A time to be me

I’ve got a lot to learn. Can I admit something? My thought process has the pre-supposition that I am always right, or maybe that I am at least the most capable person given any situation. Even my recognition that someone possesses better skill in a certain area is enough for me to pat myself on the back (i.e. “I am so good at delegating to the most capable person, good job Josh”). I’ve been trying to figure out the fine line between confidence and humility ever since I was first disciplined for disrespectful statements that I made to my parents as a child. Condemnation isn’t the feeling that I have for my pride and superiority complex; I mean look at what I have found in my faith in Jesus Christ:

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

People have called me abrasive just because I have strong opinions that I fight for. I have alienated some with an over-the-top passion that I feel for certain subjects. Many have experienced annoyance at the nuanced ways that I dissect every statement that they make. The temptation for me whenever I receive these responses from people is to shut down and to feel misunderstood; sometimes I become passive for fear of these responses.

My admission in paragraph 1 hopefully has disarmed any that would think that I have zero self-awareness and am unwilling to stop being arrogant. I just want to be me; I just want people to appreciate me in all of my sincerity. However, I am not a child who needs someone to give me a pacifier ever time that I start fussing. I must learn wisdom and I must learn to discern the times and places for certain opinions, arguments, and discussions. To love one in any relationship is to give effort in discerning their greatest need and to respond appropriately. There is a time to “be me” and a time not to “be me”…

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

   a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

   a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

   a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

   a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

   a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

   a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

   a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace. [1]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ec 3:1–8.

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Vanity Plates, Bad Arguments, and Race

1.  There is nothing more pretentious than a vanity license plate. NH-Vanity-Plate I am irritated more by people with vanity plates than dudes with tribal arm band tattoos, wearing affliction t-shirts, who are 37 yrs old, waiting in line to get into a packed club at midnight, who listen to bro-country in their super jacked up Chevy pickup trucks, wearing a bandanas around their bald halo domes as they listen to Pitbull.

 

 

2.  Everyone in the United States needs an introductory class to formulating good arguments.  Social media has unlocked the Pandora’s box of terrible argumentation and it makes for bad reading.  84472007df69b6837bda6c6f34acb2717186a24686b719cf35cac2b54aa78ec9Get educated, analyze the facts, understand your biases, view the situation from your opposition’s shoes, and calmly address each point of their argument with your relevant rebuttal.  I’m not expecting the elimination of all terrible arguments but lets at least get rid of the most egregious ones.  Regurgitation culture stymies original thinking, education, creativity, the economy, and reduces “leaders” to nonsensical puppets.  Makes you wonder about education systems that separate knowledge from application.

 

3.  I’ve seen very few practical steps given in regards to racial disparity that exists in our country.  Just a lot of feelings being pumped out there.  I know that feelings are important as a jumping board to solving problems and caring for people but what are we jumping in to?  Our culture is obsessed with hypersensitivity towards individual’s feelings where the definition of morality gets wrapped up in the individual’s desire – this only leads to bad argumentation, pumping-up of emotional extremes, and intrinsic validation of immoral and vindictive behavior.  The moral solutions to a nation’s issues must be grounded on truth.

Percolate on this:

“[Research] suggests that what we think of as free will is largely an illusion: much of the time, we are simply operating on automatic pilot, and the way we think and act – and how well we think and act on the spur of the moment – are a lot more susceptible to outside influences than we realize.”

Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

What is it that influences you and what is it’s motive?

Life Long Learner

The posture of a true learner is humility.  How can one possibly learn what one already claims to know?  Admitting the lack of knowledge in a particular area is the initial necessary step to being a true student.  What gets me extremely excited about life is that there are many, many things that I do not know.  How boring would it be to live in an existence where all is known?  No, how terrible would it be?  All incredible mysteries that occur in life would cease to exist.  Everyone would always be right and so everyone would be the most arrogant possible version of themselves.  Parents would father and mother children that needed no father or mother.  Reading would be pointless.  Would there even be a need for language or any type of communication?  I have an endless amount of questions about this hypothetical world.  And I don’t need them answered to know that I hate that hypothetical world.

Anxious first work day that I always wish I didn’t have to trudge through.  I love it.  Different kinds of people that have totally different cultural experiences than I.  Get to know them.  Working with tools that I never knew existed.  Teach me.  About to be a first time father.  I want to be the best one I can become.  Who God is.

I want to be a life long learner.

Uncomfortable

Uncomfortable

Check this.  Check that.

ESPN.com, hit refresh.  Check fantasy App.

Facebook notification.  Change the station.

Check this.  Check that.

Phone Game; Build and Conquer

In-game Purchase?  Nah, check back in an hour

Check this.  Check that.

Attention deficit?  Comfort deficit?

Possibly need a Netflix fix?

Check this.  Check that.

New MacBook.  Flashy.

Sleek Hipster Sipping Americanos

Check this.  Check that.

Unending radio station changing.  Seek.

Text beep woke me from sleep

Check this.  Check that.

Super unstable attention gives notice

Things are incredibly fleeting, I should know this

Check mate and match.

Ideas have Consequences

Nebulous concepts drive my desire for knowledge.

Ideas have consequences and though people are human and deserving of equal human rights it would be silly to say that every human has an inherent right that equally gives a voice to be right about something.

Wisdom is the crucial currency that must be the criteria to the correctness of concepts and ideas.  One should not ask whether or not a concept is correct for a particular human because not all humans have equal wisdom and thus would not all make the most correct, or morally good, decision.  The truest source of wisdom must be sought and acquired in order to frame the truth of the matter.

I am not expressing a need for an elitist brain trust of wise humans to control all of humanity’s governments, ideas, and vision.  That would be ludicrous; in light of world history which is littered with brilliant yet malicious leaders one would only have to point to a Hitler or Stalin to remove the foundation of such an idea.  Humanity is flawed and will continue to decay in its current state and though not every human is Hitler, no human can stem the tide of evil that so corrupts our planet.

Can there be something that originates in the minds of men that is truly wise?  Does a hope exist for an existence of perfection or am I fancifully dreaming of Eden?  Think man and woman!  Wonder at existence itself and drive yourself mad with the invincible scientific method; the arrogant religion of academia.  Find me purpose more purposeful than wondering how cool I look letting my emotions run my soul.  Give me an end that looks better than 1987 – 2064.  2064 might be pretty dang cool but I’ll be too old to learn anything new.

Get my life drunk on fantasy, ecstasy, and a hope that doesn’t exist so I can just numb my meandering mind until I am put in the dirt?  Why is death bad and gravesides so covered with tears?  Are my emotions so simple as the cowering face of a misbehaved dog?

Maybe we could get our heads out of our asses, take a breath of air (which just so happens to be breathable) and actually get to working out the purpose that we have as humanity.

Revise.  The purpose of humanity drives my desire for knowledge.  So far, the Bible’s drink has been the richest.

Blah

I have been trying to write a blog post each weekend.  My absence last week was due to disappointment; which in turn led to an impressively unmotivated weekend.  Now, I am not depressed and have never struggled with depression, but there are times when everything seems a little bit sub-par, and that will grind down your generally good mood.  The job you want to enjoy isn’t that enjoyable, the plans you have didn’t work out that well, entertainment isn’t satisfying, that coffee wasn’t satiating, the homework assignment was boring and you just did it without learning anything; I don’t know.  I guess that some days things that I create don’t fulfill me… and thats really the deception, that most days the things that I create do fulfill me.  Maybe I just feel a little bit like Solomon:

Ecclesiastes 1:2–11 (ESV)

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,

vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

What does man gain by all the toil

at which he toils under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes,

but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises, and the sun goes down,

and hastens to the place where it rises.

The wind blows to the south

and goes around to the north;

around and around goes the wind,

and on its circuits the wind returns.

All streams run to the sea,

but the sea is not full;

to the place where the streams flow,

there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness;

a man cannot utter it;

the eye is not satisfied with seeing,

nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be,

and what has been done is what will be done,

and there is nothing new under the sun.

10  Is there a thing of which it is said,

“See, this is new”?

It has been already

in the ages before us.

11  There is no remembrance of former things,

nor will there be any remembrance

of later things yet to be

among those who come after.

Reading the book of Ecclesiastes gives me fantastic perspective that its not about me and that all of the things that I will naturally turn to for satisfaction are fleeting.  God is the one point of stability in a universe full of shifting sand.

On a completely unrelated not, do I sound pretentious if I tell you that I bought a Mac?  2 months ago I went cheap and bought an HP laptop at CostCo so that I could have something to do my online school on.  The HP was working fantastically until this last Wednesday when it took a dump on my attempt to do my homework.  An hour and a half of ctrl-alt-deleting and frustrating restarts had my impatient anger boiling.  How am I supposed to work, love my wife, be a father, and do school if I have to come home and mess around with the tool that I use to learn for an hour and a half?  Fortunately for me CostCo has a 90 day return policy, which I am well within.  So back goes that HP and in comes a MacBook Air.  I have become that guy.

21° … a shifting perspective of a noob husband and a soon-to-be father

94° yesterday… 73° today.  Those 21° sure do make a huge difference in the weather; one day a sweltering, sweaty mess and the other a pleasantly warm and cool stroll in the park.  Given the choice (as if I control the weather) between the two I’d take the 73° day every day.  The windows of my apartment are open, I can hear the birds, the sun is shining through a partly cloudy yet blue sky, and my feet are propped up as I sit on my plush couch imbibing my French press.  Contrasting the weather scenes of the last two days gives me opportunity to contrast my last two work weeks; the first was the 94° day and this past week was the 73° day. 

I worked 70 hours for my first week of employment manufacturing carbon-fiber parts for a variety of uses.  The overtime pay was fantastic, yet I was exhausted all week and I found myself loving my bed more than loving my wife; coming home just to shower and fall asleep.  I am not averse to hard work and long hours; I used to work for 28 days straight and 13 hours a day in the oilfield in North Dakota, I went to school full time while waiting tables 5 days a week, I took 21 credit hours concurrently with playing college football and performing petty military requirements, I am getting my master’s degree in Theology while being newly married while working full time, etc.  Being disciplined and a hard working individual are things that I value.  Why did I hate the 70 hour work week so much when there have been many times in my life when I have worked longer and harder?  Am I becoming slothful and lazy? 

Marriage changes much, and if it doesn’t then you probably shouldn’t have got hitched.  My wife Jenna is awesome to be around and I want to maneuver my time in such a way that takes advantage of the quality time that we both desire from each other.  October 10th is the due date for our first child and the closer that the date arrives the greater my desire to be a father grows, and I want to be a good one.  I desire to put myself in the best possible situation to love my family that I can; and I know for absolute certainty that working for 70 hours a week is not that situation. 

I’m not here to apologize for the “1st world problem” of having the option to work less and barely providing for my family vs. working more and providing amply for my family.  I just want to be the best steward of the resources that God has given me; and with both family and money requiring time to flourish (in most cases) I have decided to choose family at the expense of money.       

I only worked 40 hours this week, and I probably could have pushed that to 50 with the same benefits, which afforded me much more opportunity to spend quality time with my wife.  This week has been the 73° day and I’ll take it every day please.