I’ve had a front row seat to one of the greatest marriages in the history of time. Today, my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage! A tremendous feat! I’m extremely proud of my parents and want to publicly acknowledge their love, their sacrifice, and their unfailing commitment. You make me better, you aid my marriage, and I am so grateful for you.
I’ve written (and moreso, spoken) about my Dad on many occasions. He’s an amazing man, and is/was a leading example for me in my pursuit of TrueManhood. He has tons of characteristics that I love and admire, and I wouldn’t be half the man I am today if it wasn’t for him. Here are some of the major highlights:
- My Father loves my Mother unconditionally; everything he does is directly related to my Mother’s well-being, her concerns, her likes, her desires. His example of how a man cherishes his wife is second to none. #awesomehusband
- My Father serves my Mother unfailingly. For the entirety of their marriage, my Father has worked his tail off so that my Mother could have safety, security, comfort, and so that she would be able to do what she was created for. #whenamanlovesawoman
- My Father is the consumate gentleman. As a child, the example of being a gentleman was constant from my Father. My virtues related to being a gentleman (mostly in the area of Justice) is 100% correlated to my Father’s behavior and high standards. #gentleman
- My Father cherishes all women. Sincerely, my Father has a heart of service towards the fairer-sex… never failing to serve a female, no matter what the need may be. He’s always polite, always charitable, always deferent to the women he encounters. I cannot recall, even once, when I’ve seen my Father choose himself over a woman. He has always cherished my aunts and female cousins (there were far fewer of them than male cousins), and treated every female stranger with the utmost respect. #womenarethecrownofcreation
- My Father is a hard worker. Still today in his 70’s, with both knees repaired and a major back surgery, my Father does his own maintenance on his house, takes care of his vehicles himself, serves in numerous ways at his parish, helps me and my brothers, and serves on a non-profit board. The spirit of our bluecollar family, passed down from generation to generation, comes to me from him. #hardworker
I would also be remiss, especially on this most somber of days for America (9/11), if I didn’t mention my Father’s 30-year career serving our country as an enlisted serviceman in the United States Air Force. 30 years! Talk about dedication.
My Mother – I certainly don’t want to leave my Mother out of the conversation… and in fact, I couldn’t talk about my Father without talking about my Mother as well. She is a huge part of my Father’s character. From the moment they met, my Mother has challenged my Father to be who he is. She brings the best out of him, and holds him to the very highest of standards. It wouldn’t be a shock to tell you that their complementarity is so perfect that they make each other more holy; the point of marriage! The perfect way that my Mother fits my Father, and returns his love and service with more love and service, is a testament to her devotion and care for him. They truly are the perfect spouses for one another.
Jesus had Joseph and Mary – the Holy Family. I have Tony and Charlene – great examples of love, service, dedication, and faithfulness. Thanks Dad and Mom – Happy Anniversary!
When I saw this video clip, I was encouraged and inspired. As a man, as a husband, as a lover, as a friend – I was challenged. To see a man, whose courage and patriotism far surpass mine, was a firm reminder of what I’m shooting for. AND… it all flies in the face of the hyper-masculine idea of manliness – cultural manliness. Check the video out, then look below for more thoughts.
So, I wonder:
- When is the last time I wrote my wife a letter and mailed it to her?
- Have I shared my emotions with my wife?
- Am I confident enough to cry, and to let people see me cry?
- Do I mean the words I write? Do I believe them? Should the reader believe them?
- Am I working hard so that I have a 63+ year marriage? This not only includes my love for my wife, but my physical health… will I live that long? (I have 54+ years to go… that puts me at about 88 years old. I think I can make it!)
- Am I in awe of my wife? Do I feel lucky to call her mine?
- If my wife wasn’t here, would I feel that same heartache that he feels?
- Is our marriage/life an “incredible story”?
- Would my children and (future) grandchildren say the same things about me?
- Is there a true depth to the love we have in our marriage?
- Is my marriage inspiring to others?
- Does my marriage set a great example?
Some may watch this video and read this list and shrug it off. I challenge you to, instead, take these questions and apply them to your life. If you’re not married, substitute the words of wife or marriage for life, or Jesus, or family, or friends, and see what your answers are.
To this man, Bill Moore, and to our other heroes of “The Greatest Generation”, we owe you so much and are in awe of your sacrifice. Thank you for setting an incredible example of manliness for us to strive for.
The barbaric Islamic cowards of ISIS have threatened our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and have vowed to “conquer Rome”. The Pontifical Swiss Guard have accepted the challenge of defending him. Threats from Muslims against Christianity, and specifically against the Papacy, certainly aren’t new. Many have been actualized over the years, and many more will most assuredly come. However, the Commander of the Swiss Guard isn’t backing down, and says that the Swiss Guard are on high alert and are ready.
Since the assassination attempt of St. John Paul the Great (Pope John Paul II) in 1981, the security measures of not only the Swiss Guard, but also of the Vatican Police, known as the Corps of Gendarmes, have been significantly heightened. Slight changes were made when Francis was elected, but the world can be assured that the Swiss Guard are prepared.
TrueManhood requires that a man defend the common good. It goes without saying that defending the Holy Father is a good thing, and these incredible elite soldiers who make up the Swiss Guard are assigned to a very good task. When it comes to this good task, I wish I were younger, single, and Swiss – but alas, I’m older than the cutoff, married, and Italian (and Irish, Polish, & Czech).
The young men that make up the world’s smallest army must be between the ages of 19 and 30, at least 5’8.5″ tall, single, a practicing Catholic, and trained in the Swiss Army. Don’t let their Renaissance-esque uniforms fool you – they are trained warriors and ready for the battle. They train in unarmed combat, small arms, and are proficient with their pike and sword. Here’s the oath they swear on May 6th (each time a recruit becomes a Swiss Guard):
“I swear I will faithfully, loyally, and honorably serve the Supreme Pontiff Francis and his legitimate successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also my life to defend them. I assume this same commitment with regard to the Sacred College of Cardinals whenever the See if vacant. Furthermore I promise to the Commanding Captain and my other superiors, respect, fidelity and obedience. This I swear! May God and our Holy Patrons assist me!”
Sheer awesomeness – an oath of self-giving, self-sacrifice, and overflowing with the virtue of magnanimity! And I can guarantee that these men don’t take this oath lightly – a true and holy honor to protect the Vicar of Christ. This sort of attitude flies in the face of cultural manliness and stands for authentic manliness – TrueManhood! We here at TrueManhood are proud of these men and so grateful to have them among the ranks who will be the first to defend Mother Church and our Holy Father.
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.
There’s no question in my mind that abortion is a man’s issue. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… if males were handling our business, women wouldn’t feel the need for abortion. If we want the issue of abortion to go away, and for women, men, and children to receive healing, we must step up and fight.
One of my friends, my buddies, my other-brother-from-Our-Blessed-Mother is on the front lines of this battle, and I want to highlight him, his wife, his kids, and the people who are, literally, running along side him. This man has a new role that he’s gearing up for as President of the Vitae Foundation, and on top of all of that, he is one of our nation’s heroes, an officer in the United States Air Force.
This man’s name is Lt. Col Pat Castle, PhD., and I’m blessed to know him and call him ‘brother’. Several years ago, Pat and a few of his closest friends started a pro-life running ministry called “LIFE Runners“. LIFE Runners has gone worldwide and has runners all over the place; running, praying, and raising money to end abortion. It’s so powerful, they even convinced my non-running-self to run in the inaugural A+Cross America Relay.
Pat is relentless in his pursuits! He is first and foremost a son of God, and a great husband, and a great father, and with great passion that never stops he is relentless in fighting the evil of abortion. Vitae has honored him with the new role as President of the foundation, a great honor and a perfect spot for him to land after his long and illustrious Air Force career. (Read about Pat and his VF role.) Pat retires at the end of the month.
If you want to be inspired, and encouraged as a man who is willing to fight abortion, I’d get involved with Vitae, join LIFE Runners, and get Pat’s emails. Everytime I hear from him, see something he posts, or see the aftermath that he leaves behind (GOOD aftermath!), I am undoubtedbly inspired. Pat’s energy and efforts are effective. There is no wasting time, no messin’ around… he gets the job done.
For all that you do and especially for the TrueMan that you are, HIGH FIVE to you, Pat!
Early on when I heard about the show “Vikings” on the History Channel, I was very intrigued. When I watched the first episode on our Roku, it unfortunately lost me fairly quickly. My first impressions were that the acting was subpar, and the accents were pretty distracting. At the prompting of my good friend Jared Zimmerer, I gave it another chance and watched episode two. Something about it began to reel me in and I have subsequently watched all of the episodes to date.
I’m intrigued by the story for many reasons. I’ve finally decided to blog about it now especially because of the most recent episode called “Boneless”. Vikings is the story of Earl Ragnar Lothbrok (a legendary Norse ruler), his conquests, his family, and the general life and happenings of the “Northmen.” I enjoy watching the fight scenes, which are pretty decent. I also enjoy the drama between the various leaders, the imagery between good & bad, right & wrong, the marriages and relationships, but there are two very impressive themes that keep me coming back.
The first is how much the show’s writers and the actors have incorporated faith into the show. The Vikings are referred to as pagans, but that’s not what comes across the screen. The Vikings come across, to me, as being very faithful. They are polytheistic, but they are constantly thinking about, speaking about, and invoking their gods. This is not something often celebrated in our culture. Faith, especially of warriors, is often seen as unnecessary and as a weakness. Clearly, these Viking warriors invoke their gods, and find need to be in prayer, sacrifice, and worship of their gods. It’s hard at times to watch because they believe that their gods call for murderous, ravenous, barbaric behavior, and a crude form of justice, so naturally it doesn’t lineup with Christianity. One flaw, typical of Hollywood… the element that shows Christians in a horrible light – as weak, superstitious dummies, incapable of personal thought and masculine leadership. Besides that, though, I’m impressed.
I find it very interesting that faith is found as such an important and normal part of their lives. That’s what I want to highlight… their faith that is all-encompassing. They think about their gods constantly. It is engrained in the show by being engrained into the lives of the characters. The characters are constantly talking about their gods, and the imagery shows that.
The second point, and maybe even more important, is how pro-life the show is. It seems a contrast to a barbaric, ravenous people, but in this last episode, the wife of Earl Ragnar gives birth to a child that has a limb that apparently doesn’t function fully. They don’t really show it exactly, but they refer to him as a ‘runt’. At one point, Ragnar discusses with his wife about the child never having a full life, and asking the question “what could his life possibly amount to?” The wife says, “Yes, you are correct, but I love him.” She gives the child a chance.
There’s a scene where, during the night, Ragnar goes into where the baby is sleeping, and he takes him, walking out near the river. As a viewer, I was spellbound, questioning what Ragnar was going to do. He takes out his hatchet, and it looks like he’s going to kill his son, saying “there is no other way.” The scene cuts away to Ragnar walking away from his son, leaving the viewer wondering. This is a symbol, to me, of parents who feel like they have no other option when it comes to abortion. There is seemingly nothing else they can. It turns out that Ragnar didn’t kill his child, but rather, he chose life! Even though it was incredibly difficult for him to do, he chose life!
I think it’s interesting, in our culture, that is so pro-death, so ready to discard the humans that appear to be less-than, that this show would embrace faith and would embrace concepts of masculinity (albeit flawed, tremendously), but it embraces life. The concepts of masculinity are interwoven throughout, especially the topics of being a husband, a father, a friend, a brother, a worker/provider, a warrior, and a follower of God. I will continue to watch.
Note: There are some potentially scandalous parts of this show, specific to sexuality. You may choose not to watch because of that.
I recently heard about this story from Leavenworth, KS – not far from my college alma mater, Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. It’s great to know that Army soldiers are standing against this garbage when so often military men have a reputation for being some of the main consumers of pornography. Here’s part of the story from the American Family Association:
“Another Kansas community has been surprised by the opening of a new pornography outlet. This time the ambush is at the front gate of historic Ft. Leavenworth KS. Army families and the community are shocked at what was to be a book store but turned out to be a sexually oriented business (SOB).
The soldiers of the community, be they in uniform or civilians, are not taking this ambush lightly. They have launched “OPERATION GATE KEEPER”. They recently begin their public protest in front of the porn shop. They are also gathering signatures to seat a grand jury to investigate possible violations of the Kansas obscenity law and the community standards of Leavenworth. The law is actually categorized under “Crimes against the Public Morals” … PUBLIC MORALS, now there is a “throwback” phrase not often heard!!!
Their public protest, to raise awareness ALREADY PASSED. It is in front of Cirilla’s , which is directly across from the post front gate. You are welcome to make a sign and join these soldiers in their efforts.
Soldiers take an oath to defend the constitution from all enemies be they foreign or domestic. It is their belief that the laws of the land and the moral fabric of all American communities are under assault by the sexualizing of the culture. Cyber porn is surely taking it toll but these brick and mortar porn shops are part of the issue and a place that the law still has an effect.”
VERY RARELY do I get excited about a movie debuting in the theaters. To put my theater-movie-watching in perspective, the last two movies I’ve seen in the theater have been “Tangled”, which I took my oldest daughter to as a special daddy-daughter date and the 4th Indiana Jones. (That one came out in the summer of 2008.) So, you can see that I don’t frequent the movie theater. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy movies, but I struggle terribly to find time to go to the theater and I struggle even more with paying ticket prices for movies nowadays! (Tangled was a matinee with a coupon, and someone gave me free passes for Indiana Jones.)
BUT… I must say that I am VERY excited about an upcoming movie that is making its way to the big screen tomorrow (Friday, September 30, 2011). The movie is called “Courageous”. The producers of this film also produced the movie “Fireproof” (and a few others), which I thought was a good movie. If “Fireproof” was good, “Courageous” is great! I had the privilege of pre-screening the movie with my colleagues at our office and have the honor of being part of The King’s Men, one of the ministry-resources for men after they see the movie.
For the pre-screening, I went in very skeptical. I went in believing that Sherwood Pictures was going to make the movie cheesy with Bible innuendos and very heavy, to the point of burdensome, like they did in “Fireproof”. Not so. “Courageous” was very well done and had just the right amount of the “Jesus-factor” so as to still be relate-able as a tool for evangelization purposes with men who are non-believers. This movie has action, drama, suspense, thrills, excitement and a host of other great characteristics. I cannot recommend this movie high enough. Go see it, even at current ticket prices, and show Hollywood that Americans want good, wholesome entertainment and not the garbage they have been spewing for years.
This movie is real. It is about real men, attempting to live through some real life issues and situations. It’s very practical and very helpful. The acting is top notch, the storyline is right on and the cinematography is great. Again, I cannot recommend this movie enough. (The trailer is located on our homepage on the right side.)
After you see the movie, you may want to get involved. If you desire to follow in the example of the men in the movie, and become part of a small men’s group, I have a turn-key solution for you. I’m happy to recommend a format for a men’s small group meeting that is easily duplicated, dynamic, and proven. We do not charge dues, have no membership and offer incredible support to our leaders. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – we have the track record of a program that works. Men’s lives are changed because of it. Men who invest themselves into a men’s small group experience extreme growth and positive change. Don’t wait another day! If your parish/church/group/city/area gather enough men together, I can personalize a leader’s training workshop for you and train all of your facilitators in a day-long training session, complete with resource manual and all the how-to’s and nuts and bolts you could ever need.
If we don’t currently have any groups nearby, maybe this is the day you step up and start one. Contact me for all the resources and support you need. Info@TrueManhood.com.
This story is about a young man that I have heard about for the past few years and who I have been praying for since hearing about him and his battle with cancer. My cousin teaches him one-on-one and has kept me up to speed on his journey. His strength is incredible. He is an inspiration.
In the story below, the author mentions that James will not be undergoing any additional treatments. This is a decision that his parents left him to make. He decided that rather than go through more pain, he’d prefer to live the remainder of his life as fully and abundantly as possible. Please pray for him and his journey through this life… for his parents and siblings and all those close to him.
The story below is a local story written by Adam Himmelsbach. I’m wishing I would have sent more than just a birthday card.
As his 12th birthday drew closer, James Dobson said he did not need gifts. He has terminal brain cancer and is confined to a wheelchair, and he can barely speak, so at this point in his life he just wanted to know that people cared. He just wanted birthday cards, lots of them. And no one–not the Dobson family, not the U.S. Postal Service–was prepared for what happened next. Before we get to that, though, you have to understand something about James. He loves football the way most people love a day off. His brain tumor was originally found when he was in kindergarten. But the surgery and radiation and chemotherapy did not stop him from attending Chancellor High School’s practices.
His older brother Matt was the Chargers’ starting quarterback, and his father, Danny, was an assistant coach. James was a mascot, manager, water boy and super-fan rolled into one. “The whole team just adopted him,” Matt Dobson said. “He’ll just walk right up and start talking to you, it doesn’t matter who you are.”
When James was 9, the brain tumor returned. He had surgery once again, and there were complications from treatment. His vocal cords were ravaged, he struggled to walk and he had severe pneumonia. But he fought–goodness, did he fight–and the disease went into remission. Then about six months ago, a tumor emerged that was twice as big as the other two and more aggressive than a linebacker. “We’d done the harshest things you can do and hit the tumors with everything there was,” Danny Dobson said, “and we just couldn’t stop it from coming back.” James will not go through another round of treatment. Rather than trying not to die, he is spending his final months focused on living. And that brings us back to that special birthday request.
One of James’ former teachers at Battlefield Elementary School knocked over the first domino by putting the word out on her Facebook page two weeks ago. Then Chancellor assistant football coach Chris Lam contacted a friend who runs a recruiting service and has most of the college football world on speed dial. Then James’ story and home address went viral.
A few cards trickled in as his Sept. 5 birthday approached. Before long, the neighborhood postal worker was dropping large boxes filled with mail on the family’s porch. Some of the return addresses were startling. There were autographed pictures from Alabama coach Nick Saban and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. There was an autographed football from Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville and a birthday card from Penn State coach Joe Paterno. There were letters from USC and UCLA, and care packages from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Navy and Marshall. Southern Mississippi and Idaho both invited James to be their guest on the sideline when they play at Virginia later this season. James received telephone calls from Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen and WWE superstar John Cena. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin sent an autographed jersey and a football from team headquarters. The Massaponax High School marching band even showed up on his front lawn and played a few birthday songs. Football was just a slice of this story, though.
James received a letter from a U.S. soldier in Japan who said he would write again when he arrived in Afghanistan. Another card arrived from Alaska. James has received more than 2,600 pieces of mail in the last two weeks. His parents have read each message aloud as James sits in his wheelchair and listens to every word. “It’s overwhelming what’s taking place,” Danny Dobson said. “It’s amazing how many lives he’s touched.”
James does not make it to many Chancellor football practices anymore. Every once in a while his older brother Matt, who is now an assistant coach, rolls him onto the sideline in his wheelchair. He still asks about the Chargers’ final scores. He still tries to draw up plays. But he doesn’t want a fuss to be made over him and he doesn’t want his life to turn into a farewell tour. All he wants, all he’s ever wanted, is to know that people care.
“Thanks, everyone,” James said quietly, “from the bottom of my heart.”