Friday, February 25, 2011


Life is a funny thing. It’s not always good. It’s not always bad, either. Only rarely is it ever wholly either good or bad. One of the secrets I’m learning is how to accept both as they come. I believe one of the keys is to celebrate the good whenever it is found. So much of this life is discouraging that sometimes it takes a conscious effort to discover joy in the everyday, but it is a profitable endeavor.

There is a time and a place for everything: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Life should be appreciated in its entirety. You should savor the milestones, the blessings, and even the little things like surviving to the weekend. Don’t let all the other demands on your time keep you from having some fun every once in a while.

Christ’s first miracle was at a wedding reception and as my friend Rachel likes to say, “my Jesus brought the party!” Providing drinks for a party doesn’t seem like it would be at the top of the Almighty’s to-do list, but everyone (including his mother) recognized the importance of celebrating life’s best moments. Just like any other father, God loves to see His children enjoying his gifts.

Once you get used to be thankful for the good in life, perhaps you can even be grateful for the bad. All of life is given to us for a reason. Sure, it’s a lot easier to rejoice in the obviously happy times, but looking back, I can see that some of my worst times were actually some of my best. The bad helps you learn and grow—and party even harder.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Lost Boys

“I never wanna grow up!” protests Peter Pan. Leading his band of boys in fun, dangerous, but ultimately insignificant adventures, he personifies the modern American guy. We all know these guys and many of them are my friends. They’re so much fun! Chances are, however, that they are single, their most significant investment last year was a new Xbox, and they still live with their parents or with other immature guy friends.

It used to be simple: you were either a child or an adult. The industrialization of Western culture in the early 1900s added a small gap in between, commonly known as high school. Further advances in the 50s and 60s developed the college step to adulthood. Now, yet another demographic has formed, a sort of post-adolescent/pre-adulthood. People in their 20s have decided to postpone acquiring the social markers of maturity until they feel “ready.”

A unique brand of limbo has been in gestation for the past couple decades and has reached fruition in my generation. This is most evident in marriage statics that remind us that only 40 years ago, only 15% of people reached age 30 before marriage—today, that number has tripled to 55%. An even more interesting statistic is that women are dominating the 20-something age-group.

Left on our own, we females have taken the energy which traditionally would have been devoted to a family and are pouring it into our careers. More women are graduating from college and getting better jobs than men for the first time in history. An increasing amount of research into this socio-economic phenomenon has been coming out recently, searching for an explanation. It seems to boil down to the fact that boys aren’t becoming men because they don’t have to.

Ask almost any of my single girl friends and she’d tell you that she does not want to go it alone, but if a man won't commit, she has no other choice. We are finally reaping the fruits of feminism. Our mothers’ generation emasculated their husbands and raised their sons without fathers. Now those boys are in their 20s and have no idea how to be men—and our current culture is perfectly okay with that stunted condition.

Who wants to work when you can have fun? Those of my peers who have married, settled down, or otherwise gotten serious about their lives are considered weird. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, boys are getting lost. Guys who have supposedly grown up are still fighting pirates in video games, prolonging juvenile fantasies and irresponsibility with the resources which should be used for bettering themselves and society as a whole… they’re still being Lost Boys.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Confronting Multiculturalism

Back in October, German Chancellor Merkel declared that multiculturalism had failed in her country. She was referring specifically to Muslim immigrants who refuse to assimilate into German society. New populations’ failure to integrate has been noted with growing concern by French President Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Cameron, among others. Finally, last week Rick Santorum addressed the issue from an American standpoint.

Multiculturalism was defined by Sarkozy as “a society where communities coexist side by side.” Cameron extrapolated that “we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.” What’s happening is that alien bubbles have been forming within countries.

Santorum perhaps said it best when he said “we are seeing the American aspiration eroded, our common purpose lost… our American sense of toleration is now protecting noxious philosophies that are anti-American.” The rights of the individual have been elevated above the needs of the community, when the Constitution itself was written to “promote the general welfare.” We have become so worried about offending anyone that we've forgotten how high the stakes are.

You may think it’s unfair of us to ask you to change who you are, but if you want to remain a member of another society, don’t move here. Retaining your individual identity is expected, but it is not unreasonable to expect you to identify primarily with American culture. Being an American used to mean something—something good. Nowadays, it mostly means that you’re ignorant and apathetic. Our national motto may as well be “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Before it’s too late, you should know what you care about and care about it enough to actually do something! World political leaders are trying to lead us in rediscovering our own cultures. Over the years, cultural tolerance has slid into acceptance and even to support. Coexistance has become preferable to confronting the issues. This is probably only the beginning of a very important debate, so please educate yourself before picking a side. Getting out of this rut will be difficult, but it presents an opportunity for growth.

When a culture splinters as ours has, it becomes easily decayed. Everybody wants to know how Rome went from being a republic to an empire: this is how. Citizens who used to be proud of that title became indolent and when disaster struck, they were divided and weak. A single man could grab power because the general populace looked for a savior around whom they could rally. The same dynamics that produced the Caesars are forming in the U.S. today. Our melting pot has become a double-edged sword.

I love America because here you have the right to do whatever stupid thing you want. However, tolerance does not mean consonance. If you want to be a Muslim or a homosexual or a Nascar driver, that’s your decision—but don’t expect my approval. Certainly, my tax money should not support you and your “alternative lifestyle.”  Nevertheless, we’re still a great country; we’re just going through some growing pains.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Have Confidence?

I know it’s been ages since I’ve updated here and for that I apologize: life got a little out of hand for a while there. I have, however, made some good progress and am working on getting things back under control. Last week really showed me how overextended I am in my professional life and how empty my personal life has become. So, I’m working on it.

One of the things I have been working on recently is my confidence. My self-esteem has taken a serious beating in the past couple years and it has become very noticeable lately. Part of why I haven’t written much lately is because I’ve felt that whatever I may say would be worthless. I am cautious by nature and constant failure has conditioned me to accept defeat and avoid further risk.

Some honest spiritual self-assessment has been in order for a while now. Do I have everything figured out? Absolutely not! But I can feel myself growing. It hurts, but I am finding out more and more who I truly am—or at least discovering who I am not. True confidence lies in a knowledge of who you are. I have been fearfully and wonderfully made and should live that way.

My Puritan heritage discourages the elevation of Self and rightly so. However, there is a fine line between pride and confidence which is often goes unacknowledged. Pride is poisonous; confidence is healthy. The essential difference is in the source of our power: pride says “I can do anything because I’m awesome,” whereas confidence says “I can do anything because God is awesome.”

If you see me doing something stupid, please let me know because (fair warning) I intend to be trying new things. Conquering my fear of failure is at the top of the list. I realize that I will continue to fail, probably a lot… but should that stop me from living? I am obviously still here for a reason, which most likely does not include being too scared to ever do anything.