The Green Glasses Question.

If you’ve ever read the book “The Wizard of Oz.” You might remember that there’s a small but important bit that they cut out of the movie.

It takes place when the foursome first comes to the Emerald city and the gatekeeper gives them all green glasses, telling them it I just the custom or something along that line. They all oblige since what’s the harm in wearing glasses? They go inside and find that everything in the city is emerald-green, it is lovely; even the people are green. They go to Oz, and leave again, much like in the movie, but they are surprised when after they leave, their clothes that they got in the city are no longer green. When, at last, they return to Oz and discover the Wizard is a fraud, he tells Dorothy that the city is (gasp) not really emerald, but he solved this dilemma with the green glasses. “If people wear green glasses,” he says, “everything will seem green to them.” It is left at that, but the reader is thinking “That was so obvious. I could have told them the city wasn’t really green from the beginning.” (I know I am not the only one who reads books this way.)

Something I never asked myself when I read these books as a kid was why on earth the people wore the glasses? Surely they could have realized the truth, they could have seen out of the corner of their eye that the city was really colorful. Why stay deluded?

I guess there is a novelty in a city all one color, I think it would be boring, but maybe there are some who would put up with it. After all, all of Oz is already color themed (fun fact not in the movie) so they must be used to it, but it still wasn’t true. Did no one ever question it? Dorothy didn’t even, and she was from Kansas.

But then, Kansas was all grey. There is a  persistent theme in the book that every place is its own color because of how interesting it is. Or the trades of the people in it. I do not think this was intended to be a race or class stereotype, but a mindset. To Dorothy, everything after Kansas would be a relief from the greyness. Yet she wants to go back and tells the scarecrow, (when he asks why, when it is so grey and drab,) that it’s home.

The thing is, I read most of the books in the series (it was a kick) and I notice that every adventure centers on leaving your home and seeing new places. All the people in Oz are born in one section with one color, they have to leave it, Dorothy has to leave Kansas, or else nothing happens ever, except that things steadily get worse.

I am aware that some people will still think these books are racist because of the color themes, but trust me, that’s not it. I read them okay? I’m telling you, it’s the way of thinking that is the color.

To prove my point, let’s go back to the glasses question. I finally concluded that the obvious answer was that the people wanted to believe in the Emerald city. That’s all there is to it.

I could leave it here and let you figure out the rest, but my point may not be totally clear yet.

My sister asked me if there actually was the horse of another color in the book, (it’s in the movie,) I told her no, there never was. I think the reason is, the horse that changes color would be of no use in the Emerald city, everyone there would see green. And in the other countries, the horse wouldn’t fit. And it wouldn’t fit because the whole phrase “a horse of another color” means “a different matter”, and it means you have to change your answer, and thus your perspective. Which is exactly what nobody in Oz wants to do.

I loved the series, but it was to my disappointment that not one of the characters really changes or grows through the course of a dozen books. There are a few surface changes, but none of real substance. The movie shows Dorothy change, but in the book she really doesn’t, she only finds out that there’s a better place than Kansas, eventually she returns to Oz, and brings her family with her. (Sorry for the spoilers. But that actually was my only incentive for reading the rest of the series and I was put off for one book as it was.)

They go to many different places, in the series, and find many different points of view; but it lacks the fundamental element of change. In Girl Meets World, the code of the show is “People change people.” I agree with that in part, and it is closer to the truth than saying “People never change.”

This may be only me, but I find series and shows in which the characters never change to be both boring and unrealistic, we are meant to change. Our ideas are meant to broaden and expand.

You could pull any amount of lessons from the metaphor of the green glasses; but I ‘m pulling this one: Take the blinders off, change your perspective, it’s okay.

There is the argument that if the city looks green, then it is green to whoever sees it that way. The Wizard seems to hold this belief. But may I remind everyone that the Wizard’s whole career was spent deceiving people. Surely, his perception of truth has to be flawed.

There city really is colorful. That is the truth. Whether you see it that way or not, that part is your choice.

That’s my thought on the subject. Until next time–Natasha.Welcome Scan

Unbelievable.

I cannot believe what I just read, there’s this article on a news website about how one university in WA has declared proper grammar to be racist.

I was incredulous. I read the short article and from what I could gather, though the people themselves did not explain it clearly, their position is that because English is always changing, it is not fair to expect people who are speaking English poorly or as a second language to keep up with it. I am perhaps giving their position more credit than it deserves since they didn’t actually state that, they just said racism was ingrained in our culture.

You can read it for yourself, if you want exactly what they said:

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/02/22/university-of-washington-declares-correct-grammar-is-racist/

People, do I really even need  to say it?

Okay, I will: this is absolutely ridiculous.

Not only is this grossly unfair to young writers like myself and most of my followers, who want to do well in their writing, but it is an insult to the very ethnicities they claim to be assisting.

If you don’t speak English well, you deserve the chance to learn how to do it better. You deserve the opportunity to read and be able to understand great books, great concepts, and great feeling. You deserve to not sound like an idiot when you write and when you speak. You deserve to learn. You do not deserve to be written off by people who don’t understand what respect is. This isn’t even about entitlement, there is no record of the students complaining about this, even if they did, no one should buy that kind of thinking. It’s demeaning.

I don’t believe we are entitled to much in this world, but to learn and improve is one thing everyone is entitled to, God sends us into the world with that ability. Even the mentally challenged ones.

To tell someone they cannot use proper grammar is like telling them they cannot learn how to walk. It’s like telling them they are retarded, and not by choice, but by the system. Sadly, many kids are told they can’t walk. Guess what, a lot of them learn how to anyway. (See the testimony of Gianna Jessen.)

Now, it may be brought up that the English language really does change, and that is true. But so does the Spanish language. I have been studying Spanish for over a year, I also study French and Khmer and I know ASL. Each of those languages has slightly different or completely different grammar. If I do not use it, I will sound like I did not actually learn the language to the natives of it. That will demonstrate a lack of effort, and a disrespect to their tongue. They may forgive me if I make a few errors, but if it is clear I blatantly did not try, what will they think?

Why should I not feel this way about anyone who does not try to learn my language properly? Just because I clearly am a racist because my whole culture is, so I must be too. What a straw man.

The truth is I do not respect some people of other ethnicities, but it is not their race, it is their behavior. And I do not hate them because of it, I don’t respect some people of the same race as me either because they are not deserving of respect. There is a respect for humanity everyone must be shown, and I have no problem with that; but respect for intelligence, ability, and virtue, all that must be earned and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t understand what those things are.

Racism is not saying or thinking someone of a different race is stupid or uneducated or bad, it is thinking they are that way because of their race and not actually weighing them in terms of their behavior.

And saying someone is racist because they point this out, that is actually being biased. I trust all my readers are intelligent enough to figure this out without my help, I’m just laying out my position.

By the way, I have relatives who are Mexican, I am several different ethnicities myself, and
I have family members who have been the victims of racism, so I know what I’m talking about.

It does no good to hate people just for being what they are; and that goes for people born in the middle class and with white skin just as much as it does for the impoverished ones.

Education is the key to ending racism, and these people will only increase it by attacking grammar. Because then what next? history is already being rewritten as it is, will math or science follow? (Arguably science already has, but I won’t go into that.)

So I want everyone to see this post as a defense of the races who got dissed by this stupid idea; and a defense of the races who were supposed to feel defended and in reality were even more insulted. I’m not afraid to say all this either because I’m tired of us just accepting the labels.

P. S. (I may have unwittingly made some grammatical errors while writing this, I am not perfect.)

–Natasha.

SAMSUNG CSC

Reach higher.

Pointy.

So, I dared to write a post about politics, but it was really about how we treat each other. I wonder how many people read it and realized that and how many just read my views and focused on those.

Not that I don’t do that too, we’re all kind of trained to react that way.

I watch a lot of YouTubers (what we call people who regularly post videos of themselves on YouTube) and all of them are more or less on the same page as me politically, at leas the ones whose views I’m vaguely aware of; but they also advocate just accepting that other people have different views and respecting them.
I don’t mind respecting it, but accepting it is another matter. As I have said in posts like “In Faith.” I believe we must stand for things we believe in. And as I have said elsewhere, I believe there is only one right answer. So far no one has a problem with me thinking so, not on line anyway, but I know people in my own life who do have a problem with it.

It’s an old idea that we all must covert everyone else to our beliefs, and some even go so far as to kill anyone who won’t convert, believing that is the right thing. We all can think of an example in the Modern Day; but that used to be the majority of religions way back B. C.

Christianity changed this outlook by saying that no one is blameless, and those of us who know what is true have no right to dole out death to those who don’t because we were once those people. Only God can decide who lives and who dies when it comes to how they treat Him.

It is true that, in our book, people who do not accept Christ will die, and deserve it. But we also believe we all deserve it to, the only difference being, we took God’s offer of a different way. Even that is enough to get under people’s skin, but it is not the same as saying we ourselves can judge who should live and who shouldn’t. All corruptions of Christianity from this viewpoint are  unbiblical, in my opinion.

That said, just because we ourselves do not enact judgment does not mean, as is commonly taught, that it does not happen. It is obvious just in nature that if you treat things the wrong way, you will pay for it. The dog bites, the cat scratches, the bee stings, the rose has thorns. But there is a balance. Life has that same balance, and if you deliberately do what’s wrong, it will come back to bite you. Simple. Right? But it’s not is it? We human beings do our best to avoid these calamities. We declaw the cat, we muzzle the dog, we breed the thorns right out of the rose, the bee sting we only take precautions against because you can’t remove it without killing the bee, but if there was a way to control that, people probably would.

And we tell each other that stupidity and sin don’t need to have consequences.

Here’s the thing though, living things have sharp points so that they can protect themselves and be treated with respect. Life is no different. There are sharp points we fall on when we do it wrong, because otherwise, we don’t learn respect for anything.

God has a sharp point too, it’s called The Word, it’s a sword.

I may be taking a long time to make this very simple point (ha ha ha) but it’s something we need to hear. The things people say, and do, and think is okay, it’s scary. We are becoming incapable of even understanding why it should be any different. People who never see light will never know what darkness is. That’s the truth. And when we don’t teach kids what is right to do and say, they will not know what is so wrong with what they see now.

Personal example: had I not been exposed to Christianity that was deep and real, thanks to my parents, I would never have recognized that what I had was in many ways only on the surface.

Real things always, always, will hurt you at some point, because you have to learn by experience; but when it comes down to it, they are real. And that is worth it. Just read “The Velveteen Rabbit.” (A book I can’t go through without crying.)

Until next time–Natasha. 100_4589

The Indefensible.

I’ve been thinking about how my political views effect my writing here. I’ve been reading about how this country got started, so politics are on the brain. I never want to use this blog as an attempt to get followers who agree with me, so I hestitate to bring up the subject too often, but because this is an ideas blog, I also think it’s only fair to let people  know where I stand.

Le tme also say that I don’t judge people’s worth as people by their political views, and I wouldn’t want to be judged by it either.

I only care about politics as it relates to my faith, many Christians don’t believe we should be concerned or involved in politics. And in countries where the system doesn’t allow Christianity in its government, that might be a fair view. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care. Everyone should care. But there is the trap, as C. S. Lewis describes in The Screwtape Letters, of coming to use your faith as a support for political views, instead of seeing your views as a  direct result of your faith. In other words, you make your faith match your politics, or any other mode of thinking you might have. Obviously this is wrong.

I am a  conservative, but that is because I found those principles to be in line with what the Bible teaches, if I was convinced Liberalism was more in line, I would be that. I know plenty of Christians who are liberals, and that’s up to them. I actually don’t think God cares about that first and foremost.

The problem is we often care about it a little too much, I’m sure if you had a dime for every time you’ve heard someone put the opposing side in a box (or basket) you’d be rich. Or at least you’d have a lot of dimes.

The situation we have now is pretty sad, almost no one can see the other side as full human beings. We don’t talk about them like that, and we don’t treat them like that, often enough. They are indefensible.

Like Trump and Hillary, whichever side you are on, one of them is indefensible. I do think that sometimes, there is no just way to defend someone’s actions. But we have carried it a little too far when I can, on two different occasions, get shocked and somewhat hostile reactions from kids in my own family when I say I support Trump. It’s an immediate guilt by association. Would I feel the same if it had been over Hillary? Well, that’s tricky.

I would not ever condone voting for her, but do I condone the things people say about her? No, not all of them. I would defend Hillary Clinton as I would defend another human being, but not as a politician. All this means is that I believe people deserve some measure of respect, whether I like them or not.

I know I will have people who don’t agree with me reading this, and that is okay. They can even hate me if they wish. I won’t return it. It is not that I have never been tempted to hate people who believe things I find horrible or ridiculous. (And, let’s face it, we all know I can’t help feeling that way whichever side I’m on.) My whole reason for not holding a grudge is simply that I don’t believe it is right to do so. Grudges are stupid.

Even the Clintons (pardon my phrasing) need to be forgiven and loved, and that may never look like what the people who support them would call love, but calling it hate to not support them is ridiculous. It just is. I would not say anyone who does not support one of the politicians I favor hates anyone, let alone the politician themselves. I may be giving myself as an example too often here, but I’ve been reading about Thomas Jefferson, and this was his  belief. He never even defended himself to the press of his day because he didn’t think it was necessary. And he remained friends with one of his opponents (more than one actually) to his dying day. He stated that politics were no reason to end a friendship. (Though there may be reasons within that general category to end one, but that’s another discussion.)

At the end of the day, though I care about my country and my people, I recognize that no country lasts forever; and no political party does either. It would be foolish to stake all one’s beliefs on those things. I believe more strongly in love, justice, and God’s will.

A really good, and short, book that covers this is The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis, particularly the chapter on Affections, (if I’m not mistaken in my locations.) He’ll say it better than I.  I hope though, I said what I was trying to communicate.

So, there, that’s my piece for now. Until next time–Natasha.

Rules don’t apply–part 2

Picking up where I left off:

I was just talking about rules and love and “The hiding place.” You know, just a typical organized post from Natasha. 🙂

All joking aside, I’ve thought a lot about Mercy lately. I was just talking to my sister about another show we used to watch that loved to break its characters.

[Okay, this is Natasha lingo. When I say “break” or “killed” a character, I mean they either took a potentially great storyline and didn’t finish it; or they made the character do something that they would never  do and so proved they didn’t even know what their own character stood for. That ruins it for me every time.] I digress:

They broke this one character, and though they could have repaired her with some really smart writing, they didn’t. They left her broken. Eventually my sisters and I realized the show just didn’t know how to explain it’s own content.

What has puzzled me is that, though these characters aren’t even real, they can make mistakes that really bother people; and people will not forgive them. Although, sorry fans, but it didn’t actually happen. I will be the first to deny that just because it’s a show that means it didn’t matter, it does matter. I just wonder, if this can be our attitude towards a sin that is made up, what is our attitude towards a sin that actually affects us?

That does tie in to Mercy; and rules; and everything I was talking about in part one. The biggest question both in my fan fiction story and in real life was “How do you treat sin?” Many of us don’t even use the word anymore, (at least seriously.) Sin is just a Christian myth right? It’s not real. Well, often on this blog I just use the words wrong, evil, or bad to avoid confusion. But Sin is just simpler, it means all those things. And believe it nor not, whether we use the word or don’t, all of us still believe in it.

We just might call it intolerance, being a bigot, extremism; and a bunch of other fancy words that really just mean THIS-IS-BAD.

You can say Right and Wrong don’t exist and I can debate that; but right now I’m pointing out that we all deal with Sin. Other people do things to us that are bad, because they hurt, or they make us afraid, or they just make us angry because it’s so not fair.

And that’s where deciding what we live by really comes into play. In my fan fiction world of judging people by their backgrounds, the few people who finally say “This is stupid” get treated like the criminals. You rocked the boat, you questioned the system, how dare you!

But the reason I wrote my version at all was because the original story refused to pick sides. It never said what was actually true, though it hinted. It was leaning one way, then abruptly it started to lean the other way. It turned into a story more about defining right and wrong yourself than actually seeking truth. The sad thing is that the creators of this story never realized it was popular because it said something different to people than the standard “be yourself” message that most of us are sick of.

Look; things have come to a pretty pass if I need the world to tell me what the Bible already has told me many times; but I do worry about other people. Ideally, I want Christianity to spread, I can’t help it. But if not I at least want Goodness to spread. Thomas Jefferson said that if doctrine is good it will produce good men, if not, then it won’t. He is right. Jesus said the same thing, in a different way. But no one needs to say it, it’s just common sense. Good begets good, evil begets evil. Duh.

The greatest good of all is love. As my character said in her speech, love is what gives us a reason to do anything. It saddens me when people are looking around and wondering why they do anything; because they realize there’s no love in what they are doing.

But, what if the antagonist had a point, Love is sappy. What will it really fix?

Now this brings me to Mercy. (Didn’t think I could tie all this together? Well, I wasn’t sure either, but I knew it was connected.)

In the end, you can decide that the rules really are wrong. Like judging people by their background, that’s just stupid. You can even decide to rebel against those rules.(#TheRebelution.) But, just rebelling isn’t enough. A lot of hate goes around because people are fed up with the way things are, but that hate is turned on other people.

I am a full fledged conservative, but I don’t hate liberals. I am a radical Christian, but I don’t hate atheists. I am a Trump supporter, but I do not hate Hillary Clinton. I am surrounded by imperfect people, but I do not hate them.

To me, hate is the last thing a Christian should be doling out. WE get plenty of opportunities, but we are told to love, even when it makes no sense. I hate evil, but  do not hate people. People are not the problem. Evil is the problem.

I am also not perfect, don’t take me as the best example of what it means to be Christian. All I am saying is it is about love. Love is what makes Christianity right; not vice versa. That’s something even Christians do not understand a lot of the time.

If love was easy to understand and to do, more people would do it. That’s the plain truth. I still fail at love, but I’m hooked. Once you start pursuing it, you really can’t stop.

In the end, love is what tells us what is right. When we become focused on what’s best for everyone, we will make better choices. That is what ties into rules, politics, and faith. There, told you they were connected.

So, nothing sappy about it. Until next time–Natasha.cropped-welcome-scan.jpg

Rules don’t apply–part 1

I found a conversation I wrote in a story of mine yesterday that I thought would make a good blog post. It takes place between a main character and a bit of an antagonist character. It was a debate about how to solve a certain problem that had come up. The main character finally gets worked up enough to utter an impassioned speech (I edited this to make it more clear.):

“Yes, love. I’ve found that nothing else matters. Love makes it worth it to go through the other stuff…and that’s why I have to believe in Goodness too. Good things are done out of love, and  they make love grow. Freedom allows love. Evil just wants to kill it. Or twist it.”

“People can do just fine without all that sappy stuff, and what does it help? You think love will fix this mess?”

“Yes! and if it can’t, what can? Work? Work for what? Rules? What good are rule when they have no reason to exist save for control. Why do we get up every morning if not for love of something? And I don’t mean sappy stuff. I mean the real, true, loyal, kind sort of love. That’s what motivates me. Because I’ve been given it. And I stand by God because He gives it. I see no other way and no other Hope but to hope in Him. And that’s my say.”

This was a fan fiction piece, and the world it’s based off is one where Good and Evil are arbitrary things, all depending on your background only, not your personality. Which is an idea present in the real world, but this world takes it to the degree of craziness.

That’s why the character is railing against rules. I’ve been reading about Thomas Jefferson, and one thing that sticks out about his politics is how he was concerned for the common good. It’s actually in the Preamble to the constitution that it is meant to “promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity (descendants.)” The Constitution is a classic example of men trying to make rules that would benefit everyone. those rules are made out of love for their countrymen. These rules are fine.

But rules can also be made out of fear and frustration. As I’m sure you know from your own experience. Sometimes rules are just made out of stupidity. People believe something is right, but they haven’t thought it through, and they use their power to enforce the idea.

Of course that speech isn’t really about rules. It could easily be made in favor of them, if rules were on the side of love. That’s really the greater point.

you see, it puzzles people that two opposite actions can both be the right thing to do in different circumstances. I think that’s where the idea that right and wrong are arbitrary comes in for a lot of us. And it’s true if you ever day any one action is evil, someone will find a case proving otherwise.

I didn’t always understand how you can tell what the right thing to do is if this is the case. how can you ever be sure?

the answer was given to me, as it often is, through a book. “The hiding Place.” Which I’ve mentioned before on this blog. In that book Corrie and her family have an argument about whether it was right to lie about what they were doing in order to keep people safe and alive. Corrie’s sister, Nollie, argues that truth is always the best choice. That the bible makes it clear never to lie. Corrie argues that to preserve their radio she had to lie. (and later she lies while under interrogation.)The thing is, while the radio may be a small thing, no one would deny that lying to save lives was the right thing to do. In fact, it  would be weak not to.

But the strange thing is that the end result of Nollie telling the truth and Corrie hiding it was the same. Both times the person or people they had wanted to help were safe in the end. And the answer seems to be provided in this one line that their father said to calm Corrie down. “I am sure, whatever you said Corrie, was out of love.”

Huh? What does that even mean?

Well, the Bible says that to a Christian all things are permissible but not all things are helpful. It says not to use grace as a license for sin. It also says whatever is not of faith is sin. What does all this have to do with my point? I’ll tell you.

God never says lying is good. In fact, He forbids it. But even in the Bible there are examples of people lying and not being condemned for it. but it was always to protect the lives of an innocent person, or to get justice in some other way, when total honesty would not serve. God still never says it is good, but we have no record of Him punishing the person for it. Often lying still has its own consequences, and so do other sins that might be committed in the same instance. It seems to matter more why someone does something, and not what it is they do.

This is not always the case. But Corrie and Nollie both did what they did out of their respective beliefs that is was the ight thing, or more right, than the alternative. Sometimes the Right thing can be a personal choice. But only if it’s in line with the Truth.

I mean that it is in Love. I can get a little too obsessed with having “All justice” as Portia put it. (The Merchant of Venice.) But just like for Shylock, in real life having all justice means having more than you desired. If you live by Love on the other hand, you will get as much justice as you need, but you will also render mercy.

Justice is important to me, but Mercy is even more important. I’ll go more into this in the next part, but I’m stopping this here.

–Natasha.cropped-welcome-scan.jpg