True Strength.

Let’s talk about strength.

Strength gets defined a lot of different ways.

noun

Homophobia?

Homophobe: a person with a dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people.

homo-man + phobe-fear.

Boy, does this term get thrown around a lot.

You know I’ve never liked it because I think it suggests that every person who doesn’t support homosexuality is afraid of gay people. That’s like saying everyone who doesn’t support abortion is afraid of doctors or women… oh, yeah, people do say that.

Not sure how that works if you’re already a woman, but…

I know I’ve written about this subject before, I’ve encouraged people not to compromise with what the world says about it. I would never encourage hate for anyone, whatever their sexual orientation might be, but I do think we need to stick to our guns,

As I’ve said before, if you claim to be a Christian, you need to obey the Bible.

I think someone might ask me “Well do you obey the Bible all the time?” And I’d reply “I try to.” Of course I sin still. But there’s a difference between sinning and living in sin. Living in sin means it’s a cycle, an ongoing theme of one or two sins in particular, that you aren’t really trying to stop. Not that you slip up now and again.

Lately it’s starting to look like anyone who says anything against gay content of any sort, no mater how outrageous it is even by their own standards, is going to be hung out to dry. Especially if they are a man.

The tables have sure turned, it used to be being man meant more protection by law, now being a woman means you have a huge advantage. I don’t think it was right when there was a bias against women, but I don’t think this is right either. Equality means justice for both men and women.

Am I gong to sit around worrying about it? No. And I’d urge men not to either. I’ve come to realize something over the past year: The world will do what the world does. All throughout history, the world has supported one sin or another. Racism, sexual sin, sins of cruelty, sins of neglect, much much worse if we go to before Christ’s era. And directly afterward. (Gladiators and Colosseums anyone?)

C. S. Lewis once observed in The Screwtape Letters that it would seem the devil always encourages societies to the morality they should be more guarded against. That is, stingy societies are warned against spending too much, strict societies are warned against too much freedom, and promiscuous societies are warned against being too legalistic. It’s not wrong to not want to make these mistakes, but it becomes popular because it’s what we are least likely, as a culture, to do at the era of time.

You can always trust the culture to reflect what people want to hear. It’s what sells, and we are warned about in 2 Timothy 4: 3 when Paul says people will have itching ears and turn to those who will tell them what pleases them.

I was curious about how this whole LGBT thing was affecting television, so I Googled it,  and I found an article (linked at the bottom) about how ABC’s LGBT shows have gotten the lowest ratings of any of their recent shows. And Moonlight was the lowest grossing film to win an Oscar. If you take a look at the shows that bombed in this way, it;s not hard to figure out, even a homosexual person would probably dislike the attitude in these shows. Which is blatant hate and bitterness toward heterosexuals.

Can I take a second to point out the startlingly obvious? Without heterosexual couples reproducing, no homosexuals would ever get here…so yeah…uh..hate your parents. That’s a good message. *Eye roll.

Look, I know a lot of homosexuals have issues with their parents, and I understand that can be hard. But it doesn’t excuse that kind of hate. I also understand that people have done terrible things to homosexuals. Which was wrong. And is wrong. Sin cannot be beat out of someone. I may think you’re sinning, but I’m not going to sin against you just to prove a point, that makes no sense.

I do have a problem with expressing my beliefs being classified as a crime against homosexuals. When you can ruin someone’s career over something they said one time and stuff they supposedly did ten years ago, then my saying one thing is not going to do you any real damage.

Honestly, who is the real victim here? People can drag not only the offender, but their entire family through the mud over the smallest thing, and yet somehow I’m supposed to feel sorry for them?

Well, I won’t change anyone’s mind by arguing.

I will say this much, I think these shows are not doing well for two reasons: One, though very few people will protest gay content now because they know they’ll be massacred for it, not a whole lot of them actually enjoy it. Even fewer enjoy the most blatant, in your face examples of it. IF they like it at all, they like it low-key.

Second, there’s a lot of people who don’t believe in it still. You’ll never hear them covered by media or polls. Because no one wants their opinion to get out there. It would hurt the image that everyone now supports this.

Newsflash, whole countries of people would still say this is an unhealthy lifestyle. Now, that proves nothing. But it’s kind of delusional to assume you are in the majority just because one country won’t ever cover the opposition’s side. I don’t assume most of the world is Christian just because I see churches everywhere. Most of the world is not, actually, christian.

In fact, this delusion seems to have spread thanks to fictional portrayals of LGBT, according to another article I found:

“Indeed, research suggests a correlation between acceptance of same sex marriage
and LGBT representation in mainstream entertainment media, particularly prime-time television. Research also shows media representation can have a positive effect on members of the LGBT community,
especially among adolescents, by providing role models and a sense of community.”

See full article here: https://scholar.utc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1133&context=honors-theses

I will never say homosexuality is biblical. Other than it is mentioned int he bible. But I am sorry about the way it has been handled by the Church, which usually either is very harsh toward it, or way too lenient.

This won’t make some people happy, but I think, if you have to err one way, it is always better to err against sin. Harshness is not good, but it’s worse to tell people it’s okay to destroy their lives. You are better off at a church that might be too judgy than one that refuses to stick to any unpopular opinions at all.

Ideally find somewhere that encourages both kind love and tough love.

I’ll say this, Jesus did not condemn homosexuals. He defined marriage as between man and woman, but he never said homosexual was the unforgivable sin. In the end, sins of the body are still easier to stop doing than sins of the heart.

People have been delivered of homosexuality, one of the big lies of the movement is that it’s permanent. It’s not. It can be changed. (Read A Strong Delusion for one man’s story about this.)

I believe some of the kids who identify as LGBT do it because they think they can’t help it. That’s not rue. There is a way.

Honestly, all of us have done things with our sexuality we’re not proud of. Even me, and I’ve never been with a man, lust is something everyone has to deal with. You can escape it.

I know that will make some people mad. I’m okay with that. Because if there’s the slightest chance someone who’s really searching for alternatives to the world’s way is reading,t hen i’s worth it to me. If they choose to throw out what I say, then it’s not on me.

One last thing, someday these opinions may get me banned from certain places, and ostracized and hated. I’m not that popular now, but that could change. And I will accept that the world hates truth. Being hated and rejected is something Christians, men and women, should expect. Don’t take it as a sign you did the wrong thing. Jesus was hated too.

I don’t care if that sound arrogant to some people. I believe what I believe because I know that I know that I know it’s true. And if it’s true, I had better stick to it.

Well, thank you for reading this really long post, until next time–Natasha.

Link to first article: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lgbtq-ratings-flop-americans-keep-rejecting-gay-programming

ER (My First Time.)

Story Time: One week ago I made my first trip to the emergency room.

I was fine, but my sister had started throwing up after getting a headache, and spasaming. She’d hit her head a couple days before, so I realized she had a concussion, and made the executive decision as the only adult (and only person) home to run her to the ER.

The scary thing was I couldn’t get a hold of either of my parents to ask them what they thought or inform them where we were, finally after we arrived and I checked her in my dad finally responded. And freaked out. But he called my mom and both of them arrived.

I wasn’t a minute too soon, as the doctor decided my sister needed a CT scan and medication pronto. I okayed this, and my dad arrived and took it from there.

It was the first time in my life I ever had to handle an emergency, a real emergency, and drive with someone throwing up in the seat next to me, to find  a hospital I’d never been to before, without a GPS handy. I ended up finding a different hospital but at that point, I wasn’t being choosy.

Everyone said later that I handled it amazingly, better than many people would have. I didn’t disagree, my sense kicked into high gear, and I was praying.

I felt God’s hand strongly through the whole thing, when I needed to decide if we should go, I felt He said “Yes.” and I felt his calm when she started throwing up int he car, normally I get paralyzed when people start puking, and I felt the urge to, but I said “Jesus” a few times, and it went away, I felt peace. And I was convinced he directed my eyes to the hospital sign, because I somehow missed the one I was looking for. In the end it was probably for the best because the lesser known one was only half full and we got seen in about half an hour.

Luckily also, my sister never lost consciousness, probably because we hurried. Even if she was pretty miserable. Also she never got confused, and I needed her to stay lucid and help me by not going to sleep or anything like that.

I felt a weird exhilaration amidst the stress because I knew I was doing all I could to the best of my ability, and God would just have to do the rest.

Somehow I kept my head the whole time, I knew what to do, and I knew I just needed to do my part and my parents would take over once they got there.  So I did all I needed to.

Honestly, I think the doctor realized I had the situation clear in my head because she was willing to let me make the calls even though I wasn’t my sister’s guardian. Plus, speed was important.

The whole thing taught me… not a lesson per sec, but it taught me that in an emergency, I can be reliable and competent, and that God will be there for me when I need Him. It’s good to be jarred into needing all our wits and abilities every now and then. Everyone agreed God was merciful, because if I hadn’t had our family car, by a last minute change of plans, we would’ve been stuck at home or had to take an Uber or something. And my sister was pretty bad even though we acted quickly.

I’m happy to report she’s almost completely better now, and no serious damage was found, but she did get much needed meds for her nasua and pain.

I’ve never been a super emotional person as far as feeling love and crying and stuff goes. I feel those things in small amounts usually, I rarely sustain any emotion beyond contentment for longer than few hours. (Since I stopped being anxious all the time.) And Truthfully, I’ve always seen that as a bad thing. Like I’m less caring because of that, and I should be more tender.

But this time around, my calmer temperament was what my sister needed. I stayed calm, so she stayed calm, so I in turn stayed more calm. I couldn’t panic or cry, so I didn’t. Maybe at other times  I wish I was softer, but though I was reassuring, I had to be strong for this circumstance.

In an emergency, that’s the person you want around. At least, it is for me. People who get really emotional under stress stress me out further. I think I stay calm as a way to counter balance that. Otherwise we’d both be overwhelmed, and nothing could be resolved.

I don’t get choked up and melt like some people do. I have a hard time not blaming myself for that, but…maybe it’s just part of who I am, and maybe I’m meant to be that way. Maybe God made me that way on purpose because I need that to do what I’m called to do.

I do know that every emergency is different, and it’s possible to react differently each time. So I could still need that support, instead of being it, but now I know I at least have the capability, with God.

And this is from the girl who used to panic over nothing and be a hypochondriac. That’s a miracle, ladies and gentlemen.

It all seems kind of surreal now, I’m just glad we all got through it okay and no harm seems to have been done.

Until next time–Natasha.

The Gauntlet.

You know, I love to draw meaning from stories, it’s one of the most fun things I know of. I hope all of you have had that experience of sitting (or standing) with someone and just analyzing a story you both like. You get such a satisfied feeling afterward.

As I mentioned, I’ve been watching RWBY, and the show is just too good not to analyze in depth. There’s a lot to choose from, but today I’m thinking of one of its more sobering themes. It’s problematic, but it plays into a common concern parents and teachers, as well as young people like myself, have with entertainment, and how we should prepare kids for the world.

RWBY has, ever since season 2, not hesitated to bring up the question of when children should be considered adults. The idea the show deals with is if it’s really correct to call kids kids after they’ve taken up the gauntlet to fight for good.

This dilemma is presented literally by Yang, a girl who actually uses “gauntlets” to fight, and makes a point on multiple occasions of saying she doesn’t consider herself a kid. Now that she (spoiler alert) has made the choice to risk her life defending the world, been on a mission armed to the teeth, and then lost her arm defending her friend, she feels pretty adult.

Yang’s perspective is understandable, but it is counted by her mentor Ozpin and also her father, Ozpin never talks to Yang about it specifically but he does wish for the youth on the show to retain some of their child-likeness as long as they can, knowing it won’t be for long. He also hopes they will  not lose their sens of humor. Yang’s father Tai tells her directly that she’s still got a lot to learn, just fighting and undergoing trauma doesn’t make her an adult.

Yang does go on to prove she is growing up by making her own difficult choices. But we are still left wondering if it had to be that way. And if it’s right for children to take on such adult roles.

It’s an old problem on shows with young characters that they tend to act more adult than the adults, but this show takes a closer look at why that is. Maybe the simple truth is that we talk down to kids, and they are capable of handling far more than we realize.

Children, as any teacher who’s had any success might tell you, are capable of grasping very deep subjects, often faster than adults do. Things like loss can be hard on kids, but sometimes they still handle it better than adults.

It depends on the person, but it’s fair to say that children surprise us with their maturity often enough to make us question if sheltering them really makes sense.

i don’t mean you shouldn’t protect kids from knowing about evil. But some people think that includes not telling them about suffering and pain, and that’s not something we really can keep from kids. There’s no sense dwelling on it, but if it comes up, should we hedge around it as we often try to do?

RWBY is honest about one thing: This is war. As a kid, that’s what I was told. We’re in a war between good and evil. That wasn’t hard to accept…it’s not really like that’s news to a child. They see the fight all around them.

But in a war there are casualties, an damages, and wounds, and losses. What do we do with those? Some say we should encourage children to think about the happier things in life as long as they can. Others that we should not shield them from harsh realities.

If I might offer some insight on what I think the real answer is…

I think that we over think it, honestly. Unfortunately, the reason we do that is because we have the luxury of it. Not so long ago, most kids would have known someone who had died, or had lost a close family member. Tragedy would not have been a strange notion to kids. They weren’t sheltered from it because there was no way for them to be. Parents couldn’t hide the truth. Cruelty and hate were things kids witnessed, not just in bullying or movies or online, but in person. Between adults.

In many countries, this is still the case. I don’t know why the West doesn’t get it, honestly, I think it’s because we spend so much time running from realities like that ourselves. For some reason, we think our happily ever after comes without a struggle.

It’s not that we should give up on happy endings, which our culture has more of than most, all over its’ fiction and sayings and ideals, and I love that about America; but we tend to pass over the part in every story where the hero or heroine had to got through nearly hell to get to the better ending.

It’s quite simple, if you want a mediocre, quiet ending, then live mediocre and run from what would make you a hero. If you want a truly happy ending, then you have to embrace the sorrow in life and let it temper you into something new.

My pastor pointed out this past Sunday that Jesus said “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” He said “we need to learn how to mourn.”

And that got to me, because, I don’t know how.

Golly gee whiz, I’m not the only one am I? As a freaking culture, we don’t know how to mourn. Our whole message to people is that if you get knocked down, you get right back up. You shove people’s abuse of you right back at them. You keep moving forward.

Well, yeah, you should, but first you have to mourn.

If we hold it together all the time, then our strength will be brittle and a strong enough blow will shatter us. But if we let ourselves break over and over again, we’ll heal a little faster each time.

And this applies so much to children.  I wasn’t usually told to stop crying when I was upset as a kid. Mostly, I could express my feelings. But I still bottled them up out of insecurity, a huge part of my christian journey was learning to cry over my hurt. And just let myself admit it sucked. It’s funny, when you quit trying to be strong all the time, you find things aren’t so hard to bear. Not with God’s help.

And other people’s.

And dang it, that’s what we need to tell kids. Yes, you’ll have hard times. But it’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s because we treat suffering like it’s something to fear that it’s so hard to deal with it. It can be scary, but that doesn’t mean we need to fear it coming.

And there is comfort. That’s important to remember.

–Natasha.

 

Purpose and Loss.

At my Youth Group last night we started talking about purpose. More specifically, is it hard to believe that you have one? And what makes it hard, since to be honest, most of us would agree that it is.

It’s always been easier for me, my parents raised me and my siblings to believe God has plans for our lives. They used to pray with us every night about that.

Even I had to admit, however, that it’s gotten harder over time. It’s hard not to get jaded by the world as you get older. The older people get, have you ever noticed, the less they tend to believe they can accomplish anything big, and the less they want to.

You might have heard the song “7 years” it’s a great song, very moving, and one of it’s fine points is the shifting attitude as the singer talks about getting older. He goes from a friendly kid, to a kid trying to be edgy and conquer the world, to an idealistic twenty year old, and then looking ahead, he recognizes that come thirty, things will start to seem like the highlight was in the past and he just hopes he’ll have friends still. And that he’ll be able tot each his children. Then he leaps ahead to when he’ll be sixty.

Looking ahead to old age, the singer has two or three profound thoughts. The first is that you remember life and then your life becomes a better one. This could be a reference to heaven, or to old age maybe being better in some ways than youth. His other thought is that he doesn’t want to be stone cold, but have children around to make him remember that kind of hopefulness he had once.

As you age and lose your energy and drive, being content with a family life seems appealing, and it’s not necessarily wrong either. For some that is their purpose. The people who go through mid life crisis’es feel differently though.

Even the people I know who didn’t have an outright midlife crisis definitely struggled with knowing their youth was gone and wondering if they were accomplishing anything with their lives.

My recent experiences have led me to believe that there is one huge factor in how we lose our sense of purpose, and it only gets worse with age. I think that factor is LOSS.

Something about losing something or someone important to us shakes us up. Even if you go numb, there’s a part of your mind that is reeling from realizing how little control you have. Since we automatically base our sense of purpose in what we think we can control (Think “Wait for It” from Hamilton) feeling out of control makes us wonder if we can do anything.

Realizing that young people can die just as easily as old made me question my age as any safeguard against having a wasted life. While realizing that older people can live a long time and not really learn anything about love or purpose made me question if getting older will help me be wiser, or will it just make me more cynical? It already has in some ways.

I wouldn’t say I’ve lost my ideals, but I tend not to get fired up about them like I used to. I tend to want to fight less over them. What I want more now is to know I can do well what I do, and to have people around who love me.

Yet I can’t get rid of that fiery side of me. I’m a born fighter, I fight whether I intend to or not.

Where does that leave me? And you, I know I’m talking to someone reading this.

The first step toward a Loss not defeating us and our purpose is admitting that our purpose never had anything to do with what we could control. Some people think we control our own destiny, I say that’s only partly true. We’re going to end up in some places whether we like it or not, all that we control is whether we let God use those times to help us fulfill His purpose for our lives, or we let ourselves become purposeless, dragged around by the breeze.

I had no control over ending up living in someone else’s house for two years. And that really bothered me for a long time, sometimes I still wish I could control it. Yet I chose not to give in and let that make me a vegetable, just going through the motions of living. I believed God had a purpose in bringing me here. I still try to have control, probably too much, but I don’t have the reins of my life.

Aging is tough on our resolve to live well and live bigger than ourselves. We realize how little we control as we get older. We don’t singularly control who runs our country (in other countries, the common person controls it not at all), or what taxes we pay, or where we live, or how well our business does. We try, but there are always factors that do not depend on us. That should make us humble and grateful for other people’s help, often it makes us despairing.

There are plenty of older people who are exceptions to this rule, and I’m glad of it. I’m more scared that younger people are giving into despair far more often than the old are.

Don’t let loss shake your faith in having a purpose. Even short lives can be bright and powerful. It may be true that every day we walk out the door is a fresh risk, but that means every day can be a chance to do something brave and meaningful. If we simply do not let ourselves lose our confidence.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

Respecting other beliefs.

Respect: esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability.

In the past few decades we as a people have become very concerned with the proper respect for other people’s beliefs. I hear young Christians now (I mean age wise, not how long they’ve believed) applaud themselves for having atheist friends whom they talk about their beliefs with calmly, and their atheist friends know where they stand, but they don’t try to convince them that their point of view is wrong.

This seems like a good thing, right? But isn’t there kind of a bad side effect. If you never tell anyone they are wrong, then what would prompt them to ever question their beliefs. If all we’re ever told is to go with what we feel is right, then we’ll never question our feelings themselves.

Let me differentiate between the feelings of conscience and the feelings of preference. Conscience is an entirely different feeling, when we feel like we “should” do something, it’s not at all like when we feel we “want” to do something.

A lot of morality now is based on what we want to do being what feels right. Right=pleasurable and comfortable.

And this has crept into the Christian culture. I would call it quasi-Christian culture, because what our perception tells us and what the Bible actually says are often very different. And the Bible is true Christianity, our twisting of it is not.

That being said What does the Bible say about respecting other people’s beliefs?

You won’t find that phrase or idea anywhere in the Bible except as regards to the differences between Christians and what they feel is edifying to God and their bodies.

In fact the Bible might have some strong words for anyone who sees someone living in sin and does not warn them about it.

Sure, people don’t want to hear it. And chances are most of them already know it’s wrong. So I am not advocating just preaching to everyone that they should stop sinning.

But sin is not really the point. Christ is the point. I wonder how exactly Christians can respect other people’s beliefs.

“If you don’t accept Jesus Christ as Lord and repent for your sinful ways, you will go to hell…And I totally respect that.”

Yeah, I respect that you’re going to willingly choose to burn forever without God and get mad at me for warning you about it…

And if you’re not a Christian and this is getting up in your grill, then remember, I am not saying this to your face, I am only saying point blank what Christians claim to believe. And how little it would make sense for us to respect anyone else’s beliefs.

It’s like trying to respect the belief that the moon is made of cheese, nobody would respect that belief. Anyone who tried to eat moon rocks would be laughed at. No one is going to defend their right to be honored for that belief.

Now, you can’t arrest someone for believe that, or demand that they change their mind. Just like you can’t as a Christian force anyone to change their mind. Though there are regrettable instances in our history when we have tried that.

No one should be arrested for their religion…of what they do because of it, yes.

Your belief trumps the law, but you still have to suffer the consequences of breaking the law. Jesus never said any different. And I doubt very much the sincerity of any religious leader that did.

If I ever get persecuted for what I believe so be it. But that won’t change a thing about whether I’m right or not.

No matter how much our media promotes being gay, that will never change whether being gay is morally right or morally wrong. All the applause and approval of the world will never change that, because the world can’t tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.

I think Christians are uncertain about how to witness to people now that they have to respect their beliefs. But the truth is, you don’t. In fact, if you do, you might want to check your heart. (And reread the definition of respect at the top of this post.) Because if the words “well if that’s what they feel is right” have come out of your mouth, that’s a reason for concern.

If I am making a major life choice, I better be darn well sure it’s more than feeling guiding me.

I had better make it clear that I am not advocating disrespecting people.

Uh uh. We respect people. Not beliefs. People’s own right to act on what they believe. But we do not have to respect those beliefs themselves.

And some of us leaders really need to hear this. It’s okay to oppose people who want to propagate their beliefs if you don’t agree with them. You are not keeping the person out. You are keeping their beliefs out.

What’s not okay is to make it anything more than personal preference. To make laws against certain beliefs and make rules. You can be as exclusive as you want, or your school can, or your business, or whatever, but you can’t make that a rule for everyone else. That’s where we run into problems.

We can’t make that call for the rest of the world. But we don’t have to approve what they do. If we approve what God detests, how are we any better than the world?

In fact, we need to hate sin. Not feel tolerant of it.

The more you can hate sin, but not feel an animosity toward people, the closer you are to Christlikeness.

Until next time–Natasha.