Leave Will Smith Alone, gosh!

Look, I think this whole thing around Will is none of my business, so I’m not going to bother talking about what he did and how he did it.

In fact, I don’t want to dedicate a lot of time to this at all. I just have a few things to point out:

However he did it, the fact that a man defended his wife is being made into a public spectacle.

Can you imagine this happening 100 years ago? I can’t. Probably no one would have thought twice about it. And if there was a little hot temper involved, oh well, people knew you didn’t say things about other people’s wives in front of them. In fact, you didn’t make personal remarks at all, you know why? Because even if it seems like a joke, some people are going to use it to mock them, and it’s not funny then. IT was just a rule of polite society not to open people up to public mockery, and I frankly miss that rule. I have never seen it end well when it’s discarded at churches, schools, or anywhere else.

2. Whatever happened, how is it any of our business?

Think about it, are we going to make Will Smith regret his actions? Probably not. Are we making what the guy on stage said okay? No one’s talking about that?

What exactly are we getting so worked up about anyway? That our peer pressure can’t micromanage every actor in the world into the small little bubble of acceptable behavior that one of us can agree on anyway?

Yeah, so much for freedom of expression. I guess not if you’re a celebrity.

I mean, no one’s asking if the dude who said the thing should have the freedom to make such jokes about people just because he’s a comedian. I’ve never found it funny anyway. Maybe because I got made fun of for things I couldn’t help about my appearance when I was younger. Or maybe because…it’s just not funny. What exactly is so funny about people’s looks, unless they are deliberately trying to look silly? Think about it.

3. Are we all qualified to pass judgement?

How many of us are going to be in Will’s position, where our SO is being humiliated in front of other people and we have to make a judgment call about it?

Would we have the guts to defend them in any way, let alone the right way?And how many men would have kept it chill at that point?

Is Will Smith above being human, now? Is he somehow not subject to anger or embarrassment or guilt?

I’m not saying it was good or bad, again, just asking why we all think we should just say this?

Because, slapping someone is not a crime. Sorry. Maybe it’s not good…but there’s not exactly a rule book for it, is there?

4. People think it was unprofessional.

I totally agree, it’s better to be real classy and ignore your wife’s feelings being hurt so that the dude talking about it has the green light to do it again.

Again, maybe there’s another way to handle things, but we can’t always pick and choose our spotlight. Would it be right if it was in private?

And maybe the comedian just shouldn’t be allowed to say things like that, again. Isn’t that inappropriate also?

So yeah, I guess that sums up my thoughts on it.

It’s true, maybe no one cares about my opinion either. But then why should any of us care about theirs? And why should Will Smith?

I’m making a better case for leaving it alone than anyone is making for gossiping about it, which, by the way, if you are a Christian, gossiping is unbibilical. And so is publicly harming people in this manner.

I’m not standing up for Will Smith so much as decrying the whole cultural concept that thinks this is okay, it’s disgusting. And he’s just one instance of it. It bothers me in politics as well as with other public figures. Ew.

Of course I open myself up to the same treatment by putting myself on line, but that’s kind of lie the argument that women open themselves up to being assaulted by stepping outside their doors without a man.

They both have to do this to do their jobs, usually, and, just because we have to take the risk doesn’t make the jerks who take advantage of it not guilty. That sounds like something guilty people would say.

So yeah, anyone who uses the excuse that Will is a celebrity and so has opened himself up to public scrutiny as an excuse to publicly flog him for this…you’re basically using the same loci as those jerks who say women’s clothes make it okay to harass them. Hope you’re proud of yourselves.

And if that offends you…

Uh…why should I care? I’m not a celebrity.

And that’s about all I have to say about it. My biggest hope from this post is just that I got someone to think twice about why we do this, and if it’s really okay, I’m not expecting to get a whole movement going here.

After all, I’m not ABC news.

Signing off, and stay honest– Natasha Queen.

Talking about why young people don’t want to get married

I have to wonder what’s happened to my generation at times…and then I look at our influences, and it all makes sense.

While the Gen Z– Millennial crowd do seem pretty crazy, it adds up when you think what we’ve been taught and exposed to over time.

I was always the partially sheltered, homeschooled, Christian kid, but I still hear myself say things these days that people from 100 years ago wouldn’t have said…or maybe 150 years ago, the 1920s were kind of nuts too.

But one trend in the Millennial world, at least in the West, that is really concerning to me is how most of them no longer like the idea of getting married.

I always thought that the “marriage is a societal convention” line was something only people who were terrified of commitment would use to get their SOs to agree not to marry them.

I think actually that might be true, and people in their 20s-30s are all just terrified of commitment now.

We’re not the first generation of humans to have this problem, but the first in a while, and the older generation can be pretty hard on us.

To be fair, some of the reasons I’v heard do seem convincing, and heartbreaking, in some cases…and others just seem pathetic.

So let’s unpack each one–though this is not an exhasutive list, I’m sure ther’es more, but I’ve heard 3 or 4 consistnently.

1: Marriages often don’t work out and/or divorce is expensive, and usually favors the woman.

Mostly it was men saying this, but their concern is that if the wife does wnat to laev ethem, they will lose their money, their kids, and everything else.

This is by far the most legitimate reason out of the ones I’ve heard, and the only one I would probably take that seriously.

I mean, of course, no one wants that.

It is also true, Divorce tends to favor women. Whatever the Feminists say, the culture we live in paints women as the victims and in the need of the most financial support.

It is also true that many women have become so entitled because of hearing this crap their whole lives that they are not fit for marriage with a man who has any self respect. They are whiny, demanding, and immature about their part in conflict.

But, I think men should just be not marrying those women then. Here’s the thing,

If you’re going to still have sex, and have kids, and live with said woman, even if she’s not marriage material…then she should be partner material either.

If you are going to use a woman like a wife, but not give her the financial or emotional security of one, and basically say “I can walk whenever I want, and leave you, and the kids, or take them with me” then…you’r basically subjecting her to the same fear as divorce.

And someone is going to say “no, because with two mature people, that won’t be a problem.”

Well, if it’s not a problem…then marry her!

If you consider your relationship is the same thing as a marriage, but not on paper, then put it on paper.

Because it sounds to me like you are just trying to remove all risk from it. A marriage will at least make you think more carefully before you split.

Furthermore, while divorce is hard on fathers, if things did go south between you, and you are not married, then how do you decide who gets the kids, and for how much time? Is a court of law going to be kinder to a father who is not even married to the woman who bore his children?

I think adoption agencies also favor legally married couples.

The point still stands, legally, not being married doesn’t guarantee you anything if you split, so marriage, even if you have the mind frame of divorce being an out, at least will get you some rights. Doesn’t that make much more sense?

Maybe I’m missing the logic here…I just don’t know, if fathers really care about their kids, then wouldn’t they want to guarantee them at least some financial support, as the law requires. You can appeal if the woman is not holding up her end of the deal, but if you are not married, then what?

I’m not sure if the law currently allows for illegitimate children and claims on that, but even if it does, the idea seems kind of ridiculous, talking about who legally has the right to kids when they didn’t even commit to each other enough to make it legal….

Think about that.

Furthermore, if you’re not gonna marry their mom, why do you deserve time with the kids? You didn’t put enough effort into getting those kids into a stable, secure home that marriage would provide. Put whatever name on it you want, it still seems selfish to me.

2: Women are not marriage material.

A lot of men love bashing on women now, on Tiktok and Reddit, and so on. Saying that they don’t want to get married because the woman are entitled, and treat them badly. A lot of them don’t even want to date anymore.

I don’t know how else to say this delicately so….

Ahem

If you are wiling to bang women who you hate, and have zero respect for, just because you somehow think that you are better than them…that makes you just as immature and entitled as those women.

If you want a whore, just say so, don’t try to pin this on women.

Granted, a lot of us are like that…newsflash, a lot of men are like that too.

So you can either take you bad experience in the past, which probably mean you have crap taste and don’t watch for red flags, and broad-brush all women, like a child would, or you can conclude that yes, you dated some bad apples, but you know not all Pope are the same, and you’re going to adjust your methods to find the kind of girl you actually need.

Case in point for me:

I have liked several guys, in recent years, my choices were not so smart. Luckily, I never got as far as dating them when I found this out, I simply was friends with them, and I realized it…

Which, by the way, is always a smart way to start, try getting to know a girl as friend before you date her, and maybe you’ll figure out real quick where she’s a good fit.

What I did learn from being disillusioned was first, that a lot of guys are pathetic, but secondly, that might just be what I was attracted to.

After being abused by my father, my standards for men were knee high, if that much. I expected them to have little to no consideration for my feelings, to blame me if anything went wrong, to ignore me whenever it was not fun fro them, and to make me feel weird of caring that they did.

And that was in a friendship, so trust me, you can spot this early on before you are intimate.

I clued in to it, Thank God (literally), and have pretty much cut that guy out of my life.

But it’s what I was comfortable with, and if I hadn’t heard much better stories form other women, I’d never have known that men are not all like that. Some are actually really good.

I haven’t found one for myself yet, but when I do, I want to be able to accept it, not think it’s just an act. Sound familiar ladies?

(To be fair, if you live in a country where arranged marriage is the norm, I imagine none of this seems relevant…just play along if that’s the case, I have to write from experience.)

I have respect for men, as men, as humans, but I have no respect for men who bash on women for stupid reasons.

Your experiences are not universal, okay?

And again, if you have only dated twits, then check your type. Maybe you are drawn to toxicity, maybe you think they are easy, and then when that’s not true, you feel betrayed.

But no woman is easy, even if she is loose. To really get into a relationship with a woman is never easy, and vice versa.

I want to reiterate that using a woman for sex who you have no respect for and you are wiling to defame publicly on the internet is pretty crappy to do. I suppose you’d say if she did the same, she was just being an entitled b-word.

And if your conclusion is that dating is a waste of time…fine, don’t date.

But it’s no excuse to let your poor judgment sour other young men on the idea of dating and actually trying to approach a relationship maturely.

Of course, women should not be giving sex to men who are not going to marry them, and haven’t married them.

If he says he doesn’t believe in marriage, ladies, run. He doesn’t’ want to risk it on you, why should you risk it on him?

Isn’t this just an excuse to cohabit with people who you are not sure are marriage material, because you can always get out if it goes wrong?

But what is the point at all then? You just want the ease of a two person household, two incomes, and sex…without binding yourself to it and risking it all?

What kind of attitude is that?

And then we wonder why the love dies and they feel like there’s no meaning in it anymore. We treat each other like conveniences, and then we wonder why we feel like we are just a convenience to them.

Moving on…

3: Money

As I said before, divorce can be pricey.

But there are practical solutions to it, if you are really doing to worry that much about it.

You can get legal agreements about who gets the money and how before you get married, you can get contracts about that kind of thing.

Some people suggest that as an alternative to marriage…but it kind of just sounds like marriage with the financial steps, but not the moral and emotional ones.

You can have separate bank accounts, if you insist…might be smartest anyway, couples often fight over how they spend joint checking account money.

But is money really a good reason not to get married?

Making it an issue kind of makes it seem like you are treating your SO like a prostitute.

I do think couples should be clear about their work expectations before they get married. I think people should be clear about all their expectations before marriage.

I personally like having a job, but I don’t like having a full time one, so if my husband does, that would be great.

I mean, I’ve gotta do something with my time, I have nothing against women working if they want to, but I do think it’s kind of missing the point to make marriage about that.

Marriage was not instituted to provide financial stability. It was instituted, firstly, by God, and later by cultures, primarily for companionship and reproduction.

First of all for companionship.

Not all couples who get married need the financial support, and it should not be a factor in divorce or marriage if you ask me. People who divorce just to get money are terrible.

It’s a factor because we have to live, but it’s not the primary concern. You can arrange it all beforehand, but don’t marry someone if they are not okay with you providing for yourself, if that is what you want, and don’t marry someone who is not okay providing for you, if that is what you want (and men do that too, by the way, all the time). Just know what you want.

But if you rush into a relationship not being clear about that, then it was your own fault, and you need to fix it, not just dump that person. Someone will have to compromise, but it’s not enough to slit over, money should not be put above things like love, honor, and a stable family for your kids.

Why do I even need to say that? How far have we fallen?

4: Marriage is oppressive to women because they have to change their name, and it make them men’s property.

….

Right

Well, that has been true in many cultures and eras, but as it is now…that’s stupid.

You don’t have to change your name, but the reason that women did was to signify a new family being started, with the husband. She leaves her father’s house.

In several cultures, married couples keep both family names, to signify this, and in others cultures, people do not eve have last names.

But marraige iexist in every culture.

So, even if you want to say that in the West, and East, even, marriage oppresses men or women because they change their name, it’s not a sold argument against marriage, just against the form of marriage in this country.

You can get marreid many different ways. You cna kep yoru name, you cn atke both names, the husband can take the wife’s aname if he wants, even.

It hsa nothig to do with marraige itself.

But if you are willing to forego the commitment of marriage because you don’t want to be under a man…

Then yeah, you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship, period.

Whether the man dominates or not (and personally is more of a factor then gender there, even in countries that are patriarchal) marriage, and relationships, require some submission to each other, some humility, some willingness to let the other person have their way.

Going into it with the attitude that the idea itself is oppressive to you is the best recipe for disaster I can imagine.

Like when men all women the “Ball and chain” I hate that.

My father used to refer to it as “having the training collar on his neck”

He actually dominated my mom, always unfairly, and didn’t do what she wanted at all. So I found it puzzling he’d compare it to that. More like my mom had on the collar, and he’d throw a fit if she stepped out of line.

I mean, in a way, it’s nice that all these men and women out themselves online.

Yeah, no one should be marrying you. Yikes!

But it annoys me that poeple applaud this.

Thee people are spoiled, selfish, and superficial.

They care more about their own convenience in marriage then they do about growth, or anyone else’s happiness.

Rom coms used to talk about how you want to make someone else happy when you love them, now it’s all about that makes me happy.

I’m convinced most of the people who get divorced and then tell others marriage is a waste of time, didn’t actually try that hard.

If you went into it with a selfish attitude, then yeah, it wasn’t going to work for you.

Some people are smart enough to realize that partway through and change, but most just quit, because we’ve made quitting easy.

And FYI, if divorce is so tough on men, why do so many of them choose it over working out their problems in counseling?

And women too, for that matter.

I am not married, but, I have actual relationships with people, ones I have to work at.

And here’s the kicker: If you don’t work on your family relationships, you will not work on your marriage one either.

We all have problems in our family, but most people ignoring them, they fight, they forget about it, and nothing changes.

That was my dad, he’s comfortable that way. That was what he witnessed growing up. He just thought we’d be the same as his wacked out family.

But my sisters and I actually want to be able to improve, and grow, and we had enough.

We have worked on our relationship with each other, and it’s much better now than it ever was when my dad was around.

I plan to apply that to marriage also.

Look, I have had moments of wondering if I’d ever get on good terms with my mom, or my siblings ever again, but we have moved beyond it.

If you stick with it, and the other person is willing, you can work it out.

Marriage should probably hit a rough patch after 5 years at the maximum, if you both are maturing and changing.

Oh, and that brings me to number 5, I almost forgot this one:

5. The person you marry sign going to change so much in 5 years. So you should not get married, but especially, you should not marry young.

You know…how young you are when you marry has never made any real difference overall, historical speaking. It’s is how mature people were when the got married. Teens have thought like adults in culture where teens have to be adults, and now we have 25 year olds who still think like kids, because they can. It does not matter.

In cultures where marriage is supported, young people can work it out as easily as older people. Younger people are more willing to learn, and more likely to compromise, if they can be made to see something is not working. They are more likely to focus on outside things, and not just their own interests, like older people do. All traits that enable growth. If you’re 35, you’re not likely to be pliable, or willing to learn.

Also, young men are way more likely to grow out of abusive/toxic behaviors, because they often od them out of immaturity, not for the power trip. And young women are more likely to become sympathetic with time, not not as demanding, because you adjust your expectations at that age.

If you get to 30 and you have not committed to anyone, you’ve had not reason to change, or realize your quirks may not be the easiest to live with, you take that into marriage, and sure, you may have less conflict…but that’s not always a sign of the healthiest relationship.

Conflict can be a good thing, if you are growing.

The time I hardly fought with my family was the time we were the most distant. We don’t fight a lot now, because we fought a lot for a while, working stuff out, adjusting, learning.

Even therapists will tell you sometimes that conflict can show you have real feelings, and the lack of it can show you’ve shut down.

Older people have less enthusiasm, but that also means they have less drive to mature. You have learned to overlook, or to just avoid.

If that come after years of growth, that’s a good thing, but if you’ve skipped that part, I have to wonder if you just didn’t want to change.

I won’t say every older couple is that way. Some people just don’t meet the right person till they are older.

My point is more that shaming people who want to get married young is foolish. If they are willing to put in the work, why shod they wait? Chances are they will get less wiling with time, not more willing.

At 23 I already like to have things more my way then I did at 18, but at 18 I lacked confidence in my own worth also.

I think waiting more time for me was better, but I do not want to wait till 30. I had good reason to wait, my dad mess ed me up good.

But if that is not the case, I see no reason by normal, people, with supportive families who are 20 or 21, and willing to treat marriage with the seriousness it deserves, should not get married.

It’s true, kids do rush into it, but that doesn’t mean it the age that’s the problem, it’s more of that lack of preparation beforehand.

Like going to marriage right after college, if you have never been responsible for anyone, never had to cook and clean for yourself or others, and never had to be on a budget and independent of your parents, that is stupid. Sets you up to be dependent on them in your marriage too, and to expect your spouse to take care of you, not for it to be mutual.

But if you have been prepared, and have made your own decisions before with success, then if you want to get after college, you should. It’s worked for many couples.

And I should say also, you can’t put all couples into one box.

Some people are not ready for marriage at 20, but that does not mean everyone isn’t.

I have had my share of snarky comments form older people about my mental readiness for anything. I have proved time and again that I can make better decisions than my grandparents did, and my parents, often enough.

Given how their marriage ended up, I’m inclined to think I could pick a husband better than they did also, but even if I picked a bad guy, now, at 23, is it any worse than my grandmother who picked bad mean 3 times in a row, even older than I am?

If you can learn from your mistakes, that is what matters.

I suggest either being friends or dating for at least 2 years before you marry, just so you really have a chance to see who that person really is.

But what matters is character, the willingness to change.

It is true, we change a lot over time.

And people who are commit to each other adapt to those changes.

It’s like people who cut off their family once they move out, clearly they let change affect their commitment.

But some of us put in the effort to talk and hang out still. Those people are more likely to grow with you.

This is all stuff to watch out for.

But as far as marriage itself being a bad idea, it is not, and it has never been.

That is alie.

And if people are questioning a thing that has worked across every culture, every time, and every moral group, then I question how big their heads are. Flouting thousands of years of experience because you think you’re just too special for marriage, well…yeah, says a lot about you.

Until next time, stya honest–Natasha

[PS: If you think I left anything out, feel free to shoot me a comment, I wouldn’t mind revisiting this subject. It’s one a lot of people are wondering about now.]

At the end of a fast…

I decided to follow up my previous post.

Mostly because I think the perspective when you start a fast and when you end it is totally different.

I mentioned before that I have a hard time with the prayer part of fasting.

Well, I decided to do something about that finally, at the urging of the Spirit, I think. And start committing more time each day to God.

So far, it’s not anything spectacular.

But I was watching this YouTube video the other day after I had already started, I’ll try to link it here:

But this lady is talking about how 1st century Christians had it rough, and how we in the West, 21st century are spoiled, I’ve heard it before. I’m tired of it, you know?

But then this part of the video, at the end, that she impressed me with is where the 1st Century Christian makes this summary.

Basically pointing out that we have the Bible, we can meet freely in public, and we can openly have our faith…but we don’t read the Bible, we shirk church, and we hesitate to tell others about our faith. And our pastors often encourage this attitude instead of rebuking it.

And this lady says “I (the 1st century Christian) can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I have it better.”

And I thought that is just so true.

Of course, as many commentators were quick to point out, there’s many countries where it’s still deadly to be a Christian. We in the West can feel like the world revolves around us.

I believe God let us be the safe haven to persecuted Christians for a purpose, so we could support them and give them refuge…but a lot of us don’t even remember that it’s our job. That Paul told us to remember those who suffer for Christ as if it were us ourselves.

I suppose it would do no good to worry about it, but, I do think, I could be more aware of it.

Of course it’s getting more dangerous even in the West, but we’re still a far cry from the East and Middle East.

But it’s a more mature attitude to realize that for all that, it’s better to be real about your faith, even if you’re suffering, than it is to have no real faith, and have it all.

Why do we do this, in the West? We squander what we have, and waste our oppertunities.

Not everyone may be a door to door evangelist, or a street preacher, and nowadays, that isn’t received so well anyway.

But tagging Christian Instagram posts and tweeting Bible verses is not exactly witnessing.

I’m sure it blesses some people, but it’s not witnessing in of itself to do only that, and not get more personal, and that’s where we seem to freak out.

I remember this line from “The Devil Wears Prada” where Nigel confronts Andy about her superior attitude towards the fashion industry. “Most girls would die to work where you only deign to work.”

Couldn’t that be said of us? “Many people would die to do, or say, what we barely deign to do or say.”

I don’t mean to be too harsh. Many of us here have found ways to influences others and minister to them even in our wealthy and overstuffed culture. And I’ not hear to disparage that. What is this blog but my attempt to use the internet as a way to tell people about God, instead of just distract them from Him.

But we can’t deny that, at the very least, we brush things off much more easily than our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world do. We examine ourselves less, and we compromise with the world more.

Case in point:

Pre-fast, I’ve been exposing myself to more and more sexual content in fiction on the net. I don’t do it on purpose, but I read stuff that has it, and I can’t always scroll enough to skip it. (They ought to make some kind of button for that.)

I don’t think it really affects me…at least, at first I thought that.

But sure enough, those thoughts end up in my head more.

I find actually, that for someone like me, the biggest trap of sexual content is not that you start to lust after the characters or actors involved, I don’t, but it’s that you start to read it into everything. You assume it’s there, even when it isn’t. And your mind supplies the subtext.

Even if you don’t like it, you expect it, and it becomes part of the experience for you.

Post-fast, I read something last night that was like that, more than I expected it to be, and I felt so disgusted it surprised me–because I haven’t been feeling that repulsed for a while.

But I just felt like God was looking through my eyes at it, and it embarrassed me, even if I didn’t intend to see it. I scrolled right quick, but I still felt dirty. And yes, I repented, but it was still jarring to have that experience again. In a way, though, it was relief, at least it still bothers me.

Sexual content is tricky. You can be disgusted by it and still find it addicting just because of the way our brains and bodies are wired. Why else do we like cringe comedy?

And we like that judgmental feeling of being above that, but still viewing it.

I know a lot of Christians who fall into that trap.

The good news is, if that’s all it is, you can get out of it fairly easily. Just cutting out the source will usually do it.

A real sexual addiction is much harder to kick, but not impossible, with God. I’m thankful I’ve never had this problem.

Some people would argue that it’s not bad as long as you’re not engaging in it…I don’t think that’s biblical.

But I give into temptation to let it slide.

And I honestly think, that’s more our temptation as young Christians. The devil doesn’t tell us to think it’s good, not at first. He just tells us to let it slide.

Let it slide when you see LGBTQ content that you know is unbiblical, but it’s popular, so don’t knock it.

Let it slide when you see a sexually charged scene, because it’s not like you’re doing it.

Let it slide when people are expressing attitudes that are anti-Christian in a blatant way.

And i don’t mean that they just aren’t Christian themselves, of course we’ll encounter that, but some creators go out of their way to pollute and corrupt Christian ideology when they write about it, I do think that’s dangerous. If you don’t know your bible especially, you’ll believe anything people say about it.

I remember I was watching this Tiktok compilation of people who left Christianity, out of curiosity, thinking maybe I’d understand it better.

And, it was full of bitter, ignorant people who clearly didn’t really know what Christianity taught at all. Their church either failed to explain, or they weren’t paying attention.

And hey, sometimes it’s that you’re not paying attention. Even the worst churches are bound to get something right, I find most people who complain pick and choose what they listen to from a church, instead of listening to all of it. My father could go to a church that taught basically what his Church taught, but find the one point they didn’t express the same way as him, and make that all he heard. And one time I remember he said he didn’t like a worship song’s lyrics, and then misquoted the lyrics to mean something that the song did not actually say. I was astounded by how he could convince himself it was bad, when we’d all heard the same thing…I thought.

One person in the compilation mentioned reading the whole bible all the way through (which in one sitting, or even over a few days, I found questionable, even I can’t do that and I read very fast) and saying she found so many contradictions.

I’ve read the same bible all the way through more than once, and I was like “What contradictions?”

A lot of minor discrepancies are just misunderstandings, which if you research actual scholars, can be cleared up very easily. They can also be mistranslations, depending on what version you use.

And other contradictions the Bible itself will explain, and acknowledge. They are not really contradictions. The God of the Bible is a collection of paradoxes, much like humans are. He’s Just and Merciful. Stern and Kind. And we’re told that we will perceive Him through the lens of how we ourselves act.

Which is just true of world views in general. Ever notice how prideful people think everyone is proud, and selfish people think everyone is selfish? And kind people tend to see more kindness in others. It’s because we look for what we put out.

Maybe I’m just too biased to see the problems with Christianity, but I’ve heard a lot of criticisms launched at it that only proved the people didn’t understand what the religion actually teaches, and only believed some twisted version of it they got from someone else. I mean, if I want to criticize Hitler or Marx’es philosophy, I would read something they actually said, or did. Not just what their enemies said they did. That’s just smart.

All this to say, just because someone disagrees with you does not make them worth listening to. They could be lazy, ignorant, and stubborn. Taking criticism of the faith fro people who actually study the topic is more useful.

But I think we’re a little too trained to listen to all complaints against Christians, from everyone, regardless of whether they are the kind of person who’s likely to be honest about it or not.

To get back to my original point, I think due to all this confusion, we are worst off than early Christians in some ways. Though we have a lot more opportunities.

But valuing God for Himself is the best gift we can have, and that is the thing we struggle with. We devote our time to so much else.

Now, when I started my fast, I only stopped doing one thing. I kept all my other distractions the same.

But you know what? I stopped wanting to do them as much.

Funny, but watching movies, and reading fics just didn’t seem quite as important without this other thing I was already sacrificing. I still did it, but, I just didn’t feel the need to as often. I began doing things outdoors more, interacting more with my sister instead of just sitting alone doing my own thing.

My energy improved. I felt tired at first without the high of my addiction, bu over the last week as I replaced that more with outside time and time with God, and have recover form being sick, I feel much more energized. My mood is better.

You see, this is what I was saying in my other post. When you give up even one thing, you realize how many things you don’t really have to have in your life. It feels like you do, but then it’s gone, and you find there’s always something else you can do. We don’t rely just on one thing.

Fasting makes me a little more disciplined that before, even if it’s for a short time, but usually, after a fast, discipline comes a little easier for a while, that mindset sticks with you for a bit. Eventually, you do lose it, that’s why fasting is supposed to be a reoccurring practice.

My family is also nice enough to encourage me to stick it out, and not to give it up. Which is always helpful. And to help me occupy my time in other ways.

I find that even doing other things, my thoughts center more on God just because I am aware that I am not doing something, for Him.

(I hear this works in marriage too, for making you feel more loving to your spouse because you know you’re doing or not doing something for them, even if they don’t know. Try it.)

Perhaps the most embarrassing thing I’ve realized though, is that my lack of interest in God is mostly my own fault.

When I get bored with Church and worship and prayer, it’s because I have filled myself up with other things.

I remember the Avatar movie (the blue one, not the travesty of the kids show’s live action one) where the Tsuhik (not sure I spelt that right) says to Jake:

“It is hard to fill a cup that is already full.”

While that movie is far from perfect, I do think they nailed one thing about having a simple, spiritual life. Jake later says “They don’t want anything.”

Funny, when you are filled with Spirit, you really don’t want a lot from the world.

And when you are filled with the world, you don’t want a lot from the Spirit.

We can’t have both.

I think, once upon a time, God made it so we could. The world was made to be pure, and being full of our lives here, and our lives with God, would have been one and the same.

And someday, God promises, He will put it back that way.

But till then, the world has fallen to evil, and if we fill ourselves with it, we turn from God. It happened to Solomon, the Wisest man to ever live before Christ.

And if I think I’m beyond that, I’m kidding myself.

Fasting does humble a person.

I’m not saying I’m a new woman, I think that’s more for God to say. I’m saying that I just have remembered somethings I was letting slide, as you might say.

Not all change is dramatic, you know.

Man, we are so hooked on that in church though. The breakthrough, the breaking off, the strongholds, the mountains moved…

Which is all good, in its time.

But so much change is quiet, gradual, or if it sis sudden, it’s private and not something to yell about until we’ve walked it out.

All my moments of real breakthrough were alone, or silent, or quiet. I have always wondered why.

But when I saw others have big, loud moments…but remain unchanged afterward, I started to wonder if Gd maybe did it that way on purpose. Maybe when it’s big, an d shiny, we focus on that too much, and forget the actual change.

A change of heart happens in an instant, perhaps, but it happens inside. And it’s better to show that with how we act before we tell someone.

We want to hear it right away now. We ask people what they feel or think right after we pray and talk.

But, usually people need more time than that to know if something really stuck with them.

There’s a resewn God is always telling us we have to be faithful, i. e. consistent with our religion. We can’t just do it every once and a while and expect it to change us.

I’m only saying what hundreds and thousands of other people say in the church…and maybe we all say it because it’s true.

So hey, if your Christian, and you’re not liking what I’m saying…oh well.

And if you’re not Christian and you read this anyway, that’s amazing! I hope you got something out of it.

You know, I kind of hope I am making some Christians uncomfortable by saying we need to quit it with the big showy stuff so much. Good.

I know I do have a lot of readers from out of country, though, and maybe you live somewhere where what I’m saying couldn’t’ possibly apply on a cultural level.

Still I think the truth of faithfulness is something all of us need to hear, even if we’re somewhere where our faith is tested everyday. Because it’s just another kind of discouragement.

Suffering and abundance are both tests of our faithfulness. Who knows which is really harder? All I know is we have to face whatever we have, now, if we really want to please God.

I hope I will keep this going, and learn more from it. I’m only human, but God is God.

If I can end my fast, but still maintain some discipline and boundaries, that’s a net gain.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why I hate YA novels…but still read them.

Okay, this isn’t the most serious topic, but sometimes you just gotta blow off steam.

I don’t know if the people who read this blog are really the type to read Young Adult or Teen novels, but some of you watch anime, and that’s kind of the same crowd, so…

When I was younger, I didn’t really read these books, I actually hardly read any teen novels till I was already almost an adult. My mother wouldn’t have let me, to be honest.

I barely got to read Christian Romance novels. And those were mostly horrid.

I couldn’t even tell you the first teen novel I read now, that’s how little it stuck with me, they are more my sister’s thing anyway.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s usually some type of romance, coupled wither with fantasy, action, or horror like plots, but they are more vanilla than the adult counterparts…but usually still pretty bad.

For whatever reasons, Twilight made vampires and werewolves a popular part of teen fiction, and so are witches, and fantasy things.

Or you have your typical high school story about popularity and being yourself.

A lot of YA novels are set around adult characters, but they still act like teenagers.

And most romance stories, even for older women, follow the exact same tropes as teen novels…but with more sex.

The whole hting disgusts me.

The only ones I generally read are fantasy ones that sound interesting plot wise until you actually read them, and it’s just more tropes and angst.

When I was still a teenager, I got a good look at how teens write because I joined this online forum called the Young Writer’s Workshop.

The stories I read there were total garbage for the most part, a few might have had potential.

What I found disappointing was that they were all exactly the same. I could understand bad writing from inexperienced writers, if it was in every genre, and had some diversity…but all the books had the same style, themes, and ideas in them.

I was shocked. My own writing had never resembled anything like this at all, even at its worst. I had more originally when I was 8 than these stories usually had.

And I’m not saying that just to brag. My early attempts at writing were not good, but I was at least trying to come up with my own story.

I’m aware that these young author probably did come up with the ideas themselves, they just executed them in the same way.

And I think I know why, most of what teens read now is either fan fiction, romance , or teen novels. They don’t read classics, or philosophy, or non fiction.

I grew up reading all of that, I was homeschooled. I knew C. S. Lewis’s writing better than I knew J. K. Rollings. And that’s not even a teen novel.

I have attempted to write some of these tee story plots in the past, I find them kind of interesting as a premise. A lot of the ideas have potential, if you don’t take them too seriously.

A lot of stories, for example, try to use fairy tale races to explore racial problems in our own world. The Hunger Games famously tried to reflect back our society’s superficial obsession with entertainment, no matter how morally bankrupt it is.

But the Hunger Games annoyed fans most when it became the most like a teen novel, and focused on a love triangle and teen drama when it could have focused on the more important elements.

There’s this assumption in teen or YA fiction that teenagers are not going to care about a story unless there’s some drama in it. That they are incapable of higher thought,, and higher aspirations, we just want to date and dress up and play games, and maybe save the world on the side.

A lot of teens buy into this.

When I was 12-13, my mom was encouraging me to read books like “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris, and “A Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens” by Shannon Brookes. Books that told me that the teen years are a time to prepare for bigger things. That I could still take them seriously.

That had me trying to start my own ministry and teach people while I was still in high-school.

I didn’t succeed, but I learned a lot form trying and failing. I learned how hard it is to inspire people, and how hard it is to make them believe in something. And that coordination is difficult, and so is organizing something.

I also learned that people rarely take teenagers seriously when they say they want to do something serious.

I’m now in my 20s, and still getting disrespected by older people for being young. My generation is not looked highly upon…but then when are young people ever looked highly upon by older people? You’ll find accounts of older people knocking the younger generation in every part of history books.

I like what the Bible says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,” I live by that.

Anyway, to get back to my point, books aimed at people my age or a little younger, are really, really insulting.

To be fair, a lot of teens I knew in high-school were just about as basic as these books made them out to be, a lot were angry too. And would get mad at me if I said that things should be different.

I think I wasn’t that good at delivery back then, I was young and immature too. And while I’m not old enough yet to have all the perception of old age, I’m old enough to know better than I used to. I can now present myself much more clearly and politely.

However, I don’t think my lack of social grace was the real problem back then, teens don’t really notice that as much as adults do. You have to be old enough to expect to be treated with some amount of respect, before you get offended over it (think about that for a second.)

I think it was just I was raised a different way. And they couldn’t understand me, and I couldn’t understand the pressures of their lives. Now that I’ve been to college and gotten a taste of it…I frankly still don’t see the appeal, but I do understand the social pressure to blend in more. People are vicious when you don’t agree with them, and the younger they are the less they have empathy about it.

I’m so glad I was homeschooled, to be honest. I see what my public schooled cousins go through and I’m relieved I didn’t have to deal with it till I was an adult.

But even with those problems, the stories we feed kids are not helping anything.

I mean if all we give them to think about are superficial, light stories, that is all they will think about.

You know while I’ve been fasting this month, I’ve been thinking about all the ways we distract ourselves in the West.

What makes us different from other parts of the world–though not completely different– is how many ways we can distract ourselves.

We all can afford it, subscriptions, splurges, junk food. all of it. Even the poorest people in our society still have phones, often enough. And TV.

Despite what critics of our country like to say, we don’t really have it so much better than everyone else. I mean, as a whole we do, but within that framework, a lot of us don’t have easy lives. For personal as well as community reasons. You don’t have to be poor to suffer, and wealth doesn’t get your happiness. Just makes you run out of excuses for being unhappy faster.

Teens in the West don’t have easy lives, but they do have over-saturated ones. Over saturated with corruption, propaganda and lust, and vanity.

Every prosperous nation has turned into a corrupted one, in history. People get cocky whey they don’t have to live day by day to survive.

I know that I’m a part of all this, but at least I’m aware of it.

And the books we write, and read, and make movies out of, they feed this.

Our entertainment quality is plunging every year. “Representation” has replaced original, deep plots and the message of personal fulfillment has replaced any other message of meaning in life.

There are a few gems here and there that defy this, but they are getting fewer all the time. When I find them I want to re-watch and reread them over and over.

One thing I thought while I was viewing the 90s X-Men show was just how different they wrote heroes back then. It’s only been about 30 years since the first season dropped.

In 30 years, most of these characters would have just been angsty, morally grey individuals. Who would all question if what they were dong was worth it, and be mildly or heavily depressed. Even the live action movies veered more that way, and most of them weren’t made that much later than the show, until the reboots, which are somehow less depressing than the old ones, but also less well acted, so…

( I still like them better, but I like happy stuff.)

Watching that show was like going back in time, I can just barely remember from when I was a kid, shows and movies that used to try to make character real. They had emotions that weren’t all angst and sadness and anger and doubt. They had diversity of worldview’s, and unlike now, they could explain why they did.

I’ve written before about the lack of strong ideology in movies now, how good characters can’t defend goodness as well as evil characters defend evil.

I may be nuts, but I think it’s deliberate, it happens too often to not be on purpose. I think that Hollywood wants us to see goodness and hope as emotional, weak position that people hold just because they refuse to give up. And all of us root for because we prefer it to the alternative.

But the evil position is what really makes sense, and has factual evidence to back it up, and we just prefer no to face reality.

Movies and anime tell you that you don’t want reality, you want entertainment. You want sexualized content, and fluffy feelings, and drama. You don’t want something real.

You’re weird, in fact, if you don’t like that.

Funny, all the Youtubers I watch express disgust with this very aspect of media when they review movies and shows. They yearn for meaning. Even the ones who make fun of it the most.

Even Nux Taku, a rather famous anime YouTuber who likes hentai, openly, will get into the deeper themes of something, even when, in my opinion, they aren’t really there.

We like to find meaning.

Hollywood knows how to get people to watch things that are garbage just because it checks the right boxes for them, and book novelists know how to get teens and young adults to read their material by luring them in with superficial appeal.

But I for one get tried of the lack of depth. What’s the point of this stuff?

I know, someone is going to say “But it’s just for fun, to relax.”

And, I get it. I want that sometimes too, just a dumb movie or book to read.

That’s okay once in a whle.

But I’m talking about all the time, like, kids who never read anything else, or watch anythig else.

I was surprised entering highschool not only by what people did watch or read, but what they didn’t.

I had a huge library of books and movies I liked that no one else had ever heard of except other homeschoolers. And I was flabbergasted. Why would you only read one kind of thing?

But that’s how it was. The brainwashing worked.

I don’t think it worlds completely though. Some people still want depth, and if introduced to better things, will learn to like them. I have hope.

My concern is those people are fewer and fewer the more saturated we are in the bad stuff. We don’t foster that trait in people, it makes them harder to please, and for such a commercialized culture, we need people to be convinced to buy things, not think about them.

Because of how I was raised, I actually avoid products I see advertised. I have an aversion to commercials and ads, they make me not want to buy something. I prefer to read reviews by real people. The few times I’ve broken that streak, I didn’t like the result.

I won’t say it’s wrong to listen to ads, a few are probably true, I’m saying it’s unwise to be so pliable.

Once you learn how to see when people are buying and selling you something, you become a lot harder to fool.

I think I got off topic.

But all this is really on topic. Teen novels are just a product of what I’m describing. Buying and selling a lifestyle and moral standard to teens that is so much less than what they are capable of.

Teens have shaped history many times, most important historical figures started what they did in their teens. There are exceptions, but it’s not the rule.

We are capable of high thought, and high achievements…and yet we soak up this superficiality, like as sponge, and we thing that’s what we re.

It makes me sad.

I take every chance I get to introduce people younger than me, or my age, to deeper ideas. Sometimes I think I’m getting somewhere, other times I think I’m not.

But we have to try, adults. It’s a worse sin not to try, than to try and fail. Some of them are bound to get it, they are still human.

That one thing to remember too, teens and young adults may be exposed to a lot of crap, and dumbed down by society, but they are still human beings. Humans can change, grow, and adapt, that’s what makes us human.

You can be brought down to the level of a slug, but the same person can be elevated to a prince or princess. Our state of mind is not set in stone at any point in our lives.

Some people may just be dumb, but I think most of us are just untrained. I’ve seen little glimpses of depth even in the people I thought were mostly shallow in my social circles.

I think it’s getting people to believe that about themselves that’s the trick, and to care about it. WE all want meaning, deep down, but most of us hide from that desire and pretend it’s not there.

I’m not writing this to put down teens or young people, by any means, I still am a young person. I just know I’ve been blessed to have the chance to see all this at an early age. I started this blog for that exact reason, to inspire younger people to look for depth and truth in whatever areas we can.

You see embracing that is the key to wisdom in life. A wise person learns from everything around them, whatever is available, they can even learn form total trash, if they try. A foolish person avoids learning as much as they can. And they accomplish very little in life.

I know I am fighting an uphill battle, that people often don’t really want to be wise…but this is what I’ve got. This is what I do. I pray it resonates with someone out there.

Maybe that’s why I keep reading these books, I’m looking for signs of hope. That other people are trying, and looking, and succeeding.

One author I could recommend is Megan Morrison. She’s modern, but I have found all her books to have depth that shocks me, considering what I usually see in that genre. They hold up. The best one is “Grounded” which is just a better version of Tangled, if you ask me. (I like Tangled too, but this book is so full of imagination and depth that a short movie just can’t capture.)

I guess all this sounds a bit sentimental, but I don’t know, why do any of us teach or inspire if not to try to raise people up to a higher level? It’s frustrating, but the most rewarding when you succeed.

They say being an artist is hard, but being a teacher has to be the hardest job in the world just about for high risks and low rewards. Along with being a pastor, probably.

So in summary:

  1. I hate these books because they are shallow
  2. I read them to find hidden gems
  3. I think we need to expect more of young people
  4. I think we need to expect more of ourselves

I guess that wraps it up, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Lyrics
Well I was young
Well I was young and naive
Because I was told
Because I was told, so I believed
I was told there’s only one road that leads me home
And the truth was a cave, on the mountain side
And I’d seek it out ’til the day I die
I was bound
I was bound and determined
To be the child
To be the child that you wanted
And I was blind to every sign that you left for me to find
And the truth became a tool, that I held in my hand
And I wielded it but did not understand
I was tired of giving more than you gave to me
And I desired a truth I wouldn’t have to seek
But in the silence I heard you calling out to me

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What I learned from Fasting

It’s the new year everybody!

Yay!

I haven’t made my list yet, not sure what I want to happen this year.

But my church always does a 21 day fast at the start of the year.

I don’t really fast food, I think I might be hypoglycemic, not eating makes me feel really sick, really fast, and no sugar will have a weird effect on me too.

I’ve tried food fasting in the past and never got beyond 1 day at most, and that was torture.

Sometimes I fast a particular food instead.

But after my scare last year of dropping 15 lbs, and thankfully, gaining them all back, I have decided to just be happy to eat normally.

So, I tend to fast things like movies, TV shows, or writing too much.

Fasting could really just be called abstaining since it’s not always about food and water.

While it’s gotten a bad rap thanks to the rise of bulimia and Eating Disorders, fasting isn’t unhealthy when it’s done in the right proportions. It cleanses your system, uses up excess sugars, and for most people, won’t make you feel all that bad. (I’m an unfortunate exception.)

While fasting is not commanded per sec to Christians, Jesus said that his followers would fast when he was no longer with them. Which would be now.

Not every godly character in the Bible fasted, but many prophets, kings and judges did.

While I have no fasted food that often, I have learned somethig just from what I do fast.

And I thought it might be worht writing about.

True Confession:

I’ve alwas been terrible at the prayer and worship part of fasting. I’m told that’s why I haven’t had better success with it.

I used to try it and felt no different, so I didn’t bother.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to be demanded to do things. So my relationship with Spiritual Discipline has always been tempestuous. Either I got carried way denying myself because it was so counter-intuitive, or I didn’t do it at all.

I still struggle with that.

Spiritual Discipline has been neglected a lot in the Western Church. My church does practice it and encourage a handful of them, but there’s a bunch we don’t really address either.

I hear Catholics do some, but most Catholics I’ve met weren’t serious enough about the faith for me to ask them about it.

I know that one discipline is silence and another is solitude. That’s hard now. We almost never have to be alone with our thoughts.

Actually that’s where I found fasting things like TV and movies to be helpful.

I have images and sounds playing through my memory all day, every day.

I had that before I had TV, honestly. The same things used to happen with books. We have to have something to fill up our thoughts.

Better that then anxiety. I suffered from anxiety so much in the past, even as a kid, I used to use books to escape, then I used TV. Now I use writing as well.

None of those things are bad, but you get to rely on them too much. They aren’t perfect substitutes for God. But they do distract you.

When you give that up, even for three days, the difference is immense.

24 hours without TV and I feel like a different person usually. A whole week, and it’s like I’m more clear.

Already, in the last three days, I’ve been bored, listless, and blue ( not fasting TV, but I don’t think yo all need to know what I’m giving up. It’s a private matter, I’m just using TV as an easy example.)

I fill up my days so much with this thing, I don’t know what to do without it. I push aside prayer, worship, and even physical exercise because I do it so much.

It’s too much and I know that, but I don’t want to stop.

Fasting can be like a self chosen intervention.

It’s never easy, but because I have been doing it for years, I do escape the lie many people believe, which is that it’s not possible.

I learned at a young age to use self control because of fasting. Not perfectly, but at a level most kids don’t reach. Most adults don’t either. How many of us really try to control ourselves from giving into urges.

Heck, they tell us that’s unhealthy now.

It’s really not. Most doctors would probably tell you you should not give in to every urge you have all the time. Especially if you’re an addict.

I was watching a YT video last week “Why you’ll marry the wrong person” and this man was saying that we’re all addicts to something, whatever we use to keep from being alone with ourselves.

I felt a little called out, to be honest.

I used to be okay with being alone with myself, but it got to where I had anxiety every time I was alone with my thoughts.

But then again, that could be just a result of overstimulating myself so much to begin with.

Our brains get addicted to screens, and if we get off them for a brief time, we can feel withdrawal. We’re not necessarily depressed, so much as we’re empty.

You can tell because the depresison goe waway while you’re on the screen, but ocmes back once you’ve been off for five minutes. That’s addiction.

Some addiction to screens is inevitable for us, like some dependence on sugar is.

But there is a way to cut down on your absolute dependence it, and for that, fasting is ideal.

Also turn on the blue light filter on your screen if you have one, that helps, the blue light is addictive and stressfull.

I used to be very judgmental of people who were on their phones all the time, till I got a smartphone. Then I understood.

I don’t play games on mine, in an effort to stay on it less. But I do edit, and read web comics on it. I do use it to play music. And I’m not even as bad as I used to be.

Cutting back on it is hard. And if I’m not on my phone, I’m on my laptop, like I am right now.

I still read real books, though, and it’s amazinghow revitalized your brain feels after a few chapters if you stick it out.

Since I started this fast, I’m both more tired at night, and more ready to go to bed on time. Less stimulation to keep me up. My sisters too. We’ve gone to bed at 1 AM for months, but since I started this, we’ve been going to bed by 12 am or even before 11 pm. Go figure.

I’m not anti-screen. I do like moives, and I like being able to write faster and edit faster on a screen. It’s a nice thing.

But I am against being mastered by anything, as Paul or Peter wrote in the bible. All things are lawful for us, but not all things are helpful.

My family has always been against a lot of technology in our lives, my mom didn’t all of us to have a TV. And she was against having a computer that played movies for years.

I can see why, my Dad got addicted to it as soon as we got it, and to video games.

I almost ended up that way too.

But when I was 13-14, I started fasting. Actually I think I started at 12.

I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, and some stuff makes me cringe now, but the effort was there. And when I did that, I learned to control myself and my urges to play on that computer.

Also seeing my dad’s addictive behavior scared the crap out of me.

Years later, it’s still a temptation, but it’s not as big of one. I can abstain if I want to. It’s good to refresh that every once in a while.

I worked it out.

I think God put me on the path just for that reason.

And while my mental health is not always as good as I wish, it’s much better than most of the people I know, and they don’t all have that practice. My critical thinking ability is also far better, as is my reading comprehension.

I don’t believe this would be so rare, if we had more limits to our screen time. The kids I know whose parents limit their screen intake a lot are much smarter and usually better behaved. I know my sisters and I were better behaved for our babysitters as kids.

It is what it is.

Fasting taught me to set rules for myself even if my parents no longer did it for me. I think my mom taught me restraint, having limits to desserts, TV, and game time. And in turn I learned to employ it on myself.

With lots of prayer also.

It’s now been almost 2 weeks of my fast, (this post is late because I got sick), and so far, it’s not yielded miraculous results.

But you know, I don’t really think it needs to. I used to think that fasting would always be like the big ones in the Bible. Spiritual awakening, breakthrough, seeing visions, or whatever.

It’s easy to forget that fasting was regularly practiced as a reminder to focus on God, and things that are more important than our physical comfort.

For me, sacrificing just one of the many distractions I fill up my time with, reminds me that I can live without that thing.

We have a very desperate culture now. People often “jokingly” say that they won’t kill themselves just so they can find out what happens next in their favorite anime, TV show, or web-series.

I knew MHA was becoming a little too important to me when the news that season 5 would be delayed made me feel suicidal for a second. I hadn’t realized how contagious that way of thinking is.

And we should call it what it is, idolatry. We’re worshiping these shows.

Some people aren’t even subtle about it, they call the creators their “lord and savior.”

Is it supposed to be a joke? Maybe.

Ever notice that some things can be a joke, but still totally serious also.

See, worship isn’t always about thinking something is worth devoting your life and purpose too.

The Bible mocks and reproaches people who bow to wood, and stone, and gold gods. Saying that they will use half a block of wood to burn, but the other half to make a god, and will bow to it.

God apparently finds this ridiculous. And so do we, on paper.

But we’ll devote endless hours of time to 2D characters and mediocre story writing, just because it’s our crap, you know…and we know it’s crap, or it’s not real, but we don’t care. How is that really different from burning half the material we made our god from?

You can use firewood and not worship it, and you can watch shows and not worship them–but, if you’re surrounding yourself with people who do, it’s so easy to become twisted by that. I know plenty of Christians who compromise their morals for shows.

And maybe I have t oo, much to my shame.

I’ve cut way back on my anime viewing, I think my craze is dying down. I still enjoy a few, like any other medium. I did the same with Webtoon. I read it like crazy at first, but inevitably, it didn’t satisfy me, and now I just read a few episodes on an average day, sometimes none at all. Take me maybe 10-20 minutes. That’s probably harmless.

I confess, I make the same mistakes as everyone else. I think that my need for emotional fulfillment can be met by fiction. Even in creating my own.

And what is an idol, but fiction? It’s a fictional god, isn’t it? Back before we had common forms of entertainment, worshiping an idol was a nice distraction…people used to worship idols by having sex, did you know that? Not too different from anime and it’s fan service, and husbands and waifus, now is it?

Except you can’t actually have sex with an anime character, so we’ve traded something that was at least partially real, for an even more twisted version of it.

I mean, having a crush on a fictional character is normal, but…the kind of stuff people do to fetish-ize it…that’s not normal (and I don’t crush on fictional characters as it is.)

What I’m saying is that, when you get caught up in this temptation to worship and go after other things, a fast may be the best way to recenter yourself.

Mine hasn’t changed my whole life, but it changes a small part of it. I have to think about God a little more, and remember that what I’m fasting was not enough for me anyway.

And while I may not feel high off of God’s spirit right now, and fasting doesn’t always make me feel closer to God, I have learned that it’s not necessarily the purpose of fasting to do that. It can, and I have seen a slight improvement from it…but fasting is to re-evaluate priorities, and realize your mistakes.

I realize, I have mistakenly made certain things too important in my life. I realize that I need to think more about how I spread God’s word, and His message.

I realize that the ways I do it, like through writing this blog, may not be how I wish I could (I love writing, but I love interacting with people in person also) but it is available to me.

I may never know if it really helped anyone or not, but I can put it out there, that’s all we can do.

I am reminded that whatever else changes in my life, God is my constant.

And, I am reminded that all the things of this world are temporary.

Time was that the thought of losing one of my distractions would give me a panic attack.

And I own’t say I wouldn’t be upset now, but now I do stop myself and think “But if that happens, I still have other interests, and God can still use me in other ways, and I’ll get through it. It won’t be the end of me.”

I realize I am unique in having this understanding, not because I am especially good or free of temptation, but because I made it a practice to go without things for years, and to learn that I could bear not having them. You can live without anything, just about.

And I guess that is what I learned from fasting, to sum it up.

I hope this was interesting or even helpful to you.

If you now feel like you may want to try fasting yourself, I am no authority on it, but I do suggest starting small. Try 1-3 days of fasting a food or item or hobby.

If you think you can, try a week or even two weeks of no TV or whatever your addiction is.

You can also set aside one day to not watch TV or be on your phone, I’ve done this, with pretty good results. Brain break, right?

Another thing to try is setting aside an hour or half an hour each day to just not be on your phone, and to have fewer distractions, quiet time.

If you can get up to a month or even more than that, that’s about the Bible’s usual limit, 40 days. Anything longer than that is more of a lifestyle change than a fast, but a fast is a great time to ask yourself if you do need to make this a permanent change in your life.

And don’t brag about fasting, Jesus warned us not to do that. Only tell people who will need to know just so they know not to tempt you. Like I may refrain form making cookies while my sister or mom is fasting sugar, or I may not talk about shows or YouTube vids if they are fasting that. It’s different for everyone.

If you can, fast with your family, makes it easier to stick to it.

Remember also, something doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you fast it, it just has to be a problem for you. Don’t preach at other people that they shouldn’t partake of the thing you’re fasting from, unless they are rubbing it in your face, it’s really none of your business what they do.

Other than that, the rules are up to you and God. I’m just laying out the groundwork for how the Bible says to treat fasting. Not to be depressed about it.

Really, God would rather us not fast at all it would seem if we can’t do it with a good attitude. Repenting during a fast is okay, normal and expected. But whining about it is just annoying.

(And I need to watch myself for that too, I’m realizing. Wry comments can so easily become complaints.)

With that, I think I’ll leave you to decide, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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I went to my first College party and it was fricked up!

Hello fahm, it’s been a hot minute.

Boy do I have a story to tell all of you though.

Last week this Christian went to her first college party (at least it was basically a college party) with my dance classmates.

Wow…

Yeah…

When I arrived on the scene, all 3 of the guys I knew were already high or slightly inebreiated.

The one girl I knew came high, apparently, but she’s they type you can’t really notice it with, so she was acting pretty normal, just tired and lethargic.

On top of that, the guys were all flirting with us big time.

Well, two of hem are pretty socially awkward, so they didn’t have the best game, the other really has player, f—-boy vives, if you kow what I mean.

You maybe be wondering why I bothered to do to this thing at all, if you’re read my posts at all, you know it’s not really my scene.

I definely wourld recomemen that any Christain who can’t hande peer pressure does not go to one ofthese.

I was asked when I would start drinking at least 4 or 5 times by the same three people, because they apparently had short memories while under the influence…or they were just being annoying.

I’ve never been one to cave into peer pressure, and I wasn’t going to start at a party of total strangers, and people I barely knew, just because I’m legal, thanks. I also drove myself there, which I told them.

I decided to go only to be polite and to not step on the olive branch with people. I’ve been given the sheltered Christian is a snob treatment before in highschool and middle-school and even at college, and I’m sick of people thinking I can’t handle this kind of crap, and that’s why I don’t go.

I’m teling you if I had 10 bucks for every time some idiot has found out I’m a Chrisitan and said soemting along the liens of:

“Oh I don’t think she’s ever heard cussing before.”

[You should have met my dad, girl.]

“You probably don’t know what — is…”

[I’m homeschooled and I watch YouTube, wanna bet?]

“You don’t like gay people right.”

[Personally? I don’t care. Morally, it’s a long story.]

“You should broaden your horizons.”

[Broaden yours first.]

So yeah, I’ve developed a bit of a snarky approach to this over the years.

I mean, Jesus ate with tax collectors, which would be like lawyers or drug lords in the eyes of their public, and harlots, which would be like the LGBTQ and drug community was viewed not that many years ago before Hollywood popularized it, so I think Christians are well within our rights to hang out with worldly people if we feel called to do so.

The apostlate taught us to be “in the world but not of it.”

Paul even said: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”’ [1 Corinthians 5:9-13]

So yeah, non Christians always give people like me crap for being exclusive, but any Christ who actually studied their bible knows better than to think that, usually. the ones I’ve been around most of my life don’t subscribe to the exclusivity line.

All that said, going to wild parties is probably not a wise practice.

If it had been too crazy, I would have left right off, but as it was mostly just people doing those things, but not pushing it on other or getting really out there (yet anyway) I decided it was okay, for a short time.

I wouldn’t be going to a rave or an orgy or something like that just to show I could.

Paul said “All things are permissible to me, but not all things are helpful.”

Everything Is Permissible But Not Everything Is Beneficial

If you can keep yourself pure as a Christians, you can do almost anything, short of blatantly forbidden sin. But not all things promote godliness.

Christian can drink alcohol, despite what many say, it’s even suggest to do so by the Bible for illnesses purposes.

But for many Christian with checkered pasts, it’s not a good idea to touch anything that reminds them of that. So they stay off of it.

That choice becomes a trend, and you get denominations that support it, like Baptists.

I have nothing against Baptists, personally, they are often very strong in the word, well founded people.

But I do have an issue with them judging Christian who do not feel it’s necessary to abstain from drinking, (usually Catholics, but some Charismatic denominations also think it’s okay), and say they are unbiblical.

It’s simply not, sorry. Jesus change water into wine.

I know I’ll get hate for saying that if someone who disagree reads it, but I think the Word also cautions us again making something into a sin if it’s not a sin, because it leads to problems like pride and dischord in the church. I’m not willing to make a huge issue out of a fellow believer getting a few drinks once in a while.

But that doesn’t mean I just think we who should all get smashed whenever we want.

I don’t know if anyone cares about my opinion as a laywoman, but assuming you click on this post because you do, he’re my hot take on the use of drugs and alcohol in Christian life.

  1. Drugs are different.

The Bible identifies drugs as a form of witchcraft, one of the greek words for sorcery include drugs and potions. Because they cause hallucinations and mood change and addiction, much more easily than wine or alcohol do. And are more damaging to your body.

People disagree about what is what. But I know that Christian who’ve gotten off even pot, which many consider hardly even a real drug, and saw spiritual effects even from that. And anything stronger then that is a no brainer really.

Drugs are supposed to be completely off the table for Christians, anything to do with witchcraft is.

2. Alcohol.

In proverbs, the writer spends a bit of time talking about drinking. Warning against being a drunkard (alcoholic) and a fool.

Later her writes that his mother cautioned him not be drunk, but to be sober, as king. That wine if for a troubled man to forget his troubles. [Proverbs 31: 4-7]

In other places, the Bible says not to be drunk with wine, or tempted by it in an unhealthy way.

But Jesus drank wine, and even commanded us to do it as part of communication. Noah drank wine. Paul tells Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach. Maybe Timothy was having doubts about it being okay also, and Paul was reassuring him.

Throughout history, wine and other alcohol was about the only way to clean really strong bacteria, or aid in sickness as a pain reliever or cleanser. It has some nutrients that are good for you also.

It also could clean water in areas where water couldn’t be relied upon to be clean.

The Word says God gave man wine to make his heart glad. [Psalms 104:15]

All this to say, the Bible doesn’t condemn the use of wine, but it does condemn the abuse of it.

A few drinks at a party, not a huge deal.

Getting black out drunk and making unwise decisions, or realizing on alcohol to make you happy or functional, that is a huge deal.

Or, in my case, drinking when you know you’ll have to drive, and while you’re around guys who already acting kind of sus, is just idiotic.

I’m not a victim blamer, but any woman who does that and gets harassed…well, it’s wrong that they did it, but with all due respect, what did you think they were going to do if they already seemed sleezy and you left yourself wide open.

I won’t judge anyone for being taken in if a guy is really good at acting, but if he’s a dip from the start and you made yourself vulnerable…I just think you have to take some responsibility for what happens.

I know it’s taboo to say that now, but I wouldn’t hand a gun to a murderer in a rage either, guys.

I was talking to a guy at my church the following morning about being in that position, and he was telling me he’s often the same around his friends, the designated driver, and they smoke pot and drink while he’s around, but he doesn’t really mind being the odd one out, they don’t really care, I guess.

It can be awkward.

But in a way, you also can be a witness in your actions.

Some might say that you’re just condoning that behavior.

Well, in my experience, most non-Christians at least know that Christian do not condone drugs and assume that offering them to you is pointless. While I was offered alcohol, no one offered my pot, thank goodness, I hate the smell of weed.

The alcohol thing might depend on whether they know any Catholics, who are more famous for allowing alcohol. A lot of people I know assume Catholics and Protestants are the same, I’ve had to explain the difference multiple times.

So the drinking thing can be hit and miss. I usually just explain honestly that while I don’t condemn it at all times, I drive myself almost everywhere, and I need to be smart.

Also I have alcoholism and addicts on both sides of my family, and I don’t need to push my luck that I might have that gene. If I ever do try that stuff, I want it to be around people who will make sure I am safe and wouldn’t spike my drink or push more on me.

So when it comes to condoning it, most people , at least who are my age, already know we don’t. They might think you’re a hypocrite, but I was quite clear abut my standards, so I doubt it.

In fact, what did happen was my female friend who was there and knew I was sober, asked if I’d take her home, even if it meant leaving early, since her mom didn’t want to drive her.

[Her mom was an idiot to drop her off there at all with a bunch of strangers when she was already buzzed, but I guess that’s just how some parents are.]

One of the guys, probably the nicest one, heard her ask me and asked if I was gonna, and I said yes, I’d rather it be me than a stranger at the party.

He said “You’re a good person.”

I thought, “I think it’s just decent, she’s on my way anyway, and not feeling too good.”

I said “It wouldn’t be the first time.”

I’ve never taken someone home from a wild party, but I’ve driven a classmate to the doctor for an injury and taken a lot of girls home from church or picked them up. So it’s something I try to do when I can. Makes it easier for them if their parent can’t bring them and they want to participate. Id’re that them be at crush than out doing other stuff, which I know a lot of the kids who come to church but aren’t really christian spend their time doing if they aren’t at our events.

And as the girl who grew up not going out to a lot of events because my mom didn’t like going out, I feel bad for people who miss out just because no one will take them.

I know this girl too, and she’s been through a lot of crap, so I wasn’t sure leaving her with guys who were already in super clingy, and any amount of other guys who I knew nothing about, one of of whom was casually tossing a knife in the air most of the time I was there, was smart.

Yes, you read that right, a knife. 🔪

In a way, my presence might have protected her from anything worse in the first place, as one guy was putting an arm around her, but kept looking at me like “whacha gonna do about it?”

I dint say anything, but I was right there, with pepperspray in my purse, though he didn’t know that. No way was I going to this without something.

I don’t bash on men but…some guys are just…so disgusting…

Some girls are too, I’ve actually seen that behavior from plenty of girls, even at Church events, so I’m not sexist about it. I’ve know very polite men, and very skeezy ones. Who hasn’t?

But this bunch of them really were walking stereotypes, you’d almost not believe anyone could be that predictably cliche. Do frickboys think it’s cool to act like this? I don’t know.

Well, basically I had one Mansplainer, one r/nice guy, and one frick boy. It was like a show roster was filled or something.

I could handle the Mansplainer and r/nice guy, just reminded me of my dad really, but the frickboy was too tall and muscular for me to feel 100% confident about taking him if he was aggressive, luckily he stopped just short of that, but let me know, like he was trying to be bad, that he was holding back.

So, I’ve told you the learning part of the experience for me, and why I was glad I came if only for the sake of my girl friend.

But just to leave you all with something funny, want to hear the cheap crap they tried on me in order to…I don’t know I think they were trying to see me flinch, but it was more amusing than scary:

So Frickboy is still trying to sound edgy, but the edgiest this guy really is is college frat playboy geek who might be a harasser if you were drunk enough, but probably is too chicken to try anything if you’re fully late.

But he thinks he’s so cool, you know.

And he starts in, I kid you not, on how bad and wild his family is, and he uses, I’m dead serious, the Disney character Maleficent as an example.

Yeah cause when I think dark and freaky I go to Disney villains, immediately…not the myriad of other crap out there that’s way worse. Though I do dislike that Malificent movie.

Basically this genius’es take on it is that Aurora’s parents were trying to keep the bad stuff out of her life, by not letting Maleficent be around her, but that just made her naive.

And ou hv t let the darkens sin to your life so you understand it.

Well, I, being my fiery, and fully over it self, wasn’t just going to take that from this wannabe edge lord.

I literally shook my finger in a sassy manner and said something like “Boy, you dont know the kind of stuff I’ve seen!”

And of course he and the other idiot were like “Tell us!”

But, you see, the kind of stuff I’d seen would probably traumatize these guys if they experience it, I know it traumatized me for years, until God healed me.

And I have a feeling they would have thought I was either crazy, or else being way too intense.

And I could destroy them either way.

So, I wasn’t going to take that bait. For their own good, I don’t mind talking about it to people who can handle it, but my bet is these posers couldn’t.

Anyone who uses a Disney villain as metaphor for evil to the “sheltered” Christian girl is not ready to face real evil, if you ask me.

And of course you may be thinking “What the heck is she talking about?”

I don’t think I should share all of it here, for the same reason. not everyone is ready to hear stuff.

But a lot of people have witnessed the supernatural up close, like I have.

I’ll try to put this in a not too weird way without mincing matters:

In a nutshell, my dad had a stepmother who was a witch for many years, she later became a Christian and one of the nicest ladies I’ve known.

My dad also was in a cult for 2 years, and suffered the after effects of it for all his life up to this point, as far as I know.

I both few up hearing stories I was not ready to hear from him, and then witnessing the effects of it firsthand.

On top of that I went to church for several years where seeing that kind of thing was literally a weekly occurrence for a long time.

My dad let plenty of bad influences into my life via movies and people who should not have been hanging around us girls, though nothing really ever happen to us, but we saw and hear things.

And outside that, I have cousins who clan to worship the devil, and do drugs, and think having a seance is something to joke about.

And I have many friends who’ve encountered the occult, in numerous ways that would shock the lucky people who have not had that experience.

I really think anyone who thinks this stuff is imaginary has not talked to enough people about it, you can’t make this crap up.

I don’t think I need to go into the details for you to get the picture.

And even if it was imaginary, the idea alone is pretty horrifying and torments many people, and I’ve talked to them about it. Been on the phone with people who are panicking because of it, and done many a prayer intervention to help with it, once with a deaf guy of all things where I did in ASL.

And that’s just my firsthand experience. I’ve read and heard plenty more.

Take all that, and picture me, a veteran in this area, listen to some 20 some twat who’s probably done drugs and voodoo or some crap like that, tell me I should understand darkness better.

Create meme "APR (APR , facepalm , face palm )" - Pictures - Meme -arsenal.com

I almost laughed in his face. I understand it, boy, you just have no idea what it does to people who aren’t just playing with it like you are.

And as a believer, I make no bones about that. Sorry if someone reading this has a problem with me calling it what it is, but the occult is a foolish thing to play with, there is always a price. Usually depression and anxiety is the fist thing you have, health problem usually follow.

I don’t want to dwell on it, just thinking about it is creepy and I dont like to give the devil too much attention.

And I’m no one of those Christian who rebukes the devil every time I have a problem, and assumes that demons are responsible for everything. Or that all magic in stories is evil. I love Narnia, and other old classics.

I care about symbolism usually. Magic can be used to depict divine things, but our culture has taken to glorifying it because it’s dark, and because it’s evil, and sexualizing it.

It’s all nonsense, People who actually are terrorized by this stuff don’t like it.

Anyway, so yeah, I got a lot of entertainment out of seeing these scrubs trying to frighten me, like they thought I wouldn’t know what they were at. Once you’ve read The Cross and the Switchblade, not a lot fazes you anymore, I can tell you.

But I also pity them.

I’m reminded of how empty the live of my generation can be. We’re expected to be like this. And many of us are foolish enough to get led astray by it.

Sadly, these three guys aren’t even I’d say all that bad for what they are. There’s worse out there. It’s also sad how much they remind me of guys at church that I know.

Wannabe edgy, but really just insecure.

I know it’s tempting to show off how edgy we can be. As a Christian woman who’s been told one too many times by more uptight believers that I shouldn’t like what I like, I don’t like to be put in that same box.

But I also know as a member of the body, I’m called on to be considerate of my brothers and sisters who have more sensitive consciences. I get it. I once did too. And I dont care if they don’t like that stuff, as long as they step off of me, if it’s not forbidden, then I’m going to have to work it out with God, not you.

If I am doing something that is forbidden, please tell me.

One problem though, before I end, I do have to admit.

Things like sexual content, and occultic content started bothering me a lot less when I read more stuff and watched more that allowed for it. It was no longer shocking.

Usually it just take reorienting myself through the Word or a good message to snap out of it, but if I go without that too long, I get dulled to it.

In some ways, I can’t avoid exposure to all that. I’d see it even if I didn’t want to.

But there are things I can’t control it’s tempting to let them slide.

It hasn’t made me engage in sexual or occultic activity, but it has made it seem less of a problem.

While it’s good that I am fazed less by people who do those things, the idea of the things themselves should still be grotesque to me.

It is if I really think about it, but the trick of media is to get you to see something in semi positive light, until you no longer feel triggered by it, and then to get you to either do it, or at least laugh at it and be too uncertain to tell anyone else the truth about it.

Again, all things are permissible, but not all things are helpful, or edifying.

I think I’ll leave it at that.

Until next time, stay honest, and don’t do drugs–Natasha