All highest, glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, with wisdom and perception oh Lord, so that I may do what is truly your holy will.
The moment of Eucharistic consecration is a second but even greater Big Bang in which a priest, in persona Christi, brings about a temporal re-presentation of God and sets off a chain reaction that restores creation - inverting the fallen world on itself, reordering it through the heart of Christ during his passion and upon reception, reordering the hearts of men.
In the garden, man desired to be God and as a result God sent man out of the garden to work. But, due to Pride our work was to always be disordered. Because we chose to master Creation, rather than participate in God’s plan, we were set to forever fight the current. The yoke would not be easy. By the sweat of our brow, we would toil and bring about only death. God did not cast us out as punishment but very clearly told us the reality of our free decision to forge our own path.
However, through Christ and the holy priesthood he established, God enters the fruits of our labor and joins the work of men - bread and wine - with the redemptive work of the Creator. At the priest’s hands, through sacrament and humility, our fallen nature is given the opportunity to rise to its ordered place as children of the Father who partake in his creative works. In other words, it is not just something that comes from nothing, which occurs during the Big Bang, but the source of everything that emerges from the decaying fruits of our labor restoring the work of men and spilling over into the world.
The Host, once bread made by the sweat of our brow, becomes Christ who reigns at the center of heaven and the created universe. When we consume the Eucharist, we consume God Himself and commune with all the elect. Through union with Christ at the wedding feast of the altar, we are grafted to the mystical body and provided with a path to enter into the heavenly reality here and now as children of God, reordering the world around each and every one of us.
As Catholics, we have a duty to carry that heavenly reality with us into the world to bring the world in on itself, orienting it towards the altar and elevating it through the heart of our Lord.
"Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan."
Today the world lost a wonderful man who was so influential in forming the lives of so many people. I owe a great debt to Jim Gonzales and the Gonzales family for helping bring me to God and for showing me what it meant to be a good man when I was desperately in need of such a role model. My prayers go out for Mr. Gonzales, his wife and his children. For Mr. Gonzales as he journeys deep into the heart of God, may his guardian angel and the sweet voice of Our Lady guide him there swiftly. For the Gonzales family as they transition to forming a new relationship with their father and husband in prayer, that they know that in Christ and through Christ we are people of the resurrection. I take consolation in the fact that when Christ was on his cross, he didn’t see the cross and yet it was holding him upright and bringing about our salvation. Though we can not see those we have lost, in our suffering they hold us upright and Christ is there as a bridge between heaven and earth keeping us together.
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Peter Kreeft, a philosophy professor from Boston College and King’s College New York. To structure his lecture, he had us each write down a word that we associated with beauty. The first word that popped into my mind was truth, which seemed cliche. So, I thought about great art and realized that beauty is in the frame. That the boundaries defined what is beautiful and directed our attention to it. But, then I thought about the actual object of beauty that was framed and felt that the object, like a frame, directed us towards something else. It seemed to me that beauty needs to open a new world to us. It needs to get us thinking, to show us something beyond the object itself, something beyond ourselves - much like a window. So that was it, I wrote down window.
Here is what Dr. Kreeft had to say:
Window is quite profound. What is beautiful about window is that you don’t see it, you see through it. You see something that is much more beautiful than the window itself.
You see, there are two types of consciousness: you can look at something, or you can look along it like a sign. And, they are both good. But, if you look at somebody, all the good and beauty in that person can be seen. It is finite. There is a limit to it. But, if you look along somebody as a sign, a sign points in a certain direction, and you never have to stop - you can keep going and going and going. If you look at all the things in the world as signs and not just as things, that is like looking at windows. You look through them, not just at them. And, if you do that, you will see all sorts of beauty that you could have never seen before.
In This Tremendous Lover, a Trappist monk speaks clearly and perceptively about God’s plan for our happiness, and how we are each called to participate in this divine plan as members of the Mystical Body of Christ.
There are limits to the scientific method and the limits to this method, do not coincide with the limits of the universe. Science currently and will only ever be able to show us that which is observable by man. We exist in a very limited place when we make science our religion or our personal ethos. If we wait for physical evidence, we cage ourselves within the limitations of our senses and the tools we create to enhance them. Just because something is currently unobservable or may always evade observation, does not mean that it does not exist. There are numerous things we have never observed that we hold to be true through seeing their effects. It is by definition impossible to observe a black hole, we only observe the effects. We will never observe the big bang but we are comprised of and are surrounded by its effects and those effects tell the story of our cosmological beginning. The point of origin is absolutely unobservable, but that does not negate the fact that there was an origin. God’s signature is all around. He has given us more than enough to rationally seek him out. In doing that with persistence, he discloses himself to the individual seeker. God looks to our hearts before he makes himself known. So, we need to step outside our egos and limitations and believe. In doing that, and following the footsteps of the saints and mystics who have gone before, we find that God so loves us that he personally meets us within our limited human form. And, in doing so, he pulls us into the realm that transcends all physical limitations. By becoming flesh to encounter us, we have the opportunity to encounter him and be divinized.
About a year ago I adopted two dogs. In the past year, these dogs have taught me a lot. The most profound being a theological lesson in human nature and our relation to God. When I adopted my dogs, they had unique personalities but for the most part were wild animals. Within a year, they are now trained and beyond that, I catch them trying to be human. One walks on two legs to mimic me and they even try to sound like they are using words when they want something. What I realized is that through recognizing me as their master and the provider of good in their lives and my love for them, my dogs take on human qualities. I then thought about how powerful God’s transformative love is with us. Through recognizing Him as our master, the provider of all that is good in our lives and his love for us, our nature is transformed into the divine. When we meet God as our master and enter the school of the Holy Spirit, God fashions us into other Christs. He joins us to the mystical body - to Christ himself.
Knowing that, why am I so stubborn? Why do I fight his transformative love so often? My dogs are more loyal than me, they are happier than me, more forgiving… Sure, they get into trouble, but they run every time I call them. If only I ran every time God called my name. They are so excited every time they see me. If only I had such enthusiasm. If only I were so good to my master. Lord, make me a dog.
“Can someone please tell me why logic, virtue, personal finance and ethics are no longer taught as courses in the public school system? Seems to me this might be a key source of the problems we are now facing as a nation.”—Me
In order to give you a full understanding of what is currently taking place across North Africa and the Middle East, allow me to first give a brief background on why the Middle East is politically the way it is today. The history may seem boring but stay with me and it should hopefully pay off.
It has been theorized that in order for a nation’s citizens to live at peace together they must have at least two points of commonality with each other. In the case of the United States, while we are of different races and different religions, we have a shared language and shared ideologies and values — honoring the self-made man, promoting tolerance, rooting for the underdog, a desire to right our wrongs, etc.— which has created a shared culture and makes each of us American. While I feel this is eroding and will present future problems for our country, I will have to save that for a future blog post.
In the Middle East and across much of North Africa, until roughly 1920, the vast majority was of the same religion (Islam), everybody identified themselves as part of the same nation or empire and the key differentiating factor was that of tribal and cultural differences. Suffice it to say that for the most part, everyone got along very well and the Middle East was a world power under Ottoman rule.
However, a faction of Arab (non-Turks) from what is present-day Saudi Arabia felt that they should be the rightful rulers of the Arab lands and should be autonomous. And why shouldn’t they? The Hashemite Sharifians had ruled Mecca and Medina since 1201 and the Muslim holy book, the Koran, is believed to have been divinely given to the Prophet Mohammed directly from the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) in the Arabic language. To make the case even stronger, Sharif Hussein bin Ali who was the ruler of Mecca and Medina (the two key locations of the Muslim Hajj and thus the two biggest tourist destinations and wealthiest cities in the middle east) did not like the Ottoman’s constantly looking over his shoulder. To his credit, his bloodline had done a pretty good job keeping it under control since 1201.
So, to speed things up a bit, the Ottomans formed an alliance with the Germans during WWI and thus became an enemy of the French and the British. Sharif bin Hussein conspired with the French and British to overthrow the Empire and found very willing accomplices. In 1916, the Arab revolt began and with the help of their new found western allies was very successful. King Hussein requested a single unified Arab state and asked the French and British to help him establish it. This was not to be the case.
Fearing such a powerful unified force and desiring access to spice trading routes. The British and French divided the Middle East into the countries that exist today. When Sharif Hussein protested, the Saudi Tribal leaders were approached to plot his overthrow. He was taken out by the Saudi tribal leaders and they were given control of Mecca and Medina which has made them extremely wealthy as a result (they are now the current Saudi Royal Family).
The final loose-end for the French and British was figuring out what to do with the sons of Sharif Hussein. Their family had been the rightful rulers of those lands since 1201 and desired their father’s inheritance. So, in lieu of giving them Mecca and Medina and fighting the newly formed Saudi Royal Family, the British and French gave his sons the countries they had newly drawn up. Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi became the ruler of the Arab Kingdom of Syria and later the Arab Kingdom of Iraq. Even today Hussein’s sons’ legacies can be seen in King Hussein of Jordan and the legacy of Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
So, now that we have run through that long history, what does that have to do with Egypt, Tunisia, Lybia, etc. today? The answer is a lot.
The current populace of the Middle East desires a return to its Ottoman past, not under Ottoman rule but under one Muslim/Arab banner. They wish to have the commonality that they once had and they desire strongly for the reunification of the Middle East. [I can’t blame them. In my opinion, they deserve it as much as we deserve a unified United States. However I have to clearly and emphatically state that I do not agree with the tactics that have been used to date and I do not agree with them targeting specific ethnic or religious groups as enemies of this process. This also needs to be a slow process that respects the new state of the world and respects the rights of each nation state.] In getting back to the history, the fingerprints for this desire to be a unified Arab nation can be seen all over any major event that has taken place in the Middle East in the past 80 years: this led to the six day war in June of 1967 (a lot of Arab leaders wanted to be seen as the first to kick out who they viewed as the imperialists and thus be the leaders of the reunification), this is why Saddam Hussein attacked Iran and later Kuwait and this is the motive driving Osama bin Laden, Al Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood and countless other political groups.
The problem is that from the very beginning arbitrary country lines were drawn to create a nation of people that had already formed an identity as something else. As soon as Tunisia or Egypt or Libya was created, these people had to ask themselves: Am I Tunisian? Am I Egyptian? What is the Kingdom of Syria? What does that mean? Am I still Arab? Am I still Muslim? Am I still loyal to the Ottomans? Does my tribe matter? All of these questions become very difficult to figure out in a world that doesn’t draw the same boundary between religion, culture and politics that we do. As a result, people lost their points of connection and began quarreling. Despotic regimes took over, profited off their populations and kept their people at bay out of fear.
Enter Wiki leaks: Corrupt economies are exposed, people realize that they are poor because their government is profiting off of them, their leaders are dirty dealing and thus we have revolution.
Is this revolution good? My initial instinct would be to say yes. Yes in the sense that it may be good 100 years from now. But, is this good for their people and for the world now? I don’t think so.
The toppling of these regimes, the nostalgia for a unified Middle East and the poverty and lack of infrastructure that is to come will create a deep need for support and rule from the people in a power vacuum that will most likely be filled by the current powerful parties: Al Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. As these organizations with money, resources and a violent agenda step forward, we will not see the Middle East grow into the Intellectual light that it once was, we will see it descend into very dark times: dark times for its people and for our global economy.
In my mind this is something to be concerned about and something to be prayed about. I honestly hope we all take some time to offer up our prayers for the individuals in these countries, for the soon to be leaders of these countries and for the world’s leaders trying to make sense of a very messy situation. Let us hope that as was the case with Eastern Europe, the Orange Revolution and others that saw leaders pulled directly from their populace to work towards peace and economic renewal, we see the same thing across the Middle East and North Africa.
Hey all, I posted this on the IAWTV forums in response to a question someone asked and thought it would be of use to everyone…
As a potential candidate for the IAWTV board and an economics minor in college, I wrote my thesis on the institution of the FCC and an economic analysis of wireless spectrum allocation. The paper landed me a job at a wealth management firm and emerging markets hedge fund right out of college. The issues learned from that study have many parallels to the current Net Neutrality debate.
As things stand, the internet pipeline is privatized (different from spectrum, wherein bandwidth is allocated for government, non-profit, private and public use). Spectrum is allocated based on frequency, which in spite of certain difficulties is easier to allocate because nobody can claim to have built a frequency as it is a scientific term that ascribes value to how radio waves operate and radio waves were eventually deemed to be a public good. Cable systems are comprised of pipeline that took decades to develop, bury, connect and maintain. Because we live in a free market system where legal entities are allowed to own property without fear of the government seizing it from them, we are now faced with an issue. The cable companies have invested billions to build out and own these pipelines. It is their property. So what we are really faced with is an issue of eminent domain.
In order for the government to give us a free internet, they basically have to seize the cable companies rights to their property if not their property outright. Herein lies the problem. This is against the general ethos of the American people and capitalism itself (though, i don’t know if I can honestly state that the American people operate from a capitalist ethos any longer, there is still a substantial segment of the population that understands the value in protecting ones right to property). In addition, The cable lobby is huge. Independent content creators are not. Finally, cable is soon to lose money as TV transitions to the internet. It knows it will lose money from the programmers and subscriptions and it plans to increase revenue from the internet or from charging premiums for bandwidth (To be completely transparent, I did PR for a technology company that enabled cable companies to allocate bandwidth from the head-end back in 2003 - so I understood this issue, before it became an issue). This is why the cable companies are currently hedging their bets. Comcast purchased NBC and through that has a stake in Hulu. Canoe (some of the top minds in the industry) are working behind the scenes to make sure this all works out in cable’s favor. So, it goes without saying that cable is investing substantial amounts of money to make sure that they maintain control of this revenue stream. Needless to say, the cards are stacked against independent Web creators.
If you are an independent content creator, get educated! Wearing ribbons helps but needs to be more focused in supporting a free internet. As a board member, I would suggest we establish an open internet working group. The goals of this working group will be two fold. First: education (panels with economists, cable execs, and web creators) - This is something we can get substantial PR around. Second: tactical plans for getting the word out. We need to educate not just web creators but tax payers as well. In the end it is the tax payers who will have to pay the billions of dollars to tell the cable companies what to do with their property and we need them to understand the expense they may have to stand behind.
Anyway, that is my two cents on this. And, in light of everything, the goal should be education and evangelization towards an equitable solution that serves the greater public good.
After reading through the Audience Development section on the IAWTV forum, I thought this case study would be of use to the members. While I understand that it is a step by step case-study using a global athlete, and most web series creators do not have access to global athletes, I think it will still be of help from a strategy and process standpoint. As a matter of full disclosure, both myself and Maria Gonima (IAWTV members) worked on this on behalf of a joint client of ours.
The launch of Cristiano Ronaldo’s social Web presence…
Leading up to Cristiano Ronaldo’s participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, B/HI Buzz was approached by Digital Artists to strategically reclaim and relaunch Cristiano Ronaldo’s social media presence with the end goal of aggregating and activating his global fanbase on a few select platforms and using that fanbase to crowd-source reality TV show concepts, cast directly from fans and distribute content exclusively to the fans.
B/HI Buzz worked with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and others to strategically reclaim and re-launch the athlete’s social media presence. In addition, B/HI Buzz worked with Digital Artists to develop exclusive video assets for sharing from the athlete’s profiles and with key media outlets. Finally, a social Web hub at www.CristianoRonaldo.com was created to aggregate the athlete’s fan conversations in one location.
Within two months, B/HI Buzz’s efforts placed Cristiano Ronaldo as the premier global athlete on the social Web with more than 11 million Facebook fans, 830,000 Twitter followers and more than 2.5 million YouTube views.
Reclaim the largest Ronaldo fan communities across Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
Develop a fan site that aggregates all social media posts/updates enabling people to follow Ronaldo from one location
Activate Ronaldo’s fan base through engaging activities
Utilize Ronaldo’s social profiles to crowdsource digital entertainment concepts and properties directly from the athlete’s fans
Asset development was difficult due to limited access to Ronaldo in anticipation of and during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™
Design and development of www.CristianoRonaldo.com and the Facebook SuperFans photo competition proved difficult due to time constraints
Differentiating Ronaldo from the multitude of celebrities already available via social media and generating media interest in his social Web presence
Traditional and Social Media Coverage
In exchange for first access to the Facebook shout-out video, ESPN “SportsNation” covered Ronaldo’s social media launch on-air, on the website and via Twitter. In addition, “SportsNation” ran a contest for fans to determine who is hotter, on-field or off-field Ronaldo. The ESPN website reaches over 14 million monthly visitors
The “SportsNation” Twitter account mentioned Ronaldo five times to an audience of more than 701,000 followers
As a result of B/HI Buzz’s outreach, Perez Hilton posted the launch on his blog and via Twitter. Perez Hilton readership is greater than 10 million global readers/month. Perez wrote a blog post and tweeted @Cristiano two times. Perez Hilton’s Twitter account reaches more than 2.1 million followers
Knowing NFL and reality TV star Chad Ochocinco is a Cristiano Ronaldo fan, B/HI Buzz reached out and engaged him from the @Cristiano Twitter account. As a result, Ochocinco tweeted @Cristiano five times in one day. The @OGOchocinco audience has over 1 million followers.
As of June 17, the news generated more than 150 total media hits, including USAToday, ESPN, Perez Hilton, Mashable, SF Chronicle, CrunchGear, Current, etc.
The Ronaldo Twitter account grew from zero to more than 830,000 followers in a two-month period of time
Ronaldo was among the top three global trending topics on Twitter for more than three days
The Ronaldo YouTube channel has received over 2.5 million total views in one-month period
The Ronaldo Facebook page grew from 2 million fans to more than 11 million fans in a two-month period of time
Interactions on the Facebook page went up from an average of 2,000 interactions per post to over 90,000 interactions per post
The Facebook page received over 530,000 photos views and 300,000 video views in one-day
The Facebook page reached a record 1.3 million daily views timed with the launch
TV Academy Foundation's Rising Professionals is a Go!
It’s official. After months of hard work, Gabriel del Rio, Jacob Rhodes and myself have seen the fruits of our labor pay off. Through the development of the TV Academy Foundation’s Rising Professional Committee, we hope to enhance access to the Academy for the wide spectrum of television professionals by opening new in-roads to members through mentorship opportunities and mixers as well as a series of hosted panels.
On the evening of March 17, we will be hosting the inaugural launch event. In addition to revealing the calendar of events and formally introducing committee staff, the night will identify a crowd-sourced pilot that will serve as a central theme to each of the four panels planned for 2010. Each panel will represent a pilot’s life cycle and will provide insight to the entire television programming experience.
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Time: 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Location: Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Headquarters
One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that anybody can now market themselves and their content in exciting new ways; and, many are doing a great job of it. One look at Felicia Day’s work over the past three years will tell you that there is something to this whole Internet business. She has built a solid brand for herself, leveraged that into film, television and video game voice-over work and made some money in the process.
We all know that digital marketing is nothing new, but one of the earliest online marketing tools, search engine optimization, can now be used to put Web video content in front of new audiences. While SEO has been around for a long time, Web television is still in its infancy. Today, script optimization presents a huge opportunity for content creators to promote video content; and as far as I have seen, few people are openly taking advantage of it.
Recently, Hulu announced that they have enabled closed caption search, which means that you can now insert popular search terms into your scripts to help shows index. In addition to Hulu, YouTube and Google have been doing this for even longer. If you don’t believe me, check out the following video to see closed captioning SEO in action: http://bit.ly/11G2ic
Optimizing YouTube is easy, because a little something called AdWords exists to tell you what people are searching for in Google. Due to the fact that Google owns YouTube, this is probably a good place to start.
Unfortunately, there is no Hulu “AdWords,” so when optimizing a video for Hulu I would stick to what Hulu’s audience is looking for. First, I would look at the Hulu homepage. Outside of that, Hulu users are searching for timely news items and top network television shows.
So, my advice to content creators is this: become a news source. Host a weekly video series discussing the top news or a roundup of network television shows and what you, as independent writers, think about them. Doing this may just land you a coveted spot on Hulu, somewhere between a clip of Peter Griffin fighting a chicken and that Shy Ronnie SNL skit.
My advice to studios - hire some internal Internet savvy people and put them on your creative teams— put a marketer on your writing staff, not to influence the writing but to recognize material that can be used for online distribution and get writers creatively thinking about how to expand the story. Hire junior writers to take background character work and use this to strategically infiltrate the Internet with Twitter accounts, blogs, etc. Let your characters live and breathe online (Hint: all of this activity can be optimized as well).
My advice to content destination sites - provide creators with your search data. Sure, you will probably be flooded with a bunch of spam videos but tweaking your search algorithms can filter those out; and, on the up side your site traffic will go through the roof.
Anyway, just my thoughts on it all. Let the games begin.
I’ve heard rumors that the wireless carriers can take a cut of your txt message donations, so please donate here: http://mercycorps.org/
We are safe. The country is in ruin and chaos. We lost so many friends. Our work place was flattened with all my students inside. I had just given them a class and told them “see you next week.” I pulled some of their body’s out of the rubble yesterday. Yesterday morning there were still voices inside, but we all were having a hard time reaching them. The one person we pulled out alive yesterday bled to death on the way to the hospital which is more like a place were people go to die because they can’t even begin to treat the people lining up for help.
All my medicines, medical supplies, lab was buried under CONASPEH as the 6 floor building now is one huge rock pile. I’ve never felt like such a worthless tool in all my life. I had a car full of injured on Tuesday evening trying to get them to the hospital that wasn’t even opening their doors because a wing had collapsed killing several of their doctors and they didn’t have staff or resources ready to see the mobs coming to be treated. So instead Patrick and I carried bleeding people back to their families so they wouldn’t be alone.
Its a small miracle we are safe and alive… that the group that was visiting is safe and alive. I’m not taking it lightly and despite being refugees trying to figure out where to sleep each night, where to get food for Solomon, and what to do next, we are counting each moment as an incredible blessing.
I’ll write/blog more as I get caught up on e-mails and letting people know information as we get it. A friend in the city has taken us under his wing (he as a family with small children as well) and showed us a hotel high in the mountains to stay for the next two nights. Yesterday patrick and I retrieved a few things from our apartment building, jumping at every groan as we did the stupid thing and REENTERED a building that had partially collapsed… but thanks to that, we hopefully will have e-mail for a few days and can stay in contact since the phone systems are either jammed or down completely. The next day or so we’ll try to get ourselves together and make a plan, find our bosses (who survived) and figure out where to go from here. There is more need then ever, but the safety situation may get very tenuous the long the masses go without food and shelter. Everyone—no matter whether their house fell or not, is terrified to go inside. The streets are packed with people just sitting… stunned. Tent cities are going up in all areas that had some space. Parks are filled, our work out center constructed a big tent in the soccer field for people to come stay. The supermarkets all collapsed, so far the street markets haven’t gotten going yet… so food will be the next big crisis. I am hoping the water treatment centers didn’t completely collapse and can start services soon. Yesterday there was none.
Please pray for Haiti if you are so inclined. We are ok, are safe and are taking things one day at a time.