I always love Sunday mornings. My wife and I end up chatting about life, work, family, and our faith. I have time to catch up on news, and even this blog! One thing I stumbled upon today was an business article about the "Three Types of People to Fire Immediately". Ok, the author had me hooked with that title, I had to read it.
The author, Mr. Maddock, explains that "victims, non-believers, and know-it-alls" are the death-knell for innovative business. I can confirm from experience that this is certainly the case. Every business that I have been a part of and tasked with growing the business has pitted me against these types. But alas, this blog isn't about business...economically speaking, but rather the business of being Christian men.
What Mr. Maddock expresses certainly applies to our own personal conversion process. Let's face it, being a true Christian man and patriarch in this day is "on the cutting edge". We who have embraced familial patriarchy are blazing a path through the dogmatic feminism and infantile boyhood of the day. We are the "family innovators" because we are stuck in modernity while at the same time living something as traditional as the very fatherhood of Adam! Just as innovators in business, we can face roadblocks, mentalblock, and well, our own blockheadedness. We can all certainly claim to be "victims, non-believers, and know-it-alls."
First, are you a victim? When it comes to facing true conversion and turning your life around, do you start telling yourself that somehow God has it in for you? Everything seems to be going wrong...the car won't start, the job is a dead-end, my spouse can barely tolerate me, my children hate me, my pastor is a terrible preacher, the road is too hard, the mattress is too soft...you get the picture. It is very easy to get stuck in this mode and even turn it into a "victim-spirituality". You can tell yourself that you are suffering all these things because God "loves" you so much. You are the specially chosen - of course I say this tongue-in-cheek because it is simply hogwash and terrifically ego-centric. Face it, most people's cars break down, job's stink, etc, etc. Life is difficult, not just for you and me, but for most of the human populace! As a dear deceased friend and psychologist used to say, "Chris, you really just aren't that important", meaning that, yes, the universe really doesn't find it's gravitational center in ME!
So to beat victimhood - embrace Humility!
Secondly, are you (and of course I am asking myself the same question) a non-believer? Do you discuss all the reasons traditional family life and true patriarchy won't work for you? Are you constantly telling yourself that you just aren't strong enough to lead? Have you come up with the 36 page report on why your family is "just the way they are" and can never come around?
I would venture to say that this issue is one the problems plaguing men today and comes with the inferiority complex that has been instilled in us since we were boys. Rabid feminism has created a caricature of modern men that unfortunately many men live up to. It is the image of the blundering father, the childish middle-aged man still stumbling in and out of bars and relationships, it is also the image of the self-centered tyrant and brute in the home. These caricatures are there for some to keep them from becoming true men, but for others they are there as challenges to overcome. If you are the non-believer you must challenge yourself to face your inadequacies while at the same time trusting in God the Father and fearlessly going forward with your vision for holy family life.
So to beat non-belief - embrace Courage!
Lastly, Maddock speaks of the "know-it-alls" These are the guys that know everything there is to know in life, and well, are just too smart to need to change. They have it all going they're way and have every seemingly good reason not to embrace conversion. I would really go out on a limb here and state that these are the guys that feel like they know better than the Church. They are able to justify just about anything in their life and give and extremely compelling (at least in their own mind) reason to stay just the way they are. This seemingly conviction is really just pride. When confronted with some authentic teaching of the Church that challenges their general idea they quote some saint that says smoking and drinking is a virtue of Catholicism.
The scary part about being a know-it-all is the difficulty in seeing through one's own self-love and pride. One can get stuck here for a lifetime, because you think you...well, know it all! Maddock states, "The best innovators are learners, not knowers." I think this can be well-applied to our spiritual life as well. As soon as we claim to know God, we are losing Him. We must be constantly "learning" about Him, of Him, and with Him. Our life is a time to learn of God and in the next we shall truly "know Him."
So to beat the "know-it-all" syndrome - embrace repentance and penitence!
How else can we truly succeed in the spiritual life and developing holy families than embracing the virtues of Humility, Courage, and Repentance? Change is never easy, and true conversion takes a lifetime. If you are challenged to succeed in life, you must make tough choices and constantly improve your spiritual life. This requires you to "FIRE" your own personal "victim, non-believer, and know-it-all" and you don't even need H.R.'s approval!