The Avengers: Age of Ultron

I know this movie is old news now, but I saw it for the first time yesterday, SI I thought I’d give my thoughts on it.

I’ve made no secret of my general disinterest in the Avengers, but I like to keep moderately up to date on them. I guess I’m hoping I’ll finally see what everyone else sees in it.

I’ll list the positives first: The character interaction of this film felt way more authentic to me than it did in the first one. You can buy that these people have known each other for awhile now. Clint Barton’s family was a cool part, and how Natasha is basically like their aunt, that’s cool.

Also the action made a bit more sense this time around, it wasn’t as all over the place as the first one felt, at least to me.

Fury was barely in it, but he always makes the plot more confusing so that was actually a good thing. He was in it enough to provide a good element of inspiration.

Finally, Quick Silver was great. I expected to dislike him most of the time but I didn’t. (I did go into it know what happens to him at the end, so that made it easier.) I think he was the best part.

And as a side note, Captain America and the Hammer did look totally like he could have lifted it, I saw it move. And the look on Thor’s face was priceless.

But beyond that, I don’t think this movie held up to the original”s standard, and definitely not my own.

Nice action is great in a superhero flick, but for me it doesn’t make it or break it, so long as the scenes don’t look like a sixties Batman fight, I can tolerate less spectacular fight techniques. And a lot of cool powers isn’t enough to tip the scale either.

Banter gets old unless it’s really good, and cliches and subverted cliches can be equally annoying. (Just because you subverted the cliche doesn’t mean it was a better scene.)

No, what gets me is the heart of a film. It’s why the Incredibles and that Justice League movie about two earths are my favorite superhero films, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

What the heart of Age of Ultron is would be hard to say. Other than Ultron gets his heart ripped out, which was gruesome even if he’s a robot.

I think the heart of it was supposed to be putting the civilians first, and valuing human life instead of just victory over evil.

Did I miss the announcement when a superhero valuing human life ever became something they had to decide in the middle of the film? Uh…that used to be for villains who were finally starting to see the light.

Oh that’s right, superheroes apparently are villains, in a way. (Gag.)

Look, if I have to question the moral choices of my hero, then they aren’t my hero anymore. I can’t look up to someone who is morally inferior to me. That’s stupid.

But I get why it’s popular. So many people identify with this because they are unsure of what their moral standard should be.

A hero should be an inspiration, so why did most of the Avengers spend more time in the film depressing me than they did lifting me up?

If you want to make a morally ambiguous, or philosophically uncertain film, great, but don’t call that a hero film. Heroes are the people who stand up for what’s right, defend the defenseless, and don’t back down from the villain. They are not the people hanging back brooding over whether or not they have the right to even interfere. Yes, the right.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? The Avengers are being accused by Ultron of being the disease of the planet, and they wonder if he’s right.

Well, if he is, it started when they made him.

Up till then, only the Hulk was a threat to society, and he was getting better. If they movie had focused on how the power of love and trust can make people rise to new heights, that would have been a good message.

One many would call cliche and cheesy. But there’s a reason these messages keep being repeated time and again, in every generation. And guess what, the generations that reject them are the ones that crumble in on themselves.

See, the day good things become too boring for the population is the day the population becomes more interested in feeling things strongly then they do in feeling what’s right. It’s like the people who chase erotic love instead of lasting love. The first one is just more of a thrill.

And believe me, I get how these new movies are emotionally seductive, if I may use that term. The stakes are always high, and there are tense moments, and some touching ones that feel very real.

But to what does it all tend?

When I watched The Hunger Games I understood everyone’s fascination with them. I’ve heard snippets of Twilight, and I get why teens were sucked into the series. I get it. Folks, I am not immune to the appeal.

But the appeal is something I despise in myself. Even though it’s there, I know it’s not good.

As a human being, I am as tempted as anyone to sacrifice principal for something that will make me feel all keyed up and pumped, or make me hang on the edge of my seat, or make me sigh and feel all wish- washy. Hey, those aren’t bad feelings.

But pursuing something just to get those feels, that’s either a waste of time, or it’s downright dangerous.

I know this for a fact. I’ve read and watched stuff for all those reasons, that’s how I got addicted to it. And that wasn’t healthy.

Now, it;s become kind of a joke to say you’re addicted to something that people really think is harmless. But addiction is never, ever harmless.

It makes you unhappier in the long run, it can make you depressed. It can make you pull away from the people around you. And it can make you crazily obsessed over something to the point where you neglect real world things.

That’s not a joke. And no one should act like it is.

But most people are unwilling to pull away from their screens long enough to really tell whether or not they have a problem. that’s part of the problem.

As for the Avengers, this movie made them look seriously messed up. Natasha’s whole part just made me sad, but without any hope that she’ll get better. She’s not allowed to, where’d all the conflict come from then, it is the only character development she gets after all…

Yeah, so I didn’t like it. I thought Ultron sucked, not because he wasn’t creepy, but because he made no sense to me. None of it did. I wish they’d decide whether the infinity stones control people or people control them. They can’t make up their minds.

There’s more to be said on this, but it’ll have to wait. Until next time–Natasha.

The Guardians of the Galaxy.

I’m a little late to the party on this, but I thought I’d review Guardians of the Galaxy.

This will go on record as being the only modern Marvel movie I actually like. So far.

It’s also the only one I get at all emotional watching. The sad scenes are actually sad. And that killer scene at the end when they all have the stone, it’s the only Marvel end scene that actually makes me feel pumped.

I’m sure some people think there’s something wrong with me that the Avengers moviesare basically boring to me, but I never feel like anyone, least of all the heroes, is really stopping to take in the weight of what’s really happening.

The Avengers are really like soldiers in an army, no time to be emotional, or to have hesitations, or to need more time to figure things out, they just charge into every battle they can and kick rear end.

I’ve never like watching people beat each other up without any personal investment in the fight. In fact, sometimes I get mad at the hero for punching the villain when I feel the villain didn’t deserve it, or that there was more mature way to handle it.

I feel like the Avengers are often like kids who can’t solve anything except by slugging it out.

Obviously, the Guardians of The Galaxy are the same way, so what makes the difference?

First of all, the Guardians acknowledge the dysfunctional nature of their anger issues. It’s not pretty, but at least they realize it’s messed up, and slowly begin trying to control themselves. This is a nice change from it being no moral conflict at all as to whether you should beat the crud out of the person you’re angry with.

Secondly, no one expects any of the characters to be good when the movie starts out. And none of them are. But over the course of the movie they realize what’s at stake, and they realize that working along side each other might be bizarre but it feels right, and it’s nice to have friends; so they are motivated to protect each other as well as the innocent people.

Thirdly, the villain, instead of bringing out the worst in the team by manipulation that they’re too blind to see coming (Loki anyone?) ends up bringing out the best in them. Spurring Gamorra to finally stop being an assassin Quill to finally stop being a selfish jerk, Drax to be willing to help someone else and admit his rage just wasn’t enough to justify his actions; and Rocket and Groot to stick their necks out for someone else.

By the way, this is traditionally the role a villain is supposed to play. Heroes are usually created when ordinary people rise up to stop evil, not when evil draws them together to destroy them.

There’s more reasons to like this movie. I think the on-the-edge violence and questionable ethics of the heroes makes more sense in the Galaxy setting, because of course the justice would be less focused in some planets, and we’re dealing with criminals turning good, not good guys experiencing moral conflict. The guardians start out at the opposite end of the scale, so we like them better as they progress, instead of worse as they give into temptation.

The way they constantly bicker isn’t really funny to me most of the time, I feel more frustrated, like Quill does, then like I’m enjoying it. but that’s another good point, they have to stop the petty banter before they can really realize why they need to do what they need to do.

Another point, and by far one of the best points of the film, is when Rocket says, for the first time not really sarcastic or bitter “Quill, you’re asking us to die.” The timing here is perfect, because Peter says “Yeah I guess I am.” And turns away, because he realizes he can’t actually ask people to die for his 12% of a plan. This moment is what makes this movie seem real, because the stakes are high, but there’s a healthy respect for the lives of your friends, and how you don’t have the right to demand they risk them. That’s why it’s not as cheesy or cliche when Gamorra  stands up and says she’d be grateful to die among friends. No one really believes they’re going to win, but they’d rather die trying with people they care about than live by running away.

That’s what makes my absolute favorite part (battle-wise) so much more meaningful. when Quill grabs that stone, it’s not from the greed for power, he knows it’s going to kill him. The cool thing is, Gamorra knows it’s going to kill her too, so do Drax and Rocket; yet they still grab on, proving they meant what they said about being willing to die with friends.  And what a horrible death too, so it’s really brave of them all. I think for me it means the most when Rocket does it, because he just lost Groot, his first real friend, and might not have a reason to sacrifice himself for the rest of them whom he didn’t even seem to like, but he does anyway.

Then that moment when the stone suddenly stops killing them, it’s amazing.

We know it’s not just that they’re powerful, because the group of people that held it before was still destroyed, I’ve always thought that it was because when they held on, they were all one in heart. With the same motivations, the same drive, the same will; and that was stronger than Ronan’s insane wish to destroy all life.

And darn it if that doesn’t inspire me even when it’s between people whom I wouldn’t normally admire.

But I guess it’s because they find a moral rock to stick to, whereas a lot of other superheroes have been losing their grip. (Not like I’m pointing the finger here, Batman.)

Actually in a wired way, the Guardians remind me of some other superheros, but that’s for another post.

Until next time–Natasha.

A quick announcement, I am going on another trip next week and won’t be able to post for eight or nine days, so hang in there with me people, I shall return.

Going back to the basics.

I revisited My Report Card post, someone just looked at it recently. Of course, the reason I re-read it is because, as I said in the post, I need my own advice.

Disappointed again.

Boy, it’s hard not to just let this become your attitude toward life, isn’t it?

Funny story: back when I was a kid, I got disappointed frequently for awhile, and one day I got it into my head that if I said I hoped for the opposite of what I wanted, then what I actually wanted would happen. It even seemed to work.

But what’s not funny at all is how many of us still think that as grown men and women.

I realize now that my negative thinking was more likely to prevent what I wanted from happening than to allow it, but at the time I had a rather negative view of myself. It wouldn’t be the last time I felt almost like I was cursed.

If you check out Genesis, you’ll find that the original human beings were indeed cursed, but it was for trying to get what they wanted by doing the wrong thing.

The Man was cursed with thorns and thistles and constant work.

The Woman, which to us at least sounds worse, was cursed with painful labor, even though of course, it’s not constant.

As John Eldredge has pointed out in “Wild at Heart.” The curses are more than just what they sound like on the surface.

Men were cursed with futility and failure. Which I think doesn’t mean things like work are futile, or that men will constantly fail, a curse is really a lot more about your perception of what’s happening.

And don’t men feel like their lives are futile a lot of the time? And like they are failing?

So do women of course, but for us it’s even more personal, I think.

It’s not just having kids, it can seem like whatever women do, it ends up being a long and painful process, and one we never really feel ready for.

And of course there’s the part about having desire for, and being ruled by, your husband.

Relationship difficulties, am I right? Not fun.

Women feel like their desires contradict themselves, after all. We want this, but we also want something very different. Ah! Why can’t we be simpler?

Well, where’s the fun in that? But my main point is this all feels like a curse… and it is.

But not completely. Like I said, it’s your perception.

The reason I think that is because Christians like to say Jesus freed us from the curse of Adam and Eve; which is true; but not in the way we think.

At bottom, a curse leads to sorrow and suffering. Jesus was cursed if you can believe it, because the Word says “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Which is what a cross is made from. Major suffering.

But Jesus does not free us from having to suffer and know sorrow. He knew plenty himself, and part of the deal of being a Christian is learning to be like Jesus.

I’d venture to say 90% of our problems as Christians come from not understanding what being like Jesus entails. Maybe even more.

I like better the answer I heard from another source, that Jesus’ suffering redeemed our suffering. The thing about a curse is, it never makes your life better. (Read “Ella Enchanted.”) But suffering can ultimately make your life better, if it is in the right hands.

So in a sense, maybe my younger self was right. But now that I know this, I know that my disappointments don’t have to make me bitter, or just plain delusional. (Why do we use delusional as a word to apply to people who believe things are better than they are? IT’s far more often the other way around.)

All that said, will disappointment hurt? YES!!

Does it have to break you? No.

It might, being broken isn’t as bad as being bent. Broken is fixable.

So is bent, but it’s harder, definitely.

But once you’ve cried, or ranted, or whatever you do to feel better; it’s time to pick up the pieces.

Because as bad as I feel, and as much as  might want to quit, I’ve come to far to give up now. I’m finishing this thing.

Frankly, I can’t accept defeat because I’ve staked everything on victory.

You can’t quit when you realize what you have to lose.

And looking at the bigger picture, I see that one disappointment is not worth throwing away everything.

In a way, I needed to write this more than any of you needed to read it, because I had to remind myself of all that.

Still, I hope it was helpful to someone else besides me, thank you for reading, and until next time–Natasha.

Courage.

Courage. What makes a king out of a slave? Courage.

What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.

What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dust.

What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.

What makes the sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage.

What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage. 

What makes the hottentot so hot? what puts the “ape” in apricot?

Whatta they got that I haven’t got?

Others: Courage.

You can say that again.

Recognize it? This is the memorable speech give by the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz movie.

Courage. The most foundational of all the virtues, as C. S. Lewis pointed out in The Screwtape Letters.

Courage comes from the French word for heart, cor. I think that is because courage is a thing of the heart not the mind. Nor even of the soul.

The Bible talks about your soul being downcast, but it says your heart is what is afraid or unafraid.  Your mind may tell you fear is rational, or irrational, your soul may feel afraid and troubled, but if you choose in your heart to be brave, then your mind and your soul will not have their way.

Of course there is false bravery; a. k. a. stupidity. That is when there is a risk taken for no real reason except to take it, for thrills. Where do you think we got the phrase “It’s your funeral,” from? (Ironically, that phrase if often used in movies when the person is taking a worthwhile risk.)

No one can be themselves without courage. As the Lion is pointing out for us. I would also argue that no one can let other people be themselves without courage. I read an article about courage on this phycology website I found. It was pretty good, but the comment section under it made me sad. One man said he was considering the idea that the earth is hell. That it matches Dante’s description of it. It was because the article had pointed out how dangerous the world we live in has become.

And that is true. The world is dangerous. Most of that is our fault. But the world, though broken and sometimes twisted, is still in many ways beautiful. If it seems like hell to a person, that person is not doing enough to make it like heaven.

What we contribute affects our outlook. When you act like a jerk or a weasel or just mediocre, you will see the world through those lenses. When you live to bless other people, you will reap good results. I don’t think this man who commented that remark had courage. Because if he did, he would not see the world that way.

Take from someone who was an expert on every kind of fear. Fear spoils life. It has torment, as the Word says.

I get disappointed too, just like all of you reading this do, I see things almost every day that make me shake my head at the world. (All you have to do is watch the news for ten minutes.) I do not have less reason to fear and despair than the average American. Though I will not pretend I have it anywhere near as bad as many people in other places do.

I don’t think I have it bad at all. I feel bad sometimes (truth be told, I’m feeling blue today as I write this,) but I don’t live in constant negativity.

I remember, there was a shooting near where I lived a year ago, and there was one in a place I’d been to, not long before. The day the first incident happened I got to my youth group and they had the door locked, my sister and I had to announce ourselves. We got in a found everyone freaked out. Though not enough to stay home apparently. But I felt calm. I thought, hey even if a gun wielding maniac charges in here, (unlikely as it is) I’ll rely on Jesus to protect me. I don’t think I ‘m going to die that way.

I will not call this bravery because it was not tested, but it was at least an assurance I never used to have. A couple years before, I would have been dying to go home and called my mom.

This may sound weird, but I often consider that someday my faith may put me in mortal danger. I expect it to, all I have to do is go to a country where they are killing Christians, or I could be in this country and meet a radical terrorist. Who knows? (I am not saying terrorists only target Christians by the way, but they especially hate them.) Am I going to let that stop me?

No.

I still struggle with fear sometimes, but it is very weak now. And I will not let it dictate my life. I am a firm believer that you cannot die tell God says so.

And in this more than anything else I rely on God. If you could understand what it was like to live in fear every day and not have God, it would make sense  to you why I can’t leave Him out of this.

But I did have Him actually, I realized afterward that God was there the whole time, I was just ignoring Him. I half knew I was.

But not to pontificate.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is when love for something more important than fear overcomes it. That’s my paraphrase of the saying.

I think that’s enough for this post. Until next time–Natasha.

Redefining.

I think the biggest part of the Rebelution is redefining.

We redefine what people are capable of. Teens especially.

We redefine what we need to be interested in.

We redefine how we spend our time.

We redefine our acceptable standards.

On that note, I’ve spent two posts trying to redefine what it is to be lady and a gentleman. But I know if enough people read those posts, someone is going to read it who has questions.

Like: what exactly do I mean when I say that ladies demonstrate kindness and gentleness, or gentlemen demonstrate chivalry.

Let’s talk about it:

Like I said in Ladylike, I think any girl can be lady, no matter what her personality or tastes happen to be. Likewise, any man can be a gentleman.

Often when I watch a movie and say “Now there’s a real man.” I’ll be saying it at a different moment than my dad will. My dad likes it when guys actually act like real guys. That is, they drink, and have contests of strength, and act like flawed human beings, who still have good hearts. He says that’s how guys are around each other. I wouldn’t know. But personally, I watch how these men treat the female characters of the movie.

It’s not just that I’m a romantic, it’s that I know that a lot of boys really don’t talk about girls like they’re even human beings; not just when they’re talking bout who’s hottest or whatever, I mean even when they talk about how girls act with other girls, or with guys, or what girls like, etc. (To be fair, girls do the same thing.)

What impresses me about a man? He doesn’t have to be soft spoken or really gentle outwardly, (though that is always nice) it’s his attitude. When a man, off  screen or on, actually treats a woman, even if it’s his mother, like he cares about how she feels and thinks, and like she’s something to be protected and not taken advantage of, that makes an impression.

Whether this is  romantic relationship, a platonic one, or a family one, it really makes no difference. A man who really cares and shows it by being there, and being there in the right way, that’s the real deal. I like how Gianna Jessen defines men, either as weasels (men who don’t come through) or as uncommon. Which is self explanatory.

Now, I have no hate or anger toward guys who simply don’t come through. I’ve known a lot of them. I’m used to them. But that’s just it, the Uncommon man is uncommon.

I don’t want the girls to think I’m neglecting us, so here’s the straight scoop. The man who comes through may be uncommon, but so it the girl or woman who will let him. Ouch. I don’t intend to come down on us ladies, often there’s a lot of reasons we are the way we are.

To be honest, the Uncommon man and woman are uncommon really because we aren’t training them anymore. We aren’t encouraging them to come out of hiding and astonish us.

What does it look like to do that? It depends.

There’s an example I wanted to use here. On the show Kim Possible, there’s a really stupid episode (The Cupid Effect) that I watched with some amazement the first time. I won’t go into the whole plot, but there is one memorable line that Ron Stoppable utters to Junior, who had used an evil device to cause girls to rave over him. Junior has just laughed at Ron for being in disguise as a girl. (In order to get close enough to stop him.) Ron retorts “Well, you are no gentlemen.”

As stupid as the situation was, and I don’t recommend the episode, I think Ron made a good point. In his usual, unintentional way. It’s not the clothes, it’s why you wear them. Cross dressing really has nothing to do with the plot here, but if someone were to object, I’d point out that Ron was doing it in order to rescue a lot of girls, including his own girlfriend; whilst Junior, who is a muscular sort of man-boy, was using a hypnotic device to control all these girls. Ron may not look the part, but at least he’s acting it.

That sums it up,( in a weird way.) Anything a guy does, if it’s in an effort to respect a girl, or even his own father, can be honorable. Do I think they get it right every time? No. But I do think they get it right more when they are trying to.

As for us girls, well, we have  our share of respect issues. I’ve listened to other girls diss guys while I’m around, and I always get really uncomfortable listening. Look, I know it’s frustrating when guys don’t know how to be manly about things like break ups, or dates, or whatever; but can I just level with you and say:  “If you don’t want to deal with that, stop agreeing to date guys who aren’t ready for relationship.”

It’s not always the guy’s fault. We need to have their backs as much as they need to have ours. I don’t want to have to spell this out, but girls, set standards.

Back to what I mentioned earlier. Guys and girls alike need to understand this, we are all human.

There’s actually a pretty good movie for this subject, called “The Swap.” It shows how, though we express it in different ways, guys and girls are having the same feelings of loss, and anxiety.

It’s actually not that hard to empathize with each other if we’re willing to try.                         In the end, we all want a lot of the same things. We want people to be considerate of us; to treat us like equals; not to make fun of us; and so on. It’s just our definitions of those things happen to be different. But that’s good. It varies from person to person anyway.

To at bottom, being a lady or gentleman really is about treating everyone with respect.005leonidafremov

The Questions Post.

What makes a leader great?

Is it what they have accomplished in life?

Is it popularity?

Is it charisma?

Is it kindness?

Is it strength?

Is it power?

Is it love?

Do you measure them by money, or public support, or by their skills of communication?

Or are these things tools that a great leader may or may not have?

Do you measure a man or woman by what someone else says of them, or what you actually think makes someone great?

What is most important for a people to have?

Is it honestly?

Is it integrity?

Is it to be unbiased towards all?

To have malice toward none?

Is it to have hope?

Is it to be able to do whatever they want?

Is freedom having no responsibility or having all the responsibility?

Would it be better to have all decisions made for you?

Or to make all your own choices?

Is it better to realize you have made a mistake?

Or to wait till you suffer for it to regret doing it?

How you answer these questions will show your attitude toward other people and yourself. I may have left some out, but I wish the whole country could look at these questions and answer them honestly.

here are my answer:

A leader is made great by the strength of their character. Kindness, courage, and love all combined.

I measure a person by what I hold to be the right code of conduct; and also of beliefs.

It is most important for a people to have integrity and they should be personally responsible for it.

It is better to change your ways while you can than to suffer when you can’t.

We might want to consider these questions and take a good, hard look at our country now; and at our leaders.

Bonus question:

Are our real leaders the ones with the title or the ones we let influence ourselves?

–Natasha.100_1582

Pointy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time–Natasha. 100_4589

Rules don’t apply–part 2

Picking up where I left off:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not apologetics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because; it’s true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all for now–Natasha.100_3137