So I watched Encanto…

One of the unsung perks of babysitting in this country is that you get to use people’s streaming accounts even if you don’t have them. I’ve watched a crap ton of Netflix and Disney Plus because of babysitting.

That’s how I watched Vivo…which is a better movie than Encanto, bite me.

Funny because Lin Manuel Miranda worked on both, I just think Vivo’s plot and themes suited his talents better than a Disney Girl musical (since now we aren’t even pretending they’re princesses…although this movie might as well have been about a princess.)

I’m not going to hate on Encanto, it was an enjoyable ride, but after watching it, I do think it is inferior to its predecessors.

I’m sure all of you are too nice to hate on me for saying that, but if I went on a different platform, I think I’d start a riot. Everyone seems to love this movie.

Well, it’s mediocre, sorry, not sorry.

I won’t deny the animation was gorgeous, a joy to watch. The songs were…predictable. The only one I thought really stood out as creative lyrically was the “Pressure” one. Then, Imperfect was okay, and “WE Don’t talk about Bruno” was impressive editing-wise, but lyrics were a little weird, I thought.

But I’m not much for modern musical movies, to be fair. I like old ones better.

i have before unashamedly said that I like Disney movies–some of them–and that Frozen is actually my favorite movie, for personal reasons. See: Why a DP movie is my favorite. Why a DP movie is my favorite part 2. I don’t think it’s the most amazing movie ever made, but it stands out form other Disney films, I’m not the only one who thought it has a different vibe, wrapped up in a Disney package, it still somehow felt unique. Thought he haters will never admit it.

Encanto is a beautiful mess, that is my honest opinion. I was interested in the plot while watching it, and the 3 year old I was watching it with loved the music. But I kept waiting for the movie to make its point…and by the end I was just…non plussed.

Encanto basically has two or three over arching themes, and it tries to bring all of them together at the end, but it doesn’t finish any of them. The ending was one of the most rushed I’ve seen in a Disney film, and the characters were not well flushed out. We only get depth on Luisa and Isabel, and it’s dropped after one song.

Abuela’s character being the cause of the magic disappearing was predictable, I called it form the beginning. But that wouldn’t have been bad. I thought it actually added to the idea that families often miss the obvious when it comes to their problems. It’s true in my family, for sure.

I actually thought they were going to do a Brave thing, and make it both the older and younger women had pride and selfishness, and that was the cause of the rift. And the magic of the family was tied to their unity.

The movie implies this, but doesn’t say it.

I could put that down to a wish for subtlety, except every other theme in this movie is blatant and shoved in your face, as with most kids’ movies, so why they would hesitated to spell it out for us, if they actually intended it, I don’t know.

I don’t necessarily mind blatant messages, I think kids need things to be spelled out for them, and adults who watch kid content should be prepared for that. But I think you can do it tastefully and creatively. Just singing it to save time is not tasteful.

The imagery in this movie is probably its best feature. The lights, the candle, the sand, the cracks.

I kind of thought Bruno’s character was less impressive than he could have been, he was exactly what I expected, and the goofy, kooky character seeing the future and then hiding…well, it’s a little old. But it’s not bad, so it’s more of a personal wish than a criticism.

What actually made me mad about this movie was the ending. The first half was quite good, but it was like they ran out of run time. Isabel and Mirabel get over 20 years of disagreeing, (or 18, or whatever it was) and it takes 2 minute of one song for them to suddenly understand each other?

I was the scapegoat and my sister was the golden child, it took us months of disagreeing, and years of tension before that, to work out our differences. Especially when our dad poured gasoline on the fire.

And another thing, I found it stupid that only Mirabel was yelling at Abuela at the end. If Luisa and Isabel were really that miserable, seeing Mirabel do that should have just burst the dam. Especially for Isabel.

Also the magic was so poorly explained.

I know that magic does not always need to be explained in a story, I actually don’t like it when it is, like, We didn’t need an explanation for Elsa’s magic–and the one we got made no sense.

But in this movie, the magic disappearing is the whole point, so that is the time to explain how it works, the entire point of most of the film is Mirabel trying to understand the magic, so explaining it was totally necessary.

And what is explained…nothing!

I mean, I guess the magic relies on the family’s…bond? But then why doesn’t it crack every time one of them fights? The one lady with the weather powers should be having cracks every 10 minutes. Isabel and Mirabel should have been causing issues all along. Then Abuela’s obsession with perfection might actually make more sense.

Or how about this, make the fact that Abuela herself actually has no gift, and just guards the candle and house the reason she doesn’t like Mirabel. Mirabel reminds her of her own mortality, and humanness, and we tend to project our insecurities onto other people. So when she’s yelling at Mirabel, she’s really upset at herself. And Mirabel annoys her by not being as stressed about it as she is. I’ve known that to happen to many people in real life, myself included. Misery loves company.

This is almost implied in the movie…but never enough to be sure it’s actually what it’s saying.

Also, the conflict of this movie is set up poorly.

We’re supposed to be wonder why Mirabel has no gift, right? Well that question is never answered. Ever.

Then we’re supposed to wonder if the gift is becoming a curse…

But the thing is, Mirabel’s mom is a really nice lady, and supportive of all her daughters, and so is their father. Isabel is so driven to be perfect…why?

I can’t recall her ever actually being told she was doing something wrong. Maybe she just wanted to avoid it ever happening, but most people aren’t afraid to fail until they have failed in a painful way, and we never see her do that. Perfectionism comes from not being able to control things when you were a kid, but we get no such story with Isabel.

We never see Luisa told it would be selfish to take a break. She just assumes it.

We’re meant to think Abuela made them think this way just by her example…but even if that is true, no one ever questioned it before? And why do none of the men feel this way? They seem carefree, and happy-go-lucky. No pressure there.

And while the townspeople take advantage of the family’s gifts, they aren’t ever pushy about it.

So why are these two girls so driven? Isabel says she was going to marry the guy for the family…but they never push her to do it, they just assume she wants to marry him. If she’d ever spoken up about it, I’m sure they’d have been happy to push Dolores forward instead. Why does it need to be Isabel?

And by the way, Dolores character had the potential to be so much more compelling. Imagine if you could hear everything? Everything anyone ever said about you? That sounds like a curse to me. Maybe that’s why she tries to be invisible, so people won’t talk bad about her.

Would make relationships difficult, and relaxing. She’s shown to be jumpy, but she doesn’t get her own song, and she doesn’t ever get a moment to explain it. A total waste of potential. I’d say her life is way harder than Isabel’s.

I mean, when the main conflict of your story is your MC just isn’t special enough….what the heck movie? Is that what counts as drama these days? Her family loves her, and the one person who actually is hostile to her, Isabel, is not even in most of the movie, and resolves the conflict in 3 minutes…yay!

Mirabel is all like “I can’t embrace Isabel!” and then 5 minutes later “Oh my gosh, I was so wrong about her!”

Uh…you weren’t really, you just didn’t know why she acted that way, she still acted like a b-word. And perfectionism is no excuse to bully your sister, Isabel. How about an apology?

Nope…nothing.

I mean Isabel could have said she envied Mirabel her freedom to do whatever she wants. Built on the trapped by your gift thing…but nope.

And another thing, if Isabel is so stuck…why doesn’t she want to try something other than growing flowers? Her whole rebellion is spraying herself with colors and growing cacti…who in the heck said she couldn’t grow cacti? Cacti are useful, heck her mom could use aloe to cure people, everyone would be all over that. And she has a whole room to experience with crazy flowers in, and no one else seems to care…what exactly is holding her back?

I mean, Abuela only cares when it becomes convenient for the plot, she never reprimands Isabel before then.

Movie, stop expecting me to assume domestic abuse, actually show it if you want to use it, you coward!

You now that just ticks me off about this film, and every other kids’ media I watch these days. Domestic problems are assumed. No on’es family is actually good, no one is actually happy, it all hast o be fake. You can bet if I see a nice character, I’m going to find out they have skeletons in their closet later in the story.

And while no human is perfect, not all of us are as royally fricked up as the movies imply. Sometimes we just get frustrated once in a while, and guess what, we move on! Some of us actually deal with it in a healthy way. Geez! What is the problem Hollywood?

I think it’s on purpose, the idea of contentment just doesn’t sell, so every character has to have a dark side.

Frozen kicked off this trend–but you know how Frozen made it work?

Because we actually see Elsa’s powers backfire, we see her parents tell her bad advice, we see her fear of herself grow–the movie accomplishes this in 10 minutes. We all perfectly understand why Elsa is afraid, how it affects her, and that Anna is unaware of it.

Then when Elsa goes berserk, we know why. It’s not random, we see the causes.

And her problems instead of being over in 5 minutes, take a whole movie to work through. And are revisited in the shorts and the sequel–which are not great, but at least they aren’t delusional enough to say Elsa is never going to doubt again. Of course she will, but she now lets herself be helped, that was the difference.

Where is this in Encanto? Or should I say Donde esta en la cinema Encanto? (Pretty sure I said that wrong, but my Spanish is not great, and the constant switch in the movie was not as charming as they thought it was. I was just left feeling like the whole thing should have been in Spanish, or English, pick one.)

Nada! Nunca! It’s not there. You won’t find any deepening, or further introspection of any of these characters. One song, that’s it.

That’s one of my problems with the movie.

The other one is the Magic itself, and the Miracle. It’s never explained.

And why Mirabel does not have a gift. She wanted to know.

I think the movie’s biggest mistake here was that when Mirabel went to get her gift, the door began to form…but then it stopped.

If she was truly just not meant to have one, fine. But then why did she start to get it and then it stopped? The candle changed its mind? Hmm?

Sure seems like something went wrong, not looking at Bruno’s excommunication or anything.

And if the family splitting is what lead to the magic cracking, than it would have made perfect sense that Mirabel’s lack of gift was because it weakened after they sent Bruno packing. Like, it literally seems like that’s what they are implying.

Mirabel even sees the same cracks as Bruno. Which could have been taken as maybe she was going to have the same gift as him, because he wasn’t around, but because he still is, she couldn’t get it, and it broke.

Then restoring Bruno the family, and fixing the house should have fixed her problem. But she still has no gift at the end…even though she restore the magic, so she has magic, but no gift….because logic….

You have all the set up to make this make sense…but no pay off? Nothing.

Because oh she’s just special enough without a gift…

(How can not being special be what makes you special? It’s a logical fallacy.)

Well if that’s true, why restore the gifts at all. If it really had become a burden, then just let it go, accept change.

Wasn’t that the message? If you hold onto the past too tightly it crushes the very people you were trying to protect…I thought that’s what they were saying.

But I mean, i’s Disney, so of course the Magic shouldn’t have disappeared at the end…but Mirabel still can’t have a gift because reasons.

Even though it clearly show she didn’t get a gift because something went wrong, setting it right doesn’t give her one…why? She doesn’t want one anymore?

I fail to understand you movie.

I thought they all should have either lost their gifts for good, or never lost them at all. Maybe they just could have corrupted, been twisted, like in Frozen. Because they were used wrong. That’s more true to real life anyway. We don’t lose our talents because of stress, but they do become less pure.

So in the end, this movie has two messages. Or three really. 1. You don’t need a gift to be special, because not being special is what makes you special. (Cure the Incredibles rant about celebrating mediocrity) 2. If you put yourself into one box, it will crush your spirit, it’s okay to have more than one interest and to take a break. 3. Holding onto the past is bad. Embrace the future. (As long as you do it by not forgetting what made your family special in the past and reigniting that flame….get it? Because it’s a candle, we’re so clever).

How did anyone like this movie’s ending? I get liking the songs and story, but the ending? It makes no sense. None few these three messages is finished. Nothing is explained, and there is no truth. Everything goes back to being exactly how it was, except that Isabel goes disco tech, Luisa takes naps, and Dolores gets with the guy who’s about as deep as a kiddie pool.

Mirabel is not a different person than before. And the town is the same…so yeah…

I really thought there could have been something really good there. Heck, even all three of those message together would have been okay, if they were finished. But they aren’t. There is no point of resolution.

An apology is not a resolution if the problem is that complex. That worked in Brave because the mother -daughter conflict is present in the whole movie, shown to be the core of its problems, and is explained as the way to resolve them. Merida humbling herself makes sense, because Pride was her problem.

But the whole family conflict in this movie is so shaky. Not everyone is unhappy. The problem are so minor that literally two conversations fixed them, and Bruno comes back with no fanfare whatsoever, and Mirabel isn’t even the reason.

Mirabel was actually mostly useless, she spends most of the movie making the problem worse, and in the end is the reason the magic goes out…so way to defy negative expectations there, movie.

Guess she really was the bug in the system…and maybe it deserved to crash and burn…so show that. Don’t just make it all go away because apologies!

Ugh…

Perhaps I am oversimplifying. But it was still poorly done.

Encanto is, in my opinion, a product of our culture.

Fewer and fewer movies and show have any definite meaning now. And fewer and fewer people seem to notice it. We are becoming incapable of discerning structure and payoff in a story.

As long as the label diversity is stamped on something, we swallow any amount of lazy writing, and Hollywood knows we will.

Encanto is a badly written movie that would not have stacked up to a 90s Disney Movie, and they have very weak conflicts usually, but at least hey are clear. Ariel may be kind of a bratty teen, but at least I know why. I know why Aladdin wants to be a prince, even if he’s a liar. I know why Mulan is going to war ( and that is one of the best Disney movies there is).

I don’t know that with Encanto. It would have taken like 1 extra song, and 5 minutes to explain, but it’s not there. They could have cut the unnecessary songs and put in actual story, they could have not rehashed the begging like 3 times for padding. It was fixable. How did someone not say “Uh guys, we didn’t answer any of our own questions in this script…can we like…fix that?”

But no one cars, becuase diversity!

I can’t say I see what a magic house really has to do with Columbian culture. Or how themes that are so clearly modern are really representing what makes it special. Kind of the running joke of representation in Disney is that it’s…you know, based in fictional countries, so you can’t really represent real ethnic groups…

I mean, people complain about how all the old movies had white characters…but they were stories form Europe, of course they could have white characters. Whenever the movie were set in other countries, they changed the ethnicity…I never really saw the issue. People just like to complain.

And I don’t mind if a movie is set in a Mexican, or Colombian culture, if it’s good. I enjoy movies like that.

But I won’t approve bad writing just because it was packaged in a nice look, and fun songs.

I’m sure it would be fun to watch Encanto, but it has no meaning. It is gutless, it doesn’t commit to any one message, because it doesn’t have to to be liked, and the creators knew that.

But I think this in underminding our chilrend’s abilty to tell when there even is a emssage in osmeitng.

Implied messages that are not stated are usually called propaganda. Subtle, but propaganda. When a message is boldly stated, it opens itself up to criticism.

But if it’s vague, you can’t really criticize it. So it is gutless, but the implicates are enough to squeeze it by the virtue signalling SJWS, so they think it has meaning.

If you still think I’m being too harsh, I challenge you to take Encanto, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Moana, take a pen, and write down each main element of those movies. each character’s conflict…and then how the movie resolved it.

I defy you to find a way it really was fleshed out. It’s implied, that’s all. Implications don’t help us in real life. People need actual ideas if they will change.

But if you can feed yourself with colorful, but empty visions of meaning, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re being cultured, but you are really being conditioned.

Encanto is not evil or bad in of itself, so much as it is just lazy, but what scare me is it never would have been praise so much a few decades ago, and now it’s haled as top tier.

A Goofy Movie did family conflict better, sue me.

Well, I think I have ranted enough, this movie is not horrible to watch, but I can’t endorse anything it says, as it says nothing whatsoever. That’s my verdict. Watch it for a good time, but don’t expect any substance, and you’ll be fine.

Try Brave or Frozen if you want the exact same message but with an actual message. Or any of the renaissance era movies.

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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When you know you’ll hurt people who love you…

Hello peeps,

I was going to post sooner and I got sidetracked by getting the new Covid variant.

Frist time I got one, and I get the one with mild cold symptoms, go figure.

I felt worse honestly for not eating a few days afterward than I did while I had a fever, the fatigue and aches were the worst of it.

But I’m recovered now.

Anyway, to fill up my time while I’m fasting certain things, and taking a break from anime, my sisters and I have been binging the old X-Men animated show.

If you’ve never seen it, you should watch it, it’s really good. It’s on Amazon Prime.

It was a different time, man.

It’s not a perfect show, but it’s so much better than the movies. And the dialogue is refreshingly not boring for an old show. Superhero shows can be disappointing in the long run because they just don’t ever go anywhere.

X- Men does suffer from that, but the continuity is good for the most part, the characters get well flushed out, and I like at least some of them. I can’t stand Scott…there is no version of Cyclops I’ve ever liked, old movies, new movies, or this how. Jean always bored me too. Though the Dark Phoenix movie was better than people gave it credit for, acting-wise anyway.

But anyway, this isn’t a review of the show.

As always, the shipping caught my eye. It’s not the best I’ve seen, the older shows usually are very non-committal about shipping, you were lucky if they even kissed.

This show handles it way better than most of its genre, so I got interested, even thought they don’t put a lot of effort into chemistry.

But what they do well is show people’s hang ups about getting into relationships.

The one they spend the most time on, with that, is Rogue x Gambit.

Being only a fan of the X-Men movies until now, and a distant fan at that, not die hard, I had not idea who Gambit even was, and Rogue was always just kind of a sad, scared little girl.

Well, I don’t know what those directors were thinking. Rogue’s character on tis show is the best part of it, along with Wolverine.

Gambit wasn’t as funny, in my opinion, at first, but he grew on me, and mellowed over the course of the show too, like Wolverine.

Anyway, the ship is not the best ship I’ve ever seen, but compared to the level I expected on an old 80s cartoon, it far surpassed it.

I mean, the shows of my generation were Kim Possilbe, the Animated Justice League, and old Spiderman and Batman and Superman. And while I liked all of those, and they have a few good ships in them, most of them don’t commit.

Gambit and Rogue, so far at least, don’t either. But no other show outside Justice League (once) really bothered to explore why, but this show does, and I think it’s interesting.

The romance is old fashioned for our time now, but Rogues’s character is well done, and her hang ups ring pretty true even today with what a lot of people express, so I thought it was worth using as an example.

Man, back then, characters could be interested in each other without shacking up, and it was just normal. Maybe not on every show, but one like this, made for kids, it was.

And unlike anime, which is so sexually repressed, yet bloated at the same time that they will devote multiple shots to grotesque fan service in every season yet act gun shy of having two healthy, normal characters kiss–these old American shows aren’t afraid to show kissing, and other physical forms of affection, without crossing over into the sexual.

I think it was more balance back then. Because they had standards to uphold they didn’t do stripping and naked women, and men showing their abs all the time, but because of that, they had no inherent shame implied if they kissed. They knew what we, the audience, would expect.

The pervy side of comics is a more recent evolution from the old stuff. There’s always been some pervs who would enjoy comic books (or any illustrated book) for the wrong reason, but the old art wasn’t that oversexualized, I’ve seen it. the new stuff is so gross. Ugly too, in my opinion.

Anime may not be ugly, but it has the same disproportionate, overdone factor to it, sorry, to sorry.

So it’s been nice to watch a romance that doesn’t shove fan service in my face. And is mature enough to at least acknowledge the problems.

Rogue’s obvious problem, if you know her power set and story, is that she can’t touch anyone.

There’s a few loopholes to this that the show ignores, like most superhero shows do. Such as the myriad of appearance of mutation blocking technology, which had the X-men chosen to keep any of it, Rogue could have used to manage her power when necessary.

So while the problem would easily be resolved if the rules of superhero shows didn’t dictate the heroes can’t be pragmatic (because there goes the drama then, right?) it isn’t so prevalent that her struggle doesn’t seem real.

Rogue does not wallow in angsty self pity, which I really appreciate. Anime emos get old after a while, they’re okay in moderation, but after a while you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. We get it, you’re sad…get a life.

Instead the writer made Rogue a strong person, who more takes a wry sense of humor about her inhibitions, though at some moments she shows how deeply it bothers her. It’s far more realistic, most of us don’t go through life pitying ourselves every minute of the day, and acting sad all the time, we take that wry point of view about our problems.

I think it’s healthier to do that than to purposefully be depressed. Enough sadness in life without dwelling on even more of it on purpose.

But it may be a better option still to try to heal.

The show does stop short of that. I think maybe they just didn’t know how to write it.

Rogue and Gambit’s ship actually serves to show Rogues’ issues more, which is how I think a ship should be used if it’s gong to be reoccurring, nothing like a romance to drive your true nature out.

The interesting ting about Rogue, and what makes her so much like us, is that she yearns for normal things, enjoys normal things, and want the kind of love she sees other people have–but she believes she can never have it.

So far it’s not been said, though i think it might be eventually, but her logic, we see, has to be no man is ever gong to commit to a girl he can’t touch. It’s just not gonna happen.

I find that intriguing.

I mean, the cynical person in me does kind of want to agree.

This is a world where we value sex above all else often enough in relationships. At least we do now. People will ship characters in fiction and in real life just because they want to see them have sex.

I do enjoy a good kiss scene myself in fiction.

And sex is a good thing, between married people. I’m 100% for that. I actually hate stories where married couples never have sex, for some stupid, contrived reason, to create drama. It’s a necessary part of marriage, if both people are capable of having sex, and don’t have sexual traumatic that might prevent them from engaging in it with ease. It’s selfish to deny your partner sex because you don’t feel like it, I think. We don’t not cook because we don’t feel like it, someone has to cook, even if you buy food. But that’s another story.

However, the idea that sex is the most important thing about marriage has been disputed.

Many couples, for health reasons, can’t have sex for many years of their marriage. Age can be one reason. But they can still feel fulfilled. It’s probably like eating sweets, sure you’d like to, but if you can’t, that’s not the end of your life. You can live without it.

Personally, I’m a 23 year old virgin. I’d like to have sex at some point in my life, I believe it’s a God given gift. BUT, I would, at least now, prefer a man who’d be the right emotional match for me more.

I mean, if you gave me the choice, great sex for the rest of my life, or, being with someone who would day in and day out try their hardest to make me happy, and would let me make them happy…someone I could always turn to, who would not lie to me, and who would make the best of whatever situation we fell into…I think I could abstain from sex for that. I hear the older you get, the less sex seems like it’s so important. C. S. Lewis said that he’d choose affection and loyalty over sexual excitement, now that he was older.

I might be young but I’m not stupid, guys. Trust is more important. Sex is icing on the cake of love, not the main ingredient.

Of course, Rogue can’t even hold hands or kiss. She can embrace a bit with gloves and clothes on, but not as much as she wants to.

I imagine, if the show were allowed to discuss this, she’d probably verbalize the thought that it’s just not fair to ask any man to put up with that kind of restriction.

What’s funny is that, for all her longing, she is the one who shoves Gambit away in their quasi, flirtatious relationship. Gambit never seems bothered by her mutant power, and is very outgoing about how he flirts, he even is the one to say “I love you” first–and so far, the only one.

Rogue is very insecure.

Funny how she’s confident most of the time, but anytime he’s open about it, she pushes him away, sometime literally. And walks away herself, and acts irritated.

But also gets jealous and begs for attention.

None of it is to the extent where she’s Toxic, I can’t imagine Rogue being toxic, she’s too sweet, but she’s so clearly at war with herself, and it’s shown really well.

The heartbreaking thing to think about is that Rogue is really just a dramatization of a very real feeling many of us have.

Rogue was rejected by her Daddy, as she tells us, and then abused by her surrogate mother, in a way, mystique.

After such experiences, it makes sense she has trust issues. But really, she has self worth issues.

It’s all too familiar to me.

I’m taken back to my emotional abusive household as a kid.

Both my parents, though more my father, would use me being upset as a reason to act like I was attacking them.

I loved my parents, even in my most angsty years, and I don’t recall ever saying I hated them, or saying anything particularly cruel, though I maybe have just forgotten. But I always knew words had power, that’s what they taught me.

The message my father gave me, sometimes to my face, was that he had enough stress in his life without dealing with me also.

This led to me feeling like I was just a bad reminder to him of this gaping issues, which was our relationship. A relationship he sabotaged himself from the time I was born, and all through my formative years. Then he destroyed it openly when I was a teenager. Always it was he who would reject, he who would say the most hurtful things, he who would judge me.

If I fought back, or tried to complain, I was told I was the problem, and it wasn’t my place to correct him. Then he would tell us to correct him, and that we were right, and the next time we did, it was the same thing, it wasn’t our place. He’d even threaten me if I tried.

I learned to just keep my mouth shut, and when I learned that, he began picking fights with me on purpose. He couldn’t go more than a few days without some toxic outburst, I think he was addicted to it, personally.

All this lined up with what I learned about abusive behavior once he was gone.

But what it stamped on me, perhaps permanently, is that the people closest to you are the ones you will hurt the most.

I knew I had hurt my parents even if it was mostly their own fault, and I knew I hurt my sisters too, the people who I later came to rely on more for support.

And the fact is, if you love someone, you will still hurt them, because you are a flawed, imperfect human.

I’ve said things to friends, not thinking how they sounded, and meaning it to be funny that hurt them badly, and I never knew till later. Some people realized that and brushed it off, others never forget.

I’ve found that people from emotionally abusive homes often share this belief that I have, which is that when you love someone, you hurt them.

Oddly, I don’t find that attitude in accounts by people with happy families, who kept their trust.

People who rebel against their good parents may come to think that way, but that’s not everyone.

And those of us who’ve been let down the most by people we love, believe it the most.

To us, love is associated with pain.

A lot of us abused kids don’t want to give up on love, we know we’re meant to love, so we accept the pain of it, but we have a harder time accepting that we will cause people pain.

In our minds, since the love we were shown was conditional, and we took on the brunt of forgiving the other person, but never get their forgiveness in return, then every wound we cause is far worse than the ones they give us.

You see, we normally don’t struggle with our half of it. They hurt us, we shake it off, we don’t think it’s that important.

But we hurt them at all, and we feel horrible. We feel unworthy of love, and we think it’d be better if we just stayed away from them–but we know that will hurt too, and we feel stuck.

Rogue is such a perfect type of this kind of person. I think it’s fitting she was written to have abusive parental figures.

Though the show frames it as being about her mutation, it could have been about anything. That was the genius of the X-men, they used mutation as a metaphor for anything that makes people seem a little different.

And Rogue is like if that attitude was to take physical form in your body. If the fact that you can’t get close to someone without hurting them sometimes was made a trait in your DNA.

Because, in a way, it is.

Since the fall of man, we humans have turned on each other.

We make such a big deal out of racism and bigotry now, like it’s the worst sin of all, but, if you’re not hurting someone one way, you’d just do it another way. Racism can be less giant int he long run than many other human evils, depends on the kind of racism.

I just think it’s like we expect perfection out of humans. Looking down on each other for stupid reason has been a part of us for millennium, it’s not any one group of people’s exclusive fault, we just hate each other, because we fear each other.

We fear what’s different, because we know we’re not prepared for it. We cannot understand, so we don’t try. That’s what we think.

If it doesn’t lead to racism, it leads to something else, like the fear of intimacy.

When we damaged people hit this flaw in ourselves, it’s easy to get depressed.

It has depressed me many times to realize I can’t get away from not being perfect.

As a Christian, I am promised that one day I will be perfect as Christ it perfect.

But Jesus was still hurt by people, probably more than anyone else ever has been, because he truly was innocent. but no doubt his followers took his honesty the wrong way at times, and were hurt. Jesus must have known people will be hurt, even if you are in the right. Sometimes that hurts worse than being wrong. You ever had your parents say they hate punishing you?

My dad used to say that, I wish it extended to his abuse. He never liked to spank us much when we deserved it, but would be forceful over minor, stupid stuff that wasn’t even bad. I never understood that.

I doubt it would make Rogue feel better to hear that it’s not her fault. She’s in our position, she can’t help it, and she knows it, and that’s what hurts. We’re most ashamed of what we can’t help, as C. S. Lewis observed.

She’s kind of like Shigaraki from MHA, in a way. Though he can control his quirk now, he seems to shy away form touching people because, subconsciously, he remembers what happened when he did and lost control.

Rogue hasn’t killed anyone, but she’s hurt them pretty badly.

There’s a lot of characters like that in superhero fiction, I think it’s because people play out their insecurities in superhero writing. It’s when we most want to portray ourselves as heroes that we find ourselves seeing weaknesses and reasons why we can’t be. We tend to project that onto some characters, and then project our fantasy of a savoir onto others. Hence MHA has Deku and All Might, and the X- Men have professor X.

But the X-Men is a bit more honest about it than MHA, they know that Prof X can’t really fix these problems.

While there may be a solution, people often accept their circumstances. Don’t I know that feeling?

I’ve never been able to fully accept suffering as normal, but I have been tempted. Who hasn’t?

Like Rogue, and so many other victims, I yearn for more, but when I get it, I push it away.

I’m at least catching onto to this habit, and learning to stop doing it, but Rogue probably hasn’t noticed it, because like so many real people, she has no one around her to reflect it back at her. Al lot of us never realize this on our own, that’s they therapy can be beneficial. If it’s good therapy.

When we feel like we’re wrong, deeply, something inside us is, it’s hard to open up.

And what’s sad is that some of us, like Rogue, do have people around us who accept us.

Gambit never shows any fear of Rogue, as I said. And pushes more for the relationship than she does, but Rogue seldom acknowledges it. She’s scared, he’s not.

Gambit of course has to be well aware of the reasons, she’s quite vocal about it.

But while he says he doesn’t care, Rogue isn’t willing to risk it, even if he is.

And of course, realistically, Gambit knows that there’s only so far they could go. How could they ever have kids?

Metaphorically, one could see it as one realizing that all human intimacy is never going to be enough to satisfy us. Not fully.

Of course, we Christians say that’s because we need God. When you have God, you can let man be man.

Rogue does actually express the wish to know more about God on the old show, because you could do that back then and not get cancelled by social media, but the show didn’t take it farther than that.

I wonder if she would find peace in believing that God loves her, and is the One person she can’t hurt.

That was one thought that kept me sane in some of my more self hating moments, knowing I can’t hurt God. Sometimes I want to, it’s horrible, but I want to take out my anger on someone, and I know He will not hurt me, not like my dad would. It’s a sad truth.

God usually doesn’t answer when I do that, and then I feel alone, but I’ve started to realize it is me who’s pulling away, not him.

So yeah, Rogue’s actions hit home in that way too.

I know that God values me, I just don’t accept it when I should. I find it hard to believe.

I think Rogue reflects the way victims feel that even if others are willing to be hurt by them, they don’t deserve that kind of grace.

It’s hard to hear, but it’s not like Rogue is the only one with this problem. Scott can never look anyone in the eyes without glasses on, Beast is…a beast. There are other mutants who can hurt people easily with their powers. Rogue can at least cover hers up.

And she sees no issues without other people getting their happiness, but can’t see it for herself.

I think she believes Gambit would never commit anyway, though he seems more than wiling to do so, though he can also be a bit of a flirt, but then so can she…the real issue both of them have is they won’t be honest about what they want.

Many victims just don’t know. I don’t know what I want, often.

I know it a little better now. Other than I don’t want someone like my dad, I have begun to learn what positive traits I want.

But we can swing the other way and look for perfection. We are drawn to the familiar, but repulsed by it when it lets us down.

I think I am at least not drawn to my dad’s cruelty anymore.

I may always like banter, as a permanent mark of growing up with him, but banter doesn’t have to be cruel.

I recently had an annoying time with a guy at my school who liked to say snide things to me, not sure he really knew they were snide, I could never tell if he was rude on purpose, or just stupid, but either way, it reminded me to much of how my dad would mock me.

This guy was hot, not gonna lie, but I couldn’t be attracted to his personality enough for that to be a plus. It’s like gilding a bitter pill, really.

I don’t hate this guy, I don’t even think he’s the worse sort of person, but he’s not my type. Maybe some women could put up with him, I don’t know I they should, I think it’s up to them, but for me, it’s not a good idea to get close to someone like that. I’m already on the defensive, and I barely know him, that’s never a good sign.

But victim flock to it, to people who put them on the defensive, because we think that’s showing interest.

And perpetrators flock to people like that because they think that’s the kind of person who will support them.

But the trouble is, even if you take steps to become better, you could still miss what’s right in front of you.

To go back to Rogue and Gambit’s example, let’s look at it more seriously.

So, Rogue is right, it would never be easy or simple for her to be with someone. And Gambit might need to acknowledge that a bit more.

I mean, if the love each other, they may still never be together, just because she thinks it’s not fair.

The question is, is that a valid reason?

I’ve read of people deciding not to marry because of health reasons, just because it wouldn’t be possible for them to have children. In Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist, there’s a woman who won’t marry a man because she has a stain on her ancestry and doesn’t want to drag him down with her, it’s no fault of her own, but she feels like it would be irresponsible.

Heck, even goofy movies like Mad Monster Party hold out the idea that you can refuse to marry someone because you think you’re no good for them.

And many people in real life self foil because they think they are the wrong person emotionally for someone else. And they feel selfish if they do get involved with someone.

I hope one day I will stop feeling guilty for asking for help. And for people making sacrifices for me. I wish I didn’t have to ask. But I have to tell myself now that it’s okay for me to have my needs met. Not to the exclusive of everyone else’s, but that it won’t hurt them if I do. And even if someone does get hurt, it can be mended.

The magic thing about love is that it makes pain seem unimportant compared to the love.

There are difficulties to any relationship. Some people decide to be together despite that, because they figure the love is more important. That was the story of many interracial couples, and still is, interracial marriage is still looked down on even in America…and it’s not always the white side of it, either. I heard a comedian who was black talking about how black men asked her why she married a white guy. Couldn’t a black brother lover her better?

I can’t even begin to explain how disgusting that is, and yet it’s seen as normal to have that reaction.

But there are difficulties, we can’t pretend there aren’t.

While it’s minimal now, there were health risks in the past when interracial couples had children, the blood type could be a problem.

So in that case, a situation like Rogue’s becomes a reality. A mother can hurt her own child by having different blood from them. They can fix it now, but back when they couldn’t, it was a gamble.

I thought it was poetic they made Gambit the other half of this ship. What is love but a gambit? Even if you marry someone who you know is good and honorable, you risk them hurting you by accident, even physically, accidents happen. Things you don’t expect happen. There are other problems that arise.

One of you can get sick, or die. There is always risk.

But the way couples have answered this since Eden, has always been the same.

It’s better to have love, while you can, and to cherish it, then to live without it. Love is worth the risk. Love is, or nothing is.

And it seems to me that’s how God meant it to be. He chose to create us, knowing full well we’d break His heart a million times a year with our problems, but He is Love. He cannot be anything else, and to Him, Love is what matters, pain is not what He’s afraid of. God is never afraid, that’s His advantage over us.

But what God values form us, is that even though we are human, and cannot help feeling fear, we still choose to love. Our faith is precious to Him because we can do it in spite of being imperfect, something He could not do, as God, except through becoming a man.

That’s why I still want to marry, and have children.

I’ve seen it go wrong, I know how much it hurts. It has hurt me more than anything else in my life.

I can think my parents for many of my emotional problems, and health problems too. That hurts.

And I know I will likely repeat at least some of their mistakes until I learn better.

But, I still want love. Because I think Love matters more than pain. I am afraid to love, of course, it’s a risk. But I still want to try. God help me to do it right.

Some have said that if love doesn’t hurt, it’s not real.

I don’t think love has to hurt all the time, but if it doesn’t sometimes, I think you’re delusional, even God suffers for love. It’s normal.

It’s not easy but it’s normal.

And I pray I find a man who shares my view of it. They are rare, but there’s a few out there. Heck, I don’t want a perfect man, that would be freaky, I just want one who shares my idea of love.

It’s easier to find a perfectionist than a real Lover in the old sense of the word, but one has to try.

I doubt the X-Men show ever went that far, but it’s interesting that the set up at least was there. If people would just be honest with themselves and each other about what they are willing to risk.

Well, this ran long, I do get on a roll about love.

Until Next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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.

The Chosen

I recently joined the millions of other Christians in my country who have been watching the new series “the Chosen.”

Some say it’s the best show about Jesus to come out.

And I’ve made it through all the available episodes, and I’ve been enjoying it.

This wouldn’t be a very interesting post if that was all I had to say though, and unfortunately, my impression of it is not all positive.

If you are new the blog and just clicked on this post out of curiosity then you may wonder why you should care what I think, though you’re you’re probably still curious, because don’t we all like to read critical reviws of whatever’s popular.

But I do have one claim to a relavent relavent opinion, I’ve been reading the Bible since I was a child, and have read the Gospels many times, which is the main source material for the show. I’m not a bible scholar officially, but I’m about as scholarly as laymen get.

And since I am the target audience for this show, a young woman who is always open to getting a btter undestnad of Jesus, I think my opinion ought to interest some people.

That out of the way, let’s begin:

What I like

I don’t need a lot of time for this part.

I love the sets and backdrops of this show, I can’t figure out how a webseries has the budget for those sets and constumes. They’re beautiful and very real feeling, maybe not dirty enough always, but I’m not one to complain about that.

A lot of beautiful locations too.

Also, the acting is good. It’s not the best I’ve seen, but it’s believable most of the time. The actors clearly enjoy their roles.

Jesus ins’t a stiff, I like that. I mean, he’s alive again for a reason, people. I’ve never been of the party that thinks Jesus doesn’t have a sense of humor, or that God doens’t. I have pets, I know God has a sense of Humor.

I do enjoy the miracles too… well, some of them. It’s very cool to see that with better technology than we used to have to depict these things.

What I don’t like

“Dislike” can be a strong word. Most of the things that I didn’t like about the show were minor annoyances that I was williing to let go of.

Again,I’m not a stickler for presenting Jesus as “holier than thou” super serious, and a buzz kill. I never have liked that version of Jesus.

As for the internal conflict, one of the other main complaints about the plot, I mostly don’t mind that either. We know from the Gospels that the disciples had clashes sometimes. They argued about who was the greatest.

If anything, they are a little too mature in this story because it’s hard to picture these guys having such a stupid argument. I guess we all stumble.

But there are some things I don’t feel right just glossing over as flaws in the show. Some because they are writing errors, and others because I am concerned they are going agaisnt scripture.

The smaller concern is the writing errors.

It’s not the most important thing, but approaching the Gospel and taking the stories out of order and giving the characters motivations not specifically denoted in the Bible creates problems.

The first being, the timeline is totally messed up. John the Baptist has been in and out of imprisonment, and has no disciples following him at the current point in the story, and this is kind of a problem if they wish to accurately portray the real issues he and Jesus had in the Gospel. When his disciples came to ask Jeuss if he was the one o ne, or if they looked for another.

Jesus responded them “Tell John, the blind see, the deaf hear,”

I wonder if John really doubted, or if his disciples did and he sent them to Jesus just to see what he’d tell them. Haven’t we all set up people to get a verbal set down at least once? No? Just me?

Even if John doubted, it was while he was in prison. Not before. this time line has become very confusing.

Also, I’m not sure that esus even met Mary MAdalgene befor ehe called teh 12. But, that’s not something we can verifiy, so I’d let that one slide.

The real issue is being in seaons 2 and not having all 12 dispcile stoghet yet. A lot of JEsu misntiry hasn’t evens tarted yet, because most o fi tihappend after he had the 12, and alarge other amoung of folower.

He sents out 70, if I reember right, to prepare the way for him. He hasn’t collected even half that maount now. And taht wasn’t that far into his 3 year misntiry.

they could decide to removed this, but since this is a very detailed vesrionf of the story, it would be odd to do so. Most depictiosn of JEsus only focus on his miracle, or hhis death. They odn’t try to vocer all the in bewteeen.

And there’s a godo reaosn for that.

The disciples themselves who wrote of his deeds said if they included all of them, the world couldn’t hold the books.

IT’s ahrd to picurre just how cosntnat jesus works must have been, for them tos ay that.

So, sadly, any depiction of him as he lived his dilay life, is never going to be able to fit in all that he did.

The problem this presents us is that, it is impossible for it to be true to Jesus’s experiences under such limitations.

But I think that the show maybe be making the problem even worse by spending so much time on Jesus doing very little.

Case in point: Episdoe 5

This episode annoyed me, not because of them partying a did so Jesus that I don’t believe in, but because they portrayed a side of him that wouldn’t have existed unless they wrote it in.

When John and Jesus are talking about his ministry, John asks Jesus why he isn’t doing more, why he doesn’t call out the sins of the people more, the corruption at high levels.

And Jesus seems to ba little heistiant about answering, and cautioning John not to call out Herod’s sin.

I’m sorry, Jesus? Our Jesus? The Jesus that preached against sin constantly? That Jesus? Is telling John not to do this?

Is Jesus confused?

I know that I would get called uptight for complaining about it. Because “oh Jesus was human, they’re just showing him and John as human.”

I guess “human” now means uncertain of what to do in life. But that’s not what it used to mean.

What gulls me about this is that there is no biblical foundation for that scene whatsoever. And, the circumstances prompting it, John’s questions, would not exist, has Jesus been doing as he actually did in scripture.

Jesus called out the sins of the pharisee very early on in his ministry (something I cannot even see their version of him doing so far). He called out the secret sins of the heart in one of his first recorded sermons, the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5-7.

What puzzles me is that the writer have knowingly rearranged what Jesus did, and now, are making excuses for it, with his character. As if John is being used to lampshade their own show by asking what the audience might be asking, like “uh, why are we not getting more than one miracle per episode, save for the one with Mary.”

A good question. Jesus did miracles constantly, and he’s barely done any, yet most of his disciples are gathered..?

Yeah, if I were John the Baptist, and had read the Gospel, I’d be wondering what was going on with this version of Jesus too.

See, it’s actually bad writing to create problems, and then use characters to argue over those came problems, in an adaptation, because it would not have been there had you stayed true to the source materials. If you have to change the characters and actions so much to create conflict, you are doing something the author never did, and people don’t always read the source material, and will blame you for doing it.

Like those awful changes they made in the Narnia movies that made no dang sense…

I have another problem with John questioning Jesus at all and actually telling him what to do.

John, the same John who says “whose sandels I am not worthy to untie?” Is going to tell Jesus he’s dong it wrong.

John is the one who said “The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

I won’t say John never had doubts or questions, but it’s one thing to wonder, it’s another to go so far as to reprove Jesus. The one John believed was the son of God before anyone else did, even. An often overlooked fact.

Who said “He must increase, I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Oh, and yet another problem here.

By the time John got arrested by Herod, Jesus already had a huge minority. We know this because he had began baptizing people, (his disciples had, John 4:2 ), and some of John’s were going over to Jesus. John said this was how it should be. That is was the natural order of things, basically.

Jesus had way more followers by that point. And John got arrested after that.

It would not have been when he still had less than 20. And hadn’t started doing a lot of miracles yet.

So between the timeline being messed up, and deviating from scripture, we have a serious problem.

Now John saying that isn’t going to make any sense, I doubt it will even happen, since he’s going to get killed by Herod (spoiler to no one who’s read the gospel.)

And that’s a key thing about ministry that will not get to be included in this show.

They changed John from the Bible.

And you may say that it’s not a big deal to change it. I’d counter that it’s too much change for a historical figure. A good example would be if someone made a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and portrayed him as being racist against Mexicans, or mistreating other black people under him. It’s just not his character. Wouldn’t that get a real rise out of people?

But we can’t prove he wasn’t like that…

We can’t prove he was either.

And they changed Jesus, who never once doubted his own actions on record.

We attribute human weakness to Jesus because we know he was tempted like we are, but there is a reason He is not recorded at saying them.

Words have power. Jesus’s had more power than anyone.

Whatever he sometimes felt and thought, he would not have voiced doubt in God, until that moment on the cross when it was part of completing his desolation.

Once you speak doubt, it take a much former hold on you. Even a psychologist would tell you that.

And, as a writer, I also know that using doubt in a story can be complicated. I actually stay away from it unless it serves a specific purpose.

Call me crazy but doubt doesn’t make me relate to characters more, or like them. I want to be confident in what I’m doing. I hate doubt.

And I get annoyed when characters obsess over it. For crying out loud, if you’re that unsure, I’m not sure you’re the right person for the job. (No disrespect to Moses or Gideon, there’s exceptions, in God, but He does tells us not to doubt. God treats doubt as an evil He sometimes has to get around, but mostly will just not tolerate.)

I find other elements of the show weird, like their portrayal of demons. Anyone who’s actually witness deliverance ministry knows it’s nothing like what they are showing. How it would be for Jesus, I don’t know, but the whole “false name thing” has no scriptural foundation. Demons have names, but people possessed by them don’t change their names. It’s doubtful if they even remember them half the time.

Also, calling out someone’s true name is not how you free them from a demon. It can be part of healing and other forms of ministry, but only Jesus casts out demons, and only His name is able to overcome them, not ours.

The Bible says God “gave him the name is above every name” for a reason.

That’s not the biggest problem, it’s just weird.

But the biggest problem is what I already mentioned. Going too far from scriptures.

I was watching the live chat for the episode, and someone said “This is like historical fiction for the Gospel.”

Right. That’s exaclty right.

Actually, it’s more like fan fiction.

Historical fiction doesn’t change how real life people acted, usually. It is set around someone who didn’t actually live then, experience it. And while they may give real figures in history more personality, they don’t change their actions, because that’s not historical then.

Fan fictions, on the other hand, is where you change canon characters and how they act and what they feel and what their backstories are.

And now my question, a serous one, is: How is Historical Fan fiction about the Gospels actually helping us?”

I can’t be the only one who wonders what the point of this show is.

The first season diverged less from “canon” if you will, but season 2 is taking some big creative leaps.

And why?

I believe strongly in the potency of the Gospels, as being God inspired for accuracy and power, and many people have been changed by reading them.

I don’t believe nearly as much in the power of a “good example” to win souls.

We are called to be a “good example” of course, or we are hypocrites. And sometimes that’s the only witness we can have.

But the primary commission of christian is to preach, heal, and free people. Jesus told us to do that.

And so, telling an accurate account of him is very important if we’re going to go everywhere and preach about Him.

You see, I don’t need “one interpretation” of Jesus. I need Jesus. I need Him as he was, what he really said, because I believe He said it for a reason. I believe there’s power in his words that there is not in ordinary men.

Changing what He said, and how He said it, to me is a great affront to Jesus, because it is as if we think we can explain what He meant better than he can.

Paraphrase, sure. Use an analogy to help people, absolutely.

But base it off what he actually said.

And when you have Jesus portrayed by an actor, being in His time, in His place, then changing what he said is a very problematical. It’s wrong, sometimes.

I noted it when he healed the man who was lame for so many years too. he didn’t say the same things to Him.

I for one, don’t think Jesus needs to really explain what He’s going to do, He just does it. I think it takes away form the power of what He says if you add all these weird explanations He never gave on record of why He said it.

To Jesus, healing the man was a simple as telling him to get up and walk. He didn’t have to say “I’m what you need” because He was what He needed. You don’t have to tell someone that if it’s obvious.

Please.

It sounds like I’m nitpicking, and that’s because it’s very hard to convey what I mean. It’s something you almost have to know God already to know is true.

If you know Jesus, deeply, you know he is direct.

I make up reasons, I make up explanations, I make up a backstory for what He’s telling me, I may be right, I may be wrong.

But He just tells me. Jesus isn’t vague.

If I’ve learned one thing from reading Jesus and imitating Him when I write, it’s that, when He is vague, He is actually being the most direct. It is only vague because we don’t understand it.

If a scientist said to you E=MC squared, with no context, you might say “that was really vague and cryptic.”

But to the scientist, that make perfect sense. It’s actually a very exact answer to them. Because it’s an equation. This is not room for interpreting.

When Jesus called out sin, and told us what it meant to be right now, I don’t think He intends us to try to interpret it away.

Some things require context and research now that’s it’s been 2000 years, but it’s important to remember, when they were spoken, that was not the case. I suspect it was crystal clear to them.

When Jesus was vague was with Parables, and those are not really that vague, just hard to grasp in fullness.

I just wonder, if anyone watching The Chosen and truly walking away with a better understanding of Jesus.

You see, The Chosen, is taking Jesus, and putting a modern spin on him. Changing his words, using our church cliches that no one really understands.

And that might be okay as a paraphrase, but it’s not as a direct quote, if you catch my meaning.

And what good is watching a paraphrase? Paraphrase is useful only for a few moments to help you understand the original meaning better, if you go to a paraphrase as your source of truth, you lose something in the translation. If you’ve ever read a “no fear Shakespeare” paraphrase, you know what I mean (ugh.)

You see, someone who only watches the Chosen, as it is now, would be quite shocked with how Jesus is in the Bible.

He would seem cold by comparison. Cold and judgemental.

I believe you have to learn to read the Gospel and see Jesus for how He really was. Not turn him into what you think He should be like.

I think, honestly, the problem is the whole concept.

“Getting to now Jesus through the eyes of His followers.”

I mean, when has that ever worked?

It’s helpful to build each other up with our personal stories, and try to see each other in them, but, I have never truly been helped except by directly knowing Jesus himself.

You an’t “know Jesus” through the eyes of his followers, if anything, that’s what we have too much of now in the Wast. We watch movies, read books, and hear sermons about what Jesus is like, but don’t get to know Him ourselves.

A sermon is helpful, but it’s not the core of Christianity.

We’re taking one thing that is meant to be a supplement, or at most, a portion, of our diet, and we’re making it the full meal.

This is not the fault solely of the writers and directors of The Chosen, but its saddens me to see such a clear influence of that kind of culture in the show.

I’m sure mine will never be a popular opinion, but I don’t expect it to be.

Knowing Jesus, really, is not ever popular, is it?

I Initially was wary of this show because it was popular, because I felt any real depiction of Jesus cannot ever be widely popular, it would offend too many people to see Jesus as he really is. The world hates him, that’s in the bible.

Then it seemed to be okay.

But what bothered me was how little power I felt in it.

Emotional response is not the same as power.

A powerful scene can give you a new perspective after watching it.

Just crying, and getting angry is not power.

In fact that’s all we know how to do now, cry and rage and laugh at stuff.

Even needing a show like The Chosen to give us an emotional background for these people, is just a sign of how emotional deprived we are.

If reading the Gospel doesn’t invoke some feeling in you, and watching it portrayed how it actually was wouldn’t, then…. that seems like a you problem.

I think helping us understand what is in there between would be more beneficial than adding stuff to it.

I know , I know, they are not trying to replace the Bible.

But… just what do you think you’re going to do then?

Get a bunch of people to read the Gospels, realize Jesus is not like that, and get angry, or say “I like the Chosen version of Jesus better.”

What an affront to God if that happened.

It probably already has.

I hope it would not work out that way, but since he’s just so different, I can’t really believe it won’t.

And, one last thing…

Why do we need a show about Jesus’s follower anyway?

Are they what matter? Should they be the main characters.

It’s startling when you realize Jesus is actually a side character who’s barley in some episodes, and it very muted most of the time he is there.

Jesus? A side character?

What about “I must become less, and he must become great?”

I question if there is any power or truth in focusing on followers.

I don’t want people looking at my life and trying to understand Jesus through that. I can help them, but by direct them to Him, no to me. I’m not the answer.

The motivation of this writing decision would baffle me if I didn’t have an all too common explanation:

It resonates better with the audience.

Because, it’s easier to swallow than the truth would be.

And we’re used to the shallow and full spectrum of human weaknesses thanks to Hollywood.

I don’t think we need to be competing with that in Christian media.

I may have made the same mistakes in my writing, I can own up to that. But, I am avoiding portraying Jesus directly all that often. And I am not trying to put the gospel into a new suit.

I sue parallels, but that’s all they are. Like the Chronicles of Narnia. Parallels are powerful.

I looked it up, and I did find one person who seems to have noticed the same thing I did about the show, and had more time to research it:

“Quotes like “I came to know Jesus better through this show” and “I feel like I’ve been reading my Bible in black and white all these years and now it’s in color” have been circulating on social media by both the creators and fans of the show. The creator says he’s “trying to tell God’s stories in a fresh way” and “enhancing Scripture”. Those are all incredibly dangerous statements. Do you need something other than God’s Word to know Jesus? No. In fact, God’s Word is the only way we can know Jesus. Do we need anything to enhance God’s stories or tell them in a fresh way? Absolutely not. Only the Bible is the inspired Word of God and it needs no enhancing or modern re-telling by fallible men.

This is one of many examples of him stating that Mormonism, Catholicism, and Christianity simply have minor theological differences. He calls them “different perspectives” that are “exciting to explore, not dangerous”. He consults a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, and an evangelical christian after writing each episode to make sure they are “biblically accurate”. You can find him saying many times that we all believe in or that we all love the same Jesus.

But do we? Both the church of LDS and Catholics believe in a combination of works and faith. Mormons believe that God attained His supreme status by righteous works and that Jesus is a created being and not equal to God. I could go into more details behind the errors of the Mormon and Catholic faiths and what makes them false religions, but I’ll save that for another day. However, the differences between the true Christian faith and the Mormon and Catholic faiths are essential, gospel issues and not simply theological differences we can brush over. And the bottom line is this: If Dallas Jenkins believes what he’s saying then he doesn’t understand the true Gospel. The Gospel that says there’s only one way. The Gospel that says we are forgiven on the merit of Christ alone and not of anything we can do. The one and only Gospel that is founded on the belief that Jesus is God incarnate.” Full article is linked here:

I think she summed it up pretty well too.

I do question the Show’s constant defensiveness about it not being “your bible.”

Like, no one said it was. But is it too much to ask we stick to the source?

As the Aesop’s fable goes, you cannot please everyone. If you try, you please no one.

But the show will have mass appeal, because it has values that appeal to the masses.

Jesus promoting women is biblical, and the article I linked has one thing wrong, Mary Magdalene and other women did travel with Jesus and supported him out of their own wealth. It was culturally inappropriate, but they did it.

But there is no record of the other things listed. The author is right about that.

I didn’t know about the connection to Mormonism and Judaism till now. But I can see it.

I was in a Co-op with Mormons for quite a while in my teenage years, and I can say, there is definitely a difference between Mormonism and Christianity. They claim to be Christians, but they don’t understand the idea of grace at all.

They also are not free thinkers, though they are very smart, educated people.

Being a free thinker is not perhaps a biblical requirement, but it helps you not be swayed by peer pressure.

I find the part where Dallas said he wants to “enhance” scripture to be the most disturbing, to be honest.

Like this lady says, we’ll all have to decide for ourselves, I would caution any Christian who is watching it to fact check it by the Bible at the very least, and take what it is for what it’s wroth, but not as fact.

Also, I think the show villainizing any Christians who complain about the biblical inaccuracy by saying that’s not their intention, are missing the point.

Because, bro, if you don’t want to represent my Bible, of my Faith, accurately, then, stop claiming to be of my Faith. I don’t need you to speak for me, thanks.

Don’t see why that’s so hard to understand.

All right, I think that’ll do for this post, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

What women from Ocean’s 8 want

Sorry, it’s been a while, but I had a project I was rushing to finish on a deadline, and I had to spend all my spare time on that, I even strained my eyes and hands from spending so much time typing.

That said, I have a bit of a different topic for you all, just a break from the anime and life stories I’ve been mostly doing.

I want to talk about two movies I watched in the last month for the first time. “What Women Want” (original with Mel Gibson) and “Ocean’s 8.”

Now, at first glance, you may say, these two movies have absolutely nothing in common.

But I would make the argument, they both have one thing in common: Unintentionally sexist writing.

I will give the screenwriters the benefit of the doubt, I think “What Women Want” Was really intended to be a good movie, and actually, I don’t have an issue with how women were portrayed in the movie. I thought it did a good job of making us human, but not perfect.

I did have an issue with how men were portrayed, however.

I don’t know why it is, but any time a movie decides to focus on one gender, they tend to make the other one look bad, or oversimplified.

I won’t bash on this movie too much, I really liked Mel Gibson’s acting in it, and his change in the movie made sense, but, it seems a little odd to me how there was no other male character int eh movie that was at all nice to women, respectful of women, or a decent human being. Not one that was focused on, anyway. all the men seemed wiling to take advantage of women whenever they could.

Now, some cynical woman is going to say “And so? That’s how men are.”

If you just thought that, than may I ask you, the sexist, to please leave the site… just kidding, you can stick around I want you to read this.

And actually, before some man goes off about feminists, guess who I’ve hear the most male sexism from in my life? Other men.

My father used to tell me regularly that men were “pigs” that they would take advantage of girls any chance they got (in so many words), and wouldn’t mind if a random woman came up and kissed them out of nowhere (implying consent for men is no big deal), and, my favorite item, that men weren’t hard to please, just “feed us, love us, and leave us alone.” Meaning, cook, sex and affection, and never nag about anything.

Yep, that’s all it takes girls, hope you’re taking notes. Men aren’t complicated at all.

Ironically, my dad is a far more complicated person than that, who I later realized is just impossible to please period, and doesn’t follow his own rules for male bliss.

He also made fun of me for trying to understand men and husbands more (yes, this all has a point to my main subject, I know I tend to go off into anecdotes).

Geez, y’all men should be thankful a girl like me took time, on purpose, to learn more about men. I wish men would do that about women, actually, I know a lot of them have, just not the ones I’ve met.

Come to think of it, I basically wanted what Nick wants, to get to know how men think. And, I can say, I haven’t figured it out yet, no matter how much I studied it. In fact, based on books, I don’t see any gaping difference between how men and women think. Anime can often show this, ironically, by making women the snippy, violent characters, and men the sniveling, meek wimps. Anime is famously sexist too.

Not that there’s anything empowering about a violent woman, Naruto is proof of that, I’d say the best females on that show are the less violent ones.

But seriously, the differences between how we think are not that significant. Do more women like to cook and garden then men? I can’t tell you statistically. Do more women care about relationships than men? Probable, but there are thousands of male counselors out there, and men who write books about love. One I read religiously for a while was “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Which is one of the most unhelpful books about relationships there is in my collection, but it’s not useless for understanding yourself and others better even so.

Nick trying to understand women by hearing their thoughts isn’t helpful, because even if by some miracle you could understand every women around you, you would understand women in general any better. People cannot be generalization just by the random thoughts in their head. Two thoughts can be in different people’s heads, meaning two different things.

I’m glad I read, or my idea of men would be really skewed. As it is, I’m sure I’ll spend years of dating and marriage realizing how different men can be.

Of course, the ideas I got from books were not always helpful. I remember one in particularly “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,” I read it a bunch of times, and this book essentially blamed women for most of the problems in relationships, told them “They have the power” and that their husbands would “walk through fire to get them a quart of cookie dough ice cream.” I found this intriguing, but it didn’t seem to match up with my father. Who once threw a fit about dropping me off at school when it was a 15 minute drive, just because he had finished working already… or was it the bus stop, a 3 minute drive? Doesn’t matter, he would have either way.

My dad never helped me with anything unless it was related to his livelihood, unless we begged him to over and over, and not always then. He is one of the most selfish people I know. But women, of course, are the ones in charge.

That’s all bull hockey, and the author of this book was a woman, to make matters worse, with a talk show. She seemed to be completely unaware that abuse, manipulation, gas-lighting, and toxicity are a thing for men too. A little sex and less nagging aren’t going to fix that.

There are some marriages a little sex and more kindness would probably help, but if it needs to be “Fixed” that’s not going to do it.

To get back to the movie, having all this in the back of my mind, I rather thought the movie did not go far enough.

Some women are not nice. I get that the writers were probably trying to be nice to us, and goodness knows, if the move portrayed our thoughts the way they really are, the feminists would have jumped on it (I suspect they still would anyway)

It’s not a huge complaint, it’s just that he movie could have had more depth if Mel’s character met some nasty women too that he had to deal with, or else just be shocked by. Women are not inherently less selfish or self centered than men are.

And what’s funny is that the behavior Mel exhibits, using women, ignoring their needs, is exactly what I saw from my father, and the women being above that is what I have striven to be, and seen in other women, so why of all things would I complain ti was unrealistic?

Because, I myself have to choose, consciously, not to broad brush men, and not to assume all women will always be nicer.

I’ve been exploited by many men (not sexually, thank goodness, but in other ways) but I’ve been exploited by just as many women. And sometimes with more of a fury. Given the choice being a narcissistic man and a woman, I think the man may be easier to tolerate, if only because they usually walk away from you, while women can try to tear you down. But that’s a generalization, and men do that too. We’re always only going to be talking about what the majority it prone to, but the majority is going to depend a lot on where you live and who you attract.

See, it doesn’t actually make women look good, to make men look bad. If anything, I always end up wondering after watching a movie or reading a book with this slant “geez, why do women even put up with men if this is how they get treated?” And with the book I mentioned before, I wondered what possessed men to marry women who treated them like this. My dad’s ever helpful response? “Sex. Most men wont’ care, as long as she’s attractive.”

Wow….just wow….

Well, I used to believe that. And it may be true, many men don’t care. Those men are idiots. And have low self esteem.

It’s my dream to see men stand up for themselves a little more. I want to be sick when I see men taking womens’ crap by apologizing on behalf of their sex for what some jackasses do. I’m like “dude, if you didn’t do it, don’t even being it up to me. It’s more insulting to me that you feel the need to do that, than that it happens.”

And women who bring up what other men do, to assign blame to perfectly innocent men, disgust me. But I won’t apologize for them to you, and, if a man were to expect me to, I’d put him firmly in his place. But no man has ever been sexist to me, except my own father. So… yeah…

I think the movie actually came to the basic conclusion I have though, that a man will never understand every woman, because women don’t understand themselves, or each other, any more than men do. Men don’t understand themselves or each other either.

And I can understand people better than the average person thanks to my empathic abilities, and I still don’t understand them, really. Even if you know how people basically feel, you won’t know what they will do because of that.

But you don’t need to understand women, totally, to be able to care about them and what they want, and isn’t that the real goal?

Before I get back into this, let’s talk about thew other movie, that’ll round out my point. “

So, “Ocean’s 8” the unspectacular female spin off of the Oceans movies. I don’t have any issue with it in of itself, it was unremarkable, but enjoyable enough if you like heist films, and the actresses were not grating, but should have had more time to act together and be their quirky selves, instead of the 2 dimensional characters they were.

But it occurred to me after watching it, that, there really is nothing at all about it to make it unique. It’s just, 8 women, instead of however many men it happened to be in the other films. Big whoop.

Aside from throwing in some more female stuff like:

dealing with kids

betrayed by your love interest

not having enough female friends

….?

None of these women were especially bad in any other ways other than their particular crimes, which was interesting from a moral standpoint, but rather redundant from a character standpoint.

The movie was relying on star power to make people watch it, which is why I did, but with all that talent, why not do something more creative?

The simple answer is, it’s just another female empowerment movie because a female version of everything has to exist.

No thought it put into what would suit the actresses best, show off their talent the most, and make the most sense for a story centered around them.

And forgive me for saying so but that seems inherently far more sexist than just saying 8 women wouldn’t pull of a heist.

Have 8 women ever pulled off a heist without any men involved except as pawns? Go ahead, look it up, I’d like to know.

Have 8 women every done anything remarkable in history, for that matter, that involved crime?

If it’s happened, it’s not well known enough for a history over like me to have heard of it, and that’s already kind of telling. If there was a true story of this nature, it would have been made into a movie already.

No, even if you make the argument it must have happened at least once in thousands of years, it won’t do much for the movie industry, since they can’t find it.

So, that said…. why limit the characters so much. This is just Hollywood using these talented women to roll in the cash for a “feminist’ movie, and using them to make money instead of to make a good, well balanced movie, is very sexist. As well as giving them no complex thoughts in the movie.

Excuse me if I think a movie about women showing off their talents at hacking, and inventing tools, and scamming people is not exactly making us look deep, or layered. What about philosophy?

Name the last “female empowerment” movie you saw that talked about the philosophy of a women in it? Go ahead, try.

They all have women who tell off men, care a whole lot about promoting women’s rights, and who wear heels…

Yeah, so all powerful women care about is ourselves? Great message, Hollywood.

And it’s completely untrue. Great women, in real life, often have very deep philosophies, wisdom, and practicality. Often our greatest talents is knowing how to get people to do what we want, not whine about it being unfair. Look deep into the life of any capable, impactful woman, see if I’m wrong.

That’s because we’re people. Who, shock! Actually care about others other than ourselves. Imagine that.

(A much better movie is the Harriet one that came out, that hardly anyone seems to have remembered. Based on my own studies, it was quite accurate in many ways, and didn’t lionize Harriet at all. It made her awesome, but still human. Great story.)

Not to mention, you lose the heart of the original.

Do men make movies about other men to exclude women? I know some SJWs actually believe that, they’ve been fed the idea that patriarchal values dictate our society, and all men are actively or subconsciously trying to suppress women.

Geez, the world forbid a man make a movie about things other men and himself are interested in, because he knows thy are, and he wants to make a movie about it without worrying about political savvy.

Some men like including female characters, others don’t. It annoys me when a show lacks female leads, but guess what I do then, I don’t watch it! Why should I?

And why do I need to care? If I can admit that I only want to watch shows that have women in them, regardless of plot, then…well… that’s kind of sexist, isn’t it? At least, it would sound sexist if a man said it right?

See, me enjoying My Little Pony a female dominated show, is fine. But if a man wants to watch an old male dominated show, then he’s a sexist. Id on’t get it. If he wants to watch men, then fine.

Some men like it if ther’es women on the show too, not all of them for reasons I really agree with. Is a sexual deviatn less of a sexist because he watches a show only if it has hot female characters on it?

No.

Really, writers should be allowed to tell the story they want to tell, regardless of whether they sue men or women to tell it. And while I don’t gravitate towards male dominated stories, I do read them. And I enjoy them. Am I going to get mad at J. R. R. Tolkien because there’s only a few women in LOTR? Am I gong to get mad at Charles Dickens because most of his MCs are men, and the girls ones often die off? (So do the boys).

I guess Ic ould, but it kind of misses the pont of the story doesn’ it?

When we make everything about gender, we destroy any deeper meaning, any actual art. And, at times, I am tempted to think that is what they really want.

If the SJWs and media can keep us fighting about stuff that we will never achieve, like gender equality, (it is truly impossible to make men and women equal, biology itself won’t let us dot hat), Then we’ll stop talking about things like love, honor, respect, truth, self sacrifice, courage, persistence, the things we used to make movies about. And male centered stories used to be some of the best about that.

Call me crazy but I really don’t care whether it’s a man or woman telling me, if it’s true. And I don’t intend to go easy on a liar just because they share my gender. If anything, that’s more insulting to me, if it means people will assume I agree with her.

But I’ll wait till doomsday if I wait for the entertainment industry to stop stereotyping, exploiting, and pitting us against each other, so this is not an indictment against Hollywood. I’m not gong to waste my time doing that.

Instead, I appeal to the viewers.

I’m sure most of you don’t like these slants anymore than I do, but it can be hard to explain why. How do you explain this kind of subtle sexism? Especially if it felt unintentional?

I had someone ask me on YouTube, how they could make a male or female character feel male or female. How do they get that real feeling to it.

My advice to them? Don’t try to make them male or female. I don’t believe that gender is unimportant to life, but to writing, it’s a huge mistake to try to write a character to be manly or feminine. Unless you are doing it ironically. You will not be able to avoid making them too superficial.

See, only God has ever been able to nail making male and female things without some impediment to His imagination because of limited experience.

I can’t write men perfectly because I have not met every man int eh world. What is distinctly masculine? I don’t know. It changes every few decades, doesn’t it? Men have an essence, not a singular personality trait, anyone who seriously they do is an idiot.

Women are the same. We have an essence, but not singular characteristic. Is tea drinking and dresses really universally female? No, even looking at different cultures that becomes obvious.

Being a mother is feminine, because a man can’t be a mother. But a man can have motherly traits, if you think that nurturing trait belongs more to mothers than fathers, I really don’t. You see how it works? You have to start with the assumption that something is a masculine or feminine trait before you can say a character is masculine or feminine for having it.

Lifting weights, it’s manly right?

So women never lift weights. And women never should. Or they can, but it will always be more manly than feminine….why? Why does it matter?

And dresses are feminine, so men can not wear robes, though for centuries, they did… and was it feminine then?

Okay, what about traits of personality?

Men are… unemotional, right? So, all the poets, writers, and unstable men of history just weren’t manly… because we all know, women spend more time making poetry, books, and losing their cool than men do…. right?

Women are… petty? Because we all now women spend far more time stabbing each other int the back over nothing, ignoring the bigger picture, and getting revenge than men do. And the ones who didn’t do that… as in most of the respected women of society, were just not feminine…

Yeah, see how stupid it sounds when you really think about it?

What makes someone seem like a woman or man is something impossible to pin point, you will never succeed, the closest anyone has gotten is in pinpoint what we desire, which does seem to be the biggest difference between us.

We all want love, but men and women do tend to want it in different ways. Women tend to want to feel safe and secure with men, men tend to want to feel they can count on women to believe in them. Even that has nuance to it, in some people it is almost unrecognizable, and other authors beside me have described it better.

But my point is, we can’t put each other into these stupid little boxes. If I try to do that to my husband, I am sure it will end terribly, because he can fit into the box my dad gave me. And I can’t fit into a box either.

I like crowns and sparkles, I also like physical combat more than most men I know, and enjoy doing dark emo looks for videos, and most of the time, I really don’t think about what I do being feminine or masculine.

Of course, some standards are good. I’m not against ladylike behavior. I just think it should be part of your character, not dictating what hobbies you have. You can be ladylike punching someone in boxing, and you can be crass while having a tea party. It’s all on the inside.

And man can be gentile whether he’s an accountant or a soldier or a plumber. If it’s a real gentlemen, you really own’t care anymore what he is. Some men render cleaning pipes a noble act, some men render saving your life a disagreeable experience (bad doctors, anyone?) it depends.

So, I guess, my conclusion is, we should be more fair… and we should stop being ashamed of who we are.

This feminist slant has humiliated women as well as men. We should just respect each other, and stop fanning the flames of hatred. As that underrated show “Girl Meets World” tied to demonstrate in the “Girl Meets STEM” episode.

There’s much more to this subject than I can cover in one post, but I hope this was some food for thought.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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