Vacation!

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I know, I know…    I don’t run a blog the way I’m supposed to.    Well, if I made any money off the gig I’d be more inclined to follow the rules.   But I don’t – it’s a hobby.

So, where have I been?   Well, first off, I took a much needed vacation and completely unplugged from work as well as the internet in general.    Second, I then needed to catch up at my real job where I crunch numbers for a living and spend way too much time in meetings talking about the future numbers I need to crunch.

Then, I had to travel to NY for work, and quite honestly I’m not built for travel.   I am not energized by it, so even though I probably could use my time more wisely catching up on stuff in the hotel in my off time, I’m much more inclined to end up in a zombie-like state watching the news on the bed until I fall asleep.

That doesn’t mean the world around me has stopped, nor does it mean my opinions have dissipated.   So, here’s a random list of things I have been thinking about.   Some of these are blog-worthy and some are not.

  1. I still have no idea why someone chooses to ever life and work in New York City.   Sipping a beer by the campfire at home last evening at my rural home, surrounded by flowers, trees, and green grass and a couple friends is like a small piece of heaven to me.    To each their own, but I’m just not wired that way.
  2. Observing the thousands and thousands of people walking around Manhattan, whenever I take a moment to think about people in general I have a feeling of amazement.   Every single person is seeing the world through their own unique eyes.   They are all living a life unique and distinct from the rest of us.    Just seeing people walk around is a wonderment to me.    I don’t know what they are thinking and they don’t know what I’m thinking.   Their experiences are not my own.  And yet, God knows us all intimately.   It’s somewhat overwhelming to think about.
  3. There is a big blow-up rat that sticks out of the trunk of a car that can be found around NYC.   That’s my sight-seeing update.
  4. I love my kids – all nine of them.   But what a blessing that my wife and I were able to get away for three days and stay at our camper in Northern Wisconsin.    Rest, hiking, swimming, kayaking, and fishing – with a little bit of shopping and an anniversary dinner out.   What a relaxing time!
  5. Why does Def Leppard refuse to get on Spotify?    It’s annoying.
  6. I’ve been doing some reading, and I need to boost my Metabolism so I can be healthier.
  7. My wife and I have both set up accounts through a company called Karatbars so we can more readily buy gold in smaller increments.   My wife has decided to buy into the business package to help other people set up accounts to do the same.   I didn’t do that, because I have enough to do.  I just want the gold, but I do feel strongly that this is an important asset for everyone to try obtain, so I’ll help her out as I can.    So if anyone is curious about it at all just e-mail me.
  8. Moses is in our garden.
  9. There is always a lot to blog about:
    1. how I perceive the struggle in Catholicism balancing the tendencies of “liberals” and “conservatives” to try and actually attain the faith we are supposed to have
    2. My interest in a few specific prophecies:   Sister Lucia and how marriage is one of the final struggles against Satan; a guy named Charlie Johnston who has some interesting things to say, but requires a lot of discernment; this whole idea of the Shemitah (Jonathan Cahn) and the interesting observations and timing of that whole thing.
    3. Prayer strategy
    4. The Hitler rule in internet argument – pros and cons
    5. The 3% fallacy
  10. I really need to get more of my music up on Youtube and find time to record all the stuff in my head.

I hope you have all been well over the last couple weeks.    I’ll try to coordinate my thoughts and throw some stuff out here.

When I feel like it.

Moments of Clarity

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After having been told in our marriage prep that the choice of contraception was up to my wife and I, and while deliberating about whether or not we wanted to stop at 2 or 3 kids so that we could have that perfect American family, a strange thing happened.

You see, I had been reading a lot about this little thing called the Catholic Church, and I was all-in on the fact that this whole thing made good, logical sense.   It was clear – Christ called Peter the Rock, the teachings on faith and morals that were bound here were a bound because it was divinely inspired teaching.   Scripture and Tradition – got it.

I was also all-in on contraception.   After all, a man of the cloth had clearly informed us that this was not, in fact, a teaching of the Church.  If we were OK with it, then God was OK with it.

As both my wife and I grew in our faith, though, we started spending a lot more time with other Catholic families, and at some point my wife informed me that she wasn’t sure we should be contracepting.   This was not part of my plan, and I clung to that initial piece of advice we had received as if my life depended on it.  Was this the same woman who wanted me to get snipped not that long ago?   (I didn’t for two reasons: (1) there was something deep down that told me it wasn’t right, and I could never get past that, and (2) I really cringed and felt pain in my nether region every time I thought about it, and could never get past that.)   It finally reached a point where this was causing some real stress in our relationship, and I had a brilliant idea.   It was time to go to the Catechism.   Yeah, that was it.  These other people were taking the extreme position on this, and the Catechism would be my proof that we were OK.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

If I’ve been blessed with anything, it’s the ability to be pretty honest with myself.   I am, by nature, a logical and analytical person.   Truth is truth, and if it’s presented to me clearly and definitively, I accept it even if I don’t like the answer.

I can still remember that day, opening up the Catechism and reading about the use of contraception.   I don’t remember anything I read except two words:  “Intrinsically evil.”

My conversion was immediate.

Don’t get me wrong.  It wasn’t an “Alleluia” moment.   It wasn’t a refreshing moment.  It wasn’t a happy moment at all.

It was a moment of clarity.  And I could not, in good conscience, ignore it.

And so my new life began.   The life that would lead me to a family that now includes 9 children who are both a tremendous joy and blessing, while at the same time – in my darker moments – secretly wondering what my life would be like if I had never had that moment of clarity.

I can recount a couple other moments like that in my life.   I think God gives all of us those moments.  He wants to move us in the right direction, but He often finds ways to make that happen where the choice still has to be ours.   Every conversion story I have ever heard is defined by particular moments, and there is not one of them that doesn’t believe that God had a hand in the process.   We may all be delusional, or it could be that God actually really does love us and is ready to forgive us and welcome us back to the fold, from whatever distance it is we have strayed.   It’s all well and good to have some excuse for a while that you can blame on someone else for why you are doing what you are doing.   But if you are not doing right, at some point God will make it your choice, and from that point forward it’s your decision to own.

I think we have these moments as individuals, as families, as parishes, as communities, and as nations.

I believe the recent scandal regarding Planned Parenthood is such a moment.

The discussion and sale of baby parts is nauseating and disquieting.   But it changes nothing at all about the abortion issue.   It is a stark reflection of who and what Planned Parenthood is, and it unveils the evil that lurks behind the facade of an organization that claims to be a champion of women’s health.   But in reality, we’ve had decades of technological capabilities of informing people that the baby is really a baby and not a clump of cells.   Ultrasounds brought us pictures of the baby in the womb.   Advancements in DNA technology and understanding have reached a point where even the unscientific common folk know enough that all humans have a unique DNA, and that the baby in the womb is human and distinct from the mother’s DNA.

We already know all that, but because many people don’t want to let the abortion issue go, they cling to the “it’s just a lump of cells” argument from 40 years ago as gospel, and continue to avoid confronting their own sense of reason on better understanding the humanness of the “fetus.”

Then there is another group of people – Christians no less – that have managed to convince themselves that abortion is just another issue.   They are against it, but because of other influences they have chosen to either minimize its importance or how evil it actually is because they have other political issues they feel strongly about.  Whether it’s education or the poor or the economy – good and legitimate issues – they are willing to overlook the fact that abortion should be a disqualifying issue for any candidate.   What does that mean?   For example:  if a candidate came out in favor of re-instituting slavery, but otherwise supported the issues you support, would you vote for him?   Most would (hopefully) say “no.”   Why?   Because that one issue shows a depravity of mind that cannot possibly qualify him for legal office.   Period.   If he is so out of bounds on that issue, we cannot trust that he will make wise decisions in other areas, regardless of his stand on other issues.

If we can agree that there are issues of disqualification for a candidate, then on what basis can any of us who believe that life begins at conception ever not disqualify a candidate who believes it is perfectly acceptable to kill a child in the womb?

The recent Planned Parenthood scandal is not so much about the strict legalities or illegalities of trading in body parts as much as it is about making it entirely clear to us that abortion is about killing babies with developed baby parts.   Those who are arguing that it really is legal, and for research, and all that are entirely missing the point.   The entire point is that these are actual developed organs, tissues, heads, livers, you name it.   These things come from some living being, and in this case we know that living thing to be human.

In other words, this is a moment of clarity.

Because of these videos, politicians will be required to stake out a position.   Everyone will be asked to either align with or against Planned Parenthood.   Based on this new information, we know ever more clearly that abortion is about killing human babies.    Any politician who continues to align with Planned Parenthood is making a choice that, to be perfectly honest, imperils their soul.    Any person who, in turn, aligns with a politician who has aligned with Planned Parenthood is doing the same.   I am not the judge, and I am not making any final statements about any individual person’s salvation.   But what I do know is that we are given these moments as a gift – a blessing – so that we can correct injustice in a particular area that is a grievous sin against God and humanity.

Making the choice to do this may or may not require putting other things that are important to you on hold.  It may not be an easy thing to do.   But we are given these moments to make a difference and to take a stand.   It may mean that another issue of less importance (Even though important to us) does not go exactly the way we’d like for a few years.    Well, it is my opinion that if we all made it clear that we are disqualifying any candidate on this issue, then within 2-3 election cycles it wouldn’t be an issue.   Politicians are funny like that.   And this does not make us “one-issue” voters.   I hate that characterization.    That implies that this is just one of many issues.   While it is true that it is one of many issues, there are different categories of issues.   By definition, a disqualifying issue takes precedence before consideration of other issues.   By all means, if there are two pro-life candidates then I will make it perfectly clear that I consider a lot of other issues and will speak to those.   If you are not pro-life, well, then your head is not right and I just can[t trust your judgment.   It’s actually pretty simple.   If you’re still confused, go back to the slavery example and read it again.

We must be honest with ourselves when God gives us a moment of clarity like this.   And if we don’t, there will be consequences to us as a nation and as individuals.

Companies That Donate Directly to Planned Parenthood

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It’s time to speak with our pocketbooks in my opinion.   But it’s up to you.

Not that anything really changed with my opinion of Planned Parenthood with the latest disgusting revelations on the sale of baby parts and the alteration of abortion procedures to make it happen, but it’s a rare opportunity to make headway into the generally uncaring/unthinking/ignorant public that has been brainwashed into thinking the organization is about women’s health.

So, from the Daily Signal:

We have an obligation to keep the pressure on and get this entity that, quite frankly, is simply evil defunded and in a position where nobody wants to be identified with them anymore.   The selling of baby parts, to be honest, is no less nauseating than abortion itself.   But if the public finds it the tipping point then so be it.   Tip away.

Religiophobia

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What do you call someone who thinks living a homosexual lifestyle is sinful (regardless of your view that the person who has homosexual tendencies is a child of God, has infinite dignity by the very nature that they are a human being, are made in the image and likeness of God, are loved by God, and loved by you)?

Obviously, the person is a homophobe.

What do you call a person who stands by the definition of marriage that has been in place since humanity has commenced as uniquely the union between a man and a woman?

Again, homophobe.

How about someone who is concerned about terrorism perpetrated by the very real subset of Muslims who commit terrorist acts, and believes that we should not be afraid to call it what it is?

Ah, yes.   Pure Islamaphobia.

And just the other day, it happened.   I saw the following headline:  “<So-and-so> apologizes for transiphobic tweet.”

There you go.   Now if you don’t post your rainbow flag for all to see, you’re a transiphobe.  Or a homophobe.   Or both.

I do not believe anyone should marry a turtle.   I’m a turtlephobe.

I do not believe Ford is superior to Chevy.   I’m a Fordiphobe.

I do not see why anyone enjoys Polka music.   I’m a Polkaphobe.

Polkaphobia seems to be a rampant illness in my circles.

The common thread I see with all these “phobias” is that the definition of a “phobia” seems to have transitioned (to use an inclusive term, so as to not be considered a phobiphobe) to the following:   If you in any way disagree with anything I say, do, believe, not believe, don’t say, don’t do, AND do not wish to recognize the absolute goodness of what I say, do, believe, not believe, don’t say, don’t do AND do not believe I should actually have some special and/or equal status in all legal ways to officially recognize in the eyes of society the goodness of what I say, do, believe, not believe, don’t say, don’t do AND if you in any way express an opinion written or verbal – or otherwise hold a belief that is unspoken, or perhaps raise an eyebrow within 1 mile of my physical presence – you are a <what I say, do, believe, not believe, don’t say, don’t do>ophobe.   Or maybe <what I say, do, believe, not believe, don’t say, don’t do>iphobe.   “I” or “o” before the phobe is always a raging debate.

In that spirit, I declare everyone out there who in any way take issue with my own disagreement of your position on anything even remotely moral to be a Religiophobe.   I suppose it’s probably more accurate to say it’s Christophobia.    After all, all the hateful people are really Christians.   But I think Religiophobia rolls off the tongue a little better, so the  Christian element will mostly be implied, but this does serve an ecumenical purpose.

Feel free to populate the internet with claims of religiophobia.   Of course, everyone will argue that it’s silly and incorrect and try to explain a thousand different ways why there could be no such thing, or why it’s different.   Have none of it.   The playbook is to ignore, ignore, ignore and just keep throwing out the word over and over.   Religiophobia!   Religiophobia!  Religiophobia!    Nanananananana!

After all, that’s really all that’s been done on all these other issues, and for whatever reason it actually stuck.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.   Or the anti-goose.    Or is that “Goosiphobia”?

Be Still and Know

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This is song is really in demo form, and is not on my CD, but I thought I’d share it anyway.  Nowadays my recording time is pretty minimal, so who knows when I’ll get to some more serious recording time.  Lots of ideas are in my head, though, so I’m hoping I can find the time.

Enjoy

Speaking of Facebook…

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I think I’ve caught up with the turn of the new millennium and I now have a facebook page.    So now all my blog posts will get posted to my Diatribe Guy Facebook page.   [update]I think I’ve got it set up so that you can just follow me without being a friend.   If I somehow screwed that up, you can send me a friend request and I will accept, but I’ll unfollow you because I don’t care to have anything else show up on my timeline..

Anyway, if any Facebook experts wanna check to see if I have it set up correctly and help a brother out if it’s apparent that I don’t know what I’m doing, then I’d appreciate it!

Feel free to follow and share any posts that strike your fancy as share-able with your friends.

Determining Political and Charitable Donations Using Facebook

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A little while back I mentioned that I was getting irked by all the junk showing up on my Facebook timeline from “friends.”

To recap:   When I finally took the plunge and got onto facebook (under my real identity, not the diatribical pseudonym), I pretty much decided that it would a benign entry into the social media world.   My general mental rule of thumb was “If I were hanging out with all my facebook friends, what would I choose to talk about, how wouold I talk about it, and why would I talk about it?”

I mean, here this is my blog.   I’ll write what i want, and I don’t really care because you’re choosing to come here and read it.

And while it’s true that I don’t have to click on anything on Facebook, I just find it annoying that people update their profile pic with rainbows and it’s plastered on my timeline.   Yeah, whatever.   I try to ignore it, but I’m human, and to me it’s just shoving a particular stance in my face.   I want to shove it back.   But then I think of my rule and I don’t.

But then I see a post in the aftermath of the gay marriage ruling and some friend of mine shared a link that basically made fun of Christians.    I mean, really?   You’re going to share this?   So, I’m more peeved.

Straying into politics a bit, I’m a conservative.   I don’t “like” and “share” every anti-liberal or pro-conservative thing that comes onto my page.   But apparently others do this, especially when it comes to teachers and Scott Walker.   Egad, my brain wants to explode.

Well, I mused on this blog about whether or not it might make sense to let people know that I would donate to causes in opposition to things that – pardon the french – piss me off.

At first, it was just a musing.

And then it happened.   Another shared link to “Occupy Democrats.”

Now, I don’t want to offend my Democratic friends out there.  I know there are Catholic Democrats, though how you can support a party that is in bed with Planned Parenthood, has entirely embraced all things abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender…   I could go on, but now I’m straying from the point.   So, suffice it to say that I guess you have your reasons, and you will need to wrestle with that yourself.

Anyway, back to Occupy Democrats.   Seriously, these guys are loons.   Yeah, I said it.

I couldn’t take it.    I finally posted “New rule:   Every Occupy Democrats link showing up on my timeline will initiate a donation to whoever they hate the most.”   Now, that isn’t specific, and it’s subjective, but basically anyone good, moral, and conservative will do.   Occupy Democrats hates anyone that satisfies those three categories.

Well, that’s as far as it went for a while, but someone finally posted a ridiculous anti-Scott Walker post.    I already donate to Walker.   “New rule:  Every anti-Scott Walker post showing up on my timeline will add $1 to the donation I will already be sending him.”

I’m just getting started, I think.   I was thiiiiiissss close to declaring that any rainbow flag showing up on my timeline would initiate a donation to the Family Research Center.   I still might.

So, as is obvious, I’ve started to give up on my utopian dream of just getting family updates and catching up with friends.   If people want to be political and anti-religious, well then game on.   But facebook debates are generally fruitless and often devolve into a lack of charity.   So I’m trying to find a creative way of making my point.

Hopefully it’s not too expensive.