A Narcissistic Culture

I’m back!

Sorry for the absence.

I do have a lot of subjects to write about right now.

I tend to avoid politics on this blog unless something catches my attention, but I’m always thinking about culture.

Something I’ve been thinking about it lately is how in Church, we often go with the flow. We address issues that the world thinks are important, but we neglect the ones they don’t think about.

Not that it’s wrong to address things the world thinks about, I think we have to, in a way.

But also, looking at The Gospels, I find it odd that Jesus didn’t spend all that much time talking about what the world thought was important.

Under Roman Occupation, he didn’t talk much about the Romans. He addressed it from time to time as people asked him, but His long sermons are not about that.

He didn’t talk about te libeiton of the Jews from Romans, but from sin.

And looking around nowadays, I wonder if he’d be any different.

It’s so easy to get distracted by what’s gong on around us.

Things about race, gender, and nationality, it’s all anyone wants to talk about now.

And people are demanding respect and taking pride in these things.

Even christians, too many Christians.

My church, which is one of the better ones I think, still has a little group of LGBT people who attend. I don’t care if they attend, but their attitude about it makes me wonder if they come only because the church does not call out the world on that not being biblical.

I was talking to my cousin and his friend about the Bible’s stance on homosexuality, and why it’s consider wrong, just an open conversion, no hate, and explain it well,

And they didn’t really disagree with my points, or that I don’t like how kids are encouraged to vote on sexual topics they do not really understand yet.

But they admitted that they are afraid to express and negative views of it because the have friends or family who subscribes to it all, and are going to be livid if they disagree.

I acknowledged it’s hard in this culture to think for yourself…it’s always is hard in any culture to go against the flow.

But I told them as a Christian, I can’ just ignore it. I can’t blend in. It’s not allowed.

And that’s how I see it.

Sure, it’d be easier to walk around my liberal campus wearing some pro LGBTQ badge, and deck out my car and say that God loves gay people (which He does, but people use that phrase to mean something totally different, that God loves their lifestyle, and that is just no biblical), and play that game.

People claim it’s so hard to support the community. Are you kidding me? It’s so flipping easy. It’s easier to do that than to have an original thought, that’s for sure.

Instant approval, instant clicks, people commending you for sticking up for it. As well as BLM, and Feminism, and everything else.

Sheesh, to get approval just for saying words, whether you ever act on it or not, is so stupid.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1)

I find it disgusting to cater to this. I’d like to get the clicks, view, and likes that the people who do this get, but I’m not willing to bend myself in order to get it. There’s more important things than likes out there, people.

Someday no doubt that’s going to get me cancelled if I’m every popular enough for anyone to care what I think…but oh well, they cancelled all the Apostles too…to the extreme.

It’s getting extreme here too. People are attacking churches more and more. What’s funny is the church’es stance isn’t even that strongly put in the West, but they attack us anyway.

Sheesh.

Islam is actually harsher on homosexuality than Christian is, but I never hear of the LGBTQ community attacking mosques…you know, because Muslims actually might fight back…at least, I assume that’s the reason.

Yeah, so brave. Attack the people who won’t retaliate. But that’s always the way isn’t it.

I’m not here to hate on gay people, I’m just trying to be honest about it all.

And it’s not just gay people, it’s all groups now.

I don’t voice my opinions too loudly at my college because I’m pretty sure I’d lose my grades over it, so I mostly only discuss it out of class. And starting a fight in the middle of a lecture does seem rude.

But I don’t cater to it either.

And it’s all good to preach and teach about how we need to love ourselves and respect ourselves, and not be too harsh…

But when is it time to talk about going against the flow? When do we talk about what no one wants to hear?

Cause I can tell you, the problem with our culture isn’t really all the Pride stuff, that’s just a symptom.

It’s how prideful we are in our personal lives, self seeking, comfort seeking.

We do give lipservice to this in church, but we don’t actually enforce it. We don’t ask people to do more than they feel like doing. We don’t reward people for being strong in their convictions. Instead we think they are too worked up.

Even I think that.

Of course, it is true sometimes. But I’ve gotten reprimanded for protesting that a Youth Leader played songs that talked about sex and making out with the same gender on the way home from a mission trip…yeah….

Am I really the problem in this scenario?

Her excuse? “This is what those kids listen to.”

My thoughts? “This is what you listen to. What’s your point? It was still wrong.”

I can’t tell people what to listen to at home, but on a public trip? With the church?

That was yeas ago now, I don’t think i would happen with our current youth leaders, but that it happened at all was boring, because I knew it wasn’t just this one person, I’ve met so many people like his.

I’ve always gotten a rep for being more vigilant about this stuff, and I’ve had people tell me they were sorry for no having a better attitude about it, but they have never acted like my friends.

And, I’m not a super conservative person. I mean, I watch anime, I read fan fiction, and I listen to songs with cuss words in them…now.

And I don’t like that part, but I decided that I’m not going to be able to avoid cuss words in life, and it doesn’t make the whole song bad if the song is about a good thing, and they use saltier language. But I don’t listen to songs about sex, drugs, and hooking up. I want the message to be good.

I won’t throw out Evanescence because of a few swears, but I won’t listen to “shape of you” just because it has no swearing, sine it’s just about hooking up for a night. You get my point?

And I can’t force that standard on anyone, but I do have it for a reason, and I don’t have an issue telling people that.

This is not even the biggest problem, but my thought is that people would not give up anything they happen to like in the world, even if it was the right thing to do. God may tell me to stop listening to and reading and watching his fault I have prayed about it, and I am careful, though I do need to reevaluate somethings from time to time.

But I do think about it, I don’t get the feeling other people often do, I’ve talked to a few who mentioned it, but don’t mention every dropping something because of it.

I’m trying to be less judgmental than I used to be.

Like when it comes to smut, I believe it’s wrong to read it, but I dont think someone is horrible if they are tempted to. I’m not immune to this stuff either, I have hormones, I’m not dead.

But I have to seriously think about what I want my idea of sex and love to be when I do get married. Do I want to think it’s all about the body? Or do I want it to be about what’s inside, the soul, the mind, the heart?

And I’ll admit, sex can be more than just a physical experience, the Bible is clear about that, but I think smut (porn, you now) kind of makes that worse, not better. People with a porn addiction usually admit that real life sex gets less satisfying if you’ve fed yourself this fake image of it.

Porn and smut are all about making something so flawless it’s no longer real.

And in real life, emotional moment can be awkward even at their most heartfelt, people are damaged, and that gets in the way.

And our bodies are not flawless, even a model has blemishes somewhere.

And we have hygiene and weight issues at different times, or we can get sick. Women have periods, you get my drift? No one is sexy all the time.

If you grow up expecting that, then you aren’t going to be disappointed by sex, because you’ll expect it to be like everything else in life, a thing you do that improve with time, but is not perfect.

But if you grow with the porn version of this, you think sex is somehow unlike other human experiences, it can be flawless.

In the end it sets you up for less, not more pleasure. And that is one reason the Church has never endorsed it.

People think the church discourages sex, and while some churches do, the faith itself doesn’t.

In fact, it encourages it. A lot. Sex with responsibility.

And on that note, I don’t see how recreational sex is a great foundation for a really mature relationship. You treat sex cavalierly, and it’s the only thing that makes marriage different from other relationships. So what make it special to be married then? Might as well just be friends with benefits.

And that about all marriage amounts to now with a lot of couples. I think they are puzzled as to why it’s so unfulfilling.

I’m not saying it never woks out, some people just know how to make it work, but the thing is, marriage used to be something people were expected to figure out, whether it came naturally to them or not, and not it’s seen as a matter of finding the right match to perfectly balance you out.

I think you should date with that in mind, but if you end up marrying someone who doesn’t suit you perfectly, that’ s no reason to throw it out. If you’re not married to a psycho or a pig, you can probably find a way to work stuff out. People just don’t want to be inconvenienced.

And I say that because I’ve had the same experience in friendship. People cannot handle the smallest bit of friction and they bail as soon as conflict happens. I’ve had that happen to me so many times. Because, I’m replaceable, in a world of shallow friendships, and online friendships, if someone annoys you or disagrees with you, why not just dump them?

And if I’m not replaceable, you would never know, because you didn’t get that close to me.

I get it though, I’ve felt the pain for being ditched so many times because I don’t view people that way, and it stings to lose them. I’m working on being okay with that.

But therapy wasn’t the most helpful here because the attitude in therapy is that people are not worth your time if they piss you off.

And that’s kind of a shallow way to look at it.

Someone may piss me off because I have a problem, not them. Or we both do.

Maybe people are worth keeping around.

But you won’t hear that idea anymore in mainstream culture.

It’s not wonder we’re all dying of loneliness, we’re okay with supporting people as long as they are needy, lost lambs, with a victim mentality.

But if someone has a really different perspective, and is just hard to deal with, ditch them.

Perhaps I am annoyed because it doesn’t end well for me, and okay, that’s a fair point.

But I also don’t shut people out of my life just for disagreeing with me, so….

The double standard annoys me, if I was to do that as a Christian I’d be judgmental. But if they are just not “comfortable” round me, that’s their right, they don’t need to get over it.

I have gotten more attention from people when I was upset in front of them, and treated more nicely, than when I’m just my regular, more confident self.

I don’t mind if they comfort me, I just wonder why it goes away after that. I kind of learned the hard way that sympathy doesn’t equal a real bond.

(Something Naruto really needed to learn in Shippunden.)

This is why I think we really have too much attention on ourselves now.

We are narcissistic.

I can be too, but I am aware of it and trying to get better. The point is, the culture encourages me to be self centered, and often the church does too.

We have to be aware of these influences, if we’re going to be better, and set apart.

Or we’ll be like ships on the ocean, “infants tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14)

Doctrine could just mean any popular teaching now.

I think a good question to ask ourselves right now is: How far am I wiling to go to have self-actualization (or whatever you call it)

Am I?…

Willing to sacrifice the happiness of other people?

Willing to cut people out of my life who do not agree with my plan and decision making

Willing to promote it with violence, anger, and verbal attacks?

Willing to make others suffer if it gets me what I “need”

Willing to enforce laws about these things.

Willing to teach others to do the same, and support them even if their lifestyle is no good in other ways.

Willing to listen only to people who support me in this, and never fact check what they are saying.

If you answered yes to any of the above about anything, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, etc.

Then you are elevating that thing not only to your primary focus, (and that thing is yourself, in some form or another)

Also going to an extremist extent that many Believers would not even go to. I question sources within my religion, and I don’t condone violence done in the name of Jesus. My faith has checks and balances.

But the faith of Self Identity has no checks and balances, because you (Or I) are/am the final word on everything.

But if we all are, then none of us are, you see how that works?

Anyway, most people won’t admit that they are worshiping themselves?

How can I be a narcissist? I’m too smart for that. I’m too self aware. All my complaints are valid, all my actions are justified, all I want is reasonable, all I am is perfect. So I can not be a narcissistic.

And the scary thing is that sound like the lyrics to a popular song or a TED Talk.

Ugh.

Well, anyway, the first step is admitting you have a problem. literally. To stop being a narcissist, you have t admit you’re a narcissist, that’s when you begin to stop being one.

That said, I think I’ll end this for now. more posts coming soon.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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Does Christianity work on me?

Hey fahm.

You know, I never talked like that before I liked Camie’s character in mha, it’s funny how you can change how you talk based on things like that.

Well, I think it’s fun to have more of an accent anyway.

How’s everyone doing? I know I haven’t updated this blog a whole lot lately. I’ve been writing a lot on Wattpad.

But hey, I’m up to 2.3k views on one story, if y’all want to go check that out.

[ https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj ]

I’ve also not had a lot to blog about, other than getting a new kitten (who’s doing great still btw, I wrote more about her here: New Kitten)

But an important milestone happened last month, it’s officially been 2 years since my dad moved out.

WOOOOO!

I cannot believe it’s been that long. Still feels like a few months ago he was here.

And I still can’t believe it was mostly my efforts that made it happen, with some help from my siblings.

It’s so weird. That’s a part I rarely tell people who actually know me, I feel like it would shock them. People already don’t get why I was happy about the whole thing.

In hindsight, I could have been more tactful about it, but I am an open book…

People have to get used to that about me, it’s a shock at first.

To this day, we do still feel bad about it at times. My dad didn’t hesitate to lay the guilt trip on thick when I did talk to him for the first time.

And it bothered me.

I still get dreams about it all too. They tend to make me doubt myself, my worth, my decisions. My sisters gets them too.

But the difference now is, he’s not here. We can replay all his words in our heads, but he’s not here to say them. At some point, either you embrace that or you don’t, I think.

Something that bugged me a lot about it all too is this:

Does Christianity really work?

If my mom and dad really believe, how can they act the way they do? Why are they not kinder?

But recently, I’ve realized I could ask myself the same questions.

Christianity ought to make me happy all the time, if it’s true. It’s truly an amazing belief. Puts everything in the right place, mean that life has a meaning beyond what we can imagine.

I think the very reason it doesn’t make me feel that way all the time is because humans cannot hold the whole truth in our heads for very long. You grow into it…

But really even a piece of Christianity is enough food for thought to last you your whole life, so the whole things is even harder.

Other religions usually just have piece of Christianity in them, and the make more of one thing than another. Then add their own stuff to it.

If we could fully realize it at all times, I think we would live completely differently always.

But our focus shifts from one element to another.

In my life, I’ve accepted that God highlights certain aspects of it for me when I need them. That I can’t try to focus on it all at once, I grow in one thing at one time, and another thing at another time. And hat is the only way I think we really can live.

If that’s not your life, you’re probably not grown at all.

And why would I want to exclude certain parts of it anyway? I want the whole picture.

All the immature Christians I know tend to end up stuck on one thing, and they refuse to leave it, ever.

You’ve met the type no doubt, if you life in the West. They harp on about judgment, or holiness, or grace, till you’re sick to death of it.

And you wonder “what about all the other elements of it?”

Yeah, being a well rounded Christian is kind of like being the avatar. You can’t rely too much on one element, you need all of them together, or you’re off balance.

God is a consuming fire, you have to know him as such–but he’s also the living water, and you need to know Him as that.

And really, that’s what make God interesting, isn’t it? As well as people, if you really get to know them.

We spend too much time in our niches now. It used to be you had a friend you learned different stuff about that friend.

But now I can have online friends for each interest i my life, and never need to go beyond that, ever. And it’s no wonder I feel like I don’t really know any of them that well.

That said, I can’t always know why some Christians don’t live the way I want.

But there’s two point to be made here.

  1. Christians are never promised to be 100% perfect while on earth. We’re told that will not happen, n fact–and we wouldn’t’ be able to relate to anyone else if it did.
  2. It’s entirely possible my idea of what everyone should live like is shallow and narrow minded. Do I know everything? No.

And those who criticize Christians for that reason are actually kind of arrogant. Like, you think you can judge us for still having issues? Do you have a better way of life? Are you doing so much better?

Christianity does not promise to fix all you problems overnight. It promises to save your soul.

What you do with that, is going to be a journey.

But whats the alternative?

I’m convinced that there is no way of life we can take as human that it will turn us into angels.

But Christianity is the only thing that will make anything close to it.

The idea is how close are we getting?

Christian re not always good peopel, but mor chirsitn are good people than people who have no God, and no faith. Or who have iath ina ahrshed God.

Not all charitiyes are chirsitn, but most of them are.

Not all world chagner have ben chirsitnst–but mst of the ones we still revere to this day were.

Not all really good books and sotreis are christiant, but many of the ones we still like after so many centureis were.

One has to look at the tendancies of man, not isioated indivuaile, sometiems.

While my dad was a jerk, and still is. I can’t being to guess how much worse it would have been if he did not at atle thav eto rpetend to be Christiatn. If it spared me one bad moment out of two, then it was something.

And he at least taught me to trun to God, even if he did not practice it himself the way I think he shoudl ahve.

My dad, while the most destructive force in my life next to my own human nature, also ushered in a lot of moments of truth for me.

Do I like him? No.

Can I ignore that? No.

God brings good out of bad, that’s what He does. He doesn’t just keep all bad away from us.

I find that view of life escapist.

I know that people often see this explanation as a christian cliche, and bitter, angry people do not want to hear it anyway.

But I’m to the point where I think: Well, sure, it’s cliche…but what else could you conclude based on the world around us?

God has to be good, I know, because if God was evil why would anything good still exist?

An Evil God would not bother giving us free will, would He?

You can’t reconcile the presence of Good and Evil in the world without a good God giving his creations free will, it’s just not possible.

If God was evil, we all literally wouldn’t have a prayer. If God didn’t care, then we would all be dead already from our own stupidly.

If God is Good, but does not force us to be, then we have our answer. Evil has consequences. To stop them is to render it meaningless to choose at all.

You can’t give your kids keys to the car, and then put it on autopilot, and say that they drove it. It’s just not how choice works. If they crash it, that was a a risk you took.

But it’s more of a risk to not let a kid learn how to do things for themselves, is it not? If you cannot coddle them through life, what will they do?

And God could do that for us, but he seems more interesting having adults, or at least kids with some sense of self.

Every child understands the idea of choice, it’s us older people who try to say we don’t have one.

It’s an old answer, but maybe let’s old because it’s true.

We should consider that, you know.

Some things are just true, so they are eternal.

I know that people who have been hurt do not want to hear that it had to happen.

And maybe it didn’t, I’m not sure sin ever “had” to happen.

But it does.

We all do it.

I’m inclined now, at 22, to think it’s a better use of my time to let God heal and teach me to live better, than to whine about how it all sucked.

Jesus suffered too, after all.

I still have lots of memories of self pity, but God willing, they are getting less.

And I do have some things I still need to work through, but I’m leaning also that it is not the most important thing in the world.

I guess, I’m saying, we can complain about our lives…or we can take the offer to have them made new.

But guess what, whether you take Gods’ offer or not, you’re life is still going to have bad things in it.

It’s just a matter or whether you ever want there to be more to it than that.

That has always been what Christianity offers. Not an escape from the world, but from yourself, and your pain.

With that thought, I think I’ll just end this here, this is short for me, but I think that’s okay.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

“I’m bad at love!”

Time for a confession: I’m bad at love.

I’m the blogger who’s always like “love, love, love” “The secret to life” “the truth about love…” etc.

But I suck at it.

I don’t know if anyone is actually good at love, though.

Is there a single person out there who prioritizes love as their goal in life who thinks they are doing it right?

Show me someone who does, and I’ll show you someone who’s not really as unselfish as they think they are.

It’s true that some people achieve a form of contentment with how they love. And that’s not a bad thing to an extent, feeling satisfied with the relationships in your life, but often that means you’re only focusing on a certain few relationships.

Like maybe you love your wife, but you don’t love your parents the right way.

It’s so rare that an human can perfectly balance all their relationships and ways of loving.

Some of us are good with loving our kids, but not our spouse. Some of us are good with friends but not as lovers.

Much more often though, we’re just good at certain parts of love. When we need to be firm, we’re good at it, or when we need to be soft, we’re good at that, but not good at switching gears. And in all love, you have to be both.

I speculate that even if we could be a perfect, romance novel type of person who never gets mad at their SO even if the do terrible, stupid things…we’d still think we could do better.

But to be honest, even that’s a are person.

Most of us are where I often find myself: Complacent. We think we’re pulling enough of our own weight to excuse any indulgences of selfishness.

I’m embarrassed to admit that even recently I’ve fallen into thinking “Well, I do all this, and I’m trying. And they (insert whoever I’m mad at right then) are not, so it’s okay if I feel disappointed and bitter, but they should try harder.”

And only after months of this does it finally occur to me, by some move of the Spirit maybe, that…” hey, maybe if I’m thinking this, it’s a sign I’ve started to drift away from love as my focal point.”

I mean, I think about love all the time–as something I want.

And, okay, I’m not the worst woman in the world. I do try. Even when I’m in a selfish rut, I will make an effort to show care to others because that is my standard. I believe I should.

And absolutely, in moment when we all get in that mindset, it’s important to have a standard we’ll hold ourselves to anyway, even if we’re doing it with a self pitying attitude, because it’s not okay to just lash out at and hurt others because you feel neglected. I used to do that.

A lot, actually, but since my Dad moved out, I’ve noticed how much like him that behavior is, and tried to stop.

I remember Hannah Hurnard’s brutally honest observations in “Hinds Feet on High Places” when she noted that most of our love, as fearful people, is “longing to be loved.” C. S. Lewis noticed the same thing in “The Great Divorce” and “Till We Have Faces.”

I think all people are afraid they won’t be loved. Sometimes even if you have really good parents, you fear it all the more, because you think you could do something to them they really don’t deserve, and lose their love. What else is the story of the prodigal son about?

If you’re like me, and you will never get love from them, no matter how much you try, then you feel you were doomed from the start.

And it hit me in the last week, that the real reason I find it hard to forgive and let go of resentment is Fear.

I think that’s the reason we all do, actually.

Fear motivates spitefulness and hatred and bitterness. (All things that plague Much Afraid in Hurnard’s book, interestingly enough)

I think it’s becuae as long as we fear someone who hurt us, we think they can keep urting us, and that maks us angry, and that angeyr make it impsosible to forgive them.

When I don’t feel afraid of my dad, I don’t feel like I hate him. But any time I ruminate on what he did and wants to do to be still, I get angry, because I fear it. I fear he can still hurt me, and that I will never heal.

And whether that is at all based on the truth or not, I don’t know. I doubt it. I think that time is passed. but, there it is.

I notice often bad dreams trigger me to start thinking of this again, I know that happens to a lot of people with trauma. We have to deal with them quickly. If I don’t the fear comes back. Even if I wasn’t scared in the dream, my mind ends up on those things.

I know my dad had nightmares of his messed up past even to the time he move out probably (which as of last month is now officially 2 years ago, whoo hooo!) and he never got over it, he wouldn’t face them.

My dad, in fact, lives in deep terror, whether he admits it or not, but he won’t confront that fear enough to move on. It’s easier to live in lies and self pity than it is to face your fear, and grow into love.

And really, I sympathize with him in my more clear headed moments, because I know I face those same temptations. And nothing makes me a better person that him.

I would have mistreated people just the way he did, in fact, I have, in the past And while I can write off some of it as I was a child and too young to know better if I wasn’t taught, there are people who never grow out of it (such as my dad…)

And so easily, even now, I an start thinking like him. The whole world is against me, no one likes me, I always get put down…I am lonely.

But I’ve begun to notice, after 2 years, that I am not open to people always the way I think I am.

I just never learned how to act normal around them. I’ve made some friends who are kind enough to overlook that, but I know sometimes I make them uncomfortable. I only realize it after I’ve done it, though, my foresight is not great.

I know how to react to people, that’s what I’m used to, but how to communicate the right way when I have to start it…I always feel like I’m too intense. All the confrontations I saw growing up were one person bullying another.

And sometimes it was my mom, not my dad, who was aggressive and violent, that was weird to realize. My dad was worse, but she could be savage too, not in a good way.

I thought it was normal. My default in confrontation is to jump wright into the crux of the issue without much of a warning, because that’s what I saw. I know in my head that in can be better to ease into it, but I neither know how to do that, nor know how to be patient if someone else tries it. I just want them to get to the point.

I’m used to being accused, so I wait for them to accuse me, and then I either decide to take the blame, or to fight it.

But while sometimes you have to be in that position, it’s not a good default mode to have. I know that now.

This is how I’m bad at love. I can know that, but I can’t act on it of my own volition.

I’ve spent two years now trying to learn how to actually love in the absence of my dad’s domineering presence, I thought it would happen without that toxic black hole in my life.

And some things did get better, but it’s not magic. It’s still work.

Trust is like a pond of murky water
Too dark to see, mysteriously undercover
I can’t jump off the high dive even though I really want to
My toes are hanging off the ledge

Trust is a tree that towers fifty feet above us
Grown over time through many seasons
Believing in something more than just the surface
I trust that this is worth it
But my toes are hanging off the ledge

Lord, help me, there’s a thorn in my side
I feel the tension and the fear in truth
I carry life in between the divide
But all the wrestling has left me bruised.

How sweet, the taste of certainty
That gift you gave is safe with me

Hold to this, significance
Lean into the process
Rest and know, the love you hold
Won’t be taken back, no

How sweet, the taste of certainty
That gift you gave is safe with me
Na, na, na, na, na

Trust is like the middle of the ocean
Can’t see the bottom but I’m floating here, supported
I know that it can take me even deeper if I let it
But my limbs are trying to swim away

Hold to this, significance
Lean into the process
Rest and know, the love you hold
Won’t be taken back, no

How sweet, the taste of certainty
(Releasing hope to carry me)
How sweet, the taste, never let it go, no
(Na, na, na, na, na)I see the walls that are torn and bent
The tug of war in the now, not yet
Holding back what they can contain
Can you tell me why I feel this way?

I have faith that the world I’m in
Will be redeemed to its place again
But there’s a weight that I can’t explain
So tell me why I feel this way.”

Like Paul said, “I don’t do what I want to do.” (Romans)

And like Shakespeare said, “I can easier teach 20 what it were good to be done, than be one of the 20 to follow mine own instruction.” (Portia, The Merchant of Venice.)

But, the answer came to me, as it always does, before I even knew I needed it. Before I had all this hit me in that last couple weeks, I reread “The Hiding Place” with my young cousin.

At the end of that book, Corrie Ten Boom says that when she had trouble loving one of the Nazi Prison Guards from the camp she was at, she told Jesus “I cannot forgive this man, give me your forgiveness.” And she felt a rush of love run down her arm for the guard.

She then writes “When He (God) tells us to love our enemies, he gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches, abide in me.”

And you see, my mistake, I now realize, has been I was trying become more loving on my own.

It’s laughable really. I wanted to prove I was no like my dad, (and thought I know from Todoroki that its not going to work if i do that, I still forget), and so I tried, but I didn’t’ pray to God for help when I should have, and I let myself try too hard on my own, for too long. Till I feel like I hate everyone around me.

And even if that didn’t turn me into a prick like Endeavor, it won’t make me more loving.

It’s like I think I can be exempt from the rule, that I’m not as bad as everyone else. What am I on, right?

But I’m also realistic enough to know I’m not more delusion that the average person…just no less delusional either.

But at least I can snap out of it. I know I’m lucky. God puts things in my path to set me back on track.

I had a thought last night too, I can see God’s hand in my life from start to finish. But why do other people not see that.

And my thought is this: Perhaps it takes opening yourself up to God to begin with to be given the insight to see your life the right way at all.

Maybe until you let God in, you will never see how your whole life has led you to Him, even the sin. Many people who come to God later come to think that their sin itself is what pushed them to Him, even as they were trying to get away from him by doing it.

I remember running from God when I was 11 to 13, and the harder I tried to get away, the more it haunted me. The more I knew it was just God I was afraid of. I could never lie to myself enough to think I just didn’t believe in Him. I wonder if anyone really does, deep down, think that.

But when I ran from God, I also knew He was the only cure for the disease I had. I was just too afraid of it. When I came back to God, it as because I accepted finally it would be worse to die of the sin disease than to embrace the pain of being cured from it.

And in typical fashion, God then made the curing of it far less painful for me than suffering from it was. I’ve had bad moments in my Christian walk, but even at its lowest, I can’t compare it to the horror of before.

And even if I felt as bad at times as a christian, it is always when I doubt the most that I am one. When I am secure in who I am, the suffering is not what matters most to me.

Another thing that occurred to me during all this, was how I know that all this is not just in my head.

I actually have a rather strange way to know that.

I’m the kind of person who dwells half her waking life in imaginary worlds. I write a lot, my sister and I reenact stuff in order to brainstorm, I act. I know what’s imaginary more than I know what’s real, most of the time.

Basically, I’m the type of person who always imaging talking to people who are not real. But I know they aren’t real. It’s fun, but it’s not like talking to a person. There’s no give and take.

And I know many anime weebs do what I do, and do it even to a perverted extent. If you’re in the fandom, you know…if your’e not, it’s probably better I don’t explain it here. Look it up if you care, but I don’t recommend that.

Suffice it to say human corruption runs even to the most innocent of shows. Sadly enough.

But many weebs are very lonely individuals, and loneliness leads to perversion faster than anything else does.

But the thing is, they are still lonely. Fantasy lives of the kind they have don’t fill them.

If you hang around fans, you’ll notice the frantic, almost rabid energy they have toward their favorite character, and their unfettered need to hate their lest favorites. It seems excessive.

But fans try to milk everything for the most enjoyment they can (which is fine).

Now, walking with God, I as a fan have used that energy as motivation to thank God for the stories I like that I think I learn from. My fan side turned back into devotion, though I do struggle with the balance, like anyone else would. But God wins out every time.

And oddly, it is exactly because I dwell in fantasy so much that I know God is not a fantasy in my head.

I know what it’s like to talk to people who are not real. What it feels like. You can be emotionally invested in them. All writers are. But they aren’t real. You now that. You know it’s one sided.

And a fan knows ultimately that either love is fake and one-sided, the character will never be real–no matter how violent you get when someone makes that completely obvious point. (If I was on YouTube right now and commented that under a video, people would jump on me, even though it’s just a statement of fact.)

Talking To God is not like that. I think most religious people would back me up on this. You feel like your are talking to a person. There’s a response. Even in Silence, there’s a response.

I mean, would you get mad at an anime character for not answering you when you call? Or do you get mad at your brother for doing that? Or you child, or your parent.

You can’t really be upset with someone who is not real. You can feel a dislike for them, but you know it’s all for fun, really.

We can even dehumanize real people to the point we treat them like the are imaginary…but it doesn’t go the other way around, does it? You can make something less real to you, but it is hard to make it more real to you.

Ever had someone ruin a movie or show for you by telling you the special effects they use to make that awesome scene? And it was fake the whole time?

As a kid, we all had that, right?

Did you ever feel the same watching it? No. Because it could be made less real to you, but it cannot go backwards. It can’t be more real to you.

I think the only thing that make things feel more real is our own maturity to appreciate them growing. And that process is hard.

C. S. Lewis wrote that children outgrow fairy tales, but adults eventually grow back into them. That’s part of life. Everything you like you must learn to stop liking it for a while, in order to like it in a deeper way later.

Which is why marriage can be tempestuous after so many years, but the couples who stick it out often find a deeper kind of love. Friendship too. Even sibling relationships play this out. and those ten to be the least antagonistic out of family dynamics (there are exceptions).

That applies to love too, doesn’t it? How we love? We have to grow out of it, so we can grow back into it.

If we don’t embrace that process, we won’t be able to really love anyone or anything.

Maybe you need to hear that, huh? It’s okay to let something go, it doesn’t mean you can’t love it…it means you need to give you over time to mature. Don’t try to recreate old feelings if they are just not there…embrace the journey. (I mean that when it’s applicable, of course.)

I don’t mean to give up on a relationship if it no longer feels the same. I mean, if you accept it is not the same, and decide yourself to make it the best of what it is now, you’ll either find you dont need it anymore, or, it will turn into something better, deeper, given enough time.

That’s why if you love something you have to set it free.

Well, I’m little better at love than I was, because I have a good teacher.

I hope this helped someone today, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

P. S. (Thanks to all the people who kept reading this even while I was gone for while, I appreciate that.)

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New Kitten

So, I got a new kitten last month.

Yeah, I can’t believe I didn’t post about it sooner, but I was writing so much for other projects. Yeesh.

BTW, I now have a fanfiction on Wattpad that’s hit 1.9k views!

Yeah it just blew up since March. I will link it here if you want to check it out. https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj

Anyway, my new black cat is name after not one, but two anime characters “For the memes” I told my family. (Inside joke)

I named her Saucy K. Panther Lily (the K was my sister’s addition.)

If you don’t get it…you don’t watch a lot of anime.

It’s a bit corny I know, but you get all these instant jokes out of it, and in my family, if you can’t make a joke out of a name for something, it’s just not worth it. We like to laugh.

Anyway, I thought why not write about what it’s like to be a first time cat-mama.

And no, I’m not just lonely.

Okay, yes I am.

Really though, I don’t get the whole cat lady stigma. Cats are awesome, I’d have a few even if I had kids. My grandma used to have like 10 or more at any given time when my mom was growing up, and she had kids.

Sure, it’s weird to not have friends unless they are cats, but I’ve got friends.

So with that unnecessary defense out of the way, let me go on.

I’ll tell y’all, I didn’t realize that your brain change when you become a parent–I mean, I knew it did for humans because of hormones, but it turns out, just owning something that’s alive at all can change how you think.

I love our other cats, but they aren’t mine, they’re the family’s, and so we all take care of them, but my Mom mainly pays for them.

Now taking on that responsibility myself, I have to think about what I can afford, and what’s best for a two months old cat.

I have to make sure she doesn’t get eaten by the dog…yeah, I acutely had a nightmare about that, but I partially blame my mom for putting the idea into my head.

Actually, the dog’s not really hostile to cats, oddly enough. But it’s a big dog, and she’s still a little cat. She’s fast though.

Also, you know they say pets take on their owner’s personality?

Well, my sister’s already saying this cat acts more like me.

She’s a happy, cheerful little thing. It’s been like 3 weeks and she’s already more well adjusted than any of our older pets are…sad to say. They all are more stressed out than she is.

She’s also not scared of much. She’s barely even scared of the dog anymore.

And she’s…persistent, to say the least. The older cats keep kissing and growling at her, but she’s still trying to make friends and keeps attacking them trying to get them to play. I think she’s wearing down the one.

Also, her favorite game is hide and seek/catch me if you can.

(I said to my family “she really is like Sasuke then”)

I always have thought my cats reflected human nature more than dogs. I mean, I think it’s both.

Dogs to me reflect our need for attention and praise from people above us.

Cats, on the other hand, reflect our need for respect, space, and reassurance.

Dogs protect, Cats comfort. Though there’s of course, room for both.

But cats definitely to me have more of a decided personality. I’ve had both cats and dogs, and I like dogs fine, but they seem to be very alike to each other to me. While cats are all different. Maybe I’m just biased.

Having my own pet, also makes me reflect on myself.

Like, I prefer cats party because they don’t need as much attention as dogs, and they aren’t as messy.

But is that a selfish reason to like cats? I don’t know. I just feel I don’t have the time for a dog. Or energy. And a cat is easier to cuddle with because it’s smaller.

Also my new cat is still a baby and need more attention.

I take care of our dog sometimes too, though it’s not really mine, but it’s way more stressful. But our dog is very anxious, not at all like the one we had when I was younger.

Also, getting a pet made me realize something about myself that should have been obvious.

I like taking care of things.

I thought everyone did. But my sister has actually illustrated for me that that is not true. Taking care of things stresses some people out. They may come to like it over time, but they don’t put themselves in that passionate on purpose.

They feel like they can’t live up to it, or do an adequate job.

For me, it’s not like that.

I do often feel like maybe I’m not good enough at what I do, but I do it anyway, because I do find joy in caring for other things.

I get more satisfaction out of feeling like something his my job. I’m more motivated then if it’s a joint task.

I tend to pawn things off on other people if it could be anyone who does it. But if it’s my job, I can actually be kind of possessive and jealous about it.

Basically, I’d be the woman who won’t bug you about your kids, but if you try anything with mine, I’m full war mode.

I don’t tell other people how to do their jobs often (unless they ask or I see a problem that’s too glaring to ignore) but I do not like if it they tell me how to do mine–and that happens a lot.

I mean, people really could just mind their own business more, you know?

I also am somehow the girl everyone is scared to cross in my friend group…I’ve scared people without even trying.

I don’t even think I’m that aggressive to people, I’m just…firm.

Well, maybe it’s perspective.

All that makes me someone who either enjoys being in charge…or simply has to be.

I kind of had to be the second mom to my sisters once my mom began working. I don’t know whether I like responsibility because I like it, or because I felt I needed to take it on.

But it doesn’t stress me out. Maybe I’m weird, or maybe I just inherited my dad’s attitude about it, as he never seemed to overthink it.

Or both their attitudes. That is what I worry about at times.

Both my parents were negligent in some ways, emotionally, sometimes in other ways too. I never got asked if I was okay. If I was upset I was told to calm down, stop crying, etc.

It was normal to me to go weeks or months without playing with other kids except at church. I don’t know if that’s bad or good, but it was normal.

Though I have a different personality, I know I have that model of care, and I imitate it whether I mean to or not.

Like, my dad would just ignore us and be on the computer as soon as he got him. I do that too.

I changed it by also purposely making time almost everyday to hang with one or both of my siblings, I actually am more proactive about it than they are, I have the drive.

My Mom would not talk to us unless we started the conversation, usually. And we didn’t talk about heavy stuff unless we started it, for sure. It’s funny, she was a stay at home mom up till I was a teenager…and after about 4 or 5, i have no memory of her trying to talk to me on purpose about heavy stuff, or anything, without me starting ti. That was the way it worked in my house.

I don’t know if I think that’s all bad, that’s the way some people are…but it did make it hard for me not to develop a strategy for self care that I have often felt was too much of a burden for someone my age.

For years I’ve known I have to start things if I want them to happen. I don’t expect people to care or think about what I want. And if they do, I am surprised, sometime mistrustful.

No family is perfect, and we humans tend to develop bad coping mechanism, no matter how perfect our family could be. I know that.

I remember when my mom stopped coming to sit with me after I had a bad dream. I remember when the same thing happened to my sister, and I became the one who would go sit with her.

I remember when I was sick and came to tell her and she was like “what do you want me to do about it?”

Yes, she got up eventually…but that response stuck with me.

My dad never got up at all for those things, and it was just understood that he wouldn’t. Daddy didn’t handle that kind of thing.

Shoot, I didn’t know Dads even did things like that till I got old enough to hear about other kids of fathers. I just assumed it was like that for everyone.

I didn’t know there were dads who made time for their kids on purpose. Sheesh.

Then again, I didn’t know there were husbands who were nice to their wives either.

I try to be available to both sisters and friends whenever they are in need of something. They know that I will put down my laptop, or book, or whatever, and talk to them if they need it.

I decided to become that way because I didn’t get it as a kid. And I am grateful when they do the same for me, though I usually apologize for bothering them, because in my mind, I am a bother, and there is always something more important than me they could be focused on.

Because that is what I heard.

My mom would tell me “I need to go to bed” or “I need to cook dinner” or “I need to do insert chore” and she didn’t have time to listen to me talk about what was bothering me for an hour.

And this wasn’t stupid stuff, mind you. I was hurt by my dad, my family, about being picked on, I didn’t just complain about nonsense like not having a toy I wanted. I’ve never been able to complain about things like that, and that’s not so bad. They are petty anyway.

My mom did listen to me plenty of times, but it always felt like a chore she did, to me. And she’d cut it off when she felt she couldn’t take more time away from something.

I’ve never had her actually just change what she was going to do because of me…well. Not if it was something serious.

I know that we cannot expect that always form people. But there are times when soemoen else really does need to come before our plans. We humans can’t plan when we’ll have heartbreaking moments, and the need to control our lives despite that is just a fantasy on our part.

That’s what I think anyway. I can do what I’m doing another time. It’s just a project.

But despite all this, I still wonder if my attitude is right. Do I still neglect others. There’s always more I could do.

But I know that comparison is a huge stumbling block in Love.

Even comparing myself to my parents is bad. Will I ever feel like I don’t do what they did? Anything can feel like them, if I frame it that way.

Was all they did bad? No.

Will I ever be perfect? Not in this life.

I think, in the end, the main thing is to be growing constantly. I am a better lover now than I was two years ago, I should be better in 5 years than I am now. Keep maturing.

Many of us stay static. Even those in the church. We don’t grow. Or we grow at a really, really slow pace.

Thank God, His grace is not based on our growth. But, it sure does shine more through it, doesn’t it?

You can grow fast or slow.

I just read an article about a man, Everett, who studied a small tribe of people, and lost his faith in Christianity because he observed a more harmonious lifestyle there, than he thought the Church produced.

That they were the goal we all strive for, and if Christianity worked it would produce those people.

I thought the guy kind of missed the point.

Though we are to be better people because of it, no where in the New Testament, that I know of, does it promise that we will be the best society because we are Christians.

The tribe in question didn’t even believe in God, they live in the Present. They couldn’t understand what he was talking about.

This is one point of religion that critics of it fail to understand. They claim religion should make us more peaceful.

Jesus said “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”

Religion deals with the most important matters of life, and people take it dead seriously. Of course it will cause fights.

What is more worth fighting over than the actual truth about God and ourselves? Can you think of something more important than that?

I’m not for killing defectors, but I do understand why some religions do. It’s that serious to them.

Christ taught us to be merciful to those who don’t believe, but most religions have no such principle expressly stated in them. Islam is quite the opposite, in fact.

So, when people complain that the Church has not produced a more peaceful society or more contentedness in its members…I wonder, just why do they think it is supposed to do that?

Sure, we are to be as contented as we can be with what God gives us, but not contented with the way the world is. Christians are people of change, wherever we go. We can’t help it. Our core belief is that the world is not right the way it is. Take that away, and we have no reason to be Christians.

And to me, a life without God is no life at all. If this man, Everett, thought that was sufficient fr this tribe, he was a fool.

I know I am not culturally correct for saying that…I don’t care.

So, in a way, I need to not be satisfied with where I am, but not dissatisfied either. I must accept where I am now is a stage of the journey, but it’s not the goal.

I will never arrive as long as I walk this earth, but I can get closer.

I don’t know how I got to this from my cat.

But if I may tie it back in…Being a caregiver, a lover, really, is a process of improvement. You could always be better.

What makes you a good one is not how skilled you are now, really, but whether you intend to get better. If you’re trying, then, your heart is right.

And our lives catch up toour heart.

All the talent in the world is no good if you’re selfish with it.

I think that’s a goodplace to stop.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

(My cat scratched me several times while writing this because I was not paying attention to her. Go Figure)

I review more of the Chosen (i. e. banging my head on an imaginary desk)

[This was going to be published sooner, but the site started giving me editing trouble, so sorry for the long absence, peeps.]

I enjoy The Prince of Egypt, the Nativity Movie, many smaller portrayals of Jesus in film, and Veggie Tales, which is not words for word.

Back with another post about the Chosen.

Sine my last one–which didn’t get a great response, but oh well– there’s been two more episodes, and I was hoping the problems I had with it would get better.

But they got worse.

I honestly don’t want to dislike this show, so I tried to keep an open mind, but episodes 6 and 7 of season 2 were just too much.

Ep 6 was fluff, pretty much. A couple interesting things, but mostly just made up stuff that’s not based on Scripture.

Ep 7 has gone way, way off the charts for what I think is outright heresy.

But let me explain:

I don’t throw the word heresy around. I’m the kind of Christian who other, more conservative Christians think is too lax. I watch anime, Disney, and read books with magic in them.

I once had a lady tell me that Disney was evil, and writing stories (as I do) with magic in them was wrong.

This homeschooled, sheltered, raised on C. S. Lewis kid thought she was nuts. Though I appreciative high standards, I do not think Disney is evil.

But hey, if you don’t want to watch it, and that’s your conviction, I have no issue with that.

And I generally take the same attitude to things other Christians I know enjoy. I know some fellow homeschooled girls who like Queen though they feel the church would frown on it because the band is gay.

I don’t really like gay artists for the most part, if I know the song is about that, but I don’t avoid all art by LGBTQ people. I watch Sanders Sides, and plenty of anime fan art is done by people in that category. I don’t think turning something down and denying its quality because you dislike the person’s life style is something you should do. It’ s like saying no good can ever come out of sinful people.

What good can come out of any of us, then?

Plus, if I truly applied that rule, I’d not be able to live in this world. The laptop I’m using is probably made by companies exploiting other people. We all know it.

But the world is built on that, we shouldn’t practice hose things ourselves, but Paul wrote to us

“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?  But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

A lot of Christians fall back on the commandment not to judge, ignoring this passage where Paul clearly says, we are to judge people in the church if they do things Christians are not supposed to do.

But we are not to judge the world, we can’t get away form it, he’s realistic about that. This is just plain hard common sense.

So, no, I don’t avoid worldly things all simply because they are of the world. I can’t.

But I hold Christian things up to a higher standard.

A person outside the Faith can portray our faith badly, and I won’t like it, but, I will shrug it off, the world will do what the world does. I can’t change that.

But someone in the Faith, who portrays it falsely, we are told no to even eat with such people. That’s pretty stiff. It’s the cultural equivalent now of blocking their number, blocking them on social media, and avoiding them in person. Cut them off completely.

It’s saddening to me to watch the comments under the Chosen whenever anyone brings up a Scriptural or Doctrinal concern with what is being shown, and people rush to say “Hey don’t judge.”

We are supposed to be judging.

The Bible says also to test every spirit, and not to belie anyone, whether it be a teacher you’ve known for years, or an angel from heaven, if they preach any gospel to you other than the one you’ve heard.

That’s very heavy. Changing the Gospel is one of the worst crimes we can do… but many, many people do it. That’s why we’re are all supposed to study and know it by heart, we are told to “be careful lest any man deceive you.”

What many people don’t understand is that when Paul and Peter wrote that to the young church, they were in a similar situation to us where information was concerned. Many of them didn’t meet Jesus. And like us, didn’t have access to the Gospels yet. Those were all written after the Apostles letters.

So like us now, people mostly just had the testimony of those who had seen Jesus, and their own experience of him.

We could have the Bible, but as many of us do not read it, or do not read it carefully, we might as well be without it.

So it is even more important to have parameters to judge by. You’d better know your actual doctrine if you refuse to read about it.

The Bible gives us a few criteria.

One things is if anyone adds to or takes away from Jesus words. (Revelation)

Another is if any spirit (or person) does not confess (proclaim) that Jesus came in the flesh and was the Son of God.

And other, is to simply test it. Get a feel for it.

Another is if they change the Gospel.

These are our four parameters.

But I’m not trying to be too legalistic. I don’t think every rendition of Jesus or the Bible that changes a few details is necessarily blasphemous.

I enjoy The Prince of Egypt, the Nativity Movie, many smaller portrayals of Jesus in film, and Veggie Tales, which is not words for word.

But the reason I don’t count those is that nothing essential is added or removed from the Bible in those stories.

A few framing details are changed in the retelling. Certain events may be changed or combined, but, what we are seeing either actually happened, like the slaughter of the innocents in the Nativity movie, or the visit of the three kings–or it wasn’t important. Imagining what Mary was like as a person, while not useful to our theology, makes for a better movie, and is not blasphemous. We’re not claiming it’s beat for beat scripture.

The words she uses are taken from the Bible in the scenes that are based on the Bible, and there is no change of Mary’s faith, philosophy, or lifestyle that suggest anything not in scripture to be true.

In Veggie Tales, the story is retold for kids, so a direct quote isn’t necessary, but they always bring it back to Scripture at the end and these stories are not supposed to be portraying it as it was. Kids know that. But, again, essential doctrine is not changed. Josh and The Great Wall doesn’t become a story about building cities. Dave and the Giant Pickle isn’t a story about Social Justice.

It’s still about what it’s originally about.

I hope you are starting to catch my drift.

I don’t think it is adding to Scripture to retell it in a new way. Jesus told many different parables about the same point.

But, I do think the Chosen has gone too far.

They have kept saying that it is not replacing the bible, but to use that as in excuse to make crap up, when you are allegedly telling a story about the Bible…

Well, let me put it this way. I write Fan fiction that I set in Japan, because that is where the show takes place. (Other times I set in in fictional countries but other people’s ideas of them) Suppose I write in the fic that in Japan, it is normal to cut off the limbs of your child if they misbehave.

It has been appropriate to do that in the past, with thieves, so you could say, I was basing it off actual culture, whether of Japan or some other Asian or Middle Eastern country, it might be hard to say. I just took it a step further.

Is that, or is that no, misrepresent Japan in an irresponsible way?

I’m sure the SJWs would jump all over me if I did that for disrespecting their culture, blah blah blah, and I’d have to agree with them in this case. I’m told everyone in other countries thinks all Americans are gun waving extremists…yeah they don’t really teach respect for other cultures in most places around the world.

The point is, I’d never get away with that in today’s political climate.

But misrepresenting Japan, a country is arguably less bad than misrepresenting the story of our Lord and Savior, as in the end it’s just country. It won’t probably ruin someone’s life in the hereafter to not understand it right, but, it could if they do not understand our lord.

And so, any misrepresentation of Jesus is to be taken seriously.

What is and is not misrepresentation?

Opinions will vary on it, but in my estimation, there are just two main schools of thought on it.

1: Jesus must be shown exactly as he is in Scripture, but, how you enact that is up to you. If you think Jesus is harsh, then you tend to lean more into the preachy, judgement personal of him in your portrayal.

2. Jesus can be shown doing other things, as long as they do not contradict Scripture. Like, we can show him eating with his disciples, we know that happened, even if every singly meal is not recorded for us. We can add miracles that are not on record, because the Gospels tell us he did many, many more than they could write about, so adding some is not unbiblical, as long as it’s nothing too off the wall that would have changed the events of the bible, like defeating a whole army in one word. That would not make any sense to add because Jesus could never have been treated the way he was then. But healing a man we don’t have on record? Sure. It’s not unbiblical.

I’m in the second camp, but in the first, there’s still a lot of room for interpretation. Some people show Jesus as kind, gentle, and meek. Too meek most of us think. Others show him as far too harsh.

However, what’s important about either view is that neither is unsupported by scripture. Jesus being outspoken is biblical, Jesus being kind and gentle is biblical. We shouldn’t leave out one or the other, but no one nails both perfectly, and there’s some margin for error. I don’t think God expects us to be able to know exactly how Jesus said everything, but to do our best to look at all of what he said and not leave stuff out.

The point is, while people disagree about it, no one can say it’s not biblical.

The second view can be biblical if we know Jesus would have done those types of things, but not if we know for a fact he couldn’t or would have.

And that brings us up to S2 E7 of the Chosen.

I was shocked when I saw Jesus actually getting arrested about 2 and a half years too early…to be questioned.

The Romans ignored Jesus up until the end of his ministry, for the most part. Some of them even followed him. They would not have questioned him. If they had that early on, then what followed could only have led to his arrest much, much sooner than it happened.

The Pharisees didn’t like him from the start and tried to arrest him multiple times on record, but that was different, they lacked the power of Rome to enforce all that easily.

If Jesus was taken in for questioning so early, it would certainly have been mentioned by his disciples. This is not just filling it out to make it seem more natural, this is straight up adding something that makes no sense, and would have changed the trajectory of Jesus’ whole ministry.

The fear his disciples express later on in the Gospel would have been there sooner.

And my sister pointed out to me, if they are learning this early how to handle it, it makes them look even worse for abandoning him later like we know hey do.

And having Jesus speak about it to them, words he never said, and saying to the Romans words he never said…is adding to Jesus words.

I don’t take issue when they make Jesus talk to people naturally, as he would have done that. But when they create confrontations that never happened, they are setting up a precedent of a Christlike way to handle those that no tall Christians agree on, and that are not Divine guidance. We cannot imitate it.

And what scares me most of all, is how little anyone minds. People talk about how relatable the Disciples are. No one is saying “Wow, I want to be more like Jesus.”

Jesus is written too weirdly to really want to imitate time. I can’t get a read on him enough to do that.

The Gospel Jesus, I may not understand, but I see his pattern. Help the weak, heal the sick, confront hypocrisy, What pissed him off is what pisses me off, or it should.

But Jesus letting himself be arrested early? Why? It makes no sense. It adds nothing useful to the story, and…it’s lying.

I mean, people, at what point do we just call it what it is? Lying about Jesus.

Sure, tell people to check the Bible and see if it’s right. That’s like a professor telling you to check the textbook or a different textbook not in the course to make sure that what they say is correct.

I have had to do that, but I really shouldn’t, should I? If you are not professing what you know to be true, you should not be professing at all.

That Jesus cast out demons, healed the sick, and anger pharisee, we know to be true. We can profess it in different ways.

That he faced the Romans over his following, we do not know to be true. In fact, we know it to be false. So what, I ask, is the point of professing it.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The Chosen is fan fiction based off the Gospel, and the based off part is shrinking in every episode.

And for what reason? Padding? There are so many miracle and stories that are in the Gospels that they could have put in to fill that run time if they really insisted on leaving the sermon on the Mount for the end of Season 2.

As a writer, I can’t imagine why they left it for the end, since it’s one for the very first recorded things in the Gospels, and they’ve put other events out of order because they wanted to wait for it.

People will say, the order doesn’t matter. Those people are fools.

The order does matter. Jesus planned his ministry to be at the right time we know that from what he said to Mary, his mother.

He knew his allotted time to die. We know that.

He knew when to go to different cities.

The sheer arrogance of saying that the order of those events does not matter for the message and purpose of his ministry….it’s unbelievable.

For example, Jesus choosing to leave certain places because his following there was getting too big, that has been left out. That happened because of John’s ministry. After the Sermon on the mount. But now John’s been arrested too early, and none of that is going to happen.

They are purposely making the ministry small so they can accommodate focusing on a smaller cast, but that is simply no excuse to leave out what Jesus did, and then add in a bunch of stuff he didn’t do, that is lying about him.

I’ve never used the word Heresy so much about anything Christian made. That’s how shocked I am that this is even happening.

And that thousand of people are approving it, no less.

There are some who point out the problems, but they are being ignored and called judgmental.

There is no power in this Gospel they are showing.

It bothers me that people are saying the feel the Holy Spirit in it, and they feel they are closer to God.

I’ve grown up in Church, I’ve heard that one too many times from people in the Charismatic movement. My dad would say it all the time, and two days later he was the same as he always was, if not sooner.

He got worse, if anything the longer he was in that church environment.

I listened to other people in my youth group say God has touched them so much…and then they acted the same.

Meanwhile, I, a person who hardly ever has emotional experiences while worshiping at Church, and has never gotten into he Camp spirit, and who did not go into those long speeches about how God touched my life–have seen myself change completely from who I was back then to who I am now.

Any observant person will tell you, it is not the people who feel closer to God and get the emotionally charged times with Him who are often the most holy.

In fact, may of those very people are the ones who were the biggest jerks to me in the church. And still are. I was treated very badly by one worship leader, and some pastors who were all up on those spiritual experiences.

While the quiet, unassuming , non-emotional people were the kindness and most compassionate and loyal to me in the long run. Sometimes the people who live in the most sin are even the most forgiving, oddly enough.

And Jesus… really doesn’t read as the kind of person who got emotional reactions of that nature from people a whole lot, and when he did, it is most often that they were mistaken.

Peter’s most emotional reactions to Jesus are usually right when he is wrong about something.

I won’t say emotional responses to God are bad. I’ve had them, in private usually. But the valuable ones are usually accompany with a clarity of mind that shows in a change of actions. I was different after I had those moments. kinder, strong, braver, wiser.

When I feel close to God is not always when I act the most like Him.

So, if the only argument for the Chosen is people are feeling like it’s helping them…I’m not convinced. Show me the proof.

This so going to sound terrible, but, just because you watch something, and you feel like God loves you, and you feel good about Him…doesn’t mean that it’s true.

I once a had a really unsettling experience with this, I can’t go into full detail, but, I was deceived by some one thing claiming to be speaking of God, and saying nice things to me, and it felt good. I remember, my heart lept up inside me–but hours later, I saw that what was being said contradicted the Bible, and The bible says even if it’s an angel of light who preaches to you, do no believe it if it contracts the Word.

I was only deceived for one day, though. Some people are deceived for years.

Mormons are supposed to know Mormonisms is true because they will feel a burning feeling while reading the scriptures, and many of them report having that.

But Mormonism is not true. There is no life in it. People leave it realizing that.

We tend to be so naive, like, you think the devil cannot fake a religious feeling?

Sure, when you do feel the real thing, it’s unmistakable. But, you can still mistake other things for it.

Like, if I take a bite out of vegan burger, I allegedly can not notice it’s not real meat. It can taste similar enough to fool me, even if it’s a little off, many the meat was just prepared a weird way.

But no one ever takes a bite out of a beef hamburger, and says “Wow this is totally vegan!”

It doesn’t happen.

In the same way, a fake Spiritual feeling can fool you, it can taste kind of like God, the texture may be similar, but then something is just a little off and you realize it.

But the Real God cannot be mistaken when He does show up.

It can seem unfair, because the real experience may not ever come to you if you don’t seek it, but the fake most certainly can, and will. But that is Life.

I’ve been fooled once, I don’t want to be fooled again.

Perhaps to the non Christians, who may be reading this, this all sounds a little weird.

I guess it is, Christians ourselves don’t really think of it as all that normal. But it is a part of life. Either you deny it or you don’t.

I dont expect the non-Christians to care if this show is accurate or not anyway.

But those are my reason for decrying it. And I think everyone who read the Bible should be doing so.

I may drop it. I’m getting tired of this. And if it’s not profiting me to watch it, then what’s the point. But on the other hand, I do wonder if I should keep pointing out it’s problems in the hopes that some might be convinced not to heed it.

I don’t know what I’ll decide.

If you have any thoughts about the show, feel free to comment, I usually reply to all my comments if they aren’t spam.

Utnil next time, stay honest–Natasha.

A Christian’s Opinion on “The Lady of Heaven.”

Recently someone told me I should watch the trailer for the new “Muslim” Movie, The Lady of Heaven.

A few minutes of trailer, and a Google search or two later, I came to the conclusion this movie is a bad idea, and I wanted to talk about why.

At first I wasn’t opposed to a movie about Islam. I might be Christian, but I think learning about what other people believe is important. Muslims are very, very hard to convert, and that is partly because their faith is so strong in Islam, it’s also partly because Christians are more afraid of them than we are willing to learn about them.

Of course, someone might say “Why should I care what Terrorists believe?”

Well not all Muslims are terrorists, just like not all Christians are fanatics. And we can’t broad brush them if we want to be taken seriously.

Actually Islam as it’s seen by many more peaceful Muslims has a lot in common with some of the less fundamental aspects of Christianity, and there’s more to it than just defending the faith from infidels.

I learned a lot about it from this great book “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.” Which detailed what Muslims believe in a way that Westerners can understand.

I believe firmly that the case for Christianity is irrefutable. I would not be a Christian if I didn’t not think it was the perfect religion…and I’d say any religion that is not perfect is not real, and if someone says that about their faith, they do not truly have any.

That out of the way what’s my interest in this movie?

Well, I am not trying to be condescending, but, I feel a sort of kinship with Muslims in this one respect: Both Christian and Muslims do not feel like the world understands them, nor treats then well.

Christians are taught to expect this because we are righteous. Muslim are, as far as I can tell, taught to expect it because they are fundamental. It boils down to very similar things.

People fear Muslims more than Christians, but that has not always been the case. Christianity has its dark place in history. Where people went off what the Bible actually teaches and came up with their own version.

Some people think all religion is bad because it can be corrupted and twisted into a tyranny.

But I see that as equivalent to saying all medical professionals are bad because quack doctors exist and some doctors do procedures wrong.

You see, Doctors are fallible and corruptible, but the practice of Medicine itself, the Ideal of health, is not really something that can be bad. Only misapplied.

Religion is no different. It has always been the medicine of the soul.

I don’t agree with Islam, but I take it seriously.

And this begins my main problem with this movie.

I don’t know how the film will turn out, but the trailer is already painting a rather romanticized version of whatever it’s going to talk about.

Islam is not, in any sense, a romantic religion.

There is beauty in it, but Muslims do not worship artistically, they find that irreverent. They respect art and scientist, but is it not a real part of their religion to incorporate that into their worship.

So, making a film about Islam that is not a documentary already has many issues even in the mechanics of it.

Muslims for the most part don’t believe in women showing their face in public. There is variation in that. But, there is some form of head-covering involved everywhere.

The most obvious issue in making a movie about a Woman in Islam is that it involves showing her face. So she is not really representing their belief.

I am not of the school that thinks that doing something in a movie is okay if it is not in real life.

Of course stealing, and lying in a movie is different. You can’t literally steal a prop. It belongs to the studio anyway.

But sex? If it’s really happening, it’s still wrong. And it seems the high divorce rate of actors is more than enough evidence that it’s not the best foundation for a relationship to participate in those films.

I think not following the teachings of your religion would fall under the category of what is wrong to depict. It would be like filming an Amish person…oh, yeah they do that too.

I suppose if the actress is not actually Muslim, that’s a different matter, but I suspect that would not make everyone involved feel better. And, shouldn’t they be using people who actually believe this? Christians use other Christians in their movies…which is partly why they are not very good acting wise a lot of the time.

But then, the actual Christians who make it big time in Hollywood are usually above our budget.

This is the least of my concerns, but it is one worth mentioning.

But even if we leave at aside and assume it’s acceptable to have this. Is this movie a good idea?

Like I said, it’s romanticizing it.

One Muslim gave me imput online about it, and this is what he said.

The movie tells the story of Fatima from the Shia point of view. Sunni Muslims will be upset about it especially because it paints the early companions in a very bad light and points a spotlight at a very dark moment in Islamic History… Some are afraid the controversy around this film will cause the radicals to target and kill Shias for disrespecting the companions.

it’s a dark period in Islamic history because the companions of Muhammad attacked and killed his daughter and for 1400 years they covered up the event and anyone who talked about it was labeled a heretic and put to death. She is one of the most magnificent figures in Islamic History and yet nobody knows anything about her. We owe it to her and what she went through to tell her story. Out of love for Fatima the sacrifice is worth it.”

” Here is a a quote from the director: “It is a wonderful epic story full of Shakespearean intrigue, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ meets ‘Game of Thrones’, an innovative way of seeing the origins of Islam and the Holy Figures from the point of view of our young modern-day hero Laith. We will be drawn into a world that sees the history of the religion’s birth as a wonderful action-packed story full of color. Juxtaposed against the stark colorless reality of the present-day war-torn Middle East it will be an innovative cinematic experience full of revelations, magic and incredible performances all set in and against the beautiful and dramatic landscape of eastern Georgia.”

For the record. Any time a director uses the phrase in bold up above you can be certain they are not going to be realistic. And Islam has ever and always been a stark, war torn religion, as even the story of Fatima proves. For better or worse. Trying to make it seem like The Arabian Nights is simply disingenuous.

According to this Muslim, it is worth the risk to talk about Fatima (The Lady of Heaven.)

But there are many Muslims, he admits, that are going to be angry about this.

I also found out that the director of this film got kicked out of either his sect or some other organization centered around Islam…which seems like a red flag.

Is it worth it to tell this story?

Well, that depends.

The Shia point of view is one of the two big branches of Islam. I believe it is the more peaceful branch, but don’t quote me on that.

If we could trust this movie to be objective, then perhaps it would be worth while to make it.

Fatima certainly sounds like an interesting woman…but what I am not convinced of is that the movie will show her how she really was.

The overdramatic speech in the trailer is already a huge neon warning sign to me.

I didn’t used to think so, but, in the last decade, every trailer for a “inspirational film” has one of those speeches in it.

Then you watch the movie, and it rarely delivers the impact that it was hinting at in the trailer.

Usually, there are contrived conflicts in the movie.

Which seems stupid, because in a real story like this, you ought to find enough actual conflict, without adding more.

I was less skeptical when I was younger, but I’ve now read too many things that say “well, no, that scene never actually happened, actually it went like this….”

Like in Hidden Figures. I am almost 100% sure she never yelled at her boss and fellow employees over the bathroom situation.

I know for a fact that in the Harriet movie that came out, her telling her white master off at the end of the move never happened.

And even in slightly older movies like Hildago, that lacked controversy. There was no love story, and no final stretch where the hose and rider both nearly collapsed. The horse actually finished a whole week ahead of the others in the race.

Either you can be annoyed by these changes or accept them as just part of what makes the movie “based off” real life, and not actually real.

But it gets a little touchy when we are focusing on a religion, and not just a person in history.

I have the same problem with The Lady of Heaven that I do with The Chosen.

While the Lady of Heaven may be about a regular girl, it is doubtful most of the story will be focused on that aspect of it. Islam is going to have to come into it.

And Islam is divisive. You have schools of Islam that think very, very different things.

The difference between Islamic sects is actually a lot more of a problem than the different denominations in Christian. [I speak on an actual doctrinal level, not people’s personal ways of handling it]

It is more like the difference between Catholicism, Mormonism, and Christianity.

The things that divide those three things are huge. Praying to Mary and other saints is not in the Protestant Bible, Seeing Jesus as equally powerful to the devil is only Mormon (as well as many other belief that I doubt the average practicing Mormon even really knows, as none of the ones I used to know ever mentioned them, but they are in there), and then Protestant Christianity, which claims to follow the Bible and only the Bible for how we base our worship and practice.

Interestingly enough, most of the violence the church has done over the centuries has been in the Catholic church, the branch that differs from the Bible in many ways. Protestants have made their mistakes, but usually we are not organized enough to take over countries like Catholicism did.

In fact, you will not find Protestant Christianity ever mentioned in many accounts of the church.

Corruption in fiction at least. Victor Hugo’s writing comes to mind.

And this is the different between Shia and Sunni Muslims as well as the smaller sects.

They are not simply difference of practice.

Maybe I should explain, because I know a lot of non Christians, or new Christians, will not know this alrady.

Doctrinal vs Practical Differences

Okay, a doctrinal difference and a difference in practice are very different problems.

A difference in practice would be this: The Evangelical movement focused on The Holy Spirit aspect of Christian more. The more Intellectual branch (usually Messianic Jews are this way interestingly enough) of the church focused on science and apologetics, very few churches fall into that category, but I’ve been to a couple. Then we have the traditional Bible believing denominations.

And Foursquare Church basically tried to combine the best of both worlds, and have evangelical, charismatic element mixed in with sound theology based on the bible.

There’s room for overlap in all of this, it really depends on where you go, but all these difference are stylistic differences. None of these churches (unless they are false) are going to claim any of the following:

Jesus is the devil’s twin.

Jesus is not the Son of God.

Our sins can be forgiven by church leaders.

It is acceptable to pray to Mary or a saint

Sins can be forgive through paying money

Purgatory is real

You can change the fate of someone even after death

Celibacy is necessary for the church leaders.

(Celibacy is encouraged in the Bible, but not mandatory, and many passages make it clear most of the leaders in the church were married with children.)

All the differences above are part of either Mormonism, Catholicism, or Judaism.

Orthodox Christian is another issue all on it’s own.

Now for the difference in Islam:

In these ways are Muslims similar (and I speak as a person with a very basic knowledge of it, but this is simplified.)

All Muslims have to believe Muhammad is God’s prophet.

There is no God but Allah

Within that there are a lot of different view on which teachings about Muhammad are accurate. And those are much like the difference I listed above, because there are actually things that could cost you your life.

Christians argue over denominations, more than we should, but we rarely kill each other over it, and we also are not known for persecuting each other (we do, but it is on a smaller scale and does not draw the attention of the outside world as often, there are exceptions to this).

But for the most part, we give to the same charities, uphold the same principles, and lead similar lives. Whether I am Baptist or Foursquare, I am likely to have the same verse highlighted in my bible, the same favorite Worship songs or style and the same basic beliefs about Jesus.

But the different sects of Islam are the ones that determine some major key things that we non Muslims are concerned about:

Is it all right tot kill Infidels?

Is marrying an underage girl acceptable?

Should people be forced to convert to Islam?

Most of the Western Muslims do not believe any of the above are acceptable, but as we all know, many, many Eastern Muslims do.

The precise problem with the movie is that by telling one side of it, it is going to alienate all the other sides.

And I do not think it is on the same level as just telling the Christianity story with a few errors. Christians complain, but we aren’t known for targeting people on the opposing side and killing or maiming them.

When you poke a bear, you should ask first if the bear has claws and fangs and is behind bars. It’s not wise to poke a bear anyway, but it’s even stupider to poke him in his own cave.

That is what I think this film is going to do.

And the people who make it will be partially responsible for any violence that follow, because they already know it will.

A movie about Jesus would not be guaranteed to cause that kind of reaction, but a movie about Islam is almost certain to do so.

That is the difference to me. You have to know who you’re dealing with.

Many, many Muslims are upset with the film, and I think justifiably skeptical about it. Hollywood is like Nazareth these days “Can any good come out of it?”

I am of the attitude that we do not need Hollywood to represent our religion anymore, if we ever did. I don’t trust those money grubbing jerks to portray anything fairly anymore.

I am worried some Muslims may accept the is film as necessary because they get so little representation but that is a very unwise outlook to have, because it leads people to accept even poor representation as better than nothing.

There is no power in Christianity if it is misconstrued, and I would think there is no power in Islam either.

I also do not think this movie is likely to make converts. And what other purpose is there in making it?

Fatima’s story is tragic, but it is also stirring up old grudges that didn’t need more fuel on the fire. It’s like making a movie about Jim Crowe, or Malcom X, or Adolf Hitler and tossing it into today’s political climate….oh, yeah, basically what they already are dong.

Yep, Hitler the story behind the mustache, coming soon to a theater near you, I can see it now. We can always count on Hollywood to see the flame war that is our society right now, and throw a big heaping ton of gasoline on it.

Am I the only who thinks they are deliberately doing this to stay in power over our minds and attention? I mean goodness knows, saying we could be less judgmental and more respectful is out of the questions.

Well the day I let Hollywood tell me how to think is the day you all can unfollow this blog, because it won’t be worth reading anymore.

In short, this movie is, I think, irresponsible. It is being made by a man who’s already caused a lot of controversy in Islam, and seems to see no issue with creating more, even if it could get people killed.

Remember too, this movie is likely to be seen all over the world. So even if violence is not the result in the USA, or Canada or Europe, it could easily be in the East. And we will probably never hear about it on the news which is always faithfully keeping our attention off what it really going on anywhere but here.

I mean, why talk about Islam when you can talk about the umpteenth strain of COVID that we can do nothing about…?

Well, that was my take on it. I’m not telling anyone not to see the movie if they feel it’s a good idea, but I would urge them to be watchful about what happens following it or around it. Maybe I am wrong…I am not usually wrong about things like this, because there are patterns, but who knows?

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha