What’s been keeping me busy lately

* Daniel! I am very happy to announce that we are engaged, and are planning on getting married after I graduate.
* Summer quarter of school–I am less than three weeks away from finishing. Which means I have a little over a year until I graduate!
* I am on a team that is building video catechetics company–check out our blog for more info: Katholikos
* Choir–we sing for our all-school Mass every Wednesday.
* Cooking, cleaning, and other everyday fun.
* Searching around for available jobs.
* Beginning plans for the wedding.

God is so good! …This quarter has proved to be much less stressful than the past two; it is a breath of fresh air. It is hard to believe how fast time flies, but I am coming to appreciate every day as it comes. I am realizing my brokenness and need for dependence on God, and praying that I may do His will in all things. It is a struggle, and I keep thinking that I am going to come out on top one of these days. Then I realize that I have the rest of my life…and just pray that I can continuously grow closer to Christ and bring others closer to Him.

May God bless and Mary keep you all.

Media is the Medium…The Efficient Gospel

(This was written as a class assignment. We listened to two podcasts and had to comment/summarize them; they were talking about how media changes us not only by the content, but by the means that we receive the content.)

Both the podcast that we listened to in class as well as the one that we listened to on The Efficient Gospel talked about how the media that we use changes us, regardless of whether the content is good or bad. I have seen this time and again in my experience; it could be said that I am living with one foot in a simplistic way of life and one foot in the new media world. I grew up in the country, with no friends that played video games, had their own phone, or watched much if any television.

For about ten years while I was growing up, we did not have a television; even now, I can easily go for an entire quarter without watching a movie. However, we did have computers all the while growing up (my Dad was and electrical engineer), and we had internet from the time that I was about 12 or 13. Although I was not allowed to go on the internet a lot, I did pick it up more quickly and began doing things first for my parents and then as they allowed me to do more, connecting with other Catholic youth over the internet. As I grew up and began making these friends outside of our home school groups and connecting with them through letters, the internet, and my job (at a fast food restaurant), I noticed that there were many differences. Most of the differences that Shane Hipps talks about I still notice on occasion.

One of the frustrations that I have found with people who are immersed in the pop culture and media world is that they have such a utilitarian, entertainment mindset. They have little use for the Faith, and it is more often thought of as a way to avoid hell rather than a relationship with Christ that will bring us true freedom. This seemed to be the same point that was addressed in The Efficient Gospel. As our culture has evolved around entertainment—first with radio, then with movies, television, telephones, computers, the internet, cell phones, and so on—we have become more desensitized to the people around us. As we have had the ability to build a quantity of relationships, the quality has gone down…which takes away the natural experience of love and service that is the basis of what we are supposed to emulate as Christians.

Although I have had the experience of people sending text and instant messages without pleasantries, I have always found it rude and utilitarian—it may be efficient, but to me it still gives the message that they do not even care enough to say hello. The medium does change us to an extent; for example, because I have the huge resource of the internet, anytime I want to know something about anything I can find out quickly. Things that I would not have much knowledge of if I did not have the convenience, I can look at briefly and move on. The temptation to be available to anyone at anytime is always present; but there are some things that are not inherently in the medium (such as not using pleasantries) yet are used in that way in our culture. I think that, especially as Christians, it is important to practice detachment from technology as with other things; if we allow it to have too much of an impact on our life, it will take its toll on our relationships and we will be just another person in the crowd going in the wrong direction.

Authentically Christian Culture

What does Christ teach us in the Gospels that the ideal culture would look like? In my perception, it would be based around “the greatest commandments”: first, to love God with our entire heart, mind and soul…and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27). However, this must not be thought of in terms of feelings; this would be to complicate things beyond measure. There are as many feelings in the world as there are people, and so to feel as though we love God and love our neighbor could just turn into seeking a good feeling for ourselves.
First of all, what is love? The most basic explanation that I know of is a gift of self—the kind of gift that was exemplified on the Cross (John 15:13). At the end of his life, Christ gave us the example of what it meant to love God with our entire being, and placed the salvation of all people above the good of his own human life. In this, we see an orientation to a greater culture than simply that of our humanity. There were countless cures in the Gospels, but many sicknesses were the result of being possessed by demons (Luke 8:36) or needing the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 9:6). The parable of the Good Samaritan shows us how to love our neighbor; we give of ourselves without expecting anything in return.
If there is more to humanity than our current state, an ideal culture would recognize the goal that we are striving to. As mentioned in a previous paragraph, our first goal is to love God above all things. This entails having a personal relationship with the Father, as taught by Christ (best seen in meditating on the Our Father, found in Matthew 6). We must be entirely detached from sin, personal gain, wealth, power, and pleasure. It is our joy to live in relationship with him and so follow his laws, because they will only bring us greater happiness. The many parables in the Gospels reiterate the need to follow his laws with our hearts, and not just in our outward actions. The Ten Commandments and Eight Beatitudes are the greatest guidelines that, if we follow with our heart, will lead us directly to Christ. In order to serve others, we must have a great prayer life (Mark 9:29).
In a perfect culture, people would work for the glory of his kingdom, and give of what they have, freely. They would be detached from things, but be so attached to Christ that they consult him for every decision. We would not worry about our needs, the poor would be supplied for, and everything we would love God and others for their own sake.
To love our neighbor as ourselves, we must be willing to die to our own desires each day. A culture focused on these commandments would not be saturated with ulterior motives; there would be the simplicity found in the life of Christ, with many people having the strong character that will stand for what is right but remaining humble and realizing that everything that we have is a gift from our Father.

What does Christ teach us in the Gospels that the ideal culture would look like? In my perception, it would be based around “the greatest commandments”: first, to love God with our entire heart, mind and soul…and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27). However, this must not be thought of in terms of feelings; this would be to complicate things beyond measure. There are as many feelings in the world as there are people, and so to feel as though we love God and love our neighbor could just turn into seeking a good feeling for ourselves.

First of all, what is love? The most basic explanation that I know of is a gift of self—the kind of gift that was exemplified on the Cross (John 15:13). At the end of his life, Christ gave us the example of what it meant to love God with our entire being, and placed the salvation of all people above the good of his own human life. In this, we see an orientation to a greater culture than simply that of our humanity. There were countless cures in the Gospels, but many sicknesses were the result of being possessed by demons (Luke 8:36) or needing the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 9:6). The parable of the Good Samaritan shows us how to love our neighbor; we give of ourselves without expecting anything in return.

If there is more to humanity than our current state, an ideal culture would recognize the goal that we are striving to. As mentioned in a previous paragraph, our first goal is to love God above all things. This entails having a personal relationship with the Father, as taught by Christ (best seen in meditating on the Our Father, found in Matthew 6). We must be entirely detached from sin, personal gain, wealth, power, and pleasure. It is our joy to live in relationship with him and so follow his laws, because they will only bring us greater happiness. The many parables in the Gospels reiterate the need to follow his laws with our hearts, and not just in our outward actions. The Ten Commandments and Eight Beatitudes are the greatest guidelines that, if we follow with our heart, will lead us directly to Christ. In order to serve others, we must have a great prayer life (Mark 9:29).

In a perfect culture, people would work for the glory of his kingdom, and give of what they have, freely. They would be detached from things, but be so attached to Christ that they consult him for every decision. We would not worry about our needs, the poor would be supplied for, and everything we would love God and others for their own sake.

To love our neighbor as ourselves, we must be willing to die to our own desires each day. A culture focused on these commandments would not be saturated with ulterior motives; there would be the simplicity found in the life of Christ, with many people having the strong character that will stand for what is right but remaining humble and realizing that everything that we have is a gift from our Father.