James Foley is, seemingly, a saint; a living witness to the faith. He very literally gave his life for the sake of the Kingdom. He was beheaded for being a Christian. From what I can tell, he lived heroic virtue, especially in the face of persecution, even to the point of death. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes martyrdom as “the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude.” (CCC 2473.)
James Foley was a journalist working to make the plight of the Syrian people known to the world. They have been oppressed and tortured, and most recently, as I hope we are all aware, have been brutally murdered, often by beheading, by Islamic terrorists. His work put him in terrible situations, and he knew his life was in danger. He was proud of the work he was doing, and knew well the reality of the holy war taking place in the Middle East.
Jim was a Catholic, and believed firmly in prayer. During his time in the Middle East, he was held captive, and ultimately, was beheaded by the terrorist cell The Islamic State (IS). Their cowardly act of absolute destruction of human life was horrific, while Jim’s witness was absolutely beautiful. He was a TrueMan! In the face of danger, he was courageous. In the face of persecution, he was faithful. In the face of evil, he was true goodness. He lived charity, and gave his life as a witness.
In a recounting of his first captivity in Libya in 2011, Jim wrote about how prayer, the Rosary specifically, got him through. He wrote: “If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.”
Here’s a video showing his parents – talking a little about Jim and his faith.
So the question for us now is, “Do you realize that martyrdom is a real possibility in our world?” I often hear people talking about “those other people” who were martyrd, as if it couldn’t (and won’t) happen to us. I suggest that each man reading this post consider what he will do in the face of oppression, so that when that day comes, he will know and will be prepared. Brothers, we cannot wait to prepare, because the forces of evil are strong, and they are coming for us. Whether it be terror cells like the IS, or some other form of hatred towads Catholics, we will experience persecution, and it may even lead to our death. If you’re living virtuously now, it will make all the difference then. Virtue = authentic masculinity. Virtue = TrueManhood.
I’ve been wanting to write about the persecutions, rapes, pillaging, plundering, destruction, and massacring of Christians in the Middle East for some time now. I haven’t really known what to say and how to possibly bring any value to the discussion because it is so unthinkable. Many have likened what is happening in the Middle East by ISIS to Nazi Germany, and I can’t disagree. However, I find the tactics and purpose (of the terrorists) much more heinous because of a few reasons. 1. It is on display (thanks to the media outlets available worldwide, and very easily). The Nazi’s scheme was all but hidden, especially the concentration camps, while these Muslim’s galavant around, showcasing the horrow of their actions for all the world to see. They display the decapitated heads of small children as if trophies added to their collection. It’s absolutely sickening. 2. The world is seemingly doing little to nothing to stop ISIS. I pray this changes very quickly. 3. It’s not the first time this sort of “ethnic/religious cleansing” has happened. For me, that’s why it’s worse this time around.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Come on, world! Get it together! Start stepping in for these people, and rid the world of these awful terrorists. Haven’t we learned anything from the past mistakes of humanity?!
Well, because I doubt I’ll be eloquent enough to make any difference, I thought I’d let Fr. Barron shed some light on the subject. See below.
Our world is absolutely crazy. The video below is so crazy that you might not believe it even if you watch it. Be assured, it’s real. It’s all real. And it’s crazy. (Viewer discretion advised. Not for children.)
This video was produced by LiveAction, a pro-life group working to expose Planned Parenthood and other abortion-industry evils. Yes, I said it… evil. Abortion is evil, and as a man, I am constanly astonished at the behavior of other males who constantly look the other way, and those who buy the lie that “abortion is a woman’s issue.” Be clear… I didn’t call the women who have abortions evil. I called the act evil. There is forgiveness for all of us for our bad choices, thank God! Planned Parenthood is feeding their money-maker – abortion – by indoctrinating the entire culture with the lies about sexuality, and to see these images and scenes, so blatantly apparent, is appalling. What they are encouraging is sexual “freedom” (a misnomer if I ever heard one) and exploration. This exploration leads to promiscuity, sinfulness, and, yep – you guessed it – unplanned/unwanted babies. Since the law says it’s okay, and “everybody’s doin’ it”, let’s just bring them right back into the same place we educated them, and kill their little baby for them. Absurd. Planned Parenthood has no shame and believes that what they are doing is teaching sex education in a healthy way and in a helpful way. Their mode of operating is not to protect or guard our children, teens, young adults, and families, but rather, they see each client as dollar signs. Cha-ching. (Check out the documentary titled “Blood Money” for more on just how lucrative the abortion industry is.)
Whether you believe in the same type of sex education I do or not, can we at least agree that teaching children (children as young as 5!) about BDSM is wrong?!
Men – these are the times that require action from us. Do not allow your children, nor the children that they are influenced by, to be exposed to this garbage. Say ‘no’ at the public level. Say ‘no’ at the church level. Say ‘no’ at the political level. Say ‘no’ at the school level. Opt them out, get them away from it. And, there’s an important element here of teaching our kids the proper understanding of sexuality. That is, that our sexuality is a good thing, and God intended the sexual act to be life giving and unifying, and to take place only between spouses that are fully committed to one another in the Sacrament of Marriage.
If you want some resources on teaching this to your children, please look into the “Theology of the Body” – there are countless resources, even resources for children, middle schoolers, teens, and beyond.
I came across this great commercial. I can’t really describe how awesome it is; watch it down below. In our world that is so degrading and emasculating to men, and likes to poke fun at the “stupid man”, and the “incapable father”, and so on, this video kills it. Really awesome.
Watch it and then read below for my thoughts:
I’m not really sure where to begin. This commercial really is great, and has so many good things in it. I’ll start from the top, and will hit the big points:
- Kid jumps on Dad – Dad doesn’t freak out, throw him off, or yell at him. He takes it as it comes, and shows the kid the attention he both deserves, and desires. He then “rough-houses” with the kid by throwing him over onto, and off of, the other side of the bed. No one had to call the cops, the kid was fine.
- “My name is “DAD!”, and proud of it!” – yes! So thankful that he’s proud of this ever-so-important title. To kids, Dad is everything. So Dads… be everything to them!
- Dad then goes through a slew of reasons why kids think Dads are awesome. Notice that “being high strung” and “overly critical” aren’t listed.
- “We lead by example.” yes, yes, and yes! I’ve written about this many times. Search Fatherhood, or look in the blog roll under Fatherhood for more.
- “Hot stuff comin’ through; the coffee and the wife.” A man who loves his wife like crazy (and thinks that she’s “hot stuff”) sets the best example his kids could ever have. For the boys, it teaches them how to love their future spouse, and for the girls, it teaches them how they ought to be treated by their future spouse. Great stuff!
- This Dad is highly positive. This is so important in the lives of our kids. There are plenty of statistics out there, but most of them will say something to the effect of… kids need to hear 10 positive comments to outweigh 1 negative comment. Dads – get to being positive, affirming, and encouraging to your kids!
- “Now, Dadhood isn’t always easy.” No kidding! Kids need clear expectations and clear consequences. Hold them to both and they’ll grow to be wonderful adults. Being true to that is difficult, but really rewarding.
I’ve now watched this video about 20 times in the past day. Every time I watch it, I pick up something else. Watch it more than once, share it with your spouse, your kids, and then take some time to sit down and talk about how you’re doing as a dad. Are you the “awesome Dad” that’s talked about in this video? Have you said “yes to dressup”, and “made a great fort” lately? Have you loved your wife, been positive to your kids, and enforced discipline and responsibility? Now that’s #howtodad! [Be sure to check out the other How to Dad videos, they're about 00:16 seconds each.]
Being a great Dad doesn’t take just one thing, it doesn’t require just one characteristic, and it doesn’t happen over night. We have to work at it, pick ourselves up when we fall down, apologize to our kids (with heartfelt sentiments) when we mess up, and never forget how important our role as Dad is. Keep it up, they deserve nothing but your best!
Back in 2011, I wrote this post to review “cultural manliness”. I’m posting again because it’s important that people hear this term, understand this concept, and work to fight it. I was recently at a large Catholic conference, and no matter who I talked to, they all agreed that cultural manliness is in fact rampant, and is in fact, a highly worth-while cause to fight. I appreciate the support and ask that everyone work with me to explain this concept so that our men, young men, and our boys learn what it means to be authentically masculine, a TrueMan.
Cultural manliness, for those unfamiliar with the term (which I coined several years ago) is the idea that “the more power, money, sex and stuff a male has, the more manly he is.” This idea is propagated in our culture virtually non-stop, whether on the television, on the internet, in movies, throughout magazines and newspapers, on billboards, in songs, in advertising and just about anywhere those areas don’t cover. The idea is propagated for a few reasons: 1. men buy into this lie. 2. women buy into this lie. 3. children buy into this lie. 4. people make money off of this lie. 5. the devil wins souls through this lie.
Cultural manliness – being in pursuit of the things of this world – will kill a man. Power, money, sex and stuff doesn’t win our salvation, but it certainly can keep us from it. Cultural manliness easily gets in the way of a relationship with Christ. Why does this matter? Because Christ is the true example of manliness! He is THE TrueMan. He is the reason this site exists. He is the reason why the site is called what it is called. “Blessed be Jesus Christ, True God and TrueMan.” Anything other than pursuing Christ is futile and unmanly.
The world wants to tell a man that he will be ‘happy’ if he has more power, more sex, more money and more stuff. These things, in and of themselves are not bad, but they don’t bring happiness. They may bring emotional counterfeits that men believe to be happiness, but they aren’t happiness.
What then makes a man, if it’s not power, money, sex and stuff? Virtue! Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance – Faith, Hope and Love. Learn them, live them, be a TrueMan! (Read the “TrueManhood Guide to Virtue” here.)
If you’d like to read more on the topic, do a search (in the white box on the upper right portion of each page of this site) for “cultural manliness”. You’ll have plenty of reading material. Or, go to the blog page and click the “cultural manliness” tab. I’d like to know your thoughts on this topic – leave a comment.
Masturbation is a topic that is rarely discussed. It should be discussed more, and more openly, and not just with teen boys with raging hormones. I’ve been speaking about pornography use a lot lately on my radio program, in talks I’ve been giving, and as it comes up in conversation with people and even I fail to discuss this side of the topic. It’s a serious sin (mortal) and almost always linked to pornography use or disordered fantasy. Clinicians sometimes refer to masturbation as “self-harm”, “self-abuse”, “self-use”, etc. Planned Parenthood, and their materials, encourage masturbation for children starting at a very young age. Let’s expose the lies and bring it into the light.
I saw this article posted on The Porn Effect and thought it was important to share. The author is Brian Kissinger.
“I have read a few books, I have even taken courses on the subject, but nothing could have fully prepared me for teaching a year-long class of Theology of the Body to 150 freshman boys. Words can’t quite describe the awkwardness of a room full of 14-year-olds trying to maturely discuss the mechanics of the male reproductive system. One day, as class was ending, one of the students asked me a question that I thought had to be a joke. He wanted to know i it was true that people will explode if they don’t masturbate regularly. It took me a little while to realize that he was being completely serious, and it was then that I realized just how confused our world has become.
Here are five lies about masturbation that I believe have infected our culture:
Myth #1: Only Boys Struggle With it
Even though boys are usually the ones joking about masturbation, the truth is that this is an issue for many women as well. Like other issues of sexuality, this subject of jokes for boys is often a source of shame for the girls who struggle. Even in youth ministry, chastity talks for boys often include mention of masturbation while the topic isn’t, unfortunately, addressed as frequently with girls.
Myth #2: It Can’t Be A Sin; It’s “Natural”
The existence of something in nature is never a good argument for moral issues. I’ve heard people bring up this argument after discovering that certain animals have been known to masturbate. Anyone who’s been outside can tell you that animals do a lot of weird stuff. I’ve seen dogs eat their vomit and monkeys play with their crap, but neither of these “natural” examples should inspire imitation.
Myth #3: It Doesn’t Hurt Anyone
Everything we do in life is training, either toward virtue or vice. Every athlete, musician, actors, and cage fighter can tell you that practice matters. Masturbation trains us to think that sexual desire is something that should be satisfied immediately, and it reinforces the idea that sex is about selfish instant gratification. While love is all about giving and sacrificing one’s desires for the needs of another person, masturbation is all about training us to do whatever we want to feel good. Masturbation slowly but surely destroys our ability to give and receive love.
Myth #4: It’s Just A Way To Release Sexual Tension
Did you see that news story about the teen who spontaneously combusted because of pent-up sexual tension? Yeah, me neither. According to this logical, the people who masturbate the most should be the most peaceful and sexually pure people around. That’s like telling someone with anger management issues that fist fights are a good way to relieve the tension. A momentary sense of relief is not worth the guilt, shame, and loneliness that are tied to the sin.
Myth #5: It’s Just A Phase You’re Going Through
Like all sins, masturbation doesn’t just go away over time. In fact the opposite is true: the more we do it, the more we become attached to the habit It’s not a problem that magically disappears when you get married. So many marriages have been ruined by a spouse’s addiction to masturbation. When a husband or wife turns to themselves for sexual gratification, the other spouse will naturally feel like they’re inadequate. Regardless of your past, your habits, or your lack of will power, there is hope. God’s not cheering for you rom a distance; He’s living in you to bring power where you are weak. Run to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and you will find both healing and freedom.”
Lately, I’ve been given a great opportunity to record some programming for the Catholic radio program in western Kansas, Divine Mercy Radio (KVDM), out of Hays, Kansas. The show I host is called “One Body – Stewarding God’s Creation.” The show is all about the theology of the body, and the great gift that God gave to us through our bodies, our sexuality, and the intended plan He has for us regarding our bodies.
I recently recorded a show that will air soon on KVDM on the topic of pornography. I share parts of my story and talk about resources, ways to overcome, and a little bit about brain science. (Only the basics!)
I also had the opportunity to video this show, which I plan to do for all of my shows from now on. That video will be available soon.
Here are some promos for the show. I hope you are able to listen in or catch the podcast.
I’m not a soccer fan. Although I played it a lot as a kid, I can’t stand to watch it. Sure, the World Cup is on, and all these gazillion people are watching, and there are watch parties, and scarves, and… blah. My kids enjoy to kick the ball around, and it’s fun to run around with them, but again, watching it is like watching a bad novela (Spanish soap opera) in slow motion. Nothing ever happens, you can’t understand what they’re saying, and it’s all fake. The worst part, hands down, is the flopping.
The falls these players take are so ridiculuous I can’t even take it. There’s a whole bunch I could write about here, in regards to sportsmanship and virtue, authentic masculinity, dedication, determination, etc. etc. etc. Instead, I don’t want to give it much due, so I’m going to post this “oldie but goodie” video. This is intended simply for a good laugh. Blast away, Barry!
USA is set to play Belgium in the 2014 World Cup. I want to believe that we will win, because we’re America.
“Keep hand-held devices out of small children’s hands.” It seems like a common-sense approach to me, but I am constantly see small children (younger and younger every day) with hand-held devices. I even see it in Mass, which boggles my mind. The damage being done is mostly under the surface, so maybe we aren’t really aware of just what’s happening. I recently read an article from a pediatric occupational therapist and thought I’d summarize what she wrote.
*DADS: Before you read any further, and this post becomes hard to read b/c it hits too close to home, keep in mind that we didn’t have these devices. We played outside. We skinned our knees. We got dirty. We lived an adventure. Get your kids away from the screens, and send them outside! This is an opportunity to step in and make some life-changing decisions for your children.
- Rapid Brain Growth: she said that “early brain development is determined upon environmental stimuli, or lack thereof.” Think about it… nowadays we have all sorts of issues that never seemed to exist “back then”. ADD, ADHD, hyper-activity, impulse, etc. A cure? GO OUTSIDE.
- Delayed Development: imagine a few inches of a screen vs. an entire outside playground with toys, bikes, balls, and the like. Physical, mental, emotional, relational, development is hindered behind a screen.
- Epidemic Obesity: nothing to add.
- Sleep Deprivation: when we’re constantly plugged in, it’s hard to shut it off. Kids need sleep (in pretty sizeable quantities) to develop properly, especially at young ages.
- Mental Illness: apparently the increase in child technology overuse is shown to be related to a drastic increase in depression, anxiety, ADD, etc. (I don’t know if I’m sold on this one, but it wouldn’t surprise me.)
- Aggression: content leads to action. What our kids consume they will become. (You are what you eat.)
- Digital Dimentia: kids who can’t pay attention can’t learn. (Again, I’m not sure about this one, specifically, but I’m sure it correlates.)
- Addictions: I have no doubt in my mind that this one is 100% fully absolutely without a doubt true. Let’s see… addiction to junk on the screen or addicted to the outdoors? GO OUTSIDE!
- Radiation emissions: I’m convinced that there’s a conspiracy going on where cancer from radiation is in and comes from everything.
- Unsustainable: these methods, of overuse of technology starting at a crazy-young-age, by which our children function, grow, learn, and develope aren’t sustainable.
Let’s link this to virtue, because everything should. To be virtuous, and to instill this in our children, we must possess TEMPERANCE. Temperance moderates our attraction to pleasure. We should find ourselves somewhere in a moderate level of use.
Look… I’m NOT a technology hater. I’m not trying to point fingers… that’s not what we do here. I have multiple laptops, a tablet, a smart phone, a flat screen, Roku TV, and obviously have a presence online. However, when it comes to my kids, they don’t spend time on my hand-held devices. They do, however, spend some time on learning sites (we like ABCMouse.com when they’re young), and do math-fact-games, etc. on an old laptop. They watch the occasional movie (our family favorites are “The Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins”.) But, and this is the point here… it’s regulated. They spend exponentially more time outside, in the fresh air, without their eyes buggin’ out staring at a screen. They also spend a ton of time reading books. Every. Single. Day. My kids are young, but hold conversations with adults, are polite, have imaginations, and are well-spoken. It makes a difference.
OK – now it’s time to think about our own use. OUCH! Am I right or am I right? Adults won’t be as effected in terms of the developmental pieces, but our noses in screens has a negative impact on us, too. Same principle applies… GO OUTSIDE!
From the time that I learned I was having a daughter (she’s almost 7 now), I began to formulate a rule for her. I now have 3 daughters, and the rule is the same for all of them. The rule… very simple: no boys.
As soon as this simple rule came to be, it was often laughed off by those who heard of it. They assumed it to be some silly new-dad sort of over-compensation for fear of raising a daughter in this crazy world. It was assumed to be sarcasm, and folly. Many who thought they knew me associated my burly, rough, sometimes crass and overtly confident exterior with this rule as if I simply wanted to lock my daughter(s) up in the basement, never to see the light of day.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Men – if you’re a dad, you should know that there’s nothing more important for a father than getting his children to heaven. A major stumbling block for many of our children will be their life-choices, especially associated with choices about their relationships (friendships, intimate, romantic, marriage, etc.) This particular area is not one where we can sit on the sidelines and hope that our children naturally make good choices. We must be totally invested in them, from the word ‘go’, and know all the details as they grow.
How then do I justify this rule of “no boys”? It’s very simple. The opposite of manliness is childishness. Manliness equals virtue. So, when a man (read as “virtuous man”) comes into OUR lives… at a MUCH later date… and proves himself worthy of my daughter’s attention, involvement, affection, and potentially her ‘yes’ to marriage, it will be time for her to embrace her vocation to marriage (should it be so.) I’m not, in the least, afraid of her vocation, because it comes from God and will be a major contributor towards her sanctification. [FYI - I’ll discuss the topic of “courting” (versus dating) in a coming post.]
The “10 Rules to Date My Daughter” lists, and “Applications to Date My Daughter”, etc. etc. etc. aren’t where we should be. We also shouldn’t be on the “Her Body, Her Rules – feminist father” side either. (See a good post by Tom Hoopes in response to a recent pic floating around the interwebs.) These fail to honor our daughters and their abilities, which speaks poorly of us as fathers. We should be on the side of total investment in teaching our daughters that they are loved, that they are princesses (more on this below), and that they are worth the very best.
“That they are princesses” is important to explain. Disney has hijacked the princess for the past 20+ years, and it appears that they will continue to hijack it for many more to come. Our daughters don’t understand what “princess” truly means, they merely see bad examples of rebellious, poor-decision-making, spoiled little girls in those movies, instead of what a princess really is… the daughter of the King. Jesus is King, and because He’s God, and we are His (God’s) children, thus we are welcomed into His royal family, and therefore, we’re all princes and princesses. Princesses deserve the very best, by sheer nature of their birth, and that’s what we must instill in our daughters. If our daughters know their worth, and how to make good decisions, we won’t have to worry about their choice in a spouse because it will be right.
I could go on and on with this topic, but I won’t. Just make sure that if you’re a dad, that you spend time investing in your daughters each and every day. And remember, “No Boys!”