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Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

Often times it is hard to start this blog, I am not sure what to talk about and sometimes I am not sure if it really matters all that much. But as I have stated several times in the past, this blog is more a benefit to me than to others. This blog allows me the opportunity to workout what I think and feel about issues. Often times I use it to spew my Conservative political convictions or my Catholic faith. I use it as my own little sounding board, and over all I think that is a very good thing.

I have blogged about the importance of writing in a journal, well this blog is that, this is my journal, this is my space…

As of late you will notice that I have been very sporadic in my blogging, days and days go by with no words of wisdom from me, yet the world seems to still go on, and that is a very good feeling, to know that I am not that important to the workings of this world. I would hate the feeling of responsibility to this blog, to know that someone actually depends on this blog and my musings. In a way I think it would detract from the writing of this blog, I would feel the pressure to always at the top of my game, and truth be told, I never what that feeling. I like the feeling of just being average, nothing special.

I am told that I am extremely smart and have an IQ that is in the genus level, yet I strive for nothing more than average. In fact I find it difficult to deal with people who are perfectionist or who feel they must achieve the top score or be labeled the best.

If any one has watched the movie “Amadeus” one of my favorite lines from it

 

 

 

 

Salieri: I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.

 

I love that line, along with hundreds of others in the movie… But that one line, I speak for all mediocrities in the world… What a great line and that is how I feel, that is what I think. I truly feel no need to always be the best, to always be on top, sometimes (well most of the time) average will do.

To what end is it to always be the best, to always be on top of the game? I see none, now I do think people need to work hard to strive for the goal, but I also feel that sometimes the goal is not important. Take Salieri, he wanted to always be on top, to always be the best, yet he never could, Mozart was, yet Mozart’s average was still better than Salieri’s best. So why concern yourself to death with it? Mediocrity is not a bad word…

But in this global economy and the world competing for everything we all to often push ourselves and sadly our children in to a frenzy to be perfect to always be on top of their game to always be the best. But reality is, not everyone can be the best, not everyone can win…. So why are we teaching ourselves and our youth that winning is everything? Why do we keep pushing them to be more than they are? What ever happen to “Just do your best, that’s all I ask” that phrase seems to have vanished from our vocabulary, now its I only expect the best from you, I only expect all A’s, or a perfect game or what every it is you expect.

With great expectations come great failures… Please understand I am not say we do not need to push ourselves or our youth, but we also need to be realistic and expect and accept that no all are Mozart’s that some of us are Salieri’s, and that too is OK…

I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint. ~Salieri

 

Paul

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One of my favorite people to look to or to quote is Albert Einstein. I think is because we both are so much a like…. (I’ll let that one sink in a bit before I move on…….)

Truthfully I do see a lot of similarities between us, no I am not as smart as him, no were near, but we both share a thinking pattern. For anyone who reads my blogs or knows me personally will know that I am a person with an imagination and a positive attitude. Albert also has this trait, and I have quoted him several times, in fact I have a small postcard of his hanging in my office and I have read biographies on him. I find him to be a very interesting person. I have no ability to understand his math or his logic (most of the time), but I can understand his outlook and his way of dealing with the world. Today as I was thinking I should blog about something, but I didn’t know what. I didn’t want to blog about politics again, not because I don’t have anything to say, because I do, but because both of my blogs are not primary political they are primarily spiritual. So my latest rant concerning Obama will have to wait…. So what than do I blog about. As I often do when I don’t have a solid idea I will look up quotes on the internet (God’s gift for writers block). What I found was this quote from Mr. Einstein:

The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

I like that, in fact I teach that… I have from the start, I have always valued questions. To me if you are not questioning that you are dead, dead to the topic at hand, dead to the presenter, dead to the faith, dead to what ever it is you are not questioning.

To an insecure presenter or teacher the questions may come across as attacks, good question by e-magic.as if the questioner is challenging there domain. And they very well may be doing just that, and that’s ok. Hell if it was good enough for old Albert, than it’s good enough for me!

My overriding passion is my faith and teaching my faith to youth. In fact this will be the first time since 1990 that I will not be actively involved in a teaching ministry, but back to my point… My passion is my faith and the passing on of my faith (teaching). Part of this passion is also learning more about my faith on my own and taking formal classes. It is the process of questioning my teachers and my students that grow and learn more. It is the process of questioning that allows my mind to explore other areas it normally would not travel. It allows me the freedom to play the “devils” advocate in the name of knowing.

Questions are what makes America a land of the free, if were are not allowed to question of government, than we are no better than and no different than present day Cuba. Our ability to place our public officials under the microscope of public questioning is our key to freedom. My ability to question my faith is what makes my faith mine is my ability to question her teachings and to question my understanding.

Albert got it right, The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Think about a toddler and there constant why? why? why?, it is their ability to ask why that allows them to grow, why should that be any different for a pre-teen or teen, a parent of grandparent. Our ability to grow never ceases, just our own limitations placed on ourselves do. We have that same power as the curious 3 year old, the power of WHY… That power to change the course of events is not limited to the mind of a 3 year old, it is innate in all of us, it is our nature to question. God created us to question and he celebrates us when we do so.

A single question has changed the course of history, a single question can place common scene on it’s ear and turn right to wrong and evil to good. The power of a question should never be over looked nor should it be played down or belittled.

The question was asked of Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the King of the Jews?” and all of history was changed for ever. The question was asked, “What is the price of liberty” and a new nation was born.

The ability to question is our basic right as part of humanity, to stop questioning is to stop participating in humanity. Teacher and politicians and parents that stifle the questions of those they are charged with not only stifle that individual but also all of humanity.

Just imagine if:

  • Edison never question electricity
  • Ford never question the assembly line
  • Jefferson never questioned Liberty

It is the questions that have created the humanity we know today. With each stifled question our next Ford, Edison, Einstein or Jefferson might never be able to ask that all important, life changing question.

If we do not allow questions, than who will question poverty, hunger, global war’s and the outer limits of space or the inner limits of the mind? Sniffle one is the same as stifling all.

 

 

Just something to question….

Paul

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Let us never forget the sacrifice of Americans in the fight for freedom. The firefighters and officers of the law, the office managers and the custodians alike. Let us never forget the lost of mom’s and dad’s in the fight for freedom, the aunts and uncles and the friends that never were.

Let us never forget the cries of pain from inside the planes and the cries of anguish with in our own hearts as we witnessed the attack on freedom. 

Freedom is to be cherished, it should be praised and protected, on all fronts and on all levels. Freedom is ours to hold on to and ours to waste away, ours to give freely to others and ours to nurture.

Let us never forget the cost of freedom, eight years ago 3000 people paid that price and today our brave men and woman of the US Armed Forces are continuing to pay that price.

Today, stop and say a prayer for America and the world, today pray for the conversion of the hearts of our attackers and for the families of all who were lost in the fight for our freedom. My God bless them….

Paul

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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Aristotle

Stop and think about that for a few seconds, excellence is not an act but a habit… This leads to the logical conclusion that excellence can be and in-fact is  a learned action. Like all habits, good and bad, we must learn to perform the action.

The problem is we have associated the word habit with a negative. Think about it, smoking, over eating, drugs, drinking, all are habits and all are negative. How often do you hear someone state that they have a reading habit or an exercising habit or any other positive act as a habit.

But Aristotle knew the truth, he understands the human nature, any act, be it positive or negative, is a learned act. So if one can learn to smoke than one can learn not to (I know this because I have done both). If one can learn to speak poor English, than one can learn proper English. If one can learn to scam others than they can learn to give to others.

Aristotle’s statement did not give economic status as a prerequisite to creating excellence. In other words he did not state that a person of a lower class can not achieve excellence, he just simple stated that it is a habit.

If we truly believe that all humans are created equal, that logic states that all have the same opportunity to create positive habits.

So start today, create a new positive habit and make it a habit to refer to positive things as a habit, such as I am making in a habit to read more positive books, or I am making it a habit to eat healthy. Make new habits, one at a time, that will change your life for the better.

 

Paul

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Yesterday I was reading Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic weekly newspaper, and ran across an article about a Catholic college that is being sued for following the teachings of the Catholic Faith. The article made me stop and thing, to reflect upon my faith and what it means to me. I am not going to go in to the details of the article here for you, if you want to know more about it read my STATIC Youth blog, there is a link to the article there.

But in the article the president of the college made the statement that he would rather see it close than to not follow the teachings of the Church. That statement really struck me. Be you Catholic or anti-Catholic that statement is a powerful statement to his and the colleges commitment to the faith. How many of us would be willing to say I would rather lose my job than to bend my morals? How many of us can truly say that the teachings of our faith are more important than my job…

Now the college is still there and only time will tell if he follows through on his statement of faith. Will he close the college if he is forced to change the policies of the college? And if so is he truly serving the Church or his own self interest, only God will know the answer to that question. But the debate surrounding this should be fun to follow. And in the end I pray that the college wins.

But back to the question, are you strong enough in your faith to take such a stand, to me it is a modern day form of persecution of the catholic faith and the college is the David with the Law being Goliath. The fight has started and little David is holding his own, but for how long?

We all are David’s in a world full of Goliath’s, are we willing to take up our stones in the battle with the giants of this world, is our faith important enough to us to fight the Goliath of secularism? Are we strong enough to fight off the armies of political forces intent on watering down the faith to make it less Catholic and more politically correct, more worldly and less Godly.

Can you say that your faith is strong enough to handle the on slot of attacks. Most of us avoid conflicts  at all cost, we will walk across the street or forgo a gathering to make sure we avoid the argument or conflict.  How many of us are willing to stand tall for our faith? How many of us are willing to take a stand and allow it to go were it will go, and willing be take were it leads?

just a question, I am not sure were I stand on this, I pray that I have the courage to take a stand for the faith, but truth be told, I don’t know, I have yet to be truly challenged.

In my pursuit to always improving myself, this is a issue of some importance. Will I stand the test of time, will I be able to stand tall when the world is coming at me, or will I crumble and fall, will I fail when the winds blow hard and rattle the foundation I have created? And the same holds true for my faith, faced with my Goliath, will my David prevail? Can I win the battle?

 

Paul

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Sometimes I think God just like to mess with me, I think he get great pleasure out of seeing me get upset or thrown off task. Take this morning for example, I posted my first blog with no problem, I stat in on this blog with a solid idea of what I want to write, and BAM! My laptop decides its a great time to reboot with an issue.. So now as I write this I am running every security check, registry cleaner and spy program I have, to make sure it don’t happen anytime too soon, and to make sure all my data is safe.

Now I know God didn’t do this, but sometimes I wonder, maybe He didn’t like the topic I was going to blog about or maybe He just likes to see me get frustrated…. No matter, I can’t remember what the topic was, so it must not have been that great of an idea and I was able to get to some real work (my 9 to 5 job stuff).

But now I sit here with no real idea of what I want to blog about, no words of wisdom to give…

Funny how things work out, I had a “great” idea, or so I thought, all pick out for today, one little distraction and BAM, it’s gone… Life can be that way, we are moving along, and BAM, everything changes, we get distracted by the death of a loved one the loss of a job or a child is ill, and life seems to change, be it good or bad it changes.

What matters is how we deal with the BAM’s in our life, take my computer crashing this morning, I had a few options I could have taken, 1) Get mad 2) Fix it 3) Do nothing, or any combination of the 3, I chose to fix it, I didn’t get mad, I didn’t do nothing, I stopped what I was doing and resolved the issue, well in truth I had to my laptop went down.

When death or illness hits we have the same basic options, get mad, deal with it (fix it) or do nothing. Once again we can combine them anyway we like.  But what we choose to do will change the rest of our life… So choose wisely…

Paul

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"The last of the human freedoms is to choose your attitude in any given set of circumstances." -Victor Frankl

 

For anyone who has ever read this blog or my other blog, you know that freedom is a major theme for me. Often times I use the word Authentic Freedom because we all to often mix up what we believe is freedom to what freedom really is. Well I think Mr. Frankl got it right!

Freedom is a slippery thing and has many sides, but we still are the masters of it and we decide how we choose to use or abuse it or is some cases how we neglect it or abandon it. 

I have long been a believer in the you make your own destiny, we choose to react to situations in a way that will give us the outcome we desire. I have seen two people process the same information yet each will tell you a completely different story and will react to it in an almost predictable way. A negative person will always find the bad, the down in any situation and they will project that feeling in to the situation causing it to be a negative feeling or outcome. Were as a positive person will take a negative and turn it in to a positive, they will find the positive in any situation and project that emotion in to the situation causing a more positive outcome. It truly is in our control, I myself have seen it and have participated in it,as have we all.

So what makes one positive and one negative? Why would one choose to be negative? Well there are many reasons or theories:

  • Genetics
  • Hard wiring in the mind
  • Life experiences
  • Attention
  • Born that way
  • Just want to be

All are valid and I thing in some small ways all are true and all play a roll in it. And the same can be said for the positive person, all the same valid reasons are just as true for the positive person, what I think it comes down to is this. I choose to be positive or negative because from being one over the other I gain greater joy, greater pleaser. Yes the negative person gains joy from there negatives. If they did not they would not be negative. Just like a smoker gains pleasure from smoking, a negative person gains please from the negativeness of there life. They create it and nurture it, so they must enjoy it. Now some may be saying well that’s just silly, no one would choose to be negative, but really is it that silly of a concept? People choose to be whipped and chained up for sexual pleasure, and most of us would have to say that, that doesn’t sound like pleasure to us. But to them it is, to them it is a great pleasure the pain turns them on. If this is so, than it stands to reason that a negative person must gain pleasure from there negativeness or they would not be negative.

It is our choosing, our freedom to choose our response to anyone given situation. This freedom to determine our reaction is one of the greatest freedoms we have, it truly is an authentic freedom. We read about people in horrific situations, Nazi concentration camps, torture chambers and such, yet we also hear of the love they felt or offered or the sacrifice they gave and the positive out look on life they still maintained.

The film “I am David” is a perfect example of how our outlook on situations will determine the outcome of the situation. It tells the story of a young boy who, with the help of a prison guard, escapes from a concentration camp in Eastern Europe, and of his journey to Denmark. Along the way he meets interesting people and has many adventures. In this movie David has a very negative outlook on life, with valid reasons, and yet he is met with some very positive opportunities that turn negative, based on his projection unto them. In the film David grows, and as he does, his negativeness changes in to a more positiveness, causing the events in his life to become more positive. Yes I know its a film, but the concept is the same.

We control our outcome, we determine the reaction we choose to give to any given situation. Life is full of opportunities to see good or evil, positive or negative it’s in our power to see it as we please, it is our last freedom, one that no one can take form us.

Paul

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