Reflections on faith, philosophy, society, history, politics, or whatever else is passing through my mind at the time…

Welcome to the Rumination Station

So I’ve decided to join the masses and start a blog.  My reasons are probably not that different from others’ and I may be less ambitious than most.  I don’t anticipate fortune or fame.  I don’t even have any particular theme I plan to write about.  I really just want an outlet for my ruminations.  I’m an introspective introvert, meaning I don’t talk a lot but I’m thinking all the time.  I keep a daily journal for myself, and I’ve published on The Federalist and elsewhere occasionally.  But I’m a private person with an odd conglomeration of interests, fallen victim to an intensely individualistic age.  Most of my reflections don’t have any obvious home, which is why I plan to deposit them here.

A few things about me that might inform my writing.  I’m a religious person, a long-past Mormon since turned Catholic.  I firmly believe our most important purpose in life is to try to understand and serve God, to submit our will to His.  Which is easier said than done.  It’s taken me a long time to reach the point of being baptized, and I feel like it’s the beginning of a journey rather than the end of it.  I try to pursue God through reading, prayer, and reflection, some of which may find its way on here.

I’m a conservative.  In years past, I didn’t care too much about politics, and to the extent that I did care, I would have considered myself liberal.  Watching Jon Stewart daily like a good millennial.  Then I went through a phase of being disgusted with the whole scene and tuning out.  It’s only in the past couple years that I’ve started noticing our culture is slipping off the rails, and that this matters, and that I have a social and moral responsibility to pay attention and to be on the right side of things as I understand them.

I’m currently in graduate school in the social sciences.  It’s a strange world, academia.  We spend all day reading, writing, researching, discussing, “producing knowledge” that supposedly should shed light on the workings of the world.  But we study the world from ivory towers, motivated by a desire to impress the tower’s other inhabitants by saying things that sound intelligent and distinctive, which may or may have have any bearing on the outside world, of which we only catch glimpses.  Our theories are, more often than not, high-minded, convoluted, and not falsifiable.  Our empirical data is full of holes, as we well know because we expend a great deal of energy finding those holes (in other people’s work, of course), and even well-done studies are like individual trees we examine painstakingly, one at a time, as we try to draw conclusions about the forest.  Yet despite these immense limitations, we act as if nothing can be true if a study hasn’t shown it.  It’s a bizarre, often comical world, but I do enjoy it.

It is something of a change from my former pursuits.  I used to be a social worker in the Midwest, mostly working in mental health with troubled children and families.  I kind of drifted into it really.  When I went into undergrad, asked what I wanted to do, I gave my advisors the most tired and vague of answers…I wanted to help people.  But actually, it’s a little deeper than that.  As a major introvert, I’ve always kept to myself, yet yearned to connect with others.  And as an angsty teenager, I didn’t just want to connect with those in my upper-middle-class bubble.  I wanted to get acquainted with people from all walks of life.  Real people struggling with real problems.  And having spent a few years in the field, I can safely say…mission accomplished.  I’m glad I saw something of the trenches before retreating into the ivory tower, and though I prefer my current environment overall, I do miss social work sometimes.

But I can’t sum myself up in so few paragraphs.  I’ve been through a lot of phases in life.  I like to read and listen to audio lectures, about religion and history and culture and all kinds of things.  I like playing instruments, mostly bass and acoustic guitar but I dabble in others as well.  I have two dogs who are my best friends even though they get on my nerves.  My mind doesn’t always have much rhyme or reason to it, and the same may be true for this blog.  But I hope the reader still finds something of value.