My Own Devices

I’d like to start this post with a song:

I was left to my own devices.

Many days fell away with nothing to show.

… But if you close your eyes Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all? And if you close your eyes Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before? How am I gonna be an optimist about this? How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

We were caught up and lost in all of our vices In your pose as the dust settled around us

Eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh

Oh, where do we begin? The rubble or our sins?

The rough draft of this post got erased somehow…I guess I shouldn’t leave things on this site…

So starting over from scratch, what would be a good thing to write about?

I know that my original point was how well this song describes us now. I mean us in the Western World.

You know it’s funny how much depression runs rampant in our cultures, considering we have more benefits than we ever have.

But that’s actually something we have in common with animals.

A study was done on rats, where they were given everything they needed, all the time, never had to work for it.

The rats developed depression, as well as other unhealthy habits, for rats…and for humans.

But you might see the same thing with dogs. They’re bred for work, and when they’re kept as pets but not exercised properly or given any tasks to do, they will also get depressed.

And so do humans.

This life of staring at screens and working from home, and not getting outside and having to really work to solve problems that many of us have is making us depressed. We feel like we have no meaning, because there is no effort.

We don’t have to be fighting for survival, to feel accomplished, any creative goal can help, but most especially if it’s necessary.

I know each generation has its issues with how the younger one has it easier and isn’t disciplined.

I do think there’s some truth in that, though. Even I feel less invested in homework assignments since I had to do them digitally, and it’s just a little too easy now. I know it doesn’t prove I’m smart now, if I succeed, it just proves I knew what the teacher wanted. Many times I could have done way more if left to my own devices.

But the education system encourages me not to be creative, because my grade will suffer if I don’t meet the exact requirements of the assignment. Ever get in trouble for going over the page limit? Yeah…

But anyway, my point is, we don’t have to really work. There are people who do, but the ones who are the face and voice of our culture don’t.

And that is every race, gender, and whatever else.

i think that’s part of the reason we spend so much time fighting each other, really. While history shows people would fight each other no matter what, it doesn’t help that we really have all the time in the world to do it now, instead of having to set aside time to go to war.

All this has got me to thinking.

About how few people under 30 even know history now, they really don’t know that much period. Not science, or religion, or how people work.

You have your outliers, like my cousin, who like to do their own research, but they’re not the majority.

Not that this is unusual, in pampered societies, it’s pretty normal, actually…and then they crumble.

That’s what the song Pompeii is about, really. How when we’re left to ourselves, to follow our own whims, we get buried in our sins, until disaster strikes, and freezes us that way forever.

And how can you be an optimist about this? When there is only one outcome ever to societies in moral decay like that.

 “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25, 17:6)

Both those instance talk about someone doing something pretty stupid and wrong. And also it says:

“Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)

We are wise in our own eyes now aren’t we?

Like all this prattle about not getting married and staying single that I wrote about before. What is that but being wise in our own eyes.

And we don’t seem to care what generations of humans before us said or thought. We’ve got it figued out now.

I mean because with zero experience, zero study, and only the corrupt examples of current culture to go by, clearly we’re well informed on these issues.

But the depression of this age has gone so far now, that a lot of kids don’t even care anymore if they’re right.

Case in point, just yesterday, I was in YT comment thread with someone who said that truth doesn’t matter tot ehm.

I was asking them why they bothered to watch the whole video of a debate if they didn’t care about the truth or what was right.

I got no answer to that so far. I probably never will.

At this point, admitting you hunger for a definitive truth is like a weakness to our relativistic young people–and some older people also.

Of course the dismissive attitude of older people isn’t helping.

I mean, who let the kids watch PBS and Disney Channel and Cartoon network? I noticed the bad messages of those channels when I was a kid. I’m not surprised the people who never questioned it have now swallowed it hook line and sinker.

I mean, you take a whole show like Dora the Explorer, and you go on a quest through a fake map, looking fora fake item, learn a few Spanish words…and you call that exploring?

Nothing against Dora personally, it’s an okay show for entertainment–but it’s not really educational. And it’s not even the worst one.

It’s hard to blame the young, they’re just doing what they were taught to do, and by the time they realize it wasn’t right, they’ll have a lot of regrets.

Still we have our own responsibility. And they do choose not to think, not to try, not to explore for real. And that’s on them.

I bring all this up, but do I have a solution?

I think the solution is the same as it’s always been.

Person by person, the only thing to do is try to get people to understand the condition they’er in.

Debate isn’t always the best way to do that, I admit. Though it works for some.

I’ve had most people just duck out of arguments when they realized I was going to win because I was better informed than them, or just straight up insult me.

But people can’t always be so quick to dismiss if you touch them on a personal level.

We need both.

But it’s hard, there’s so few people fighting these battles compared to the people who are casualties in them.

But that’s how it usually goes. We preserve a remnant of the people. The majority of them don’t want to be helped.

Some will literally say so, I have grandparents who would say that.

We love our sin so much.

We love being able to do what we wnat.

And now it’s not a secret, you’d even hear it hailed from the streets and the theaters and political campaigns that we’d rather die doing what we’d prefer to do, right or wrong, then live submitting to God’s will.

I saw this comment today, it was like this: I don’t believe in God because there’s nothing about same sex relationship in the bible and He’s not okay with them.

First: There’s actually plenty about homosexuality in the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah, the books of the Law, and Romans 1 all talk about it. (It’s called Sodomy in the old Testament)

Second: I find that these types of objections completely misunderstand the nature of God’s existence.

You see, if God exists does not depend on our personal preferences. He either does, or He doesn’t.

If He does exist, He is the final say on what is right and wrong. You, as His creation, don’t get an opinion.

Sure, against other humans, you do. But not against God. If God was in front of you and He told you, that would be the last word. And if you saw God, in His Glory, the last thing you would dream of doing is arguing with Him.

See, the point of contention is not if God supports what we feel is right.

If God is the Reality, then that is the reality we have to deal with. Even if He was the bloodthirsty God of many religions, cruel and spiteful, which would be bad for us. But it would be Reality, there’d be nothing we can do about it.

Thankfully, God is not like that. But He’s still unchangeable. Your preferences donesn’t come into it.

You may not like it….and God has never said we have to like doing what He says…but He does say we need to do it.

As a Christian, I do find that the rewards of serving God is that if you do it long enough, you will start to like it, and then eventually, you won’t be able to do without it. But that’s sort of an insider bonus. The bible promises that one day everyone will have to submit to God’s will, whether they like it or not.

It’s a bit like Gravity. Many of us wish we could fly, and though we can sort of, using machines, we have to borrow that from things God made that can defy gravity, we ourselves can’t defy gravity more than a few feet in the air before it yanks us back down.

In the same way, we can’t defy God’s design for very far in our moral lives. Maybe if we had the “help” from the devil, we can go farther…gross.

But that’s short lived, and on our own, the consequences of our actions will always pull us back down to the ground eventually.

Christians believe that one day God will set us free form the law of Gravity, just as one day, we don’t need the Law of morality anymore…because we’ll become things that don’t need gravity, and things that don’t need law. We’ll have a new nature.

Like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

But until then, this is what we’ve got. We have to work with it.

I’m not an optimist about Mans’ ability to fix this world. I think we’re as doomed as Pompeii.

But I always knew that.

But I still have hope. I hope in God’s ability to always save some people, as He promises to do. And in that hope, we keep trying to be a part of that.

I think that’s about all for now.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Loving Ourselves

Well my last post seems to have gone over well, so I trust I’m striking a chord with some people at least.

I talked a lot about being arrogant in that post.

What I don’t want to do is come off like I’m blaming Gen Z and Millennials for this.

While I do blame them in some capacity for making their own decision to embrace all this insanity, I can’t say they’re particularly stupid or evil compared to the rest of humanity.

It’s been pointed out by smarter people than me that the age of Moral Standards we’ve lived in for the last 200 years in the West, give or take a few decades or centuries depending on the country, was not a usual thing for humans. It’s the anomaly.

From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the Revolution era, it was a very unusual period in history compared to before, especially the pre-Christian era.

Up till then, the general consensus from all people’s was that everyone else was corrupt, and only their culture stood out, and some of them didn’t even go that far.

If you read what the Bible describes people doing, it would shock you how sick it was. Even now, we haven’t gone that far–as a whole–though some of us have.

And God somehow still had hope for those people. It boggles my mind. But He was always looking for the Remnant.

What big movement preachers tend to overlook, though they mean well, and I wish what they talked about was more frequent than it is–is that Positive Change, as well as Ethics being Preserved, is usually the work of small amounts of people.

A few thousand out of many thousands, is usually the biggest amount of people who work together on it.

It can be as few as 8, like the story of Noah (the legend is found in almost every culture in the world by the way, often with the same number of people surviving as the Bible says.)

God has His eyes always on the few.

Jesus even told us “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way to Life, and few will there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

Which seems harsh…but Jesus is just telling us how this works.

The Masses of people are not concerned with morality that much, and if they ever are concerned about a few things in general, it was the phenomenon of the past thousand years to see that, it wasn’t common before.

That’s why some historians have the idea that Man’s Consciousness is evolving. They look at our moving toward higher and higher ethical standards, and or at least more discussion about them, and they say we improved.

But if you look at the bare facts of history, you’ll see each age has its own problems, and they repeat. We’re not smarter as a whole, it’s isl that those of us in each generation that do See Clearly, see a little more, because wise men learn form history and they build off of it, but foolish ones ignore it and they always have.

That was part of the thought that’s been rolling around in my head for several months, which is just this:

Things that people predict will happen if a country doesn’t change it’s course always do actually happen.

And no one listens because no one ever has listened.

You see, a lot of social commentators say that the problem is people just don’t realize what is happening.

But that is not true.

Sure there’s secrete scandals still, there probably always will be as long as mankind is in power.

But the problems that are eating away at us are ones people predicted and called to attention for years, and decades, and even centuries.

Just like in the Bible the Prophets told the Israelites what was happening. And the Israelites didn’t listen.

It’s so hard for us to admit this, isn’t it? That we do what we do, knowing exactly what will happen, and we do it anyway.

Example:

If you got any person to answer you honestly on the subject of depicting violent in movies directed at kids as much as we do, they’d have to acknowledge that statistics do point to violence in entertainment having a bad effect on kids and their development.

[See articles here: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-TV-Violence-013.aspx#:~:text=Extensive%20viewing%20of%20television%20violence,to%20imitate%20what%20they%20see.

https://www.bartleby.com/essay/effects-of-tv-violence-on-children-F3CEVXSZTC%5D

But would they stop promoting that stuff by watching it, talking about it, reviewing it, and in many cases, showing it to their own kids.

My father did, and he’d be one of the ones to say it was a problem.

You see? We know…we just don’t care.

That’s always the way.

I’m glad that my faith was never in humanity to begin with, because living in a world where everyone’s corruption is exposed so much via internet would kill anyone’s faith in humanity.

We hope for the best from people, but we cannot depend on it, unless we know them very well.

But that’s not really mean to be a depressing thought. The Bible has said that for years. All these angsty pop culture hot take people are just agreeing with an old teaching, that’s all.

It’s like G. K. Chesterton said, if we try to hit on anything original an good, we’ll only find it was Orthodoxy the entire time.

Even the idea of Self Worth is Christian, though it’s been taken way, way out of it’s proper context, as always.

I don’t know if there’s a better or worse thing to worship other than God. One could make the case for it, but it’s kind of a matter of opinion whether the worship of success and domination of a few hundred years ago is really better or worse than the worship of tribalism and self fulfillment is now. Often both at the same time.

Humans are not better or worse than we’ve been in the past.

But we are regressing out of the progress the last centuries brought us in at least realizing how messed up we were.

People used to admit that there was a lot wrong with human nature, even if they didn’t see it in themselves.

But now we’re really trying to deny that Human Nature is corrupt.

Telling people to “Be themselves” no matter what.

Yes,the message to be genuine is a good one.

But predictably, since other messages were neglected, it’s become “be yourself even if that you is a terrible person.”

Women will admit to be aggressive b—-s publicly now. Like ti’s something to brag about.

“I’m so mean, yay!”

Or “so evil” I hear that one a lot.

“I have no soul” guys say that one too.

“no heart.”

Wow, so brave of all of you to admit to being inhuman. Hip hip hurrah.

I think actual people who are jerks have always been proud of it, if they weren’t arrogant, they probably would be jerks.

But at least it wasn’t approved of by the entire culture before, not for a long time, but we’re swinging back that direction.

Let’s just remember that in Greek Culture, which is where we get a lot of our ideas, rape and kidnapping were normalized parts of their mythology that no one thought twice about. It’s possible to be completely blind to the obvious.

Actually we’re blind to the obvious most often, because we just don’t want to see it.

2 Timothy 3 says this about it:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unlovingunforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of goodtraitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Even if we ignore the ones I didn’t emphasize, though they are still prevalent, look at how much those words sum up not just our complaints at a culture, but the things we actually praise.

Romans 1 says that people, known such thins are wrong, not only practice them but approve of those who do.

In 2000 years, nothing has changed.

Ecclesiastes says there is “nothing new under the sun.”

It’s been dawning on me that while I appeal to people’s desire for morality when I debate them, I am assuming they care at all.

But I think less and less of them do.

Aside from the SJW crap that they are programmed to react to, without understanding it at all, they really don’t care about higher thought.

These things have no value to them. They live for entertainment and pleasure. For Self. And no one tells them this is unacceptable.

It’s not a mystery why the Media promotes this. Selfish people buy more things, and care less if you exploit others to provide them with those things.

But it’s sad how the schools and churches have promoted it so much also.

They have us so much under their spell, the Overlords’, that we can be told this point blank, even by our own commercials on TV, and we simply don’t care. Just keep distracting me. The world is a dark place.

Well in Quasimodo’s words to Frollo “Well now I see the only thing that’s dark about it is people like you!”

See, the people who tell us to stay away form the world because of its evil are the same ones making it evil. They don’t want us to catch on, do they? Called Gaslighting.

Because if we did catch on, we might stop them, and evil men fear having their deeds exposed, don’t they?

They hate and fear those of us who know better and have pure hearts. And like Fagan from Oliver Twist, they want to make sure anyone who does is corrupted.

A lot of anime has this theme also. What is Japan trying to tell us, huh? That people who are naturally more inclined to do good than the rest of us are feared the most.

Don’t you fear someone who seems like a better person than you, sometimes? I know I have.

I’ve mostly given up thinking of it that way, we’re all human. But I can do that because I have grace, the people who don’t are still afraid, we remind them of their own death the Bible says.

People have accused Christians of that ever since they first appeared.

I have to recognize as I write this that a lot of people may not even be ready to hear what I’m saying.

They may not even be to where they see a piot ot all this.

I can hope it resonates with someone who is ready, who needs it.

Like “wow I’m not crazy!”

My advice, if i’m qualified to give it, is if you have found yourself noticing all these problems, don’t waste time being chocked by them.

Try to find that remnant of people who still believe in the old values, and stick with them.

And reach who you can. There’s always some wheat among the tares of each generation, perhaps more than we realize, since many of us give up trying to reach them.

It’s not our job to decide who can receive truth and salvation, we are supposed to shoot our shot, and let God choose how it lands.

I don’t know what all our fates will be, and I ‘m not suppose dot know, but I know that we can’t control destiny, only how much we want to take an active role in it. There are still things that will happen no matter what, but there’s a lot we can change also. So we are still supposed to try.

That said, for now I’m done, so until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Content With Singleness

Wow it has been a while.

I’ve been working on other stuff, so I kind of neglected this blog for a bit, but, it has given me time to think about some new topics of conversation.

Like for example:

Isolation.

So I like to write about relationships, as you know if you’ve been here a while, and I like to write about the nature of love, fear, and so on.

But with all this, the global spy search engine tends to recommend me videos of people talking about their opinion on relationships.

I might think they were outliers, except that even in my own college classes people express the same views.

In my last class, I heard people talk about how being in committed relationships was hard, expensive and so on.

In the same class, a guy also asked some of the girls in the back row if they’d ever consider getting a Sugar Daddy (not him, he was just weird and the topic had come up in the lesson for whatever reason).

On said no way, it would be too awkward, even if it was just to fake date.

The other said she’d do anything for the right amount of money.

I thought “I can’t believe I’m listening to this conversation in the middle of a class.”

What happened right?

I blame the internet mostly.

To use the clice phrase, we’re at a point wehre this is reality? MEn think it’s too much effort to commit, and women think they’d do anything for money in some cases.

Now sure, that’s just one girl…but her attitude is becoming more prevalent.

I don’t know how this happened, where we’ve taken the shame of the diea of doing sex for money.

People call that “slut shaming” now.

Liek being alsut is someting to be proud of.

Even if you had no moral obligations, i’s apoor healthy chioce at the very least, so that’s like saying peope should be proud of smokin gor drinking ro drugs.

That’ll be it next, watch. “Junkie Shaming” the new crime.

IT always baffles me how poeple never stop to think that the reason orgarian might be pushing for this “no shameing our poor decisons” is because they make money off our addictions.

Anyone notice those ads that are oopenly mocking us for our addciotn now?

The ones that are like “You can seek social validation wihtout lagging out.”

“You can game all night etc.”

“Lose to a 12 year old.”

Ha, ha, ah.

Why don’t they just say:

“We know you have no self respect, no purpose in your life, and no value as anything but a consumer to up our numbers, please keep paying us to feed your addiction to screens so that you never think about the world outside your little bubble that might actually have real problems.”

You know in the classic “Fahrenheit 451” the people live in houses where the walls are TV screens, and some you can interact with, making your life more and more into a work of fiction, till they can’t even understand the format of a book, or have a real conversation with a real person anymore.

In an anime of all things, “Darling in the Franxx” People replace real human relationships with a machine-forged connection, and replace sex with happiness stimulation, and food with this weird energy they input into their bodies directly.

They become immortal…but at the price of ceasing to be human beings. At the end they all turn into pure spiritual mental energy and become part of the hive mind. [Sorry for Spoilers, but I doubt anyone reading this would care about those.]

The show isn’t that good at exploring the concept intellectually, but it’s certainly unnerving.

It used to be a joke that we were becoming like machines, but, now people are really starting to just take that seriously.

At least here, to be fair, it’s not global.

But I’m talking about the West, were I live, naturally.

You don’t need me to tell you this, though, you can see it yourself.

If you watch our shows now, even actors are becoming more robotic and fake in their delivery. The goal isn’t to come off as a real person anymore, it’s to be quippy and mock modern culture.

It’s actually become modern culture to mock ourselves, anything and everything, and nothing can be taken seriously.

I listen to people talk sometimes, and it’s like they don’t even know how to be serious at all.

Their tone, their facial expressions, they seem devoid of real purpose…you wait for the joke to be over, but it’s like it never is…until you offend them, then no one has any sense of humor.

I’m not sure how we compartmentalized our lives to this point, it seems like someone took great care to ensure that we did, however.

I can feel the draw myself too. I live in this culture, and I’m tempted by it, same as everyone else.

But at least I still know I’m tempted. As C. S. Lewis pus it, if you can feel the spell working, then you’re not fully under it yet.

Which is found in the Silver Chair, which is actually a book that coves the temptation of distraction and dulled senses a lot. I never liked it, it was unsettling, probably because it hit too close to home.

Actually Prince Rillian in that book acts a lot like people do now. Unable to take anything seriously, unless it’s an insult to the very witch who’s keeping him under her spell. Then he becomes very angry.

He’s easily distracted. Flippant.

But when he breaks free of the enchantment, he becomes clear headed and implores them to help him.

Later the witch tries to re-enchant them all, dulling their minds again, but their friend Puddleglum uses pain to clear his head, and tells her off. Freeing them all finally so they can kill her.

The moral of the story?

Real sensations are what block out the fake ones.

All of us can go along the way we do, until something truly bad happens.

But it seems the Overloads known as the entertainment industry are trying to take great care to tell us that suffering in the land can be remedied only with more distractions.

How many people got movie streaming services during COVID?

A lot of us realized the value of real interactions, but a lot of people, especially younger ones, fell more deeply under the spell of using screens for everything. (I say with irony, because I’m using one right now.)

So let’s talk about this: Why did this happen?

How did we become so distracted?

I think we all know how it slowly became more and more normal to stare at screens.

But let’s talk about the real reason it’s so appealing.

People now use the excuse that they have too much social anxiety to want to make friends, leave their house, and try anything really.

But that’s not it.

I’ve no doubt that many people do have anxiety, but most of the ones I talk to don’t really have anything that crippling, they just have insecurities, and we all have those.

If you can talk and read emotional cues like a normal person, I wouldn’t say you have anxiety, per sec.

But I don’t believe even the insecurities are the real reason.

To put it in blunt language, people of the younger generations–which is starting to see anywhere form 12-40 years old, who voice these views, are often arrogant, self absorbed twits.

It’s not really that we’re afraid to socialize, it’s that we’ve decided three fundamental things.

1: Other people are a lot of work

2: Other people are annoying, and they sometimes find us annoying,

3: Other people are just not worth our time.

Why is everyone we don’t like toxic now?

You notice that?

Some people are toxic, but we’re slapping that label onto every single flaw.

Throughout human history, many individual have not particlayr liekd ohter humans, that’s not new.

What is new is broadcasting that fact with so much flippancy, and so little remorse for it.

I mena, there’s been many cruel societies, but they had families, they had gatering to celebrate, and not showing up still made you kind of an oddball.

Now u can laugh it off.

What I find particualrly delusional about this new way of thingkin is taht poepel ac tlike it’s speical.

Like, “oh wiat, human interaciton is hard? Who knew? It’s not liek we’ve writtne, sung, and performed aobut htat for hundreds of years.”

Yeah, it is hard.

Everything worth doing is hard.

But you don’t duck out of doing it just because of that.

See, we’re not shying away from each other because we’re scared–we’re doing it because we’re spoiled.

We can have a fake form of humanity projected into our homes at any minute of any day at any given time.

We can have porn, and pay for sex if we want the real experience (real being subjective there), so we don’t need to commit to a willing relationship. It’s normalized now to pleasure ourselves if nothing else.

You know. I don’t do any of those things…and I don’t feel I’ve lost anything in my life. I’m kind of glad actually, I feel like they create weird habits.

I guess I’m writing this because I think the real wake up call we need might not just be about politics and religion.

To even get there, we need connection.

The Bible says that God Himself said, even before there was sin, there was one thing that was not good.

And that was: “It is not good for Man to be alone.”

God said man needs help. A supporter. A life saver. Something we need desperately.

Man wanted companionship, but he also needed it.

Don’t we all want that? Most of us don’t admit it, but just being wanted can feel cheap. We want to feel we contribute something also. But just being needed can feel hollow. We feel like it should be both. And it was supposed to be both.

As always, we’re ever rebelling against our Creator.

One would think that we’d at least want to be around each other.

But we should remember that Adam and Eve turned on each other immediately after they turned on God.

People ask sometimes how Christians can believe something that sounds that much like a fairy-tale. The fruit, the trees, the snake.

I don’t find it so hard to believe, because I see all this played out all the time, every day. Even if the facts weren’t true, the principles are on point.

The story of Ed gen isn’t actually about knowledge being a bad thing, like some people say.

Ir’s about trust.

Do you trust God, or the devil?

Do you trust your spouse? Or God?

And when you break the trust of God, and your spouse, guess who wins? Not you. The devil.

Love is about trust. You can’t have love without trust.

And we are so determined not to trust anyone now.

I watched one video, where a woman said she got divorced after 5 years.

I’m thinking “Five years? Unless he was a deadbeat, a cheater, or an abuser, what problems would you have in 5 years that couldn’t be worked out if you were willing to grow?”

You can grow out of a lot in 5 years, so if things weren’t working out, the problem was probably one or both of them didn’t want to change at all.

And what is the idea with expecting to get married, and not have to change anything about yourself?

The idea we’re fed is that people who love you accept you the way you are.

Well yeah, they do.

But that doesn’t man you wouldn’t have to change.

You may put up with someone’s flaws, out of love, but that done mean you like it, or that you should. Flaws often hurt us more than anyone else.

And then there’s the things that aren’t sin, but you still need to be able to let them go.

For example, what if you’re allergic to a food? Should your spouse eat it in front of you? Maybe if you’re okay with it…but what if you aren’t? It’s not a flaw to eat food…but it can be a point of contention.

I’m just using this to illustrate. And yeah, I’ve seen couples fight over things that stupid. Who hasn’t?

I’m not saying someone should be telling you how to change. But if you annoy them…you might want to think about compromising.

And you now…not all of our personal habits are worth hanging onto.

We’re told now that “Self” is the most important thing.

There’s fear at the base of that.

“I can’t trust anyone else to love me, so I have to love me.”

My therapist once told me to try to give myself the kind of parental validation I didn’t get.

That didn’t work. It did work when God helped me.

It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. If everybody out there is so busy loving themselves, they won’t try to love you.

Someone has to be willing to be different. But more people were willing to in the past, when an relationship based on helping each other was considered normal and healthy.

Now people say you shouldn’t need your partner.

And then it’s okay to bail on them. Because you don’t need them anyway.

Like…you can need someone and still learn to live without them. If they do leave, or die perhaps. Things change. But then you learn to need someone else. We’re not made to not need each other. Literally.

And if you don’t see why you need other people…That’s proof that you do.

Anyone who is arrogant enough to think they are doing fine on their own already needs others way more than they realize. It’s just insane to not need anyone.

I’m not here to say you can’t live alone, sure, you can live alone in a house, or apartment. That doesn’t mean you’re alone all the time.

Being alone is supposed to be a punishment, in the prison system. It sounded like a lot of people wouldn’t even mind it, if they had WiFi.

Ugh.

I’m so sick of this.

You know, I consider myself an independent woman. I don’t let other people make my decisions for me.

But I rely on my family all the time for things.

I don’t mind relying on men either. Not for everything, but it’s reasonable for some things.

And I really, really don’t see what the big deal is about it.

Why is it so bad? We’re all born needing everything done for us. All we can do is relieve ourselves, which is a metaphor in of itself.

And we learn our whole life to do more things for ourselves, but we do them with other people. If we stop learning form others, we’re saying we arrived.

I think in marriage you have to learn from each other. That used to be the philosophy of a lot of people. You can’t remake your spouse (at least not without breaking them) but you can teach them, and any decent person was expected to learn.

Not now.

And it’s not good for us.

Depression is at an all time high, mental illness of every kind, low self worth.

But our arrogance is through the roof.

You can be arrogant and still have low self worth. You have an elevated idea of your own rights, but a low idea of the value of you even existing to exercise them.

Figures, as soon as we believe we’re the only ones who have any say in our lives, we feel like they have no meaning.

Men especially need other people to feel like they have meaning in their lives. Women do better amusing ourselves even with indirect contact, and having hobbies, but we still need other people too. I do think we tend to cut ourselves of from them less in general

Also, little tip ladies. if you’re gong to complain about the bar being low for men, maybe you should make sure you’re giving them something to actually impress anyone for. Do you really want it to just be about sex?

I have high standards because I have high ones for myself.

This is what I aspire to be:

  1. Kind
  2. Honest
  3. Smart
  4. Interested in His ( and other peoples) interests, at least enough to be supportive.
  5. Brave enough to confront a problem and also to admit when I’m wrong.
  6. Humble enough not to take myself too seriously.
  7. Confident enough never to not value my part in a relationship or my worth as a person
  8. Determined enough to always try to find solutions, not just gripe about problems.
  9. And relaxed enough to let stuff go that doesn’t really matter.
  10. Not ever thinking I have all the answers, or that I have none of them.

This is just the short list.

I am not all of these things all the time, but I do try to be them.

I’m not expecting someone else to always be like this, but I do expect them to think values are important, and to act be trying to meet them, even if they have slip up.s

I’ve seen enough of people claiming they have values and then not doing jack to fulfill any of them.

And I’m even more scared by people who now don’t care, and don’t think they need values. Except spitting out the SJW programmed ones.

I wouldn’t even mind as much if most of them were honest about it.

Like, I’d rather have someone who is fully convinced that Pride is a moral cause, but at least really believe that, then the many people I know who just say it because it’s what everyone says, they don’t know why they believe it, they don’t care either.

Someone once asked a man on the street what the two biggest problems in our society were:

The man answered “Don’t know, don’t care.”

The questioner said “You’re right, those are the two biggest problems.”

And they are.

We don’t know what’s happening, we don’t know the facts, we don’t know each other.

And when you don’t know, you can’t care.

And we choose not to know, and we choose not to care.

So if I have anything to add to this, it’s that there’s only one solution.

Make a different choice.

That’s literally all you can do about this.

Then teach others to do the same.

We may not stop the culture from doing this, but we don’t have to do it ourselves.

As an aside, i found an article while I was trying to find the quote for this chapter that sort of confirms what I was saying about trust, if you want to check it out:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1996/01/28/americans-losing-trust-in-each-other-and-institutions/35525131-ce9b-4815-81a4-cc7a6ab2aebc/

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mean, of course, no one wants that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think adoption agencies also favor legally married couples.

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

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

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

Think about that.

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

2: Women are not marriage material.

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

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

Ahem

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

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

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

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

Case in point for me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your experiences are not universal, okay?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of attitude is that?

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

Moving on…

3: Money

As I said before, divorce can be pricey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First of all for companionship.

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

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

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

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

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

….

Right

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

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

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

But marraige iexist in every culture.

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

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

It hsa nothig to do with marraige itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, no one should be marrying you. Yikes!

But it annoys me that poeple applaud this.

Thee people are spoiled, selfish, and superficial.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And women too, for that matter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I plan to apply that to marriage also.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what matters is character, the willingness to change.

It is true, we change a lot over time.

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

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

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

This is all stuff to watch out for.

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

That is alie.

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

Until next time, stya honest–Natasha

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

At the end of a fast…

I decided to follow up my previous post.

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

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

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

So far, it’s not anything spectacular.

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

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

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

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

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

And I thought that is just so true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Case in point:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I give into temptation to let it slide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t have both.

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

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

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

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

Fasting does humble a person.

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

Not all change is dramatic, you know.

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

Which is all good, in its time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why I hate YA novels…but still read them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The whole hting disgusts me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lot of teens buy into this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We like to find meaning.

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

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

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

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

That’s okay once in a whle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think I got off topic.

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

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

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

It makes me sad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So in summary:

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

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

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

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