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Posts Tagged ‘conversation’

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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2316677591_6654e4ce6f With Mothers Day upon us, it is time to reflect on our mother, both earthly and those that are no longer with us. The other day I posted a blog about having parents, or better yet, the blog was tong in cheek about needing to prove I had parents on my

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Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator ...

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As part of my job, my 9 to 5 job, the one that pays my bills, I get to travel the world. I love that aspect of my job, I love going to new places. Not only do I get to go to new places, I get to make new friends. I now have friends in five countries around the world and have traveled to seven different countries. So on this next trip I get to visit my friends I have not seen in over a year. It will be nice.

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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friend2 About a year or two ago a friend gave me a book to read. It sounded very interesting, it was a thriller and love story and mystery and supernatural all rolled into one. I don’t know the authors name, and the name of the book slips me at the moment, but that’s really not that important for what I have to tell you.

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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Thomas Aquinas stained glass window.

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I am finding more and more the richness of the Holy Bible, the more I learn the more little nuggets of truth I discover. As I was listening to Catholic Talks on CD’s (yes I know I have been on about these CD’s for days’… but I just keep finding something new in them) I have be re-wakened the the depth of knowledge each little passage contains. It amazes me that one word or phrase can contain a life changing truth.

As the owner and creator* of STATIC Solutions, a Catholic company the produces educational materials for middle school youth, I am always on the look out for new ideas, new bits and pieces of truth that can be used to excite and deepen the faith life of the youth and the adults who are charged with imparting the truth. I find that it’s not hard to find that one passage or phrase the hard part is deciding what one.

I have just started to develop some new material, I am in the beginning stage were I need to play the concept out, I need to define what it is I am looking for (or as the case maybe, what God is trying to get me to do). This process involves the selection of the main theme that is to run through the book, what basic idea or truth is the book to depart. It is a long process, one that sometimes takes months or even years, yes I have a few ideas that have been sitting in my head for years.

It’s interesting, because as I listened to the CDs I discovered that I could write whole books, teach a whole class on just on passage or phrase. The depth of that phrase or passage could fill volumes. I could take the simple phrase “I Thirst” or “You are Peter” and build a course around them. This is my new dilemma…. What phrase or word or passage do I use, how do I use it and what do I do with it.

The concept of STATIC Solutions program is to take the youth deeper in to the faith, to really look at one area, to show them the richness of that phrase or person or book. Each of our classroom books look at a subsection of the over all concepts. For example the one of the books is entirely on the Exodus of the Israelites for Egypt. We spend five sessions doing nothing but recounting the Exodus and it’s meaning to us today and it’s part in Salvation History. We dive in to the mindset of the Israelites and Mosses, we place ourselves into the moment and feel the desert heat on our backs and the aches and pains of the long walk. Our hearts break over the sinfulness of Gods people, yet we can see ourselves in the humanity of them all. It is five sessions that truly take us back in time. Each of our course books deals with a subset such as that, rather than covering the whole Old Testament in five weeks or even fifteen, we choose to create an experience that will envelop the youth, take hold of their imaginations and souls and with God grace, create a conversation moment for them.

Our philosophy is why “dump” thousands of years of Salvation History on them, it is better to give them nuggets of truth that will excite them and enlighten them, than it is to drowned them is Christian history. If it has taken the Catholic Church over two thousand years to come to Her understanding of the faith, why should we expect our youth to do it in eight years? Is it not better to give them the thirst for knowledge and truth than to drowned them in it?

So as you can see my dilemma is how to take the beauty of the book of Job and turn it into a five session gem, or to take the phrase “I Thirst” and keep it to only five sessions. The glory of God and the Catholic Church can never be contained in the mind of man, yet alone in books. Yet this is what I attempt to do, this is the calling I have answered and the challenge I am tasked with.

The CDs are examples of this, year of the speakers could have went on for hours and hours, if not days. Yet they were confined to thirty minute or one hour at most. To take the vastness of Gods glory and condense it into a book or talk… The concept is truly, well its just mind blowing.

This is what I love about my faith, the fact that each day I can learn and grow, that a passage I have heard one hundred times before can suddenly take on a whole new meaning.  That the truth of the faith keeps growing or should I say that my understanding of the truth keeps growing. That the smallest of details sometimes are the greatest of truths.

The challenges given to me to create the programs I create are a life lesson in humility and faith, and yes the CDs I listened to reminded me of this very fact. They have created in me a new desire to research and learn and to create. As the STATIC Solutions tag line reads “Educate ~ Innovate ~ Create… that is me calling and one I am willing to answer.

God Bless

Paul

Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith
1 Corinthians 15:55-57“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Brought to you by BibleGateway.com. Copyright (C) . All Rights Reserved.

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It seems I have gone blog crazy, I have 3 blogs going now, this one, You can be new, and two others, STATIC Youth and Faith and Life. The Faith and Life blog is the latest blog I have started. Each blog had a purpose, each one helps me examine a different part of my make up.

Each blog represents a side of me that I feel in need to dive in to a little bit more deeply, but at times all 3 cross over each other. For example my new blog, Faith and Life is the more political side of me. But readers of this blog or my STATIC Youth blog will know that I have made political statements here. Were-as this blog, You can be new, is more of a blog for my self-help look deep with in you side of me, but that has also spilled over in to my STATIC Youth blog and I am sure it will slip in to my new Faith and Life blog before long also. The STATIC Youth blog is my Catholic faith blog, allowing me to share my faith with the world, but as you know my Catholic faith has entered in to discussions here and it is part of my Faith and Life blog also.

I say all this not to just shamelessly promote my 3 blog, but to illustrate a point. We are made up of different part, but each part is not separate from each other. I have three interest that truly define me, my faith, my need to help others and my political values, each is unique but each is also me. I would not be the same person I am today if anyone of them were not part of my being.

Our DNA defines us, our eye color, hair and body shape, our parents mold us into good little people, teaching us moral and our faith and society leans onus to conform to the norms of the times. But in the end it is us who truly defines us, we choose to follow our parents lead or if we will bend in to social norms, it is us, our individuality, that creates new possibilities for ourselves.

All three parts of me, represented by my blogs, help to shape me, guide me and in some ways define me, but only if I allow them to. My parents help create them, my faith help shaped them and the social/economics of society help bend them in to what we see today. But ultimately I allowed them to.

How can I say this, what proof do I have that in the end it is my choice. I have 4 case studies, my brothers and sisters, all raised by the same two parents, all raised with in the same faith and similar social/economics as me, each of us are different, we each chose how we would allow each force mold us.

So yes I am at times divide between my Faith, political and self reliance sides of me. Sometimes what I write in one blog may seem like it is in opposition to what I wrote in another blog. But in truth it can not be in opposition with anything else I write, it is just taken out of context. When I write purely for one blog, not allowing my other 2 sides to enter in to the conversation I create a conflict of sorts. This conflict is internal, wanting to establish the links between all three major forces in my life. This is a choice I make, not allowing the overflow of the other two in to what I am writing. I want to allow myself the freedom to dive into the topic unhindered by my own confines, to allow the organic growth of the thought, and than at a latter time see how it fits in to my over all person. No conflict, only growth.

So please if you get a chance check out my other two blogs, let me know what you think, and tell your friends to give me a read, who knows maybe someone somewhere will like what I wrote, they may even think I am smart. But I am not holding my breath for that, I don’t write for others, but for myself.

Paul

STATIC Youth  —  Faith and Life

 

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How often do we participate in a conversation, but in truth we are only really waiting for our chance to speak? I know I do this, especially when it is a heated debate, I want so badly to speak my mind. I have been working on not doing that to much, but its like a favorite candy bar, you walk by it and have to have it. I just can’t always control myself, i just have to have that candy, i just have to get my argument out, its all the same thing to me.

We know, just from our own experience that when people listen to what we have to say and we listen to them, the debate or argument or just plan conversation goes better. There is a natural pace and flow to it. Now to listen does not mean agree with, but to just listen and take it in, allowing it time to settle in your mind and to form a thought.

Listening is a skill we all need to improve at, we all need to be reminded every now and than to just shut the mouth and open the ears. To listen to the sounds of everydayness and to the voice of reason. Listening is not just a skill for conversations with others, but it is also a skill for conversations with nature and self. The quit time we spend just sipping our coffee in the early mornings, or out on the front porch with a cup of tea at dusk.

The skill of listening to the silence is difficult, but not unattainable. Simon & Garfunkel stated it best in there song, The Sounds of Silence:

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

The seeds that are planted when we listen to the silence of self and nature can grow in to the changes we dream of, the new creation of self, only if we can learn to listen to the silence of self.

The task is daunting the reward is great. The other day I posted about self time, and in the past i have written about this topic and I will come back to it often. It is a skill that seems to be lost in a modern world where silence is looked at as unproductive or a waste of valuable time.

In days gone by silent time was treasured and looked upon as a treasure for only the well off. In today’s world we look at silence as a sign of laziness and a sign of the less fortunate.

Look at any great leader of the spiritual ways, Jesus, Buda and Krishna all call for and practiced moments of silence. As a Catholic we have moments in our celebration of of Mass that incorporate silence (or it should be, but not all Churches recognize this) we have seasons that calls us to prolonged silence and intense soul searching. The Church sees the importance of listening to the silence.

Listing to the silence of the soul allows you the intimacy of self, the oneness of time and growth and the universality of joining in the the silence of the ages. Silence offers a sort of magic that transcends time and space, giving us the freedom to listen to the voices of the past or future with the present always there.

I am not saying that through silence we can communicate with the dead or travel through time and space, but I am saying that through silence we free our mind to imagine the possibilities of our many tomorrows by  listening to the echo’s of yesterdays.

I have fixed many a problem through the quietness of listening to the silence, allowing my mind to freely flow over the waves of nothingness. Creating a openness that allowed the sounds of reason enter into my soul planting the seeds of forgiveness or love, plucking the hatred out by its roots and allowing the waters of creation to feed me.

So today, sit and have a conversation with the silence, open your ears and listen to the nothingness of the universe and hear the voice of God speaking.

Paul

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Last night I had a intimate chat with my nephew, he is a 17 year old young man who originates from Cameroon Africa. He has only been in this country for a few years, and I have only known him for 1.5 years or so, well maybe closer to 2 years now, but what ever. In truth he is not my natural nephew, I knew his dad, not very well, through the church I am youth minister at. His son was in the youth group, and to make a long story short, to help him and his boy out, i let his son move in with me, so now he is my nephew. But back to that chat.

Last night at dinner he is usually very quiet, and does not offer up much information, not much more that a grunt or two. But some of that is typical teen age communication but with him it’s also a cultural thing, he was taught to be seen not heard. And that’s what he tries to do, over the last year or so I have worked very hard to get him to open up, to talk to me and other adults more freely. It’s been a hard road, but it has had it’s moments, like last night.

the topic of our conversation is of no real concern for the point of this blog, what is of concern is the importance of intimate conversation. We have gotten away from intimacy in general, our conversations are done via text messaging on our cell phones, one of the latest trends is to text your boy friend or girl friend that you are breaking up. My nephew asked a young lady out via a text message. I was not happy and told him so, to me, asking someone out is an intimate act and should be done face to face, or at least over the phone, voice to voice. The ability to text someone removes the direct contact, removes the personal touch. It makes it easer to have no investment in to the relationship. Sure there are times that texting is called for, or Instant Messaging (IMing) someone one. I IM people all the time, unless it is important, unless it calls for intimacy than it is a face to face contact.

The body often times speaks more that the voice, we can learn more for the language the body is using than the language the voice is using.  With text messages and such, all that is lost, we speak in bits and peaces, using icons to display emotions and words that haven’t even been added to any dictionary as of yet.

When I talk with my nephew I always make sure I can see him and that he is looking at me, often times he looks down or away, and misses the body language of the conversation. I try to explain the importance of looking someone in the eyes when you talk to them, but in this world of texting it seems to make no cense. I am sure he would rather just text me a reply and be done with it.

This all to often is what most teens, and now even adults would rather do. We are loosing the ability to have intimate conversations by allowing our youth to continue hiding behind there phones. As parents and care givers we have a responsibility to teach our children how to be intimate, and we do this by example, but forcing them to look at us when they talk to us, but explaining that texting does not replace face to face or voice to voice, that important things are not reduced to “OMG” (Oh my god) or other such abbreviations, and that a 🙂 does not truly equal a smile.

If we continue down this path we run the risk of living in a world of no intimacy, just a quick text and off we go. So last nights conversation was truly of no great importance except he did communicate with me, he looked at me and he smiles and responded with feeling in his voice. That is much more than a text message ever can be.

ttyl

Paul

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