The Lion King.

The Lion King. One of the best Disney films ever made. In my opinion.

 

I can’t add much to this film by reviewing it. It’s themes are clear. And everyone knows the story.

But I want to look at the ideology of it, if you will.

I have heard multiple Christians use this film as an illustration of spiritual truths. What interests me is how deliberately the film itself seems to raise that sort of impression.

No one really would argue that it supports some kind of belief in the after life.

And it seems to go out of its way to establish that Mufasa’s reappearance is not just in Simba’s head. Rafiki sees him, and also communicates with him when Simba is not there. WE also see Mufasa as the sun, as well as the stars.

I don’t think anyone would debate that Mufasa is a God-character.

If you’ve never heard that term, or never int his context, it means a character who inspires other characters in the ways we would attribute to God. Typically meaning they give them instructions, seem to know things no one else knows, and give them hope in their darkest hour.

Mufasa fits the bill on all accounts.

Yet he’s totally believable as just a lion trying to be the best king and father he can be. Ultimately laying down his life for his son in an effort to protect him.

What just about killed me was that he never found out that it was Scar who put Simba up to doing those stupid things. (I guess he did once he was up in the sky, but still, closure!)

I don’t know what Simba means, or Mufasa, but Scar’s name, notably one of the only English names in the whole thing (except for Ed) is a giveaway to his character, both his personal issues, and the issues he creates for Simba.

Scar holds a grudge for being put out of succession. He holds a grudge against Mufasa because Mufasa is so much better than him. AT first we think he’s just sour over  being a nobody, but later when Sarabi taunts him, we realize he is secretly aware of how inferior he is to Mufasa and Simba both. Which comes up again when Simba has defeated him.

Scar’s name also relates to who he emotionally scars Simba by his treacherous acts and leaves him crippled for his whole adolescent phase, without a father except for two well meaning but ignoble beasts who just want to relax their life away.

Interestingly enough, Simba’s emotional scars only fade when Scar himself does.

Scar, as the betrayer and the deceiver and the false king, who accuse Simba of his own crimes, makes a fitting devil character. And a formidable villain.

The best lines of the film are all Mufasa’s, I love his speech to Simba when he is a spirit. I also love how in that scene Mufasa becomes more fully realized the longer he is speaking, going from clouds, to a starry shape, to full on color. Symbolic.

He tells Simba “You are more than what you have become.”

It seems odd that Mufasa doesn’t tell him “I love you.” Or something like that. But not when we consider that Simba is laboring under a delusion that he killed him. When he knows, deep down, that Scar is the one to blame. Simba also has just been confronted by Nala about what he needs to do. So this kick in the rear is exactly w at he needs.

He tells Simba further “You have forgotten me.” Simba denies it. “You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me…You must take your place as the one true king. Remember who you are.”

Who did not share Rafikis’ sentiment after the end of that. “Wow! What was that!”

Simba returns home and kicks Scar’s tail, but not without some pitfalls along the way.

But the scenery of the last part of the film is a huge part of the story.

Under an evil ruler , the land has faded. The herds are leaving t o find food, but Scar, like the coward he is, refuses to leave.

I never understood stood this when I was younger, but now I think he was afraid of other lion challengers on the Savannah. He knew he was no match for any healthy young or middle aged lion that wanted a pride. Also that the pride wouldn’t do jack squat to help him if he was challenged. (As they will for a lion they like.)

Scar just want to stay away from any competition that will expose him. So imagine how scared he is when Simba returns.

At first everyone thinks Simba is Mufasa. A resemblance the writer didn’t pretend wasn’t there. Because it’s more potent that it is. Yet when Scar knows it’s him, he think he can manipulate him because he always has before. Otherwise he would have slunk away while he could.

In the end Scar thinks his greater numbers may give him the advantage, and then fights Simba more in desperation than in courage. Then he begs for mercy when he is defeated, Simba gives it, but Scar pulls one more nasty back stabbing trick and then falls as a result. The hyenas, having heard him throw them under the bus, decide they’ve had enough of Scar. All four of them presumably burn to death.

There’s so much biblical resemblance here, it would be hard to deny it if I wanted to.

There’s a little thing I want to explain about what follows:

Simba’s roar is both symbolic as assuming his place as king; and literal, as Male lions do roar to declare their territory. Female lion actually do roar in response to males, so if that part always felt real to you, that’s because it is.

But it is not a magic roar.

I have hard theories on this, but they are ridiculous and here’s why.

When the land goes from desolate to healthy, we see Simba and Nala have a cub. (Everything came full circle.) Lionesses are pregnant for a year. It’s been a whole year. So the land has had time to recover, and the rain had time to work.

You can say the rain was magic and I won’t argue. But the rest is nature.

So, in defiance of modern values, this movie supports living up to you responsibilities. taking someone else;s place, following in someone else’s footsteps, and being what people need  you to be.

And all that could also be your destiny.

I don’t favor the very selfish viewpoint on finding your dream nowadays. Your dream can be what would help other people. And sometimes we have to adjust our priorities.

Even Timon and Pumba take a more noble place beside Simba and prove they are not the cowards they thought themselves.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

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Getting Connected.

I recently told you all about learning ASL, okay time to confess:

I have been watching ASL videos almost nonstop the past three weeks. I’m talking about every single day.

And those of you ho have tried to learn a new language know, it can make your head ache.

But when you do it that much, you will either have so much in your head it can’t compute, or if you’re like me and already are partially familiar with ASL, you will start thinking, breathing, even dreaming in  sign language.

There will be moments when instead of spoken words coming first, sings will come to your mind.

You won’t be able to sing without using motions.

yeah, someone out there knows what I mean.

Or, in my other language of study, Spanish. Sometimes I voice things in Spanish. I do have to think about it and the grammar.

Probably everyone knows about the effects of having a second or third language. One thing I’m particularly proud of is being able to sign while speaking Spanish. Or even another language. So long as I thoroughly know what the other words mean, I can sign it too.

But actually that’s not so difficult. Other Signers have talked about being able to speak two languages at once. The hard part is singing and talking, not really what language you’re talking in.

I know talking about this isn’t my typical subject matter, but it is something I’m interested in, and I think other folks are interested too.

Actually there’s  a growing interest in deaf culture. A lot of young people ware interested in it.

I’m fortunate to have discovered some good YouTube channels and  a Deaf Center not too far from where I live, but for years I had neither of these. (One of the Channels has only been around for a couple year to begin with, I started learning before then.)

Deaf people no longer consider their lack of hearing to be a disability, but most hearing people do. And many even treat deaf people like they’re stupid. Or make fun of sign language.

Even I have heard the jokes about knowing sign language…followed by getting the finger. I mean, seriously?

What’s worse is that I found out to be an interpreter you need five years of training at least, and that is for legal or medical signing.

I can’t sign legal or medical terms extensively, I don’t know how I would learn that unless I got involved with some program for it. It’s not everyday speech for the most part. (I mean, deaf people talk about that stuff of course, but they wouldn’t to someone they didn’t know well anyway, most people don’t do that.)

I am more interested in interpreting at a Church, or some other organization that would be less formal and involve more friendly interaction. But when I was assessed, I was assessed only on  News/political and medical categories. (Plus speed and accuracy, which I did poorly.) Naturally I hadn’t studied either of those much.

As important as those things are, there’s everyday situations that I would probably learn to handle a lot more quickly and would come up a lot more often. What I’m not sure of is if interpreters are used for that.

So you see, I know very little myself about the culture.

But since I’ve been studying it more, I’m convinced the gap does need to be bridged.

A lot of the Deaf are convinced that the Hearing community can’t understand them, and that overall it doesn’t want too. In my experience that’s not always the case, but I have limited experience.

A person like me, who has no deaf family and has not been to school and studied ASL there, and who is still interested, is rare. There are not many who just want to learn without having any personal contact with  the deaf world.

I’m unique in that way.

For me it started with the language and then eventually I started being more interested in the speakers of the language.

Anyway, here’s the thing about the cultural difference:

What I hate is when people assume I can’t possibly understand them because I was raised differently. It always makes me determined to understand.

The way I see it, I don’t know what it’s like to be deaf, or blind, or even Hispanic. It’s true, that’s not my culture.

And they don’t know what it’s like to be me, in my culture. No one knows what’s it’s like to be me, except me.

So it is silly to say that having the ability to hear or not hear puts any more of a barrier between people than just having different lives and backgrounds always does.

What I feel, only I know. I and God. What they feel, only they know.

My point is that we’re all human, I happen to believe that humans beings can understand each other as much as they wish to. They just don’t usually wish to. And that goes for any relationship under any circumstances.

If anything, being bilingual will help you appreciate someone’s choice to try to communicate with you at all, instead of being resigned to awkward silence.

I have a feeling we all have had that experience  too many times for comfort.

I would rather not be put in a box. I would rather not have anyone assume I feel one way because I’m hearing; because I’m white; because I’m middle class (barely’) because I’m young; because I’m a Millennial; because I’m a Christian; because I’m a conservative; because I’m from a two-parent home; because I’m homeschooled.

All these things shape who I am. Only one of them defines it. (You can guess which.)

No one should assume I think a certain way or feel a certain way until they know me beyond the labels. No one should put me in a box.

And that goes for deaf, blind, special needs, and any other thing you can think of.

It’s not what category I’m in but how I act and believe that will make me what I am.

And that transcends any disability and any difference that’s only on the surface.

So, that waxed very poetical towards the end, but I think I made my point. Until next time–Natasha.

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Awkward grace.

Wish Fulfillment.

I’ve been rereading “Pride and Prejudice” for the umpteenth time.

I am not one of those Austen-land level fans (though I’d totally spend a week at an English manor wearing Empire Waist dresses and having tea.) But I have to appreciate the brilliance behind that book as much as the next person.

Jane Austen loves the Cinderella story. Poor girl attracts rich man with her charms of sense and character, and they eventually live happily ever after.

Even if a lot of the ending does seem like wish fulfillment, it’s the best kind of wish fulfillment. We all know how it should end, and in books if no where else, endings ought to be what should have happened, at least 90% of the time.

I had no problem with wish fulfillment endings before I started watching movie reviews on YouTube. Then I was introduced to how critical my generation tends to be.

And the one who aren’t critical seem to blindly like whatever movie panders to them, be it good or bad.

I would not be the one to say we should all just drop our differences and get along because sometimes there are legitimate points on both ends of the spectrum.

Too much criticism renders anyone, but especially a youth, cynical.

No criticism at all renders anyone gullible and empty headed about art.

Wish fulfillment is one of the main things that gets complained about.

“Oh that was convenient.” “She is such a Mary Sue.” “This ending makes no sense at all.”

My problem more often is that I feel that the movie provides its happy ending just to avoid making people angry, and doesn’t bother to work it out so that it’s convincing.

Heck, all the difference between a good ending and a bad one can be made with just the actors. In book form that’s a little harder to pull off.

But my question is what is so wrong with wish fulfillment anyway?

Don’t we all want to get what we wish for? Isn’t that how we define a wish?

On what planet then do we complain about getting what we wanted?

On Planet Earth of course.

I guess people only complain when the fulfillment was what someone else wished for, not them.

I can’t argue with that myself. I certainly prefer endings I wanted, but there have been times when a different ending works out well and I have to admit that.

But in life, many of us just want to get what we want.

Though to be honest, I wonder if most young people know what they want now. The ones I know don’t seem to have more than a vague idea. I know I only have bits and pieces. Even older folks don’t seem to have a clue what they want.

If you went up to ten different people and asked them “What do you want? I mean really want? More than anything else in the world?” Most of them would give you either a stupid answer that they clearly didn’t think through, or possibly a blank look and a shrug.

For example. If you were to say the next iPhone, that would be a stupid answer. You want other things more than that, even if you don’t know it.

You would be amazed at how few people know what they really believe, but even fewer know what they want.

There are some tried and true answers to the question. All of us want love, in some form or other. We all want meaning. We all want to be important to someone.

Notice that those three elements primarily make up Happy Endings.

Then there are our more specific dreams.

Lot’s of young people have dreams now, very diverse dreams. Many of them even have the drive to fulfill those dreams. Oddly enough, no one is calling this Wish Fulfillment.

Even though we all know from Cinderella that a dream is a wish your heart makes.

I was annoyed by the song after a certain point, but I think she’s right about that.

It really is isn’t it? Your heart has a wish to do something, that becomes your dream.

For many of us it’s been a long time since we had a dream.

We find a place in life and in line that we can make work, and it suits us to a degree, and it’s fairly safe because we know  a lot about it, and that’s where we decide to stay.

For some of us our comfort can even be in pushing ourselves to new degrees of excellence, provided it’s excellence in an area we feel we have a shot in.

But Pride and Prejudice might show us this, that it’s only when we find our perceptions turned upside down and inside out that we begin to finally see our way clear to what we should be.

Maybe it’s when we’re cornered and have to face up to our own flaws that we start to find a way to push past them.

I had such an experience recently, more then one as it so happens. I have more coming I am positive.

If I might wax philosophical, I think that Happy Endings are what we prefer because we are meant to have them.

I think that we have to work towards them, as Sabrina Carpenter sings in “The Middle of Starting Over.”

I think also that they come to us.

In every human life I believe there is an intertwining of the results of our own choices, and the events caused by a higher power.

The Bible says we partner with God. I’d have to say the evidence points that way.

Wish Fulfillment is not a bad thing when it is born out of someone becoming the kind of person who wishes for the right things, and a belief that righteousness is, in the end, rewarded.

Jane Austen’s books would all be examples of such a blending of ideas.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Bittersweet.

I have made no secret of the fact that while I’m a Disney Fan, I don’t like everything they do, as some fans. But there’s a saving grace. Even in my least favorite Disney Princess film, there was one song.

Ironically, it’s the one with the same title as the movie. “Beauty and The Beast.”

For some reason, this song was just more palatable to me than the film itself. It basically sums up what the film’s message is, which isn’t such a bad one. But I could never swallow it in that format.

However, in song form, I actually really like it. If you haven’t heard the song a million times by now, I’ll sum it up for you:

The song is about how what’s happening is a tale as old as time, certain as the sun rising from the east.

In other words, what we’re seeing is something that’s happened before and is certain to happen again. That’s important to remember.

The song also describes the two people as both scared, and neither prepared for what’s taking place.

Young love right? Well, sort of.

But the parts that I actually think are unusual are as follows:

Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly…

Bitter sweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong.

I really had to pause when I finally knew what the lyrics were. (It took years before I did.)

Perhaps it doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary to my readers, but personally, I rarely hear this sort of message in children’s films anymore. even Disney ones are losing it, though Frozen does stand out as a recent example to the contrary.

What’s unusual about that one lyric “Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong” is the Bittersweet part.

We could all name a bunch of stories, both real and fictional, in which someone is aghast when they realize they are wrong, and they feel guilty.

But the nice thing here is that the song admits there is sometimes a phenomenon, strange as it is, in which it is partially a relief to find out you were wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I like to be right. Being wrong tends to scare me. It may be one of my worst weaknesses. Yet even I can at least imagine how being wrong about something could be a pleasant thing.

It’s bitter because no one with any honesty can say change of that sort isn’t painful and difficult, even while it’s rewarding.

To refer back to Frozen for a moment, I have said before that that movie admits that we are messed up and need to change, but it does so in such a way that we can feel the utter relief of both our main characters at the end when they realize they both can change, and want to change, and have changed.

If I may so, this also appears in Brave, when Merida and her Mother realize that they needed to change their attitudes toward each other and do so without realizing it.

Did you know that the name of the Beast in Prince form is Adam?

Call me crazy, but I think that it was not a mere chance. Beauty and the Beast mirrors the Garden of Eden story in several ways. The forbidden plant that both of them handle poorly; The prince rejecting it, Belle nearly touching it after being warned to stay away from the West Wing. Then Belle reenacts leaving the garden by running away, just as the Prince reenacts becoming cursed by sin to become something he is not supposed to be.

In the original tale, Beauty is more of a Christ figure in taking her father’s place to pay his debt, but the movie focused less on that part than on her own mistakes.

But where the movie and book both detour from the Fall story is that they skip ahead to the redemption part of it. Where both the main characters learn to love instead of fear, and to forgive, and to admit they were wrong, and eventually death itself is turned backwards.

I’m not theorizing that this is a Christian film in secret by any means (the remake really destroys that idea) but inadvertently, it has the Christian message woven into it. In a gentler form than some other movies, in that the key to the whole thing ends up being two people changing each other.

By the way, everyone always makes fun of the fact that Belle is a classic example of a woman thinking she can change an ogreish man. But in the book, and movie to an extent, it’s the Beast who changes her perspective.

I’d have liked Belle a lot more if she started the movie with more misconceptions about outward appearance that eventually got overturned, instead of being all perfect yet still strangely annoying.

To be honest, I think the reason I can’t stand her is because she spends her whole first number complaining about the people around her instead of proactively trying to befriend them and see the best in them, and treat them like actual people.

Hmm… just like she does with the Beast, at first.

But oddly enough she doesn’t really learn her lesson because she goes back to the town and is no better to anyone.

Well, I’ve already complained about this film enough to make plenty of folks mad as it is.

Anyway, so to conclude, changing is a thing to be celebrated. I thank God I am not the same person I was five years ago. (Five years exactly as of this month.)

I’ll say this: Most people are secretly frustrated not by the fact that others don’t change, but by the fact that they believe they themselves cannot.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

How to have a super relationship-4

I hope I am not wearying anyone of this topic, I could probably go on about it for hours.

But I promise this is the last installment.

This last thing I want to look at about the two couples in question is what gives each of them the foundation they have/

I’ll start with Batman and Wonder Woman this time because they have the more common kind of relationship.

What attracted these two to each other?

Despite the flaws I’ve covered in the previous three posts, we can all agree both these superheroes are good people. we don’t hear much on Wonder Woman’ side, but we do hear Batman once explain some of his reasons for liking her. She’d a remarkable woman, he says; she’s a devoted friend, she’s…standing right behind him, isn’t she?

Awkward.

But there we have it, she’s loyal and devoted to her relationships. Just the opposite of him in some ways, and opposites attract.

But like also attracts like. They are both selfless when it comes to saving other people. they both care about the good of mankind, and they both enjoy being in the League.

This is where most relationships start from. Two people meet and find thy like the same things and so they spend time together  and eventually it may turn romantic. OR it may not. But I always found there to be plenty of chemistry between Bruce and Diana.

They both esteem each other. Just like most healthy couples at least start off as seeing only good in the other person.

So why is Batman afraid to move forward? Because of trust.

This is where we see that trust cannot really be built just on another person’s merits. You could be mother Teresa levels of kind and unselfish, and someone might refuse to really trust you because you are still human and they don’t trust people.

I have seen this in my own life and the people around me. Trust is earned but it is also a choice.

And the choice must be made even when we allow for the other person sometimes letting us down. Trusting human beings is in essence saying “I know you aren’t perfect, but I know you well enough to know you’ll be as good as you can be, so I will trust you because I trust you overall character, and not just by your individual actions.”

Clearly people sometimes trust the wrong person because of this, that’s where they mistake the overall character to be better than it is.

However, I submit to you that the obstacle in Batman’s case is different.

He doesn’t trust anyone (as superman fondly admits in episode one.) This is not their fault. It is because he has unresolved issues in his life.

Ladies and gents, you will not have a healthy relationship for long if you do not resolve your issues either before entering it, or at some point early on. (I do not mean you cannot fix it later, but it is better to do it sooner.)

The problem here is that Wonder Woman wants to move forward before either of them have really faced their deep issues with themselves and the world. She has made some steps forward in t he course of being in the League, but he has made baby steps, or none at all in some areas.

Ladies especially may want to do this. But plenty of men will do it to. Only they fear commitment because they know they aren’t ready and so the relationship often ends after appearing to be getting serious.

But is Batman right to use issues as an excuse not to be together?

Let’s return to Scott and Barda:

The important thing about both of them, and the path I admire Kirby for taking, is that both their journey’s start apart from each other.

In the Fourth world, people who still have a shred of conscience and self awareness are referred to as having the Divine Spark. We know Scott has it from the get go, but what is less obvious is that Barda had it too.

Barda’s journey to escaping Apokalips actually began with Auralie, the weakest of the girls in her force, but one she had a particular fondness for that she never showed to any of the others. Barda disobeyed the laws of Apokalips while trying to protect Auralie and was ready to disobey them again when she found out she had been tortured to death. That marked the first moment when she and Scott actually had one mind, and thought hey were not a team yet, they stopped being suspicious of each other.

Scott’s journey began with Himon, the e one free mind on Apokalips.

more importantly still, Scott went to Earth without Barda and continued learning about freedom and goodness until she arrived. Barda in tur mad her choice to complete her training, which came in handy later, and then broke free herself of its grip.

Barda began to hate the system because of her friend, not because of Scott. Though he was the reason she continued to move forward.

These two are not independent of each other, but the y are not codependent on each other either. Barda did not need Scott to leave Apokalips, and he did not need her. They only come together after both making several independent decisions.

My point here is to show that Barda and Scott both work to become the person that is right for each other, before they even know they’ll be together. Barda makes sure to please Scott even before she thinks of them as a couple, because she esteems him. Scott tries to keep Barda healthy and happy even just as his friend because he is grateful to her.

If they had not been committed to doing what they thought right before hand, they could not have suited each other so well.

To be honest, the principle of “Become the person who the person you want is looking for” is one I have yet to hear talked about outside of Church, but it applies just as much to people who are not religious as to people who are.

Like attracts like. Sluts attract whores, criminals attract criminals, nutjobs attract other nutjobs. And good people attract each other.

Very rarely will any of us be Scott and Barda in every way when we meet out spouse, but we can at least be them in this way. It’s not really about getting someone to fall in love with you. It’s about the kind of person you are.

Resolve your issues now, and when you meet the one for you, you’ll have a super good relationship on your side, and not a super dysfunctional one.

But one more thing:

I still ship Wonder Woman and Batman for this reason; broken, messed up people are the only people you’re ever going to meet. Though they may be very healthy, they will always have some weak points.

And we cannot let that stop us from loving deeply and trusting other people, because we share this earth with them, and we need each other.

I would tell Batman he needs to try, and I would tell Wonder Woman she needs to be humble about letting him work his way forward, and always be striving to be a better person herself.

But what I would tell all of you is that it is better still if you have a perfect God in you life who can never fail you. Because then, as the saying goes, you can let man be man, if you let God be God.

(And by the way, Barda and Scott have an equivalent of that known as the Source.)

All right, I’m finally done with this, until next time–Natasha.

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Absolutely.

We all have heard of absolutes, but I’ve noticed that there seems to be a lack of general understanding about what exactly an absolute is and how we can tell it is there or isn’t. So I thought I would attempt to define it.

I can give you an easy example of a material absolute: Suppose I was sitting next to a table lamp. I can touch the lamp, I can see the lamp, I could even smell it if I wished. The lamp is a material absolute. No human being could change the fact that the lamp is real.

Now suppose someone were to say that they don’t believe the lamp is really there. They might disbelieve their eyes, or perhaps there is something wrong with their sense of touch. Even if they cannot feel the lamp, or see it, does that mean the lamp isn’t real?

Well you could say I am hallucinating the lamp, then I run into the same problem in reverse. Just because I can see it or feel it, does that mean it’s real?

The fact is, either the lamp is there or it isn’t. Those are two absolute realities. Only one person can be right and one wrong.

If the lamp is there, then it doesn’t matter whether the other person can sense it or not, it’s still there.

Does that make sense? But I can take it a step further.

Assuming the lamp is there, the other person might say that as long as they don’t believe it’s there it can’t affect them. I could turn it on or off and they could see or not see, but they might say it doesn’t matter.

I could even hit them with the lamp and they couldn’t feel it.

But if I were to injure them, that would prove the lamp is real.

(You might say that an injury isn’t real if you can’t feel it, but what about a bug bite? Or a head injury that knocks you out. You might not feel either, but one at least is certainly life threatening. Actually the worse the injury, in some cases, the less you can feel it because of damaged nerves.)

If nothing happens to them, then I was in error.

So the question is not if there is an absolute, but which absolute it is.

But what about believing in a lie? Doesn’t that harm you?

Yes, but that’s proof of my point. Truth (reality) will harm you or help you whether you believe it or not. A lie will not harm you until you let it.

It’s the difference between hallucinating a truck barreling toward you on the highway and actually standing on the highway in front of a moving truck. The first one will hurt you only if you believe it and do something stupid; the second will hurt you whether you believe it or not. Unless you move.

Truth is like a truck. Dangerous when it’s coming against you; but life saving if you’re inside it. (Trucks save lives don’t they?)

Lies on the other hand are you hurting yourself. They are nothing in of themselves, except a trick.

An absolute then is a thing not subject to change no matter the circumstance.

You’ve probably heard that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form into another. Matter (like the lamp) is an absolute for us.

And I dare say there are absolutes far more sure then material ones.

You know a tree by its fruit.

Now, and you probably saw this coming, suppose the lamp was God?

Many people cannot feel God, many more cannot see Him; but some claim to have felt Him and some claim not to.

We’ve seen that seeing and feeling themselves are not proof of the absolute of anything.

Even though God is not a material absolute, the same rules will apply. Either He is there or he is not. One person is perceiving the truth, the other is blind.

I think the evidence of God is much the same, without the lamp on, one cannot see; without God, there is no meaning in life.

If God were to strike someone they might not recognize it as Him but there would still be a blow. A mark.

The question is not if the absolute is there, but which it is, and if you will believe it.

Notice that at the moment there is just as much probability for atheism as theism.

This whole exercise might seem totally obvious; but nowadays it isn’t. Many people believe there are no absolutes, so theoretically the person who sees and the one who doesn’t are equally perceptive.

But it doesn’t work: Real things leave an impression. It could be a bruise or it could be an effect on your life, but it will be there; whether you see it or not. The proof is in the damage or improvement in your condition.

This works with emotional things too. We see it in the effects addictions have on people, addictions of all kinds, activity and substance related. The people themselves may fail to see the difference but their family and friends don’t.

It is no good trying to pretend that blindness isn’t real. All kinds of blindness.

Oddly enough I don’t hear it talked of a whole lot anymore. Being blind to the truth.

Okay that about wraps this up, but if anything in this post was unclear, please comment and let me know, I am open to suggestions. It’s a tricky subject to tackle.

Until next time–Natasha.

Breaking it down.

“[M]an has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong or stark or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.”
― C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters

If you haven’t read this book, read it. It is devilishly insightful. (Ha ha.)

I thought I’d follow up on my Your God will be My God post with a post delving a bit more into the why behind the matter.

It’s true that many of the youth of today have no real idea of what it means to believe in something.

But it might be less obvious why that is.

Everyone has their own theory. But the funny thing is, even one person has so many different causes for it that you’ll here the same man blame the government, the school systems, the church, the parents, and the youths themselves, all in the course of one or two conversations on the subject.

So ladies and gents, I am here today to simplify this mess as best as I can. I believe you can narrow every single problem down to three basic causes.

But first let me define what problems I mean a bit more:

I am referring to the moral ambiguity or just plain confusion of the younger generations.

I am referring to the spinelessness of the older generations in general to stand against this tide.

I am referring to the blind adherence to the principals of society that many people exhibit.

I am referring to the unbelievable corruption of the authorities of said society.

There now, I hop that’s enough to intrigue everyone.

First of all, as Lewis points out in the above, youth now (and then when he wrote it) hear scores of different worldviews presented to them. Often the worldviews are blended into each other so that they are barely distinguishable. Every one declares their personal worldview to be true. The youth is often not given any measuring stick to go by, and so remains confused and unable to stick to any one thing.

But what has changed in the past sixty years is that now, many people will not even try to compel the youth to believe in what they themselves believe in. Instead they will say “whatever works for you.”

This philosophy is fed to the youth from every imaginable source, including their parents and all too often the church, so if they meet someone who thinks that’s a load of crap, they think that person is the odd one out, never realizing that in terms of history, they are the oddballs. (Every homeschooler’s experience.)

But that’s where the second problem comes in. The older generations may not even totally believe that philosophy, but they are afraid to go against it because a lot of major power sources in the world are busy promoting this idea. Unfortunately, often the courageous men or women who dare to oppose are shut down by said sources, sometimes they are shut down by their own friends or fellow workers.

This explains why people blindly go along with this stuff. And why the most corrupt individuals are the ones who rise to power in this sick system.

But I can break it down more than that.

This is nothing new. The root cause of all this is the same thing: Sin.

Sin comes in three parts. There’s the sin of the individual, the sin of the world at large, and the sin of the devil. And I mean what he causes specifically.

It might sound nuts to blame the devil, but if you can’t accept that, then think of it as the reason why sin keeps getting worse. Something is constantly causing new ways for people to be corrupt, call it what you will, you can’t deny that things get worse over time.

The sin of the individual in this case is that every human being is selfish, and every human being tends to think more of themselves then they should. IT is all too easy for people to be lazy about what they believe. Pluralism is not popular because it is wise, peaceful, or inducing to happiness; it’s popular because it’s convenient and easy. A get out of jail-free card.

The sin of the world is that as a whole, people tend to act in the worst ways. Peer pressure, mob mentality, you know the drill. Sometimes that’s not the case, but whenever a lot of people get upset, sooner or later some of them will let their emotions get the better of reason.

And that stems back to individual sin.

And then all you need is some misguided or misguiding leader to step up and you get a whole movement going which could be pure idiocy. Often it turns to pure evil. (Holocausts, the reign of terror, the after effects of the Civil War and Civil Rights movement.)

Messed up people create messed up societies which choose messed up leaders, and so the cycle goes till a righteous generation chooses to end it.

But this generation is being robbed of the ability to even figure out what righteousness is.

The thing is, Pluralism is spoken of like its a fact. But it’s a belief. By its own philosophy, it has no more credit than any other morality.

But it keeps its followers blind to its own contradictions. They stay that way because of sin.

But there is hope.

One thing pluralism cannot change is that some people do instinctively know that right and wrong are real. And these people may yet see through the deception.

But it would help if more of us could help them see that the deception exists.

Not wanting our beliefs challenged is an old human flaw, if it even is a flaw. (I think it’s really just a twisted version of a very healthy wish for stability.) But we need them to be.

And by the way, there is a cure for the sin problem. It’s Jesus.

Those are my thoughts on this for now, until next time–Natasha.

Your God will be my God.

You know what the most important question anyone can ask you is? What do you believe?

I think we undervalue this question now. Everyone has an opinion, but no one has to be affected by it anymore. Our opinions are just floating around on the breeze.

Funnily enough, that used to be how we’d define not having any beliefs.

I feel like if one of the heroes of even two centuries ago (or even one) was to come back alive and see how we think now, they wold be incredulous.

They would be disgusted with out lack of backbone.

Now that is not everyone, I understand; but here’s the thing, this pluralism has become like the flu, it sneaks up on you and breaks in new ways that aren’t always recognizable as what it is.

I would venture to say that a lot of young people and plenty of older ones are believing in pluralism without even being aware of it.

Here’s why I think this:

I’ve complained before of how young people will just shrug when it comes to moral issues. You know the drill, if it gets too difficult for them, they just say “Well everyone’s entitled to their opinion.” They say it automatically without thinking about it. And they will defend that position up until they or you are too frustrated to keep talking, but they will never stop to think they might be defending something that has no basis in reality.

I don’t blame them for the nonsense that they are taught, I blame them for being unwilling to question it. Not that that’s anything new. People have always been that way and it is just more obvious now than it used to be.

The thing is, I hear this from christian youth as often as non-christian. I am always surprised that they can shrug off the problems with certain movies and music and lifestyles as being “that person’s choice” or “what they believe.”

Then it hit me: The thing I have never considered is that the youth of today think that Christianity is their religion because they personally believe it. Not because it is superior to any other in of itself.

I really think this is it, and with other religions than Christianity too.

Nowadays it is almost nationally accepted that people believe what works for them, because it works for them, and not because it is fact.

Now you can disagree about facts all day long, and someone is sure to be nearer the truth than the other, but neither may have it totally correct. That is a legitimate debate and one that can be given more or less credit based on observation.

But if observation itself is reduced to a matter of personal taste, then what are we left with? Nothing but flimsy opinions that have no real foundation.

It is actually inconceivable to many youth that there could be One Right Belief. And if you say you think there is, they will get frustrated at you from being so stubbornly opinionated.

If it’s true that people believe what suits them best, why do we have martyrs? Why do we have zealots and radicals?

Do you think radical Islam is the religion that best suits the needs of most of the people who believe it? Or is it just what their taught and never allowed to question? They may very well fervently believe it. But that doesn’t make it true.

Pluralism is destroying a lot of people’s souls, they believe it, does it follow that it’s good for them?

Has it been good for the country overall? Or any country that’s fallen into it?

The answer, if you look at statistics and not at the Media, is no. A resounding no.

I would venture to say this country has never been worse off than it is now.

The people in this country have no respect for it anymore. People on both the left and right end of the spectrum.

I can’t say I exactly blame all of them. Our country has been divided so long it’s no longer debatable. (It’s about the only thing both sides agree upon.) The truth is, when there are no absolute values, then there can be no healthy country. There is no way to keep people in order who can’t tell right from wrong. even criminals used to know they were criminals. Now they will defend thier actions as not wrong but just freedom of expression. OR just them not bieng able to control themselves becuase of how messed up they are.

And sadly, even in the Church, many people don’t actually believe in Christianity in full.

The very basis of Christianity is that there is one God. He decides what’s right and wrong. Either we are for him, or we are against him. There is no gray area. There is no middle ground. There is no thin line between Him and the Evil One. No, the line is a huge chasm. The difference is whether you fall into it or not.

People can reject this view. But if they say they believe it, they better realize that means the cannot believe anything else. If something contradicts the Bible, it’s out.

I say this because it is something millennials really don’t understand about faith. Faith involves loyalty to one person or one group of people. It means their enemy is your enemy, their friend is your friend.

Ruth understood this. She knew that if she went with Naomi it meant she could no longer worship a pagan god. “Your people will be my people, your God will be my God, where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.” She told her.

One last thing: I do not say that every young christian who has pluralism mixed up with their faith is damned. I think many of them are sincere and godly in other ways and don’t realize the contradiction in their theology. I would even say their own souls may not be in danger.

But the problem is, other peoples’ are. Everyone’s soul is in danger when it has no rock to hold onto.

So here’s to the faithful ones who still are holding on to absolute truth. You’re not alone.

–Natasha.

 

 

 

 

A myth retold.

You ever hear the myth of Cupid and Psyche? It’s pretty cool. It was the inspiration for my favorite book “Till we have faces.”

In a nutshell it’s Beauty and the Beast with a few strange twists.

Psyche is a beautiful beyond belief woman, who is being worshiped instead of the goddess Aphrodite (who is goddess of love and beauty) which makes Aphrodite furious, so she sens her son Eros (whom we all know by his roman name Cupid) to make Psyche fall in love with some hideous person or beast. In the process however, he accidentally scratches himself with the point of an arrow and falls  in love with her himself.

Well, you can imagine how Aphrodite feels about this, but she doesn’t do anything for awhile. Psyche goes to an oracle for advice, since she’d getting lonely and tired of only being worshiped and not really loved, the oracle (I believe upon Aphrodite’s instruction) tells her she is fated to marry a monster. Well, Psyche isn’t too happy about this, but somehow( the reasons vary) she ends up on a cliff and the West Wind comes an carries her to this great palace. Where he is waited on by invisible servants and visited at night by her husband. Whom she never sees. (This is like the original Beauty and the Beast, not the Disney version.)

Psyche is enjoying herself with no qualms until her sisters pay her a visit. (Either Eros lets them or his mother or they somehow find her themselves, I’m not sure.) We’ll say Eros lets them in this account. Her sisters fill her head with suspicions about her husband, what if he really is a hideous monster? Finally she agrees to look at him by night, the very thing she was forbidden to do. So she does this that night, but he turns out to be a gorgeous god with angel wings. While she’s gaping at him in adoration a drop of hot candle wax falls on him from her lap. He wakes up, scolds her for breaking his trust, and leaves her there. Aphrodite hears all about it and decides to punish Psyche in some pretty dramatic ways. She sets her a lot of tasks that seem impossible. But creatures ranging from ants, to eagles, to other gods, all help her complete the tasks.

Finally she is given one last task. Getting beauty from Persephone, the queen of the underworld. Psyche successfully gets a cask from her, but even though she was warned not to look in it, she does. (Some say because she wanted to look better for her husband whom she was supposed to be reunited with.) Well, it turns out what was in the box was death. Or else the beauty in it was so intense no mortal mind could take it in. Whatever the case Psyche immediately passes out. Either into death or just unconsciousness.

Eros finally comes back to her, after being kept away by his mother for a long time, and revives her. Then he brings her up to Olympus and she is given immortality. Zeus patches things up between her and Aphrodite somehow, and they all live happily ever after. (As much as Greek gods do.) Psyche also is given wings. Butterfly like wings if I remember correctly.

In Greek psyche means “Soul” and I’ve also heard it means “butterfly.” Which I think fits. I think the Greeks were onto a thing or two when they came up with this myth.

The myth is a metaphor for the soul. I’m sure it’s been interpreted different ways, but here’s my guess at it: The soul has to mate with love in order to fly. But before it can be fully united to true love, it must be free of its bondage to selfish, vengeful, jealous love (represented by Aphrodite.) That kind of love is just lust really, it wants to be admired and fulfilled but never give anything back in return. And if you know anything about Greek mythology, you know Aphrodite is responsible for screwing a lot of people up because of her matchmaking. (To her credit, she also makes some happy marriages along the way.)

Eros, or Cupid is considered a monster because he forces people to fall for each other with his arrows. People fear love because it leads to many reckless things. At least I always thought that’s what it meant.

C. S. Lewis puts a different spin on it when he shows that people fear Eros because they do not understand him, nor do they know him. Even though by all accounts Aphrodite does more to mess people up, Eros gets the credit for the damage she does. Eros is seen as a  brute because he seems to devour people. In that they are never seen again after they are taken to him. But Lewis digs deeper and shows that after being with a god, mortals are ruined for ever being content with mere mortal companionship again. Which makes their families angry and jealous, and makes other immortals like Aphrodite furious.

The really odd part is where Psyche dies. In any other Greek Myth, she’d be doomed for disobeying Aphrodite’s instructions. (It happened to other people.) But in this one, in an odd twist, she is forgiven and brought back with no lasting consequences. And she is reunited with her husband and made immortal. Did you catch that? The soul is made immortal after being united with love?

What’s really interesting is that I’m fairly certain this myth predated Christianity, yet all the basic elements of Christianity are in there. Psyche breaks the god’s command, ends up enslaved to another god who wants to punish her, she dies, she is resurrected, and she lives forever; because of love.

On top of that, Eros is Aphrodite’s son, so you could also see it as a representation of how Christ atones for us and makes us right with the Father.

It’s a powerful myth because it rings true. It’s one of the only Greek myths I know of where mercy wins out over the gods queer justice. It also reflects the truth, as Lewis shows, that the gods ways are unsearchable for mortals.

I like the myth both in its original form and in its retelling and I can’t figure out why no one is doing a retelling of it in movie form. Someone get on that!

Anyway, I hope you liked it, until next time–Natasha.

On purity and brokenness.

So today I have a difficult topic to tackle. This has been on my mind for awhile but I didn’t know if I was ready to go public with it. But I think until I do it’s going to bother me.

I know I’m not the only person to have experienced this, in fact probably all of you have more than once even, so here goes.

Some time ago I was meeting up with some friends, and in the course of a late night chat with a few of them, I learned that one of them had compromised their purity, multiple times.

This is not an usual thing, sadly enough. (By the way for those of you who don’t know, purity is the christian word for virginity and freedom from lust.)

But that wasn’t all. This person was still in that relationship and her family wasn’t too happy about it. She was also unwilling to break it off, and unwilling to separate from the guy to go to a different school for a while, as one person had recommended.

There is no one way to handle such situations, but to my horror, the other people in the room began telling her there was grace for that.

I may make quite a few people mad by sharing this, but it won’t be the first time if I do, so I’ll continue.

I was shocked, more at these other girls than at the one who had made the confession. In disbelief I began to tell her that, while I didn’t believe she was condemned, she needed to put an end to this if she really cared about the guy in question and her relationship with God. I made it pretty clear that this was not okay.

None of them really liked what I had to say. The girl herself got mad at me and ended up ending the conversation.

Now it wasn’t all so smooth at the time as it sounds in the retelling, but you get the idea.

I can’t tell you how much this incident bothered me and continues to bother me.

I witnessed first hand what damage compromising can do and I want to talk about it.

I don’t think it’s biblical to be overly harsh with those who have stumbled. It does happen. But it happens for different reasons.

Sometimes the person is rebellious.

Sometimes they are broken and do it compulsively.

Sometimes they are just filled with lust and lose their heads.

Whichever it is, each has to be handled differently. But I’m going to address the second one.

I have talked about this before on this blog. Some people, especially girls, tend to live in sexual sin because they feel somehow that they deserve it or are trapped in it and cannot escape. In can be because they were molested or raped, or abused in some other way, or because they gave in one time and felt that they already lost it all.

Most often these girls would not have fallen had they had better support form their family and friends, or if they did fall, they could have got back up again.

Actually, they still could and some have. The biggest lie in the whole business is that there is no turning back. There are women who have. Ones who aren’t even religious but just feel that the lifestyle is wrong.

But many believe they can’t ever get back what they lost.

It’s true that you can never forget that you made that choice. But there is healing from it, and there is restoration.

Sometimes women (and I’ve heard this personally more than once) believe that because they were raped or molested, their purity was stolen and they cannot get it back anyway, whether they wanted to lose it or not.

As a woman I understand it is terrible to feel helpless. And maybe they choose promiscuity because in some way they feel they have control again.

Rape is a terrible thing. There is no softening that.

But, and this will be hard to swallow, even the rapist can be a broken person themselves who does not fully realize what they are doing.

They have no excuse; but perhaps it might be easier for the woman if she could understand that the only way to heal the hurt is to stop spreading it. Whether it’s through what she does to herself or to what she does not choose to put an end to in other people.

Most people will agree that being raped does not equal losing you purity. Christians especially feel that God does not see it that way. In fact losing your virginity is not equal to losing your purity at all. Married people are still pure.

The girl I mentioned before felt that it was too late for her. That she was already on the downward slope, and she took my admonishment/rebuke as confirmation of that.

To be clear, I told her more than once that it was not too late. That she could be forgiven. And I believe that.

What she heard was not what I was saying. She heard what she was already afraid of deep down, and she probably knew that, in a way.

The problem was, she didn’t want to be free bad enough. She thought she and this guy loved each other.

Maybe they did in a way; but not enough to protect each other. Not enough to stop deceiving her family or going behind their backs. Not enough to respect her beliefs.

There are a lot of factors that would make breaking off that kind of relationship hard. Those kinds of problems tend to run in the family. But it does not excuse ignoring that problem.

Nor does it in any way justify people who are outside the situation refusing to admit it is a sin.

It’s kind of taboo to call it that anymore. As a church in general, Christians have taken a more compassionate view of teenage promiscuity. We have been willing to acknowledge it’s more than just teens trying to be wicked on purpose. In fact, that’s probably only a small percentage of the teens who participate in it. Most of them are doing it out of brokenness.

But there is no place in the Bible or in life when brokenness makes something okay.

It’s like driving around with bad brakes, if you get in an accident, it was at least partly your fault for not getting your brakes fixed. You didn’t mean to get into an accident, but you did without seeing it coming.

Or, as happened to me recently, you don’t even know the brakes are bad because you lack experience with them, and find out only after you start driving. Then it would be on the person who didn’t warn you.

But in no way does that change that bad brakes are a hazard to you and the people around you. It would be stupid to say that the brakes were okay because it’s forgivable that you didn’t know about them.

And that’s the difference. Sexual immorality is a sin. Whether it’s done intentionally or by lack of being prepared.

Telling someone that it is okay to sin is never right because it’s the same as telling them the car their driving is safe when it’s not. You could get them killed. Figuratively or literally.

But I don’t want anyone to read this and then think it’s okay to be a jerk to someone who is stuck in sin. I am all for being compassionate…but not delusional. There’s a difference.

I have a feeling this message may never be popular, but it is still important. My biggest regret is that I could not help this girl I knew. I couldn’t because I had neither her full trust, nor any back up from anyone who cared enough to tell her the truth. Except those whom she’d already refused to listen to.

I hope in the future I will have better answers. But I recognize that there is no forcing people to choose differently.

But I just want to point out, no one is forcing them to keep choosing the same thing either.

Freedom is available. All you have to do is want it bad enough.

One last thing, I don’t claim to have it all figured out or that this post was an extensive look at this issue. It’s a small peek into it, that’s all. There’s a lot more books and talks on it that would be better for anyone concerned with the subject to check out.

I’d recommend “Purity,” by Kris Valloton. (It’s less preachy then it sounds.)

“Kissed the girls and made then cry,” by Lisa Bevere.

And the “Message to teens,” sermon by James Robinson.

Until next time–Natasha.