a Treaty on character

Authentic. Trusting. Passionate.

We live in a culture that no longer values putting an honest image of yourself out there. Preferring for each of us to fit a preset mold. most often this causes us to wear a view of ourselves that is far from the truth. The authenticity that I seek is contrary to this cultural norm. I choose to pursue the entirety of who I am. and not just the most convenient parts. Fully aware that pieces of who I am are faults. And while I will try to overcome said issues, I refuse to hide them from view. We are best as a whole person. To disregard our blemishes is a hindrance to the truth. A lie that damages us most of all. St. Irenaeus told us, “The glory of God is human being fully alive.” We cannot hope to become fully alive if we do not accept who we are. So I choose to be authentic. To show the world my whole self, the good with the bad.

everyday we are surrounded by individuals who give us no reason to trust them, or worse, give us reason not to.It’s easy to walk through life wary of every step and each character we meet. not only is it convenient, but also the safer route. We are more likely to come to a gentle rest at the end of our days if we have kept to ourselves. Unfortunately, though it be a softer landing, it will most certainly be lonelier. Therefore it is in our interest to trust others. To bring them into our inner circle. The trouble with this is that we feel an obligation to protect those we hold close. This becomes difficult the more trust we give away. Regardless, we must simply do our best to trust them all and embrace the consequences. Now I do not wish for you to think me naive, I know that my trust will be misplaced often. Yet if I must error it will be in favor of an innocent trust. I believe that every person deserves my respect, and so I choose to begin at the top of that spectrum. I will trust.

Both Shakespeare’s King Leer and the Greek philosopher Parmenide Proclaim Nihil Fit Ex Nihilo, that is “nothing comes from nothing.” This continues to hold true to this day. If you want something you have to put the effort in. I am part of a generation oft associated with demanding the world be handed to us. Welfare babies and laissez faire workers. We are millenials. And still we are the generation with the most potential to change the world. Passion is about pushing the envelope. A passionate person cannot afford half measures. To be passionate is to envision what it takes to complete the task. The pain, frustration, and sacrifice that passion requires is enormous. The guiding light is that the rewards of these are limited only by our imaginations and the effort we put forth.

It is my desire that these will define who I am. Authenticity boils down to fully being the person you are. Trust is simply loving each person for who they are. Passion is a commitment to what we love, and a rejection of half measures. These I’ll strive for today, tomorrow, and after that.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

a Call to Leadership

“A good leader has a compass in their head, and a magnet in their heart.”

-Howard G. Hendricks

A quality leader tends to be an enigma, but that shouldn’t have to be the case. Consider the authority figures in your life. Teachers, pastors, friends, politicians, family, employers these are the people who shape our lives. Now how many of those authority figures do you look up to for guidance? A leader evokes that from you with ease. Far too often we force ourselves to follow authority figures that we simply don’t trust. We do this because we know that they should be creating these feelings in us. We do this because we desire leadership. We are social beings, and the very act of our humanity causes us to seek out a leader that can keep us safe. When our authority figures fail to lead us they are denying us a natural craving. Only chaos can come from that.

I’m quite public with my disdain for the term “millennials.” The label that simultaneously categorizes an entire generation and assigns blame for problems that should belong to us all. My argument is that the disarray of my generation, both real and perceived, spurs from a lack of leadership; from that violation of the natural order. I hate to sound like a cynic, but it is too late for the older generations to do anything. They can attempt to explain away the problems with their labels and theories, yet their time to lead has come and gone. The issues that face us will be overcome by my generation.

We “millennials” are often accused of being narcissists who demand that everything in life be handed to us. The truth is found to be a little different. Perhaps it’s not that we demand too much, rather that we fail to demand enough of what we really need. Our entire lives we have been told that we can be anything. That is an idea we hold sacred in our society, and rightly so. Though somewhere along the way a lie crept in. A lie that says because we all have infinite possibility, than we must all be equal. The result is that we did away with the notion of leaders, and consensus became the dictator of our every action. Don’t get me wrong, I know that every person is of equal value and that a consensus of the whole is a useful tool for understanding. The problem is that it fails to accomplish anything. We are a diverse people so there will always be dissent. Only a leader, with that compass in their mind, will pick out the best course of action and make it happen. What’s more is that a leader, with that magnet in their heart, is able to unite a group in order to accomplish a goal.Because of our diversity, a group could never unify itself without a leader.

We must not allow leadership to remain a mysterious quality. It belongs in the natural order as much as seeking shelter or some other basic need. Every person is of equal value, though thankfully we are not all equally the same. Within our social groups everyone of us possesses a different set of strengths and abilities. The beauty is that through a little effort each of these talents can be refined into a specific type of leadership. Every moment of our lives is a chance to lead and to follow. A good leader is an excellent follower, and vice versa. Every moment we must choose to be more, the status quo only hampers solutions. We need to become a people of character that demands the best of each other and of ourselves.

I’ll leave you with this. Our way of life requires leaders. Only a leader can put the chaos to rest. So demand that authorities be quality leaders. In return give them the trust and respect they deserve. And should they break your trust, put your abilities to work. Demand of yourself the leadership necessary. Each of us has that ability, that will, and that responsibility.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

leader4

a consensus wouldn’t have built the car

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Tremble & Trust

This is me.

The tremble in my voice.

The shake in my hand.

This is everything.

*

This is work,

my classes,

my commitments,

my prayers,

my friendships,

my dreams,

All of it.

*

This is a million thoughts

unable to escape.

This is who I am,

my everything.

And if I could,

I’d write it all for you.

I’d trust you with it all…


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe