Category Archives: philosophy

Boys Adrift – The crises of young men

International Woman’s day has had me thinking a lot about the pandemic of the failure to launch syndrome.

My children range in age and gender, and I can look around and see this story playing out both near and far.

From Dr. Leonard Sax’s book: boys adrift:

Something scary is happening to boys today. From kindergarten to college, American boys are, on average, less resilient and less ambitious than they were a mere twenty years ago. The gender gap in college attendance and graduation rates has widened dramatically. While Emily is working hard at school and getting A’s, her brother Justin is goofing off. He’s more concerned about getting to the next level in his videogame than about finishing his homework. Now, Dr. Leonard Sax delves into the scientific literature and draws on more than twenty years of clinical experience to explain why boys and young men are failing in school and disengaged at home. He shows how social, cultural, and biological factors have created an environment that is literally toxic to boys. He also presents practical solutions, sharing strategies which educators have found effective in re-engaging these boys at school, as well as handy tips for parents about everything from homework, to videogames, to medication.

Here is another, more recent treatment on the topic:

Resurrection of Animals – you ask?

For my Christian friends:

I’m a logical person, I eat animals as much as I have them as pets, I won’t hold to false hopes, but I didn’t hear any logical, biblical, or otherwise, facts offered in the video below that a friend posted.

Do animals go to Heaven?

I think a more complete treatment can be found here:  

Will Spot be in Heaven?

Short version,  man and animal are different, but the bible is (mostly) silent to resurrection of animals.

I would say that I can’t tell what Paul is up to when he claims all of creation groans for resurrection and redemption, especially if it only means complete and utter annihilation and destruction for all created things but humans.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently

What do you think?

Blessings in disguise

Today, I had the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus; and I hesitated, and I lost out. I was left with a feeling of love, and wonder and shame.  Here is the story.

You need to have this background first:  I work in an area that is quite a bit run down, in the two years I have been here, there have been stabbings and shootings in the parking lot.

I have recently taken to walking through the parking lot to a gas station half a block over to a Subway.  It’s not the cleanest looking gas station, I feel a little out of place in my dress clothes; but the people are polite, and nice, and the food area is clean and well kept.

Today, as I was walking through, there was a fella outside picking through trash cans; as I walked by, he stood up and started shuffling his way behind me.  Given my background, I have a heightened level of situational awareness; so I watched him closely out of the corner of my eye, and then through the reflection of windows and cars.  No issues.

After I ordered, inside, and had a pleasant and familiar discussion with the ladies behind the counter, this same fella came stomping in.  Once again, my level of awareness increased. He stomped to the back of the store to grab a drink, and then over to the sandwich counter.

To the reply of the lady behind the counter he very gruffly said “I want a sandwich with everything on it”.  It seemed clear he was slightly intoxicated.

As I walked over to pay, racing through my mind was the fact that I knew this fella couldn’t pay for his own food.  Once I ascertained there seemed to be no immediate threat, I tried to rationalize how he went from picking out of the trash to buying a sandwich and drink.  Slowly, in my mind, crept the thought that I could pay for his sandwich, I had the means, and I could see a storm brewing.

As I started thinking through all the ways I could do it, without becoming ‘personally involved’, in less than the couple minutes that I stood there trying to rationalize what I was going to do, and how, an elderly lady came through the door and said over my shoulders to the cashier, “I’m going to pay for his sandwich”.

I was immediately overwhelmed with various emotions.  First, love and compassion for someone who would see a random stranger picking through trash, and instead of immediately viewing them as a threat, and running through scenarios on how to contain that threat, she went over and asked if she could help.

Then, shame, that as a young, relatively healthy human, with means, I would stand there contemplating for so long whether or not I should help, and he had a clear need. The book I bought on Amazon this morning cost more than the price of his meal.  I was rationalizing, because I didn’t want the “messiness” of dealing with the humanity of the situation.

In the end, I lost the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but I got to witness someone, whether in Christ or not, was faithful to their fellow human, to part of the Message.  It was a blessing in disguise.

Perhaps, next time, I’ll stop thinking, and start doing.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

 

Eliot on the times

Some serious contemplation is required to understand how we ended up with a POTUS like Obama and candidates like Clinton and Trump. 

This is the dead cactus land,
The hollow valley of dying stars,
We are the hollow, stuffed men.

A penny for the old man?
In eyes we dare not meet in dream,
Followed by a whimper.

Where will we go from here?

I must go down to the sea again

There is something indescribable and wondrous about the vast and endless sea.  The call of the ocean, echoing in history, throughout the future.  I cannot recall physically going into the ocean for the past 30 years.  It is an amazing feeling, a feeling of both insignificance and of fortitude: insignificance in the realization of how tiny and insubstantial I am, but strength in realizing that of all creatures in creation this world was made for me.

I, as human, represent the pinnacle of crowning achievement for creation; the most complex, the most intriguing of all creatures with my abilities to think and love and reason in unique ways: being granted the blessing (or curse) of being one of the few known reasoning creatures that will spend most of my lifetime contemplating my own mortality.

I started this weak on Cocoa Beach officiating the wedding of my brother-in-law, and new sister-in-law: Jeremy and Rebecca Jewers.  It was an honor and a privilege to be asked to perform the ceremony, it is the second time in my life I have been called upon to do such an amazing thing.  Marriage is as wonderful as birth, and baptism; both representing a transition, a newness, a transformation from old to new; from form to form.

2014 Cocoa beach

2014 Cocoa beach

The wedding started with the scene from the Princess Bride:  Mawage, Mawage is what bwings us togethwer today.  It was the perfect fit, a perfect couple: a farm boy turned pirate and a princess.  Two people, that were meant to be together.

Cocoa beach wedding 2014

Cocoa beach wedding 2014

On our last night on the beach, Amanda and I were taking a walk down the beach in the moonlight and we ran into a majestic but ominous looking foot long crab.  We were in awe at his size and amazed at his beauty, until we saw that he held in his claw a baby hatchling loggerhead turtle.

We immediately went into rescue mode.  I took on the crab (and he was vicious!) and encouraged him to drop the turtle (ok, I might have kicked him in the rear with my bare foot while Amanda kept his attention). Then, while I kept the crab occupied (he continued coming after me), Amanda guarded the baby turtle as it made it to the water.

In the end, we both were able to watch the turtle swim out to sea, and we then returned to the crab to take a picture of him.  He belongs on the wall of shame! This was one of the most amazing things I have experienced in nature.

Being saved from Crab

Being saved from Monster Crab

Attempting to eat a Loggerhead

Wall of Shame: Attempting to eat a baby Loggerhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now preparing, after a full week of God’s beautiful nature to head back to the city of San Antonio.  We miss friends there, but honestly, we are not overly excited to go back; we miss the nature, the openness, the sea breeze of the east coast.  It’s hard to say what the future will hold for us, but one thing for sure.  Home is where the heart is, and there is no place like home.

Amanda and Jediah August 2014

Amanda and Jediah August 2014

On Capitalism, Socialism and Ride-sharing

In the article linked below, the writer argues that unconstrained capitalism must be stopped as it allows an entity to use their advantages (i.e. money, skill, intelligence) to come out ahead of others.

To be fair, the writer doesn’t say to get rid of capitalism as a whole, what the writer is really arguing is that sameness and fairness needs to be controlled by a few powerful people rather than the dictates of the buying and selling power within the market. The end result: the company with advantages should be forced to sacrifice to the others to create equality and sameness, for the good of the whole.

I am left wondering: how is that different from the end goal of socialism?

The man who speaks of sacrifice to you, speaks of slaves and masters … and intends on being the master.  – Ayn Rand

Review the post @ Salon and tell me what you think.
Why Uber must be stopped or why Capitalism is bad

For a sports literate culture perhaps a tongue-and-cheek on Ayn Rand’s hypothetical Super Bowl prediction will hit closer to home.
Ayn Rand predicts superbowl results

Recommendations for books on Leadership

The last couple University courses in the graduate program have been focused on various aspects of leadership.  Over the years, I have read a lot of different books on leadership, all with their own perspective.

Some are written to help direct as a leader in the home (a father for me specifically), some for leadership in the Church, some as practical guides for leadership in general society, and others specifically geared towards leadership in professional organizations.

Each and every one one of these books has had a positive impact on me, and has helped me mature in my style of leadership and understanding.  As a result, I thought I would share some of the books near the top of my list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These last three are on my to-read list, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.

 

 

Is there such thing as Universal Ethics?

Absolutely!  😉

Whole books and doctoral theses have been written to address this question, so it is not something that can be answered in passing.  However, I can provide some insight from those much more eloquent in the economics of universal ethics.

Rather than providing specific value statements of right and wrong to be argued over, let us look at this from the perspective of establishing whether or not there is such thing as universal statements of right and wrong.  The first question then to be answered is whether, when I make a value statement, am I intending to assert a universal, or am I just making a statement of feelings only.

C.S. Lewis, the Christian philosopher and theologian, addresses this question in detail in his book the Abolition of Man.  He states that all but the trousered ape would understand that our expression of value statements go beyond a personal bias and individual experience.  He summarizes that when I say something is beautiful, I am not merely asserting that I think it is beautiful, I am asserting that part of the nature of the object is that it is beautiful.  He goes on to pose this argument in another form, using reductio ad absurdum Lewis suggests the claim that value statements are to be interpreted as personal statements can be seen prima facie to be absurd if I were to say I do not feel well, and someone were to respond, nonsense, I feel just fine (Lewis, 2009).

Extending this argument, Lewis also poses the idea that even those that claim that rightness and wrongness is subjective would on one hand steal from someone in the first moment, but then assert as fact the unfairness of any act that allowed them to be stolen from (Lewis, 2001).  The idea being, whether or not we can agree on a set of value statements, all humans have this inborn idea, this natural law as Lewis calls it, that there is indeed a set of value statements that assert rightness and wrongness universally.

After establishing the statement that all humans have this idea of rightness and wrongness, the next challenge then is to understand how, with diverse background and cultures and experiences, we can all come to agreement on what is truly without a bias, right and wrong.  The answering of which, however,  is beyond the scope of this post.

 

References

Lewis, C. S. (2001). Mere christianity (Kindle ed.). New York: HarperSan Francisco. Retrieved from Library of Congress or OCLC Worldcat.

Lewis, C. S. (2009). The abolition of man (Kindle ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved from www.amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Abolition-Man-C-Lewis/dp/1609421477