Catholic Commute S01E19 Outside Travel Basics

How to be a hero while going into the wild

For those who may not be familiar with the outside world, there are a lot of ways to mess up.  The reward is worthwhile, and with just a bit of effort and planning, you can be a hero and find not only success, but peace in the amazing world that God has created.  It takes some intention and planning, but the success is worth it!

Today’s episode covers tips and tricks for a successful car trip and picnic in the outside world.  It can be intimidating, but with these tips, your wife and your children will think you are a superstar.

It’s time to get out there.  The summer is coming fast!  Introduce your children and your family to nature, you will not regret it!

You can download the mp3 file here!

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Catholic Commute S01E18 Go Outside!

The value and importance of spending time outside this summer

Summer is coming!  I am super excited for the warmer weather and outdoors adventures.  In order to help kick off the season, I’m starting a series of podcasts about the great outdoors.  The first episode, is why you should get outside.

God created nature and we can find incredible meaning and value in it.  Today I discuss 6 reasons why you should start planning an outdoors adventure.  Immersing yourself in nature can change not only yourself, but your interactions with your entire family.

I also include a continuum of nature engagement types.  These will form the basis of future podcast episodes as we start to explore just how to connect with God’s amazing creation of nature.

If you are not subscribed (the route I prefer for the podcasts I listen to) you can download the mp3 here!

Click “Continue Reading” to read the show notes!

Catholic Commute S01E17 6 Steps to Properly Use Alcohol

How to enjoy a drink, not only that night, but the next morning too

Alcohol is everywhere in our society, and I think men especially can find great comfort in its consumption.  Alcohol is not intrinsically bad, and there are definitely good ways to enjoy its use without causing problems.  Still, it can be abused without care.

In this episode I explore 6 steps to help you use alcohol in a way that you will still be able to enjoy the next morning.  If we don’t take care to be intentional in our choices, we can quickly become a victim.  The Bible is full of wisdom about how to use this particular creation of God.

Come along today as I explore the actions and statements of Our Lord, as well as historical tradition offered by the old testament.

If you have not yet subscribed, you can download the episode here!

Click “Continue Reading” to read the show notes!

Confrontation and You: Steps to Success

This post is a review of Michael Hyatt’s podcast from Season 2, Episode 5: How to confront someone who offends you (or others) without ruining your relationship.  I strongly encourage you to go listen to this podcast, it’s fantastic!  Everyone struggles with confrontation, but I think men have a particularly hard time with confronting without causing damage.  Hopefully this article will give you some new techniques to improve your confrontation skills in any relationship.

Michael presents 6 steps to handling confrontation.  As you read through these, I want you to picture confrontations you’ve had in different important relationships.  Perhaps you recently had a disagreement with your wife or children.  Perhaps you’ve disagreed with a parent or in-law.  Remember what happened, and now ask yourself “what could I have done differently?”  I’ve added some of my own discussion to each step below:

1. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt.  It’s a good thing this one is first, because without this step you won’t get anywhere.  I personally have found that this one step can solve probably half of the arguments I have whether at home or at work.  There are so many times I have responded poorly to a comment from my wife when I assumed the worst.  Many harsh words later, the truth of her real intention was uncovered, but it was too late.  Words are like arrows: once loosed, they can never be recalled.

There’s a second part to this step: you don’t have to confront every minor injustice you encounter.  Michael gives a great story in his podcast that just touched my heart.  A passenger on a commuter train is riding home one evening when a man and several children get on the train.  The children are poorly behaved and bouncing all over the train.  The man seems aloof and distant.  After a certain amount of time, the first passenger decides to confront the man about their behavior.  The man responds “Oh, I’m so sorry, they just lost their mother and we’re all pretty broken up about it.”

Tenderness is Manly

“My little girl, you need to try again, and try harder!”  A storm of tears erupts, even more than last time.  At this moment, I’m firmly convinced that our 4-year-old daughter is in imminent danger of growing up without any work ethic or strength of character!  Well, perhaps not, but it is a father’s job to build strength and character in the children, right?  Amid the perpetually falling standards of our society, I genuinely do worry about being too soft.  Later that evening I read this quote from Pope Francis: “Christian triumph is always a cross, yet a cross which is at the same time a victorious banner borne with aggressive tenderness against the assaults of evil.”  (emphasis mine)

Tenderness.  I hadn’t really stopped to think about that word, and how it is different from “softness.”  When my wife accused me (note entirely incorrectly) of being too hard, I had believed she was suggesting that I be more soft.  That is the opposite of hard, right?  I’m pretty convinced that men aren’t supposed to be soft, there’s little about me that is soft.  Tenderness, on the other hand, that might be different.  Maybe.  At least the Pope used the word “aggressive” with it, that makes it a little bit more palatable.

So, as a Christian, my triumph is to come through aggressive tenderness…What, then, is this “aggressive tenderness?”  Let me start with Saint Francis de Sales: “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”  We’re coming near to yet another seeming paradox of Christianity.  In order to be strong, you must be gentle.  That’s hard for me.  There are two ways I tend to respond to a tough situation: Ignore it, or solve it with a strong hand.  This gentle strength is a third path that I’m not particularly good at.  It is, however, essential to each of the callings we men have.

Courageous: The Movie

We all love watching movies. Not everything that Hollywood puts out, however, is worth watching.  In fact, these days there’s less and less content produced that is worth consuming.  St. John Bosco said the following about books, and it applies even more to movies, “Never read books you aren’t sure about … even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?”

 

Today, though, I get to offer you a review of a delicious and wholesome movie, served in quite a reasonable cup.  The movie is Courageous; and it’s got Jesus woven through the whole thing.  You will cry, you will see families facing incredibly hard things to deal with, and you will be challenged to become the husband and father that God intends you to be.  It’s in my list of “required Christian man content.”

 

One warning: this film is not for children.  It directly confronts challenging adult topics directly and honestly, but in a Christian way.  Perhaps a late teen boy might be responsible enough, but watch it first and use your judgement on the maturity of your children.

Welcome to The Stakes are High

Hello, welcome to my blog!  Everything isn’t quite ready yet, but it’s time to get started.  This is a blog for men.  I want my first post to outline my goals for writing.  There are a lot of blogs out there that deal with leadership and self-growth.  There are also a lot of blogs on theology.  I believe, however, there’s a very real and urgent need to challenge men, specifically, to grow in Christ-likeness.  We are tasked to lead our families and communities as Christ models for us: through sacrifice.  I’m going to be direct and it may be hard to read.  It will be even harder to actually live.  We all have people that are counting on us, depending on us, maybe even desperate for us to grow into the men God intends us to be.

Mountain Road

So, what is this blog actually about anyways?