Please Note- We’re Moving


Moving

Everyone,

Please take note that Living In The Now, is going to be moving to a self-hosted format. While the web address (www.LivingInTheNow.net) and content will remain the same; unfortunately, subscribers that have subscribed via the wordpress subscribe option will lose the email notifications when a new post is made.

Accordingly, if you are one of the 1,300+ subscribers that have subscribed via the wordpress follow function, and you still want to receive notification of new posts, please take a few seconds and subscribe via the “Subscribe by Email” option. That way you will receive a notification when new posts are made (I promise, no spam).

I appreciate all of your support, and I apologize for the inconvenience; however, self-hosting allows me to have much more control over my blog, so I think it is a change a long time in the coming.

Thank you!

– Jason

Categories: Uncategorized

The Illogicacy of Christian Homophobia

December 19, 2013 4 comments

Used with permission from WikiCommons

Ah, it’s that time again. That magical time of the year when conservatives can unite around a cause in order to circle the wagons against a phantom onslaught against conservative values and perhaps Christianity. No, it’s not the annual war on Christmas, but this has to do with the supposed war on Christianity. Recently Phil Robertson, of the Duck Dynasty Show gave an interview to GQ magazine, in which he went on an anti-gay tangent. (Click Here to Read it)

After receiving a negative backlash from the public, and advertisers, A&E has suspended Phil Robertson indefinitely. Now the airwaves and social media pages are filled with people from the anti-gay and pro-gay camps weighing in.

I think it is odd that the same people who called for a boycott of Macy’s when they hired Ellen Degeneres, are now up in arms about Phil Robertson being suspended for anti-gay remarks. So when Macy’s hires a gay person as a spokesperson, the anti-gay crowd feels the need to exercise their God given right to free speech and expression by boycotting. However, when advertisers threaten to pull advertising from Duck Dynasty (essentially an advertising boycott), then the same anti-gay crowd cries out that Robertson’s free speech being violated? Yes, Phil Robertson had a right to say whatever he wants under the constitutional right to freedom of speech. He’s not going to go to jail over it (that’s what freedom of speech means: you can say what you want, but it does not preclude social or economic forces reacting). And yes, A&E and advertisers also have the right to pull advertisements, suspend him, etc. And yes I know the pro-gay crowd has done boycotts in the past. Freedom of speech goes both ways.

What disheartens me the most, is that much of the anti-gay crowd is made up of Christians. Christians who say that they love everyone, and don’t judge, yet for the LGBT segment of society, they openly judge and seek to have prejudicial and bigoted laws enacted and/or enforced. Many Christians cite to the Old Testament to provide validation that homosexuality is a sin. However, if you are going to throw around Old Testament laws to justify inequality, then you better also be following the other 613 Old Testament laws (Mitzvot), yes there are more than just 10 commandments… (Click Here for the Complete List) So if you eat pork, shellfish, meat and cheese together, touch a woman who’s on her period, have a tattoo, etc. you are going to hell as well. You can’t pick and choose, either you take them all, or you take none, to say otherwise is illogical.

I am also flabbergasted that I have friends who are clinging onto the “traditional marriage” and “slippery slope”  (we will start marrying animals, our sisters, etc.) arguments to justify inequality when it comes to LGBT marriage and relationships, when they themselves are in or have had interracial relationships. The Bible was used to justify slavery, and the Bible (specifically stories about God punishing the Jews when they intermixed), and the traditional marriage and slippery slope arguments were also used to uphold laws against interracial marriage and relationships.

For Christians, I think the choice is clear, either all of the 613 Mitzvot are still in place, or Jesus brought about a new order where the only important laws were to love God, and love your neighbor as you love yourself, or he didn’t. (Matthew 22:34-40).

Love is the true message of Christianity, not bigotry or hatred. During his ministry Jesus taught to, blessed, and healed people of all races and religious and social backgrounds. He did not discriminate, and so long as Christianity continues to discriminate and promote bigotry, people who identify as Christians, and church attendance as a whole, will continue to decline.

However, I think that if Christians will begin acting Christ-like, by showing love and compassion to all people, in an honest fashion (don’t just say “we don’t judge” while in the very act of judging), then Christianity can not only fulfill its true mission, its true purpose, but it can actually start growing again.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed this piece, please subscribe to this blog, and share it with others.

Also, please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click the Book Cover to view on Amazon.com)

10 Reflections on Turning 30

November 18, 2013 2 comments

Yours Truly at a Mustache Themed Birthday Party.

Yours Truly at a Mustache Themed Birthday Party.

Some thoughts on turning 30:

Well today is the big day… yep I’m officially 30. It’s odd how officially entering into a new decade of age makes you feel suddenly older, even though in reality I am just a day older than I was yesterday, because we each are continually traveling upon the path towards, “that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns” (Shakespeare-Hamlet).

I’ve noticed over the past few years that time seems to be speeding up. When I was in my early 20’s making plans for a few years down the road, or pushing something off for another year, didn’t seem like that big of a deal. However, I have become more acutely aware of the math, where our son John who was born in July will be 18 when I’m 48, and that if we wait a few more years to have another child it would mean that I will be in my 50’s by the time he or she will be 18 and moved out of the house, or where even buying a new house on a 30 year note would mean that I’d be in my 60’s when I pay it off! (unless I make extra payments off course).

Turning 30 is also an odd feeling for me because in all likelihood I’m not 1/2 way to retirement (unless I win the lottery), but I’ve almost definitely lived over a 1/3 of my life. Also, while in the past few years I’ve been acutely aware of the need to live in the now and enjoy life since we never know when we may die tragically or unexpectedly from something like a heart-attack or a traffic accident, it is odd to run the math and know that even if I avoid unexpected endings and health issues, I’ve already consumed at least a 1/3 of my life’s gas tank.

However, I am lucky in that I’ve lived a pretty good life thus far, and I’ve checked a lot of my goals and to-do’s off: I have a wonderful family with a beautiful wife and two sons, and amazing friends. I’ve accomplished the goal going to law school and I’m now a practicing attorney, I’m a published author with a book, and over 30 print magazine and journal articles in addition to numerous web articles (not including this blog), which is astounding because I used loath writing in high school and college, much to the dismay of my mother who taught English for over 30 years. 🙂

So I have a lot of things to be thankful and grateful for, and here are my 10 reflections and tips on turning 30 (In no particular order).

1. Surround yourself with good friends- I can’t stress this enough. Surrounding yourself with good friends will help you stay positive when times get rough, and they will be there when it is time to celebrate the good times.

2. Find a creative outlet- I think this is essential for helping you channel your feelings and thoughts, which will help you to stay balanced, and work through various thoughts and emotions. As I said, I used to hate writing; however, when I stopped thinking of writing as a chore or an assignment for work or school, and started using it as a creative and expressive outlet, my perspective changed, and I couldn’t imagine hanging up my keyboard.

3. Believe in Yourself- Put yourself out there and stop being afraid of rejection. Many of the achievements that I’m the most proud of have began with more than a little self-doubt. However, I have always tried to accomplish whatever I’ve put my mind to, and the first step is believing that you actually CAN accomplish anything you put your mind to. Read more…

Letting Go of Perfectionism

November 8, 2013 5 comments

Used with Permission from PublicDomainPictures.net (c) Daniele Pellati

Used with Permission from PublicDomainPictures.net
(c) Daniele Pellati

Everybody strives to be perfect in one way or another. We strive to have the “perfect” friendships, family, job, hobbies, etc. We also strive for perfection in our actions.

As a society we encourage and even demand not only perfection, but also that individuals constantly “reach for the stars”, and have “go big or go home” attitudes. However, the problem with this type of mentality is that many of us end up constantly feeling as if we are failures because we haven’t reached the stars, or we didn’t “win” somehow.

At its core, perfectionism is rooted in our own feelings of inadequacy. While we may strive to appear perfect to the external world, what a perfectionist is really doing is putting a nice façade on inner wounds, insecurities, and feelings of self-doubt and low self-worth. This is why so many perfectionists have a hard time keeping friends, dealing with criticism, or even taking advice from other people without thinking that it is a personal affront.

The truth is that there is no such thing as “perfect”. If we constantly strive for perfection, we will just end up being a perfect mess.

Everybody makes mistakes and we all do things that we regret. I can’t tell you how many times I have came down too hard on my son, said something stupid or insensitive to my wife or a friend, lost my temper, or just flat-out failed at something… all in the past week. The key is to not dwell on the mistakes or imperfections of life. We should strive to learn from our mistakes or missteps, and try not to repeat them. Beating ourselves up over stumbles and missteps only contributes to feelings of being a “failure”, or somehow “not good enough”. Read more…

The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man

October 27, 2013 2 comments

My first exposure to Jungian psychology was during my undergraduate studies, when I happened upon a copy of Dr. Carl Jung’s 1933 book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul. While up until that point I had never even heard of Dr. Jung, the title resonated with me because I myself was a modern man in search of a deeper understanding of myself, and the world around me; therefore, I was compelled to read the book. What I discovered in those pages set me firmly upon my spiritual path, so I owe a great deal to the wisdom contained in those pages.

The Swiss psychologist Dr. Carl Jung (1875-1961), founded the field of analytical psychology, which seeks to aid individuals on the path of individuation. Rather than rejecting religion as his contemporary Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) had done, Dr. Jung explored and integrated religion, alchemy, and esoteric elements into his theories. By exploring various religious and esoteric studies, Dr. Jung, integrated a great deal of ancient wisdom into his theories. Dr. Jung’s theories regarding the unconscious and conscious subparts of the psyche can be extremely beneficial in understanding the methods, rationales, and goals of the world religions, as well as esoteric and initiatic systems, including Freemasonry.

One of the final chapters of, Modern Man, is aptly titled, “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man”, and it really sums up the issues that most of us encounter in our spiritual lives, as well as the solutions to lead a more balanced and spiritually integrated life. In this chapter Dr. Jung discusses the fact that modern people often suffer from various forms of anxiety and neurosis, because we have severed our conscious self from our unconscious subparts. Most modern people no longer reflect or partake in personal introspection, instead we are only concerned with instant gratification and that which can be validated by our physical senses. However, this causes a myriad of problems, because no matter how hard we try to divorce our conscious self from our unconscious, our unconscious will always seek to guide and gain control. Since modern people don’t partake in introspection, and thereby gain an understanding of our unconscious subparts, we are in essence trying to sail a ship without an adequate knowledge of the engine or navigation mechanics.

Read more…

From the Archives- The Application of Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be”

October 7, 2013 2 comments

In Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy from the play “Hamlet”, the main character, Hamlet, is racked with despair, and is questioning whether or not the unknown world beyond death will be easier to bear than the current life. Hamlet is in such despair that he is contemplating whether or not he should continue to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, or if he should “take arms against a sea of troubles”, by possibly committing suicide. However, Hamlet is unsure of whether or not he should act on his wish to end the pain he is suffering, because he is unsure what will await him in the afterlife in that “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns”.

While every sentient being suffers in one form or another, it appears to be a uniquely human characteristic to wish, or at least look forward to death. Many people turn to the concept of the afterlife presented in their religion to such an extent that they cease to truly live in this current stage of life. For example, some Christians look so forward to the day when Jesus Christ will appear in his prophesized second coming, that they are constantly trying to interpret every disaster as some sign of the upcoming Rapture and Armageddon. Other people are so disheartened with the world around them that they buy into the newest doomsday prophesy that the world is soon to be destroyed. Read more…

And the Contest Winners Are


I would like to thank everyone who “Liked” or “Shared” the post about my new book. As promised, I have randomly drawn two (2) names for free signed copies.

and the winners are…

Morgan Mussell – Who has a wonderful blog that I’ve enjoyed for many years (http://thefirstgates.com/)

and Betty Roberts – An Email Subscriber who shared on Facebook.

Thanks again everyone! I really appreciate your support and the positive comments that I’ve received so far.

For those that didn’t win, but are still interested in purchasing a copy, please visit. BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon.com, and simply search for “Jason E. Marshall”, or click on the book cover below to be taken to “The Path’s” Amazon.com page.

The Little Rituals of Life that Bond and Nourish

September 23, 2013 4 comments

Baby John's 1st Football Saturday!

Baby John’s 1st Football Saturday!

In the hustle and bustle of life, I have often found that the little rituals of life that I have setup not only help ground me, but also help to nourish various parts of my life, by maintaining important bonds with my friends and family. For example:

1) Every morning, when I get to the office, I always have my first cup of coffee in silence, before I even turn my computer on. This lets me relax, and focus on the tasks at hand, as well ground myself.

2) On days when I can, I always try to set aside 10 to 20 minutes during lunch for meditation or contemplation.

3) Every Tuesday or Thursday, my in-laws host a big family dinner. While this may seem horrible to many people, I am blessed to have great in-laws, and it is always a great time to catch-up and just spend time together.

4) Every Friday I try to have a big lunch with friends. This gives us a chance to catch-up, and stay connected. Some Friday’s we may have four people, and some Friday’s it may be standing room only, but no matter what it is a great time!

5) Every Saturday morning my son and I go to the doughnut shop together. While not the healthiest ritual, it gives us a chance for “guy time” as my four year old calls it. We talk about the previous week of school, and our big plans for the weekend.

6) I am extremely lucky that I married someone who likes college football almost as much as I do. So when football season comes around we will try to get all of our chores done by 11:00 am, so that we can watch the first kick-off, and generally we will stay up until the last game is over.

While these little rituals may seem trivial, they have become very important to my life, and they each serve a unique purpose. I often hear people say that they don’t have time to take care of themselves, to meditate, to spend time with friends, or to spend time with their families. I have found that I have to make time for myself, my friends, and my family. I have a very hectic work schedule, and with an almost two hour round-trip commute, I have to make a habit out of the little rituals that help fulfill and nourish the various areas of my life.

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” – Warren Buffett

As always, thanks for reading, and please share what little rituals you have carved out of your time for grounding, bonding, or nourishment.

Also, please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click the Book Cover to view on Amazon.com)

Introducing My New Book: “The Path”

September 15, 2013 8 comments

Thank you all for your early support! In less than 24 hours “The Path” is already number 36 on Amazon.com’s Comparative Religion List! I am truly grateful!

 

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit absent on here lately. Well, I have been finishing up my book, which has been an almost 10 year long project. It has really been a labor of love, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure that I would ever actually finish it, but I finally have, and it has now been published by Stone Guild Publishing!

ThePath_Cover_Mockup_1024I appreciate all of the kind words and support that everyone has given me over the years, and I am very excited to finally be able to present this book.

From the Back Cover:

Jason E. Marshall is a practicing attorney in Oklahoma, where he lives with his wife and children. Jason holds a B.A. in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations and Cultural Studies, as well as a Juris Doctorate. Jason became interested in the study of comparative religion during his undergraduate studies, after undergoing a truly transformational experience during an introductory comparative religion course. After his initial transformational experience, Jason undertook a personal journey to learn more about the various religions of the world in order to gain a better understanding of the ties that unite humanity, as well as his own true nature, and ultimately God. What began as personal notes from his studies and journeys became the genesis of this book.

Rather than the normal dry recitation of facts that highlight the differences among the world religions, in The Path, Jason explores the seven major religions of the world in order to highlight the ties that should unite, rather divide, humanity. Jason also shows how the teachings and insights from the various world religions can be applied to anyone’s journey of personal and spiritual development, regardless of one’s particular path or spiritual background.

In order to kick this book off, I am going to have a contest where I will give away two (2) free signed copies via random drawing on September 30, 2013. This is how it will work. Every “Like” on the blog will get one (1) entry, and every “share” will get three (3) entries.

There will also be a Facebook page contest with similar rules (Yes you can enter both contests). Please visit the Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/ThePathBook

To purchase the book please visit Amazon.com: or simply click the book cover below!

Parenting with Mindfulness

August 28, 2013 10 comments

My sweet boys

My sweet boys

A few weeks ago I was up all night with my newborn John. I had an extremely busy day planned, and no matter what i tried, he refused to go to sleep. As the hours ticked away, I could feel myself grow increasingly frustrated. I really wasn’t in the mood for this, I really didn’t have time for this, I really needed sleep so that I could go to work and be productive… Then it hit me. This will pass, and very quickly. Too quickly…

Obviously John wasn’t feeling well, and he was depending on me for comfort and care. While we were apparently getting our signals mixed, he still needed me, and I needed to let go of being frustrated. While I don’t relish sleepless nights with newborns, it seems like just yesterday I was on the alternating night shift routine with my wife, so that we could watch and take care of our oldest son Jase… and Jase started school two weeks ago.

I remember with Jase I couldn’t wait for his next stage of development. I couldn’t wait until he slept all night, I couldn’t wait until he ate solid food, could crawl, walk, be potty-trained, etc. Looking back, most of my anticipation seemed to be driven by more than a dash of selfishness. Once he slept all night, so could I. When he could crawl and then walk, I wouldn’t have to carry him everywhere. Eating solid foods meant I wouldn’t have to constantly prepare and clean bottles. Once potty-trained, I no longer had to check and change diapers every few hours. To say that children grow up too quickly may seem like a cliche, but just looking back over the past 4-1/2 years of Jase’s life, I can tell that it is true.

It is easy to practice mindfulness (the practice of being fully present in each moment), during slow times, meditation, or while conducting a relaxing activity; however, I think that mindfulness is especially important when interacting with our children, no matter how young or old. By being fully present in the moment, we are fully present in life. By being fully present as a parent, we are fully present in our children’s life, which is the most important thing we can do, because only then can we fully interact with our children the way that parents should. Parenting can be tiring and frustrating, but it really is the most important job we have, because our children are mirrors that reflect the lessons and general environment that we provide for them. Our parenting also has a definite impact on the type of adults that our children will grow to be. Will they be impatient, and quick to anger, or will the be kind and understanding? Read more…

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