Monthly Archives: October 2012

Caught In A Lie

Well today was the first time this semester that I caved and skipped class. It’s a two hour long class in a subject that I really have no interest in. I finished writing a blog post and commented on a blog that I follow, then I played some games on my phone. The class usually starts at 3:45 and gets out at 5:45. Well, at 4:45 I called my mom because I was wondering where she was to give me a ride. Of course she was confused because I was calling her an hour early, so I said the prof let us out (I was confused as to the time). She believed me because it legitimately has happened once or twice in past years. Still, I felt pretty bad that I skipped and lied. I hate lying because I’m not good at it and I always feel bad. I’m glad that I didn’t get caught of course, but I’m glad I made the mistake of calling an hour early, because I think there’s a lesson there. I most likely won’t skip again. It’s not worth the possibility of having to lie again and it made me feel a little guilty just by itself.

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Faith Lives On

A question that came to my mind the other day is: are Christians a dying breed? I was singing in church a couple weekends ago, and I looked out at the congregation to see that the church was practically empty. I’ll admit that this wasn’t a usual weekend. My church is usually a little more full. Even so, the weekly regulars at my church are all retirement age or older. My brother and I are some of the only really regular young people. What’s more is that everyone else in the choir is in their 60’s and 70’s. What am I going to do in a few years when they all start dropping like flies? Who is going to take over when our music director retires? Will there be any young people ready and willing to take over?

I don’t live in a particularly religious town. A lot of people around here are what I call “Christian by association.” You could look around here and think of Neitzsche. I know not every American town is like my own, and I know there are places where faith is a huge part of the community. What I would like to know is whether these places might go in the same direction as my town. I have heard that atheism, agnosticism and secularism have steadily been growing in prominence all around the country. I just can’t quite wrap my head around why that is. Is it because of technology? Is it because of science? Is it because of the accessibility of material things? I would probably say yes, yes and yes, but I don’t quite understand why these things lead to such a loss of faith.

Is the problem that faith has become old fashioned? I don’t mean literally of course, but is it perceived as being an out dated practice/system/what have you? Is it naive to believe that there is some kind of all powerful entity who sustains life and judges our merits? Why do Heaven and Earth have to remain apart? Why is it so hard for some people to believe that God has a hand in a doctor’s passion and ability to save lives or a judge’s ability to morally decide a person’s fate?

Perhaps some people think that faith restricts freedoms. While it is true that it sets moral standards, many of these standards are set by human laws and societal expectations. In many cases, the Father has the same expectations as human parents. Among other things, He wants what is best for His children. The expectation that we will worship Him is similar to the parental expectation of respect.

Of course people are busy, and making it to church every Sunday isn’t always possible. One does not always need to be in a church to worship the Lord. He said Himself, “where two or more are gathered in my name, I will be there.” Furthermore, it can be difficult for people to get into the habit of praying. I think the problem here is that some people think that in order to pray, you have to stop, drop what you’re doing and take ten minutes to recite a long, well thought out prayer. Sometimes a prayer can be as simple as “God, please help me,” or just a heartfelt “thank you.” The trick is to mean it. The fact of the matter is that God knows what is on your heart, and your prayer doesn’t even have to be coherent. It’s the intention that matters.

Of course It’s good to read the Bible whenever you can, but you don’t necessarily need to set aside a huge chunk of time for that either. My Shakespeare professor made an interesting comment the other day that I thought was helpful in this respect. She said with Shakespeare and scripture, It’s best to read until you feel a “hook;” until something sticks with you. If the hook comes right away, great! You can stop there if you want. Sometimes you’re just not going to feel it on a given day. That’s fine too. God can give you the hook in other ways.

I’m not saying that one should compartmentalize their faith, rather, I am suggesting that one should make it an integral part of their life. This is when performing acts of faith such as prayer, etc feels natural, desirable and necessary.

So I suppose my point and my hope is that people would be ready and willing to let faith be a part of modern day life. I hope that this apparent disconnect that people feel with God will be resolved, and I hope a renewal of faith can bring a renewed sense of groundedness; something that I think many people nowadays could really use.

I know one blog post by one girl isn’t going to change too much too fast, so if you read this and think It’s worth sharing, do me a favor and pass it on.

Thanks!

Writing A Road: To Somewhere Great Or A Dead End Job

I hadn’t looked at my friend’s Facebook in a while, but I looked there just a little while ago, and something she had posted two hours before made me feel a little worried about her. I miss her a lot and I just hope she’s doing ok (she’s away at college this year). She suffers from depression, and sometimes she gets into funks. I hate to see her like that. I’m in a bit of a weird situation right now because I care about her and I miss her and I’ve been praying for her, and I’m not actually sure how she’d feel about that. I know from experience that it can sound phony to nonbelievers when Christians say that they’ll pray for so-and-so. I don’t know if it’s better to tell people or not, but I went ahead and told her. I just hope she knows that I mean it seriously and that she can at least sort of appreciate it. I just wish that she could know God because it really does make everything so much easier.

I’ve been having a bit of a stressful weekend. A different friend of mine slept over my house last night because we were having a party with family and friends. We ate a lot of food and stayed up late, which was great except I had to get up early to sing in church this morning. I was going to get a bunch of homework done on Friday except I had a minor seizure (I’ve had epilepsy since I was small but it’s been controlled by medication up until this point), so I felt crappy and then angry all day. Before the party yesterday I went to the doctor and had some blood work done. They should know what’s wrong fairly soon. In the meantime I’ll take a little extra dose and that will hopefully keep it under control. That’s most likely what they’ll have me do anyway. The point is that I have a lot of stuff due next week, and I only have a few days left to do it.

The friend who slept over last night is also an English major. Today before she went back to school, we were talking about how neither of us really knows what we want to do with our lives. I know without a doubt that I want to write. The trouble is that I really don’t know what I want to write about. I love writing my blog because I get to do some experimenting here, but I don’t know what kind of subject matter I would like to write about to make a living. I also don’t know what kinds of writing jobs pay a lot and what ones don’t. Quite frankly, I’d like to make a decent amount of money. I’d like to be able to at least live comfortably, and I would like to have some extra money because I would like to be able to help people, and I think I can say without a doubt that you need some money to be able to do that. I don’t know that I’ve given up on the idea of being a pastor, but I must admit that recently, the idea has lost a bit of luster. I’m not sure why. I want to write… but I would like to somehow glorify God and spread His message in what I do. Oddly enough, I haven’t been able to figure out a good, solid way to do that.

The thing I don’t want to do is become just another writer or just another pastor or what have you. I don’t want what I have to say to be lost in the wind; to blend into the sea of what every other writer, pastor, beatnik, etc is saying. I know this is the fear of every person who thinks they have something important to say, and what scares me more is that I don’t know how to deal with it. So I suppose the problem isn’t exactly that I don’t know what I want to do; it’s more that I don’t know how to do it.

I think another part of the problem is simply that I love art. Information and art can serve largely the same purpose. The difference is that information is passive and art is active. I want to be active in getting my point across. I want to be the obvious spot of red on the black and white photograph.  I’m also not sure I would be able to accomplish what I want to if I end up working for someone. If someone is telling me what to write, I’m not sure I would even be writing about what I’m interested in. Yet another problem is that I have no idea how to get anything published. I wrote a few children’s stories last year and I spent over 12 hours trying to figure out how to get them published, and I reached no conclusion. I found that many publishing companies were scammers and many of the ones that weren’t wanted ludicrous amounts of money to publish material. I’m currently working on recording an album of original music, and I’m dreading looking into getting that published, but I want to because my songs definitely get my point across (at least I think so).

Well, I’ve got to get back to the grind. I might sleep and get up early…. Alas, the plight of a college student….. If anyone has some advice and/or information that they could share, please leave a comment. That would be very helpful and I would really appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.

Hurricane Sandy

Well everybody, I’m just one girl, but I figured I could post a prayer for the peeps who are going to be hit hard (especially my buddy’s family near NYC), and maybe if some people read this, you guys can pray too.

Heavenly Father, I’d like to pray for everyone on the east coast who is going to be effected by this hurricane. I would just like to pray that you would be here with us through this storm and through whatever comes in the aftermath. I would also pray that people will be able to make good decisions in this and be patient in dealing with whatever happens.

In Jesus’ name we pray,

Amen

Good luck to anyone who’s going to be going through this. I hope everyone is going to be ok.

Nostalgic Video Game Review And Procrastination

As usual I’m supposed to be doing homework, but it seemed like I was in pretty good shape last night, so what the heck? I’ll see if I can find something interesting to say before I start this morning.

Yesterday my brother and I went over to Game Stop while my mom was picking up food because we’ve been wanting to get a copy of “Border Lands.” I don’t really know what it’s about, but my brother says it’s a two-player, split-screen, adventure shooter, which sounds like fun. I’m very bad at shooters, but he assures me it won’t be that hard. I can do okay as long as I have a team mate.

Anyway, while we were there, my brother went off on a nostalgic tangent about Play Station 1 and 2 games. We both agree that the best video games were made in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, with a few very good exceptions, of course.

My favorite video games of all time are (and this is not in any particular order):

Jack and Daxter (PS 2)
Spyro 1, 2 and 3 (PS 1 and 2)
Spyro 1, 2 and 3 remakes/new story (PS 2)
Crash Team Racing (PS 1)
Crash Warped (PS 2, I think)
Crash Bash (PS 1)
Journey (PS 3)

If you haven’t played these and you like relatively easy/fun games, you should absolutely play them. I know for a fact you can download the original 3 Spyro games, Crash Team Racing (CTR) and Crash Warped on a PS 3.

Jack and Daxter basically a fantasy platformer. Each area is “related” to a different element, which are different from the standard water, fire, etc. Different forms of energy in this game give you different abilities. The basic story line is that Jack and his buddy Dxter are two young boys who head over to a dark, creepy island, which (it’s safe to assume) they’re not supposed to be doing. Daxter falls into a vat of “dark ooze,” and is turned into a little orange fuzzy thing. Originally the point of the game is to make it through all the levels to presumably reach the Dark Sage (or something to that effect, I haven’t played this in a while), to get Daxter changed back. But like any good fantasy game, the point shifts to SAVIN’ THE WORLD!

The original 3 Spyro games are very straight forward. The point is to go through all the levels, collect all the treasure, free all the dragons and collect all the dragon eggs to unlock “The Super Bonus World.” There’s a version of this final level in all three games. There are a few puzzles here and there but for the most part it’s very straight forward. Of the three, I like the third one (Year Of The Dragon) the best.

The next couple Spyro games were really awful. I think they just tried to extend the story farther than it could or needed to go. Then a new trilogy came out that basically started the story over. These three games (the names of which escape me at the moment) were actually pretty good. The first one was a bit too easy, but overall they had a pretty good plot line, the enemies were pretty interesting and there was even a two-player aspect in the third one. The only thing I really think think they could have done better is voice acting/dialogue. Some of it was just painfully corny. I also don’t particularly love what they did with the dragonfly, Sparks. In the original three games, he would change colors to indicate how much health you had. In the second trilogy the only purpose he served was comic relief (which he actually did a good job with).

Crash Team Racing and Crash Bash are just fun multi-player games. CTR is like any old racing game. Weird track and characters meet ridiculous weapons such as the Electric Bomb (my name for it) and Homing Missile. I think the appeal of CTR is that it’s not quite as trippy as any of the Mario racing games (although I suppose it’s arguable depending on the track). Crash Bash is similar in that it doesn’t actually have a plot. You could probably call it a smaller Mario Party equivalent. The mini-games are very violent and completely ridiculous. It’s even fun to lose in that game. My brother and I couldn’t beat a particular mini game, but we couldn’t stop laughing because of what happens when you lose. If you want to know what happens, you’ll just have to play it. What’s good about this game is that you definitely need to use teamwork to win in most cases.

Crash Warped is similar to the original Spyro games in that the the point is to collect all the items and defeat all the bosses to get 100%. I don’t think I need to go into much detail about this one because it’s so similar. One aspect that I somewhat dislike is that you basically have to go through each level at least three times (for different reasons, of course) before you beat the game.

As you can tell, Journey is the only “recent” game on my list. I already gave a description in my post “Mind Candy,” but I’ll give a quick one here. The point is literally just to get to the shiny mountain. There’s no actual reason for getting there, it’s just what you have to do. You do so by going through the levels with the aid of these little magical cloth creatures. The music and the use of sound in the game are fantastic. The scenery is beautiful, and the multi-player is pretty fun. The only downside is that it’s only online, which means you can’t play with your friend who is sitting next to you. Even so, it’s kind of fun to go through the game with a mysterious stranger. Interestingly, your only way of communicating is with the little chirps that your characters can make, but it works pretty darn well. You learn to use it effectively pretty quickly.

Not Sure Why

I have a tendency to capitalize letters that don’t need to be capitalized. I think it’s just because I like the way they look better than their lowercase versions. For example, I like “G” so much better than “g.” I also like “O,” “C,” “D” and “P” much better than their lowercase equivalents. Whenever I’m writing I have a weird tendency to capitalize these letters when they don’t need to be capitalized. I almost invariably write “Guitar” when I’m supposed to write “guitar.” I only do it with certain words, though. I almost invariably write “good” when I’m supposed to write it like that. I also have a tendency to just leave “Caps Lock” on when I’m just talking to a friend on Facebook or something. Something that is very interesting is that on it’s own, lowercase “i” drives me crazy, but lowercase “j” does not. They’re almost the exact same letter, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I suppose it’s similar to how I like bright red but I dislike some darker shades of red.

Anyway, just a random tidbit I thought was kind of interesting. 🙂

I Will Follow You Into The Dark

I love the chorus of this song.

If Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied
Illuminate the “No’s” on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks
I’ll follow you into the dark

I find it both sad and beautiful at the same time. It’s a vision of death that actually kind of scares me. It presents the idea of there being no life after death, which I really don’t like! In a sense though, nothingness is less scary than the idea of Heaven and Hell. If you believe you’re going to Heaven, then you also have to believe that there’s a chance (however small it may be) that you or someone you love is going to Hell. This is thinking strictly logically and disregarding faith, but it’s “logically” true.

This song presents the idea of nothing after death in a way that really is not very scary, especially since it brings love into the equation. It gives one the hope that at least love lives on after death. I find that in itself to be a beautiful idea. It’s also exceedingly less complicated than the idea of Heaven and Hell. I think it’s the simplicity that I kind of find appealing.

Even so, I like the idea of eternal paradise a whole lot better. 🙂

Toying

It’s Wednesday. I got up early partly so I could get some homework done, but partly so I could write something on my blog and read a little. I discovered William’s blog after I got an email telling me that he had read my blog. Of course we ended up talking about God, since that’s kind of all I do nowadays, or so it seems. I was kind of laughing last night because I go to a Christian school and yet I can’t seem to make Christian friends. I’m sure God has a hand in that. Many things that He does in my life are ironic. It is impossible to refute that God has a good sense of humor. Just ask the platypus.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a pastor. On Monday night I stayed up a little later than I should have and did a little more research into what that entails. Well, it sounds like a heck of a lot of work. I think I’m up to it, though. It sounds like pastors do a lot of counseling and things like that. I actually kind of laughed when I read that because when I was a sophomore in high school, I had thought about becoming a counselor, but I really didn’t feel like going through all the work of getting a psych degree. I’m sure going through Seminary is no cake-walk, but at least I won’t have to deal with neuroscience (most likely). That’s actually why I decided not to be a psych major (at least part of the reason). I think very abstractly, so science and math tend to confuse me (although I did pretty well with Chemistry in high school). I guess that’s why things like Theology and Philosophy interest me so much. Not to mention the fact that I just like to argue sometimes.

What’s odd is that I can totally see myself as a pastor, but at the same time I so totally can not. One thing that’s holding me back from totally loving the idea is that it seems like being really nice is a kind of prerequisite. Maybe I’m generalizing, but my thinking is that maybe I’m just not nice enough. That’s not to say that I think I’m a mean person. I’m awfully mellow, but I’m also kind of obnoxious in that I will tell you exactly what is on my mind. I’m not exactly subtle sometimes. In some situations I can tend to talk without thinking. This just seems like something I would need to be more careful of if I became a pastor.

Another problem that I’m a little more worried about is that I’m a little unorthodox in my beliefs. I’m sure there are like-minded people out there, but they might be a little harder to find than the average protestant Christian. The other thing is that I think there are certain people in my largely Catholic family who wouldn’t exactly love the idea. Trust me, if I could be ordained in the Catholic Church I’d go for it, but since I can’t I’d have to go somewhere else. I’m thinking I’d go to a nondenominational church. That seems like safe-ish territory.

Of course I say I’m only toying with the idea and then I go off on a tangent. If anyone has any advice or insight, please leave comments! That would be super helpful! Thanks in advance!

Defending God

A few months ago a friend of mine made a really mean joke about Jesus, and it really pissed me off. I told her that it offended me and she apologized, and it was all good. The odd thing is that when people make fun of Christians, I’ll laugh along with them if the joke really is funny and it isn’t meant in a mean way. I think there are many different religions that can seem ridiculous to non-religious people, and if you really think about it, Christianity is up there on the ridiculousness scale. We believe that God came down from Heaven in human form to teach his ways to the people of Israel and eventually, the rest of the world through his disciples. We also believe that He knew He was going to die and went willingly to His death, taking all the sins of the world upon Himself. Finally, we believe that He will come again and unite Heaven and Earth and we who are saved by Him will live forever in His Kingdom. It sounds ridiculous, does it not?

The odd thing is, I really don’t like it when people directly make fun of my Lord. It’s not like He can’t defend Himself because He could… but He usually doesn’t, at least not in a way that I recognize. It seems a bit ridiculous to me that I was actually defending God to my friend. I would do the exact same thing if my friend were making a mean joke about one of my other friends. I would feel the same way too. I was defending God as a friend. As a Christian, I believe that I am a friend of God. I know He defends me because he has deterred me from doing things that seemed like great ideas and has directed me to things that turned out even better. He also has done things in my life that are both extremely helpful and obnoxious and hilarious at the same time. I’ve basically come to expect irony.

Sometimes I’ll feel a bit odd defending one of my friends if I think that what they’re doing is a bit strange or ridiculous, so perhaps part of the reason I feel strange defending God is because He does some strange and ridiculous things. Of course the bottom line is that I, an insignificant, barely mature girl am defending the Almighty King of the universe. I’m partly just nervous about saying the right thing in His defense. I suppose it’s the fact that He’s always listening that makes me  nervous. When I’m defending my friends, it’s usually because they’re not there to defend themselves, but God knows what I’m saying about Him. It’s entirely possible that I’m just thinking too hard about this.