Dealing with Rumor-mongers and Gossips in a Christian Way

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The best way to minimize rumors and gossip in your life is to turn your enemies into friends and allies. Take a look at this testimony of a person who turned his enemy into a friend:

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“Early in my career, I was once figuratively stabbed in the back by a colleague, which nearly led to me being fired…Rather than waste time and energy by dragging around a bag of resentments, I worked on my negative attitude…Whenever we ran into each other, I would smile and say “Hello, how are you?” I was met with a scowl or ignored. This continued for three months, but I was determined not to let the person ruin my day. I no longer wanted to give away my power. Then, suddenly, my adversary had a change in attitude, and became a trusted associate.”

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Try active non-violence and apply the biblical teaching of loving your enemies. It is not a sign of weakness and cowardice of trying to win the hearts of your gossips and rumor mongers. If you believe in something supernatural and have a solid philosophy in life, loving your enemies is a sign of courage and ultimate wisdom. After all, we are only pilgrims of this earth. Let us condemn and sue those who spread unjust and malicious acts of rumors and gossip. Let us condemn the acts but forgive the person as every individual can also be a victim of his/her past and social environment.

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In the Gospel,  an adulterer and sinner was brought in front of Jesus. Some people wanted to trap him in order to accuse Him of violating the Judaic law. But Jesus instead said to the accusers:

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“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.”

The  people around him were so touched by their own consciences that they departed. So Jesus found himself alone with the woman. He asked her where were her accusers.

She replied, “No man, lord.”

Jesus then said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”

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The best way to fight rumors and gossip is to accept and forgive people despite their sins of spreading unverified information or fake news. Applying the Christian teaching of fraternal correction, genuine Christians approach rumor-mongers and gossips in the spirit of charity. They reach out to their enemies and convert them into friends. Christian love unites people and transform them into real believers of the Truth.

Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos, Freedigitalphotos.net

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Remembering a Great Jesuit: Fr. Romeo “Archie” Intengan, S.J.

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Last week, I had a dream with Fr. Romeo “Archie” Intengan, my former professor in Special Moral Theology and local superior while I was still a Jesuit scholastic in 1991. In that dream, we had a warm and serious talk. He listened to all my personal problems and frustrations in life and gave me some consoling advice on how to face them and follow Christ.

Life as a layperson after leaving a religious order can be very challenging and frustrating. I felt being suddenly deprived of all benefits and institutional security when I left the Jesuit and religious life. I felt alone in the world after I left the religious order in 1991.

During this lowest moment of my life, two Jesuits often entered into my mind–Fr. Thomas Green, S.J., my former spiritual director at San Jose Seminary, and Fr. Archie Intengan, S.J., my former Jesuit superior at the Loyola House of Studies. I really wanted to see them and share with them all my struggles in life after I left the congregation.

I did see Fr. Green for a spiritual direction two years after I left the religious order. But unfortunately, I wasn’t able to talk with Fr. Archie before his death. I later knew that he was appointed the overall head or the Provincial of the Jesuits in the Philippines. Knowing the workload of a provincial, I didn’t pursue my plan to have an appointment with him, just to talk to him about my new life as a layman. I knew that he would always be there to listen and to provide me with some advice.

Yes, I was able to see him again with my own family, this time not to talk to him on how I found my vocation outside the religious order but to see him for the last time at the Loyola House of Studies chapel during his wake! Although we may not have met again in person, I always felt he was there, happy for what I have done for my family and for the Church as a layman.

Who is Father Archie?

Father Romeo “Archie” Intengan is a former Surgery Professor of University of the Philippines-General Hospital (UP-PGH), Moral Theologian and Professor of the Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, Provincial or national leader of the Jesuit Order in the Philippines, chief ideologue of the Partido Demokratikong Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP), and a spiritual father and friend to the many people who knew him.

It’s difficult to put Father Archie in one category as he is a person with many talents and abilities, performing various social roles while he was still alive. But to me, Fr. Archie is my spiritual father and true friend. He is also my former professor in Special Moral Theology and Juniorate superior at the Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University, while I was still a Jesuit scholastic in 1990. Above all, he is my role model for scholarship, nationalism, and love for Christ.

As an Academic Scholar

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Fr. Archie managed to receive his licentiate in Moral Theology in Spain when he slipped out of the country to avoid an arrest that is ordered by the former President Ferdinand Marcos. After the EDSA Revolution in 1986 that ousted Pres. Marcos, Fr. Archie returned to the Philippines and started teaching Special Moral Theology II at the Loyola School of Theology (LST). I was fortunate to belong to the first batch of students he taught at the LST.

I could not have loved knowledge, research, and scholarship without the inspiration of some top Jesuit scholars led by Fr. Archie. Together with Fr. John Schumacher, S.J., and Fr. Joseph Smith, S.J., Fr. Archie is at the top of my list of role models for research and scholarship. I was always impressed by the degree of preparation, depth and high quality of his class notes and readings in our Special Moral Theology course. His conversational style of teaching was easy to understand. His lectures and class notes were very organized and comprehensive. These notes which were worthy of publication were all well-researched and complete with updated references despite his being a busy person. I knew that he always stayed late at night, doing his work as a scholar and teacher, aside from performing his duty as a local superior, medical doctor, and chief political strategist of his political party—the PDSP.

As a Nationalist

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The nationalism of Fr. Archie is par excellence. To me, he is the reincarnated Jose Rizal and Ninoy Aquino. He endangered his life by fighting the Marcos dictatorship and by trying to reform the country and serve the Catholic Church.

In his Special Moral Theology class, I learned that loving one’s country or patriotism is a sublime expression of loving one’s neighbor as commanded by Christ in the Bible.

 

As a Friend

Fr. Archie may be strong and firm in his beliefs and actions against political malaise and any form of abuse of power in the government, but he remained a gentle friend. He reached out to people and made them comfortable. If you’re sick, you can always knock on his door for a free medical check-up. He would never reject anyone who needs his help.

As a Man on a Mission

Fr. Archie is a man on a mission, a true Jesuit, and soldier of Christ. He knew that all his battles are all meant for the greater glory of God. And He knew that his life would end soon. I was informed that Fr. Archie went to his barber after sensing that his life is about to end.  Knowing him as a very systematic and meticulous person, he probably thought that he should face his relatives, friends, and the public in his wake with a good haircut and grooming. He may be a very busy person but he cares for others, making sure that his presence is always pleasant and loving to them.

Living saints and great followers of Christ live their life with a sole purpose of serving God and His Church through their chosen vocation. And Fr. Archie is one of them. I’m truly grateful to God for giving me the grace and the chance to see a living saint in Fr. Archie!

 

Photo Credits: Reverts to the owner/publisher of Fr. Archie’s photos.

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Leadership in the Social Media: The Sociology of Followers

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To Expand or Not to Expand Connections

Users of social media often face the perennial issue of whether to add too many followers and connections or just maintain a few close business and professional connections in their accounts. On LinkedIn, your direct connections are also your followers. LinkedIn users with numerous connections and followers are usually honored by the network as thought leaders and influencers. On Facebook, your followers are your friends. On Twitter and other social media sites, your followers are those who follow you regardless of whether you follow them back or not. But aside from posting quality articles to attract many followers, there is no other effective way to expand one’s network except to send or accept invites. But how can one becomes an influencer if s/he is encouraged to just remain closely connected with his/her limited number of connections (around 500 on LinkedIn), discouraged to connect with the unfamiliar others or become open networkers (LIONs) or to go beyond the maximum limit of connections and friends? (e.g. 30,000 on LinkedIn or 5,000 friends on Facebook). Which is which: to limit one’s connections to maintain intimacy within the social network and to limit his/her social influence? Or expand one’s network to expand his/her social influence and to lessen his/her group intimacy in the network?

The Dilemma

Users face a dilemma with regard to the ideal number of connections and followers in the social media. To gain too many connections and followers implies lesser time for the user to interact closely with each member the social network: The higher is the number of followers, the lesser is his/her available time to spend quality time with all of them in the social network. But If the user does not accept too many connections and followers, especially those who are unfamiliar or strangers to him/her in order to maintain a strong bonding in the network, s/he limits his/her range of social influence and possibility to connect with the right people who might help him/her in his/her business or professional career. Thus, a recruiter who connects only with people whom s/he personally knows in real or digital life is incapacitated to meet new people and connect with the right applicants who can fill up his/her wanted list. Moreover, a limited number of connections, friends or followers in the social media implies low social impact which can make one’s profile less attractive to people and to the business world.

The Sociological Significance of Connections and Followers

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There is a sociological basis why having many connections and followers is desirable than having only a few. There is a grain of truth to the idea that the number of followers or connection is the user’s “social” net worth in the social media and status scale. Sir Richard Branson who has more than 6 million followers on LinkedIn is obviously has a higher social net worth than anyone else in the world’s largest professional and business social networking site. Please take note that we are talking here of “social” not economic or monetary net worth which is the main criteria being used in identifying the richest people in the world. Some top influencers such as Branson or Gates, possess both a high social class (wealth) and social status (prestige). But there are others who are not be very rich and yet very high in social status because of their unique skills, level of achievement and high number of connections and followers in the social media Thus, a user with only 100 connections is obviously lesser in social status compared to somebody with 5,000 followers or more. The indicator of social class is primarily wealth, property and monetary net worth while social status is the person’s credential and level of prestige. In social media especially in LinkedIn where every user is presumed to belong to the middle or upper social classes, social status based on the user’s prestige (as reflected in the profile), popularity and number of connection and followers can be a strong differentiating factor among social media users.

The Power of Connection and Followers

The power of having more connections and followers can be felt directly by the user through the power of his/her invites: The higher is his/her number connections and followers, the more powerful is his/her invites in the social media. The acceptance rate of his/her invites is directly correlated with his/her number of connections and followers: the higher is the number of followers, the higher is the rate of acceptance of the invites. Having more followers and connections can also have a bandwagon effect: Who can resist connecting with popular accounts in case they invite you? Can you turn down an invitation, for instance, if Richard Branson, President Obama, Guy Kawasaki or other influencers ask you to connect on LinkedIn? Being connected with someone with a big following has an advantage to the one who is invited. If that person mentions you in their posts and updates or likes or comments in your posts or updates, his/her thousands of followers can view them and see your profile picture and headline as well, thus expanding your personal brand.

Resolving the Dilemma: Maintain Bonding with Close Friends/Connections but Expand Network

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There is a third way to resolve the dilemma of whether to gain more followers or not:in the social media: Maintain and expand gradually one’s small group of intimate connections within one’s social network but continue to expand the number of connections and followers to increase social status and influence. Sociologically speaking, it is humanly impossible to maintain intimacy if one’s group or network is huge. In real life, when a person’s primary group increases in membership and becomes a secondary group, his/her personal bonding and intimacy with it declines, but his/her social status and influence in society climbs. And this is also true in online interaction in the social media.The increase of membership in a social network can decrease the level of intimacy between the user and all his/her followers. But it has an advantage. It also increases his/her social influence and marketability in the digital economy.

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In sum, there is really no serious problem between maintaining social bonding with a few close connections and expanding one’s social network in the social media. Indeed, life, whether real or virtual, is full of contradictions and paradoxes; one just needs to be creative, empirical and innovative in his/her journey in the world of the social media!

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In what ways is society keeping us from our full potential?

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Before answering this question, let us bear in mind that there are different types of society and each one has its own culture and social structure that can actualize and hinder people’s potential and goal. It is really difficult to generalize to answer this question. Achieving one’s potential in primitive societies is different when done in urban and state societies. But we can assume here that we are dealing with the contemporary urban societies.

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First of all, society has an opportunity structure and social stratification. The opportunity structure determines how an individual can actualize his/her potential in whatever field s/he wishes to become. So there is some inequality here with regard to access to opportunities and societal benefits to achieve success and realize one’s dream.

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For instance, in the job market, not all people are qualified to apply and be accepted to the type of job they wish to work. Society through the corporate industry determines the qualifications and screens applicants when awarding job opportunities.

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Second, opportunity structure oftentimes is connected with the social stratification or classification of people in society which consists of social class and social status. The former refers to the classification of people based on the amount of wealth and property, while the latter refers to one’s marketable skills, credentials, and level of education.

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These 2 types of social classification of people in society are actually 2 major sources of power in the modern world which can greatly affect one’s access to opportunities in society. If one is rich or famous, s/he can easily use his/her resources and social connections to achieve what s/he wants in society.

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The poor and those with lower social status cannot just attain their potential in life because of social stratification. Studies show that the poverty does not only deprive people of material wealth but social options in society. Indeed power differentials in terms of wealth and social status can keep or allow people to achieve their full potential in society.

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7 Top Traits Women Want in Men

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1. With Sense of Humor

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A sense of humor makes men attractive to women. Being able to laugh at the stresses of this world is a must, according to 77 percent of the women in one study. Men get bonus points if they can make women laugh. Humor tells a woman that you can laugh at the many difficulties that life throws at you.

Moreover, some studies showed that women typically choose better-looking guys for flings, not long-term relationships. Men with strong sense of humor may not necessarily be attractive. They also showed that women love men who make them smile and laugh, especially during times of stress and problems.

2. Intelligent

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A worldly, interesting man is a man 55 percent of women like to show off. Men who are problem solvers make women feel secure, and men who are always improving are never boring.

3. Confident

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A man who feels secure in his own skin makes the woman he’s with feel secure, according to 41 percent of women in one research study. By showing men can handle unfamiliar people or situations, they tell women in their life that they need not fear, either.

4. With High Earning Potential

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One in five women surveyed in one study said a man’s success in his career contributes to his sexiness. If you’ve demonstrated talent, goal achievement, and follow-through, you give women confidence that you will be a good provider.

5. With Great Ambition

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Men with great ambition in life is attractive to women. The ambition of achieving higher social status and social class in society can impress women who want their men to be successful. “Not ambition in the sense that you knock other people down to build yourself up, but in the fact that you will work hard to get what you want and help others to do the same thing” (Jordan).

6. Passionate About Life

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Women love men who are passionate in whatever they do in life. They also love men who live in the moment and enjoy life every day. It’s not about the destination, but about the journey in life that women expect from their male partners.

7. Brave

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Women are attracted to brave men who can face difficult situations with confidence.  Being brave, alert in emergency situations, is very attractive to women and indicates that they can protect them from all types of danger.

8. Famous

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If men are famous, then by definition a lot of people know them. If a lot of people know them, they are therefore important. Being important is very attractive to women. Popularity and achievement are attractive for female partners. Women want their men to be achievers, innovative, and leaders in their chosen fields.

Being famous men implies a more social connection, prestige, and honor for their women. Popularity is an indicator of social status, one of the main sources of power in society, together with social class.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Calo, C. (n.d.). the 100 Top Things that Attract Women to Men.Way Too Social. Retrieved from https://www.waytoosocial.com/top-100-things-that-attract-women-to-men/.

Jones, L. (17 April 2018). Top 20 Traits Women Want in a Man. Men’shealth. Retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/a19535604/top-20-traits-she-wants/.

Jordan, S. (n.d.). 7 Qualities Women Find Attractive in Men. Lifehack. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/7-qualities-women-find-attractive-men.html.