Daily Religious Observances

Photo by Eric Angelo

If there is one thing that sets apart spiritually stable people from spiritually unsteady people it is their participation in daily religious observances. It doesn’t matter what religion they belong to – it matters whether they willingly and consistently engage in personal acts of devotion. I got thinking about this after reading a comment from Peter Rival on this thread:

A parish that doesn’t nurture mid-week Mass attendance is one that will quickly see other practices fall to the wayside as well.

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5 Evidences of Our Broken-Family Culture

Photo by Peter Dahlgren

When I saw a link to an article titled 5 Ways Retirement Is Different For Women I hoped to see a profound insight or two in the article. Unfortunately what I got was proof of how broken our cultural views are related to families. There’s no way to argue the facts behind the 5 points in the article:

  1. Women live longer.
  2. Women are more likely to fly solo in their later years.
  3. Stepping out of the work force is easy; stepping back in is not.
  4. Retired women are poorer than retired men.
  5. Part-time work rarely leads to a solid retirement.

The point of #3 is that women pay an ongoing price if they step out of the workforce to rear children. My immediate thought was, “great, let’s keep convincing women that raising children is a burden on their lives.” When it went on to say that taking time to care for aging parents can be even worse financially than taking time to raise children it clearly suggested that families are a financial burden.

Points 4 and 5 were really sad because they would be completely non-issues if we had a culture of lasting marriages rather than a culture of disposable marriages. As I thought how lasting marriages would affect each of these points I realized that healthy, loving families mitigate all five issues listed in the article. Let’s see how. Continue reading

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Adult Desires vs Children’s Rights

This comes from a grown daughter who loves her mother and the lesbian partner who helped raise her:

There is no difference between the value and worth of heterosexual and homosexual persons. We all deserve equal protection and opportunity in academe, housing, employment, and medical care, because we are all humans created in the image of God.

However, when it comes to procreation and child-rearing, same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples are wholly unequal and should be treated differently for the sake of the children.

… Each child is conceived by a mother and a father to whom that child has a natural right. When a child is placed in a same-sex-headed household, she will miss out on at least one critical parental relationship and a vital dual-gender influence. … the adults in this scenario satisfy their heart’s desires, while the child bears the most significant cost: missing out on one or more of her biological parents.

Making policy that intentionally deprives children of their fundamental rights is something that we should not endorse, incentivize, or promote. (emphasis mine)

The fear is raised that an argument so focused on biological parents could be framed as anti-adoption. That fear is unreasonable because if people are reasonable they understand that we don’t live in an ideal world and there are less than ideal circumstances that we have to deal with. We are, and should be, happy to have people make the best of their own less than ideal individual circumstances – whatever they may be.

Adoption is a less ideal circumstance for a child than being raised by married, loving, committed, biological parents. On the other hand, adoption is a far superior circumstance for a child than abortion and usually substantially superior to being raised by a single parent for their formative years. Similarly, being raised by loving, committed, homosexual parents is better than some alternative situations but it isn’t better than the other alternatives to the ideal of married, loving, committed, biological parents that it may reasonably be compared with.

It is one thing to say legally that homosexuals should be free to pursue the lives they desire. It is another to say that legally we don’t recognize any difference between a union that can potentially create children independently and one that is absolutely incapable of doing so. I’ll reconsider my position after a homosexual couple conceives a child without the help of sperm donors, surrogate mothers, or any scientific intervention.

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Family Man

Father Holding Daughter's Hand
Photo by Spirit Fire

I have decided to more completely dedicate myself to my family and nothing else and to do so in an orderly fashion. A thought struck me again about how much more I noticed and recorded in my kids’ lives years ago so that my younger kids have almost no record and the older kids have no recent record. I decided that in order to fix that I would need to spend more focused time with each of the kids. That’s tough to do since things are so busy but I need to do it so I have decided that I will carve out half an hour each day Monday through Thursday to spend with one child. That will allow me to have time with each of my children regularly. On Fridays that equivalent time would be folded into date night (date night is longer than 30 minutes of course). Saturday I will carve out some dedicated time to working on some project around the house (there’s always something that has been neglected which that time could be used for) and then Sunday is dedicated to spiritual pursuits.

How to schedule this in is the real trick. I already get up and do any exercise and study before I go to work which I do before anybody else is up for the day. (Sometimes my oldest will be up reading or one of my younger boys will be up asking for a snack as I run out the door.) Once I get home from work I have to make dinner, feed the family, and do the dishes before getting people to bed. Somewhere in that time I need to allow the rest of the family to coast unsupervised while I create a bubble of attention around the child of the day. We can do an activity, work on homework, or talk during that time.

I hope that the dedicated half hour will help me be more perceptive and have things to record about each child more regularly. I created a rotation that would feel somewhat random to the kids but make sure that they each got regular attention within each cycle. I started this last week and have had time with most of the kids by now and I believe this will yield the results I have been hoping for. A few more cycles should make it obvious but already I can see that the kids are anxious to have time with me rather than seeing me as the big bad ogre all the time.

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Net Neutrality vs Open Infrastructure

Image by Steve Rhodes

Adam Kenigsberg did a very brave thing in posting a case against Net Neutrality and inviting his friends to “start a vigorous debate in the comment thread.” As someone who has long been interested in Net Neutrality and who has vacillated between favoring it, opposing it, and being undecided about it I was interested in what would follow before I even saw the comment thread.

Notes and Context

The case against Net Neutrality was written by David Veksler who has written quite a number of interesting cases for and against a variety of things. If you enjoy thoughtful consideration of issues his cases deserve a look. I wanted to make that clear lest anyone think that my deconstruction of his case indicated any lack of respect for his approach to this or any other topic. I would also note that his case was written more than 7 years ago. Much has changed about the internet and the surrounding industries in that time. For example, AOL was still merged with Time Warner at the time and Facebook had been open to the public for less than a year and wouldn’t have its IPO for another five years after this case was published. Continue reading

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