Saturday, December 5, 2009
It's a very popular notion that living together is a good idea. You have a trial marriage and test yourselves and you don't have the hassle of divorce if you find that you are not compatible. This is of course an excuse. People live together before they marry because they want to, not because of some high moral principle. That doesn't negate the logic behind the argument, but is the argument really all that sound? Are you really tested enough when you cohabit? We'll answer that question later.
2) The Statistics
Christians love to cite studies and surveys by many different credible sources that have found a correlation between cohabitation and divorce. They make other claims too, such as couples who cohabit before they marry are not as happy after they marry and their children are less healthy. This may or may not be true. Correlation does not necessarily equate to causation. A more reasonable reply is that people who think you should not cohabit before marriage belong to religious groups who also believe that you should not get divorced. One might logically conclude that these Christians are not actually as happy as they like to claim. But that ignores the studies that show that more of them are happier.
3) The Fairy Tale Argument
This is the worst one. It's the "we have a fairy tale marriage and we cohabited" response. Again correlation does not necessarily mean causation. You may have a fairy tale marriage but cohabitation didn't create it. Had you waited to live together until after the wedding you would still have the fairy tale marriage. You should have stuck with the rebuttal that people who don't cohabit stay married because they think divorce is wrong.
Anyway, whether or not your marriage was a success is immaterial. Marriages that were a continuation from cohabitation fail more often than marriages that did not come out of a cohabitation relationship. Your success does not disprove the statistics. But is there a danger to cohabiting? We'll discuss that in a moment.
4) The Christian Rebuttal
The whole cohabitation argument is a red herring. The fact is you have two groups, one that has Christ at the center and another that doesn't. It should be no surprise that the group that has Christ at the center is more successful... well, unless you aren't Christian. In fact those who think cohabitation is right really have a lot of trouble explaining the statistics. The best they do is bring up the fairy tale argument.
But getting back to the red herring... what matters is that couples that don't belong together don't get married and those that do belong together stay married. The fact remains that people who cohabit are divorcing more often than those who don't cohabit. Even though they have trial marriages... even though more of these relationships break up before they marry, these people are still getting married when they shouldn't. What can account for that? Well, it seems the defining variance is morality and religion. Couples that share a strong moral center are more connected. They are on the same page. Their goals in life are complimentary. They aren't room mates who happen to be in love. They aren't independent. They are interdependent. They aren't two individuals sharing the house and bed. They are one couple sharing a common life. Yes, there are many couples who cohabit who share these same traits but they still lack the moral center. They don't have the strength of a ruleset that is bigger than they are. If they are non-Christian they also probably lack the advantage of a church that will do everything it can to help the couple with any marriage problems. A couple without a strong moral center is definitely more at risk.
Those who are religious tend to remain happily married. Note I said happily married. There is a cause and effect relationship here. The effect is happiness. The cause is the Holy Spirit. Studies have shown that couples who did not live together before they marry are happier.
This isn't the strongest argument though. It religiously biased. But there are other differences between cohabiting couples and non-cohabiting couples.
5) The Secular Logic against Cohabitation
The fact remains that people who cohabit are still more likely to divorce. They choose to cohabit to prove that their marriage will last. But for 70% of them, despite their trial run, their marriage still doesn't last! Well, what happened? What did their cohabitation prove? Nothing. So all we are left with is the fact that they lived together before they were married because they didn't want to wait.
Unlike the non-cohabiting couple, the cohabiting couple believes that they have tested themselves. Have they really though? No. There are tests that a married couple endures that a single couple living together doesn't. Children for example. That's a big one, but of course there are some unmarried couples with children. Generally though the unmarried couple won't endure 18 years of parenting without being married. Maybe one or two. Eventually they will probably marry and have to raise the children through all of the stages of childhood development. This is definitely going to test the marriage. There are other tests too. One of them will lose a job. One of them will lose a parent. One of them will feel the pressure to relocate for their career. There will be very big tests. Of course all marriages are tested. So is there something to protect the non-cohabiting couple? Yes. The shock of commitment.
The shock of commitment is one more difference between a couple who cohabits before marriage and a couple that does not. It is the strongest argument against cohabiting and I believe it explains the statistics. See, when a couple first moves in together, it's great. It is a bit of a jump, but not nearly the jump that happens for a couple that doesn't cohabit before they marry. When THEY move in together, it's coupled with a brand new life together. It's coupled with commitment. The cohabiting couple is going through the trial run because they don't trust that they will have what it takes to endure the tests in marriage. Sure they have commitment. Perhaps a bit more (at that time) than if they decided not to live together. After all, it's a huge deal to break up after you have been living together so you aren't going to take that step if you aren't somewhat committed already. There is a lot invested so naturally they have more of a commitment than a dating couple who don't live together. But the commitment that goes along with the cohabitation is nothing compared to the commitment of marriage. And even moreso, the feeling of commitment after the marriage is MUCH stronger after a non-cohabiting couple marries.
The cohabiting couple who gets married just continues doing what they did before they got married. The only difference is they are no longer planning a wedding. Now they get to live their lives. But they lack the adventure of living together for the first time. The only thing they might do is purchase a home together as a newly married couple. That might add to the excitement but imagine the excitement if they'd waited to live together.
This sudden change from single to married is exceptionally strong if a couple did not live together before they got married. They are so grateful. Getting to the wedding was a struggle. Sure they loved each other. Sure their relationship improved. But they had to be patient. They had to be strong and withstand temptation and societal pressure. They had to stay determined. They no doubt had cold feet, but they fought their fears and remained vigilant because of their love for one another. All that effort paid off after they married. Now they have achieved something. Marriage is like an award to them. The rings on their fingers symbolize more than love and commitment. They symbolize the time they were together before the wedding. They also symbolize the hard times when they were apart. The rings are a reminder of what it was like before they won the award of marriage. They are a reminder that they really really really want to stay married.
A dating couple that decides to move in together approaches things much more carefully. They gradually approach marriage. The entire process of commitment is a gradual one. They slowly reach the commitment of marriage. So they don't feel the jump when it occurs. The wedding is a mere ceremony to celebrate the commitment they already have. It doesn't give them a commitment. The ceremony itself gives the non-cohabiting couple a bit more commitment. In fact, they really feel it. I believe the cohabiting couple won't feel it as much. It might be there, but it's more subtle because of the jump.
Now they are married and are inevitably tested. If they did not live together first, they feel the extra strong commitment created by the jump from single to married. Their "coupleness" is accentuated. They earned their marriage. But they also know that their marriage needs to be protected. So they are careful. They approach the tests differently than the couple who lived together first. The couple that cohabited is more likely to feel secure. In living with each other they believe that they have proven that they can withstand any test life throws at them. They are more likely to take their commitment for granted, and that puts them at risk. The tests can sneak up on them and rob them of their commitment before they even realize it. The next thing they know they are putting a checkmark in the "irreconcilable differences" box, and they can't explain why. They tested themselves but found out that the testing they endured before marriage was little preparation. In fact the testing before marriage only gave them a false sense of security.
And THAT is the main danger with cohabitation: the false sense of security. You MUST remain vigilant when you are married. Marriage takes work. It's not all pixie dust and granted wishes. You have to endure. You have to be careful and watch out for trouble. If you let your guard down, you will lose it all. Cohabitation sets you up for that. That is why marriages that begin with cohabitation fail more often than marriages that did not begin with cohabitation.
That's not the only danger of cohabitation though. Consider how difficult it is to break up when you are living together. It's incredibly difficult. Breaking up without the added burden of having to find a new place to live is hard enough on its own. But it is easier. I propose to you that some couples who live together would have broken up if they did not live together. They do NOT break up specifically BECAUSE breaking up is so difficult for them. They stay together even though in their hearts they feel that they are not compatible. It's easier to go with the flow and hope that the marriage ceremony is going to change them somehow. Naturally this is not true for all couples who decide to live together before they marry and it's probably not a significant portion of the 70% of cohabiting couples who eventually do divorce. But it is an additional issue that you will more than likely have to deal with if you do decide to live together before you marry.
Remember, most people who live together before they marry DO end up breaking up. Even if they marry, 70% of them will divorce. And considering the fact that we know that 50% of all marriages end in divorce, out of the couples who do not cohabit before they marry, only 30% of them will divorce. Don't believe me? Consider if 200 couples marry. 100 of them lived together before they marry. 100 of them did not. Eventually 100 of those total marriages will end in divorce. We know that 70 of the couples who lived together before they married end up getting divorced. 70 of the 100 couples who divorced cohabited. That leaves room for only 30 non-cohabiting couples to get divorced. So You actually have more than twice the chances of marital success if you decide NOT to live together before you marry!
Something to think about isn't it?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Now to the article: abortion.
I, like many Christians, am pro-life. Yet I am not pro-life because my religious leaders told me to be pro-life. I am pro-life because it's obvious to me that the fetus is alive. We should protect our young. I can't imagine a woman wanting to pay a "doctor" to rip her own child to pieces. It just doesn't make sense to me. I honestly believe that in 1,000 years people will look back at our time in horror at the practice.
Like most pro-lifers I have been completely baffled at the logic of the pro-choice position and have dismissed the pro-choice position that the fetus isn't a child as nothing but a heartless excuse to engage in casual sex (usually outside of marriage.)
I have been pondering the confusion for a few years now and I think I have finally begun to start to understand why pro-choice advocates support someone's "right" to have an abortion, even when they sometimes think the life being aborted is a sentient, feeling, little human baby. And some do, yet they are still pro-choice.
It begins with a lesson in the statistics of birth control. The most absolute form of birth control is sterilization, but even that is not 100% effective. Statistically speaking 3 out of every 1000 sterilized couples will become pregnant within one year. While this seems very close to absolute, it is absolutely NOT absolute, especially considering the sexual appetite of man. It is actually quite high. After all, if 1,000,000 sterilized couples engage in sex, 3,000 of them will become pregnant after one year!!!! WOAH! That number is far from absolute. And that number is reapeated the next year.
Now you must realize that this is the most extreme example, and most of the people who get sterilized are married. The most common examples, especially for single people, are birth control and the condom. They are far less effective. In real world use the condom can be as low as 70% effective. The pill only slightly moreso. But let's be optimistic and say that each are 99% effective. Well, that means that 1% of all people who engage in regular sex will become pregnant within one year. Holey Moley! That means that out of (a ridiculously low number of) 1,000,000 couples engaging in regular sex, 10,000 will become pregnant. Again that is EACH year! And again, this is OPTIMISTIC! And again that is out of a sample of 1,000,000 couples!!! Need I remind you that there are over 6 billion people on the planet. If only 1% of them are having regular sex then they will create 300,000 pregnancies IF all of them use condoms or birth control perfectly!!! And we all know that most people do not use their birth control properly, if they use it at all. So that 300,000 pregnancies is actually much much much higher.
And you thought that the sexual revolution was a good thing.
Of course many of these 60 million people engaging in regular sex do want their babies, but I think these statistics are very telling for people who do NOT want to get pregnant. I hope you see how my point demonstrates the severity and huge responsibility that you must accept when you have sex.
This responsibility is precisely the point. I think this might just be a dividing line between the pro-life position and the pro-choice position. And it also helps to explain why the dividing line so often becomes a debate between Christians and non-Christians. After all, the Christian faith is against casual sex, especially outside of marriage. And most women who have abortions are not married, although I know that there are some. Christians believe that you do not have a natural right to have sex whenever you want. The people who do think that you have a natural right to have sex whenever you want are typically not Christian, although there are some of course. Christians do sin and can be deceived by what they see in the world around them.
So, the Christian just does not understand how important sex is to the part of mankind that appreciates the value of a healthy sexual life. And in our opinion this part of mankind does not fully comprehend and appreciate the responsibility that comes with a sexual lifestyle. If you consider the statistics, you can see why.
Now, I do not think that the sexually active people are fully ignorant of the responsibility that comes with a sexually active lifestyle. They do after all support the use of contraceptives. A short while ago I had an epiphany. I came to the conclusion that most people in the western world believe that sex, especially within the confines of a committed relationship, is very important, before and after marriage. This realization was so ______-changing that I felt the need to create polls in several forums. The results completely confirmed my suspicion. Sex is very important to people today, before and after marriage.
They know that there is a very real chance that they will become pregnant when they have sex. They don't feel that this is right because sex is just so important. So their answer is of course, abortion.
Oh blastitall. I forgot to finish my thoughts. I'm too tired right now, but I'll include some, but remember, they are unfinished.
A parasite is not related to its host.
Also, I, unlike many people, do not support abortion, ever. Not when the life of the baby is at stake. Not when the life of the mother is at stake. Not in the case of incest or if the baby will be deformed or impaired. And absolutely definitely most positively not in the case of rape. I know these difficult situations are controversial. I can at least understand situations that put the mother's life in danger. But not rape. I know it's horrible to say but women have been giving birth after rapes for thousands of years. I realize that the growing baby inside your belly is a reminder of the horrible incident you want to put behind you. But I personally can not think of a greater silver lining that a brand new life. Yes, it was horrible, but now you have a baby! Babies ate WONDERFUL gifts!
Knowing the condition of the birth is a new phenomenon.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Someone who does not want to do good.
Easy, right? So obvious. Maybe a little bit too obvious. Enough that you might miss what I really mean, so let me explain.
The standard measure of evil is Hitler. But maybe Hitler isn't the best example to use in these cases since there is so much emotional attachment to his figure. (see my comment) So rather than use that tired example I'll use a more fun one: James Bond villains. They generally want to take over the world. But to what end? Power? Greed? No. Not all of them. What do they want? Utopia. They want to create peace. Their methods might be a bit unorthodox, but their end goal is the same: goodness. They believe that they are doing good. In fact, EVERYONE believes that they are doing good.
This is why I don't believe in evil. Everyone thinks they are doing good. And I think it's pretty darned good evidence for the existence of God. The general "tide" or "current" in humanity is towards goodness. Over time we should gradually get to be better and better people because we all struggle towards goodness.
Unfortunately, although evil seems fairly easy to define, it seems that good is far more difficult. The struggles we have (indeed many wars were fought over this) are reconciling each others' definitions of "goodness." There are few universally accepted definitions of "good," so one of the main goals of philosophy I think is to study mankind in such a way as to discover that universal definition of "goodness" so we'll have a tried and true yardstick by which we can live and know that we are doing right.
This is why I especially like my definition of morality: free will. I think it covers all bases. Read the article for more information.
You can really see what I mean if you study the bad seed, Bart. Bart is not intended to be a positive role model. Bart is an allegory of the nature of all mankind. He is an exploration of the duality of good and evil and a lesson that good triumphs. He is constantly struggling with temptation and having to deal with the consequences of his sinful tendencies. It's actually quite Christian in its nature. He always (and by extension we) learn(s) a valuable life lesson, although it's rarely spelled out "I learned something today" South Park style.
If you are a fan of the show, you no doubt remember when he killed a bird with a BB gun. Or when he was caught shoplifting. Or when he got Principle Skinner fired. Or in this latest episode, when he got Miss Krabappel fired. In this episode she tells him something particularly ground shaking, "You are bad on the inside." That completely shattered him, and the fact that he was so shaken by her accusation shows just how good he really is. If he was truly evil, it wouldn't matter that someone said that he was bad on the inside. (This is where the definition of evil became clear to me.)
Whatever you feel about Bart's nature, the one thing you must conclude is that he is not rotten to the core. He is in fact good inside. When his pranks go overboard he always feels bad for it and attempts to make things right. In fact, the majority of the shows involving him are almost always largely composed of his attempts to right his wrongdoings. The show is really about good.
So we can really study Bart and learn something about ourselves. Although we do tend to make mistakes, we should always try to do good and to make our evil deeds right. And in general, that's exactly what we do, because we are good.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Glee is a terrible show, especially if you are a Christian who doesn't like the world's values changing. They clearly have an agenda. They do the classic technique that I am seeing so often today. They must have conflict but they don't understand subtlety so they make everything black and white. The writers portray the things they don't like as negatively as possible just so they can set up a change of heart.
Example 1) The wife of the main character is not a nice person. She is awful. Then they show how the guidance councelor (an otherwise very nice person) is in love with the same main character. Clearly they want the wife and the husband to divorce so the guidance councelor to get together. See? They set up a terrible situation so they can end it and provide an ideal situation.
Example 2) The glee club needs more members so they are going to have a rally in front of the whole school. It is completely lame and the glee club students know it. So they decide to change the routine to a very sexy show, far too explicit for a high school rally. Again, they set up a bad situation so they can counter it with a far more pleasant one.
Example 3) They show a "chastity club" event. Well the christian in me shouts for joy at that idea. Fantastic! And lo and behold the bad girl, a gorgeous cheerleader, is in charge of the whole club! Good for her. Of course this comes after a scene in which she tries to bribe her boyfriend into quitting the glee club by offering up a feel of her breast. Anyway, her hypocrocy isn't the issue, it's the way the writers portrayed the chastity club. They apparently don't think of a chastity club as a way for high school students to get together for wholesome non-sexual activities, nor in lessons by a responsible knowledgeable adult about the dangers of engaging in sexual activity so young. No, they apparently think that a chastity club is an excuse for boys and girls to get together and indulge in sexual activities! They begin by showing how the girls talk about using their bodies to manipulate boys and they show the boys talking about girls in the most disrespectful ways. They have absolutely no interest in being chaste. But that is nothing compared to the activities that happen when the boys and girls get together during their meetings. In this meeting, they take a blown up balloon and I guessed that maybe they would pass the balloon from person to person by only using their mouths or something. Well I didn't like that idea but then I soon found out how wrong I was. They didn't kiss the balloons. They used the balloons to allow them to grind their hips together. Each couple would hold the balloon up in the air with their hips, and they would proceed to grind on each other, as if they were making love with the balloon between them. I could actually hear in my mind the thousands of Christian parents around the country turning the TV show off telling their kids that enough is enough and their kids would not ever be watching this show. And shame on any Christian parent that actually watched that scene with their kids and did NOT turn the TV off.
Back to the balloon scene. The cheerleader's boyfriend ends up popping the balloon, thus killing an angel according to the bad christian cheerleader. Then of COURSE the main female character has to jump in and tell the whole group how groups like that one actually end up causing more teen pregnancies than sexual education about contraceptives and such. Why one of the characters actually berated her for "using the C word!" What the crap???? How utterly cliche! Of COURSE programs like that one would fail. That one encouraged indulging in sexual thoughts and activities! It's all well and good to teach about contraceptives but the first thing you must teach is that abstinence is the only appropriate option!
I really dislike how they paired the antagonist (the female cheerleader) with Christian values while the good girl believes in, or at least enables, progressive attitudes towards sex. They clearly want to fight the belief in chastity.
If you are a Christian parent, please don't let your chlldren watch this show. They are not teaching Christian family values. They are teaching new post-modern progressive ideas that pre-marital sexuality should not only be tolerated, it should be embraced.
I think this might be the only thing the writers of this show have ever done right.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Even as a newborn baby, we are damaged because of original sin. But, severe as that taint is, the infant is at his LEAST damaged the moment he is born. He will never be as undamaged as he was the moment he left his mother's womb, until he gets to Heaven. The world's damage to the infant is incalculable.
We are in fact so damaged that we are blind as to what God wants us to be. We might believe something about ourselves and not realize how wrong we are. We have been brainwashed by the world. And with the power of the media and the moving tide of "progress" today, the brainwashing has never been so complete.
So I think that one of God's purposes for us is to heal us. To undo the damage done when Adam and Eve ate the fruit. Obviously, we can not do it ourselves. Our greatest healer is Jesus. We are to look to Him for healing. But we can not ignore other people. They are one of Jesus' most important tools. He doesn't just use people though. Of course we have the Bible as our main word, but we might learn from other books as well, even secular ones. Sometimes a TV show can offer us inspiration. Even nature can offer us some insight. Seeing a rainbow at just the right time can give someone hope. Watching animals behave in a peculiar way can actually teach us something, even change our hearts. All of these come from Jesus and the Holy Spirit and we should look for them daily, no, as often as possible.
Truly God wants us to be whole again. He wants us healed. Once we are healed we can be with Him completely, as Adam and Eve were. That is what God wants. He wants to be with us again. That is what I think we are meant to do here on Earth, to help one another to become whole again, with the power of the Holy Spirit. Open ourselves up to Jesus and accept His gift of forgiveness and healing. We will of course never get to perfection on Earth, but we can look forward to receiving it in Heaven. And we will. God be praised.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Here's some advice to anyone wanting other people to do things "your way." If it really matters how people do things, make it easier for them to do it your way. You want the lights turning off when someone leaves the room, install motion activated switches. That way they never have to even turn a light on. You want to conserve water, capture rainwater or grey water to use in toilets and such. They won't have to worry about water at all. You worried about energy usage? Install solar panels. You don't like them adjusting the thermostats? Install programmable thermostats.
These are of course examples, expensive ones. Not everyone can afford a solar array. But the point remains. If it's harder for them to do it your way, why would they want do it your way? Especially if you have a bad attitude about it all? If you are incapable of making it easier for the other people to do things your way, then you'd be better off picking your battles and compromise.
You'll never get people to do things your way with a controlling attitude. The leader's job is to make the follower's life easier, not harder.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
My guess is they get to really know one another very quickly, because they already know what to expect from a true Christian. I realized something, a reason why I am hesitant to say that I love a girl too soon, despite extreme feelings of affection for her: trust. I have always said that love is selfless, that if you can't put them above yourself, then your affectionate feelings are selfish. If it's about how they make you feel, then it's not love. It's infatuation. It's not necessarily a bad thing understand. It's part of the process of falling in love for most of us, because we are programmed (by society) to look out for number one. But as you grow in your relationship with that special person, you start to realize that the "whole you" (which includes that other person) is actually more important to you and you naturally start to put them first.
Here is the first explanation of Christians falling in love very quickly. Christians who have been able to genuinely practice putting themselves last all of their lives are more able to put their significant other first more quickly because they don't need to make that transformation from me to we. They never think if themselves first and as a consequence they are able to very quicky demonstrate their faith to the person they are interested in.
Another reason why they fall in love so quickly is regarding trust, or at trust's root, knowledge about the other person. It's difficult to fall in love with someone you don't know... or know to trust. So how do you know that you can trust them? Generally time is the only answer, but... if you are a particularly strong Christian, and you find yourself attracted to another particularly strong Christian, you might be a candidate for finding love quickly.
What I really think I understand now about these Christians who fall in love so quickly, and the reason why in the past I would take time to fall in love (a couple of months, maybe 3 or 4), is that I didn't quite trust them. Why not? Because we were both a bit too worldly. Because they were worldly, I was unfamiliar with their beliefs. I had to learn about them first to determine how much of my beliefs I would have to compromise to be with them. Some girls made me realize that I would have to compromise too much. Other girls made me regret doubting their faith. They fell in love far quicker than I and my reticence left them disappointed. By the time I'd caught up, it was too late.
Now I see that it should be easier as a strong Christian, not more difficult. Christians have a specific set of core beliefs that make us who we are. If you are a strong Christian falling for another strong Christian, finding that trust should be easier because we know what to expect. Finding trust with a worldly person is more difficult because you don't know what they believe in. There are so many belief systems, many of them incompatible. You have to learn more about that person and really examine how compatible your beliefs are. If you don't strongly subscribe to and understand an established belief system, like Christianity, you will always find it difficult to trust another person you date because you will never know what to expect from them*. If you don't have any obvious common ground with the person you are interested in, you have to learn a lot about them first. You have to learn what beliefs they subscribe to. But if you are, say, a Christian, all you have to do is learn how strong of a Christian they are. Find out if you are both at the same point in your development as a Christian.
Sure, it's not 100% automatic. You'll always need to learn about people you date, and even strong Christians differ on many core beliefs. But knowing that you share a majority of your core beliefs from the start gives you a sense of security that you cannot have with anyone else. You don't have to be so protective. You don't have to focus so much time learning about each others' core beliefs. You can spend more time learning about the other things that make each of us unique and attractive.
Many Christians doubt other people A LOT. Comes with the territory. But amongst the Christians that we trust, we can put real faith in each other. All you have to do is prove to each other that you are a strong Christian, and you will automatically know a lot about each other, especially your beliefs. So if you are a traditional strong Christian interested in another person, all you have to do is find out if they truly aim to embody Christ's love in the world. Once you do that, as long as there is chemistry between the two of you, love will surely bloom. True love. Unfailing love.
*The world's answer to this problem is to create a blanket "acceptance" of all belief systems and to not intrude, force your beliefs on them, and not meet in the middle. Curiously this "open mind" actually encourages closed mindedness because we aren't "supposed to" challenge one another's beliefs. Progress is slow without challenge. Christians challenge each other's beliefs all the time. It kind of defines us. We try to become better through Christ every day. We can only achieve that by listening to advice from other Christians.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
It's easy to point at other people and tell them that they do something wrong and should change their ways. But sometimes you realize that the other person is the man in the mirror. So I've been examining forgiveness in my own heart. It stems from this deal with complaining. I have a couple of blog posts regarding complaining. I don't think that complaining for valid reasons is wrong. In fact I think people complein far too little. See my blog post about why I think this way. But there is an attitude today of exhuberant forgiveness. Now, on the one hand we are commanded by scripture to forgive as Jesus did. On the other hand we can't just let people get away with everything they do to us. Spare the rod you know. Rude people need to learn that they are rude. And yes, many rude people know it, but I would say that the majority of rude people are not on the extremes. There is just a general ignorance of common courtesy and etiquette these days, and this is something that we all should hold one accountable for. So these kinds of complaints, let 'em rip.
But what about when someone really does you wrong? How can you forgive someone for really changing the direction of your life? Well, the answer came to me when I was examining the concept of free will. See, a lot of people believe that free will is an illusion. They say that everything you do or say is predestined, not necessarily by God (although some do say that), but by circumstance. When you round a corner, you bumping into someone has a lot to do with your speed, their speed, your concentration, theirs, the vector, the diameter of the arc that you are turning, the center of that arc. There are in fact more variables to the intersection of your two paths than we can imagine... because you must also consider why were you 2 feet away from the wall? Why were they running? There are so many factors that determine what we do it's a wonder that we even feel that we have any free will. I am on the fence about free will. If it weren't for Christianity I probably would abandon the idea of free will altogether, for what just God would send you to hell if you couldn't prevent it?
So I began wondering how Jesus would deal with some forgiveness issues, and why. And I realized that Jesus would not only know what someone did, but exactly why. He knew why a woman committed adultery. He knew why someone committed murder. He knows why we do the things we do. In fact, it's possible that he knows that we don't have enough free will to do the things that we should, and maybe that is why he is able to forgive all of mankind. Then it clicked. I can do the same thing! All I have to do is assume that the other person lscked the free will to do what was right.
So if you want to forgive someone, but don't know how to justify it, consider this. Even if you do believe in free will, imagine that the other person didn't have enough free will when they did you wrong. If free will exist, I do believe that it is variable. Some people have more free will than others. In fact this is the way in which I define morality. So I assume that the other person's level of free will was so diminished that they couldn't help but to do me wrong. Then I search for reasons to explain why they did the thing they did. They didn't realize. They weren't brought up right. They are young and immature. They were having a bad day. They assumed that I was the bad guy. Their feelings were too involved. Once you begin to believe that the other person is just as innocent as you, then it becomes easier to forgive them.
That is what I am planning on doing from now on. When someone does me wrong, I'm not going to just say, "I forgive you." First, they might take it wrong. They might think that I am being passive aggressive myself. I still have to let them know what they did to me. Second, if I don't tell them what they did wrong, they can't learn a lesson from it. This is just like your first day on the job and you take a coffee break for 15 minutes and company policy is 10 minutes. The boss tells you "I know you don't know our policy so it's okay this one time that you took 15 minutes, but from now on you need to limit your breaks to 10 minutes." So that is what I plan on doing. I'll let them know that they did me wrong. I'll tell them that we are still friends, but please don't do it again. And an apology would be nice.
This is what Jesus would do I think. If not, I pray that He lets me know.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
The word implies that you give power to someone who would not have it otherwise. It's often used in context with the Women's movement. When it is, it's insulting to both Women AND to Men. It tells women that they are naturally powerless, and it tells men that the women are taking power away.
I can NOT understand how anyone would embrace this freaking insult!
I hate it!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
How is that being nice???? It's not being nice! It's ACTING nice, at the sake of giving someone else the opportunity to BE nice. When I am at a light and I don't notice that it turned green, I don't want to miss the green light either. I want someone to tell me that the freaking light has changed and I should get off my inattentive butt and get a move on! I'm being a jerk and someone should tell me about it. I don't want people to think that I am a jerk. I want to learn my lesson so I'm not a jerk the next time.
I don't know why I'm surprised at this study though. It is the way the world works now. We act nice instead of be nice. Someone cuts you off in traffic, you honk the horn, and you are the jerk. They almost killed you, and you are the jerk for complaining about them almost killing you.
Let me ask you something. Someone does something to you, but you don't tell them about it. Why?
Is it because you don't want to rock the boat? Is it because you want to be nice? Is it because you don't want people to think that you are a complainer? Is it because you don't want people mad at you? Is it because today everyone is supposed to just let things go and "be nice?"
Or is it because you are afraid of conflict?
It's probably a mixture of any of the first ones and the conflict one. Just think what goes on in your head when you decide against responding to them. When you decide to let it go, don't you feel a sense of relief that you don't have to confront them, risk antagonizing them, and make them mad at you? If that's you, do you hold their actions against them? Do you keep it inside and just hate them, and don't tell them why? Is that you being nice? Do you honestly think that you are being nice by getting mad at someone for doing something that they don't know was wrong? You aren't being nice because you aren't nice. You are angry. What you are doing is ACTING nice, but inside you hate them.
This postmodern world we live in today advocates letting things slide and acting nice, but is it really good? Think about this. When you throw a party and your guests make a lot of noise and your neighbor comes and pounds on your front door (because your party is so loud that you can't hear the doorbell) to shut the *beep* up, do you think the neighbor is a jerk? He should just let it go and relax a little, right? But come on! If you are being honest with yourself, you know that you and your friends are the real jerks.
So what is the neighbor supposed to do instead? Ideally he would be right there with you partying, right? But you can't expect every one of your neighbors to be a party animal. Some of them just want to sit back, relax and watch a movie in the peace and quiet of their home. So what would you have THOSE people do? Just suck it up? Wouldn't that make them dislike you? But if they come to you and ask you to be a good neighbor by being quiet, then the dialog of cooperation can begin. Perhaps the two of you can come to an arrangement. Maybe if you give your neighbors some advance notice, they will schedule their vacation for that time. Or they might decide to go to a movie, or visit friends or relatives. The point is that the two of you should be able to figure something out that works for both of you. It would have been best if you warned them ahead of time, but you don't know who will complain and who won't. So if you don't do that, then you can't blame the neighbors for complaining. If they don't come to you, but they still don't like the noise, then they are probably just going to hate you and not let you know that they do.
Is that what you want? Do you want a world that encourages people to hate one another and not tell each other why? That is the world we live in today, and I hate it. I don't like hating people. And I hate it when people hate me and don't tell me why. Acting nice leads to passive aggressiveness. This is a passive aggressive world now. We still complain about people, but we do it in our heads. We hold people's actions against them and we don't tell them about it. How is that right??? That is the definition of passive aggressiveness, and it is just plain wrong. Wrong wrong wrong!
Am I advocating being a complainer? Sort of, yes I am. Not necessarily a person who just loves to complain. But don't be a coward about complaining either. If someone does something to you, don't be too afraid to speak up about it. They are guilty and they should be allowed the opportunity to rectify it. If you don't complain, then they don't have a chance to make things right.
What would the world be like if we weren't afraid to complain? You probably think that a world like that wouldn't be very nice, everyone complaining all the time. But if you really think about it, would everyone be complaining all the time? I don't think so. What would realy happen is that the people who walk all over other people would hear about it. It would be a world in which everyone expected each other to be nice. Today, we don't expect people to be nice. We expect people to ACT nice. Big difference. In order for the world to BE nice, we would have to hold one another accountable for his or her actions. We would not let anyone get away with anything. People would be more considerate, not less considerate. I honestly believe that it would be a nicer world if everyone was more courageous about interpersonal conflict.
Some of us get a bad rap of being a complainer. But if everyone complained when someone did something that they didn't like, then the people who did those things would at least know what they are doing is bothering someone else. And if everyone complained, then the people who did those things would know that they were the problem and it wasn't just one person being a jerky complainer. The people who are unafraid of complaining today wouldn't have to shoulder the entire load of complaining. They would have to complain LESS.
I know, there are extremes. There are people who like to complain and no matter what people do they will find a reason to complain. I'm not talking about those people. I'm talking about people who have legitimate complaints once in awhile and aren't afraid to speak up about it.
There are also people who would continue being jerks no matter how many people complain to them about their actions. I'm not talking about them either. I'm talking about the average person who today doesn't really think about how his or her actions affect other people. I'm talking about the person who talks on the cellphone at the stop light and doesn't notice when it turns green. I'm talking about the person who moves over to the right lane at a stop light and doesn't consider the people behind him who might want to turn right at that red light. I'm talking about people who do throw loud parties and don't realize that they are being loud. I'm talking about people who whisper just a bit too loud at movie theaters. I'm talking about you and me.
If you have a complaint about me, I want to know about it. If I do something that you don't like all the time and you never talk to me about it, then you have no right to complain. Don't hold grudges with people who don't know what they are guilty of. You are just being a complete cowardly jerk.
So please everyone, stop being a jerk that acts nice. Complain but BE nice!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I should have known that this movie would suck when the woman who never had a right thumb in her life try to use that thumb to open a door. I'm too optimistic.
Susan, a woman set to marry a weatherman, who is just about to make anchorman, becomes a giant. Her fiance rejects her because of her size. Rather than do what it takes to become normal sized so she can try to stay with her beloved she responds with the typical new age independent female mantra "I don't need him anyway."
Let me get this straight Hollywood. She's been dating and falling in love with this man for years. He rejects her when she should be marrying him, and she is able turn off her emotions in 3 seconds flat, then turn away from the life she's been dreaming about for years. Yeah, right!
Later on in the movie she shrinks. Does she even for one second realize that she can return to her fiance? NO! She doesn't miss him, EVER! She doesn't pine for her lost love ONCE! WHAT KIND OF A MOVIE IS THIS WITHOUT LOVE?????
Of course then at the end of the movie the guy returns and tells her that he forgives her! Riiiight. In which universe would THAT happen? A man telling a woman that ANYTHING was her fault??? But in this movie he does. Yet another MAN turning into a jerk when he realizes that his woman doesn't need him. WHAT THE CRAP!?! What happened to unity, to cooperation, to solidarity? To couples being, uh, couples! He was a perfect gentleman at the beginning of the movie then he instantly turns into a selfish jerk??? Only in the new age movie world would this happen. Don't let this crap happen in the real world too people. Stay away from this and all movies like it.
What are they trying to teach us today? They could have had the guy show support, as Susan thought he would do at the beginning. But the writers didn't do that! Why not??? What purpose was served by making her fiance a jerk??? NONE!!! All it did was pander to the idea that women don't need men, and that men are all jerks. This is the big problem I have with the movie world today. There are far too few Meet the Robinson's that teach good healthy family values and cooperative emotional and physical support. Instead, Hollywood teaches independence, that we can only count on ourselves. It's no wonder people are so selfish today and they don't want to help their fellow man. Hollywood taught us to be that way!!!
Stop supporting these evil movies people! They are just going to take the world down a black hole to destruction.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
My answer: Independence is essential when you are single. But when you are in a relationship, you are a member of a team. Maybe at first it is okay to maintain your independence since you don't know if the relationship will last. But eventually, you must be able to shift from independence to interdependence. Anyone that cannot make this shift will fail in their long term relationships.
It's too bad so few people realize just how important it is for a man to feel needed... It is a lesson well learned by today's modern independent woman. For a man to feel like a man, he must feel like he has accomplished something, that the important people in his life find value in what he DOES, not just in WHO he IS. This is a fundamental difference between men and women I think. A man that doesn't feel needed isn't going to be able to provide the emotional attachment that YOU need.
It doesn't take much to make him feel needed. Just let him do things for you. Ask yourself why you feel the need to be independent. Is it a fear that you will be disrespected? I must admit that I sense it a bit, or you wouldn't have said that you wanted to stand on your own. Imagine how much internal strength it takes to acknowledge that you need someone. You have to give up your pride. There are two kinds of pride. The emotion and the state. Feeling pride, and being proud are different things. I am proud of being a decent salsa dancer. That is good. You should take pride in your ability to care for yourself. To be able to take care of your car, your finances, your job. To be able to mow the lawn. To be able to handle situations that women wouldn't have been able to handle 50 years ago. Take pride in that ability. But beware. Do not let your pride become proud. There is another form of pride.. a damaging kind. Being too proud to open your mind. That form of pride is equivalent to fear. And fear is weakness. Humility is STRENGTH! If you can wrap your head around that, then you should feel PROUD to let people help to make your life easier. That's the good kind of pride.
You can also consider what your man can provide that you cannot. Perhaps security? Let's consider your boyfriend walking you to your car at night. I know. You might carry mace, or a gun. You could be a black belt. You might be a tough as nails kick boxer. It's true. But the guys who prey on women don't know. The guys who prey on women don't respect women. The guys who prey on women look down on women. You being a bad@$$ isn't going to keep them from attacking. But these evil men respect men. Or at least they give more respect to men. Right? So if a woman is walking with a man at night, a stalker is less likely to attack. Sure, the man might not prevent the attack, but the chances are greater that the stalker won't attack. And even if you are able to take care of yourself, even if you could shoot the stalker dead, wouldn't you rather not be bothered with it? Wouldn't you rather have a pleasant walk with your boyfriend than beat up a stalker? Sometimes it's just easier to give up some of the pride and give up the independence and let your boyfriend take charge.
Read my question...
If men and women are equal, and one takes leadership of the other, what does the other person receive?
The answer is that if done properly, the leader gets to lead, and the follower gets taken care of. Independent people don't get taken care of. You have to take care of yourself. Wouldn't it be nice if your boyfriend took care of you?
I like to say that if you are independent, you can only count on yourself. But if everyone relied on one another, then you can rely on EVERYONE else to help you when you need it. Would you rather have one person you can count on, or the few dozen closest friends and family in your life?
A truly equal relationship will utilize both of your strengths. Maybe you are a good organizer. Maybe he is a neat freak. Both can be useful for similar tasks. Well, let him wash the dishes and you take charge of the packing for the vacation. You pay the bills and let him wash the clothes. Or vice versa. You have to strike a balance. You have to be willing to compromise. Both of you. Him too. You need to figure out which roles both of you will play in your future relationship. You cannot expect yourself to take charge of EVERYTHING. You HAVE to be able to let him take charge too. In fact, you SHOULD let him be the default leader. But that's the Christian in me. Still true. But take it that way. If you do that, if you let him lead, then YOU will be the person who is taken care of, as you should. Then you can dedicate your energy to more important things.
If you lead, AND you are taken care of, then what does that make your boyfriend? Your slave. How can he be your equal if you lead AND you get the benefits of the leadership? The person leading must use the leadership to benefit the other person, or the relationship is not equal.
Yes, there are times in which both of you can or must equally share responsibility and leadership. Choosing a vacation spot. Taking care of kids. But in any relationship, there will inevitably be a time in which ONE single person MUST take charge. If you don't believe that, then you are only deceiving yourself. Ask ANYONE who has been happily married for any length of time. There IS a DEFAULT leader! It should be him because you expect to be taken care of. The default person to take charge should be the person that can put their interests LAST. Is that you? Or your boyfriend? I know that it can be extremely difficult to put that kind of trust in someone. But if you can't trust the person that is now or will one day become the most important person in your life, then you will never be able to trust anyone. Do you really want to live your life without being able to trust anyone? ESPECIALLY your husband?
Please take the opportunity to really think about what is going on here. I know it will all work out okay for you.
Sorry about the long-winded reply.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I offer a bit of self examination to all of you, being somewhat independent myself. Although I am struggling to cure myself, because I think that independence is both a symptom of society's ills as well as part of the problem. So while I deal with my own independence and selfishness, perhaps you might discover some of these truths in yourself.
Indepenent people's approach to cooperation is often, "what do I have to do to get them to give me what I want?" If they do act selflessly, they do so agaist their nature. They are after all, independent, which means "focused on themselves." I see a bit of myself in this, which is why I try to focus on helping other people, even while I am thinking to myself, "how am I going to benefit from this act of altruism?" I try to suppress the selfishness, while at the same time recognizing that the answer is not to remove my help. I should offer up help because it's the right thing to do, not because I get something out of it. The problem isn't that I'm helping. The problem is that I relate it to myself.
No doubt, many don't want to believe that the only reason they give is to get what they want. They believe the opposite, that independence is simply not wanting to bother other people with your problems. But why? This is simplistic and rationalization. If you are one of these people, ask yourself this: "Aren't I just afraid that if I put myself out there, that I ask for help, or I offer help without thinking how it relates to me, that someone will think lower of me? Or that I think low of myself for needing someone. Or that I lose something of myself? Or if I do help or offer my services I won't be able to do a good job? They are better off without my help? Or that helping will cost me something? These thoughts are all self serving. They are self-ish, but it is understandable. At the same time they are protective.
The degree to which someone is independent can actually be measured in terms of selfishness. But it's not pure egoism. It's a protective sort of selfishness. It's self preservation. In fact, what I have found to be true is that the most independent people are the most insecure. They are very quick to tell you that they can "do it on their own." And this is rather ironic since independence is usually used to communicate to the world that you have high self esteem. Independence is a shell designed to give the illusion that you are strong. But in reality, the only person you are fooling is yourself. Everyone knows that independent people are insecure, because everyone is insecure in some area and recognizes its symptoms. Your insecurity reads loud and clear when you act independently and selfishly. If someone else ridicules you because your help was somehow flawed or inadequate, or that you are less of a person because you need help, then they are too self centered themselves. And you can see how selfishness starts to snowball and to create an independent world. Their self-centerdness helps to reinforce yours. Their insecurity feeds yours. Our world is not only independent and selfish, it is also increasingly insecure. When you begin to recognize your own insecurities and begin to deal with them openly rather than internally, you will automatically open up and begin to be more cooperative.
Am I insecure? Sure! We all are in one way or another. So what do we do? Most people do the opposite of what they would do if they embraced their insecurity and put their insecurity on display. But doing the opposite REALLY highlights your insecurity. Most actions like this are unnatural. Independence is actually unnatural. We are meant to be cooperative, not selfish.
So I urge you all to examine your own insecurities and to recognize how you deal with them. Do you react opposite to how you would otherwise? Can you see how your response to insecurity exposes your insecurity to the world? Isn't it then smarter to embrace your insecurities and to let other people help? Or to help other people and to risk finding out that your help will possibly be inadequate?
You need to ask yourself this: Which is worse, exposing that you aren't good at something? That you are inadequate. That you aren't perfect? That you don't have it all figured out? That your life isn't perfect and in order? Or is it worse for the world to know that you are insecure? Insecurity gives the illusion that you are ALL of those things and more! While you are probably only a couple of those things. If the world believes that you are insecure, they think that you believe ALL of the above. If that's not true, then it's better for you to let them in on the couple of problems that you have. Since everyone has skeletons, then they would be hypocritical to ridicule you of your flaws.
And if someone exposes their own weakness to you, be careful that you do not highlight the weakness. Help it. Give the person help to fight the weakness. Give them advice. THAT is the proper way to deal with each other's weaknesses. Helping one another with weakness creates true strength. They become stronger, as does your relationship with them. And the world becomes a little bit better because of it. Thank you.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
is obviously a stand in for the World Bank. The leaders of the bank were so corrupt that they could cause global conflicts. Interestingly, many people believe that the World Bank has the same kind of influence on the world.
Do we know that the world bank operates in the way portrayed in this movie? No, we don't. But The International provides an excellent example of how the World Bank would control politics and the world at large. Anyone who has an interest in global conspiracy and the economy should watch this movie.
They explain quite well how banking effects global politics, through debt.
On a side note: The International has a scene in which a bank official explains his actions in that life caused him to turn the way he did. The hero however faught this idea. Clearly Hollywood doesn't want to accept the idea that we have less influence over our lives as we really do. The banker was absolutely right. The same events that made him evil madeAnakin turn into Vader and a young boy running on the River Danube into the ruthless killer, Hitler.
Friday, February 20, 2009
The website says:
The New Age Movement is difficult to define because "there is no hierarchy, dogma, doctrine, collection plate, or membership." It is a collection, an assortment of different theologies with the common threads of toleration and divergence weaving through its tapestry of "universal truth."
The New Age movement has many sub-divisions, but it is generally a collection of Eastern-influenced metaphysical thought systems, a conglomeration of theologies, hopes, and expectations held together with an eclectic teaching of salvation, of "correct thinking," and "correct knowledge." It is a theology of "feel-goodism," "universal tolerance," and "moral relativism."
I think that summarizes it well, although it doesn't really nail down a definition either. I'm going to have to peruse this website more. And I'll try to find some sort of idea of how the New Agers define themselves too.
Right now, I'm leaning towards a definition that includes a "thirst for knowledge of the hidden universe." But it's not based upon scientific principles, like those who study quantum physics or astronomy. It's based upon metaphysics. I'll return here with more later.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Whether you are single, dating, married, or even if you are young and not ready for a serious relationship, you should not miss this opportunity to learn what the Bible says on romance.
Put it on your calendar. January 30 and 31 at the First Baptist Church on I-10. 3 hours on Friday Night and Saturday morning. The conference costs $35 for us average folk. Less for students and military. Believe me, it is well worth it. It will change your whole perspective on romance.
To get a taste of what is in store for us, listen to the free podcast by Tommy Nelson.