The work of evangelization is a requirement for attaining TrueManhood. Each man must come to fulfill the Great Commission, when Christ demanded that His disciples “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even until the end of time.” (Matt 28:19-20.) This wasn’t the “Great Suggestion” – it is an obligation, an order, a must.
For men who are fathers, our children automatically become our disciples. This is a huge task, and a mighty responsibility. I’m not necessarily speaking about this directly in this post, although it may pertain to grown male children, to some extent.
In order to evangelize, we must ourselves be evangelized. What does the word “evangelization” even mean? What is it? There are numerous ways we can think about evangelization – in terms of the definition, the time, place, and style, the programs, the books, the techniques, the strategies, and so forth. That can become pretty complicated, and for our purposes somewhat unnecessary, so I suggest we break it down to a baseline understanding. Evangelization = Jesus Christ.
When you hear or see the word, or encounter the concept of evangelization, your mind should automatically go to Jesus Christ. You should consider who He was, what He did, why He did it, and how it impacts all we do. It’s not rocket science, it’s really not. Evangelization is coming to know the person of Jesus Christ. When we know the person of Jesus Christ (once we’ve been evangelized – encountered Jesus) we are changed. We are held to a higher standard. What a great concept for men… to be challenged and held accountable to the highest standard! How masculine!
How, then, do we go about evangelizing men? Well, unfortunately, many of us simply don’t. We fail to take the opportunities to talk to men in our lives, or men we encounter along the way. We are timid, frightened, and lack gusto. How a man might respond to us is enough to make us change how we speak, think, act, work, dress, and function. It’s a powerful relationship. Why, then, do we shy away from this if that relationship is so powerful? Wouldn’t we want to make disciples from these powerful relationships? I believe many don’t evangelize men because of fear. Fear holds us back and prevents us from sharing who we really are. Fear prevents us from sharing who Jesus is. This is incredibly dangerous, because we’re failing to evangelize, not remaining true to the Great Commission, not proclaiming the Gospel, and failing to give a man all that he deserves (see ‘virtue of justice’ in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
I’m a firm believer that the best method for evangelization is through relationships. Relational-Evangelization. Creating relationships with folks is how we are able to learn about them, see who they are and what is beyond their outer façade, and how we are able to begin to gain moral authority (the right to be heard because we are trusted and respected by the other person.) Once we gain moral authority with a person, we are able to speak into their lives, with meaning and purpose. When it comes to the men in our lives, having moral authority with them is essential. For many men, they need proof before they’ll listen to you. The proof they want to see is that they can trust you. Hurt caused by lack of trust (or loss of trust, once gained) is a major wound in the lives of many men.
For others, they want to see what you’re made of. They want to see how hard you work, how tough you are, or whether or not you back up what you say. Backing up what you say has to be done with actions, bringing in another important aspect to evangelizing men. If you and I live as though what Jesus said was true, there will be something about us that is different (radically different) from the world. Men whom we have relationships with will see this.
Living as a TrueMan in our world today is so important. If we can achieve this – striving to live virtue, to be as Christ is – we will have great success in our evangelization, and through that, work to spread the Good News. If we gain the men, we will gain the women and children as well. Where men go, so goes the world. May it all be for His glory!
CHALLENGE: consider a man in your life that doesn’t know Jesus Christ and begin to pray for him. Pray too for the opportunities to evangelize this man through your actions and words. Be open to the chances that are presented and be bold. There are countless ways to evangelize, but doing nothing is not one of them.
I’m reposting this story from about three years ago. Fishing season is upon us, and my daughters are anxious to get out again soon. And, if that wasn’t enough, my oldest daughter is growing up so quickly. She absolutely rocked out a solo tonight at her school choir concert, and it made me think of the times we spent singing the song that I talk about later in the post. Here goes:
“This morning, I took my daughters fishing. They have experienced a bit of fishing before, but this was their first time with me. Just the three of us went; 2yr old Emma, 3yr old Lily and Daddy. We drove about 7 minutes to the local lake. I taught them how to put the rods together, then switched the lefty reel to a righty. We then baited a hook (lure) and I showed them how to cast and reel. They took turns and ultimately, had a great time. We didn’t stay long. They were more interested in their ice cold water and snack that waited for them in my truck and not so much in casting and sitting still in the hot summer sun. It was all good.
I had prepared them for this “fishing trip” the night before. They woke up excited and were ready to go fairly early. They thought we were going to catch huge fish, but I knew better. I wasn’t using the right lures and the rods were way too big for them. Again, it was all good.
It wasn’t about catching fish. [If it was, they'd call it 'catching' instead of 'fishing'.] It was about my daughters having time with their father, and it was about their father having time with his daughters. Time, that’s really all. And memories. When’s the last time you took time to make memories with your children? Your godchildren? Your nephews/nieces? Your grandkids? Go make memories. Oh, and on the way home from fishing… we stopped in at the adoration chapel at our church for a few minutes of silent prayer with Jesus. Overall, it was a great morning.
Trace Adkins has a great song that became “Lily’s song”, and I sing it to her all the time. Here’s the video. Speaks to what I’m talking about here. Thanks, Trace.”
Recently, World Down Syndrome Day was celebrated to bring awareness, and as an attempt at equality for those who have Down Syndrome (DS), and for those who live and work with people with DS. I missed posting this information that day, but better late than never.
Why am I deciding to write on this topic, something seemingly distant from authentic masculinity? I’m not the father, brother, cousin, or neighbor of someone with DS. Why do I care? Because, as with most social discourse, men play a vital role in doing what is right and for protecting innocent life. In a culture that talks highly of equality, “tolerance”, and “not judging”, it’s amazingly sad to me that somehow it is acceptable to discriminate because someone looks and acts differently than you or I.
For those who may not know, Down Syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement; humans with 47 chromosomes (as opposed to the “normal” 46) have Down Syndrome. Regardless of the medical side of things, we know something very important – people are people, and every human person deserves the right to life. (Watch this awesome video giving you a tiny glimpse into the joy of life lived vigorously. Watch it closely – it is pertinent to the discussion.)
Many (seemingly countless) pregnancies are terminated because the baby is thought or believed to have DS. My own niece was one of these babies “thought to have Down’s” – and the doctors were wrong. They were simply guessing, but advised the parents to terminate. Thank God that my sister-in-law wouldn’t consider abortion.
So here’s where the authentic masculinity comes in. Males – be TrueMen, and stand up for life. Defend the most vulnerable among us, and put an end to abortion-on-demand, especially for ridiculous reasons like “the quality of life of this child will not be suitable for every day living” or “they won’t be normal” or “it will be difficult to raise this child.” If you happen to be SO BLESSED to be a father of a child with Down Syndrome, embrace the gift that God has given you. Look at the parents of the babies in the video… they have true joy at the life and love that is their child.
It is amazing to me, how pro-life (from natural conception to natural death) our small middle-of-nowhere town is. We have several families with children with DS, and if you asked any of them, they will tell you how radically changed they are, for the better, because of their child. In a time in our culture where people with DS are considered diseased, sick, worthless, and/or a burden on society, we see families here embracing their gift. A friend of ours recently told my wife, “When we first found out that our daughter had DS, I wondered what God was doing and why He chose me for this path. Now, I realize that she’s the blessing that I needed.”
Some of you already know that I have a long-standing offer, but I will re-offer now, and certainly many more times during my lifetime. I promise that this offer is not about me – but rather, about the babies. The offer: if you, or someone you run into, is considering abortion, but are willing to discuss not murdering your child, even for one simple phone call discussion, I pledge to adopt your child, love them as their biological father, and pay for all of your pregnancy expenses. This offer includes babies with Down Syndrome. Spread the word – your baby deserves a loving family – let us help you. I will do this for countless babies, if only to save their lives.
I’m certainly guilty of it. I imagine most of you are, too. We see a person, and make a snap judgment. “They must be _________.” (fill in the blank.) It doesn’t matter what the snap judgment is, it matters because we just made it. We broke one of the cardinal-cliché-rules… we judged a book by its cover. Sure, sometimes our assumptions are correct. Other times, maybe most of the time, we are dead wrong. In the evangelization world, being dead wrong can cost people their souls.
Back in the day, I’m certain that people judged my cover properly… there wasn’t much of a secret that I was the least likely candidate for anyone to invest in, but thankfully, they went beyond my cover and saw the potential on the inside. My “book cover” screamed of anti-Catholic sentiment, with a splash of rage, a hefty dose of pride, a heaping handful of aggression, an overflowing cup of womanizing, and a host of other horrible traits. And that was just what was on the surface that people could see! I was pretty far gone, yet people saw enough hope in the risen Lord that He could get to me, and He did. I am forever grateful to the people who didn’t give up on me, and want to urge you to remember that you can’t simply write a man off because he appears a certain way, or even acts a certain way.
Who might I be talking about? Men who are overly rich, men who are overly poor. Men who are into heavy rock, or into gangster rap. It might be men who spend copious amounts of time in the gym, or at the firing range, or in the garage, or at the clubs. How about men who use four letter words every third word? It might be men who’ve never graced the doors of a church, or the man sitting in the pew behind you in Mass every week. Men with kids, men without. Men who smoke, men who drink. Men with tattoos, men with scars. Men who wear boots, men who carry guns. Men who drive sports cars, or jacked up trucks, or an old jalopy. My point… it doesn’t matter – each man has the same calling to TrueManhood.
As with everything, we should look to Christ. Who did He invest in? Jesus spent time, and befriended, some of the worst dudes around. He knew what He was doing, and look what those men did! Take the various fishermen, or the tax-collector, or even the worst persecutor of Christians of the time. Jesus went after them, conquered their hearts, and commissioned them to go out and make disciples of all nations. These ruffians, thugs, scallywags, and barbarians became the greatest evangelists of all time. Thank the Lord that He didn’t write them off!
So here’s an action-challenge: assess your scope of influence, determining the men in that scope, whether family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, strangers, etc. and make a list of any/all men that you’ve written off. By writing them off, you’ve missed opportunities to talk to them, to learn about them (or learn from them), to ask them questions, to give them the benefit of the doubt, etc. By writing them off, you’ve also destroyed the opportunity to serve them, love them, and to call them to something higher in life. Take this list – whether it be 1 man or 20 – and begin to pray for each man by name. In your prayer, ask God to guide your interactions (especially the next one) and to give you the strength to say or do what is right. You may be the only opportunity that man has to learn about Jesus Christ, the TrueMan. And you never know, he may be the next great evangelist that the world needs.
When my college friends chose not to write me off, it allowed a seed to blossom into many fruitful things. Had they written me off, and not seen the potential in me, only God knows where I would have been. I’m sure it wouldn’t be good, and I’m sure that many of the bad decisions I was making would have been amplified and continued. Thankfully, my conversion towards Christ changed me, brought me back into His Universal Church, led me to my wife and our four beautiful children. Thankfully, my conversion led to these years of service in ministry – hopefully doing the greatest good, of loving people and telling the Good News – and especially this ministry, TrueManhood Men’s Ministry.
Regardless of what a man is “in to”, he is called to holiness, to union with God. God the Father desires to have a relationship with His son. It may take you or me to introduce the son to his Father. Don’t shy away from the opportunities to reach out to even the least likely candidates.
Dads, this post is for you. On the heels of St. Joseph’s Feast Day, I wanted to talk about what I believe is an important topic regarding fathers and their sons. As you read in the title of this post, I wrote “men leading boys, not boys leading boys.” This idea has come up a lot for me, especially of late, in regards to things that take place in and around our world. Three specific areas that I’ll mention are 1. Scouting 2. Catholic Schools and 3. Firearms.
The concept of boys learning how to be men from men might seem like an unnecessary one to hash out. Unfortunately, I believe that we have a crisis of masculinity because boys have been learning how to be men from other boys. This simply doesn’t work. Keep in mind that the opposite of masculinity is not femininity, but rather, childishness. Both boys and men are males, but not all males are or become men. (Some dogs are males too, that doesn’t make them men.) Some males may never reach manliness – this would be due to their actions, choices, and attitudes.
This opens the doorway to many criticisms of this idea, such as fathers who have abandoned their children, fathers who are divorced and estranged from their families, boys whose fathers may have simply been a “donor”, and sadly for some, boys whose fathers have passed away. (Most of these scenarios, as you can see, involve a party other than the boy himself, making a choice that negatively impacts the boy and his development. I would put the ‘fathers who have passed away’ in a different category altogether for my argument.) Unfortunately, the common response is “we can’t expect fathers to be with their sons because so many boys don’t have fathers who are present.” This is the wrong response, and probably a major factor of why we are in the predicament of a fatherless culture. Let’s stop making excuses, and save what good we have, and fix the bad. If you have a boy (or many boys) in your life – family, friends, neighbors, your children’s classmates, etc. – who don’t have a father in their life, be that man to him as much as you can. Regarding scouting: there has been a big push, especially among Catholics, to leave the Boy Scouts of America organization because of choices and changes they have made, areas of morality they have compromised, and unsafe environments that have gone unregulated, to name a few. I’ve engaged in the conversation several times with various folks and have come to the conclusion that whatever our boys do, the fathers MUST be involved! Whether the boy is in scouts, (Check out Dr. Taylor Marshall’s Catholic option) or in sports, how can we expect one man, and sometimes a woman, (ie: the scout leader or the coach) to form every young boy he has under his care? That’s crazy to think that it will happen. Even with a few leaders or a few coaches, the journey from boyhood to manliness won’t occur properly without each boy’s father being present.
My second area of concentration on this topic is within our Catholic schools. Hopefully, if you’re a father of a child in school, you not only know their teachers, administrators, and coaches, but you know their friends and the parents of their friends. Knowing the teachers and administrators means more than simply knowing their names and faces, but actually knowing their philosophy and certainly their theology. (I’m guilty of not knowing enough about this with my own children.) My point is this… if the father is void of this vital time, or simply “lets mom do it”, our kids will suffer. Fathers must be active in the education and formation of their children. Again, it seems unnecessary to say it, but it is so true and utterly ridiculous to think that our boys will become men from the other boys they are around at school. The other boys in school might be watching inappropriate movies, shows, and listening to inappropriate music. They may also have misguided “world views”, or beliefs that are contrary to Catholicism. Many of these boys are already addicted to porn, engaged in sexual behavior, using alcohol and drugs, and involved in unlawful acts. Are these the boys you want your boys being formed by?
My parenting philosophy here is not to simply lock my children in the basement and keep them in a Catholic bubble, but rather, to properly form them, instilling virtue into their lives, so that when faced with tough life decisions, peer pressure, or sin-in-general, they make the right decision. Get in there and be the leader your kid needs!
I thought I’d also throw in the third area – firearms – because I continue to hear so much untruth surrounding them. Yes, I am a gun-guy. I have a bunch of firearms and I enjoy them thoroughly. I talk about them with my kids, show them how they function, how to load them, how to clean them, proper stance for various shooting positions, and include various tactics and methods. I take them hunting with me (they are not of hunting age themselves, but may accompany me) and to the range or country to shoot. Along the way, their formation is heavily involved because I don’t leave things at surface level, but rather, dive into serious topics and scenarios with them. We’ve discussed the ethics and morality in relation to hunting, requiring us to be smart, safe, and legal. We’ve discussed the reality of the danger of firearms when used incorrectly, with the devastating effects that they can have, including the reality of death. We talk about a lot of things regarding firearms – they are a part of our lives. Heck, many nights, the food we eat is due to the firearms that I have and have used. I don’t shy away from having them, using them, or showing them to my kids like my firearms are some sort of evil-doer or monster. We embrace them as a tool and just like my hammers, screwdrivers, drills, and wrenches, I teach my kids how to utilize them properly. How else would I expect them to learn?
I guess I’ll end with this: if we want out boys to remain boys, and never reach TrueManhood (a life of virtue modeled after Jesus Christ), then we should let the culture raise them. If, however, we want our boys to reach TrueManhood (and ideally, as soon as possible), then we should raise them. This means being heavily involved in every aspect of their life, at all times, without compromise.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… we’ve all heard the saying “If I don’t do it, nobody will.” I’ll see your bet and raise you eternity… “If I don’t do it, the devil will.” Think about it.
Happy Feast of St. Joseph! As you’ll hear in this vlog (below), St. Joseph is my favorite saint. He is such an incredible example to us, and for me personally, has played a huge role in me growing into the man I am today. St. Joseph is so complex, and has so many dimensions, it is hard to decide what to discuss!
I titled this post “example to the example” because it forces us to look a level or two deeper than we normally look. St. Joseph is not merely a saint. Not merely Mary’s husband. Not merely the most chaste spouse. St. Joseph is the example by which Jesus – the perfect example of masculinity – learned to be a man. Whoa! What a huge role that was.
St. Joseph – I ask you to intercede for me. Take my needs to your son, The King, and beg Him, on my behalf, for the grace necessary to be the man, the husband, and the father He is calling me to be. Thank you for your example to me, and the daily reminder you give me through my wife and children.
Here’s an old video that I was asked to help with, back in 2011, to help promote the movie “Courageous”. In this video, I speak about being a chaste spouse. [This project was a St. Joseph Novena - a video a day, leading up to Father's Day.] (Disregard dates, my title, etc. – the information is outdated.)
Congratulations to the young men on the basketball team from our ‘small school in the middle of nowhere’ as they were crowned State Champions in Kansas Boys State 1A Basketball! I write this post partially to talk about sports, but more so to discuss the young men that make up this team and our high school. We haven’t lived in our small rural farming town for long (only 6 months at this point) but I’ve been impressed with these young men countless times already, and am so happy to highlight them in a post.
The basketball team was led by my college friend (Benedictine College) basketball Head Coach (and Husband, Father, and County Sheriff’s Deputy) Lance Bergmann. These young men have been really impressive on the field and court this season. In football (8-man) and in basketball, they have played with an intensity that is rare. While watching my first-ever 8-man football game back in September, I was literally blown-away by their tenacity, drive, and determination. They played with a speed and ferocity that I have rarely seen with high schoolers. On the basketball court, they play the same way, but with the finesse that basketball requires, while also being scrappy and resolute. They finished as State Runner-up in football, falling just short of the title of “Champs.” [I’m writing vaguely about who these young men are because there are only about 20 high school boys in the entire school and, from what I’ve seen, they come as a packaged deal. A good slogan for these young men could be “all for one and one for all.” For the few who don’t play sports (absolutely fine in my book, btw), they are involved in other endeavors and contribute to the athletes in the form of virtuous friendship and support. This is a complete-package sort of win for everyone at St. John's in Beloit.]
Not only have they experienced success in sports, four of these same scholar-athletes were recently crowned State Champions in Scholar’s Bowl, a number of them were on the State Championship Math Relays Team, and they all succeed widely in their classroom endeavors. They are pro-life activists, TV/radio stars, and servants to the community. But it still goes deeper for me.
I concentrate not on the mere accomplishments of a man, nor his degrees, his occupation, the size of his home, nor the make/model/year of his vehicle, but rather on the life the man leads. I focus on who he is. These young men are well on their way to living TrueManhood, and for that, they should be proud. I see these young men in Mass on a weekly (and many, on a daily) basis. They serve, read, sing, and usher. They are present in prayer. Their Catholic faith is core to who they are. They are sponges soaking up knowledge, learning from some great educators that devote their lives to our kids. And quite possibly one of the most impressive attributes that I’ve seen in these young men… the leadership that is offered to them by their fathers. It is truly beautiful to see sons encouraged, properly formed, trained, and supported by fathers who are second-to-none in work ethic, morality, and ultimately in their roles as husbands. For most, the attributes of TrueManhood have been passed down for generations; performed as God originally intended.
To these young gentlemen – I’m extremely impressed. I see you hold open doors, take care of the “little kids” (including my own children), honor your parents, respect the young ladies in our school, work extremely hard, and do all of this, and more, with smiles on your faces. You have an incredible opportuity to positively impact our world for good. Strive for holiness by living out virtue. You are well on your way to becoming the TrueMen that God has created you to be. Do not buy the lie that the world is selling… it is counterfeit, empty, and will lead to eternal death. Choose the path that Christ set out for us, and journey with me and others, as we strive for TrueManhood.
To learn more about our awesome school and the faithfulness which we strive to uphold, check out this recent episode of EWTN’s “Life on the Rock”.
Have you seen the PSA style video “The Mask You Live In”? It talks about boys in our culture, and stereotypes of how boys handle the stresses of growing up male, in addition to the struggles of living up to the standards the culture and peers place on them. There are truths in the video, but I disagree with their take on “the 3 most destructive words you could say to a boy.” Here’s the video:
The suggestion is made that telling a boy to “Be a Man” is detrimental to him. If we’re speaking from the context of cultural manliness, then sure, I could see that. If, however, we’re speaking from the context of authentic masculinity (ie: TrueManhood), then this is absolutely what we should be telling our boys! We should be encouraging them, teaching them, forming them, and exemplifying for them what it means to be a man so they are able to set a goal and become what they were created to be. A TrueMan!
We must, unequivocally, call, lead, and guide our boys into true manhood. We must expect it, and set our boys up to meet the expectation. If we do not, they will land somewhere on either extreme. On the one hand, we have a “hyper-masculinity” (other negative words have been associated with this, such as “macho man or machismo”, “bravado”, “meathead”, “jock”, etc.) and on the other, we have an effeminate version of masculinity (which doesn’t even make sense), which is incredibly disordered. In fact, both versions are a false, counterfeit version, and are incredibly disordered.
- “Don’t cry.” Men, you can cry. God wouldn’t have given us emotion and tear ducts if He didn’t want us doing it. And oh yeah, Jesus wept.
- “Pick yourself up.” Yes, we’re going to fall. Pick yourself up and get back on track.
- “Respect.” Respect is earned. Give it, and you will likely gain it in return.
- “Proving masculinity.” Yes, this has to happen. This is how we grow in virtue, by proving our masculinity. This is very different from the view the video takes, which is speaking about becoming violent or using violence to be the proof.
- “Closeness.” This is very hard for males in our society! It is vital, essential, critical that fathers have a closeness with their sons! Hugs, kisses, embracing, physical closeness, as well as emotional closeness and a spiritual closeness are all so important between fathers and sons. (Thanks Dad, for always being close when I was a kid, and now.)
- “Vulnerability.” Our culture tells men that being vulnerable is feminine. Vulnerability actually requires strength.
- “Hyper-masculine.” When masculinity is distorted, it will appear to be either side of the extremes, but never what it should be.
What I don’t like about the video is that it generalizes all of the negative aspects of masculinity overall, as if there is or needs to be some redefined version of masculinity out there. No, there are two versions of masculinity: 1. The truth. 2. The lie. That’s why TrueManhood.com exists, to perpetuate the truth, and to help get rid of the lie. The truth is that a man (a human being with an XY chromosomal makeup) has the God-given ability, and the responsibility, to live up to what he was created for – to live virtuously. The lie is cultural manliness; the more power, money, sex, and stuff a male has, the more manly he is. Let’s work together, not at the loss of the truth, but together so that the truth can be proclaimed!
I recently saw a ridiculous commercial from PlayStation 4. Watch:
I had no idea how big these Sony marketing efforts were (probably because I don’t watch much television or play video games) and didn’t realize until after I shot the short video (below) that this isn’t a new marketing scheme at all, but rather, it’s been out for a while and it is mainstream. You’ll see that the video above has been viewed 12+ million times. This doesn’t count the other commercials, the print ads, or the times it’s been seen on TV and other mediums. It goes without saying, this version of greatness has been consumed.
It’s not in this video, but there are other PS4 commercials under the same “Greatness Awaits” slogan that talk about “epic” moves and actions, “first to greatness”, and “sharing your greatness.” The idea is that when a gamer makes a successful play, a creative kill, or a “first of a kind” move in a video game, PS4 will save the video of that move and then post it for others to see on social media. Is this all that we have? Is this the best we can do? This is false reality perpetuating false reality! The false reality that is video games, to me, is astonishing in and of itself… and now this sort of marketing is applied. All that we expect out of ourselves is a good move or play in a video game? Lame.
I make some bold claims in the video. Some of the themes aren’t as developed as I’d maybe like, but I’ve never posted about this specifically, and want to at least get the ball rolling on this topic. We have a major epidemic of males (boys) running around when we need men. (FYI: The opposite of masculinity isn’t femininity, it is childishness.) We have a ‘culture of the young male’ that wastes incredible amounts of time sitting at a screen, pressing some buttons. Since the advent of the Atari, it’s become worse and worse. Many of our young males aren’t going on adventures. These young males aren’t pursuing noble causes. They don’t even go outside! Many of these same young males lack courage and the ability to ask a woman out on a date. They are missing out on life. (Trust me, I’ve experienced this firsthand, on college campuses around the country, in high schools, and in society the past 15+ years.)
Men – if you find yourself as one of these males that play video games, I want to encourage you to get rid of them. Call it quits. Find a suitable alternative. (I name a few categorically in the video.) Strive for true greatness.
Women – if you are with a male who throws time down the garbage by playing video games, ask yourself if he’s what you deserve. Help him by expecting more from him.
Parents – if your children have video games, I’m not saying that they are intrinsically evil, but want to encourage everyone to take a step back and consider how much time is being spent in this false reality, and how much effort and money is going into a mindless and fleeting activity? Is this all that we can, should, or will expect of our children? This goes far beyond video games, and includes all of our use on screens of any kind. They are one of the devil’s gateways into our lives. I’m suggesting that you consider heavily the consequences of video games in your children’s lives.
As with all things in life, TrueManhood.com wants to relate what we do and what we should be doing to virtue. The answer here is to strive for magnanimity. St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa described magninimity as “stretching forth the mind to great things.” It is also, “Greatness of soul. It looks especially to honor and seeks to perform noble deeds. Its object is to perform actions that faith tells a person are great in the eyes of God, no matter what people may think of one’s conduct. “
I am profoundly excited to bring you a great anti-pornography resource, a revised edition of a Pastoral Letter from Bishop Paul Loverde from the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. This pastoral letter originally came out eight years ago, but has been reissued because of the severe and overwhelming need. “Bought with a Price” – Every Man’s Duty to Protect Himself and His Family from a Pornographic Culture. It includes a new foreword from anti-porn leader, Matt Fradd.
The intended re-release of this letter is March 19, 2014 – the Feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of fathers. I highly encourage everyone to read this letter and put what you read into action.
“Today’s father must protect himself and his children from the relentless assault of an increasingly pornographic culture; moreover, mothers share this sacred task. Every home now stands in the pathway of this attack on our children’s innocence and purity. If we are not vigilant, our sons and daughters will pay a steep and heartrending price.” p.6
Fathers – it is critical that we work to protect ourselves and our families from the evils of pornography. First, ourselves, and then those around us and under our care.
In a future post, I will write on the topic of “helping parents protect their children from the internet” – a talk that I give about the harms of the internet and how to practically handle the situation. One of the most important aspects of this topic is to have conversations with our children. If you think that your child isn’t or won’t be affected by pornography, you are wrong. If your children have internet accessible devices and you don’t know that they can (and probably do) access pornography, you are naïve. How then do you handle this? You talk about it! And it’s never too early to talk about it… when done properly, prudently, and age-appropriately. (Note: the average age of first exposure to pornography in America is now 8 years old and dropping rapidly!)
Do you expect your child to understand mathematics on their own, with no instruction? What about anatomy, biology, history? Certainly not. The old adage, “having the sex talk” is a misnomer, implying that parents should only speak to their children one time about sex. Simply check a box and it’s handled. This does not work. We should instruct our children on a properly ordered understanding of sexuality, and instruct them often. I start imparting knowledge on the topic very early with my children… even before they can truly understand. It sets the tone, and creates a solid foundation for them to grow upon. As each child gets older, the topic broadens, the seriousness increases, and the formation I desire heavily to provide to my children is strengthened.
Take the time and read this pastoral letter from Bishop Loverde, then act on it!