So I watched Encanto…

One of the unsung perks of babysitting in this country is that you get to use people’s streaming accounts even if you don’t have them. I’ve watched a crap ton of Netflix and Disney Plus because of babysitting.

That’s how I watched Vivo…which is a better movie than Encanto, bite me.

Funny because Lin Manuel Miranda worked on both, I just think Vivo’s plot and themes suited his talents better than a Disney Girl musical (since now we aren’t even pretending they’re princesses…although this movie might as well have been about a princess.)

I’m not going to hate on Encanto, it was an enjoyable ride, but after watching it, I do think it is inferior to its predecessors.

I’m sure all of you are too nice to hate on me for saying that, but if I went on a different platform, I think I’d start a riot. Everyone seems to love this movie.

Well, it’s mediocre, sorry, not sorry.

I won’t deny the animation was gorgeous, a joy to watch. The songs were…predictable. The only one I thought really stood out as creative lyrically was the “Pressure” one. Then, Imperfect was okay, and “WE Don’t talk about Bruno” was impressive editing-wise, but lyrics were a little weird, I thought.

But I’m not much for modern musical movies, to be fair. I like old ones better.

i have before unashamedly said that I like Disney movies–some of them–and that Frozen is actually my favorite movie, for personal reasons. See: Why a DP movie is my favorite. Why a DP movie is my favorite part 2. I don’t think it’s the most amazing movie ever made, but it stands out form other Disney films, I’m not the only one who thought it has a different vibe, wrapped up in a Disney package, it still somehow felt unique. Thought he haters will never admit it.

Encanto is a beautiful mess, that is my honest opinion. I was interested in the plot while watching it, and the 3 year old I was watching it with loved the music. But I kept waiting for the movie to make its point…and by the end I was just…non plussed.

Encanto basically has two or three over arching themes, and it tries to bring all of them together at the end, but it doesn’t finish any of them. The ending was one of the most rushed I’ve seen in a Disney film, and the characters were not well flushed out. We only get depth on Luisa and Isabel, and it’s dropped after one song.

Abuela’s character being the cause of the magic disappearing was predictable, I called it form the beginning. But that wouldn’t have been bad. I thought it actually added to the idea that families often miss the obvious when it comes to their problems. It’s true in my family, for sure.

I actually thought they were going to do a Brave thing, and make it both the older and younger women had pride and selfishness, and that was the cause of the rift. And the magic of the family was tied to their unity.

The movie implies this, but doesn’t say it.

I could put that down to a wish for subtlety, except every other theme in this movie is blatant and shoved in your face, as with most kids’ movies, so why they would hesitated to spell it out for us, if they actually intended it, I don’t know.

I don’t necessarily mind blatant messages, I think kids need things to be spelled out for them, and adults who watch kid content should be prepared for that. But I think you can do it tastefully and creatively. Just singing it to save time is not tasteful.

The imagery in this movie is probably its best feature. The lights, the candle, the sand, the cracks.

I kind of thought Bruno’s character was less impressive than he could have been, he was exactly what I expected, and the goofy, kooky character seeing the future and then hiding…well, it’s a little old. But it’s not bad, so it’s more of a personal wish than a criticism.

What actually made me mad about this movie was the ending. The first half was quite good, but it was like they ran out of run time. Isabel and Mirabel get over 20 years of disagreeing, (or 18, or whatever it was) and it takes 2 minute of one song for them to suddenly understand each other?

I was the scapegoat and my sister was the golden child, it took us months of disagreeing, and years of tension before that, to work out our differences. Especially when our dad poured gasoline on the fire.

And another thing, I found it stupid that only Mirabel was yelling at Abuela at the end. If Luisa and Isabel were really that miserable, seeing Mirabel do that should have just burst the dam. Especially for Isabel.

Also the magic was so poorly explained.

I know that magic does not always need to be explained in a story, I actually don’t like it when it is, like, We didn’t need an explanation for Elsa’s magic–and the one we got made no sense.

But in this movie, the magic disappearing is the whole point, so that is the time to explain how it works, the entire point of most of the film is Mirabel trying to understand the magic, so explaining it was totally necessary.

And what is explained…nothing!

I mean, I guess the magic relies on the family’s…bond? But then why doesn’t it crack every time one of them fights? The one lady with the weather powers should be having cracks every 10 minutes. Isabel and Mirabel should have been causing issues all along. Then Abuela’s obsession with perfection might actually make more sense.

Or how about this, make the fact that Abuela herself actually has no gift, and just guards the candle and house the reason she doesn’t like Mirabel. Mirabel reminds her of her own mortality, and humanness, and we tend to project our insecurities onto other people. So when she’s yelling at Mirabel, she’s really upset at herself. And Mirabel annoys her by not being as stressed about it as she is. I’ve known that to happen to many people in real life, myself included. Misery loves company.

This is almost implied in the movie…but never enough to be sure it’s actually what it’s saying.

Also, the conflict of this movie is set up poorly.

We’re supposed to be wonder why Mirabel has no gift, right? Well that question is never answered. Ever.

Then we’re supposed to wonder if the gift is becoming a curse…

But the thing is, Mirabel’s mom is a really nice lady, and supportive of all her daughters, and so is their father. Isabel is so driven to be perfect…why?

I can’t recall her ever actually being told she was doing something wrong. Maybe she just wanted to avoid it ever happening, but most people aren’t afraid to fail until they have failed in a painful way, and we never see her do that. Perfectionism comes from not being able to control things when you were a kid, but we get no such story with Isabel.

We never see Luisa told it would be selfish to take a break. She just assumes it.

We’re meant to think Abuela made them think this way just by her example…but even if that is true, no one ever questioned it before? And why do none of the men feel this way? They seem carefree, and happy-go-lucky. No pressure there.

And while the townspeople take advantage of the family’s gifts, they aren’t ever pushy about it.

So why are these two girls so driven? Isabel says she was going to marry the guy for the family…but they never push her to do it, they just assume she wants to marry him. If she’d ever spoken up about it, I’m sure they’d have been happy to push Dolores forward instead. Why does it need to be Isabel?

And by the way, Dolores character had the potential to be so much more compelling. Imagine if you could hear everything? Everything anyone ever said about you? That sounds like a curse to me. Maybe that’s why she tries to be invisible, so people won’t talk bad about her.

Would make relationships difficult, and relaxing. She’s shown to be jumpy, but she doesn’t get her own song, and she doesn’t ever get a moment to explain it. A total waste of potential. I’d say her life is way harder than Isabel’s.

I mean, when the main conflict of your story is your MC just isn’t special enough….what the heck movie? Is that what counts as drama these days? Her family loves her, and the one person who actually is hostile to her, Isabel, is not even in most of the movie, and resolves the conflict in 3 minutes…yay!

Mirabel is all like “I can’t embrace Isabel!” and then 5 minutes later “Oh my gosh, I was so wrong about her!”

Uh…you weren’t really, you just didn’t know why she acted that way, she still acted like a b-word. And perfectionism is no excuse to bully your sister, Isabel. How about an apology?

Nope…nothing.

I mean Isabel could have said she envied Mirabel her freedom to do whatever she wants. Built on the trapped by your gift thing…but nope.

And another thing, if Isabel is so stuck…why doesn’t she want to try something other than growing flowers? Her whole rebellion is spraying herself with colors and growing cacti…who in the heck said she couldn’t grow cacti? Cacti are useful, heck her mom could use aloe to cure people, everyone would be all over that. And she has a whole room to experience with crazy flowers in, and no one else seems to care…what exactly is holding her back?

I mean, Abuela only cares when it becomes convenient for the plot, she never reprimands Isabel before then.

Movie, stop expecting me to assume domestic abuse, actually show it if you want to use it, you coward!

You now that just ticks me off about this film, and every other kids’ media I watch these days. Domestic problems are assumed. No on’es family is actually good, no one is actually happy, it all hast o be fake. You can bet if I see a nice character, I’m going to find out they have skeletons in their closet later in the story.

And while no human is perfect, not all of us are as royally fricked up as the movies imply. Sometimes we just get frustrated once in a while, and guess what, we move on! Some of us actually deal with it in a healthy way. Geez! What is the problem Hollywood?

I think it’s on purpose, the idea of contentment just doesn’t sell, so every character has to have a dark side.

Frozen kicked off this trend–but you know how Frozen made it work?

Because we actually see Elsa’s powers backfire, we see her parents tell her bad advice, we see her fear of herself grow–the movie accomplishes this in 10 minutes. We all perfectly understand why Elsa is afraid, how it affects her, and that Anna is unaware of it.

Then when Elsa goes berserk, we know why. It’s not random, we see the causes.

And her problems instead of being over in 5 minutes, take a whole movie to work through. And are revisited in the shorts and the sequel–which are not great, but at least they aren’t delusional enough to say Elsa is never going to doubt again. Of course she will, but she now lets herself be helped, that was the difference.

Where is this in Encanto? Or should I say Donde esta en la cinema Encanto? (Pretty sure I said that wrong, but my Spanish is not great, and the constant switch in the movie was not as charming as they thought it was. I was just left feeling like the whole thing should have been in Spanish, or English, pick one.)

Nada! Nunca! It’s not there. You won’t find any deepening, or further introspection of any of these characters. One song, that’s it.

That’s one of my problems with the movie.

The other one is the Magic itself, and the Miracle. It’s never explained.

And why Mirabel does not have a gift. She wanted to know.

I think the movie’s biggest mistake here was that when Mirabel went to get her gift, the door began to form…but then it stopped.

If she was truly just not meant to have one, fine. But then why did she start to get it and then it stopped? The candle changed its mind? Hmm?

Sure seems like something went wrong, not looking at Bruno’s excommunication or anything.

And if the family splitting is what lead to the magic cracking, than it would have made perfect sense that Mirabel’s lack of gift was because it weakened after they sent Bruno packing. Like, it literally seems like that’s what they are implying.

Mirabel even sees the same cracks as Bruno. Which could have been taken as maybe she was going to have the same gift as him, because he wasn’t around, but because he still is, she couldn’t get it, and it broke.

Then restoring Bruno the family, and fixing the house should have fixed her problem. But she still has no gift at the end…even though she restore the magic, so she has magic, but no gift….because logic….

You have all the set up to make this make sense…but no pay off? Nothing.

Because oh she’s just special enough without a gift…

(How can not being special be what makes you special? It’s a logical fallacy.)

Well if that’s true, why restore the gifts at all. If it really had become a burden, then just let it go, accept change.

Wasn’t that the message? If you hold onto the past too tightly it crushes the very people you were trying to protect…I thought that’s what they were saying.

But I mean, i’s Disney, so of course the Magic shouldn’t have disappeared at the end…but Mirabel still can’t have a gift because reasons.

Even though it clearly show she didn’t get a gift because something went wrong, setting it right doesn’t give her one…why? She doesn’t want one anymore?

I fail to understand you movie.

I thought they all should have either lost their gifts for good, or never lost them at all. Maybe they just could have corrupted, been twisted, like in Frozen. Because they were used wrong. That’s more true to real life anyway. We don’t lose our talents because of stress, but they do become less pure.

So in the end, this movie has two messages. Or three really. 1. You don’t need a gift to be special, because not being special is what makes you special. (Cure the Incredibles rant about celebrating mediocrity) 2. If you put yourself into one box, it will crush your spirit, it’s okay to have more than one interest and to take a break. 3. Holding onto the past is bad. Embrace the future. (As long as you do it by not forgetting what made your family special in the past and reigniting that flame….get it? Because it’s a candle, we’re so clever).

How did anyone like this movie’s ending? I get liking the songs and story, but the ending? It makes no sense. None few these three messages is finished. Nothing is explained, and there is no truth. Everything goes back to being exactly how it was, except that Isabel goes disco tech, Luisa takes naps, and Dolores gets with the guy who’s about as deep as a kiddie pool.

Mirabel is not a different person than before. And the town is the same…so yeah…

I really thought there could have been something really good there. Heck, even all three of those message together would have been okay, if they were finished. But they aren’t. There is no point of resolution.

An apology is not a resolution if the problem is that complex. That worked in Brave because the mother -daughter conflict is present in the whole movie, shown to be the core of its problems, and is explained as the way to resolve them. Merida humbling herself makes sense, because Pride was her problem.

But the whole family conflict in this movie is so shaky. Not everyone is unhappy. The problem are so minor that literally two conversations fixed them, and Bruno comes back with no fanfare whatsoever, and Mirabel isn’t even the reason.

Mirabel was actually mostly useless, she spends most of the movie making the problem worse, and in the end is the reason the magic goes out…so way to defy negative expectations there, movie.

Guess she really was the bug in the system…and maybe it deserved to crash and burn…so show that. Don’t just make it all go away because apologies!

Ugh…

Perhaps I am oversimplifying. But it was still poorly done.

Encanto is, in my opinion, a product of our culture.

Fewer and fewer movies and show have any definite meaning now. And fewer and fewer people seem to notice it. We are becoming incapable of discerning structure and payoff in a story.

As long as the label diversity is stamped on something, we swallow any amount of lazy writing, and Hollywood knows we will.

Encanto is a badly written movie that would not have stacked up to a 90s Disney Movie, and they have very weak conflicts usually, but at least hey are clear. Ariel may be kind of a bratty teen, but at least I know why. I know why Aladdin wants to be a prince, even if he’s a liar. I know why Mulan is going to war ( and that is one of the best Disney movies there is).

I don’t know that with Encanto. It would have taken like 1 extra song, and 5 minutes to explain, but it’s not there. They could have cut the unnecessary songs and put in actual story, they could have not rehashed the begging like 3 times for padding. It was fixable. How did someone not say “Uh guys, we didn’t answer any of our own questions in this script…can we like…fix that?”

But no one cars, becuase diversity!

I can’t say I see what a magic house really has to do with Columbian culture. Or how themes that are so clearly modern are really representing what makes it special. Kind of the running joke of representation in Disney is that it’s…you know, based in fictional countries, so you can’t really represent real ethnic groups…

I mean, people complain about how all the old movies had white characters…but they were stories form Europe, of course they could have white characters. Whenever the movie were set in other countries, they changed the ethnicity…I never really saw the issue. People just like to complain.

And I don’t mind if a movie is set in a Mexican, or Colombian culture, if it’s good. I enjoy movies like that.

But I won’t approve bad writing just because it was packaged in a nice look, and fun songs.

I’m sure it would be fun to watch Encanto, but it has no meaning. It is gutless, it doesn’t commit to any one message, because it doesn’t have to to be liked, and the creators knew that.

But I think this in underminding our chilrend’s abilty to tell when there even is a emssage in osmeitng.

Implied messages that are not stated are usually called propaganda. Subtle, but propaganda. When a message is boldly stated, it opens itself up to criticism.

But if it’s vague, you can’t really criticize it. So it is gutless, but the implicates are enough to squeeze it by the virtue signalling SJWS, so they think it has meaning.

If you still think I’m being too harsh, I challenge you to take Encanto, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Moana, take a pen, and write down each main element of those movies. each character’s conflict…and then how the movie resolved it.

I defy you to find a way it really was fleshed out. It’s implied, that’s all. Implications don’t help us in real life. People need actual ideas if they will change.

But if you can feed yourself with colorful, but empty visions of meaning, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re being cultured, but you are really being conditioned.

Encanto is not evil or bad in of itself, so much as it is just lazy, but what scare me is it never would have been praise so much a few decades ago, and now it’s haled as top tier.

A Goofy Movie did family conflict better, sue me.

Well, I think I have ranted enough, this movie is not horrible to watch, but I can’t endorse anything it says, as it says nothing whatsoever. That’s my verdict. Watch it for a good time, but don’t expect any substance, and you’ll be fine.

Try Brave or Frozen if you want the exact same message but with an actual message. Or any of the renaissance era movies.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why I hate YA novels…but still read them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The whole hting disgusts me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lot of teens buy into this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We like to find meaning.

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

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

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

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

That’s okay once in a whle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think I got off topic.

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

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

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

It makes me sad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So in summary:

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

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

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

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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.

s3uddaqxa6001

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.

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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.

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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.

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? Goals?

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Or is it really…

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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.

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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.