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I read in an educational article this week that statistics are booming for school students who are reporting feelings of severe anxiety. They are complaining to their teachers of headaches, stomach aches, dizziness, or simply stare at a blank page or act out. The root cause of this is fearfulness and anxiety, which makes […]

via Pray First! — The Artistic Christian

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Part 1 – The redefinition of words to create something else to control and be offended by.

Feminist. You probably have strong feelings when you hear/read this word. What image comes to mind when you think about a feminist? Chances are, this word conjures up either the image of a social justice warrior, fighting to defend the rights of the oppressed women of America, or a fat and ugly free-bleeder who eats men for breakfast. Whatever your opinion in this, I want you to know two things:

  1. I support women’s rights to equality (not that women are the same as men, but should have equal opportunities.)
  2. I do not call myself a feminist.

feminazis

The Redefining of Words

There are many reasons why I do not call myself a feminist, but one that has been on my mind recently (and is fairly easy to address) is that modern feminism relies strongly on the redefining of words and manipulation to encourage young women to view all their problems as a result of oppression and misogyny and not due to any other factors.

Some words that have been modified recently:

  • Friendzoned – I do not know who decided that this word was somehow an attack on women, but it is not. The word itself simply describes when a person (typically a man) has invested time/money/emotion into a girl and has discovered that the girl is only interested in friendship. It is my personal opinion that women tend to invest more in relationships with men that they do not intend to become romantic (“just friends”) than men tend to. A girl might simply think that the guy who stays up late texting her, goes to the mall with her, listens to her cry, and buys her snacks, is just doing what any other friend would do. In my experience, guys do not tend to do things like this for a girl unless they are at least mildly interested in her, and if they start out that way, they will at some time be interested in a relationship, even if he never admits it. Girls, on the other hand, tend to like to talk and can be very comfortable investing time and energy into a friendship with a boy they have no intention of having a romantic relationship with. There is nothing wrong with these tendencies. Girls should try to be more considerate and realize that they may, in fact, be unintentionally signaling to a guy that they are interested when thay are not.

  Somehow, modern feminists have come to the conclusion that a guy saying he was “freindzoned” means that somehow the woman owes him something. What? No. Just no. The concept of wooing a woman may be foreign to Americans, but the idea is that you spend time with someone and do nice things for them in an attempt to get them to like you, not to say that they owe you anything! If you are reading this and thinking “Well, I had this one guy who was like, you need to sleep with me because I was there for you when you were sad!” etc. then that speaks VOLUMES to the type of man that YOU choose to spend time with. I have placed several interested men in the friend category (some without realizing they were interested) and not once have I had someone act as though they owed me anything. Could it be that they were upstanding and respectable guys? No! Never! Men are pigs! But really, if this happens to you, it might be that you lead them on (perhaps unintentionally) or that you make terrible friendship choices.

  • Slut – I saw this one described the other day as “attacking a woman for her right to say yes.” *blinkblink* Just because you have a right to say yes does not mean you aren’t a terrible person for saying yes to every guy who asks. Generally the term is used to describe women (and sometimes men) who are easy (as in, have had sexual interactions with multiple non-serious partners, willing to kiss any guy, etc.) OR who dress to show off far more skin on a regular basis than is generally considered socially acceptable. We live in a society where telling someone that they are wrong is taboo, and heaven forbid a young person ever have to feel shame for their actions.

    It’s like that Kaepernick guy; he has a right to sit for the anthem, but I also have a right to say he’s a dingbat for doing so.

  • Bossy – There is actually a campaign to ban the word bossy. Really. The website for this campaign says “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.” Bull. Crap. I taught middle school and I have not experienced this phenomenon, it is quite the opposite, in reality. When leaving notes to substitutes, or appointing leaders in my classroom, I usually have to make sure that I have at least one boy on the list, because there is an abundance of girls who are able and willing to lead. I can think of maybe 7 or 8 boys (our of 180 students) who would volunteer to lead or do something. Usually only one in each class.

 The word bossy is defined as: “inclined to domineer (dictatorial), liking to order people around.” A LEADER does not simply tell people what to do; a leader leads by example, encourages and inspires those around them to follow their example, and generally takes the initiative to do something about a problem. A bossy person simply tells people what they should do, “We should play THIS game!” or “No, no, no! When I make my doll say this, you’re supposed to say…” or “Give me some of your candy.” Now, I know that this word is most often applied to girls and I am not entirely sure why, but here are some similar words boys get called: insolent, pushy, arrogant, domineering, aggressive, controlling, cocky, cocksure, high-and-mighty, patronizing, pretentious, pompous, and pig-headed. The connotation of the word bossy indicates that the person thinks they are smarter or they know better than others, and want everyone to do as they say. For a boy, in a world where girls tend to outshine them in the classroom from an early age, putting forth the effort to speak up and risk embarrassment takes a lot of courage. A student who leads and says, “I think this would be a good way to do X” is using their skills and trying to do the best they can, whereas a kid saying “No, we have to do it this way!” is bossy. There is a distinction. Banning the word “bossy” is not going to help a little girl’s self-esteem.

Do you know what would help women boost their self-esteem? If girls’ magazines were not strictly geared to looks, getting boyfriends, and being sexy/sexual. Instead, why not fill magazines with things like: how to be a good friend, how to dress in ways that flatter your body type, how to succeed in male-dominated careers (or tips on careers that might be difficult for women due to physical limitations), health care tips, what colors complement your skin tone, manners, easy and healthy recipes, tips on job interviews, crafts, tips for young mothers, how to be a good wife, how to spot a man who might not be good for you, quick/easy household organization tips, etc. As a youngun, I LOVED the American Girl magazine. It was great! There were stories, crafts, paper dolls, tips on manners and advice on how to handle tough situations. It was a wonderful resource; they also published tip books, stories about courageous girls (Felicity was my favorite), and had dolls for sale. Unfortunately, few magazines these days are like this.

Instead of redefining words, why not redefine our culture? How about we teach women to respect themselves; that they don’t have to wear five pounds of makeup, have sex, or show off their bodies to be beautiful. Or that it’s ok to say NO to a guy who is interested, and that not having a boyfriend at age 13 does not mean that there is something wrong with you. Or that just because you are waiting for marriage to have sex it does not make you a prude. Maybe we should honor those women who choose to be a stay-at-home-mom or housewife as much as we honor and respect those who choose to pursue a career. Perhaps we should stop insulting women who actually enjoy domestic activities like cooking, and at the same time encourage/empower those who are not great at those domestic activities so that they know they don’t have to be, and know that they have help if they want to learn.

When I was in middle school I was bullied badly. I was chubby, I was (and am) a Christian and did not do some of the things other kids did, I liked reading and nerdy things like Star Trek, and I did not dress like everyone else (partly because I could not afford it, partly because I was modest and not so interested in what was fashionable). I was made fun of for not having a boyfriend; kids would tease me and try to ask me who I liked, or who I would go out with. If my response was “I don’t know him” I was told “You get to know him, that’s what having a boyfriend is for.” I was called fat and ugly, and lost “friends” because I didn’t dress popularly. I even lost friends because I chose not to lie to my parents: I went to a friend’s house and she wanted to watch the movie Stigmata, something I knew I would not have been allowed to watch, but I also did not want to watch it anyway (still don’t). “Your parents won’t know” was the only response my friend gave to my objections. Our friendship pretty much ended that day. In college I was occasionally called a prude, mostly by guys who I was friends with where there was mutual interest, but not the compatibility necessary to justify starting a relationship. Just because two people are attracted to each other does not mean you MUST date, or that you would be good long-term, or that you need to make out. In the long run, I think I have gained respect because I did not have dozens of boyfriends (went on a few dates, though only one lead to a relationship), did not dress immodestly, and held to my standards. Have I made mistakes? You betcha. Many things I wish that I had not done, or had done differently. Did I sometimes compromise? A few times, and I regret it completely.

Changing the mindset of Americans will do far more for young girls than it will to change the words that we use to describe the mindset. The Bible definitely got it right: Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Changing the words we use will not change the hearts of the people that use them.

Check out this article on 8 Ways Fascist Feminists are Ruining America’s Women.

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This is an article a friend shared from the Gospel Coalition. Don’t Segregate the Youth.

We live in an entertainment-centered world. What is youth group but a place to hang out with your friends, play games, eat snacks, and maybe find romance, right? When I was in youth group it started out well; there were some older students who I looked up to, who helped me and encouraged me in my walk. We went to youth events like Aquire the Fire, which taught me and helped me grow. We had a youth drama team, that allowed everyone to participate and share a message through an art form. But was this enough? After the older students graduated and moved on with other aspects of life, I was one of the older teens in the youth group. I ended up leaving youth group when I was 16 because it was too “seeker-centered”. I had grown up in church, knew the doctrines, understood the concepts, and lived it; there was nothing left for me in the youth group. I was not respected enough by either the students or the youth leader to help mentor or teach younger students, and I lacked the confidence, so I left and attended “big church” instead.

I am very much in favor of youth group and youth activities, but there comes a time when a teenager simply has to learn to “deal with it”. Young children and teenagers need to learn when it is time to be entertained, and when it is time to sit quietly and listen. I am appalled when I see family make a quick trip to the store and their 5-year-old is walking around with a tablet watching movies, or when children are given some technology in church just to make them sit quietly. I am ok with activities like Christian-themed coloring books when a little kid needs to sit through service, or a children’s Bible for them to read and look at the pictures, but technology is just an excuse. Parents trying to appease a child who is usually poorly behaved.

I like the way the church I currently attend handles the youth: children stay through the music portion of the service and participate with their families. They get to see how adults worship, and also learn most of the regularly played songs. After music and announcements, children ages 3 through 5th grade are dismissed to Sunday school, 6th and up stay in the service. The young ones have an opportunity to learn at their own level so that they can more firmly grasp the concepts when they do graduate to 6th grade and “big church.” The Bible tells us “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matt 28:19-20). The word translated as discipline in Greek indicates self-discipline, while in Latin the word “discipula” means “student”. Our children will not be discipled through entertainment, but through self-discipline and study.

At the second church my family attended, from the time I was 6-13, we did not have Sunday school for all the students. When I was little (and easily bored) I remember reading during service, sometimes a pamphlet they had on a table about something (like the true origin of  St. Nick), or sometimes a book I brought, or a Bible coloring book. As I sat there I learned and listened, and eventually was able to focus more on the message (I’m a bit ADD, so sometimes I still doodle as I listen and take notes). I STILL remember some of those sermons, and I understood quite a bit of the things we were taught. I was in service watching my dad take notes, and I learned how to listen and create an outline to help me remember what I had heard. Sometimes the sermons and concepts come back to me when I think about certain topics. Maybe being bored in church isn’t such a bad thing for kids after all.

 

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So many problems could be avoided in life if we would simply tell the person that we’re upset with that there is something wrong. Most of the time in life it seems that someone is angry about something for months and the person they’re upset with doesn’t know until the thing explodes. Life could be even more simple if people would just forgive others in the first place. Unforgiveness and grudge holding is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Furthermore, if the person we’re upset with doesn’t know that they have hurt you, how can they fix it? There are some people in my life, who are adults, who refuse to talk to me when something upsets them. It’s as if they expect me to read their minds! Don’t do this to your friends, family, children or your spouse. It’s childish behavior and it does not lead to reconciliation. Go to the person who has offended you, tell them why you are offended, and then choose to forgive them. It’s simple, it’s right, and it will bring you peace.

I leave you with a few verses on forgiveness:

The Bible tells us to forgive others. Not when we “feel” like it, not because we want to, but because He has forgiven us and He has commanded it. Jesus tells us that we should forgive an unlimited number of times (Matthew 18). We are told to “put up” with one another: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

We are told to forgive because we have been forgiven. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” And in Mark 11:24-25 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Luke 6:37 tells us “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

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What is commitment? Does anyone know these days? Here’s what the dictionary has to say about that.

1 a : an act of committing to a charge or trust: as (1) : a consignment to a penal or mental institution (2) : an act of referring a matter to a legislative committee b : mittimus
2 a : an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; especially : an engagement to assume a financial obligation at a future date

 b : something pledged
 c : the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled <a commitment to a cause>
A commitment does not have to be a signed formal contract (not that those last long in this century), it can be a spoken word, a written message, or a non-verbal understanding.
This week I’ve witnessed two acts of non-commitment. A friend left his wife because, as he said “she has issues she needs to work out”  (though he does too…) and another friend was cheated on for the second time. The first instance is sad because a husband (or wife) should be committed to their spouse no matter what.  In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or for worse, as long as you both shall live. ‘Til death do us part! Nowhere in this verbal agreement does it say, “I get to leave you because you have issues.” The second instance is sad because within days of saying “I want to be with you” to my friend, this guy was with another girl. After he had already been forgiven for cheating on my friend once, he was with another girl. What is wrong with these people?!
1 Corinthians 7:10-11: “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not [d]leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not [e]divorce his wife.”
Malachi 2:13-16 tells us that God does not accept the offerings of those who are unfaithful to their spouses: Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 1You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.[c] So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,”[d] says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. 

The Bible says that God hates divorce. Why? Because it tears apart something that he has designed to function as one unit. We were created to be married and partnered with someone for all our lives.

“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

I know that ending a relationship is not nearly as serious as ending a marriage, but it has the same effect in this day and age. It used to be that people did not have an intimate emotional relationship until the point where they were engaged or married. In our society we have a serious intimate relationship before we are married, often with physical affection attached. When these relationships end abruptly, they can be just as painful as divorce (even if they’re less complicated legally).

All this is to say PUT ON YOUR BIG BOY PANTIES AND DEAL WITH IT!!!! When you commit to a relationship you are in it until you have a seriously good reason to end it. “I met another girl” is not a good reason, nor is “I’m bored” or “you gained weight” or “you aren’t as perfect as I thought you were.” If there’s a logical reason to end a relationship, be honest and just do it. If you’re married, just deal with it. Get counseling, talk to a pastor, and stick with it. There is NO good reason to end a marriage, even if you think there is one at the time. Deal with it.

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,that He might present to Himself the church [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22-33)

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In the past few years I have gained a new perspective, a new life, and a new me. I am always undergoing changes, and by the grace of God I am making improvements slowly but surely. I feel that I have overcome many obstacles in my path; trials that are natural to mankind, frustrations brought upon by my sin nature, and difficulties inflicted on me by family failings. I am overcoming them all.

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about poverty, and namely how to avoid it. A proverb is a wise and trusted saying, so the Christian book of Proverbs is a veritable gold mine of wisdom (which it reminds us to seek). Among the sayings about poverty we are reminded that someone who neglects discipline will surely come to poverty and shame (Pvbs 13:18). There is profit in all labor, but those who simply talk will come to poverty (14:23). The glutton, drunkard, and drowsy person (someone who is lazy/sleeps a lot) will come to poverty. (23:21). And I particularly like the imagery of Proverbs 6:10-11:

“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to [a]rest”—
11 Your poverty will come in like a [b]vagabond
And your need like [c]an armed man.

(See this page for more references.)

My family has always been poor, and as a child I looked upon it as something that was put upon us, an unfair disadvantage brought about by adverse circumstances (such as family health problems) and through no fault of our own. As I grew up and expanded my mind beyond what I knew I came to realize that most of our problems in my family could have been fixed by one thing: diligence. This can apply in any area of our lives. Diligence in discipline (train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it), diligence in maintaining healthy behaviors, and diligence in working at home and on the job. All this is to say that I hope and pray that I can be diligent in the future and keep my children from the issues that I have had to face.

Things that I have overcome or am overcoming:

Poverty: I work hard at several part-time jobs (subbing, lessons at 2 studios, instrumental coaching), and I keep my spending to a minimum. (Some tips on that later.) If it’s not needed and not justifiable, I don’t get it.

Housework: Rather than leave the work for someone else to do (my husband), I just get up and do it! Rather than putting it off until tomorrow, I just get up and do it! My household is thus far clean and fairly well-organized, though not perfect by any means.

Weight: My family has always struggled with weight. Part of it was due to lack of self-control in eating habits, but also because cheap food is usually not health food (white bread, anyone?). I am down from the obese 180 that I was in high school, to a healthy 128. I know the properties of the food I eat, how many calories I consume, and choose when to have those special treats. I avoid getting food on the go and my waistline thanks me. I also work out when I can. I feel great!

Anger/Impulsiveness: One of the consequences of the lack of diligence and self-control that Iw as exposed to during childhood caused me to be rather angry. Sometimes there was hypocrisy, which didn’t help matters. Being intelligent and angry, and well-read, often caused me to say harmful things before thinking about them. I was a miserable child: fat, unpopular, awkward, poor, smart, and to top it all off, a Christian (values and standards were frowned upon). Not many people liked me. I was angry. Depressed. I feel that if someone had helped guide me through the torrent of emotions of my teenage years I might have been better for it. This is something I have made great progress in, and the majority of my battles are now internal, but something I am still working on.

Some wonderful new changes in my life, thanks to the goodness of God: I have a wonderful husband, and we live in our own little apartment. I have a job at a new lesson studio, with Christian proprietors, and am looking into another job. I have new and better friends than some of the people who I was hanging around with at work and college, and have been developing these friendships. I am less stressed/angry than I was in high school, have lost weight, and I feel more confident about myself. And I have a new outlook on life, renewed faith in God, and a renewed determination to seek Him out and to gain knowledge of theology, etc. Life is good!

I want you to know that you can overcome anything! With patience, diligence, self-discipline, and by leaning on God and his grace, you can have the abundant and joy-filled life God has called you to have.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)

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In the last part of “Cause and Effect”, we looked at a dramatic example of the consequences of a few poor “personal” choices on the part of a college-aged guy. Here I will give some examples of how to make better choices and why. This is a work in progress and will hopefully be completed within the day.

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