The Green Glasses Question.

If you’ve ever read the book “The Wizard of Oz.” You might remember that there’s a small but important bit that they cut out of the movie.

It takes place when the foursome first comes to the Emerald city and the gatekeeper gives them all green glasses, telling them it I just the custom or something along that line. They all oblige since what’s the harm in wearing glasses? They go inside and find that everything in the city is emerald-green, it is lovely; even the people are green. They go to Oz, and leave again, much like in the movie, but they are surprised when after they leave, their clothes that they got in the city are no longer green. When, at last, they return to Oz and discover the Wizard is a fraud, he tells Dorothy that the city is (gasp) not really emerald, but he solved this dilemma with the green glasses. “If people wear green glasses,” he says, “everything will seem green to them.” It is left at that, but the reader is thinking “That was so obvious. I could have told them the city wasn’t really green from the beginning.” (I know I am not the only one who reads books this way.)

Something I never asked myself when I read these books as a kid was why on earth the people wore the glasses? Surely they could have realized the truth, they could have seen out of the corner of their eye that the city was really colorful. Why stay deluded?

I guess there is a novelty in a city all one color, I think it would be boring, but maybe there are some who would put up with it. After all, all of Oz is already color themed (fun fact not in the movie) so they must be used to it, but it still wasn’t true. Did no one ever question it? Dorothy didn’t even, and she was from Kansas.

But then, Kansas was all grey. There is a  persistent theme in the book that every place is its own color because of how interesting it is. Or the trades of the people in it. I do not think this was intended to be a race or class stereotype, but a mindset. To Dorothy, everything after Kansas would be a relief from the greyness. Yet she wants to go back and tells the scarecrow, (when he asks why, when it is so grey and drab,) that it’s home.

The thing is, I read most of the books in the series (it was a kick) and I notice that every adventure centers on leaving your home and seeing new places. All the people in Oz are born in one section with one color, they have to leave it, Dorothy has to leave Kansas, or else nothing happens ever, except that things steadily get worse.

I am aware that some people will still think these books are racist because of the color themes, but trust me, that’s not it. I read them okay? I’m telling you, it’s the way of thinking that is the color.

To prove my point, let’s go back to the glasses question. I finally concluded that the obvious answer was that the people wanted to believe in the Emerald city. That’s all there is to it.

I could leave it here and let you figure out the rest, but my point may not be totally clear yet.

My sister asked me if there actually was the horse of another color in the book, (it’s in the movie,) I told her no, there never was. I think the reason is, the horse that changes color would be of no use in the Emerald city, everyone there would see green. And in the other countries, the horse wouldn’t fit. And it wouldn’t fit because the whole phrase “a horse of another color” means “a different matter”, and it means you have to change your answer, and thus your perspective. Which is exactly what nobody in Oz wants to do.

I loved the series, but it was to my disappointment that not one of the characters really changes or grows through the course of a dozen books. There are a few surface changes, but none of real substance. The movie shows Dorothy change, but in the book she really doesn’t, she only finds out that there’s a better place than Kansas, eventually she returns to Oz, and brings her family with her. (Sorry for the spoilers. But that actually was my only incentive for reading the rest of the series and I was put off for one book as it was.)

They go to many different places, in the series, and find many different points of view; but it lacks the fundamental element of change. In Girl Meets World, the code of the show is “People change people.” I agree with that in part, and it is closer to the truth than saying “People never change.”

This may be only me, but I find series and shows in which the characters never change to be both boring and unrealistic, we are meant to change. Our ideas are meant to broaden and expand.

You could pull any amount of lessons from the metaphor of the green glasses; but I ‘m pulling this one: Take the blinders off, change your perspective, it’s okay.

There is the argument that if the city looks green, then it is green to whoever sees it that way. The Wizard seems to hold this belief. But may I remind everyone that the Wizard’s whole career was spent deceiving people. Surely, his perception of truth has to be flawed.

There city really is colorful. That is the truth. Whether you see it that way or not, that part is your choice.

That’s my thought on the subject. Until next time–Natasha.Welcome Scan

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Unbelievable.

I cannot believe what I just read, there’s this article on a news website about how one university in WA has declared proper grammar to be racist.

I was incredulous. I read the short article and from what I could gather, thought he people themselves did not explain it clearly, their position is that because English is always changing, it is not fair to expect people who are speaking English poorly or as a second language to keep up with it. I am perhaps giving their position more credit than it deserves since they didn’t actually state that, they just said racism was ingrained in our culture.

You can read it for yourself, if you want exactly what they said:

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/02/22/university-of-washington-declares-correct-grammar-is-racist/

People, do I really even need  to say it?

Okay, I will: this is absolutely ridiculous.

Not only is this grossly unfair to young writers like myself and most of my followers, who want to do well in their writing, but it is an insult to the very ethnicities they claim to be assisting.

If you don’t speak English well, you deserve the chance to learn how to do it better. You deserve the opportunity to read and be able to understand great books, great concepts, and great feeling. You deserve to not sound like an idiot when you write and when you speak. You deserve to learn. You do not deserve to be written off by people who don’t understand what respect is. This isn’t even about entitlement, there is no record of the students complaining about this, even if they did, no one should buy that kind of thinking. It’s demeaning.

I don’t believe we are entitled to much in this world, but to learn and improve is one thing everyone is entitled to, God sends us into the world with that ability. Even the mentally challenged ones.

To tell someone they cannot use proper grammar is like telling them they cannot learn how to walk. It’s like telling them they are retarded, and not by choice, but by the system. Sadly, many kids are told they can’t walk. Guess what, a lot of them learn how to anyway. (See the testimony of Gianna Jessen.)

Now, it may be brought up that the English language really does change, and that is true. But so does the Spanish language. I have been studying Spanish for over a year, I also study French and Khmer and I know ASL. Each of those languages has slightly different or completely different grammar. If I do not use it, I will sound like I did not actually learn the language to the natives of it. That will demonstrate a lack of effort, and a disrespect to their tongue. They may forgive me if I make a few errors, but if it is clear I blatantly did not try, what will they think?

Why should I not feel this way about anyone who does not try to learn my language properly? Just because I clearly am a racist because my whole culture is, so I must be too. What a straw man.

The truth is I do not respect some people of other ethnicities, but it is not their race, it is their behavior. And I do not hate them because of it, I don’t respect some people of the same race as me either because they are not deserving of respect. There is a respect for humanity everyone must be shown, and I have no problem with that; but respect for intelligence, ability, and virtue, all that must be earned and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t understand what those things are.

Racism is not saying or thinking someone of a different race is stupid or uneducated or bad, it is thinking they are that way because of their race and not actually weighing them in terms of their behavior.

And saying someone is racist because they point this out, that is actually being biased. I trust all my readers are intelligent enough to figure this out without my help, I’m just laying out my position.

By the way, I have relatives who are Mexican, I am several different ethnicities myself, and
I have family members who have been the victims of racism, so I know what I’m talking about.

It does no good to hate people just for being what they are; and that goes for people born in the middle class and with white skin just as much as it does for the impoverished ones.

Education is the key to ending racism, and these people will only increase it by attacking grammar. Because then what next? history is already being rewritten as it is, will math or science follow? (Arguably science already has, but I won’t go into that.)

So I want everyone to see this post as a defense of the races who got dissed by this stupid idea; and a defense of the races who were supposed to feel defended and in reality were even more insulted. I’m not afraid to say all this either because I’m tired of us just accepting the labels.

P. S. (I may have unwittingly made some grammatical errors while writing this, I am not perfect.)

–Natasha.

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Reach higher.

Pointy.

So, I dared to write a post about politics, but it was really about how we treat each other. I wonder how many people read it and realized that and how many just read my views and focused on those.

Not that I don’t do that too, we’re all kind of trained to react that way.

I watch a lot of YouTubers (what we call people who regularly post videos of themselves on YouTube) and all of them are more or less on the same page as me politically, at leas the ones whose views I’m vaguely aware of; but they also advocate just accepting that other people have different views and respecting them.
I don’t mind respecting it, but accepting it is another matter. As I have said in posts like “In Faith.” I believe we must stand for things we believe in. And as I have said elsewhere, I believe there is only one right answer. So far no one has a problem with me thinking so, not on line anyway, but I know people in my own life who do have a problem with it.

It’s an old idea that we all must covert everyone else to our beliefs, and some even go so far as to kill anyone who won’t convert, believing that is the right thing. We all can think of an example in the Modern Day; but that used to be the majority of religions way back B. C.

Christianity changed this outlook by saying that no one is blameless, and those of us who know what is true have no right to dole out death to those who don’t because we were once those people. Only God can decide who lives and who dies when it comes to how they treat Him.

It is true that, in our book, people who do not accept Christ will die, and deserve it. But we also believe we all deserve it to, the only difference being, we took God’s offer of a different way. Even that is enough to get under people’s skin, but it is not the same as saying we ourselves can judge who should live and who shouldn’t. All corruptions of Christianity from this viewpoint are  unbiblical, in my opinion.

That said, just because we ourselves do not enact judgment does not mean, as is commonly taught, that it does not happen. It is obvious just in nature that if you treat things the wrong way, you will pay for it. The dog bites, the cat scratches, the bee stings, the rose has thorns. But there is a balance. Life has that same balance, and if you deliberately do what’s wrong, it will come back to bite you. Simple. Right? But it’s not is it? We human beings do our best to avoid these calamities. We declaw the cat, we muzzle the dog, we breed the thorns right out of the rose, the bee sting we only take precautions against because you can’t remove it without killing the bee, but if there was a way to control that, people probably would.

And we tell each other that stupidity and sin don’t need to have consequences.

Here’s the thing though, living things have sharp points so that they can protect themselves and be treated with respect. Life is no different. There are sharp points we fall on when we do it wrong, because otherwise, we don’t learn respect for anything.

God has a sharp point too, it’s called The Word, it’s a sword.

I may be taking a long time to make this very simple point (ha ha ha) but it’s something we need to hear. The things people say, and do, and think is okay, it’s scary. We are becoming incapable of even understanding why it should be any different. People who never see light will never know what darkness is. That’s the truth. And when we don’t teach kids what is right to do and say, they will not know what is so wrong with what they see now.

Personal example: had I not been exposed to Christianity that was deep and real, thanks to my parents, I would never have recognized that what I had was in many ways only on the surface.

Real things always, always, will hurt you at some point, because you have to learn by experience; but when it comes down to it, they are real. And that is worth it. Just read “The Velveteen Rabbit.” (A book I can’t go through without crying.)

Until next time–Natasha. 100_4589

The Indefensible.

I’ve been thinking about how my political views effect my writing here. I’ve been reading about how this country got started, so politics are on the brain. I never want to use this blog as an attempt to get followers who agree with me, so I hestitate to bring up the subject too often, but because this is an ideas blog, I also think it’s only fair to let people  know where I stand.

Le tme also say that I don’t judge people’s worth as people by their political views, and I wouldn’t want to be judged by it either.

I only care about politics as it relates to my faith, many Christians don’t believe we should be concerned or involved in politics. And in countries where the system doesn’t allow Christianity in its government, that might be a fair view. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care. Everyone should care. But there is the trap, as C. S. Lewis describes in The Screwtape Letters, of coming to use your faith as a support for political views, instead of seeing your views as a  direct result of your faith. In other words, you make your faith match your politics, or any other mode of thinking you might have. Obviously this is wrong.

I am a  conservative, but that is because I found those principles to be in line with what the Bible teaches, if I was convinced Liberalism was more in line, I would be that. I know plenty of Christians who are liberals, and that’s up to them. I actually don’t think God cares about that first and foremost.

The problem is we often care about it a little too much, I’m sure if you had a dime for every time you’ve heard someone put the opposing side in a box (or basket) you’d be rich. Or at least you’d have a lot of dimes.

The situation we have now is pretty sad, almost no one can see the other side as full human beings. We don’t talk about them like that, and we don’t treat them like that, often enough. They are indefensible.

Like Trump and Hillary, whichever side you are on, one of them is indefensible. I do think that sometimes, there is no just way to defend someone’s actions. But we have carried it a little too far when I can, on two different occasions, get shocked and somewhat hostile reactions from kids in my own family when I say I support Trump. It’s an immediate guilt by association. Would I feel the same if it had been over Hillary? Well, that’s tricky.

I would not ever condone voting for her, but do I condone the things people say about her? No, not all of them. I would defend Hillary Clinton as I would defend another human being, but not as a politician. All this means is that I believe people deserve some measure of respect, whether I like them or not.

I know I will have people who don’t agree with me reading this, and that is okay. They can even hate me if they wish. I won’t return it. It is not that I have never been tempted to hate people who believe things I find horrible or ridiculous. (And, let’s face it, we all know I can’t help feeling that way whichever side I’m on.) My whole reason for not holding a grudge is simply that I don’t believe it is right to do so. Grudges are stupid.

Even the Clintons (pardon my phrasing) need to be forgiven and loved, and that may never look like what the people who support them would call love, but calling it hate to not support them is ridiculous. It just is. I would not say anyone who does not support one of the politicians I favor hates anyone, let alone the politician themselves. I may be giving myself as an example too often here, but I’ve been reading about Thomas Jefferson, and this was his  belief. He never even defended himself to the press of his day because he didn’t think it was necessary. And he remained friends with one of his opponents (more than one actually) to his dying day. He stated that politics were no reason to end a friendship. (Though there may be reasons within that general category to end one, but that’s another discussion.)

At the end of the day, though I care about my country and my people, I recognize that no country lasts forever; and no political party does either. It would be foolish to stake all one’s beliefs on those things. I believe more strongly in love, justice, and God’s will.

A really good, and short, book that covers this is The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis, particularly the chapter on Affections, (if I’m not mistaken in my locations.) He’ll say it better than I.  I hope though, I said what I was trying to communicate.

So, there, that’s my piece for now. Until next time–Natasha.

Rules don’t apply–part 2

Picking up where I left off:

I was just talking about rules and love and “The hiding place.” You know, just a typical organized post from Natasha. 🙂

All joking aside, I’ve thought a lot about Mercy lately. I was just talking to my sister about another show we used to watch that loved to break its characters.

[Okay, this is Natasha lingo. When I say “break” or “killed” a character, I mean they either took a potentially great storyline and didn’t finish it; or they made the character do something that they would never  do and so proved they didn’t even know what their own character stood for. That ruins it for me every time.] I digress:

They broke this one character, and though they could have repaired her with some really smart writing, they didn’t. They left her broken. Eventually my sisters and I realized the show just didn’t know how to explain it’s own content.

What has puzzled me is that, though these characters aren’t even real, they can make mistakes that really bother people; and people will not forgive them. Although, sorry fans, but it didn’t actually happen. I will be the first to deny that just because it’s a show that means it didn’t matter, it does matter. I just wonder, if this can be our attitude towards a sin that is made up, what is our attitude towards a sin that actually affects us?

That does tie in to Mercy; and rules; and everything I was talking about in part one. The biggest question both in my fan fiction story and in real life was “How do you treat sin?” Many of us don’t even use the word anymore, (at least seriously.) Sin is just a Christian myth right? It’s not real. Well, often on this blog I just use the words wrong, evil, or bad to avoid confusion. But Sin is just simpler, it means all those things. And believe it nor not, whether we use the word or don’t, all of us still believe in it.

We just might call it intolerance, being a bigot, extremism; and a bunch of other fancy words that really just mean THIS-IS-BAD.

You can say Right and Wrong don’t exist and I can debate that; but right now I’m pointing out that we all deal with Sin. Other people do things to us that are bad, because they hurt, or they make us afraid, or they just make us angry because it’s so not fair.

And that’s where deciding what we live by really comes into play. In my fan fiction world of judging people by their backgrounds, the few people who finally say “This is stupid” get treated like the criminals. You rocked the boat, you questioned the system, how dare you!

But the reason I wrote my version at all was because the original story refused to pick sides. It never said what was actually true, though it hinted. It was leaning one way, then abruptly it started to lean the other way. It turned into a story more about defining right and wrong yourself than actually seeking truth. The sad thing is that the creators of this story never realized it was popular because it said something different to people than the standard “be yourself” message that most of us are sick of.

Look; things have come to a pretty pass if I need the world to tell me what the Bible already has told me many times; but I do worry about other people. Ideally, I want Christianity to spread, I can’t help it. But if not I at least want Goodness to spread. Thomas Jefferson said that if doctrine is good it will produce good men, if not, then it won’t. He is right. Jesus said the same thing, in a different way. But no one needs to say it, it’s just common sense. Good begets good, evil begets evil. Duh.

The greatest good of all is love. As my character said in her speech, love is what gives us a reason to do anything. It saddens me when people are looking around and wondering why they do anything; because they realize there’s no love in what they are doing.

But, what if the antagonist had a point, Love is sappy. What will it really fix?

Now this brings me to Mercy. (Didn’t think I could tie all this together? Well, I wasn’t sure either, but I knew it was connected.)

In the end, you can decide that the rules really are wrong. Like judging people by their background, that’s just stupid. You can even decide to rebel against those rules.(#TheRebelution.) But, just rebelling isn’t enough. A lot of hate goes around because people are fed up with the way things are, but that hate is turned on other people.

I am a full fledged conservative, but I don’t hate liberals. I am a radical Christian, but I don’t hate atheists. I am a Trump supporter, but I do not hate Hillary Clinton. I am surrounded by imperfect people, but I do not hate them.

To me, hate is the last thing a Christian should be doling out. WE get plenty of opportunities, but we are told to love, even when it makes no sense. I hate evil, but  do not hate people. People are not the problem. Evil is the problem.

I am also not perfect, don’t take me as the best example of what it means to be Christian. All I am saying is it is about love. Love is what makes Christianity right; not vice versa. That’s something even Christians do not understand a lot of the time.

If love was easy to understand and to do, more people would do it. That’s the plain truth. I still fail at love, but I’m hooked. Once you start pursuing it, you really can’t stop.

In the end, love is what tells us what is right. When we become focused on what’s best for everyone, we will make better choices. That is what ties into rules, politics, and faith. There, told you they were connected.

So, nothing sappy about it. Until next time–Natasha.cropped-welcome-scan.jpg

Rules don’t apply–part 1

I found a conversation I wrote in a story of mine yesterday that I thought would make a good blog post. It takes place between a main character and a bit of an antagonist character. It was a debate about how to solve a certain problem that had come up. The main character finally gets worked up enough to utter an impassioned speech (I edited this to make it more clear.):

“Yes, love. I’ve found that nothing else matters. Love makes it worth it to go through the other stuff…and that’s why I have to believe in Goodness too. Good things are done out of love, and  they make love grow. Freedom allows love. Evil just wants to kill it. Or twist it.”

“People can do just fine without all that sappy stuff, and what does it help? You think love will fix this mess?”

“Yes! and if it can’t, what can? Work? Work for what? Rules? What good are rule when they have no reason to exist save for control. Why do we get up every morning if not for love of something? And I don’t mean sappy stuff. I mean the real, true, loyal, kind sort of love. That’s what motivates me. Because I’ve been given it. And I stand by God because He gives it. I see no other way and no other Hope but to hope in Him. And that’s my say.”

This was a fan fiction piece, and the world it’s based off is one where Good and Evil are arbitrary things, all depending on your background only, not your personality. Which is an idea present in the real world, but this world takes it to the degree of craziness.

That’s why the character is railing against rules. I’ve been reading about Thomas Jefferson, and one thing that sticks out about his politics is how he was concerned for the common good. It’s actually in the Preamble to the constitution that it is meant to “promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity (descendants.)” The Constitution is a classic example of men trying to make rules that would benefit everyone. those rules are made out of love for their countrymen. These rules are fine.

But rules can also be made out of fear and frustration. As I’m sure you know from your own experience. Sometimes rules are just made out of stupidity. People believe something is right, but they haven’t thought it through, and they use their power to enforce the idea.

Of course that speech isn’t really about rules. It could easily be made in favor of them, if rules were on the side of love. That’s really the greater point.

you see, it puzzles people that two opposite actions can both be the right thing to do in different circumstances. I think that’s where the idea that right and wrong are arbitrary comes in for a lot of us. And it’s true if you ever day any one action is evil, someone will find a case proving otherwise.

I didn’t always understand how you can tell what the right thing to do is if this is the case. how can you ever be sure?

the answer was given to me, as it often is, through a book. “The hiding Place.” Which I’ve mentioned before on this blog. In that book Corrie and her family have an argument about whether it was right to lie about what they were doing in order to keep people safe and alive. Corrie’s sister, Nollie, argues that truth is always the best choice. That the bible makes it clear never to lie. Corrie argues that to preserve their radio she had to lie. (and later she lies while under interrogation.)The thing is, while the radio may be a small thing, no one would deny that lying to save lives was the right thing to do. In fact, it  would be weak not to.

But the strange thing is that the end result of Nollie telling the truth and Corrie hiding it was the same. Both times the person or people they had wanted to help were safe in the end. And the answer seems to be provided in this one line that their father said to calm Corrie down. “I am sure, whatever you said Corrie, was out of love.”

Huh? What does that even mean?

Well, the Bible says that to a Christian all things are permissible but not all things are helpful. It says not to use grace as a license for sin. It also says whatever is not of faith is sin. What does all this have to do with my point? I’ll tell you.

God never says lying is good. In fact, He forbids it. But even in the Bible there are examples of people lying and not being condemned for it. but it was always to protect the lives of an innocent person, or to get justice in some other way, when total honesty would not serve. God still never says it is good, but we have no record of Him punishing the person for it. Often lying still has its own consequences, and so do other sins that might be committed in the same instance. It seems to matter more why someone does something, and not what it is they do.

This is not always the case. But Corrie and Nollie both did what they did out of their respective beliefs that is was the ight thing, or more right, than the alternative. Sometimes the Right thing can be a personal choice. But only if it’s in line with the Truth.

I mean that it is in Love. I can get a little too obsessed with having “All justice” as Portia put it. (The Merchant of Venice.) But just like for Shylock, in real life having all justice means having more than you desired. If you live by Love on the other hand, you will get as much justice as you need, but you will also render mercy.

Justice is important to me, but Mercy is even more important. I’ll go more into this in the next part, but I’m stopping this here.

–Natasha.cropped-welcome-scan.jpg

Pi is an irrational number.

Yesterday I watched what was probably on of the worst movies I have ever seen. I’ve seen a lot of bad ones recently, unfortunately, but this was bad even by those standards. This movie was “Life of Pi.”

( Just to clarify, I have not read the novel the movie is based off of, I heard they changed a lot, so when I criticize, I am criticizing whoever put the idea in there. Not the experience itself, which I think was poorly portrayed.)

If you saw it and liked, then don’t read the rest of this part. (Unless you don’t mind.) I’ll ignore the fact that the storyline didn’t make sense at all by the end, and just focus on my personal peeve. And yes, this is going somewhere:

In the beginning of the film Pi, the main character, states that’s he is a Hindu–Catholic–Muslim. His father doesn’t like this and tells him that he would be okay with Pi believing in something different from him, but he needs to choose one. To believe in everything, he says, is to believe in nothing.

Interestingly enough, my family has recently come into contact with a person who holds the believe that all religions are equally true.

Pi wants to be baptized (Catholic) but he continues to be fascinated by the Hindu gods, who he credits with showing him Christ; and he finds brotherhood in being a Muslim.

I would never have bought this idea, but I would not have let it spoil the movie for me if it had not been a plot point, but the whole story hinges on Pi surviving with just his faith, his head, and his tiger. And his faith never changes in the course of his journey.

Furthermore, at the very end of the movie, we are presented with two alternate accounts of what happened, neither is provable. But we are left to decide which we want to believe. The problem is, Pi himself never says which is true, he thinks they are intertwined. But they also contradict themselves.

The one good point of the movie is spoiled by that ending, because you question whether Pi ever learned the lesson of his own experience. Which, in a better film, would have been the sanctity of life.

That’s another discussion, but I’m returning to my problem. Permit me to vent, I’ve got to get this out.

ARE–YOU–KIDDING–ME!

(I want to back up and say first that this whole movie is based off a novel, none of this really happened, so I am not criticizing a real experience, but rather the author’s interpretation of it.)

Okay, as an author, our job is to tell the truth. To ferret it out and make it more clear to the reader than it otherwise would be. That’s why it drives me crazy when authors do things like this.

Pi’s faith is polytheism. I’m calling it what it is. Though he claims to be a catholic and a Muslim, he never truly left off being a Hindu. And Hinduism is the only one of his three faiths that his outlook is compatible with. he is a Hindu because of his family, he says. Now, that’s not even the problem. I totally get that someone who was never taught better would assume that cat holism and Islam were compatible with Hinduism. What bugs me is the author who is pushing this idea. Pi’s father was correct, to believe in everything is to believe in nothing.

There’s a saying “If you stand for nothing you will fall for everything.” And my real complaint is that in a nutshell. If there is nothing in your life that you can stake your life on, then there is nothing in your life that you really trust.

Christians and Muslims alike know that you cannot have two gods. It may be one of the only things we have in common. It baffles me that author of this story picked two incompatible religions to link up with another that was even more incompatible. And called that faith.

But it is not faith. It is what the Bible calls being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and I’m pretty sure the Quran calls it being an infidel.

It’s a very, very dangerous belief, and it is one we are actually teaching our children in this country, in the form of saying “There is no right or wrong answer.”

Let me tell you, readers, this belief does no good at all. Everyone I’ve met who has it turns into a sniveling coward when there’s a conflict. They use it as a reason not to face problems. Especially the problems in logic that way of thinking presents.

And it is what is killing us. Because so many young people I know fall back on it and refuse to face their issues. And issues will spoil their lives if they aren’t faced.

I may have offended someone by these remarks…oh well. I don’t want to offend  people, but I’m sick of hearing this stuff, and someone rarely stands up to it and says “that’s crazy!”

The church, though I regret to say it, has played a role in this. By not telling people that sin was deadly, and by not warning them that God is jealous. (I just shot someone’s sacred cow.)

Guys, God is jealous. He will not share His position with anyone. It is true, we have the will to choose but what has not been made clear is that if we do not choose God, and God alone, then He gives us over to our other choice. And we follow everything but God, everything  but the Bible. Even if we still think we follow God, we don’t know Him at all.

It doesn’t bother me that God is jealous, because I realized awhile ago that if He was not, He really didn’t love me. What lover wants to share their beloved with another? It’s funny how willfully we choose to misunderstand God’s intentions.

I’m running long, so I will end this here. Thank you for reading and feel free to comment on anything that you liked or didn’t like.–Natasha.

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Ankor Wat, the largest Hindu temple in the world.

The lost Virtue

I got busy over the weekend and didn’t find time to post, but today I have.

SO, I’ll be working on a lot of writing projects over the next few months and I figure the subject matter is bound to overlap. One thing I’ll be thinking of this month is Virtue.

That word is very rarely used anymore, and I think I ought to know what it actually means. Let’s see what the dictionary says.

  1. Moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
  2. Conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles.
  3. Chastity; virginity.
  4.  A particular moral excellence
  5. A good or admirable quality or property
  6. Effective force; power or potency  (all this from dictionary.com, love that website)

As you can see virtue is a noun and kind of a verb and adjective as well. It is a characteristic. No #6 may be a bit confusing, but it means virtue as the strength of something. It is used that way because virtue was once seen as the strength of one’s character.

Now that we’ve defined it, let’s look at it. Why should I care about virtue? How does this things affect me? Is it present in our culture. Here’s a big one: how can I possibly make virtue seem relevant to people who don’t even use the word often. If at all. Seriously, when was the last time you thought about it? All obstacles I must overcome to write anything worth reading on this subject.

It’s unusual to write a blog post this way, but that’s the point. Do you ever read blogs and think about how the author tries to catch your interest? Many bloggers don’t they just write whatever and don’t seem connected with their audience at all. That’s the virtue of their writing. (See what I did there.) Now this is not an attempt to get more readers on my own blog, but I do want them to know I think of them when I’m working on this material.

Of course Virtue has a huge place in my life, though I typically call it morality. My posts are geared to encourage people to virtue. I think about it a lot. I believe in the importance of it. And I almost daily feel the sting of a country that has thrown virtue out with excellence. It has embraced mediocrity, and it has shamed the wise and intelligent.

Case in point, I recently watched part of a movie that was based off “Pride and Prejudice.” No this was not the zombie version, don’t get me started on that. This was about a modern woman going back in time into the actual story. The movie quickly took the story, tore it to shreds, and said “screw you Austen fans.” It was the most blatant disrespect of an author I’ve seen. And of a story. They stopped at nothing, they sexualized, demoralized, vulgarized, and then changed the ending altogether.

The worst of it was the main character claimed to know and love the story, but she didn’t know a blooming thing about refinement. Or manners.

Virtue may be said to be the heart of something, and this movie missed the heart of the book so entirely I could hardly believe they read it. I think they just watched the BBC version and decided to learn absolutely nothing about good writing from it.

Jane Austen stands as a threat to cheap and sexualized romance stories, and those writers seem to have formed a committee to destroy her. And she is not the only one, what about the other good stories that are being changed? What about the historical figures whoa re being mocked? What about the books that are being censored from schools because the supposedly are racist? When is someone going to stand up and say “Enough!”

Well, even if you complain about it, people will quickly tell you you are just too picky. You are left wondering what happened to standards.

I’ll tell  you, it’s the loss of virtue. Less than a hundred years ago people began to reject age old morality, and to embrace a new kind that was in fact as old as the hills. Mainly this subsisted of sexual freedom (read: addiction.) And dispensing with things like manners and respect and tradition. To this day tradition is demonized by many sources. We’ve seen ups and downs since the roaring twenties, but we have yet to see a real restoration in our modern time.

There are people trying to restore standards. That’s one of the reasons for homeschooling. But we are still far outnumbered by the mediocre educators. Sorry if you happen to be in one of those schools. But I’m just telling it how it is, and believe me, I do know.

Virtue is something that must be cultivated, and that is why it was supposed to be incorporated into schooling. C. S. Lewis thought the purpose of education was to teach a student what he (or her) ought to feel about things. Not by brainwashing, but by teaching him to perceive value. But people began to say value didn’t exist, but being hypocrites (for they said that it was better to think that way, thereby ascribing value to their own philosophy,) all they really taught the children was to scorn everything that was not cold hard fact. Lewis called this “men without chests” and showed how such thinking would abolish mankind. It also abolishes virtue.

Without valuing things we cannot see, we cannot value virtue. This point was made in that show Girl Meets World, when Mr. Matthews pointed out that until you feel things, powerful things, you are not a full human being.

Until you feel, you cannot understand virtue. And that is why Apathy is plaguing our young people and our old people. There is a lack of virtue in the influences that surround us. Sadly, we have taught each other not to care. A vicious cycle.

But it is not too late. The first step is to realize the problem.

This is too long to elaborate further, so until next post–Natasha.

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Doves: Also a symbol of purity.

Not apologetics.

“Christianity is not a series of myths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital “T.” Truth about total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality–and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth.”–Francis Schaeffer.

I found this quote in a book I’ve been reading. (I just finished it. Shooting for over 6o books this year.) I liked it because this is just what I think.

You know, I just read a comment section conversation on YouTube about religion being used as a reason to do anything. These random people I don’t know stated that it should never be used as the only reason to do something.

I guess if you’re coming at it from the point of view that no religion encompasses the Total True and Right way to live, that make sense. But I’m not going to be mean and say these people don’t have a point. A lot of religions have traditions that don’t make any sense.

I’ve heard a belief in Christianity defended on the grounds that it makes the most sense; and while I agree that, out of all religions, Christianity is the most sensible, I would not say all of it makes sense from a  rational, logical perspective.

There’s a reason people have for centuries thought we were a little out of our minds. Christianity requires a lot of faith in the unseen. I don’t just mean the invisible, I mean the unseen results. Often people can believe in an invisible God just fine, but they can’t believe in a God that lets the things happen that happen, and that seems to leave His followers in difficult or fatal positions.

Even C. S. Lewis, one of the greatest Christian minds in the past hundred years, he himself admitted that there were things he could not grasp about God. He didn’t have to. he just had to have faith. Why would such a man of reason admit that God can be puzzling.IT seems crazy then to still believe in Him.

In one of Lewis’ books, Till We Have Faces, there is a character called the Fox, a Greek Philosopher. he spends most of the story trying to understand the Divine Nature by pure reason, he teaches the main character Orual to discount any other method of understanding, but in the end he sadly admits “I never wanted her to ask…why the Priest something from (his faith) that I never got from my sayings.” Admitting that there was something lacking in his “Pure reason.” And that is so, because reason without faith is not actually pure.

We were not made with just our minds to guide us, we have feelings too, and those feelings are often more right than our thoughts. Now, the reverse is also true. Many people never think at all, and run on emotion. But this post is not about that, I’ve laid all this out to make a bigger point:

When you accept that something is “The Truth.” You stop trying to reason with it. No more debate. No more second guessing. This is the hill you will die on. You may literally die too, but it doesn’t make a difference.

Jesus explained it like this, the Kingdom of Heaven. (Truth.) Is like a precious pearl, that when someone finds it in the marketplace he will go and sell everything he has and buy that one thing. Why? Because the Pearl was worth all the rest. We’d call that crazy, the Pearl won’t feed you; it won’t clothe you; it won’t warm you; unless you sell it, and then what was the point. Just to have it?What was that worth? What is mere beauty and rarity worth? Any number of old fables about greed and the vanity of owning precious things and losing everything else come to our minds. Why would Jesus of all people use such an outrageous analogy?

Because; it’s true.

Truth, when you find it, requires that you give up all the lies you subsisted on till now. You must give up even your life, or your family, in order to get that truth. Nothing can stand in your way, because it’s not cheap. When you have it, people wonder why you would sacrifice so much for something that seems to be just an idea. “Things only have value in you mind,” we say, “There’s no such things as inherent value.”

But that is simply wrong. Just like a Pearl is a natural treasure, Truth is naturally the most valuable thing we can have. Unlike the Pearl, it may not always be pretty. Like in the book I mentioned, where the god is an ugly stone. (It’s only a symbol.)

Until you can put practicality aside, you can never accept Christianity. Face it, human beings are not, at core, practical creatures. And that’s a good thing. Practicality only deals with our physical life.

Truth says that there is a point in doing things that make no sense. because  if yo do them, you’ll find a whole new layer of what makes sense. Just like Orual digs and digs to find the kind of reason that is compatible with faith, so must we all. If and when we succeed, we’ll look back on how we used to rationalize (as Alex and Brett Harris say “rational lies.”) and shake our heads at how blind we were.

So what if it doesn’t make sense always? It doesn’t have to. How could we finite beings ever understand all of the Divine Nature anyway? It doesn’t take a Christian to admit that, lot’s of people have.

Let me tell you, the wisest thing you can ever do is to stop trying to fit God into your reason, it’ll never happen. He won’t allow it. He wants your faith.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6.

That’s all for now–Natasha.100_3137

Ladies and gents.

Ladies and gents, may I call this phrase to your attention?

The one I just used, yes.

I talked about what it is like to be a lady, and now it only seems fair to say a word about the term gentleman.

I explained what gentry were in my last post, but though we still use the term gentleman (often sarcastically) today, a lot of us haven’t heard the term “gentlewoman.” Though it was also called being a gentleman’s daughter if I understand correctly.

There’s a scene in that classic book Pride and Prejudice in which the heroine, Elisabeth and the aunt of Darcy, Lady Catherine De’Bourgh, are having an argument.

It is without a doubt  one of the best scenes in my opinion. And at one memorable moment, Lady Catherine, (not at all acting like her title) accuses Elisabeth of trying to quit the sphere she was brought up in. The translation of that is: Mr. Darcy is too good for her. By this time Elisabeth herself feels this is true, but angered by the Lady Catherine, she retorts that he is a gentleman and she is a gentleman’s daughter, thus far they are equal.

Let me pause there. A huge complaint about men doing the things that used to be called chivalry is that they think women can’t take care of themselves. That’s why gentlemen get such a bad rap. But here Elisabeth states the culturally held opinion of her time, that a gentleman and a  gentlewoman are equals.

And if you examine the story, you will find no indication otherwise. In that time, and between that class of people, there was a code of conduct. Followed by everyone. It didn’t matter whether you were male or female. If you were well bred you followed it and were expected to understand it. In one example, there was a rule that only two gentlemen could initiate an acquaintance with each other, under certain circumstances, such as one moving into an new neighborhood.Under any other circumstances, a polite person would never walk up and introduce themselves, a mutual acquaintance, (male or female, it didn’t matter,) would make the introductions. In this way friendship circles would grow bigger and bigger, but also could stay very small if the friends so wished.

I point this out because it is just one example of how their society worked, and one we no longer use so no one can possibly get offended over it.

It applied to both genders; and that’s the thing we don’t remember anymore, that courtesy is gender neutral.

I could make a list of the few gestures of chivalry that men still attempt to make, but it’s not necessary, we all know them. I just wonder why we’re so hard upon them.

Gentlemen have  a hard time now, because  a lot of the world hates the very idea of them. They mark a clear distinction between male and female, dare I say, roles in society.

I think also the stereotypical image of the man, who’s really a boy, wearing kid gloves and lace, turns off the modern mind; but I might point out not long ago it was acceptable for guys to wear sparkly vests and frizzy hair and that was cool. I’m sure there’s some weird things we still allow that the 18th century gentleman would have found to be ridiculous. this isn’t really about looks.

There’s another novel, “North and South,” by Elisabeth Gaskell, that deals with the idea of being a gentleman, among other things. We meet several men in that novel who are not gentleman by rank, but demonstrate some amount of chivalry that prove that in their hearts at least they are noble.

The mark of a gentleman is strength. And it’s odd that I say that, for traditionally gentry did not work or exercise a great deal unless they so chose. But it’s strength of mind.

What good breeding was all about, at least before priggish people got ahold of the term, was teaching children how to handle things like criticism, being insulted, being ignored, or just having someone be rude to them in general. It also taught them how to treat each other and themselves with respect. how to disapprove of people without dehumanizing them. How to disagree with someone without making a scene or resorting to violence. Of course, if he had to, a gentleman was allowed to defend someone with force, but if among other gentleman, as he was always supposed to be, it was assumed he would never have to.

On a lady’s part, she would also never resort to violence, because it was seen as a mark of weak self control, not of strength. If ever she was in need of defense, she was trusted to have enough gentleman about her at all times to be able to look out for her. This was not a mark of weakness. It was simply a lady’s duty to set an example of gentleness, and a gentleman’s duty to see that she was always free and unafraid to do so.

That’s why to be a fatherless, husbandless, and brother-less girl was so serious. It was a matter of honor.

That’s not to say there wasn’t sexism, there always is, but sexism is not a class thing. It’s the choice of men and women, and it’s a private choice.

Being a lady and a gentleman was actually the best defense against sexism, because it taught you from an early age to treat the opposite sex with deference, and to respect their own accomplishments.

It’s true, that sunk to some shallow proportions for shallow people. Like valuing a woman only for her talents and fine clothing instead of for her mind, and a man only for his style and talents in sports, or cards, or dancing.

But class did not create shallowness, shallow people will be shallow whatever class they are in, and as far as that goes, the gentry probably had the least dangerous way of handling it.

My conclusion about gentleman is that, like ladies, they are made what they are by their hearts. If the way they show it outwardly is different than it used to be, fine. But whatever way they show it ought to be appreciated, not scorned.

Until next time–Natasha.

Doves: A classic symbol of gentleness.

Doves: A classic symbol of gentleness.