My father passed down to me a bit of advice that countless fathers have passed down to their sons over the course of human history: when you meet someone for the first time, stand tall, look him in the eyes, and give him a firm, confident handshake. As advice goes, that may seem simple and even trite; in actuality, it contains a great deal of wisdom and insight into how to be a man.
About Lou Markos
I remember how dismayed you were, my son, when you made the common sense statement that men have souls and animals do not, only to be laughed at by half the students in your high school senior class. And I remember how your dismay turned to shock and disbelief when you linked the human soul to consciousness and conscience, only to have your classmates argue that animals too are conscious and understand right and wrong.
As you know, my son, I’ve seen some 3500 films in my life: a figure that would suggest that movies have meant a great deal more to me than mere entertainment. They have. Of course, there is nothing wrong with mere entertainment. Indeed, I would encourage you to turn to the silver screen for the purposes of excitement, relaxation, and unrestrained laughter. But there are deeper dimensions to film that I hope you will avail yourself of.
Like many of my fellow evangelical Protestants, I tend to take a non-formal approach to prayer. Rather than worry about the location or position of my body, I focus only on the sincerity of my heart. Though this approach has its merits, I’ve learned from my Catholic brothers (and from C. S. Lewis) that what we do with our body does, in fact, affect our prayers. As creatures who are fully physical and fully spiritual (the theologians would say we are enfleshed souls), we cannot help but be influenced by whether our body is sitting, standing, or kneeling in a prayer closet, at a church, or on a couch.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the Christian life is prayer. It is not so much the time commitment or the concentrated effort that makes it so difficult, as it is the simple fact that it seems to be a one-way conversation. How can you talk to someone who isn’t in the room with you, and who isn’t going to reply when you ask a question or make a request?
When we first meet Telemachus in Book I of the Odyssey, he is tottering on the very brink of maturity. He is clearly a noble and upright young man, for when Athena enters the palace disguised as a human stranger, Telemachus, in sharp contrast to the evil suitors, invites the stranger in and offers hospitality. But the young son of Odysseus—who is the same age as a modern college freshman—lacks self-confidence and resolution.