This Post is Wobbly

August 15, 2017 v4 p31

When you aren’t standing firmly on all of your bases, your life gets a little wobbly.  Lately I’ve noticed that I haven’t been firm on all four of my basis, and it has become noticeable.

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For the longest time I thought I only need three footings to build my foundation on.  Those were family, friends, and fitness.  I have always put my family first.  When my oldest son was born I did everything for him.  When my wife and I reconciled, I did everything for her and our son.  When our youngest child was born I did everything for all three of them.  I tried to maintain a social life through that period, and really only ended up with a few very close friends.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  There are people from the past that I still maintain contact with, but it’s not at the level of friendship that those close friends have.  There are some people that I don’t maintain contact with that I wish I did get in touch with more often.  But we’ve all gone our separate ways, and when we do reconnect it is always good.  My fitness wasn’t really a big focus for me other than not really eating too poorly.  I certainly didn’t follow any specific diet, but I tried to maintain a fairly balanced diet.

A couple of years after we moved back to my hometown I began going to the gym.  That really had an impact on me.  Fitness was now the number two focus of my foundation, and I actually dropped to weights that I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years.  It felt nice to be able to put jeans on that were smaller than the size I wore in high school.  Granted I think the fashion industries measurements aren’t the same as they were 20 years ago.  I hadn’t felt that trim since I was a teenager.  Then I began running.  That doesn’t sound like something that would cause weight gain, although it isn’t uncommon if you’re training for long distances.  What running led to was injuries.  That always led to excuses.  Which in turn, would lead to more injuries.  For the past five years I’ve started a solid workout routine, only to injury myself and have to take weeks off.  That is always followed by a tough time getting back in to a routine.  This is where I’m at right now.

Then my manager encouraged me to reconnect with my faith.  It was the single most life changing event in my life.  The more I allowed myself to follow where I was supposed to go, the easier everything else became around me.  I’ve seen in my own life how the power of prayer has worked.  That’s why I continue to pray every day.  Sometimes I feel like my prayers are getting a little stale, or that I’m praying for the wrong thing.  Then, as He always does, He reveals to me that I’m praying for exactly what He wants for me.  That is always enough to remind me that no matter how stale my prayer may feel, it’s always enough for Him.  I never thought that anything would become a more important footing for my foundation than my family.  I truly believe that my faith is the most important of those footings.  It is the basis from which all of the other footings are formed.  I brought my family with me, and began making more friendships at my church, building a strong foundation.

Then I read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  Of all the professional development books I’ve read, this is a top three influencer for me.  One of the last principles that Covey speaks about is the four parts to your foundation.  This was an eye opener for me.  The first one he speaks about is your faith.  I’ve put that first already.  Then there is your family, they are what drives me and encourages me to do what I need to get done.  At the time I was going to the gym five days a week, so that was covering my fitness foundation.  With all of that going on it didn’t leave much time to build on those friendships.  I’ve made a few that I fully hope will become stronger, but nothing yet like the ones I have with those few close friends from my early adulthood.  Between church, sports, and scouts almost all of my evenings were booked up.  It didn’t leave a lot of time for socializing.  My wife and I didn’t get much of a chance to go out without the kids, and some of the other socializing went by the wayside.  So I knew it was that area that I needed to work on.

I still haven’t figured out how to fully transition to a four footing foundation.  While always concentrating on my faith and family, I tried to focus on friends, and that has caused my fitness to fall off.  Well, at almost 42-years-old it doesn’t take long for your fitness level to drop off.  I rehabbed my recurring injury and was able to start running again.  I continued with the simple strength exercises that I had learned through PT and was able to run at a good pace.  I trained for and ran a 5k last October.  Then I stopped.  Not sure why, but my GPS watch tells the story.  There was a four month period where I was running three or four days per week.  Then nothing.  I started back up in the spring some, then twisted my knee coaching my son’s soccer team.  Again, nothing.  The stress of having your oldest child graduate from high school and then get ready to go off to college is really starting to show.  It’s starting to show every time I look down.

I’ve always had a hard time controlling my eating.  In the past I didn’t eat a lot of junk.  There were always donuts, and ice cream, and candy bars.  Before I would have only one of those three in a month.  Lately I haven’t been doing so well.  Then there is the issue with my portion sizes.  About 10 years ago we made the conscious decision to switch to the seven inch plates in our cabinet for dinner, unless we were having a big holiday meal.  That helped some.  It still doesn’t stop me from piling the spaghetti higher, or getting a second helping.  A few weeks ago I started doing some speed and footwork drills with my youngest son to get ready for the soccer season.  We do those two days a week, then run around the neighborhood three days a week.  After the first week I determined that my knees are going to hold up to that schedule, so I started adding more distance to my running.  Last weekend I was able to go two miles without stopping.  It was the slowest two miles I’ve run on pavement in six years.  I don’t like it.  This may be the kick start I need.  If I can get my diet straightened out it will help a lot too.

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I started rebuilding my life on my faith foundation.  I’m almost done rebuilding my family, and I’m just starting to rebuild my fitness.

This Post is Addicting

August 2, 2017 v4 p30

There were a lot of things I was looking forward to when I returned to my faith.  Coming face-to-face with my worst faults wasn’t one of them.

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I began looking for more content about my faith a couple of years ago.  I came across a bunch of different speakers on YouTube.  Fr. Mike posts all of his podcasts there so I put his name into the search bar.  It returned a bunch results that weren’t his weekly podcasts.  It seem that he is a speaker in high demand around the country at Catholic Conferences.  I started listening to his talks at some of these conferences while I do my inventory control work, where I’m out in the warehouse away from the rest of my team.  It is something I look forward to every morning.  My wife and I started watching them together after the kids go to bed and they turn control of the TV back over to us.  There are a lot of the other speakers from those events who have their talks posted as well.  They are all great, and very insightful to me.  There are two besides Fr. Mike that I listen to regularly.

After a few months I started to notice something in common among most of the male speakers I listen to.  Almost all of them have admitted to having an addiction to pornography earlier in their lives.  That really hit home, because one of those faults I wasn’t looking forward to meeting was what I’ve now come to realize was my own addiction to porn.  This has been a significant thing for me to come to grips with.  I’ve listened to the speakers describe how the women are usually drunk when performing, forced into performing, and generally treated as a slave.  It help me put together that by watching porn I not only backed the people enslaving the performers, but I was more or less treating all women the same.  It really made me think about how I treated sex in my own marriage.  I’ve apologized to my wife for the way I approached out sex life.  It’s allowed me to take my faith to a whole new level.

There are some pretty astonishing facts about the porn industry that actually shocked me.  The porn industry in the United States makes more sales than all four professional sports leagues.  The average adolescent boy has seen a pornographic image by the age of 11.  I was way ahead of the curve on that one, thanks neighborhood high schoolers.  So it’s out there, everywhere.  It’s never been as easy to access it as it is right now.  There was a report done on the local news on how a teenager could access porn in less than 10 seconds on their mobile devices a few weeks ago.  It showed how simple it is to find it on search engines.  We do image searches to see what kind of parts we’re looking for at work.  The joke used to be how far you would have to scroll down on the results before you came across a result that was NSFW.

It’s starting to make its way into mainstream media as well.  As people become desensitized to what they see in private, it takes more for something to grab your eye in public.  That has caused marketing teams to gravitate towards more immodest advertising.  Clothing industries start making their clothes smaller.  Sports media groups start publishing magazine article with athletes posing nude.  It’s hard to go on the internet and see articles that show how little a celebrity wore to the beach.  Which famous person is in the latest sex scandal.  These images are the biggest struggle I have with my addiction right now.  I struggle to not click on the articles or scroll through the slideshow in the magazine article.  To help combat that I don’t do much surfing on the web.  I spend more time on the internet than most people because of my job, and that help’s too.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched what most people would consider pornography.  Unfortunately I have many images stuck in my head that I have to struggle against for the rest of my life.

I gain the strength to fight this addiction from my faith life.  The speakers I listen to.  My deepened love for my wife, our marriage, and our Covenant with God.  My daily prayer life is centered on asking for forgiveness.  I have been to confession for this, and it was at that point when I began to feel the His forgiveness.  It also lead me to more introspection about myself.  Through that I have been able to be more of the man my wife needs me to be so that I can fulfill my Covenant by making sure she makes it to heaven.  I have come to realize that is what I am here for.  Through all of our past I always felt that it was still meant to be.  We took a tough road to get here, but I hope my wife can see how I have changed and trusts that I will do everything I can for her.  I can never say I’m sorry enough for the pain I put our family through due to my addiction.

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They say addicts are never really fully cured.  I guess for now you can say that I’m “on the wagon.”

Won’t You Join Me?

July 27, 2017 v4 p29

One of the first things I knew when I returned to my faith was that I needed to be more involved than I was growing up.  I have been trying to figure out how to do that ever since.

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When I made the decision to return to my faith I wasn’t sure where it was going to lead me.  I’ve shared that whole story a couple of times I believe.  After a few months I began to get the feeling that I needed to serve more in my church.  I began to pray to God and let him know that I was ready to serve in whichever way he wanted me to.  It didn’t take too long for that way to be revealed to me as I was approached about joining the local Knights of Columbus Council at our Parrish.  I had figured I would end up joining them anyway before I started those prayers because I could see how they were active in both the church and the community, much as I am through Scouting and was through the Lions Club.  It was pretty much a no-brainer.  I joined and immediately felt welcomed to the Council and began volunteering whenever I could.  The older members have been more than appreciative for my support.

I was told a few months later that it didn’t take long for my name to start coming up for leadership positions.  That doesn’t surprise me.  In every job I’ve held I have showed up and done my job to the best of my ability.  That has always resulted in me being given more responsibilities, and ultimately promotions.  All of that coupled with all of the other leadership positions I’ve held in volunteer organizations explain to me why those conversations were happening.  I had hoped it would be a couple of years before I was approached about taking a leadership position, but I kind of knew that I could only delay the inevitable for so long.  I stepped up this year to take on the role of treasurer, which I’m sure is the first of many positions I will hold in this organization.

One of the directives of the Knights is evangelization.  I’m fairly certain that this is tied to the Pope’s call for a new evangelization of the church.  I began sharing some of the Catholic blogs that I have been following with my wife and some fellow Catholic friends.  They have all found them very helpful.  But those are the easy people for me to evangelize to.  They are already active in their faith, and while everyone needs to continue to grow their faith, there’s a different audience I would like to reach.

I know a lot of people that were involved with the Catholic Church growing up.  Most of them, like myself, strayed away throughout their late teen and adult years.  During that time is when the Catholic Church began to fall on hard times.  There were multiple sex scandals, the beliefs and teachings of the church were skewed in the public eye.  There really wasn’t much of a reason to stick around.  That’s not why I left my faith, but I am fairly certain those may be some of the reasons that some of them did leave.  These are the people I would like to reach.  These are the people I would like to share more of my journey with.  These are the people I would like to be a part of their journey.

One of the biggest factors in my faith formation as an adult was reading The Bible.  Not just a few of the books, or specific chapters.  I read then entire Catholic Bible, from cover to cover.  After I finished it I tried looking for a different way to continue my faith formation.  I tried simply reading the daily scripture readings, something I had picked up during my first reading.  It was nice, but I was feeling like I still needed more.  A few months ago I decided to read all of Letter’s from the Apostle Paul, in chronological order.  That’s been pretty insightful.  I’m almost through all of them and need to figure out what area I want to read next, I’m leading towards the Psalms.

Aside from reading my Bible on a daily basis there are a few Catholic speakers that I get a lot of good content from.  One of them is Fr. Mike Schmitz, a younger priest from Minnesota.  Most of the rest of the speakers that I’ve listened to have mentioned him in their talks.  He seems to be the unofficial face of the new evangelization.  He is very well spoken and is very engaging.  I have shared a few of his posts on social media and get a positive response from Catholics and Protestants alike.  Another one of the speakers I started following early on is Jeff Cavins.  He is a former Protestant Pastor who was raised Catholic, left the church in his late teen years, only to be called back to Catholicism by The Lord.  His journey is a really fascinating story.  Both of these speakers publish their podcasts through the Catholic media company, Ascension Press.

Along with their weekly blogs they produce faith formation materials.  They range from studies of The Bible, adult and teen faith formation, and historical studies of the Catholic Church.  During some of the podcasts I subscribe to from Ascension they run short ad spots for their study programs.  In each of them they mention that some of them are free if you get a group of four or more to participate.  I haven’t looked too far into that but this is where I feel my calling to evangelize is leading.  I’m looking for a deeper understanding of The Bible.  The program I’m particularly interested in going through is “The Bible Timeline.”  This study takes the participants through the entire Bible and dives deeply into each period of salvation history.  There are multiple ways to read The Bible, and chronologically is one I’d like to try.

This is where you come in.  If you’ve been interested in deepening your faith and understanding of The Bible, I believe that this may be one way for you to do it.  If you’re looking to get back to your faith, Catholic or Protestant, this may be one way for you to do it.  I’m not looking to try and convert anyone to Catholicism, but if it happens I will support you any way I can.  What I hope to get out of this is a deeper understanding of my own faith, to help other people gain a deeper understanding of their faith, and possibly strengthen some families or friendships.  Feel free to reach out to me if you’re interested in joining me this fall.  I don’t know what the study group would look like yet, but that’s something I will figure out along the way, much like I have the rest of my faith formation.

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So if you were Catholic, have always been Catholic, are interested in learning more about the Catholic Church, or are a Christian looking to strengthen your faith, please consider joining me.  What have you got to lose, except everything you could gain by participating?

This Post is Selfish

July 13, 2017 v4 p27

Whether it’s in someone’s personal or professional life most people are always looking out for one thing.  Usually that one thing is themselves, but that usually isn’t what gets the best results.

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One of the most transformational books I’ve read over the past couple of years is “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  One of the biggest principals he teaches is to begin anything you do with the end in mind.  I took that to mean for me to see the whole picture, not just how things would look when I was done.  In that whole process you must take in to account how your actions will end up effecting other people.  To me if you get something accomplished, at work or at home, and it caused more work or a hardship for other people, then it really didn’t accomplish what needed to be done in the first place.  If you only do what’s best for you to achieve a (your) desired result then you haven’t done what’s best.  I put the word “your” in there because often times what is best for you isn’t often the best for the whole.  If you aren’t trying to make your efforts improve everything for everyone then your efforts are selfish.

The CEO of Service Express Inc., Ron Alvesteffer, will tell you that one of his favorite quotes on leadership comes from Zig Ziglar.  It goes, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”  This has far more implications than just in leadership within the business world.  One of the reasons I help out with so much at my church, volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, and do all of the charitable work I do is because I see how what I do makes things better for others.  It truly is a great feeling when you see that.  I try to do that at work too, but not everyone seems to see things the way I do.  Having spent almost a decade in a manufacturing environment it was common practice not to cause a stir.  If you were to point out ways that people were causing the systems to fail it would put a target on your back.  Regardless of if you were right about that or not, you were just better off to adjust your attitude and move on.  I’ve been given the assurance that isn’t the case at my current job.

I’ve been doing a lot of studying lately on Lean processing and other supply chain management tools.  All of the principals that I have been reading about are right in line with what I have been trying to implement at work.  I’ve been focusing on my own department, finding small areas that we could improve throughout the warehouse.  As I have been helping my team to be more efficient I am starting to see how other areas of the company that I have to deal with are causing inefficiencies.  The problem is that the main culprit doesn’t seem to be aware of the extra work he causes.  Any other time I’ve seen people try to approach him about changing work habits it hasn’t been received well.  The biggest principal about all of this process improvement I’ve been studying is that it’s most difficult to get people to buy into the fact that there is a need for change.  Most people are set in there ways and don’t want to admit that they may be wrong about something, or that someone else may have a better solution.  I get it.  Nobody likes to be wrong.  Nobody likes to be corrected.  My guess would be that if you asked them if they like to create unneccesary work for others they would say they don’t.  Unless they’re just out right selfish.

So that whole paragraph kind of sounded like a rant about one of my coworkers, and it kind of was, but it is something that will be addressed.  The issue with all of this self-centered thinking is really what it causes outside of the immediate action.  When people leave those situations and then continue to have a selfish attitude it translates to other areas of their life.  It causes them to be short tempered in areas like driving.  I’ve made it clear that I believe road rage is a root cause to a lot of problems in our society.  When you carry a selfish attitude into other areas it really starts to compound.  If you’ve ever read “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy you know how this can apply.  For those of you who haven’t, let me sum it up.  The compound effect is the principal that says if you take one penny and then double it every day for 30 days you would end up with more money than if you had taken $1,000,000.00 on day 1.  Most people are looking for the quick answer and aren’t patient enough to see the effects of this principal.  This can also have a negative effect as well.  If one small, negative thing doesn’t get corrected right away then over enough time it will become a bigger problem.  There is no way around that fact.  I’ve seen it happen to myself.  I’ve seen it happen to others.  I’ve seen it happen in both directions for businesses as well.

This brings me back to a lot of what I’ve been writing about lately.  When we act in this selfish manner we don’t live the way Christ taught us.  The more people force everyone to give them what they want without giving anything in return, the more self-centered out society becomes.  This leads to women dressing in more immodest clothes.  When men ridicule women who don’t dress that way it’s for their own selfish reasons.  What that can lead to is a dark path towards the wrong thing.  Men force women to do things they don’t want to do, maybe not physically, but emotionally.  When women give in to what the men want they usually do it to get attention.  This isn’t the true love that they are truly seeking.  When the men realize that they only like a woman because of how she looked when they met they will eventually get bored.  Without that emotional connection that is gained from courtship they will move on to the next “shiny” object that catches their eye.  This causes the first woman to then ask what it was that she did wrong to cause that, often spiraling out of control.

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Jesus gave us the 11th Commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you.”  Not to love one another only if it benefits you.

Happy 241st Birthday!

July 4, 2017 v4 p26

Today we celebrate the Fourth of July, the 241st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  If the Founding Fathers were to look at our country today, would it be what they envisioned?

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The First Amendment to the Constitution outlines some of the most basic freedoms that our country ensures.  Those include the freedom to establish and practice religion, the freedom of speech and the press, and the freedom to peaceably assemble and petition the Government to change laws that they don’t agree with.  The Declaration of Independence states that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Both of these documents are the framework that our country was founded on.  Over the course of nearly 250 years, they have stood the test of time.  It is what holds our country together, and it could also be what ends up being the downfall of our great country.

There is still a big push for the separation of church and state.  There should never be laws enacted that prevent any person from worshiping in whatever manner they see fit.  There should never be laws enacted that force people to believe or worship things they don’t believe.  But is there a need to remove God, or faith, from the way we govern our lives?  Over time there have been many forms of government that have tried to force their ideology on its citizens.  Following World War II the Russian empire set up Communist governments throughout Eastern Europe.  Many of those governments tried to force the Russian Orthodox religion on their people.  Most countries didn’t have the ability to fight against their religious oppression.  It was Pope St. John Paull II that led the way in his home country of Poland to fight and ultimately bring down Communism.  He repeatedly fought for his fellow countrymen to be able to worship how they wished.  Despite opposition from Russia he was able to visit his home country and hold numerous events.  These lead to concessions by the Communist government to allow the people of Poland to worship as they did.  That was followed by the eventual downfall of communism in Poland.  That was followed by the rest of Eastern Europe and most of the U.S.S.R. to break apart from Russia and begin to worship freely.

In the Old Testament of The Bible we are told over and over again of stories of tyrants trying to force their beliefs upon people of faith.  The Jews were punished for their sins and exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon.  It was during this exile that their faith was tested repeatedly.  In the Book of Daniel we are told the story of his three friends.  While King Nebuchadnezzar was forcing the Jews to worship him, there were three who refused.  They were sentenced to be burned at the stake for their disobedience.  It was through their faith in God that they were saved and not harmed once the furnace was set ablaze.  The King recognized that it was their God who had saved them because of their faith.  From that point on the Jews were allowed to peacefully worship in their own was without fear of harm or persecution.  This lead to the eventual release of the Jewish people and them being allowed to return to their homeland of Jerusalem.

What does all of this have to do with the United States?  I have seen a disturbing trend happening in our country over the past five years.  In a country that was founded on Christian values, we are living anything but that.  In Galatians 3:28 we are taught “So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free men, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.”  This does not mean that we should persecute others for believing differently that we do.  This does not mean we should force our beliefs on others.  In John 13:34 we are taught “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have love you, so you must love one another.”  That’s pretty plain and simple.  Jesus wasn’t speaking in parables when he said this.  He not only told us that this is how we should treat each other, but he lived it as well.  It’s something we have all gotten away from lately, even though this same basic principle is taught in every religion, and applies to those who don’t believe in faith.

There needs to be a shift in the mindset of most humans.  It is rare today to find someone who is willing to step out of line and address this issue.  We’ve become a society of people who are immune to what is happening around us.  We’ve taken an attitude of not wanting to get involved in anything if there isn’t any benefit to ourselves.  That isn’t what Jesus taught us to do.  He taught us to take the time to help others.  He taught us to go out of our way to help others.  He taught us that the way to Him is through our love for one-another.  We need to focus on more of that.

If we truly are a State that separates government and faith, then why is God so rooted in our government?  The Pledge of Allegiance states that we are “One Nation under God.”  One of the most popular patriotic songs about our country is “God Bless America.”  On our money is printed the phrase “In God We Trust.”  Every once and a while I will see posts on social media referring to the removal of the “under God” portion of the Pledge of Allegiance.  I see that this is an issue from time to time.  What I don’t see is protests or bills being introduced in State or Federal Government to make that happen.  If this is such a big issue of keeping God out of our government, then why isn’t it happening?  And if this isn’t such a big issue, then why aren’t those who wish to keep God, or faith, in our government doing more to make sure it stays?

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While you’re grilling with friends and family, enjoying a few adult beverages, and watching fireworks this weekend, ask yourself if we’re still what our founding fathers envisioned 241 years ago.

I’d like to finish with this prayer:

Father, how wonderful it is to enjoy the privelages available to those who live in a free country.  We give thanks for those who enlisted and served in our military, fighting for and maintaining our independence.  And how glorious it is to enjoy freedom from sin, thanks to the sacrifice of Your Son Jesus, on our behalf.  Our lives, once enslaved to sin, now enjoy the freedom from that which once held us captive to Satan’s bondage.  We live in victory because You have set us free and we are now free indeed.  Thank You, Father, for delivering us from the domain of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom of Your Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins!

Amen

More on Modesty

June 29, 2017 v4 p25

In my last post I discussed a little about the problem in our society lately with a lack of modesty.  That post really was geared towards how women dress, but it’s not just them.  For whatever reason it seems to be that it’s necessary for women to show as much skin as they can get away with.  And the skimpier and tighter female clothing seemed to get, the baggier men’s clothing seemed to get.  That trend tells me that in a society that is largely controlled by men, it is ok for them to dress however they wish, but that they also feel it is ok to pressure women to trend in the immodest direction.  This is telling women of all ages that they must conform to what the majority feels is what is right for them.  If they don’t then they will be ridiculed by their peers, and nobody will be attracted to them.  Often young girls conform to this even though they don’t feel comfortable dressing that way, or they know that their parents would disapprove of what they’re wearing.  It doesn’t help when their peers are mean and unkind if they don’t conform.  I have some friends that are parents of middle school aged girls and almost every one of them has mentioned how their daughters have faced that peer pressure.  It would be my guess that if they aren’t dealing with that then it’s their daughters who are doing the ridiculing.

The problem of body shaming isn’t anything new.  It also isn’t restricted to females.  It often happens by males to females, and between males.  All of this is nothing new.  What’ new is the amount exposure the stories get when they are made public.  The speed at which stories move through social media is astounding.  On top of that, it’s hard to determine which of them are fake or not.  For someone to post that kind of story online, only to be lying, is a whole other issue.  The more times we see these stories, fake or not, we become more desensitized to them.  By the time you’ve seen a similar story four or five times you almost come to expect it.  Eventually when you hear that same similar story you stop being disgusted by it and it becomes part of everyday life.  In order for people to stay in the front of other people’s minds they must then do more.  Looking back at the fashion industry, if one clothing company creates a short skirt, then another will come along and create one even shorter.  Eventually you only end up covering parts of your body that should only be revealed to a doctor or your spouse.

It’s easy to lump all of these issues of dressing immodestly on the female wardrobe options, but it’s a problem with males too.  The other night I was watching a popular talent show on television with my family.  One of the acts was a small group of men who were dancers.  Their wardrobe consisted of a pair of blue jeans and footwear.  Note they weren’t wearing shirts.  Now these men had obviously been working out for some time to achieve a muscular tone in their upper bodies, and that’s very admirable.  But what did not wearing a shirt have to do with how well they danced?  When they were meeting to discuss their wardrobe for the show why did they choose that?  Did they feel insecure about their dancing ability and decide that it was necessary for them to not wear a shirt in the hopes that some females would admire their physique and vote for them based on looks rather than talent?  Doesn’t that bring into question the integrity of the competition?  Shouldn’t the contestants all be judged on their talent, not their costume?  There have also been a few other male acts on the show that for whatever reason decided that they needed to perform their acts completely nude.  I credit the editors for effectively censoring their performances, but once again this seems like a case of making one appear more sensational than they truly are in order to cover up for lack of talent in their act.

It’s hard to point a finger at one single event or thing that started all this trend.  Unfortunately thought most people in society don’t feel that this is a problem that needs to be addressed.  Either that or they just don’t care.  The problem with both of those points of view is that it is a problem and everyone needs to care.  We have become a society of people who only think of themselves.  Yet they then go to church on Sunday and praise God and Jesus for all of the great things they have done for them.  That’s not what Jesus taught us to do.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-40 “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest commandment.  The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”  If you were to only love your spouse one day a week how long do you think your relationship would last?  The part about loving your neighbors doesn’t only apply to the people who live in the house you can see across the road from your bedroom window.  I think people have forgotten that.

We are on a slippery slope and falling the wrong way fast.  The only way to reverse that is to start by asking yourself if you’re loving God and your neighbor as Jesus has taught us.

This Post isn’t very Modest

June 22, 2017 v4 p24

As the temps get higher throughout the summer people try to dress accordingly.  I feel like there’s a big problem with what people think is appropriate or not.

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When my youngest son was going through RCIA he had to be presented to the Bishop of our diocese and have his name entered into the book of the elect.  We were told that he should be dressed in normal Sunday church attire.  This wasn’t a black tie affair, nor did we need to get him a sports coat.  One of the notes in the email sent out to everyone was that the women attending should not wear anything that showed their shoulders.  It later came to light that the Bishop doesn’t approve of that type of dress for women in church.  I agree because church is not the place for anyone, male or female, young or old, to be dressing in a manner where you are trying to attract or impress anyone.  If you’re trying to do either of those things in that environment then you are in it for the wrong reasons.  I’m not to say that you can’t try to meet people of the opposite sex at church, but dressing immodestly is not the way for it to be accomplished.  On most occasions when it’s hot outside my wife will even bring a sweater to church to help keep herself warm in the air conditioned sanctuary, so wearing strappy shirts or short shorts wouldn’t be very accommodating anyway.

I don’t think this is just an issue when people are attending church.  It really points to one of our major problems in society as a whole.  All over the internet and on your television people are inundated with images and videos of people who aren’t dressed appropriately.  It seems that the more skin you can show the better.  Unfortunately that isn’t true.  In the advertising world the term “sex sells” is way too common, and they really don’t seem to care how far they push it.  The racier advertisements are, the more exposure they get.  And that’s not to fault the ad companies, they see a way for their product to get people’s attention and the use it.  Their only concern is making an extra buck, not how their methods may effect society.  If you look back at some of the television shows from the 1970s and 1980s the attire that was worn would be considered prude.  It’s sad that the trend is heading that way.  I remember growing up how a revealing dress used to get a picture or vide banned from TV, now unless the person is actually completely naked there’s no issue.  In fact, if the pics are from the correct angle then they don’t really do anything to censor the photos.

How does this cause problems?  The more we are exposed to that type of imagery, to more we become immune to it.  So in order for those advertising companies, clothing companies, media outlets, to continue to be able to hold our attention they must push the limit even further.  At some point they will the end of that limit and won’t be able to push it any further.  What will happen then?  If you can’t push things any further, then you need to push it more often.  One of the biggest things I don’t miss on cable television is the advertising.  There were many times that I would have to change the channel so that my children wouldn’t be exposed to talk about sex, commercials for lingerie, and other innuendos that they didn’t need to be exposed to.  I can speak to how that type of thing can have a huge impact on young child’s development.  Seeing and hearing that type of thing is part of what started me towards an addiction to pornography.  I’ve come a long way in the last two years towards curbing that addiction, but society doesn’t make it easy to avoid the temptation when it’s all over the place.  The local news is really just as big of a problem as national advertisers.  I understand the stories that people want to hear about are the ones that involve those sensational headlines about sex offenders, but I don’t feel it would be that difficult for the media to be able to report the facts without me having to explain to my 11-year-old what they are talking about.  At the dinner table.

As a society we are heading down a very slippery slope with our immodesty.  There are two places in the bible that I think these practices point directly towards.  The first place I feel today’s society can be compared to come from the Old Testament.  In the Book of Genesis we are told the story of the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  God passed judgment on these two cities because they had fallen in to very immoral practices.  When the Lord led Lot and his family to leave he told them to run and not look back or they would turn to pillars of salt.  It was his wife who proved this when she stopped to look back.  The other place society’s behaviors point to the bible is a little less obvious.  This trend towards immorality seems to me to be a lot like the way the Romans behaved in the times surrounding the life and death of Jesus Christ.  During those times it was not uncommon for multiple people to join together for what were essentially the same thing as a swinger party from the 1970s, minus the fishbowl of car keys.

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I don’t expect most of society to agree with this point of view.  Unfortunately most of that group that won’t, goes to church on Sunday and claims to be Christian.