Category Archives: Love

Comments on Comments on Miley

August 28, 2013

Watch the video?  Or not watch?

Miley CyrusBased on all of the comments, I feel like I could pretty much choreograph Miley’s VMA dance…even not having seen the dance.  Everybody seems to have something to say about Miley Cyrus.  Lots of bad comments.  Some good comments…or perhaps…comments only attempting to point to a redeeming good.

But, from this Monday morning quarterback, with all of our eyes glued to Miley, we are failing to see the bigger picture.  Where are the more important comments directed to Miley’s audience?

I decided not to watch.  Miley.  Reading all of the comments on Miley “grabbing her crotch,” multiple times…this is visual enough for me.

I didn’t watch, even though I know that I am now committing a modern American sin.  I am commenting on something I did not see firsthand.

In America, we have hundreds of reasons for watching anything and everything.  We’re bored.  Curious.  We have to be able to talk with our coworkers about it tomorrow.  And if none of that pulls us in, we must watch on YouTube, the day after, just to prove that we have the right to have an opinion about a 20-year-old’s lascivious tongue-wagging, crotch-grabbing on-stage embarrassment.  The modern sin is not watching.

I have not watched many things that were much-watched in America.  The first time I felt somewhat apologetic about not watching was a few months after May 25, 1977.  Everyone was talking about Star Wars.  My blank stare outed me every time.  “You mean you haven’t seen Star WarStarWars Logos?”

At its release, I had been busy.  Work, rehabbing a house, camping under the stars and road trips to Tennessee occupied all of my time.  Doing seemed so much more fun than sitting…sitting and watching someone else do all the doing.  Star Wars just didn’t make it to my radar.  I was not making a political statement…a cultural statement…a statement of any kind.  I just figured I would get around to watching it when I had time.

In 1977, movies came…and movies went.  There was no VCR, DVD or Net Flix.  Eventually, Star Wars left the scene…without me…and people stopped talking about it.  At that point, it just didn’t seem worth thinking about Star Wars any longer.  And I didn’t.

Things were fairly quiet on the movie front…for three years…until the 2000 release of…you guessed it…Son of Star Wars. StarWars Light Show Now, I ask you, if I had not seen the first Star Wars, how could I possibly see Son of Star Wars?  That would be a sequential disaster, trying to understand the “son” without knowing his “father.”

I had survived my first period of Not Watching.  So the stages of reaction to my Not Watching were familiar as they repeated:

  • You mean you haven’t seen Son of Star Wars?
  • You mean you have to wait for the first Star Wars to be re-released?
  • You’re kidding, aren’t you?
  • Head-scratching.
  • Eventually…next year…a movie is released that I do see, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Nobody is talking about Son of Star Wars.
  • Nobody remembers that I did not see Son of Star Wars.
  • Nobody cares…if they ever did.

The greatest lesson about Miley at the VMA is not about Miley, or her choreographer, her dance partners, her parents, her agents, the VMA show producers…or anyone else having to do with Miley.  The greatest lesson is about our own compulsion to watch.

We watch anything, anywhere, for any reason whatsoever.  We carry our little portable phone watcher machines with us.  And if we lose the signal in the subway, we watch multiple times at home on YouTube.  Watching is a cultural disease.

Not Watching- that is an art.  I didn’t see Miley because when I saw MTV for the first time…years ago…it had already degraded into a popular medium for teaching pre-teens how to lap dance.  I take my Not Watching seriously enough that I cornered the gym manager to ask why children had to group-watch MTV in the lobby of the gym.  We were there to create healthy bodies.  What about healthy minds?

Not Watching – I no longer watch SuperBowl half-time shows.  Janet Jackson convinced me that I don’t need half-time shows.  Not just Janet…but the whole media complex that winks and profits from this type of cultural pollution.  I don’t care who is on stage or how much money went into the production or how much hype is put into getting me to watch.  There are better things to do.

This is the perfect age for Not Watchers.  Cable TV offers 1000 channels.  NetflixIf only 20 are worth anything, that is five times more than the four channels I had as a teen…20 more than the zero channels my parents grew up with.  Netflix is a virtual library of anything a watcher could watch.  Even if you are picky, that is a lot of watching.

And what about the Doing?  What are we missing about Doing in a culture addicted to Watching?

Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Miley…if I never watch any of them…I can have a wonderful, fulfilling life.  Beauty FlowerIt is one life…one chance on earth…one opportunity to feast my eyes on the beautiful, the creative, the brilliant, the honorable…the redemptive.

I can’t agree with many of the comments made by Justin Timberlake in defense of Miley.  But when I agree with JT, it is a big high-five agreement.  “It’s the VMAs, what did you guys expect?”

If Americans have anything to learn from this “shocking” performance of Miley’s, it is this…there is much to be gained by learning how to Not Watch.

Not Watching – You will survive.  Next week, nobody will know if you Soul Eyewatched…or not.  The week after that…they won’t care.  If it’s worth it, and if you have the time, five years from now you can download it.

Your eyes are the gateway to your soul.  Healthy bodies, healthy minds.  Try Not Watching.

You will survive!

Lies, Lies and Damned Lies

April 29, 2013

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

If the Internet has any value at all, you would think it would be in its role in “truth telling.”  If only.

Lies and deceit are as old as Adam and Eve.  Lying is an equal opportunity sin:  The man Adam Eveanswered God, “The woman you put here with me….The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Lying is eternal.  Only one generation out of the Garden, Cain took advantage of lies in an attempt to deceive his Maker.  Where was Able?  “I don’t know,” Cain said…presumably with a straight face.

The Bible abounds in wisdom grounded in knowing the difference between truth and lies.  Proverbs warns us.  Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit.  [Prov 26:24 NIV]  Satan, the quintessential evil being, is named Father of all lies.

There is only one reason that lying is so pervasive.  There is profit in being a good liar.  If successful, you can retain your deed to the Garden of Eden; you can avoid the mark of Cain for murder.

Ford PintoFord car company tried its best.  And it almost got away with a very profitable lie.  In 1968, the Ford Pinto was set up to be a hot-selling, middle-America car.  Cute car, cute name…the Pinto was perfect for families on a budget and for their children just learning to drive.  Only problem?  Every once in a while, in a simple fender-bender car accident, the Pinto would explode into flames.  And flames are quite deadly to the people involved.

In May 1972, Lily Gray was traveling with thirteen year old Richard Grimshaw in a 1972 Pinto when their car was struck by another car traveling approximately thirty miles per hour.  The impact ignited a fire in the Pinto which killed Lily Gray and left Richard Grimshaw with devastating injuries.  A judgment was rendered against Ford and the jury awarded the Gray family $560,000 and Matthew Grimshaw $2.5 million in compensatory damages.  The surprise came when the jury awarded $125 million in punitive damages as well.  This was subsequently reduced to $3.5 million.

Long ago, when truth was recorded on scrolls, one can imagine how difficult it would have been to ride a donkey down to the local synagogue and dig through their scroll library, unrolling and rolling back leather scrolls in a search for the damning evidence to prove that Ford lied.  With the Internet, just type in “Ford Pinto,” and your evidence is at hand.  Voila!  Search finished. They lied.

The Internet, not yet in existence, would have been a great help in the 70s to reveal truth about the Pinto, saving time…and more importantly…saving lives.  It took more deaths, many years, and thousands of hours upon hours of research to prove that the deaths in Pinto accidents were caused by corporate greed.  Law professor Palmiter explains

Although Ford had access to a new design which would decrease the possibility of the Ford Pinto from exploding, the company chose not to implement the design, which would have cost $11 per car, even though it had done an analysis showing that the new design would result in 180 less deaths.

In the current age, no matter how you count the years between Genesis and today, we are witnesses to a “whole lot of lying going on.”  Just last night, in the commercial breaks for a one hour crime drama, three different drug companies are being accused of lying.  The companies told consumers, “Take our drug.  It is good for you.”  They are being sued.  Liars?

Did you take Accutane, Zoloft, or Actos?  One word typed into your Internet search engine…one Accutane Bookclick… “Enter”…and the entire library of the universe is at your disposal.  You would think that is enough to find truth and reveal lies…wouldn’t you?

If only!

And these drugs are the simple cases.  Don’t even think about investigating lies that involve our sexually promiscuous society.

Have you ever wondered about the money to be made in the sex industry?  Forget the obvious – pornography and prostitution.  What about all of the money to be made by encouraging people of all ages to have all types of sex at any time with anyone for any reason?

Dollar SignIf the question does not produce a string of dollar signs in your mind, please return to Genesis.  If any question has merits in today’s culture, this is it.    What profits are to be made by convincing people to have more of what they already are programmed to desire?  Sex.

And…with all that money at stake…what is the possibility that there are lies out there waiting to be discovered?  Sex…money…lies?  It’s a calculation you can bet on.



Upcoming columns will expose the many profits to be had for those in our culture  who are in the business of promoting free and easy sex.  Yes, there is a cost involved in “free” sex.

All Things Being Equal

March 15, 2013

America is a country founded on equality.  It is an idea formalized in our Declaration of Independence:

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Yet, the modern understanding of equality is threatening to undo us, as we become more and more fractured in our attempts to make certain that we all get an equal slice of the American Dream.  Bluntly put, equality today means that I can have what you have, no holds barred.  You have it, and I want it.  I deserve it because we are both equal.

Equality is at the heart of the battle between the sexes.  And most recently, equality has been argued at the Supreme Court as the premise for redefining marriage to provide for equality.  Equality?  How so?

Ask any child what equal means.  PieAt the age of three, he knows what to look for….my slice of the pie is just as big as your slice.  And kids have a very simple way to enforce the rules of equality.  You slice the pie.  I get first choice.

Sadly, many adults have never graduated from this simple definition of equality.  They wildly bandy the term “equality” around, as if all of life is one big cherry pie to be shared.

Children grow in their sophistication.  9871057-pizza-slice-with-everythingSharing a pizza is so much more complicated than cherry pie.  Even when the slices are perfectly cut from the center of the pizza into identical slices, there are so many ways to go wrong in getting your equal share.

  • How many slices of pepperoni are on each piece?
  • Which slice has the most cheese?
  • Does cheese matter to me?
  • If I give you my cheese, what will you give me in return?
  • If my brother is twice as tall, does he get twice as many slices?
  • What if I missed breakfast?  Can I have more than my extra tall brother?

Pie ChartWhat does equality mean?  Quite literally, it depends on how you slice it.  Some may object to reducing the arguments for same-sex marriage to a pizza party challenge.  But there is more to the comparison than meets the eye.

Cherry Pie – we all have relationships that could compare to sharing a pie.  For instance, there is the line at the box office.  Every person in line is equal as my competitor.  Our equal chance to buy tickets to the concert is governed by who got in line first.  If tickets are few and the line is long, they may restrict each purchase to six tickets.  And still, at the end of the day, they will run out of tickets and there will be the haves and the have-nots.  Some will have $300 to pay for a ticket sold online.  Many will not be able to ante up the extra money and will have to read about the concert in the papers or hope for a YouTube upload.  Every person in line is equal as my competitor.  But at the end of the day…some have…and some have not.  As my mother used to tell me, life is not fair.  I will not get everything I want.

Pizza – we all long for the relationships that are special orders, people who are essential to our life in personal and unique ways.  Every pizza is specially designed to appeal to the one who will eat it.  If we are lucky, we may have many such special order relationships.  Common understanding is that we will be able to count these relationships on one hand.  If I am lucky to have five special people that I can relate deeply to, what is the likelihood that each of these relationships is equal to all of the others?  There is the parent who is my best friend.  My spouse is committed to the fulfillment of my personal dreams.  My child protects me in a new and expanding world with challenges that I need help to deal with.  My friend of 40 years knows the history of my failings…and he loves me in spite of them.  Each relationship is special, but none of them are equal to each other.

Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary CakeHow can we reduce marriage to a simple piece of cherry pie?  That is at the heart of the premise presented to the Supreme Court justices…that equality will solve our differences.

All things being equal…there is never a day when all things are equal.  The best we can do is discern the differences and ask what those differences mean to us.

Marriage?  Special order…made especially for whom?  This is what we need to ask.


April 23, 2004:  m…m…Married?

May 14, 2004:  Order in the Courtroom!


Vaya con Dios, Papa

March 1, 2013

Nearly eight years ago, in the late evening of April 2, 2005, the world said goodbye to Pope John Paul II. Vaya con Dios, Papa.  As a non-Catholic who was preoccupied with my own busy life, I made little note of his passing.

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

His pontificate lasted nearly 27 years, but the only real memory I have of Pope John Paul II was seeing him standing in his Popemobile, waving to us as he sped up Central Avenue in Phoenix, just a block from my home.  He made 104 pastoral visits outside of Italy, and we felt lucky to witness history.

In the past month, one of my great joys has been watching the EWTN channel’s historical review of Popes.  I lived for over a quarter of a century during the lifetime of one of the world’s most popular religious leaders, but until this month I had seen and heard essentially nothing about Blessed Pope John Paul II.

It is easy to forget that the first commercial access to the Internet only happened in 1990, twelve Pope John Paulyears after the election of Pope John Paul II.  And YouTube did not officially debut until December, 2005, fifteen years later, too late even to provide live video coverage of his funeral.

From the evening of April 2, until his funeral on April 8, 2005, more than three million pilgrims went to Rome to pay homage to the mortal remains of Pope John Paul II. Some of them stayed in line for up to 24 hours to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. That would have been worth seeing.

Today, as I witness St. Peter’s Square filled with pilgrims, I am amazed at the Pope’s significance in our world.  Perhaps I should have understood this long before today.  But in an instant, being able to soak in the coverage of today’s events and revisit them on YouTube, I see for myself what the news has been reluctant to admit.  The world is lucky to be able to look to the Pope for leadership.

What an absolute joy to be liberated from the stranglehold our press has held on religious news!  If unable to contain positive Christian news in a black hole, main stream reporters have managed to intone darkly with their questions.  On NBC, a sober news anchor suggests that the Council of Cardinals might bring the church out of the dark ages and reward the liberal non-religious by reversing the church’s position on birth control.  Snide, all-knowing chuckles follow.

Changing channels, on EWTN, buoyant commentators revisit the high points of Pope Benedict XVI’s years in the papacy.  They love this gentle patriarch.  They pray for his well-being.  And cameras scan the vast crowds who love him, too.St. Peter's Square

In Pope Benedict’s Farewell Audience on February 27, he opened his heart to the crowds and shared fond greetings and memories with them:

They write to me as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters, with a sense of a very affectionate family bond. Here one can sense palpably what the Church is – not an organization, an association for religious or humanitarian ends, but a living body, a communion of brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, which makes us all one. To experience the Church in this way and to be able as it were to put one’s finger on the strength of her truth and her love, is a cause for joy at a time when so many people are speaking of her decline. But we see how the Church is alive today!

The retiring Pope encourages the Church:

We are in the Year of Faith which I desired precisely to reaffirm our faith in God in a context which seems to push him more and more into the background. I should like to invite all of us to renew our firm confidence in the Lord, to entrust ourselves like children in God’s arms, certain that those arms always hold us, enabling us to press forward each day, even when the going is rough. I want everyone to feel loved by that God who gave his Son for us and who has shown us his infinite love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being a Christian.

Pope's Last DayAnd, with his farewell, he leaves us with his great assurance that God will endure even as we each will eventually make way for a future generation.

At this moment I feel great confidence, because I know, we all know, that the Gospel word of truth is the Church’s strength, it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews, it bears fruit, wherever the community of believers hears it and receives God’s grace in truth and charity. This is my confidence, this is my joy.

Love, faith and hope…the Pope gives everyone a parting message that all faiths can cherish.  He is willing to open his arms wide with a humble embrace large enough for even his critics.  In the modern world of communication, his light cannot any longer be hidden under a basket.  It is a beacon, shining on the hill.

The crowds waving goodbye to Pope Benedict XVI reaffirm our trust in people and in the God of their faith.  From each face representing all nations, cultures and generations, love is transmitted to their beloved Papa.

We can see it.  We are a witness to truth.  We can share it with those who missed it.  And we can return again via the Internet to see it again, our visual memory of a cherished relationship that will pave the way for the next Pope.

Thank you for your service, Pope Benedict.  Thank you for your love.  And may you be greatly encouraged in knowing that we feel much loved, knowing you will fulfill your vow to pray for us into Eternity.

Vaya con Dios, Papa.

A Forest of One Tree

October 23, 2006

No issue this year looms larger than marriage and the fight to define what marriage will be for the next generation.

All sorts of arguments fly through the air.  What is fair?  Who is going to get or lose health insurance?  Who won’t be able to get married?  Who will?  Why should government care who gets married?

There are lots of questions and lots of arguments.  But there is really only one agenda pushing them all.  This is about certifying same-sex marriage as an equivalent to traditional marriage.

Will I get to wear a wedding ring?  Will I get health insurance?  Will my relationship be validated as special by the government?  Why does it matter who or what I am when I get married?

There are lots of questions and lots of arguments.  But they are only branches of the same tree.  Marriage…what’s in this for me?

My, myself and I…will I be allowed to get all the “stuff” that belongs to marriage?

But wait.  Since when did marriage focus on “getting”?  This is a modern invention.

Since when did marriage focus on “me, myself, and I?”  This is a modern concoction.

If this is only about me, and if it’s only about what I get out of it, then I am the only tree in the forest.

This is an odd way to think about a relationship that only survives out of a desire to be a sacrificial servant to another person.  Foundationally, marriage is about giving up my right to be the only tree in the forest.

When we marry, with our attention focused outwards, looking at the other trees in the forest, it is our interest in the future of the forest that lets us see the seedlings just pushing up out of the soil and beginning to grow.  If this is about me, myself, and I…then seedlings don’t matter.

If this is about me, myself, and I, then…when I am gone, the forest will be gone.  But that won’t matter.  Who needs seedlings?  I won’t be around to see it.  And because the forest was only about me anyway, that will be just fine.

At the heart of the heated arguments about marriage, we need to step back from the trees and see the forest.  Are we building a society of individual trees?  Or are we building a society that nurtures seedlings?

Marriage, when properly focused, is about a larger society that flourishes because it nurtures the smaller family society that is raising the next generation.  It is not an arbitrary definition contrived to allow me to qualify for wedding rings and insurance.

Marriage is focused on the sacrificial relationship between a man and a woman for a logical reason.  This is the relationship out of which children are born and raised.  If children don’t flourish under the care of their parents, they will lose… we will all lose.

Government defines marriage and sets it aside as a unique relationship because of its significance for our children…for our future.  Marriage is not a random definition created by legislators.  It is a relationship of importance, a relationship that matters for the sake of the preservation of the forest.

If we are going to build a forest, then our laws best be about what is good for our children.  Marriage matters.  Mothers and fathers united in stable relationships defined by a focus on creating a nurturing environment for their children…this has always been the focus of a society that cares about the future.

Me, myself, and I will never create a seedling.  I may be a very pretty tree.  But I won’t live forever.  And I will never be more than a forest of one tree.


 September 3, 2004 – We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

June 13, 2005  – A Recipe for Families

See Archives for past editorials.