example. Despite how happy it might make them, their parents often don’t allow them to do this because it would make their stomach feel bad the next day and it isn’t healthy. Another example, think of drunk driving this time: by not allowing others to do what they might want, we help improve the safety for everyone else as well as the potential drunk drivers themselves. So as we can see, there are situations where we can responsibly not allow others to do what they want because even though it might make them happy, it still isn’t the best for them or for others.

What is the purpose of the law?
If same sex marriage were to be legalized, it would be done as a law. So what is the point of a law? Laws are meant to recognize the true nature of life. The basis of a good law is not what society thinks but rather what the truth is. For example, people have a right to not be enslaved not because the government grants it but because it is a part of their identity as human beings.

What is marriage?
It is absolutely essential to understand what marriage is before we can decide whether or not same sex couples could possibly be married. The word marriage is derived from the Latin marītāre, meaning to provide with a husband or wife. With that in mind, by definition marriage has complementarily of the sexes in mind. Marriage has always been the fundamental building block of society consisting of a man and a woman who join together for life, open to children and striving to help each other to the best of their abilities. And is this only a societal construction? Of course not, marriage has been necessary for the continuation of our species, producing the next generation. It would not be possible for a society without a strong emphasis on the importance of marriage to last.

So what’s wrong with same sex marriage?
With the tried and true norm of marriage defined above, we come to see that you can’t possibly justify same sex marriage by appealing to the ways of nature, because it clearly violates them. When you look at the bodies of the male and female, they do not make sense on their own. Children only come from the union of a man and a woman. That’s just nature. Something else to chew on: same sex couple’s can’t have sex. Society might call other courses of intercourse sex, but there’s only one way of intercourse which can lead to children and it requires both a man and a woman. Marriage is both unitive and open to procreation, but a same sex attempt at marriage fails in both categories.

So why can’t they just have a civil union and not call it marriage?
This would undermine the natural order of human life. People are born male or female, and that isn’t discriminating, it’s reality. Even without calling it a marriage, an endorsement of same sex partnerships would potentially place children in situations where they would be missing either a father or a mother (see next point). It would also decrease the value of traditional marriage and make it in society’s eyes only something that the government “allows” you to have. If you’re Christian (or basically of any faith that traces itself to Abraham), it would be encouraging people to sin, as almost every faith defines homosexual actions as sinful. Many people claim that we must allow civil unions for the sake of legal rights and social support, but those should be given to all people.

How does same sex marriage hurt children?
In every situation, same sex marriage denies a child either a mother or a father. This is the same issue that children have in single parent homes. The more research is done, the more we see how important it is for children to grow up with their natural father and mother. That is the way that they came into existence and is the way that nature intended them to be brought up. Furthermore, there are many benefits to having both a mother and a father while growing up, especially in the realm of self esteem. Check out the importance of fathers that I wrote about using data from none other than the US Dept. of Health and Human Services here.

How does same sex marriage hurt society?
Humanity is rooted in marriage. Without sex, there would be no more children. The best parents for children are their natural mother and father, so encouraging marriage leads to a better raised next generation, which is necessary for a stable society. Look at China or Japan for extreme examples of how a large population difference between generations can cripple individuals and society as a whole: especially social security. Traditional marriage leads to increased life expectancies and other psychological benefits for the couple. Governments have had a vested interest in marriage throughout history for many of these reasons. Finally, think about the “slippery slope” argument: if you allow two people of the same sex to be married, what keeps 3 people from getting married, or a child and an adult, or a person and an animal, etc.? Aren’t these wrong? By allowing same sex marriage, we would be opening the door to further reinterpretations of what marriage is.

What did Jesus say?
For those who are Christians or at least respect most of His teachings, we can look to see what He taught us about marriage. In Matthew 19, He uses the words of Genesis to reaffirm that marriage is between a man and a woman, saying that there should not be divorce or remarriage. He also notes that some people are incapable of marriage because they were born so. That is interesting to note because people tend to think that they deserve to be married, no matter what, but marriage is actually a sacrificial gift of oneself for their spouse, and because of this, it makes sense that some people do not have the maturity to responsibly enter into a marriage. Again, not only in Christianity but in most other religions, homosexuality is considered a sin.

How is this not discrimination?
Speaking as a Catholic, we believe in the inherent dignity of each and every human being. We believe that everyone must be treated with respect, kindness, and love. This includes everyone who identifies as LBGT or anything else.

The issue comes up that nowadays society is under a number of different impressions (incomplete list): 1. Sex is the meaning of life. 2. People can’t be happy without sex. 3. You should be able to have sex whenever you want with whoever you want. Quick answers: 1. Sex doesn’t last forever. What happens when you die? 2. I’m a virgin (and a college aged male at that) and you might have to take my word for it if you don’t know me but I’m happier than most. Want more proof that you can be happy (scratch that, overwhelmingly joyful) without sex? Go talk to a religious sister or priest. 3. There’s these things called STD’s, and condoms fail 15% of the time.

Discrimination is not allowing someone to do something based on something they can’t control. But marriage is only possible for a male and a female couple, so it isn’t discriminating any more than not “allowing” your dog to go to school.

I would like to conclude by emphasizing that the goal of this post is not to be hurtful but to bring the truth to light in a clearer manner. There are many people who surely will not find this proof sound enough and so I would only ask that they be respectful, hopefully they learned a little more of the reason behind the other side. I love all people regardless of their sexual orientation (as Jesus calls us all to do, love people hate sin), and only seek to make the truth more clear and help people see the other side of this loaded issue.

More resources:
Two Steps from Reasonable About Marriage – Public Discourse
So-Called Marriage – J. Budziszewski

I’m Pro-Life Because…

It’d like to present to you all a little project that I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks. In this project, I decided to go around asking people why they were pro-life. I was expecting some pretty diverse reasons, but what struck me were the personal stories! How powerful and touching it is when you or a loved one was supposed to be aborted! Unfortunately, in the United States, we live in a country where at any time during our stay in our mother’s womb, we could have been killed and it would have been completely legal.

The goal for this video is to showcase just the tip of the iceberg of all of the different reasons why people support the pro-life movement, and to generate a good discussion.


So now it’s your turn! Why are you pro-life?

See more:
I’m pro-life. Why aren’t you? 

Mike Wallace Interviews Margaret Sanger in ’57

What changes time brings. I’m sure that a good amount of people are familiar with Mike Wallace, the journalist from 60 minutes, who passed away on April 7th. So as the news came out, I happened to run into a certain interview that he did even before he was with 60 minutes. This was an interview from 1957 with none other than Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.

You can watch the interview here.

The things that stood out from the video to me, which took place 55 years ago:

  • Cigarette advertisements everywhere, haha, please forgive the beginning.
  • The Roman Catholic Church has always been against contraception, this was quite obvious from the entire video. How would this whole debate have been different if the Protestant churches in America would have stuck with the Catholic Church on this issue?
  • We are quite familiar with all of Margaret Sanger’s arguments for birth control, contraceptives, abortion, and overpopulation. These views are now the popular opinions nowadays.
  • On the issue of overpopulation, check out this video.
  • Mrs. Sanger has a point on Catholic laypeople not holding true to the teachings of the Church and the hierarchy. The issue remains today. It is extremely important that the laypeople are educated as to why the Church believes what it does, because it does make sense.
  • My favorite part: Wallace quotes the Church’s teachings in forbidding birth control: “The immediate purpose and primary end of marriage is the begetting of children. When the marital relation is so used as to render the fulfillment of its purposes impossible, it is used unethically and unnaturally.” And then Mr. Wallace continues, “And what is wrong with that opinion?” Wow! What a zinger. Ms. Sanger started talking about how it has the wrong views on love, on marriage, on women. Ms. Sanger believes that love is really only convenient pleasure and attraction. And marriage, only a civil contract. You’ll hear later on what her marriages were like..
  • Natural law is brought up by Mr. Wallace. Today, natural law don’t mean anything in the public sphere! And note how Wallace says that the Church is against contraception not because of its own teachings but because it is a natural law. That is a very specific and important remark.
  • We never hear the clear teachings of the Church anymore on public media like this. What a breath of fresh air! If only the media was still neutral like this, it makes everything make more sense when you can see both sides.
  • Sanger complains that the Church “speaks to people as they were God.” Well, yes, Ms. Sanger. Please reference Matthew 16:18-19. Jesus founded the Catholic Church, sent the Holy Spirit to guide it, and gave Peter (and all popes) the keys to heaven- just like how the Kings of Israel would give their keys to their servant to rule as they were away. So yes, the Church has authority. God founded it, God guides it, and God gave it authority.
  • There is a great emphasis on “what they want” from Ms. Sanger. She is absolutely for people choosing to do whatever they want, even if it might be bad.
  • What are the motives of the Church for forbidding birth control? Hey! I’m Catholic, pick me, Ms. Sanger! Here’s what I’d say: Birth control reduces women to objects of lust, pregnancies from failed birth control are often in situations where having children is not responsible, pregnancies when birth control is used are seen as “accidents,” babies that result from these “accidents” are seen as “mistakes,” true commitment from spouses is not necessary, it becomes easier for cheating to happen, men have zero responsibility and often will not remain faithful because of the easy way to get away with being a player, it turns sex into nothing more than a glorified hi-five- unless your birth control doesn’t work, of course.
  • Catholics out-breeding other religions and groups from being against against birth control: that is hilarious. But obviously if one group is having more children than other groups of course it’s going to start to shift the demographics. Check out the Muslims in Europe, for example.
  • But the official teaching of the Church, thanks to Wallace is that “The Catholic Church does not command Catholic husbands and wives to have even one child, the Church considers it more than normally meritorious that they have no children. If they mutually and perpetually give up the use of the marriage right for the love of God.” Now try to bash us, Ms. Sanger…
  • And now Mr. Wallace gives us a quote of a recommendation that birth control does in fact lead to promiscuity. Seems like common sense to me.
  • Thank goodness. Ms. Sanger agrees that Catholics have the right to use their voice to lobby against those things that they consider to be unlawful. I’m thankful that we still have that right, and hope it lasts into the future. Hello HHS Mandate. But the government legislating religious beliefs.. well.. unfortunately President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius (a self professed Catholic) have done that.
  • Do you believe in sin? Funny how sin seems so easy to spot when there is a murder or act of terrorism, but when it comes down to something that we all have done, the lines become very grey all of a sudden.
  • “The greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world.” She follows this up by specifying children that have disease, etc. But she HAS children! And ask someone who has a disease whether they would rather have not been born..
  • Ms. Sanger’s second marriage sounds horrible.
  • Mike Wallace rocks. May he rest in peace.

The Annunciation

Today Catholics celebrate the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary and with Mary’s yes, she conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Notice how it’s March 26th, 9 months before December 25th (It is usually celebrated on March 25th but that was a Sunday this year). The following is the tale from the Gospel of Luke:

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.”

-Luke 1:26-38

And with that, I have a few quick reflections to share with you:

This, even more so than Christmas, was the actual moment when Jesus came to us. From this day forth, Jesus was growing in the womb of Mary. Think of the greeting between Elizabeth and Mary, where both Jesus and St. John the Baptist were in the wombs of their mothers (Luke 1:39-45).

God could have come to the world in so many different ways, but He chose to come by perhaps the most normal way possible. The only “supernatural” signs were the appearance of the angel Gabriel and Mary conceiving by the Holy Spirit. For anyone other than Mary and Joseph, these things would have went by unnoticed, even though GOD CAME INTO THE WORLD! (It’s really exciting, please excuse the caps.)

Jesus was conceived. He did not even start out as a fully grown baby. No, God reduced Himself not only to a human, but to mere cells in His mother’s womb, the same way that the rest of us begin our lives. God depended on Mary’s body to nourish and protect Him through those 9 months. And if Mary was alive in the United States today, she could have had an abortion and killed Jesus legally. Think about THAT for a second. Jesus could have been aborted if He was born in the USA anytime after 1973. Of course, the Holy Family had their own problems to avoid, notably when King Herod had all newborns around the time of Jesus’ birth killed. Anyways, I think that in and of itself tells us that God is pro-life. He could have been aborted when He was in the womb, so thank the Lord that He wasn’t.

Emmanuel. God is with us.

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
-The Canticle of Mary