Friday, June 29, 2007


Cragar tagged me, and so here it goes:

Here are the rules:
* We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
* Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
* People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
* At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
* Don’t forget to leave them each a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1) I can win Star Wars: Trivia Pursuit in the minimum amount of moves: six. When it was given to me as a present, the person randomly pulled out a card to ask me a question. I got it wrong, and she joked that she thought I knew it really well. I told her I did, but the card had the quote wrong. I then proceeded to tell her what the correct quote was, as well as the scene it took place in, the actions, and the lines that followed the quote. Needless to say, my brother and I barely play it. (I have the entire movie memorized, as it's the only thing I watched for about a year, once a week. Bless my parents and their patience, as I always made one of them watch it with me).

2) As of three days ago, I have completed my MBA program. And am considering returning for a Masters in Accounting, as I'm just not educated enough. Or a Masters in Communication, if I can get work to pay for it and find a school that's close enough.

3) According to an online quiz, I know enough Judeo-Christian theology and history to qualify for a religious minor degree. The quiz was designed by a historian, so my 'award' is merited.

4) I'm finding that the more I know on a particular subject, the less I can be around the average person who talks about that subject. It's amazing how many facts we get wrong. It also serves as a reminder to be cautious about speaking on the things I'm only 'average' on, because how many things do I get wrong? I may want to consider reading something other than non-fiction for a while. It's not good for my blood pressure.

5) In 11th grade, in my physics class, we were to do computer simulations on kinetic energy. Everyone else was doing the usual, with someone kicking a soccer ball and such. I suggested to my group that we do a guillotine to decapitate someone, and then show the head bouncing away. And I was the quiet, sweet, nice girl, too -- with a morbid sense of humor. :)

6) I have one cat, and she's a dog trapped in a cat's body. She greets you at the door when you get home, she follows you around the house, she rolls over and exposes her stomach when you walk past her. She's also OCD (really. She only sits on my lap when I sit in certain spots in certain rooms. She'll jump up, let you pet her three times, jump off, walk around an object, and then repeat the process), runs like an elephant (seriously, no matter where you are in the house, you can hear her. The floor creaks when she walks on it), straddles chairs when she sits on them, let's you hold her like a baby, purrs about four times louder than normal, and attacks paint spots.

7) I used to collect comic books when I was younger. Every time I went into the store, it was me and some interesting looking men, who were always very happy that I was there.

8) I'm directionally-incompetent.

I know I'm suppose to tag eight other people, but pretty much everyone I know has been tagged. If there's someone who hasn't been, consider yourself tagged. :)

Monday, June 25, 2007


Intolerance: lack of tolerance, especially of others' opinions, beliefs, etc: bigotry.

What are the limits to tolerance? In a major way, this word is synonymous with homosexuality, and in a more minor way, religious rights as a whole (I'm thinking in regards to Muslims here, in the context of 9/11). Often times, those who promote tolerance are accused of hypocritical behavior for a lack of tolerance towards the "intolerant." (For example, those who profess the religious belief that homosexuality is a sin).

Here's the thing. Are we intolerant if we're against racism? Are we intolerant is we're against sexism? No. The point of tolerance is to fight against bigoted beliefs. So to pull out the 'you're a hypocrite' card wouldn't work in the case of racism and sexism. Does it work in terms of homosexuality?

But this also only works if anti-gay sentiments are lumped in with racist and sexist sentiments. For many, they are, because homosexuality, like race and gender, is a part of someone's identity. I know there are those who disagree, and I know that there are stories of people who have spent years as homosexuals, and then in their words, been "healed" of that and are now heterosexual. If those people have found a sense of peace previously lacking, then I am happy for them and wish them well.

However, for every story of someone who is healed, there are ten or twenty for people who have begged to become heterosexual, and received no answer. What do we do in that case? (In an ironic note, I often wonder if the reason used to explain those stories is that the person was never homosexual to begin with. I'm sure the counterpoint is that the homosexuals simply don't want to admit the truth, and the minority is willing to expose the lie of homosexuality being natural. That reasoning is dangerous to use, though, because what if it's reversed? Try applying that to someone who walks away from a faith, whether it be Christian, a Jew, or Muslim. Is the one who walks away actually telling the truth, and those still holding the faith deluded?).

Some might say they aren't willing to relinquish the sinful lifestyle. Others might say they don't have enough faith, or haven't prayed hard enough. But now we're getting into the matter of spiritual battles, and I feel it's the height of arrogance to judge another's spiritual battle, or any internal battle, period.

Picture back on the last major internal battle you've had. How long did it last? Days? Months? Maybe even years? Say it lasted ten years. If someone came to you within those ten years, and said that since you were still struggling, obviously you were still clinging to sin, how accurate would that person be? Would that person be interpreting you correctly, or even listening to you correctly? Or would the person be using an outside criteria to judge you?

From my understanding of science and just what I've heard from homosexuals, it's not something that comes with an on/off switch. Many have wished to be otherwise. Many have struggled to be otherwise, knowing the results if they come out.

Who am I to judge their lifestyle, or what they're going through? I'm heterosexual, so I'll have no difficulties fitting into society in this regard (Well, that would also depend on what portion of society. If it's the portion that has no problem with casual sex, then I still won't fit in). I don't know what it's like to fear this kind of ostracizing. I don't know what it's like to know so much of society hates you. I don't know what it's like to wonder, in my darker moments, if I might be the next Matthew Shepherd. I don't know what it's like to be in agony over something I had no control over in the first place.

So if someone criticizes a Bible verse that condemns homosexuality, or moderates comments in a blog when saying that s/he is pluralist, it has nothing to do with hypocrisy. It has to do with the people. Regardless of your stance on homosexuality, anyone who is/claims to be one is still a person. They're not a label, they're not a two-dimensional doll just sitting around waiting for you to glue the right set of clothes onto them. They're not lurking in the corner, gleefully counting down to their next same-sex encounter, or plotting to corrode the American family. They don't need another Bible verse rammed into their faces about a loving God who still hates a part of their identity. And if you truly, truly want the person to listen to you because you're afraid for their soul, then wouldn't the best solution be to listen to them, rather than using the Bible to tell them all about themself?

In all honesty, I don't care who someone sleeps with. We have bigger problems right now. The education in the US is sorely lacking. We have environmental problems. We're too dependent on oil. We've got horrible diseases that still need to be dealt with, and starvation to address. Slavery still occurs in the world. Women still lack rights in so many places. Could we maybe focus on those?

And I've got say, Christian-wise, based on the sheep/goats parable, sex won't be that high up on Jesus' list, either. He seemed more concerned with practical matters. Do you feed the hungry? Give drink to the thirsty? Give shelter to the strangers? Clothe the naked? Visit those in prison? Overall, do we see the people beneath the skin and respond?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What last words do you want to hear?

I saw a post somewhere about how this woman's in-law recently passed away. She thanked everyone for the prayers (for she had posted three days earlier, asking for prayers for her atheist in-law, so that he might 'know' Jesus before it was too late) and said that although they didn't know where the in-law choose to depart, the in-law was surrounded by loved ones, including her brother who "ministered to the [in-law] in the [in-law's] final hours."

Am I the only one bothered by this attitude? Because it comes across as trying to ram the in-law into heaven before it's too late. Now, I don't know the entire situation, and I'm sure they talked about more than just accepting Jesus before it was too late. But these were the in-law's last days, and the in-law couldn't speak. Why wasn't the family focused on being in the now, and remembering all the good times, and just saying how much they appreciated the in-law?

It just seems to discount the reality of death, and doesn't savor the now. It's all about make sure the person goes to Paradise after the death.

Let's reverse this: how would you feel if you had strong beliefs in one direction, and the majority of your last few days were spent listening to someone telling you why this belief was wrong? And you were about to die, and just wanted to appreciate what you had, and love your family, and be surrounded by them. You really want that to be the family member's parting memory of you?

Please, no comments about how this was for the greater good, or the woman was doing the best thing, or nothing mattered except salvation.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Love your neighbor as yourself

Granted, if you don't love/like yourself that much, the subject statement takes an entirely different tone.

However, I'll interpret it in the context it was given. I've been involved in some discussions in various places in the manner of love and how it's expressed/handled/so on. For the most part, it was on the 'agape' love. In the Christian sense, demonstrated through the Good Samaritan parable, Jesus' sayings and his sacrifice. And as a way of living in general, regardless of religious beliefs (or lack thereof), 'do unto others as you would have them to unto you' is one of the best ways of living, as it forces one to put him/herself into the shoes of another and evaluate consequences of all actions.However, in terms of the 'agape' love, I was coming across a sentiment of one loves his/her neighbor because that is how one expresses love for God, or because Jesus said to do that, or because it's how we show we've changed. But I never saw the sentiment of I love my neighbor that violently disagrees with me and everything I stand for. As in, not just loving the neighbor through acting in a loving fashion, but literally loving without a an iota of hate or scorn. All you hold towards the opposing side is pure love.

Now, I'm sure there are a lot of people who do hold that sentiment of loving through actions and an internal mindset -- but it wasn't common in the discussions I was having. So my thing is ... is it really love if it's only in the action? Because I can act in a loving fashion to all sorts of people, while remaining apathetic about them emotionally, or even hating them. In which case, I'm loving on the outside, but not so much on the inside. Which would make me a hypocrite, because if I don't love that person in an internal way, then do I really love the person at all? I can say and show that I love the person as much as I want, but I'd be lying.*

If still holding this in a Christian sense, the crucifixion was the culmination of the 'agape' love. And that love wasn't just confined to the action. Jesus wasn't crucified while filled with hate. He internally loved them during the whole process. I'm not dismissing the actions themselves, because oftentimes it's the only way we can love someone, and it can make a great starting point. But, in the end, it looks like there has to be something deeper: a willingness on one's part love through-and-through.

So I would say that when God calls us to love a neighbor as ourself, we have to do much more than just act loving. We have to be willing to forsake everything else that might justify a negative feeling we'd harbor towards another.

As always, much easier said that done.

*This would be using the term 'hypocrite' in a rather unusual sense, because it's not along the lines of saying one thing and doing another. It's more of saying one thing and feeling another.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Lighting the world with salt.

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5: 13-16)

These are some very interesting verses. We'll often hear Christians say how we are called to be the light of the Earth, or the salt of the Earth. The problem is that if the verses are interpreted in that light (no pun intended), then it becomes a future event. After salvation in the right way, a Christian is then the light and the salt.

But that's not really what the verses are saying. Jesus says these things very early in Matthew, and before the crucifixion. What's more, he's speaking to his disciples and a crowd. The crowd which later marvels at Jesus's teachings when he was done speaking. And Jesus is speaking in the present tense. It can easily be interpreted that Jesus is saying what everyone is right now -- the light of the Earth, or the salt - and that no one should hide it. The crowd falling into those categories has nothing to do with their spiritual status. Rather, Jesus is almost trying to wake everyone up to what s/he already is. The crowd must simply embrace it, and live that life. They must let that light shine forth before men, so everyone can glorify their Father in heaven (which leads to another point. The crowd was already the children of God, even though they hadn't said/believed the right things).

Now, it can be argued that these words only applied to the disciples. The problem then is if that's the case, then the concept of sinning through lust or hatred can only apply to the disciples, too. And the crowd is excluded from that judgement. But Jesus was speaking to the crowd. So wasn't everyone in that crowd already the light of the world? And simply blinded to the fact?