Promise or Pessimism: Graduating from High School

The context of this letter was the high school graduation of my son. It explores questions of creating a meaningful life out of the promise of education and career opportunities while avoiding the pitfalls of pessimism.

Dear Garrett,
On Your High School Graduation 2008

To say that mom and I are very proud of your accomplishments would be to state the obvious. You’ve applied yourself and the results speak for themselves. You are among few that have done so well! From your school grades to your talents with computers, these will serve you well over the years. You’ve taken the opportunities given and built on them. Your gifts combined with hard work and God’s blessing has brought you this point. Again, we are very pleased more then you can imagine and applaud your efforts and accomplishments. Continue reading

Obsolete Christianity and Revitalized Faith: Sanctorum Communio, the Communion of Saints

The ardent Atheist or devoted Relativist might view the decline in North American church attendance as signaling the death of Christian religious fever. The Atheist or Relativist who measures success in numbers would politely suggest that we are witnessing the secularization of America, similar to trends in Western Europe as church attendance declines. Even the North American Christian faithful would quietly agree with this trend. However, as history has been here before at the beginning of the last century, perhaps both the religious and secular should ask themselves if their assessment is correct. Is more going on than can be reconciled by church attendance? Continue reading

Pride versus Poverty of Spirt

Definition of: “an unreasonable conceit of superiority,” or and “overweening opinion of one’s own qualities.” Oxford English Dictionary.

Synonyms: egotism, arrogance, hubris, selfishness, vanity, haughtiness, presumption, boastfulness, bigheadedness, self-satisfaction, self-centeredness.

It does not mean self-respect; it means “selfdom.”

Background:

• Consider the most deadly of the seven sins, the very essence of evil itself.
• A sin of the spirit
• Frequently we are unaware of it
• Modern views see pride as acceptable, healthy. The vice is a virtue. It’s a confusion of self esteem and pride. Continue reading

Vice and Virtue

The following is study on vice and virtue based on the book STEERING THROUGH CHAOS, Vice and Virtue In an age of Moral Confusion, by Os Guinness

Or, The Seven Deadly Sins

“Sin creates [an inclination] to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root.”

Para. 1865, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994

I though this would be appropriate following on the heels of the study of David, Jonathans, and Saul’s character, where we see all aspects of their vices and virtues. Today, there is an explosion of interest in ethics. Even MTV, the New York Time and Hollywood have take interest in the Seven Deadly sins. MTV did show in 93 on the Seven Deadly Sin where most commentary concluded that they were dumb or outdated values. A most interesting treatment was Brad Pits movie Se7en that took a more dramatic and even serious look into the face of vice and evil. We turn to look at the moral characteristics that shape us in today “modern” worlds. Continue reading

Ethics and Relationships

Vice and virtue is the classic discussion of ethics from the Greek philosphers to the enlightement thinkers. However, its fallen out of vogue in our modern culture. Recently, it has seen a short resugence in interest with the financial scandles from Enron to MCI. In the movie “Wall Street,” greed is celebrated as a drive that purifies and refines a business. What was once a vice, pride, is celebrated as confidence and strength from sports to business, from education to politics. Continue reading