Does Christianity work on me?

Hey fahm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WOOOOO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it bothered me.

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

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

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

Does Christianity really work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But our focus shifts from one element to another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But there’s two point to be made here.

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

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

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

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

But whats the alternative?

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

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

The idea is how close are we getting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do I like him? No.

Can I ignore that? No.

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

I find that view of life escapist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We should consider that, you know.

Some things are just true, so they are eternal.

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

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

But it does.

We all do it.

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

Jesus suffered too, after all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Thoughts from Mentoring.

I got a job!–Last month.

Yeah, I kind of keep forgetting to mention it.

But it’s way cool.

My college has a program for ASD (Austistic Spectrum Disorder) students, where regular students help them along with getting adjusted into school.

Kind of like an assistant who’s paid less and has less hours.

But on the plus side, it’s excellent experience for someone like me who is learning to work with disable people (since technically Deafness is still considered that.)

It turns out this job is suited to my talents almost perfectly for the most part. The only thing I don’t naturally tend to do is askpeople a lot of questions aobut their sceduel and personal lives, even if I want to know, I don’t normally think it’s polite, but as a mentor, I am supposed to do that.

You kind of have to flip a switch in your brain to tell it that you’re in a different mode than before.

My mentee is very high functioning, and I’m pretty sure no one who didn’t know could even tell he was ASD. He speaks normally and remembers things well and makes eye contact fairly easily. Plus can track with a regular conversation with only a slight tenancy to derail onto the same subject.

Actually, at one time in m life, I had a lot of tenancies that could be grouped into this spectrum. The only difference I see is that I was able to learn myself through trial and error, and did not have a label or a class to go to in order to help.

I also got blamed and held responsible for my lack of social grace, whereas these students tend to be excused for simply not getting it.

It makes me wonder, do we choose to blame certain people simply because we think they know better?

There are jerks who will still get mad at people with real disabilities. I have a friend with a brain injury disability. It can be frustrating to talk to her since her memory is effected by it, as well as her ability to understand instructions or questions. She is smart, but processes slowly.

I have been blessed with a very quick mind, not bragging, I know that it’s a gift. I could just as easily have had a different learning style and less ability to process.

Under pressure I tend to kick into a higher gear because I can process quickly and effectively, while some people freeze up.

I feel it’s important to assist people who learn with more difficulty than I do. I guess I never gave it much thought. As a kid, I just naturally explained things to kids, my younger siblings, even my parents. I’m the kind of person who can get people interested in stuff, if I put my mind to it.

As I got to know more of my peers I naturally answered their questions. And I always got a thrill when that change in their tone or expression would come, you know the “I get it” look.

Now that I’ve moved into teaching Sunday school, assisting friends with ASL, and mentoring, (which is kind of like teaching by example and input, more than teaching directly,) I see it more and more.

Even in my Math class, my worst subject (in high school, though I did okay), I’ve ended up working with two older ladies who are much slower at it than I am, and helping them do it. Of course, who you team up with in class is subject to change, but it seems I’m still one of the fastest people.

I end up helping my classmates in virtually every class I’m in. Often people just ask me, like they know by looking at me that I’m a good student.

And being a good student comes naturally. I don’t put that much effort into it. I take notes, do assignments on time, and that’s about it.

All this to say, I know that I’m very lucky to find it so easy. Being home-schooled, I learned to enjoy learning for its own sake.

The Bible actually says, in Daniel 1, of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:

“(17) As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams…(19) Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. (20) And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.” 
Also, in another place:
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance…” — Proverbs 1:5
Skill to learn and understand it a gift from God.
I don’t have a lot of skills in the Manuel labor department. I don’t dislike it, but the opportunity to learn those things has rarely presented itself in my life.
Doing an honest day’s work is nothing to avoid, and many people should take pride in what they do.
Teaching itself is something a lot of people in my generation seem to be interested in doing.
Not everyone who has a message should preach it, not everyone who has a lesson should teach it,
and I say that not because those things shouldn’t be shared, but because they are not always meant to be shared in that form.
I’ve had many people deliver a message who were not good at it. Who should have delegated more to people with gifting in that area.
I happen to be good at that, and hop to grow better in it.
I might be better at other things, though. I prefer to write (no shock there).
This job of mine is only temporary, though I hope to repeat it in the future, but the important thing was, I am strengthening my gifts.
By taking Math, I am working on my weaknesses, but I find that even my weakness is strong if I simply treat it as an opportunity to apply what I am good at within that class.
The real secret of studying is taking the approach that works for you and figuring out how to insert that into every subject in some way.
And if I can help other people get there along the way, so much the better. Because I think everyone should be able to learn and improve. I’m not interested in living in a world of wimpy morons who learn nothing and don’t apply themselves, so why would I encourage people to give up by not helping them?
Anyway, that’s all for today, until next time–Natasha.

Love is War.

103 followers! You guys are awesome!

Sorry it’s been so long, but I had the craziest week you can imagine. I’m not sure I’ll go all into it until it’s over, but it’s quite a story.

Keeping up with my quest to finish MLP, and to watch new animes was the most fun part of a very difficult week.

I checked out Fruits Basket, Konosuba, and there’s more to go.

Konosuba is really stupid, by the way, not recommending that one.

But one my sister and I finished was called Kaguya-Sama: Love is War.

Love is War was really good. It reminded me a bit of a book I read called Love And War.

Of course the latter is a reference to that saying “All is fair in love and war.”

I think as a kid that saying always bothered me, like that should justify everything. But as an adult, I do not think that saying means that love and war can never have moments where you need to be fair, or that there are no principles to either.

On the contrary, the saying means that both love and war create circumstances where what is normally fair just won’t work. It would be suicide in war to give up one’s advantage, and it would be foolish in love to always demand fairness.

But some of you might also agree with the statement Love is war.

On the anime the opening premise is that love is a war between the lovers. That relationships are ruled by one person. And that the two people both want to be the head of the relationship.

Rather than assume it should be the man, as is traditional, the show demonstrates how the woman can still dominate even if the man has to do the asking and take the outward leadership role. We all know married couples, or unmarried ones, where the woman clearly is in charge.

I mean, ladies, we let men think they’re in charge, right? But…

I’ll get back to that in a second.

However, the show also allows that the man may end up leading in actuality also. It is a battle of wills.

Our two lovers start out bullheaded and proud. I found it somewhat funny, but they were both kind of scary to watch, and their friends even thought so. Two highly intelligent, prideful people, duking it out over love is easily a nightmare.

But then the writer of this anime began to demonstrate an unprecedented amount of wisdom. This plot would have been so easy to make cliche, the set up was there, and people would have loved it regardless. Nothing like two feuding lovers to make people watch episode after episode of something.

Instead, the anime went a different direction. Both characters began to grow. We get to see them learn to appreciate their other friends, both of them having been rather lonely beforehand, especially the girl, Kaguya.

Interestingly, Kaguya is the name of a character in Japanese mythology who was divinely sent to a childless couple, and when she grew up had many would be lovers, all of whom she drove away with impossible tasks. One, an emperor, she remained friends with, and he actually cared for her as a person.

At the end of the story Kaguya is revealed to be from the moon, and she ditched earth to go back to it, forgetting all her ties to the people there. Making the emperor sad.

The significance on this anime is not that Kaguya is like the myth, but that the people in her life seem to be trying to force her to be. She’s actually quite affectionate and caring in her own way, but she has a family and servants who try to keep her isolated and cold. Her only real friend at her home is a rather questionable influence in my mind.

Kaguya’s pride, we learn towards the end of the season, is really a mask for massive insecurity. She won’t admit it, but she desperately wants love, but feels she cannot be upfront about it, because it is beneath her. In reality, she is really just afraid to put herself out there because no one else seems to give a rip how she feels. Certainly not her cold and distant father.

Shinogane, the male lead, actually comes to admit that the reason he won’t confess how he feels is because he’s afraid. It’s a little easier for him to admit this because he has a family and understands emotions a little better.

Even once he realizes he is afraid, he still has trouble overcoming it. Well, he’s only human.

But here’s where it got really profound.

In the last few episodes, a situation arises where Kaguya feels like what she wants is impossible. Like she can never escape her life of loneliness. She tries to put on a brave face, and focus on the future, but ends up finally breaking down and shedding some long-reserved tears over it.

After all, it is rather unfair to her.

But then, just when she’s given up (and to me it was interesting that her words here were first to pray to God, and then to despair and think “Right…there is no God”) Shinogane finds her.

The show ends with her finally chasing him to try to thank him, which means she finally humbled herself to show gratitude.

It was interesting to see the pattern throughout the show was that Kaguya’s scheming never got her what she wanted. But every time she or Shinogane put aside their wants to help other people, they got what they wanted too.

It made a strong case for these two belonging together, but needing to mature into it. They are closer by the end of the season to being ready.

And, what I concluded was that you could take the show’s hook a very different way.

Love is war. But it is not war between two lovers. It is war against the odds. Against the problems we face. Against all the obstacles to hinder love from happening.

As I mentioned earlier, women and men’s power struggle can often be complex. Women like to say we let men think they are in charge.

However, one might ask what the difference is between letting men lead and letting them think we do. Leaders are the face of the group that follows them, but they represent what the whole group wants. If they are good leaders.

A man in leadership has to represent what his wife or family wants in the same way. It would be fair to say women guide men in how to guide them.

And if the positions were or are reversed, the same would apply to women. If we are not thinking of what our man wants, we don’t deserve to lead either.

Unfortunately, women actually can have more of a tenancy to lead men for their own gain, in certain situations, than men do. It depends on the person.

I’ve listened to jokes from men about being “trained” by their wives. It always bothered me.

Leadership is not simply training, it is guidance.

The Bible says, speaking of marriage, as well as the church, that we are to submit to one another.

What that means is that each of us is in our way a follower, and each of us is also a leader.

In relationships, a follower may have more control overall, because they can cause the leader to rethink what they decide to do.

In the most ideal of relationships, you would hardly be able to tell which it was. Two people of good judgment, character, and humility can lead each other by turns without making it super obvious.

Though the Bible gives headship to the man, it allows for plenty of times when a woman has to take the initiative.

I don’t really need to discuss gender roles here. I think that any time we try to narrow those down to specific things, we end up making idiots of ourselves. You cannot sum up every situation in one rule.

I think the real thing to focus on is fighting each other’s battles, helping each other, trying to make each other happy or better; not to fight each other over who does what.

I mean this to apply to the practical things of course, in moral issues, there clearly does have to be a standard.

Anyway, check out the anime, and until next time–Natasha.

 

Virtue vs. Holiness–Sister post.

By my sister, from a class we were taking.  3/1/2017:

Lack of morality is running rampant in our nation, today. One only need turn on the TV to see the promotion of drugs, sex, abortion, lack of responsibility, and lack of virtue in general. Still, do we need virtue? Is taking back our virtue, our standard of acceptable morality, the way to fix things? Will it help us, as individuals as well as a nation, to recover from this moral dryness?

One Webster’s dictionary definition of virtue is,

“Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to moral laws . . .”

Virtue is like a moral code of conduct or the action of living up to that code. People’s “codes” may vary, but a few suggestions come to mind. Generosity, kindness, decorum, temperance, purity, marital loyalty, honesty, etc. Our country could use a little of that, right?

This brings me to my next question: Was Jesus virtuous? 

Whoa, whoa! Stop. Of course Jesus was virtuous! He didn’t commit one sin–not one! I can’t even go one day without sinning. How much more virtuous can you get? 

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16 KJV)

You’ll notice the key word here is holy. Is there a difference between virtue and holiness? What is holiness?

John Eldredge talks about this in his book The Utter Relief of Holiness:

“For years I thought of holiness as something austere, spiritually elite, and frankly rather severe. Giving up worldly pleasures, innocent things such as sugar or music or fishing; living an entirely “spiritual” life; praying a lot; being a very good person. Something that only very old saints attain . . . Yet in order to make human beings what they are meant to be, the love of God seeks to make us whole and holy. In fact, the assumption of the New Testament is that you cannot become whole without becoming holy; nor can you become holy without becoming whole.”

He later goes on to cite Hebrews 12:7-13.

“‘Endure hardships as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.’”

Mr. Eldredge then says something very singular.

“ . . . Severity is not the point; discipline is not the point. The point is the restoration of your creation. Whatever holiness truly is, the effect of it is healing. That’s what it does to a person.”

When Jesus took our sins to the cross, He also gave us something in return: His holiness. Now God sees us not as we are, with our sin, but as we can and will be as He continues His work in us. Our accepting His gift of eternal life and salvation allows Him to gradually change our sin and chains to righteousness and freedom. It’s not that we don’t experience freedom and righteousness when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. He helps us to live it out through His holiness in us. Adhering to a moral code doesn’t do that for us. It doesn’t change us; it doesn’t make us good on the inside. 

A nation’s society is made up of people. You can hold a standard up for them to follow, but that doesn’t help them to follow it. I may have a list of characteristics I want to live out; that doesn’t enable me to do so. 

Matthew 5:20 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Our righteousness has to be greater than the Pharisees’. They weren’t holy. They were concerned only with appearances, with outward shows of goodness. They adhered strictly to a moral code. They had virtue without holiness. Holiness is the true goodness that comes from God. God’s Spirit is called the Holy Spirit. The fruits of His Spirit are, “love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) What does this tell us? Holiness is the wellspring from which true virtue comes. It cannot be the other way around. We cannot acquire holiness through virtue. Anything less than God’s holiness is flawed–Pharisaic–and it’s putting a load on people’s backs that they can’t carry.  

Here’s another reason why holiness is superior to earthly virtue. It’s a relief. Eldredge, in his book, says,

“Look at it this way: Ask the anorexic young girl how she would feel if she simply no longer struggled with food, diet, exercise–if she simply never even gave it another thought. . . . Ask the raging person what it would be like to be free of rage . . . Take the things you struggle with and ask yourself, ‘What would life be like if I never struggled with this again?’

“It would be an utter relief. An absolute, utter relief.” 

Jesus didn’t struggle with sin. It couldn’t touch Him. His virtue came from an inner holiness that drew people to Him. Giving people a list of dos and don’ts will not help them become free from sin. Jesus helps them. He gives them His holiness. I consider holiness–Jesus–the answer to society’s problems today. He is the only way to be free–free from wanting to sin–free from even being able to sin. That is what I want for my life. Jesus’ freedom. 

Thanks sis for letting me post this–Natasha.

 

 

Friends or Family?

Well my family has left for vacation, and I am staying at home.

I’m not completely alone, my grandma is still here.

This is going to be the longest I’ve gone without seeing my family. Three weeks. It will be hard, my siblings and I are each others’ closest friends.

We spent our last full day together with another friend, and then watching our favorite anime together, (it’s My Hero Academia if you’re wondering.)

One thing we talked about in passing was how we’ve had difficulty befriending someone we know, and it seems like they don’t really want us to.

I pointed out that church (where all but one or two of my friends are) is supposed to be family, as the bible says, but if you look at how we’re instructed to behave to each other, it sounds more like friendship.

Proverbs even says better is a friend close then a brother far away, and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Then I pointed out that we three have always been family, and we have always related to each other as sisters, but that it was only the past 5 years or so that we chose to also become friends.

Up until 13-14 I’d say, I treated my sisters like sisters. People who annoyed me, and who I could annoy, with no fear that it would end our relationship. There is a security in a healthy family, room to grow up and develop, while making plenty of mistakes along the way that family blows off, while it would end most friendships.

Of course, the biblical way to treat siblings is nothing like that, but as most adolescents, I didn’t care.

But after returning to Christ, I began rethinking how I acted. It didn’t change a whole lot until my sisters did the same thing, but overtime we began to build our relationship into something very strong. We enjoy it now. We enjoy each other’s personalities, and we are our closest confidantes. We have the kind of sibling-hood you read about.

And sometimes that amazes me, because I know it didn’t have to be that way. I’m so glad we all chose to become friends. (There’s actually a show on Disney Channel that addressed this idea, Liv and Maddie, “Sisters by birth, friends by choice.”)

I was comparing it to the Church family. Once you become a christian (as our doctrine goes) you are part of the family. And the basic instructions off the bat are that we accept you as such. overlook you faults the way a family would, and be your support. If we fight, we also forgive quickly.

That’s a family dynamic, a baby Christian needs that because they will get a lot wrong in the first year or so. That’s okay. I did too. And I was raised in Church. You cannot teach spiritual maturity, only exhibit it and hope it will benefit other people. I had my  mom as an example of it for years before I learned to emulate any of it.

A new Christian is only beginning to be a new person. And that makes them immature. We are meant to show grace.

The sad thing, a lot of churches do not even reach the family dynamic. They don’t accept people, they don’t forgive, they don’t support.

This does not mean that it doesn’t work however. The problem with corporate church is that the same flaws tend to creep in as with businesses and charities, many just don’t do what they should because management skills are not adequate.

Which is why I think the church was never meant to be a corporate experience, but there are people who find a way to work the system.

Many churches do find the family dynamic. But what the New Testament instructs us in is far closer to friendship in many ways.

We are not just to support each other, but to find each others strengths and talents, and develop them. We no longer just accept, we are also to correct, to sharpen each other. To hold each other accountable.

Family can do this, but it is something that comes more naturally into a really good friendship. Family can be too close to see the problem. Friends build distance on purpose by having diverse interests, getting space from each other, and so they learn more about the other person because they see them from more angles than if they lived with them constantly.

The church is designed to meld these two dynamics into a hybrid I think only is possible in spiritual ways. It is really difficult to explain until you experience it. My family became my friends. I hope someday to have friends who will be family.

The trouble is, churches can not really support friendship. I have a church that supports family a lot. Better than most places do. But it is still trying to figure out friendship.

A lot of discipleship we do is focused on family, one girl who’d been through their school of ministry even admitted to this. Not a lot of it is focused on friendship.

Yet, I think a lot of what the epistles show us is how to be a friend as well as a brother or sister.

I think in Acts, the apostles already had a family dynamic, but after they started to travel and organised, they had to have friends.

My dad has learned the hard way that family can be heard to organize to do anything if everyone acts as and individual. It takes the build up of friendship, the learning to work with a very different person, to speak their language, that allows for teamwork.

Some families achieve this with seeming ease. My family never had been particularly good at this except in crisis situations. I think it depends on how well the family knows itself.

A lot of friends now are not on this level, thanks to the lack of interaction we have except through technology, but you’ve probably met or known people who still have this teamwork ability. Hopefully you are one of them.

And my whole point to my sisters was that this ability is a choice to develop. That is what makes it different.

We have no choice about our family. We need to accept hem no matter what.

But within the family we tend to have friends. It won’t be every remember, an not the same for every member you do have it with, but there will be the odd person here and there.

I have a bond with family I only see once or twice a year because we are family, but I have a different bond with people I choose to be around and are not related to me except by faith or being in the human race.

I realize a lot of this post may only be interesting if you are a christian, but it was something I had not realized before, and I’ve been in church my hole life. Plus, it’s always interesting to think about social circles like this and how they work.

Plus my real point that friendship is choice, it doesn’t just happen, is one I think many of us need to understand. Myself included. Movies show friendship as something that can happen in an instant…sometimes it can, but I have never found those friends to be the ones I am likely to see the most often or talk to the most… Maybe God in his wisdom reserves the instant friendship bond for a more eternal significance. The people you surround yourself with are going to round our your rough edges, and that’s better for you.

Until next time–Natasha

Speaking of friendship, it is a factor in the book series I am publishing on Kindle, here’s a link if you want to check out the first two installments, more coming once I replace my laptop-

You can also visit my author page and ask me questions about the series if you’re curious about how me and my coauthor came up with the idea.

Thanks for your support!

Aftermath–plus special announcement at the end.

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”–C. S. Lewis (The Abolition of Man.)

I’ve written about this brilliant little book before, but one thing that interests me that I have not really touched on is what happened in the aftermath of it.

The system in England when Lewis wrote that books was followed pretty quickly by America, it was probably already in place in the rest of Europe at the time, at least the countries at the forefront of our minds.

Nazism, the great evil of the War, was leading to the abolition of most men, but Lewis was concerned that what they were teaching schoolboys (and girls no doubt) was going to lead to the abolition of all men, in feeling if not in biological form.

Wise men saw where it was going, but where has it taken us now?

We live in the Post-Modern era. It is rightly called that, if we mean by modern Modernism, which Lewis and his predecessor G. K. Chesterton were both very much concerned with. Modernism was not about being modern in a fashionable sense, like it’s usually used now, or referring to technology or medicine. Modernism was the principles, or lack thereof, of thorough rationality. Which Chesterton showed in his book Orthodoxy to really be irrational.

It is basically materialism, but with odd ideals on top of it, that really make no sense whatsoever if you take the idea literally that nothing has any value except in our own emotions.

But as Lewis pointed out, the men who taught this didn’t believe it themselves. They were teaching values in spite of themselves. The problem is, even if they were better than what they taught, it had the same effect on their students as if they hadn’t been.

My parents, and perhaps your parents generation were the prime victims of this teaching’s first effects.

You’re probably familiar with how psychology got very popular in the 60s-90s, and it still is now. It was beginning before then, but at least in America, it really took off once we began pushing religion aside and needed explanations for all the phenomenon’s sin and human nature used to explain.

We’ve come full circle almost in the pat few decades, we’ve come back to realizing that psychology explains nothing. Now we are looking to physics and other such things, we’re looking to sexuality, we’re looking to race, we’re looking to everything except what originally worked for people: Religion.

My dad had behavioral issues as a kid, and born when he was, he was medicated, put in Special Ed and diagnosed with mental illness, he tried rehabilitation. Like many people of his generation, and ours, he also tried drugs.

It’s strange that drugs and psychology both took off at around the same time. (People can bicker about dates, but a few years or even a decade on the grand scale of time is pretty much the same time.) Both were around before then, but they got popularized, jsutfied, studied, and theorized about. They came to be seen as normal.

Clearly they aren’t the same thing, but strange that the very thing that told us that our dependence on substance was a problem coming from deeper issues did nothing to stop us from abusing substances.

Have you noticed that to highlight a problem in society is no to weaken it, but exposing it makes it become uglier, more used, more prolific, draws more people in.

Exposing it just to comment on it, that is, real solutions are different.

But Psychology did not fix anything, it diagnosed things. Medication could not fix those problems, in face many meds make the problems they treat worse. My dad went off his, and does better now that he did while on them. (Of course, you should be careful about getting off medication, the process is difficult and should be walked through with a doctor’s help. He didn’t quit all at once.)

Now, we live in the information, option generation. In the aftermath of all that identifying, we’ve become clueless about what to do.

Relationships have been diagnosed, studied, and tested; the result? We have a really hard time maintaining even eye contact.

Are they directly related things?

I think so.

Exposing how bad we are at relationships did not help us fix them. It made the revelation overwhelming.

Before, people knew some folks were bad at relationships, but those who were were seen as responsible for their own actions. Since no one thought it was genetically inevitable, people could try to improve, or could be ignored by the general public if they chose to remain unpleasant. Not knowing how deep our mental problems supposedly went, we thought we could move on.

Having it blown so completely out of proportion crippled us. Because it made us think we were powerless to do anything about it.

Doubting our ability to control ourselves is now common phrasing for young people. “That’s just the way I am.”

But we took it further.

It was too depressing to live in that, so we began to take these things that were exposed so that we could not hide them anymore, and we began to say they were not bad, not shameful, after all. Instead they were cool, enlightened, they were our identity.

It’s okay to be gay, it’s okay to have mental health issues, it’s okay to have a disability, it’s okay to do what makes you happy.

Not all the above examples are on the same level of crazy of course, but they all stem from the same thing, a desire to take a shame and turn it into a pride.

In some cases that may be okay. But we’ve gone way, way too far past that line.

I do not blame young people all that much for being so stupid, not really.

When I read books written in the 60s-80s, I often find them depressing.

The infamous Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus was one of the most insulting things I ever read on the difference between men and women. A lot of authors who commented on it were condescending to both genders.

Like our differences can be summed up in quirks. Try it and it fails you, you’ll never find any one thing that makes men and women different other than our sexual organs, if you look only at what we do and what we enjoy and what we hate and how we think. The difference is harder to pin down then that, anyone who tires just makes fool of themselves.

When the explanation for differences was so stupid and limiting, it’s in line with human nature to throw it out and go to the opposite extreme, that there are no differences. That’s insane, but it’s less boring. Youth do like exciting things.

Plus, the new and different aspect is attractive to many people.

If you look at any popular attitude held now, you can trace it back to evolving from an attitude the previous couple of generations have. We have mutated it into something different.

We now speak less of the values they valued, and more of vague ideas about self-fulfillment. But it all make sense, that age of reason led to discrediting pleasure and fulfillment as in our own minds, leaving the young people weaponless to defend pleasure on the grounds o fr eason, the natural result we that young people ignored reason, ignored common sense, and ignored restraint.

Now we have this mess.

IF you listen to how we talked now, it’s becomes obvious. People acknowledge that there are reasons to ear healthy, exercise, and focus on happy things; but then make a joke out of doing none of those things. They laughed it off, but behind the humor, there’s a secret guilt, and a secret bewilderment.

Why, if it is so obvious, do we find nothing compelling about reason? And why, if it is so unimportant, do we make a joke out of not following it that hides a note of serious concern.

We are unsettled. We are drifters. The previous generations removed the foundation of our lives, tried to put a weak one in it;s place, but like sand, it crumbled when the floods of real problems struck again. It was never going to hold up.

But, lacking both  a solid foundation, and now even a sandy one, we have none. Hence our myriad of problems that center around confusion, uncertainty, and depression. Our general feeling of purposelessness.

We now do not have the logical skills to explain why we feel this way, only words of mental illness, social anxiety, and being addicted to screens.

We laugh at it because we have no idea what to do about it.

This, I present to you, is the aftermath of the abolition of Man, our humanity is not gone completely, thanks to God and the preservation of some values even so, but it is hanging by a thread because our defenses are so weak.

We are glorifying our weaknesses because we have been robbed of our strength and glory.

That is what happened. And it turns out, abolishing man’s strength and glory is very close to abolishing man himself, it is good for us that God redeems our weaknesses, or we would have no hope.

But we do have hope. That’s what this blog is about after all. That even dry bones can live again.

It is now almost the third or fourth anniversary of when I started it with just that premise. And I still think that  a return to truth is the only way to preserve hope.

So, with that in mind, until next time–Natasha.

Announcement:

I have now published the first two parts of a series I wrote on Kindle!

It is about superheroes, mystical creatures, and mysteries.

There may be over 20 parts in all, at 0.99 an installment (lowest price possible), if you would like to check it out, here’s a link to find it, the series is called “When It Started.”

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=When+it+started+Natasha+Queen&rh=n%3A154606011&ref=nb_sb_noss