Killing God With the Power of Friendship: an anime conundrum.

Okay weeboos, let’s do this.                              image (27)

If you’re not into anime, stick around, this should still be interesting.

You know the famous (and depressing) philosopher Nietzsche? The guy who reputedly said “God is Dead.” Or, that God never existed and the idea of Him is what is in fact dead.

I am starting to think almost every single writer in Japan is with Nietzsche on this one.

Since I got into anime about a year or two maybe ago, I’ve seen maybe 20, not nearly as many as die hard fans, but a fair amount, and I’ve heard the plot of other ones from reviewers and my sisters.

And I started noticing a really weird common thread in Shonen or sometimes Isekai anime.

Shonen anime is basically superhero/special power adventure type shows.                                                                   katsuki-bakugou-my-hero-academic-4k-3o

Isekai is AU, or other world based shows, where the premise usually starts with an ordinary guy or girl somehow being transported to another world, sometimes through reincarnation, sometimes a summoning, etc.                                                          HappyColor_19332

There’s a few anime that are kind of a combination of genres that also would fit what I’m about to describe.

Nearly every anime of this sort that I’ve seen ends in, or has some plot at some point, that involves defeating a character that is said to be either a god, or basically the equivalent of a god, or maybe even The God.

The character is typically a villain, of course, and usually cruel and power mad and ready to wipe out or enslave the human race.

An then the protagonist will either use paragon powers, or the power of friendship to do what everyone swore was impossible for the whole show, and kill this god character.

If you think I’m wrong…well…

Naruto, easily one of the most popular anime of all time, ends (SPOILER ALERT) with Naruto and his team effectively killing or defeating at least, a god and…maybe another god? It was unclear (honestly most of the fans agree it was bizarre).

Fairy Tail, another really popular and really lengthy anime, also ends with a character who had basically become a god (or was cursed by the gods) being killed. Two characters, actually. Along with a host of other very powerful, god like people. There were even “godslayers” in the show.

I recently started Katana Maidens, it ended the first half with defeating an evil goddess.

What’s funny is if the show doesn’t kill the god, they end up subduing it to the hero’es side. Like, the heroes will still beat it, it’ll just become their friend then.

Examples include Dragon Ball when it got to Beerus (weird but funny)

Probably Fruits Basket, so far it hasn’t concluded.

Freaking Boruto advertised the killing god ending in the first episode

Full Metal Alchemist, from what I hear.

Not to mention a crap ton of video games made in Japan also have you fight gods or fate, and defeat it.

Speaking of Fate, if we counted the amount of anime that have people declaring they’ll change or resist Fate, we could count a lot of  Rom Com or slice of life or sci-fi anime also.

And it’s starting to trickle into American Media influenced by anime.

 

she-ra-season-5-netflix     NetFlix’es She-Ra ends with a character who claimed to be like God dying.

The freaking Guardians of the Galaxy kill a god in their 2nd movie. Thanos gets killed in Endgame.

But those examples are a bit more shaky, Anime is what has the gods actually have followers, and a lot of power and they are almost always evil, or else stupid or lazy like Konosuba’s (I suppose that beats evil.)

Personally, I prefer anime that just stay off the subject, because once they introduce a god, the show always gets much, much darker.

Oh, yeah, that new BNA Netflix show also has a god battle in the end… I guess I won’t spoil what happens (I think the show really wasn’t that good but some people like it.)

I’m sure a hardcore weeaboo could name a bunch of stuff I’ve missed too. But I think you get the idea.

What the heck is with this trope? No one ever talks about it, but it’s everywhere.

And if we extend it to how many anime have a weird Catholic-garbed religious sect as the evil villains in at least one arc, then pretty much every shonen and isekai would now be on the list.

As a Christian, I find it pretty creepy when elements related to my religion are turned into some weird cult thing on a show. I hear that most people in Japan don’t even know much about the Church, they just think the outfits look cool, and the symbolism. Ever wonder why so many anime villains wear crosses? Yeah… I don’t get it.

Personally, I really think the writers could bother to look it up before using it, a lot of Christians watch this stuff. Why be insensitive?

Not that Christianity being villainized is anything to be surprised at.

As I noticed this trope, I began to wonder why it was so prevalent. My sister told me that in a video about Christianity in Japan, people admitted that it was rare, and that people there are often afraid of religion. They might acknowledge Buddhism a little, but they don’t have deep beliefs in it.

Kind of how many people treat yoga and other Eastern teachings and practices. Like a buffet you can pick and choose from.

I think that it’s interesting that anime comes from a culture of not very serious religion, and it itself often treats God as the problem, an obstacle in the way of harmony, peace, and our own human happiness.

It makes me kind of sad actually. God is so different to me.

Many people, even Christians, think of God as distant, angry, or cruel. Unwilling to help us. Thwarting our plans, etc.

God does do that.

But I don’t think most people stay away from God because they think He’s cruel.

I don’t think, at the heart of anime and possible Japan, if one could know that from its media, is truly the fear of a cruel God.

What the real fear seems to be is of the all consuming nature of God.

We, in general, are okay with dipping our toes into religion. Maybe trying church once in a while, maybe reading a little about it, maybe praying to God, maybe not any specific god.

Even Christians live distant from God. Many religions teach that God or the gods are distant on purpose, only a few enlightened people can get close to them, only a few should. The rest of us should just live ordinary, good lives.

Generally, only the best and brightest of us humans can approach the gods. See Greek Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, any mythology…

Christianity shocks people, and scares them, by bringing God too close. It slaps you in the face with it, and pins you down till you squirm.

We’re told that God searches the hearts of men.

David even prays for God to strike his enemies in the face, a very personal kind of blow compared to just “smite them”.

And the story of the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when they begged Moses to go speak to God for them, and they wouldn’t themselves, they were afraid they would die.

God’s might and power and holiness are what scare us the most about Him.

In my own life, I grew up knowing God was good, but the sheer greatness of Him frightened me. I thought God would control me in a way I would hate, and I could never escape it, so I hid from Him. (Sounds like an anime to me.)

Later I found out God doesn’t force us to do things in that way. Not when it comes to accepting Him.

God can be puzzling to people. Eastern religion tries to reconcile the good and evil in the world by saying there must be an equal amount for balance.

The God of the Bible can seem like a collection of contradictions. He is Just, He is Merciful. He is a still small voice, he is in a whirlwind. The list goes on. But always, He is Good.

It’s overwhelming all right.

I understand fearing God. But I don’t know how anyone could believe God was defeatable.

The arrogance of anime is astounding. Especially since it comes with a lot of very wimpy messages.

They go to great lengths to kill the god characters…and ironically, they kill their own moral standing.

If you think about it, if God is real, or the gods are real, and they are in control of the world…then if you kill them, you’ve kind of doomed us all.

I find many endings to promising animes unsatisfying. They can’t commit to a message. Naruto most infuriatingly ended the show still never answering Pain’s excellent question about how he intended to heal the world.

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I think the writers must know deep down it’d be ludicrous to say one human could do all that, but they have cut off their only viable option, a Divine Being… so they are forced to just leave the question open ended.

Think about how many anime end with “basically everything went on the same way it always had” That’s not an ending. That’s… stalling.

Characters usually talk like this “I think maybe this…” or “I have hope that somehow…” Like, they never know anything. They never have logic, or an argument, or proof. Just blind hope in… nothing. They hope for hope’s sake.

It just doesn’t work for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy many shows, and I like the more pure characters and romances. Those can be done decently well.

But the moment any major statement about the world is made, it’s weak.

The reason is obvious. Without God, there is just no moral standard anyone can possible be made to conform to. Maybe you can just pick one out of thin air (I doubt it) but you have no right to complain if other people disagree with you. Meaning Unity is virtually impossible.

People complain about organized religion without realizing it is the only reason society can even exist. Religion decides morals, morals decide the justice system, and no society of 5 people, let alone 5 million, can survive without a justice system.

Without God, what gives our lives meaning? There’s a sadly high suicide rate in Asia, Japan is no exception.

A lot of anime try to encourage kids not to kill themselves over failed work or grades or goals, to keep trying.

As if trying ever cured depression.

I appreciate the effort, but it’s hopeless. It’ll never work.

The ones that say love is the reason to hang in there are much closer to the truth.

I’ve mentioned that I deal with depression, sometimes suicidal thoughts. Though, I more of mean, I wonder why I don’t give up. I wonder what keeps me going. When so many people take that way out, what gives me any reason to believe I won’t or can’t?

It’s weird, but my dad often got depressed over work and feeling useless, so anime can be very familiar to me. And it make me sad the same way my dad would make me sad. It causes me to wonder, what will my answer be to the same failures and disappointments? Will it be his, or will I have a better one.

Slowly, God is helping me answer that question.

The more I learn, the less I think the “Try harder” message will work.

And the less the “killing God” message seems like anything but emotional suicide to me.

I know I can’t assume Japanese people really think that way.

But, if they did, I would feel very sorry for them. It’s all about being strong enough yourself to face life, not needing anyone, not needing help. Definitely not needing God.

(The implied message often is, no one will be there to help you anyway.)

But what other foundation could someone find their worth in? God made you, God put you here for a reason.

In the end, trying to protect yourself from God is like trying not to breathe. It’s the very thing you need to live, and you can’t get away from it.

God can be like water. Try to block him out and the pressure will build up until something explodes. But accept Him, and it’s like going into a pool. At first it’s a shock, but then it’s a relief.

Anyway, that’s enough for now, maybe I’ll explore this more in the future. Until then, stay honest–Natasha.

 

Good is not good enough.

I am one sub away from 150, guys! Whoo!

I always appreciate when people look at my stuff on days when I don’t post because it means the traffic is consistent, if you have your own blog, you know what I’m talking about.

Well, I was watching Ray Comfort today.

I know some Christians follow this blog, and if you are Christian, I recommend checking out the Living Waters YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmrVJGUS1u5-Hsm_BFS_1YA)

It’s a great way to broaden your horizons by getting to see the Gospel presented to all kinds of people, and in a gentle, non aggressive, but intelligent way. Ray uses science, reason, and emotional weight. [I was not paid to say any of this, I just like the channel and content 🙂 ]

Christians struggle with evangelism, which is a long word for going to people and telling them about Jesus.

Me, I prefer it if it comes up in conversation, especially if I can discuss science or philosophy, which many people think Christians hate doing.

A lot of Christians think evangelizing needs to be done through showing people the love of God.

I totally agree we need to be loving to people, but what Ray Comfort has highlighted for me is that we need to be doing more than that.

The trouble with the “love on people” approach that I’ve seen within the Church itself, not just with nonbelievers, is that it’s non confrontational, and it doesn’t change people’s minds.

I’ve heard many pastors reprimand their congregation for the harsh or judgmental approach.

The thing is, often people who go to Churches who preach mercy and kindness are not the ones who are judgy and harsh, those people go to Churches that preach that as the way to be. Really, my parents church shopped a lot when I was younger, I know the drill, it’s easy to find somewhere that echoes all your own behavior.

I find it singularly unhelpful to get the “just love on people” advice because it’s so vague… what am I supposed to do with that?

One of Ray’s tactics is to help people understand why they are guilty of sin.

Everyone already knows they are a sinner, but the average person will claim to be a good person, they think that they do more good than bad, or just not enough bad to warrant punishment.

Some people think they should be spared just because they have a good heart. (All things real people said, by the way.)

It’s easy to get people to admit they lie, and they’ve stolen, and they lust, sometimes that they dishonor their parents and have sex out of wedlock. People don’t even think of some of those things as wrong.

Ray never goes into the things like murder, envy, working on the Sabbath, and worshiping idols. It’s easy enough to show we do all that, but harder to prove on the spot, and the others ones people admit to faster.

I was raised christian, and i try not to lie, or steal, but I still remember getting caught stealing as a kid, just minor things my mom immediately made me return.

I don’t lie now, no directly, I’m not sure I am fully honest thought. A lot of us lie, thinking it’s the truth, but if we really looked at our thoughts and feelings, we’d know it was a lie.

Ever have someone tell you “I’m not mad” and they were so obviously about to blow a gasket?

Or “I’m not jealous” when they were.

Yeah, it’s not too hard to see we’re all guilty.

But most people, and most religions in fact, fall back on the idea that our good can outweigh our bad when we stand before God.

Ray confronts this with the point that even a human judge will not care about what you do right, you go to jail for what you do wrong.

What if a serial killer killed person after person and then donated to charity each time, and the charity saved 10 lives. Does he or she get to keep killing people just because they are saving 10 lives for every 1 they take?

Please, please tell me you didn’t have to think about that one, I’ve known philosophy groups where that would be a tough question, (Philosophy is an absolutely useless field of study without theism, as it turns out. People just argue and get nowhere).

To expound on Ray’s point, is it fair to judge people only for what they do wrong? Why is one mistake, or even several, enough to negate all the good.

There are two big misconceptions of sin in this line of thinking. But most people will understand it once it’s been pointed out to them, because deep down, we know it’s not right.

The first misconception is that our human nature can be bad and good at the same time. I will see this everywhere, from My Little Pony reviews to philosophical videos, to real people talking about everyday life. Hollywood love propagating this idea, can’t imagine why…

Is it possible to be both a bad and good person?

It’s easy to look at the bad and good actions people do, and say “they must have bad and good in them, so they are’t wicked people.”

But, it doesn’t work.

In any area of life, name one thin that can be both bad and good.

I sorted lemons yesterday, I found a bunch that had mold on them. The mold isn’t in the whole lemon, it’s just on part of it, theoretically, the lemon had good parts in it still…should I eat it?

The answer is no. Fruit is tricky, depending on the kind, but usually you cannot eat it once it’s moldy, the sugars are decomposing, even inside the part that isn’t bad looking yet, and you could get sick.

Some foods, like potatoes, the mold can be cut off and there rest of it is good, but you get less of it that way, and you still have to cut out the bad part, only a truly starving person eats a bad fruit or vegetable whole.

Another example, if you have a car that works perfectly, all except for one tire, or one thing in the engine, or the brakes, is it safe to drive? image (15)

The answer is NO.

Yet again, if a human being does lots of good and then rapes or murders one person, who would not punish them? Only someone just as bad trying to cover their own sins. Why else do evil people flock together?

The Bible takes the same approach to sin in a person. Jesus warned “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” meaning a little yeast spreads through all the dough. One sin is never the end of it. If you sin once, you’ll sin again, even if it’s not the same sin.

Jesus also said to do the cutting off thing. “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off, it’s better to enter heaven with only one hand than to be cast into hell” (paraphrase)

Sin is like cancer, it has to be removed. Or like a broken car, replaced with a working part.

The second misconception people have, even more important, is that Sin is natural. That everyone does it, so it wouldn’t be right to have a high standard about it.

It’s true that Human Nature is sinful, so Sin is natural in that way, to man. But it doesn’t mean it’s natural as in it was intended to be that way.

Weeds are “natural” to a garden, they grow there of their own accord, and the weed is a living thing, doing what it’s programmed to do, yet it’s not the plan for the garden to have weeds in it. Some weeds choke out wheat, is it the wheat’s nature to be strangled? No.

Breaking the Law of Morality that everyone knows in their heart is something we all do, but it’s not Natural, in that it was meant to be and is fitting in ourselves to do.

You see, the reason you get punished for breaking one law, even if you keep 9 others, is that keeping the law is simply what you should have done.

You don’t get rewarded in life for doing the bare minimum. You show up to school with your own school supplies because you should, you tie your shoes, you call your mom on Mother’s Day.

You get what I’m saying? This is just average. But do less, and you’re either unprepared or downright negligent.

Fulfilling God’s law to the full is just the bare minimum of good living. There’s a lot beyond the law, like beauty, fun, and freedom, that are what God really intended Life to be about (You know that Eden means Delight? Where God meant humans to live in).

Now, as the world is today, fulfilling the law is impossible, and so is being a good person.

When we say someone is good, what we really mean is “They are someone who being good is important to, and they try, but yeah, they still do bad things”.

Bad means that they don’t even try, they just revel in being bad.

But Jesus rightly said “there is none good but God” no one but God can be the kind of Good God wants.

Even angels have fallen, God is the only being who has remained incorruptible throughout all time and outside of time. That is why evil god stories are so terrifying, if God is not good, than we are all lost.

I find the idea that God isn’t good silly, because anyone who has lived with a tyrant who tries to make everyone miserable knows the power of even one man to destroy lives, and if God was even as malevolent as man, no one would be happy, ever.

That happiness and love still exist is proof God must be good, they would never survive otherwise.

The Bible says human righteousness is “like filthy rags.”

So, the question is, now what?

I don’t consider myself a bad person.

Not because I am good. I have lots of problems. And I am not as aware of my own sins as I should be.

Like all people, I’m conceited about the level of my own sin.

But, the good news is, I don’t need to worry about it. I can do my best, but if at the end of every day I still come up short. it’s okay, because Jesus has covered it.

He has given me his righteousness, as the Words puts it, so that I am blameless before God.

That’s the gospel in a nutshell. We can’t do it, but God can.

The road to God is different for everyone. People have all kinds of issues with self worth, pride, and everything else. But the simplest way to find God is to repent and trust Jesus for salvation.

God can reveal himself many ways, but only one way do we give ourselves to Him, and that is through Jesus.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed getting my take on this angle, and until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

To Good Men.

I was watching a Reddit video the other day, it was asking men if they had ever experienced sexism. There was a lot of surprising stories.

I know men experience sexism, you just have to hang out with any average group of under-30-year-old women for long enough, you’ll hear it.

To be fair, I’ve heard male sexism from my own father, so I am not unaware it is in fact real.

Some of the comments were a little hard on women, and some described something I wouldn’t really call sexism, like expecting the man to pay for food, that’s chivalry, just like a woman should be respectful and not say certain things.

I am not saying that because I’m afraid of men and have some weird idea about submission (more on that later), but because I don’t think women get a free pass to say whatever they want about men just because men are supposedly sexist pigs (as always, the irony is that is a sexism statement.)

By and large, however, I agreed with the men. Some were not hired because company managers preferred to hire women, or were told to hire women for “diversity.” Often if the manager was a woman, she didn’t like men, but there was even a man who didn’t like hiring men… yeah, only hired young women… you can guess from there.

Well, not really sexist so much as gross in that last case.

Men don’t get preferred for child custody, even when they are clearly the more responsible parent. I even have a personal example of that, one of my cousins married a real psycho woman, who ended up in prison, that was how he finally got custody, if I’m not mistaken, and she had two kids. When I knew her she wasn’t as insane, but she was not a good mom. I could see that (and I was a teenager).

So, needless to say, I believe these stories. The most horrifying ones is where fathers get the police called on them for being with their own kids at a playground, just being responsible. And get comments that they are just “giving mommy a break.” Even when they are the one who spends more time taking care of the kids.

Men just do not get enough credit, yeah, I said it.

I don’t care if women want to work the same jobs as men, I want to be able to do things like that, but it’s not like it’s some kind of special achievement to be woman and work a job that men usually do, not now that it’s common. Even before, isn’t it just a necessity to work?

Look at it this way, do you think men deserve kudos for being actors, dancers, painters, chefs, and teachers? Things now seen as more natural for women (most of my drama group participants were girls, no matter what group it was.) Their work might deserve credit, but do they get credit just for being men in a field dominated by women, or at least gay men, according to the stereotype.

Some people might, but most won’t think men deserve credit because of their gender.

I don’t see how it’s any different for a woman. I want to be proud of what I do because it’s worth doing, not because it’s something not a lot of women do, and that’s rare now.

I felt like dedicating this post to all the men out there who are doing a good job with their families, who are trying to work hard, and value quality over a meaningless diversity.

I’d like to give a shout out to the fathers I know at my church who are involved in their kid’s lives and take care of them. Who adopted kids when they couldn’t have any, and chose one girl no one else wanted who didn’t even speak English.

To the pastors who go out of their way to take care of people in the congregation and outside it. Who aren’t too good to work in food distribution alongside us laymen.

To the men who volunteer in children’s ministry and play music and teach classes and assist us ladies in our class.

To the male preschool teacher I know.

To the guy who mows our lawn sometimes without us asking for it (I’ve actually seen this in more than one neighborhood.)

To my grandpa who paid for my braces.

I do not take you all for granted.

Funny, because as a woman with a bad dad, I am supposed to hate men. I grew up being picked on by my dad, but I never hated boys, I thought they were fun, I still do.

Guys can be more forgiving of my loud, opinionated personality type than girls can. Just the way it is. Which defies the stereotype of men not liking women to have a mind of their own.

I’ve had issues with a lot of men in my life, but they were all of a certain type, generally kind of sexist, or at leas prideful. There’s always been men I got along with fine, from childhood up, and I don’t see any reason to put all of them in the same box any more than I’d put all women in that box.

Geez, it’s like you can’t even like men anymore, in public. Women who support male politicians get torn to shreds by other women. Women who think feminism is completely out of control.

Hey, I got flack for supporting the bible at church, and what it said about men and women.

A note on that for anyone who might wonder if I really believe women should submit to men.

  1. I think it’s talking about wives and husbands, in the greek those words are the same as man and woman.
  2. I think, like modesty, submission is going to look different depending on your culture. In the USA, women can be very independent, and men ought to understand the kind of person they are marrying, as well as the demands of our society; a woman can’t usually rely on a man in Western Culture because it’s set up so that everyone has to work and make decisions on a daily basis without consulting their spouse on every occasion. I think in a culture where women were mostly solely dependent on men, the men had more of a right to make decisions about stuff they knew more about, but the Bible doesn’t teach that women have to agree with men, or do anything they think is wrong, or that they cannot correct men on something if they are wrong, just that they need to do it with grace, as with anyone else, and with patience.

Furthermore, I think the submission question misses two things, one, if any man is demanding submission, he already had an attitude problem, unless the woman is acting totally childish about something and anyone would have to stop her.

The other thing is that we are also told to submit to one another, meaning we need to put other people’s preferences first most of the time. A good marriage will mean both people want to do that, and we get the classic give and take that we all go gaga for in fiction.

But in the event that doesn’t happen, at least one person needs to be doing it, the one who claims to know God. A lot of times, that’s the woman.

If I was to add a third, I think that submission does not mean a wife cannot disagree, and argue with her husband. I’ve heard the submission card thrown around as a way to silence opposition period. It really means that when no one can agree, someone has to decide. And a husband can certainly just yield to his wife if he wants to, and many do, a lot. It’s kind of unfair now how often men are expected to cave in to whatever their girlfriends want, and many women feel no such need for their boyfriends.

I’ve seen it work both ways, can we just agree that selfishness in just bad in general, and that in both genders.

Well, time to wrap this up.

So, I like men. I don’t like all of them, all the time, but I like the kind of people they can be, and sometimes they are better at certain qualities I admire than the girls I know.  I am actually glad to know better men than my father, because it gives me something else to use as a standard.

It could be easy to start suspecting all men are secretly jerks at home, but you really just need to listen to their wives and kids closely enough, and you’ll know.

Anyway, big thank you to all the good guys out there, and the women who appreciate them, and until next time–Natasha.

 

 

 

Ministering and the Mobile Home Park.

Okay, okay, I won’t write about the Virus anymore. I hope.

I haven’t looked (because I don’t care) but I bet that’s the main subject of a ton of the blogs on this domain right now.

I like that a lot of the YouTubers I follow are choosing to still try to make their videos and keep it regular. Trying to brighten people’s day a little. I will say my blog traffic is increasing.

I’d rather not get traffic because of an epidemic, but maybe people will find it uplifting.

I have another story for you today.

My church is continuing with their efforts at helping. My pastor keeps saying he wants it to be like the book of Acts, getting out there and ministering to people on the street, at their homes, the old fashioned way. Thinking of creative ways to have service and stay connected.

images (2)

So, today we went to the mobile home park behind our church to take people emergency food and give them a flier to call us if they needed anything else. Also writing down their needs and offering to pray for them. They were seniors, the high risk people, so we wore gloves, and someone had graciously donated masks.

Image result for image for mobile home park

I cant help but feel being part of a big church at a time like this has its perks. My church has a network of people who communicate to supply things. I kind of took that for granted before, but we’re probably still functioning because of that. Many churches are just shut down entirely.

I wonder how other religious institutions are doing. I wouldn’t have any way to know except Googling it.

Some people were scared to come outside and take stuff from us. Others came right out and smiled. Some told us they didn’t need it, they had enough. Others that they did need it and other stuff. Some said they’d just been praying and doing devotionals themselves this morning. There were a lot of Christians… I mean, I guess if you live behind a church, might as well be christian. (I don’t think that has anything to do with it really, but it must make it more encouraging to drive by that every day when you leave the unit.)

We still had boxes left over because so may people said they didn’t need it and to just go on and give it to someone who did. Some were crying because they were so touched that we thought of them to do this.

It did not seem remarkable to me at the time, but I guess these are the cute stories newspapers like to cover and people like to share on social media. (Hey, go ahead if you want. I don’t mind. You don’t have to though.) I don’t really feel like my life is that unusual, but I do get to be part of things that people think sound really special.

(I wonder how the homeless people in Skid Row are doing, my previous Church takes food there every so often, I’m sure they must be at risk, hopefully the church will find a way to still help them. It’s a bit far for my current church to travel.)

People have suggested that Christians only do stuff like this to feel good about themselves for helping the less fortune, the looked down in society. At a time like this, people’s pride goes into their pocket. I bet people who wouldn’t normally accept help from strangers would take a medical mask from one now, if they could be sure it wasn’t used.

Some people may do charity and volunteer acts in order to feel righteous. I doubt it matters that much to the most desperate people, as long as their needs are getting met, why should they care? It makes a difference to your own soul, and to your coworkers, what your attitude is, but the nice thing about Charity, is if it’s a good charity, it won’t make much difference to the people receiving it. (Not that that applies to everything, prayer without true compassion is both useless and discouraging to the one who receives it.)

Honestly, I think it scares people more that they might be received well. Because then they might have to do it again, and get involved. We humans are afraid of commitment to new things, especially ones we don’t get paid for. Its like money justifies the risk in our minds, but success and changing someone’s life don’t.

Image result for image for money vs changing lives

? Goals?

Image result for image for money vs changing lives

Or is it really…

Image result for image for money vs changing lives

More about this.

Some people think that is because we are selfish, and while we are, many people are willing to be unselfish if it’s within their comfort zone of talents and time. We are more likely to hold back out of fear than straight up selfishness. Fear is selfishness more cleverly disguised.

I am not sure why we are so afraid to do good. For me, it’s the fear that I am not good myself, that I will be shown to be a fake, and will not be able to really help. It took me a long time to become self aware of that, and even longer to really start to overcome it. Now it haunts me, even though it does not necessarily stop me from acting. My sister says “I think it’s called the Flesh.”

Call it that, or the Inner Bully, or Internal Critic, whatever name you have for it. It works the same way.

Human beings feel we have some kind of price to pay in life, that we cannot be Good, or Brave, or Noble, or Heroic. We have lost that right somewhere, and living a small, cowardly life is our just desert for it.

Original Sin can explain that pretty cleanly, though it’s not a popular explanation anymore.

Maybe we no longer have the right to be Great, but the world still has a need for us to be so. It amazes me when I hear the little known stories that get passed around in books, and blogs, and articles, that not a lot pf people read, but they’re so inspiring. The best deeds may be the ones hardly anyone knows about.

What did it mean to someone? That someone cared even enough to knock on their door and give them food? Who knows? Only God.

The Bible says at the end of time, we’ll all give an account for our lives, and our works will be tested with fire. For Christians, the fire will not destroy us, even if our works burn up, because works are not why we are saved. Others will be judged according to their deeds, as well as their lack of faith. Jesus said “He who does not believe is condemned already.”

We are told we’ll be judged for something as personal as “every idle word we speak.” God looks at the heart after all.

The point is, our works may be the most important where we thought they were the least.

There is nothing wrong with famous good deeds. We need to be inspired. Sometimes whole nations need to be changed, people need to be liberated.

But the thing about small deeds, it’s hard for history to pick them apart, and try to read ulterior motives into it. Someone might assign dark motives to helping someone carry their groceries, but it’s far less likely anyone would bother to try.

Social Media has made even little deeds bigger, but the ones we still do with out cameras off and and between our vlogs, are the ones that people will remember the most, the people we did them for anyway. I can’t be the only one who immediately feels I’ve sunk in important whenever I see someone filming.

Image result for image for camera

 

This has been longer than I expected…well, in conclusion, I am still encouraging people to think about what they can be doing to help, even if it’s just calling someone, or mailing them food or supplies. Or checking in on elderly neighbors, form a healthy distance of course.

This should be our all the time, but still, times like these are when people really appreciate someone being brave enough to reach out. I tip my metaphorical hat to all of you who are already doing that.

Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” (Proverbs 21:13)

Until next time, stay honest and healthy–Natasha.

Those who make them are like them.

I have another post about abuse today.

It won’t be especially sad though. Today I have more of a thought “Why does abuse happen?”

There are many, many reasons, I couldn’t possibly address them all.

But for a christian family like mine, I believe there is one reason that can be common. It’s not the only reason, but it’s an important one to understand if there’s ever going to be  road to healing.

That reason is Idolatry.

Idolatry is a fancy sounding word for one of the most common sins to man, that of worshiping something other than the One True God.

Even if you are not a Christian, it’s probably no strength for you to agree that there are things worth devoting your life to, and that many people do not devote their lives to the right thing, so if the religious term throws your off, just think of it like that.

Idolatry is just easier to use for me, since it’s one word, but in Church we usually call it False Images, False gods, or just Idols themselves.

In my family the False Image was My Family itself.

My dad has long been obsessed with being a better person, but his version of better was rather vague and unrealistic. It usually involved ridding himself of his faults as a parent and husband.

But his biggest faults in that regard was simply focusing on the flaws. He didn’t prioritize us ourselves, but this idea of what our family should look like.

Our family should have its own ministry (one he approved of)

Our family should make music

Our family should be more hospitable

Our family should all go tot he same church.

Our family should be a witness to the extended family.

He never took into consideration that maybe it was not his job to decide how we should serve God.

I am aware of  the Bible’s teaching about a whole household serving God. However, it never says everyone in the house should do the exact same thing. In the New Testament the control of family is a little lesser, since may early Christians did not have their whole family’s support.

It didn’t stop with Church stuff anyway. That was just what annoyed me the most.

Maybe you’ve had the same experience with your relatives.

My dad would also say repeatedly that our family was the most important thing to him and he got his happiness from us.

Which bugged me, I thought “We get our happiness form God, not each other.”

Not to misunderstand me, people can greatly increase our happiness, but it does not spring from them. If it does it’s fleeting, people die, they move, they move on, they ditch us, not all of them, but human based happiness is just not permanent.

It sounds like a Christian Cliche to say We Get our Happiness from God.

Oh, we’re so spiritual, right?

I know, but it really is true. It can be misused sure, to hide real problems, but so can most things.

It’s not that God makes me feel happy all the time, it’s that when Id o feel happy, it’s in God. I know it is from Him, and it is a gift.

By the way, there’s been a teaching in the Church that says the Bible never says “God wants you Happy”

Let me set you free if you’ve heard this: That is bull-crap.

No, you won’t find the exact words “God wants you happy” in scripture, the Bible prefers the words “Joy” “Rejoicing” “Praising” “Thankful” “Peaceful” “Exalted” and “Satisfying the desires of your heart.”

All that is stronger than happiness as a chemically induced fleeting feeling, though that too, because God also wants you healthy, and a healthy person will produce that physical feeling of happiness too.

I digress.

My dad used our family as a false god. Like all idols, it had to be removed from him for him to turn back to the real God.

And we had also to give up serving my dad’s happiness, instead of serving God’s. We wanted our dad to be happy, sure, but we could not keep trying to fill the void of God in his heart.

And we could not let him punish us with emotional abuse for inevitably failing to do the impossible.

It struck me what the Bible is talking about when it warns about idols.

You are what you adore, what you trust in, you become.

If you trust in a lie, you become a liar, and eventually, if you fall in with C. S. Lewis’s point of view in The Great Divorce, you become a lie itself.

If you trust in money, you become a miser.

If you trust in drugs, you become an addict.

All these states of being are merging you with the thing you worship. In the case of drugs it literally will get worked into you bloodstream, your DNA, and your brain engineering, and passed on to your kids.

“Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
 They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
 They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
 Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.” Psalms 115:4-6

“They have mouths but they do not speak; eyes they have but they do not see; they have ears but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.” Psalms 135:16-18

That’s why we are all sinners, by the way. Adam became a sinner, and in a way, he became sin, and so we carry that in our DNA now. We are born in sin, as the Word puts it.

Jesus became sin for us, the Word also says, in order to finally get Sin out of us. He killed sin by becoming it, and then dying.

The Bible also teaches that the Spirit of God is able to divide soul and spirit, and that is how we are saved from sin. God can separate the sinner form the sin.

We ourselves cannot do that, except by loving the sinner. We cannot transform them. But loving people will help them choose to be transformed.

In summary, I think almost all abuse happens due to idols

Many abusers are addicts, after all. All of them put power above God, certainly. Abuse is all about feeling powerful.

It’s important to keep in mind that focusing too much on being abused also can be a form of idolatry. God wants us to be healthy, and if we focus on him, we’ll start to heal. If we are letting Him help us.

But don’t wear your sorrow like a badge of honor, Paul boasted of his weakness because God was glorified in it, not because weakness all on its own is a glory.

One last thought

All of us are meant to be at rest, and to rejoice. Abusers and abused alike. However you handle your past, whatever you went through, even if you were the abuser in some ways, don’t think it mean you cannot ever be happy,

Happiness is not what we deserve, desert does not come into it at all. It’s the natural state of things. You can’t earn it because you were created for it, it’s just like putting a key into a lock. No question of deserving it, it would be stupid to ask that.

So, it’s okay to move on. Really.

And that’s all I got for you today. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Answer to what someone said.

Taking a break from my anime series in order to write a post that I felt inspired to write after reading something that popped up in my recommendations.

I don’t want to name the blog because I think it would be unfair to criticize them by name when I have not asked them, and I don’t want to be one of those people who ends up bringing down a hate storm on another social media person just because I disagree with them, publicly.

That being said, what grabbed me about this post was how strangely vague it was. It’s really a perfect example of a modern 20-30 year old’s viewpoint, as is commonly expressed in media. And, I meet college students who talk like this.

The post was discussing someone’s search for meaning, and going through school, not really taking philosophy, then studying mythology and wondering why the gods punished people for stuff they were fated to do, and how he went on to become a Marxist, and later a Romantic, that is, someone who denies that God, love, justice, beauty, are real.

He denies being a cynic, saying he appreciates them more because they are not real. And thinks that Jesus, when he was dying and felt forsaken by God, is a remarkable idea.

In the end, he almost laughs at himself for wanting to be real, when he’s made of wood. That he cannot dream himself into being human.

The last sentence of the post  declares himself Alone, and Meaningless in a dark, empty world.

(Any more and I’ll be directly quoting him.)

In all fairness, I can’t repeat it word for word, so you’re taking my summary of it as accurate, but the blogger himself admitted to basically finding meaning in nothing.

He reflects at one point about a Christian girl who once told him that God has put it into everyone’s hearts to want to know him.

He laughed it off then, but admits that it’s basically what he’s describing, but, he knows God is a lie.

After I finished reading this, I had one question: How does he know God is a lie?

This guy pretty clearly suffers from depression, I believe it’s even in other posts on his blog, so his thoughts may have a morbid tenancy anyway.

But I couldn’t help noticing that at no point in his story did he ever say he sought God personally. He asked other people about Him, and pondered the idea of God, as well as other values most people agree are real, and he found them unbelievable, for whatever reason.

But there is no record of Him approaching God face to face and seeking revelation.

Ironically, many times when nonchristians tell me they’ve sought truth, or sought God, it ends up meaning they sought ideas about Him. Perhaps they went to church briefly, they talked to a christian…and failing to be impressed by it, they left.

Well, Christians can be bad at representing our faith, however, part of the problem with nonbelievers is that they expect something of us that we are not able to give them.

God, frankly, never makes sense to anyone who has not tried to meet Him personally.

Not because God can not be explained in a way that makes sense, but because the explanation is not enough to make you know what He is like.

I can give you the best description of my friend, till you almost feel like you know them already…and until you hear them talk, see their face, or even see their handwriting, you will still lack a true impression of their character.

The God of the Bible, distinctly unlike gods of most religions, is not high up in the clouds, or deep down in the heart of the earth, He’s not in the sun, or the planets, or the wind.

God is not in one place, He is in everyplace, one can meet him in a closet, at a beach, on a mountain top, in a bar, in an alleyway, a brothel, a prison, a church, a battlefield…anywhere at all.

It is no use to say you have sought the truth about God, and found nothing in it, unless you have spoken to God directly. From the heart.

Someone might say “If you do not believe in God, then you cannot speak to Him from the Heart.”

If you yearn for meaning, if you feel dissatisfied with how empty life is, then, you can speak to God.

If you can speak to the void, to people who will never meet you, you can speak to God.

This is the one thing no one ever wants to do. In the Bible, in Exodus, when Moses approached God on the mountain of Sinai, the people begged him to talk to God for them, they said if they tried to, they would die.

Moses, in contrast, begged God to let him see His glory.

Was it really so impossible for the people?I wonder.

There is no record in the Bible of anyone ever praying to God sincerely, one on one, and not getting some kind of answer, even it it took awhile.

What there is a record of is God lamenting constantly that people do not seek him. He promises if He is sought, He will be found, if we seek with all our heart.

I will say, God is not found by anyone who is looking for him like one might look for a free show.

People who search for God flippantly, with the attitude that if He is not exactly what they want, they will bail, are unlikely to find anything.

I do not know this blogger well enough to say for certain why He has not found God, he seemed quite close, in some ways.

But, if I went just by what he said, as an idea, then my answer would be this: He did not find God because He did not seek him one on one.

It’s the simplest thing in the world to pray, yet, people are scared to death of it. It feels like such a commitment.

It’s funny too, since, no one else will ever know if you pray alone in your room, even in your head, but it still feels huge.

I may make someone angry by claiming that atheists are just too afraid to seek God, and I do understand that some of them have other reasons besides this…

…but, by and large, the people who hold the belief that all of life is meaningless are cowards. They believe that because they are afraid to believe it has meaning, because the meaning might be something they cannot handle. And if God could direct the meaning for them, they fear He will direct it a way they don’t like.

The meaning I even give to these people themselves is because I believe life has meaning, they ask that I listen to them, that I care, but deny the reason why I should. The honest ones admit that, but fail to see how the fact that they even care would in itself prove life has meaning.

You can’t want something that does not exist, you have a hunger because there is a food for it. You thirst because water exists. You feel pain because nerve endings are real.

You can’t ache inside without there being a balm for it.

This has run long, so I am going to end this post with this:

I don’t think this blogger will read my answer, and, I am not sure it would help him if he did, unless he could face his fears and look at God for himself.

But to me, it’s so beautifully simple. When I struggled with those feelings myself, the solution came when I spoke to God directly and surrendered to him.

That has no meaning to someone who despises that approach, thinks it’s too simple…Well, to that, all I will say for now is I don’t see much happiness in thinking the other way.

Until next time–Natasha.