An odd Thanksgiving Post.

Being homeschooled is the best, you completely miss big controversies till weeks after they happened.

I heard about this Kanye West thing, but didn’t know what it was about till today.

And, taking my cue from BlimeyCow, one of my favorite YouTubers, I don’t really see it as imperative that I comment on Kanye West’s personal life.

I might listen to the album though, I like rap and Gospel both, so who knows, maybe I’d like them together. (Roll your eyes all you want people over 30.)

But, I couldn’t help noticing some things popping up that I notice a lot with controversy and identity politics and stuff, and since Kanye West’s reception is simply a microcosm of it, I think I can comment on that using this as an example.

This whole thing has brought out the best and worst in the Black Christian Culture, from what I can see, and the White…and anyone who cares.

I read of one person criticizing West’s political standpoints by saying their blackness and their religion (Christianity) were tied too closely together, and he disrespected that. (By supporting Trump, I suppose.)

All political opinions aside…what…?

In the New Testament, Paul declares that there is no race, no gender, no slave nor free, in Christ. ( Galatians 3:28)

That passage does not mean that race, gender, and freedom do not matter at all, it means that when it comes to God, there is no favoritism. Whatever you are, you inherit the same thing in Christ. all of us pray, all of us receive help from God, all of us are called to the same mission, that supersedes all the other differences.

Of course, if someone discriminates based on race, gender, or freedom, then do something about it, Christianity is the best basis for equal rights. Anyone is able to be a Christian, and Christians do not focus just on the free and respected people.

Ours is a religion of going to remote tribes, prisons, jails, ghettos, gangs, slaves, junkies, hospitals, mental institutions, new civilizations, old civilizations, anywhere and everywhere we go.

Christians stand before kings and culprits alike, and do not care. It’s historical as well as doctrinal.

For this very reason, if someone is tying religion to their race, history, or gender, I already have to wonder about what they believe. Certainly, it’s not the Bible.

Now, there are plenty of religions that allow for the superiority of one race…but Christianity is not one of them.

Though it has been used that way but that was when it was mixed with other ideas and what was actually in the Bible was ignored.

Look, I’m not trying to insult anyone, but is Jesus only the savior of black people? Or is He the Savior of white, Latino, Asian, and every other race under the sun. Heck, if a race of people lived underground their whole lives, He’d be their Savior too.

When white people regrettably brought slaves to my country, it wasn’t right (though, it also wasn’t just the white people, the Africans sold each other too.)

But oddly enough, even as cruel as we were, we shared the most important thing of all with the slaves: Our faith.

Strangely enough, this things that matters most, that is the key to life, is the one thing we weren’t holding back from them.

It’s not really a thing to brag about, because strangely, this is a common theme in history. People can be cruel to each other, but, somehow, a lot of the more organized empires have always stressed sharing religion as the most important thing.

To share truth, and God, is rather strange, because God may take pity on the people you’ve conquered, and decide to help them…so why tell them who to ask?

Yet, it’s all over. From Rome to Babylon. I won’t say the religions were always good ones, but the fact that humans are so adamant about sharing what they think is the real God with each other it really rather a strange phenomenon, we’re so selfish about most things.

Religion was used against black people, but it ultimately was the main reason they were freed and makes the best case for Civil Rights. Also, many slave holders, contrary to what you might hear, treated their slaves better when they believed the most in the Bible. Because it says to treat slaves well, not all masters were terrible people.

I also find is rather ironic to say that your blackness is tied to your religion, and its history, when the Bible doesn’t actually condemn slavery…

Nor does it say it’s exactly right. But that’s another story.

Now, I’m not just picking on black people here, this happens all over the place. This incident highlights one place is all. Identity-based religion and politics always ends up compromising some of the religion or politics itself, just for the sake of affirming one’s identity.

Gratitude:

I want to be thankful to the many people who refuse to be stereotyped or to use their race or gender as leverage.

I’d personally give Kanye West credit for at least not being intimidated about it, if nothing else.

I”m grateful for the readers who don’t give me hate comments for stating these opinions, I’m aware I would be ripped to shreds on many other blogs just for daring to say that black people can mishandle these issues at all.

Also, I spent 6 years of my life going to an almost all-black church, the pastor like to say there was no such thing as a black or white church.

I can say the style is different, and often the doctrine is different too. I didn’t like it overmuch but it’s not like I never have issues with white churches either.

Really, I think it has more to do with the faith of the people and not what color they are. There are black people at my mostly white and Hispanic church, so clearly, it’s not a race-based difference.

I could spend a whole post comparing the pros and cons of each, but does it really matter?

Anyway, I guess my main point was, if we’re going to criticize people, it needs to be for a real reason. And more importantly, Christians should never ever act like they own their religion, like they have the only right way of expressing it, and like they have more of a right to God because of their history.

In the history of human suffering every race has its share of hard periods, but I think the Jews have the worst of it overall. They don’t even get to be left alone in their own country. (And I am part Jewish.)

I do not say this to minimize anything, but to give the proper respect to all people. We all have it bad, we all have it good. We all suffer, yet God takes care of all of us.

And God himself suffers.

So, today, I’m just grateful to worship a God who won’t turn away anyone who seeks Him for help.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving, –Natasha.

Happy New Year’s resolution.

Another year, another chance to fufill my goals.

But I’m not into making New Year’s REsolutions. I think, like most people, that they are an optimistic waste of time.

The real problem with NEw Year’s resolutions isn’t what every one says, that being that we just can’t hold ourselves to them.

That is a problem. But the truth is, if you really try, you can keep a resolution.

I have. As I’ve shared before, I’ve gone cold turkey ont hings, and I haven’t gone back to them.

I’ve sucessfully taken a break from doing certaint hings and eating or drinking certain stuff.

It can be done.

Yay!

I think it’s a lame exuse to say Resolutions just can’t be kept. Improving yourself isn’t a bad idea.

But the problem I do see with this New Year’s thing is that it makes resolution a joke. OR at the very least a fun thing. Or, if not that, then a popular fad.

Which kills all power in the resolution.

Resolutions are never fun, they aren’t funny, they usually aren’t popular.

For example, I could resolve to go see every new superhero movie the day of its release. That’s not going to be that hard on a personal level, though financially it would be.

It’s not like that culturally unacceptable. No one’s going to call me a prude or anything if I do it.

But if I were to resolve never to watch television fora w hole year, I’m sure some people would call that overboard.

(Try it and see, it’d be an interesting experience.)

But making a resolution just because everyone else is doing it and it’s a tradition defeats the point.

One has to be  serious about what they resolve. There has to be a real desire to change, and a real will to stick it out. Trust me, when there’s not , yo won’t last the week.

And any Christian would tell you, the grace of God is what makes it possible.

One can resolve and stick to it on mere will power, but that’s not the best way. It’s better to resolve something out of passion. Hiving the correct motivation to.

Those changes just aren’t made a whole lot. They’re the changes we all secretly wish the people around us would make, and wish also that we ourselves could make.

Humanity longs for change. None of us are always satisfied with who we are. Nor should we be.

I am no talking about hating yourself. I mean hating the thing that you do that are less than good. Or just mediocre.

Sometimes you have to hate the dumb things you do before you realize just how dumb they are.

I want to meet goals, but i don’t expect to change my habits all in one day or one week. So I make a dream list every new year.

I should review my old one and see if I did any of those things.

Until next time–Natasha.

Happy Day.

Hey, I won’t wish you a happy Halloween, but a happy day in general I hope you have.

I think I posted about this last year, but honestly I don’t remember what I said. I doubt anyone else does either. (Let’s be real, blog posts aren’t things that get revisited again and again like YouTube videos.)

I’m not a huge anti-Halloween person, but it’s the only holiday besides Dia de los Muertos that I wish didn’t exist.

Still, I’m seeing some other Christian bloggers saying Halloween is an opportunity. Since there’s pros and cons to this, it might be fun to explore both.

Let’s start with the cons:

Many elder adult Christians, and some younger ones, don’t like Halloween because, obviously, people over-hype it. And there is not getting around that many people do celebrate the wrong things.

Fifty years ago, celebrating your inner monster, or witch, or whatever, would have been appalling. And for a good reason. Those things are Evil.

Witches are not cool. I don’t care what movies say.

Monsters are not good. They are called monsters for that very reasons. They always murder, destroy, and pillage. (Sometimes there’s a bizarre sexual part of it too.)

Hey, I don’t care if I tick any monster lovers off by saying so. Facts are facts.

But Christians hate Halloween even more because so many of the things are directly or indirectly satanic. Demons, devils, black magic, superstition. Heck, whether you buy it or not, the concept of these things is at least bad. (Again, sorry.)

I’m explaining the position, I’m not taking it, yet.

My father also hates that a lot of the church now does things on Halloween because he sees it as compromising with the world. Trying to be cooler, more relatable, and not party poopers.

Frankly, I doubt the world at large cares whether we boycott Halloween or not, but our friends might. I’ve never lost a friend over that, but I do get some strange glances and I find people just don’t get why I could be so uptight.

So, in defense of what is definitely the more awkward position, let me say to everyone who is okay with Halloween, go easy on you Christian friends or family who don’t like it.

We have a lot of reasons to, and we don’t explain all of them because we know it sounds weird. When we do explain, usually no one gets it.

Which would be okay, except in my case it can make your own relatives roll their eyes at you, and that stings.

Even if you are Christian and celebrate Halloween for your own reasons, don’t call the people who don’t legalistic. (That’s biblical, by the way.)

there’s a lot of negative things about Halloween that even non-christian parents are concerned about, and there’s plenty of creeps out there on Halloween to justify being cautious about it.

There are real live people who are involved int he occult and who celebrate Halloween for that reason. It’s not pretty, and I don’t even know how common it is, but the fact is, Christians are’t the only ones who can be weird about the day.

That said, most of us don’t know the people on the other end of the spectrum, but we do know Christians. So I’m talking about that.

Christians may just feel Halloween has too many bad connotations, and can’t in good conscience condone it. They may also know people who, while they aren’t in the occult, do take the death and spooks side of Halloween way way too far, and that’s pretty weird in of itself. Christians don’t want their kids to think that’s acceptable.

This is totally reasonable.

So that’s one side of the issue.

The other side is that Halloween, whether we like it or not, exists. And we can either put about it and freak out that the devil gets a whole day to be celebrated (ahhh!!) or we can suck it up and make the most of what opportunities we have to connect with people in healthy ways through the day.

I mean, handing out treats isn’t inherently evil. Netither is wearing costumes. Neither is having a party, and having wired lightning and crazy decorations.

I’ve done some Church hosted trunk or treats (like trick or treating, but with cars instead of houses) and I had fun and got a lot of candy. (Not always candy I liked, but I’m a picky candy eater.)

My Christian Halloween experience was mostly different just in that most people didn’t dress up as witches, ghouls, or whatever. One guy did wear a viking-like dress. But I’m pretty sure it was a joke. (Some guys do have that sense of humor right?) We dressed up as angels, princesses, historical characters (me,) presents, and even a banana.

Also I believe the decor was more harvest oriented than spooky.

I honestly don’t think that’s wrong. Taking out the negative elements of Halloween and leaving the positive is perfectly within Biblical precedents. And it’s not a discountable ministry tool. Plenty of parents don’t like the idea of their kids going to strangers homes. a family friendly event at a church makes  a lot of parents feel safer about their kids doing the costume and candy gig.

However, I personally don’t celebrate the holiday in any form.

I don’t think it’s a sin to take the more proactive route, but personally I feel no need.

The fact is, even if you redeem the day, you still have to face the fact that it originated as something bad and pretty messed up even; if you study the history of it.

It’s god to redeem a bad thing into a good thing, but the Bible makes no secret of the fact that it is far better never to have had the evil in the first place.

Broken bones can heal stronger than they were before, that doesn’t mean you should try to break them.

So, basically the good in Halloween is all a patch up job. Not wrong, but not as good as the day being totally pure to begin with would be. And that’s why I treat Halloween like any other day, because in the wider scope of things, every day is from God. And eh’s not hindered by what men do on it from blessing the day to His purposes. (Why be God if you can’t ignore what the enemy is doing in one place in order to do something better in a different place?)

I’m well aware that if more than five people read this, I’m definitely going to get both sides of the debate here.

And hey, you could think I’m still being too lenient, or that I’m being too harsh; but, much as I like being in the right, I have to admit that the Bible itself would tell me that this day is open to being redefined.

So, in whatever way you wish to do that, here’s to all of us trying to do good today.

Until next time–Natasha.

Happy Thanksgiving

Naturally, I won’t be posting tomorrow, so I’ll say it now.

I have a lot coming up. I’m turning 18 soon. Something I’ve been waiting for since I was old enough to like taking care of kids, which was 6 or 7 for me.(I don’t mean I babysat at that age, of course.) My birthday will also mean I’m finally old enough to drive, which I held off on till this long because I heard it was better, and we didn’t have a good car anyway. (It was an amazing car, but not for a beginner.) I also self inflicted a no-dating principle till I turned 18. And now I know why that was wise advice I was given, because looking back, I wasn’t ready to date any sooner than this.

This is my year of change, that is  certain. Nothing has been constant since this Summer, but thing started changing last Summer. I believe this is sometimes called a Year of Grace.

But I’ve become a much more confident person, and I’ve had some dreams to fulfill come to me, and I have places to get to in life. And how many people can say that at the brink of 18?

Circumstantially, I have less to be thankful for than I did a year ago. But I won’t focus on that. Those who have next to nothing and are thankful for that are more thankful than people who have plenty, 9 times out of 10.

So, as it is the point of the holiday, I encourage everyone to take a minute to look over the past year and see what they’ve grown into, and what experiences they had that taught them, or changed their lives. I’d love to hear about this if anyone wants to comment. Thank you for reading, see you after Thursday.–Natasha.