Posts Tagged ‘ society ’

Thoughts from a Christian AGAINST Proposition 8

What say Christians on Free Will, the God’s gift of choice to every person born on this planet? To look around at our society, it would seem that many Christians have wholly forgotten the significance of this universal right. Instead, many strive to usurp their Christian morals upon others, disenfranchising others of their right to choose their own lifestyles, whether it be for or against God.

Asserting our beliefs upon others will not make them Christian. If God doesn’t do it, shouldn’t we take that as a hint that we shouldn’t either? Do we honestly believe that it will make for a genuine Christian? Sure, forcing Christian morals upon others will cause them to act them out. But what does this accomplish? An action is nothing if it is empty of self-determination, of choice. It is empty of a surrender to God’s will and His ways. You can’t make someone adopt such a position. If anything, I would think trying to force them to act out our morals would only build resentment against them and against God.

So this brings me to the real point of this post: Proposition 8. Unfortunately this proposition passed in California, largely due to the efforts of Christians and Christian organizations who feared that gay marriage would detract from traditional marriage (as defined by God between a man and woman), and would corrupt children and the future generations.

As a Christian, I must agree that “marriage” is only recognized by God as between a man and woman. This is how He intended it. But this is what we as Christians believe. Why should we mandate this for the rest of the nation? And even if gay marriage were legalized, I really don’t understand how this affects traditional marriage between a man and woman. It doesn’t cheapen it. It doesn’t reduce its legal rights. Heterosexual marriage would still be the only type of marriage recognized by God. How does this hurt traditional marriage? That just doesn’t make sense to me. That said, why should we restrict people from the legal rights of a marriage union just because we as Christians don’t recognize marriage as same-gendered? Again, this imposes our beliefs upon others, which does absolutely nothing for them spiritually because they have not accepted and chosen these beliefs as their own.

As for the concern that gay couples would corrupt the children of society, I just cannot believe this. I feel that many Christians would be apt to say that an atheist couple would corrupt children because they lead them away from God, but we don’t see legislature against atheists having children! Therefore, what I really interpret this opposition to mean is that gay marriage would corrupt your OWN children (speaking to Christian parents). To this I say, where is your faith? And where are you, as a parent, in the life of your child? There are so many things and behaviors in society that we as Christians do not agree with and must try to steer our children away from. But we cannot make all of these things and behaviors illegal just because they’re construed as spiritually immoral according to our Christian standards! We simply cannot force others to conform to our standards. Yes, Christian parents, this means you will actually have to talk to your children, be proactive in raising them according to God’s teachings, and help them navigate the ever-changing social mores. But trying to limit another’s personal freedoms for your own parental convenience is not the answer. This is extremely discriminatory, judgmental, and coercive, three things God has taught us not to be.

I have really tried to temper my emotions as I wrote this post, but it just really upsets me that many Christians are supporting a proposition of hate, judgment, and coercion. These are not Christian values to me and it upsets me that Christ’s name is being attached to such actions. We have been called to love others, whether they choose God and His path, or whether they choose their own lifestyle. We are to tolerate all lifestyles other than our own and not force our beliefs upon others because no matter how hard we try, we cannot MAKE someone Christian. They have to surrender their will into His and choose to strive toward Him.

Worried Christian parents, as this world is changing, I would encourage you to place your faith in Christ and lean on Him as you raise your children. I pray you teach your children love and tolerance of EVERYONE, and most of all, respect of everyone’s right to exercise their God-given Free Will, whether or not the choices and lifestyles they make/have align with your own.

Signed,
A Child of God who isn’t afraid to shy from controversy along her path to true enlightenment in Christ Jesus

The Contrarian Within

Yes… self-therapy. Indeed, that is a specialty of mine 🙂

Being home has really focused the lens on why I am the way I am. In just these few days, I have strongly come to believe that a person is a product of their environment. A person will inherit certain traits of their parents, or choose to do the complete opposite of their parents. The key word here again is CHOICE. Yes, that ‘s right. In the end, we all have the right to choose, despite our experiences. The challenge is realizing and recognizing that we each possess that right.

I have long ago realized that I have that right, but only recently was I able to discern why I have certain traits about myself, and discover that I do not like this particular trait.

I am an pop-culture entertainment junkie. I love television, I love movies, I love music. I wouldn’t even come close to calling my affinity for entertainment cultured, because it’s not like I see it as an art. I am merely attracted for the entertainment factor.

Growing up, my mom worked very hard, both professionally and more so for our family. She sacrificed so much of herself (and still does) to my family that she regarded television and movies as her one self-pleasure. Jokingly, she would remark, “Can I at least have one thing?!” As my mom and I are very close, I would watch tv with her. Much of this entertainment was our quality time together.

Realizing this, it is no wonder that today I continue to gravitate toward entertainment. I too have come to view it as my escape from the world. Furthermore, my mom would indulge in treats and goodies. She used to be very active in her youth, but in the busyness of taking care of two children and a sick husband, she lost the time to indulge her interests in outdoor activities (except gardening and landscaping! She makes time for that, and boy, is that a lot of physical work!). Her activity so revolved around caring for us that at the end of the day, the last thing she could think of was working out. As far as I’m concerned, we were workout enough! Thus, all she wanted to do was escape into the television with cake in hand.

I am the same way now. I used to be very active in middle school and high school, but as my relationship with my mother built (for which, don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful!), I began to workout less, indulge more, and escape into the world of entertainment.

In my freshman year of college, I honestly felt like a fish out of water. My peers were cultured, as society recognizes the meaning of that word. I’m talking about kids who grew up reading Dante and the Illiad, going to plays, traveling the world, learning multiple languages, and using big SAT words in their regular vocabulary… Cultured. I knew that attending an Ivy League university would mean that I would commingle with such students, and yet I really didn’t realize how dichotomous my relation to them would feel.

For a while, I felt deep unrest while at school. I always felt unqualified and wholly ignorant when around my friends, I felt like a round-the-clock actor, faking an understanding smile at their references and laughs at their intellectual jokes, constantly fearful of my ploy being discovered.

In reflection, this seems ridiculous to me. So very real in the live moments, but utterly ridiculous now, and I am so grateful that I have made a breakthrough. You see, in my youth (haha, as if I’m old now at 19!), I prided myself on being a contrarian. I truly tried to seek out my own route despite the paths that others chose. Now, I will not say that my stance on this was always rock solid. From time to time, I would feel swayed by the current of society and I never allowed myself to be fully taken by it. My freshman year was the first time I had been completely and utterly gripped by that current. I do not in any way regret the anguish I experienced during this first and my second year at college. I feel that it has helped me to become the person that I am today, a woman who is dedicated to deafening her ears to what society says to do, a woman who is critical of the examples that were set before her by her parents and peers, and is committed to choosing her own path in life, ruled by God’s standards alone. I am my own compass.

Thinking back on my sophomore, I am blessed to have clarity on one thing. It was my spring semester and I had finally built the courage to express the coping difficulties I had experienced over the last three semesters to a school psychologist. I remember her saying to me, and I’m paraphrasing, “You mention a lot of the things that your friends have experienced, but you must know that you have a lot to contribute yourself. You have invaluable experiences that your friends have not had. You bring different elements to a relationship as well.” Outwardly, I nodded , mostly to appease her because inside I was completely scoffing. I thought this remark was so textbook and was actually expecting it.

It is only now that I have removed the dark lenses from my eyes that I am able to see that I indeed do have invaluable experiences, and that I have a wealth of wisdom and knowledge that my friends do not. My experiences are my own and they have helped to make me the person that I am. So I cannot discredit my past and live regretting what I did not experience. Rather, I must embrace the exchange that I am privileged to now, the exchange of experiences and knowledge with my friends. We each bring something unique and I am wholly contented by what I have to offer.

Given all that was written above, I will not cave to any social pressure I feel at school, unless, of course, I truly possess an interest for its cause. That said, I have no interest in Dante nor the Illiad, so I will not be reading those and I will make a point of not pretending like I know what people are talking about when they refer to it. Sure, I may cliffnotes them for a general understanding, but only if I am so inclined, and that will be the extent of it. Furthermore, I have realized that I do not like how much time I spend in the front of the tube. I want to get outside and experience life. I waste so much precious time on shows that really provide no important contribution to my state of self. So, I have decided to limit my fall shows to Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, and (maybe) The Office. That may seem like a lot to watch, but trust me, I had more shows! 🙂

Over the summer, I discovered that I really enjoy running outdoors, so I want to continue that. I am also really enjoying the guitar, and am getting quite good at it if I say so myself! I have only been playing for a month and can already barre chords! Okay… I’ll be honest, I only barred one! Haha, and my finger killed afterwards, so I shouldn’t make such a claim, but I’m getting faster with the regular chords the more I practice them! I’m currently debating on signing up for piano lessons. I really love music and since I’m not doing a cappella this year (took up way too much time! – 6 hours per week!), I would like to cultivate my interest elsewhere (and more productively, if you ask me!). I probably won’t, but the thought is nice. Lastly, I discovered that I really missed personal reading! I often found it so much more entertaining than television (I have a hyperactive/creative imagination).

In closing, I would like to leave you with the most recent addition to my favorite quotes list. I truly feel that it describes me:

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is working night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

– E.E. Cummings

Today is My Day –> Saturday, June 21

I’ve had an iCal alarm set since May 19, telling me, “Today is Photograph your Day Day!!! So do it! and make an album!” but every time it’s gone off, I’ve delayed it. It first started off with “remind me in 2 hours”… then 2 hours became 1 day, and one day became 1 week. But, one month later, and rather spontaneously, I finally made time to document my day in my summer city! And it was a great day.

I slept in and then had to go into lab for a couple hours in the afternoon, but after that I had the urge to set off into the city to explore. I stopped by a vintage clothing store, 1793. I love rummaging through other people’s garbage. Total believer of the saying, “another man’s trash is another’s treasure.” It had some pretty interesting things inside. The expected 1980s fashions, outdated shoes, gaudy dresses, jackets that require a someone with a superhuman degree of confidence to dare wear it in public… or with a killer buzz. ::smile:: But you always have to rummage through the muck to uncover the true find beneath. And behold my find:

I’m really into bohemian fashions, so you can imagine my pleasure when I found this 1970s India top.

The picture really doesn\'t do it justice.

I felt like I’d stumbled upon a treasure. And only for $14.99. It crossed my mind to try to bargain it down to $10, but, what can I say… I haven’t fit into my haggling shoes on yet. But I have a feeling I’ll get there one day soon. Here’s a closer look:

The designs are so different, from the butterflies on the shoulders to the paisleys on the chest and hem to the leafed vines and yellow flowers… and yet it doesn’t clash. It all goes together so well. And it’s so light and airy and just a tad see-through. But not in a trashy way. The pictures really don’t do it justice. It looks even cuter when wearing it. Maybe I’ll post a shot when I finally do take it off the hanger. Ooo, it would be perfect for the beach!

Leaving 1793, I continued walking around for a bit and then it dawned on me! “Oh my gosh, this is my ‘Today is Photography your Day Day! Why don’t I have my camera!?'” I debated on whether to just forget it and photograph another day since I was a ways from my house, but I decided to head back after all. It was worth it because I finally had this day for myself.

After a couple hours, I headed back out into the city and found out that it was Pride Day. Walking around a festive block, someone said, “Happy Pride Day” to me, and not knowing to what they were referring, I just smiled back at them. It was actually kind of funny because I was walking through this block, noticing little things… some people were dressed a little more outlandishly than usual; lots of men with the small lap dogs; rainbow-colored Hawaiian leis… Although I must say that the tell-tail indicators were the drag queen and this man:

Then it hit me. “Ahhh! Pride Day is for gays and lesbians!” Yea, took me long enough. Hahaha. Walking throughout the city, there were so many block parties sealed off. I can only imagine how long into the night the parties lasted. I think this is my favorite shot featuring Pride Day:

The colors are so vivid, the angle is interesting, and you can see the action of the wind in the flag. Needless to say, it’s a good shot.

Walking around the city, seeing displays of so much pride, I couldn’t help but feel pressured to face the topic on which I’ve so long avoided forming a firm opinion. For a while, I tried to suppress the thoughts rising in my mind, but then, as I approached another Pride Block party, I happened to turn my head and saw this:

And a short walk from there, I saw what the next photo shows at the entryway of a different church:

I just knew that it was time that I start sorting this out for myself.

I’ve been sitting on the fence… or rather, hiding in the background while I let both sides of the gay/lesbian debate duke things out so that I don’t have to form an opinion. But really, I feel the worse for not making up my mind, and swaying with whatever crowd I’m in. It’s cowardly.

I am a Christian and believe that God’s Word is true. I believe that God views homosexuality as an abomination because he says it is so. But I also believe that I, as a Christian, am not to judge ANYONE and that a man/woman’s relationship with God is personal and his/her sins are between him/her and God. Heck, who am I to judge anyone? I’m too busy dealing with my own spiritual baggage to go looking at what someone else is doing. I feel secure in these beliefs. Where my personal struggle lies is when I consider queer culture + spirituality + politics. I have yet to resolve what the word says on advocating political limitations on the freedoms of non-Christians. I believe in free will. And God is a God of free will. So considering that, it doesn’t settle well with me to limit other’s free will if it goes against God’s mandates because at the end of the day, that violation lies with that person. But then, a part of me feels wrong in saying that. Of course in my ideal world, everyone would know Christ and choose to follow Him and His ways. And I know that as a Christian, it is my duty to affect the world for Christ. But wherein lies the boundary between affecting the world for Christ and forcing others to follow Christ? At most, we can force them into the motions of following Him, but then they’re not really following Him, are they? Exactly. This will take some more personal sorting out on my part. This is a topic that I just can’t leave untied.

After walking through the city, I prepared to meet a few friends for a viewing of the famous Waterfire. I’ve visited 3 times before and every time has been nothing short of wonderful. On my way, I was glad to be able to walk along the river before the sun set. I love getting shots before the fires are lit. And I even made a new friend:

Male? Female?

He/she came up behind me while I was snapping a shot. I was so intrigued to know the sex of this person, but didn’t have the candor to ask… Also, that would have been pretty rude, I decided. “Are you male or female, because I just can’t tell?” That would have felt offensive just leaving my lips, let alone hearing it.

Making my way along the river, I saw the gondola rowers, who I so admire!

They must be in amazing shape, rowing up and down the river all night (no “that’s what she said” comments, please! ::smile::). When I finally met up with my friends, we decided we’d take a ride the next time we visited. Unfortunately, my camera died once the show began. Go figure, haha. I’ll have to steal the pictures from my friend.

To finish off the day, we got dessert from the Cheesecake Factory. I had never been there before and feel like I’ve been introduced to this big secret that everyone else knew about except me! I’m very indecisive when it comes to ordering (among other things), and was craving every chocolate delight I came across in the menu! And to my surprise, guess what?! They had a cake that had EVERYTHING I was craving! The masterpiece is called Chris’s Outrageous Chocolate Cake, but my friends and I joked that they should have named it after me. My friend took a picture, but to avoid the delay in uploading it, here’s a picture from the internet:

Chris\'s Outrageous Chocolate Cake

This delightful treat that will keep on treating you for days later (I still have yet to finish the one piece I ordered!) includes the following yummy layers: brownie, chocolate mousse, cheesecake, coconut, moist chocolate cake, and chocolate chips… and of course, we cannot neglect to mention the side of whipped cream. Every bite is a surprise of flavor! All I can say is “”Mmmm, mmm! Thank you, Chris, whoever you are!”

I usually don’t like cheesecake, but turns out that cheesecake layer rivals the coconut layer in best layer of all! I am highly anticipate my next visit! We’re supposed to eat dinner next time we visit. If their cake is this good, I’m excited for their meals.

All in all, it was a good day… good day.

The Girl Effect

n. The powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society

When you stop to look what is really important, you realize your problems are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Why worry about the small stuff when we have so many goals to accomplish together.

The World is a Mess, but the Girl Effect can make it better.