Is God always right?–1

You ever wonder if God always does the right thing?

It sounds nuts, doesn’t it?

But it’s actually something most people have wondered. You probably have.

It comes up a lot in Christian movies, but surprisingly, super hero stories of all things are also dealing with that problem.

That infamously awful Dawn of Justice movie is one example. Lex says “If God is all powerful, he cannot be all good.”

Well, my thought with that is that Lex Luthor is insane. He always was, the movie version is just more cartoony than the…cartoon version…hmm. Weird.

(Can anyone tell me what Lex is short for?)

Anyway, I actually have a good reason for thinking Lex is off his wagon (other than the obvious ones.)

My case is that it is because God is all powerful that he can be all good.

I know that in the movie, Superman is meant to be the god in question. But though superman has a lot of powers, he has no powers that would make him a god. Other than his ability to see everywhere.

Superman has no better understanding of humanity than anyone else; he has no ability to see into people’s souls; and nowadays he’s not even angelically good.

I know that Marvel is kind of redefining what godly qualities look like. But they used to mean goodness, wisdom, and yes, power.

If God is good, he must be all powerful.

But why does it seem like God does things that are bad?

I’ve heard it brought up that God in the Old Testament is bloodthirsty; cruel; judgmental.

I understand this to an extent. God tells us not to murder, yet He strikes people down.

And people actually make fun of this now, mocking the idea that someone could be struck by lightning from heaven. Though that’s hardly funny when you think about it.

I really don’t think God works that way most of the time, but as often as I’ve heard pastors downplay it, I have to admit, if you believe God is all powerful, you have to acknowledge he could do things like that. And that He does. Sometimes.

I don’t believe that God never judges people. that;s His job and his alone.

But what about those stories in the Bible where whole nations are supposed to be wiped out?

Well, human pity tends to say that’s terrible. And the Israelites themselves didn’t follow those instructions. I feel like in our modern world they would be applauded for thinking for themselves.

But what happened because of that was that the Israelites were corrupted. here’s some fun facts about the nations they were told to destroy. They did human sacrifice. Including Children. They also has sex as a means of some weird worship ritual. They were terrible cultures. They led the Israelites to do those things to.

The Israelites. like all people struggling to be different, often were swayed by the folks around hem. Just as we are by peer pressure. They wanted a king because it was the cool thing. They wanted to build altars to the popular gods.

And if you think that’s changed over the centuries, then you need to take a closer look. It’s the same now.

But in that time, pretty much the only way to deal with that sin was to eradicate the sinners. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the only thing to do.

God wanted a holy people. he wanted them to understand that the wages of sin is indeed death. If they would be his, they could not belong to the world around them.

It may sound insane to justify mass murder on those grounds…and in some ways, it is.

After all, I would say terrorists are insane.

There are a few differences though.

First of all, I think we can all agree what the other nations were doing was terrible and inhuman.

It’s different to give the death sentence to murderers then it is to a nation of lesser sins.

There’s a lot of theological reasons about why everyone in these nations needed to be killed. At the very least, it was war.

Beyond that, all I can really say is that you have to believe.

But I don’t think that’s enough.

It’s not hard to think that if the God of the Bible is the one true God, then it is his right to decide who lives and dies.

It’s more problematic when you think how many other religions claim that.

And even more so if you think that no matter if it’s true or not, it seems terrible.

But God is ever merciful.

We deserve nothing form him. That he chooses to spare one nation and destroy another is all in His own plan, and who are we to question it.

But even so, he does not despise our questions.

He does remind us that He is god, and we are man. We can’t understand.

And if there’s one thing I’ve observed about humanity it’s that our pity for each other is not consistent.

We get all bent out of shape over God’s judgement. But we make death threats on the internet to people who’ve never done us any personal wrong just because we don’t like them. We murder each other over stupid things like money. We use each other. We lie We cheat. We steal.

We who abuse children; and have holocausts; and start arguments just to pick a fight.

Should we really talk?

I just have a feeling those who would condemn God need to take a good look at themselves.

God at least has reasons for what He does.

But if that’s not enough (and it never is) I also want to point out that God, by position, has the right to do things we don’t do.

I realize I haven’t made perhaps the strongest argument with this post, but it’s a good starting point to dive deeper into this. So until next time–Natasha.

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Not my father’s.

 

First of all, my holiday was pretty good. Family; that family’s friends; gifts.

But just the day after Christmas things were back to the old pattern. I got told that I was so influenced by what my father believes it was unbeleivable.

It’s funny, my dad would probably never say that. I don’t think most people who meet me feel I am easily swayed by people’s opinion.

But what does frustrate me is that I don’t explain my own positions. I never have explained my political positions (that is, what led me to that conclusion.) IT’s nto becaue I don’t have reasons. I have lots of reasons.

I actually have too many, and I usually feel that if I laid out my whole line of thinking, no one would listen. People rarely listen when I even begin to explain my views, if they hold different ones.

I’ve learned to keep my disagreement to myself.

Which is, I figure, just what the opposition wants.

I’m not the only one who does this, I know others who do. People who are feeling that the opposing side is so bull headed that there’s no point in trying to explain why we think differently. We never get that far, we figure, so why bother?

Funny, whichever side of a given issue you’re on, you probably have felt this way.

But, no one gets wiser when we all keep in in.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,”

Of course I’m not one to say that we can all always learn form each other’s points of view.

That’s not the reason we share points of view.

If someone’s view is false, then nothing can be learned from it, by definition. But there is a lot you can learn from the person who holds that view.

You can learn why they hold it, how it came to happen, and what effect it has on them and the people around them.

With very extreme views, often that last thing is obvious.

But I submit to you that truth itself is not something another human can teach you, just by telling you something.

We learn from each other’s character far more than from each other’s words, though those are a big part of it.

But that is the danger of looking to the popular, or widely accepted or hated opinions; also of looking to the media, or a celebrity; or a parent to guide you to truth; they aren’t always in it.

I doubt anyone has the capacity to hold all truth in their minds at one time, but it is certain that some people are on the track to discovering more of it all the time, and others to never ending deception.

That’s why we do ally ourselves with certain groups of people. I prefer Fox News not because I believe its unbiased (I don’t) but because I know the people on Fox news hold belief systems closer to my own, and therefore are more likely to point me in what I believe is the truthful direction. But I don’t completely swallow all they say, I don’t know if they really expect that actually.

The difference I do perceive between Fox and CNN is that one seems to expect people of different views to tune in occasionally, but the other really doesn’t.

But I’m not getting into that debate (and I won’t get into it in the comments, just in case there was someone reading who would try.)

My point is, human institutions are like compasses. Some aren’t accurate, some are, but at their best, all they do is point you to the right thing.

So, if I do share a lot of my father’s views on things, it is because I see him as a pretty accurate compass.

But I don’t agree with my father on plenty of subjects. I choose to keep those to myself because I don’t think it’s anyone’s business. not anyone who’s not close to my family anyway.

But the reason I agree, as far as politics goes, is that my faith is the same as my dad’s essentially. Bible-based. And I would only expect our ideas to line up most of the time because of that.

I won’t pretend that my parents haven’t influenced my beliefs, of course they have, and I’m glad they did. They are good, honest people, and I have no reason to be ashamed to agree with them.

But they do not define my beliefs. The older I get, the more I realize this. That even though my beliefs have not really changed since I was a child, they have become more my own, not less.

Actually, whether you like it or not, after a certain age, your beliefs are your own. No matter if you’ve ever questioned them or not.

To all of us there comes a choice to question, or to accept what we’ve been taught. All of us decide, for a myriad of reasons, which we will do. All of us, no one gets left out of that. Once you decide, it’s your belief.

Some folks might whine that their parents ruined their lives, but after a certain age, you ruin your own life.

Depending on where you live and what your family is like, that could be a different age for all of us, but we hit it sooner or later.

I know our parents shape us, but they don’t define us.

And one last thing:

Like everyone, I have doubts. I never reassure myself by telling myself that “my parents are sure, so it must be true.” I can’t imagine that actually being comforting.

No. I have to go back to what I have experienced, and heard, to remind myself why I believe.

And that’s all I have to say about that, until next time–Natasha.

Racial Stereotypes and Movies.

You know what I notice when I watch internet reviews? Most of the ones out there are by more…liberal minded youths.

Youths being subjective, some of them are in their thirties.

But they more to the left, if you know what I mean.

I still enjoy their reviews and get something from them, but on certain issues, they always end up disappointing me by taking the opposite stance from what I would.

A common example would be racism in films (by the way it’s a lot easier to see racism in films than in books.)

A lot of the time it’s just pointed out to make a sarcastic joke, and the observation is not based on substantial evidence that the movie was being racist.

Like in old Disney movies.

Maybe, and I say it with reluctance, Walt Disney did have some racist leanings. A lot of people did in the forties and fifties, even those who wouldn’t have identified themselves as for segregation.

But I might point out his movies were probably one of the first, if not the first, to feature ethnic characters in a kid’s film.

Also, I question whether all stereotyping is harmful.

To a kid, the stereotyping is a lot less about color or speech and a lot more about how the character acts. They won’t recognize singing a certain way as a stereotype. They’ll be paying more attention to whether the character is being good or bad.

And that’s why black is associated with evil and white is associated with good.

Before you get all offended (if you’re the type who does.) Let me further explain.

The black vs white thing has nothing to do with race, as much as certain groups of people would like you to believe it does. It’s all about the contrast between darkness and light.

This goes way back to the Bible itself, along with plenty of mythologies around the world. Darkness, night, underground, etc, is always representative of evil.

Which is not a coincidence or a chance but a deep truth. In darkness you are blind and you lose your way. That’s how you become evil. In a nutshell.

But light, daytime, open air, they all represent truth and goodness.

And we all know the connection there. Freedom and seeing things clearly leads to happiness and goodness.

Plus most people are afraid of the dark as children and prefer the daylight hours.

That villains are traditionally clothed in black or other dark colors is not a racist thing, nor are references to things looking blacker than before. Context, people, context.

Black characters are not often cast as villains anyway.

Which is also called racist, but I think the white people ought to be more offended over this.

why are we always portrayed as evil maniacs who lie, kill, steal, as if it were nothing?

And if this doesn’t bother you, but black characters not being villains does, you have a problem.

Because that’s basically saying white people can be evil and it’s normal, but black people can be evil and it’s special. It makes them important.

How messed up is that idea on so many levels?

Furthermore, if old movies portrayed black and Asian characters as goofy, quirky, and stereotypical, were they any better to white characters?

Couldn’t the whole tea party thing from Alice in Wonderland be called an English stereotype? Could the white rabbit who’s always in a hurry and kind of a milksop be a stereotype?

Actually all the characters int eh movie are white and very quirky.

But if that’s not the best example, what aobut the princess movies?

The only non white princesses are also ones portrayed as more proactive and hardworking and anti damsel in distress. (Pocahontas, Tiana, and Jasmine.) You can argue all day about how their ethnicity as a whole is portrayed, but aren’t they less helpless and docile than Cinderella and Snow White and Aurora; all European.

And aren’t all the white princesses up till Merida stereotypically man–oriented without any power of their own?

Merida and Elsa are still the only real exceptions to this so far.

Am I saying we should come down on Disney for all this? NO.

I don’t care.

I really don’t need movie characters to tell me what my gender should do or be. I don’t see little boys walking around being princely. (Too bad.) If I like identifying with princesses, it’s because something in the idea of it itself appeals to me. Not because i think that’s the embodiment of what a woman should be.

I would find that thought ridiculous.

And I don’t ask movies to define femininity for me. Wonder Woman is just as feminine to me as Cinderella. Because woman are different, and what we share is hard to capture in one film.

Saying that Cinderella or Wonder Woman are the peak of womanliness is as silly as trying to pick between a t\super smart guy or the tough wrestler guy as the epitome of manliness.

Doesn’t a man need both brains and brawn? Don’t most men fall between those two extremes. Or in some cases, are both. (Hi Batman….and most Superhero men.)

And don’t most women have both a tough and bold side, and a demure and beauty loving side.

For me those two sides are inseparable. I can be bold and appreciate the finer things in life simultaneously.

And any movie that says those are mutually exclusive is idiotic.

Just like any movie that thinks it can accurate portray an entire ethnicity is idiotic.

Here’s the rub.

People are all different. A movie portraying an ethnicity can only portray the most well known parts of it, or the worst parts, or the funniest parts, to get so many people to follow along.

It’s not a movie’s place to define a race. Only to use race as a storytelling tool.

It can’t tell you what you are, and how you live. It’s not able to do that. And no one should ask it too.

That’s not to excuse any film that’s using stereotypes just to put people down and dump on one culture or another. Those films are garbage.

But most films are just trying to tell the story using what the majority is familiar with. And that’s true whether it’s an american film portraying English stereotypes, or a Bollywood film portraying American stereotypes. (It happens.)

Whatever. Can I just focus on the actual message?

Those are my thoughts anyway, until next time–Natasha.

Of Christmas Classics and Childhood Innocence.

Who doesn’t love old Christmas Classics?

Even though I realize now that there’s a lot of things in those movies that are not explained very well, I don’t think they have to be for the movie to be good.

Actually, I think they make it better.

If you’ve ever seen Frosty Returns, you might recall that Frosty tells one kid that “Some things just can’t be explained.”

And it’s true. I mean, can anyone really explain gravity? Can anyone decide what light is?

 

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I watch Frosty the Snowman now, the nostalgia makes me want to cry.

Because I’m sad for what we have lost.

I love the innocence of these old films. They have songs in them that would never make the cut now. Like the “If you sit on my lap today” Song from Santa Claus is coming to town.

That song is innocent. Whatever might be read into it now.

I am not saying by the way, that we should write songs like that for our modern movies. The problem with losing innocence is that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

You can never un-see or un-know what you know.

It’s impossible for me to forget the threats of terrorism, and drug abuse, and sex trafficking.

And that’s why I would like to encourage any parents our would be parents reading it that innocence is actually a very wise thing to preserve in your child.

It’s going out of fashion now.  The general attitude is that children will have to face reality sooner or later, and hiding it from them is stupid.

And parents who choose to shelter their kids rarely explain why in terms that make sense to those who hold the above view of it.

When parents say they don’t allow their kids to watch or listen to certain things, they usually justify it by saying those things are inappropriate.

But what does that mean? And in the day of gender confusion and school shootings, does that idea have any merit?

I think so.

The way my parents handled the issue was never voluntarily bringing up any shocking behavior. But if I asked about it, they would explain. My dad often more than I wanted to hear. My mom usually more vaguely, because she didn’t like talking about the stuff herself.

My parents used both caution, timing, and natural curiosity to handle the problem of telling my siblings and I about the crud in the world. And that’s the key.

Now that I’m almost 20, I hope I will not be in for too many more moral shocks. (please Lord.) But I am glad that most of the ones I had came when I was over the age of 10.

I am glad I can remember a time when I did not know those things. And that I did not grow up hearing about them all the time. Or that if I did hear, I did not understand, so I cannot remember.

I am glad that I had many years of relative carefreeness.

Why? Because I had no suspicions. I still remember when I could watch a movie and not get the sexual innuendos. Wasn’t’ that great?

I mentioned in my Wonder Woman review that I had the experience later of being horrified to learn about how corrupt people can be. That’s not a fun experience, but I would urge anyone with children not to avoid it by letting their children in on everything without setting boundaries.

Obviously, adults don’t talk directly to children about this stuff (usually) but they let them watch or read things without screening them first. And it adds up.

I am glad to be horrified over sin. It does not make you weak. It is actually a good thing to be sickened by it. To a certain extent. It’s a godly quality. The Lord himself is horrified by sin.

Did you know that there are some sins God does not even imagine us doing? It’s true. It says in Jeremiah 19:5, 7:31, and 32:35 that the sin Israel was committing had not even entered his mind.

God then, is innocent.

You may ask how that’s even possible. And the reason I can think of ties back in to shielding children from corruption.

A pure mind cannot ever conceive the depths a corrupt, sick mind will stoop too. A good man cannot even imagine doing what an evil man does.

The best protection from corruption is to not know about it. Innocence in childhood can be a great foundation fro a strong moral character. Because a child is not ready to process e evil and sort it out from good. That’s why it is the parent’s job to feed them on good things.

I want to make it clear I do not mean parents should pretend evil isn’t real. Children will figure that out no matter how much you try to hie it. What I mean is, trying to give them the best you can and make sure what’s influencing their thinking is a pure as possible. Evil is always evil, and it’s always defeated.

(I recommend A Thomas Jefferson Education for more on how to ease children into knowing evils sometimes wins and preparing them for that harsh reality through their books and movies.)

We are told nowadays that children only grow up with concepts of good and evil because we teach them too. And we are advised to throw away responsibility and treat them like case experiments. Exposing them to all things and letting them decide.

but no matter how hard you pretend it’s otherwise, children will decide based on you. Whether they reject your morality, or imitate it. You will be their guideline. You are teaching them one way, whether you like it or not.

So, why not teach them good, noble things, while it’s up to you. Before friends and school have a stronger grip on them. (Though find the best school you can by all means. And encourage healthy friendships.)

I want innocence for my children because it’s the last part of life that remains a little linked to how things were mean to be. And a child who has that experience will be able to imagine better things more easily than one who only ever saw the darkness in the world.

Irreverence.

I watch a lot of YouTube, and a lot of movies. This often gives you a look into the worst of humanity (the part of it that’s online.)

Like Furrys, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with liking anthropomorphic animals, but do you know the sick connotations that term has?

I hope not for your sake. But I’ve picked it up streaming through videos.

Anyway, you know what I notice, there’s a growing problem that’s being almost ignored by he folks who comment on this stiff. (Like I am now, I guess.)

Maybe this is familiar to you, some one who thinks they are super funny is going on aobut something, and they throw in some remark against God. (It can even be a non christian God.)

I don’t know about Buddhists, Muslims, or Jews, but this really bugs me when it happens.

The insolent tone these folks use is kind of disturbing.

I won’t defend other gods, but I don’t really think they are something to joke aobut when someone truly believes in them.

Take an example from a movie I recently watched (it wasn’t good, by the way) the main character calls God a racist b—, with no real grounds for it that I could see, and other people in the movie think this is great. And funny. She’s applauded for her…moxie, I guess.

You know what’s celebrated in our culture? Irreverence.

We laugh at it, even applaud. Those who are out of control and insolent to everybody are praised as fearless and independent.

I wish I could say it was just unbelievers. but I’ve seen it among Christians too.

Some of you 40+ readers will remember when it was bad to use the phrase “Oh my God.” or any other cockamamie phrase that threw around God’s name.

Now I hear that all the time in church.

It’s hilarious. kid shows even nowadays will not use that phrase, or words like “heck” or “darn” because it would bother parents, but I hear it in church. Even in Sunday school.

I use darn and heck myself. Because to me, they mean nothing, or nothing important. You darn a sock. Heck isn’t even a real word exactly.

But throwing God’s name around implies that you feel the same way about that word that I do about these two words. That it means nothing to you.

And I’m convinced that for many people, it doesn’t. The idea that God would even take offense to that, if they believe in him at all, never crosses their mind.

It may seem like I’m being judgmental to mind this. But I’m really not. It’s a serious problem, your language reflects your attitude.

Now people will swear up and down that that’s not the case. We all deny stuff. It’s not a spectacular example of human failings. That’s why we shouldn’t buy it. People deny plenty of things that are harmful to themselves and others.

It’s like my cousins who use exclamations like that because their parents do, and they never stop to think what they are actually saying. And their parents learned it from their parents. And so on.

Irreverence is a huge problem because it signals a lack of ability to take anything seriously when it comes to the Spiritual side of life.

The Spiritual may not actually be ridiculous, but as C. S. Lewis pointed out, treating it like it has already been found ridiculous is both lazier than trying, and creates a general attitude of flippancy that ruins morality.

I think it is also possible to take things too seriously, but at this point, the only thing we’re in danger of taking too seriously is ourselves.

So the challenge is, do we need to look at how we talk aobut things and start watching ourselves more closely.

I’m pretty sure I do.

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

Wonder Woman–2

I am looking forward to this part more than the first.

Now I get to talk about the meaning of the movie.

(Let me preface it by saying I am not claiming this movie is christian. But I think they used Christian elements to tell the story. Maybe just because that was what they thought would work. I won’t assume more than that. And I think it’s good whether they did it on purpose or not.)

This is where I feel this movie did do something new.

And I also feel that the fans are entirely missing the point when they nitpick the plot for being like other films. The plot was never supposed to be what made this movie different.

It’s Diana herself.

I think I related to her more not because she’s a woman, but because I felt like her story was kind of like my story.

At least par to fit was.

She was homeschooled after all. And very, very sheltered.

So what happens when you stick that combination into the real world?

Diana’s reaction to the horrors of war really hit home with me. Her honest admission that it was horrible. And her demand that promises be kept. Her insistence that they help those who could not help themselves. And her shock when she learned that Steve, one of the good guys, was a liar, smuggler, thief, and that his people had mistreated other peoples of the world. Just as the Germans had.

Diana starts off believing that even Germans are good, truly, and that Ares is to blame for the evil they are doing, and all the evils of war. When she confronts him, she is ready to unleash justice on all their behalf. But to her astonishment, Ares, while under the rope of truth, tells her that he doesn’t make men do the evil they do. All he does is inspire certain parts of it, and manipulate them into doing more things to prolong their troubles.

I believe Ares was still mincing the truth somewhat, though not completely. He’s bound to have more resistance to the rope than a human could, and he only told part of the story.

But Are’s here is a pretty obvious representation of Satan. The tempter, the deceiver, the one who encourages man to sin. But who will say, “I didn’t make him do it.”

Well, no. Satan can’t make a person sin. As in, he can’t put a gun it their hand and make them pull the trigger. But God is pretty clear about tempters still having a major share of the guilt when someone listens to them.

But Diana and we ourselves can’t avoid the truth that man does sin, and he does it voluntarily.

I still remember when I felt the way Diana did when she saw the men still fighting, and she realized Professor Poison really was a psychopath, only getting helped by Ares, but not set on that path by him.

I remember that sick horror when I realized the evils of things like Abortion, or the holocaust, or abuse.

The look on her face was just the look I remember having. And I remember feeling the same doubt about people. In fact, I still struggle with wondering if people can change. If there is truly anything in most of us worth saving.

And by the way, Ares does not highlight anything except the evils of man and his blindness to his own folly. That’s because that’s all Ares cares about. That’s all the devil cares about. The goodness in humanity makes him look less successful.

And like Diana, I have wished I could help everyone who needs it. I don’t want you all to think I’m saintly or anything for feeling that way. If you ask me, it’s no more than decent to want to alleviate the suffering of fellow creatures.

But the truth is, even a superhero can never help them all.

And the smart thing the movie does is come to grips with that fact. It’s basically what Civil War tried and failed to do. And what every Spiderman movie has dealt with.

Diana realizes that she can’t do it all.

I loved the moment at the end when she says she can’t save the world. Though Steve told her she could, she realized the truth: A hero can’t save the world. “Only love can save the world,” she says.

Diana doesn’t mean that just being nice to everyone can save the world. She means that, though evil still rises and men still commit it willingly, the other men who give up everything to stop them and save their people are the ones who save the world.

Essentially, only the ultimate good is more powerful than the ultimate evil. And Diana means to promote that good, and if necessary, lay down her own life, until that good wins out.

And since I believe love is a Person, I know that love has saved the world, and continues to save it. And will triumph in the end. So Diana is completely right.

And Steve’s sacrifice is our example of that love in action. It’s not just a cliche that his last words were “I love you.”

One more thing:

Earlier on, Steve tells Diana that maybe saving people isn’t about what they deserve, but about what you believe. I didn’t get it and thought it was some cheesy one line moral, until Diana was in the final battle with Ares, and she chose to spare Professor Poison’s life, even though she could have justified killing her as an act of war.

But she didn’t, because int hat moment for Diana, it became aobut more than just ending the war. And she repeated what Steve said to Ares as she turned from taking revenge.

You see, what Steve meant was not that you believe in the good of humanity. That would be flimsy and the movie proves it false.

What he meant was, you save people because you believe that is the right thing to do. You believe that somehow, someway, it’s important. It means something. You believe that there’s a different solution than just eliminating them.

If that’s what you believe, and that’s who you are, then you won’t change that just because they don’t deserve it.

And wow, was that a powerful message for me.

Maybe defeating Ares isn’t about stopping war. Maybe it’s aobut winning the war inside yourself. Maybe it means throwing off your own lust for revenge, for power, for the ultimate solution.

Because you don’t have it. But you can be part of it.

Isn’t throwing off all that what truly ends a war anyway?

In that sense, I think Diana killing Ares was symbolic. That was her personal battle. But she recognized that is was not so for all of humanity. The battle is different for everyone.

Diana starts off the movie proud but unaware of her own power; she ends it knowing what she is capable of, but humbled.

And darn it, if that’s not an amazing character arc, then there is just no pleasing some people.

So, I recommend the movie.

–Natasha.

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Bear the pain without breaking.

Let me return to the past post today so that you may read it in the future.

Too much?

Sorry.

Anyway, I want to write about an interesting part of the X-men movie I mentioned in my previous post.

It’s when Old Charles tells Young Charles that “It is the greatest gift we have, to bear their (humanity’s) pain without breaking.”

I got to thinking about this idea. I’ve been rereading another old favorite book of mine, Rilla of Ingleside (the final Anne of Green Gables book.) Montgomery knew how to get emotion out of her readers. This book is one exhausting trip through WWI, but worth reading.

The people in this story perhaps feel the pain of the world too much. I get that the wars were terrible and people had a lot of strain, but I find it hard to believe it was quite as constant and terrorizing as this story portrays.

Not to disrespect what they suffered, I just think humanity naturally adapts and pushes away grim realities in order not to go insane.

But anyway, this book will make you feel the terrible things of war, and the grief and endurance also.

Also it draws together all the many types of people in that world. The imaginative and the dull; the clever and the simple; the devout and the reprobate; all of them are raised to a new level of importance. And the barriers between some of them are broken down.

Shared suffering can do more to make peace between individuals than any amount of good events would. Because people are stubborn, and pain tends to be the only thing that breaks us down.

How does this tie in to X-men of all things?

I mentioned before that Magneto is selfish, whereas Charles is selfless. And I also mentioned that Magneto’s selfishness lies in his ignorance of other people’s suffering.

Somewhere along the line, Charles decided to feel other people’s pain, and Erik decided to bar himself from it.

My question is, how many of us do the same thing?

It’s not hard for me to imagine how other people feel, I can put myself in their place. What is hard is wanting to, especially when it affects me personally.

We never want to be wrong after all.

Then again, some of us would rather be constantly apologizing for no clear wrongdoing than standing up for ourselves or others.

So maybe there’s no cut and dried human way of dealing with blame. But there are pretty basic ways of dealing with pain.

There is so much suffering out there now, one really couldn’t feel all of it deeply. At least, that’s what I’ve thought.

It doesn’t do to dwell on it.

Besides I know too many people who have broken under it, or if not broken, at least bent.

Bearing pain without breaking takes more strength than I have. The only way I can handle it it to lean on God.

I know there are some who might find that a cliche, easy way out sort of answer.

Or even wimpy. Like I’m not tough enough to bear pain  like other people so I need to imagine someone out there who can help me.

My personal opinion is that nayone who thinks they can bear the wieght of the world without breaking is deluded.

To me it would be far worse to think that pain and sin are just things we have to live with, and there is no escaping it.

There had better be an escape. Otherwise, why are we living at all?

Isn’t that what Charles concludes? destruction isn’t the course humanity has to take, only the course it tends to take because of the cruel acts people do against each other.

And Magneto’s selfishness feeds those acts. While the selflessness of the X-men is what finally turns the tide.

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

P. S. (my rule is no posting on Sunday’s but I’m making an exception because this was mostly written days ago and I kept getting interrupted before I published it, so here it is.)

Redeeming the time: X-men style.

When I did my X-men review, I wanted to go more into Days of Future Past, but I ran out of time. So, here we go.

Honestly, this one was my favorite.

I’m going to jump right in by bringing up the principle theme, split into two different plot lines, of the film.

The theme is Redemption.

First off we learn that in the future mutants are hunted down (so much for the efforts of the X-men in all the previous movies) and so are any humans who side with them or who harbor some early form of the mutant x-gene.

The reason all this happened is not because of Magneto’s heinous acts against humanity, as one might expect, but because of one murder of Mystique’s. Her first ( not her last.)

Mystique was always a pretty rough and seemingly merciless and conscience-less character in the first three films, in the fourth we learn she wasn’t always that way, in the fifth they finally get around to asking “What if she could have been different?”

If they could stop her from murdering the man, Trask, they could stop the war that is killing off all of them.

What if?

There are a couple things that come to my mind when I think about the idea of traveling back in time to save people.

There’s my favorite book, Till We Have Faces, in which the main character thinks that the gods can change the past. At first thinking they do so to make us seem guilty, and later realizing they do so by changing us ourselves into different people.

Then there is that verse in the Bible that says we redeem the time because the days are evil.

That certainly fits this movie’s whole premise.

I don’t believe time travel is strictly possible. But if it were, I would think it was like any other gift, meant to be used to help and to heal, but able to be used to do damage.

There’s plenty of fiction that covers the latter, but this film interestingly enough shows how, even with the best of intentions, someone could still make the future worse than ever by going back. There’s a delicate moment when Future Charles warns the team not to wake Logan up, or there will be a worse darkness than there is now. By which he means that thanks to Erik, the mutants will have exterminated humans.

Now if Logan had not gone back and busted Erik out, that could not have happened.

Actually Erik was mostly useless in the film. He didn’t help convince Raven not to shoot the guy, he didn’t try to change the people’s minds about mutants, he almost sealed their fate.

But I guess it was better for him.

Raven was the most intriguing character to me from the beginning, since I had heard she turned good eventually, but I was constantly frustrated by her poor choices.

What I liked about this film was its disdain of the idea that Raven was meant to kill Trask, and that the War was meant to happen. Of course those terrible things weren’t meant to happen.

The movie admits, through Younger Charles, that Raven needs to have a choice, but it never leaves any doubt that there is only one right choice for her to make.

That’s the thing abut knowing the future, it’s pretty hard to argue with it.

The reason Raven refuses to listen at first seems to be pure stubbornness and resentment of Charles’es attempt to control her; but I think it’s also human nature to deny consequences to our bad choices…why else do we make them?

The theme of redeeming the time comes in strongly in another way, through Logan’s wake up call to Charles himself. We know that before Logan came back, Charles wasted a good portion of those years, and was not there for Raven or for other mutants, as Erik spitefully (and unjustly considering his many betrayals) points out.

But Charles changes that, and redeems his own time as well as Raven’s.

Raven always chose Erik before, he was more intriguing, he had a sort of magnetic personality, even Charles felt its pull though he knew better than to listen to him.

What makes Raven in the end choose Charles is a number of factors.

Partly it’s that she realizes a lot sooner that Erik is not loyal to her, and does not care about her in any recognizable way; as she had thought he did. (By the way, trying to kill someone and then flirting with them when it is too late is sick and only seems charismatic in movies.)

Partly it’s that she is told the future depends basically on her actions. (Which is one thing that does not change oddly enough. People are positioned, they don’t get to choose that, they only get to choose how they use that position.)

But the most important thing that changes her mind is Charles’es persistence, and finally his releasing of her to be who she truly is.

And who she was, he believes, was never the person Erik saw her as, Older Erik admits he set her on a dark path; who she was was not even exactly what Charles himself thought, she was more than that.

When released from those negative expectations, Raven realizes what she really wants, and she drops the gun.

That moment was every bit as epic as it was intended to be, because we know how hard they worked for it.

Raven sees an opportunity to be seen as a hero instead of a villain, and she chooses it. And I personally thought the look on her face when she turns to Charles and Hank afterwards was pure relief.

Raven actually saves her own life by doing this, though no one ever actually told her (in the cut version I saw) that she died as a result of shooting Trask.

Much like another fictional character named Raven (Ever After High), she changes the whole course of history in one moment.

And who knows when any one of us might do the same thing?

Until next time–Natasha.

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God is good.

God is good.

That’s a favorite debate topic for Christian films. I guess it’s also a favorite DC topic since Lex Luthor makes that infamous statement “If God is all powerful, He cannot be all good.”

Because it’s been talked aobut so much, I’m not sure I have any new wisdom to add to the subject, but I’d like to discuss it for a minute.

I just reread “The Hiding Place,” which is a really good book, and I felt like toward the end the quesiton of God’s goodness comes up.

What ‘s funny about The ways of God is that just His power is not enough to convince us He’s right.

We’ve all apologized when we weren’t sorry or admited something we didn’t want to admit becuae we were afraid of someone in power over us. For very weak minded people, power seems to equal right, even though philosophically we would scorn hat idea.

But I notice that in the Bible, way back in the Old Testament, people often only obeyed God because of His power.

Actually, up until recently in our history, that was totally acceptable logic. We like to feel we have the moral high ground, but many of our ancestors would have thought it was just common sense to obey whatever god was most powerful. It’s led to some messed up religions.

To bring  it back to the point, everything that happens to the Ten Booms in the latter half of the book seems to be terrible. Corrie and Betsie escpecially suffer in three different prisons, one of them the hellish Ravensbruck.

Corrie speaks of wondering why such cruelty could happen, of having to trust God to carry the burden of what she saw and felt watching the atrocities that happened there.

Though we cannot all have witnessed such things firsthand, we have plenty of news examples nowadays to make us ask that same question. Why did God allow it? Is he really good.

In the movie version of the Hiding Place, one embittered prisoner mockingly tells Betsie and Corrie that God is either powerless, or He is cruel, they can’t have it both ways.

Betsie replies “When you know him, you don’t need to know why.”

This is the kind of thinking that makes skeptics believe religious people are crazy. AT least, I think if I were a skeptic I would think it was crazy.

Would you trust God if you were going through death warmed up? If you lost everything? Would you believe God was good if you were mistreated be everyone around you and all you saw was cruelty?

Perhaps, after a time, all of us would begin to falter, if we were left to ourselves/

But God didn’t leave Corrie and Betsie without some signs. The little miracles that happened. Corrie not being checked in line while she has hiding the Bible, the vitamins bottle that did not run dry, the mercy of an otherwise merciless guard or medical trustee, Betsie’s visions.

What I draw from the story is that if God truly meant for us to be miserable, He would no provide these little wonders, these signs of love.

You can’t make those fit in with the idea of a distant, cold God, unless you really stretch your imagination.

Terrible things happen to us that God does not stop, but if we know personally that HE is good to us, then logically, we know these things do not mean He is doing us an evil.

John Eldredge (author and speaker) says that we have doubs about God’s goodness, we might know how He acts in front of a lot of people, signs, wonders, etc. but what is He like when you get alone with Him?

Well, here my theology meets reality. As someone who claims to have a relationship with God, what is my experience of Him?

(Actually, it surprises me how little I talk about this. I’m not ashamed of it, but even at church the subject comes up way less than you would expect.)

In many ways, knowing God personally is a private thing, more so than even knowing your spouse; but it is also meant to be shared.

My knowledge of God is that He is caring, He is loving, He does meet the needs of His children.

Personally, I have had harsh things said to me by people, people have betrayed my trust, people have misjudged me, God has never done that.

Some might say that’s because He is not real, or He is not like I think He is, so how could He do any of those things?

But for my money, none of that matters, I know what I know.

The evil man kind does to itself is bad enough, that there should be any light at all in the sea of darkness is a flat out miracle.

Like how the studios that produced Batman vs Superman also produced Wonder Woman.

Or how the same company that gave us some of the stupidest shows on TV also gave us movies like Frozen, Cinderella, Big Hero 6, and other classics.

Jesus said that the condemnation of men is that lights has come into the world, but men loved darkness.

And to my amazement, and yet also not for I have been guilty of it too, the real reason people doubt God is good is because they themselves are not good and do not want to change.

Bitterness, hate, selfishness; we don’t like giving that up.

Anyway, I hope that made sense.

Until next time–Natasha.

Propaganda.

Do you know what freaks me out? How I can’t watch anything now without being concerned about propaganda being slipped in.

Seriously, it bugs me.

Well, one person’s propaganda is another person’s truth; or at least it’s what they believe is true.

Propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

Originally from a Latin phrase meaning “spreading the faith.”

Obviously propaganda isn’t always bad. Anyone who believes in something will spread it around.

The only problem is when propaganda is spread around under the name of fact.

I could say it is a fact that God exists. But I can’t prove it; and no one can prove He does not exist. It’s a matter of belief (and evidence.)

Evidence is never fact until  it’s been confirmed that your interpretation of the evidence is correct. Like in Legal Cases. Or in a detective novel, a good detective never says who did it until they are certain the evidence is irrefutable. Then the guilty party inevitably does something to prove them right.

All this being said, I guess I have no right to complain about propaganda in media and entertainment. To make a piece of art devoid of propaganda is nearly impossible.

What does bother me is when it’s propaganda I don’t agree with.

I guess the only thing to do would be never to watch anything ever again. But I doubt I could go through life doing that successfully.

Still, isn’t it kind of sick that I can’t watch even children’s shows without worrying about some sexual orientation propaganda being in it.

OF course, I’m realizing that that is widely accepted as fact now. That I’m gong to be seen as a bigot for having a problem with that.

cause that’ always the hide road, isn’t it? Call anyone who disagrees with you a bigot and put a label on them so you can shut them up.k

I won’t say that you can believe whatever you want. The people who say that don’t really mean it.

When was the last time you heard someone say “believe whatever you want” about Racism.

“Yeah, believe on race is better than the other, that’s fine. It’s your personal truth.”

Or what about slavery? Yes, slavery is okay as long as you believe it is.

(Yikes, if someone only read those last two lines I could be really misunderstood.)

Okay then, so not everything is open to personal belief. Clearly Racism is wrong. Slavery is wrong. It’s wrong because we as a society have moved beyond that.

Or was it always wrong? Even when society was practically built around segregation? Or slavery.

Clearly enough, unless humanity is suddenly more enlightened than it ever was, society in general can’t decide right and wrong.

Now, most people would not say society shapes their views. But many of them, if they looked back, would see that the people they grew up around, and the things they watched and read and were taught, are still what they believe now.

People may think it’s even noble to believe what they do. Like believing in homosexuality. It means their open minded, and not biased. Those people would also do well to examine themselves more closely.

Because,whatever the belief is, believing it because it makes you a better person in the eyes of the world is the wrong reason to believe. And I would say that about my own faith too.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where if you had doubts about the faith, you could express them and not be shamed for it. My mom would tell me we all go through times of doubt. I wouldn’t have to feel like I was the only one who had questions.

By and large, that saved me from believing just to get points. I don’t think anyone is ever completely spared from that temptation, but it’s not what motivates me now.

A good question to ask yourself is “If I was the last person on Earth who believed what I do, would I still believe it?”

Any real faith would say “Yes.” Because real faith is not based on other people, or on what you see around you, but on what you don’t see and still know.

The reason I believe in God is because I have experienced things with God that I never experienced with people. People never gave me deep peace, or true joy, but when I became a Christian, I had those things.

You could never convince that was in my head, I’ve been in my head too long to think there’s any peace or joy to be gotten from there. (Some of you know what I’m talking about.)

Only God could explain me finding things I never could find in the world. There has to be something outside the world that can provide those things.

And when you believe that, you have real faith.

Which is not to say everyone who believes that is on the right track, but they are at least being real, and that’s the point all truth starts from.

We all need to be real. We need to admit that some things that ate accepted as fact have never been proven. We need to admit that till we’ve really been tested on something, we don’t know if we really believe it.

Someday you will be called upon to choose a side. It may seem like there’s only one side to be on when it happens, but there are always two. There is always another option. And all of us should decide now which we’re gong to pick.

And stick to our guns. Propaganda or no.

(Propaganda helped me come to my faith, but it was not the thing that drove me to it. There’s a difference from having something beat into your head until you believe it, and actually facing your demons and recognizing them for the first time.)

Until next time–Natasha.

(The cover photo is not intended as a direct crack at Hinduism, it was just the most religious example I had.)