My name is Paul Martin. I am a writer, who happens to be a Christian.
This is blog for me to simply write about stuff I think about.
Part of what I love to do is use words to get people to think. I think this is so important. — to get friends to consider the other side, especially regarding issues in religion and politics. Sadly, most people today live in echo chambers — places where they only hear things that support their views.
That’s not the way to become a better-informed citizen. It’s no way to become a critical thinker. I think it was Gandhi who said something like, “It’s better to hate your opponent than to understand his view.”
So in this blog I like to provoke intelligent thought and invite people from my “side” of the fence to consider the views and philosophies of those who are different than us.
Recently, I launched a peacebuilding organization called The Christian Muslim Alliance. This awareness effort is primarily to do a few things. First, make it clear that groups like ISIS are dangerous and must be destroyed. Second, to make it clear that Islam and Christianity are, indeed, different. But moreover, we aim to inform people that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, including the over 5,000 Muslims serving in the US Armed Forces. We want to help people understand that the very purpose of fringe terrorist groups like ISIS is to create irrational fear, paranoia.
I hold BA and MA degrees in philosophical theology from UCLA and Biola University (Talbot School of Theology), respectively.
Here’s a bit of a longer version of my background.
I’m the child of a Mexican-American father and an Italian immigrant mother. Dad grew-up in Orange, California. He still talks about the “no Mexicans” signs in the town center. He remembers the segregated schools — how he got lucky because he was a light-skinned Mexican. His dark-skinned friends had to go across town to the schools for dark-skinned kids. Mom’s parents fled post-WWII Italy, where their village had been pillaged by the Nazis.
My last name should really look like this: Martín (look at the accent over the i).
My parents bought 6 acres in Orange County, California when I was five years old and for the next 15 years or so we murdered chickens and cows and pigs and every Easter we’d slit the throats of the cutest lambs. One time my dad graced my mom with a brown cow for her birthday, as one does. Mom named her Florentina, as one does. A few months later Florintina choked and died. My parents never wasted a dime. So for the next 12 months, to my sisters’ respective chagrin, I took advantage. For a year I’d refer to our porterhouse and filet mignon steaks by name—“Can you please pass the Florentina?”
Life on the ranch as a kid was full of adventure, but the grass is always greener. I envied all of my friends who got to live in tract homes.
I held a solid 1.8 GPA all the way through high school. I don’t remember completing a homework assignment. I do remember, year after year, failing to pass the “English Proficiency Test,” a writing exam required for graduation. By my senior year, I was one of four seniors enrolled in what coach Owens referred to as “Bonehead English” — a class for the kids that couldn’t write.
I dropped out of college weeks into my first semester. Dad had made a killing in real estate. Why couldn’t I? I subscribed to that immoral belief that education exists for the purpose of making money. I read Trump’s Art Of The Deal. I watched “Wall Street” with Michael Douglas. I got my broker’s license. I finagled my way into one of the top commercial real estate firms in Orange County. I wore Nordstrom suits five days a week. I sat in a cubicle “bullpen” with 30 young and hungry business majors. Many of them were making six figures a year. Many were in their mid-twenties. We wore headsets. We made cold calls for hours. We didn’t deal with purchasing agents or executive assistants or vice presidents. We dealt with the CEO’s, the landlords, the decision makers.
I sold a few industrial buildings in my second year. I made a chunk of money. I bought more suits. Georgio Armani. I ate out more often, and nicer restaurants. I played more golf. But something seemed to be missing.
The life of money-making wasn’t for me.
Around that time, the kid that barely graduated high school stumbled upon a few C.S. Lewis books. I remember Lewis referencing Milton. Then Plato and Aristotle. Then, Descartes and Kant. So over the next five years or so, I read those guys. The more I read, the more I realized how little I knew.
I realized I needed help. I eventually sat in on a few classes at the University of California, Irvine. Then, UCLA. This was one of the major shifts in my life. I enrolled in UCLA’s prestigious Department of Philosophy. I recall sitting in my first course with Professor Calvin Normore.
I will never forget thinking, as I studied Aristotle for the first time, “I am learning as much about life and reality than all those church sermons, combined.”
I didn’t realize that, 500 years earlier, Thomas Aquinas had thought the same.
A bachelor’s degree wasn’t quite enough, so I got a masters degree. Again, philosophy, with an emphasis in ethics and religion.
My relationship with faith goes back to being baptized Roman Catholic as an infant, to being pinched (hard, with a twist) as a toddler by dad as I squirmed on those hard wooden pews during those endless masses.
In my ten years I had happenstance meeting with an African American Pentecostal preacher named Frieda who had an afro the size of San Fernando Valley and who was a Jesus Freak by every measurable measure. He insisted that this 15-year-old “get saved” (and I did).
I spent years in Christian ministry. Much of this was in Christian worship production and publishing. My work took me overseas, including a two-year assignment in London.
I later came back home and launched a UK-based youth organization that trained young people to become involved in Christian service. I was humbled to have gathered tens of thousands of high school students and young adults in various conferences, festivals, and seminars.
The core of my work since my departure from the real estate world has been helping others. You can learn more about this work in my LinkedIn profile here.
WHY I STARTED PAULOSOPHIA
A few years ago I started posting my thoughts on Facebook. Just what I was thinking about parenting, religion, politics. Thoughts about life. To my surprise, dozens thanked me. In person and through Facebook messages. Month after month, they flattered me with the kindest words of encouragement.
Many told me I should take my writing seriously. I thought I might start a blog. Paulosophia is a blend of my Italian name, Paulo, and the Greek word for wisdom, Sophia. It’s translated, if you will, as Paul’s Wisdom.
I’m not sure about my wisdom but think there’s a right way to live and I’m going to write about that. I especially love to get people to get outside their comfort zones — that’s the best way to learn.
Thanks for visiting!