Tag Archives: War

Something You Should Know

I’ve written a few posts recently that have made it sound like I know Jesus super well and I know exactly how to run my life. Neither of those things are true. Most of the time I’m fairly self-centered, and a lot of the time, I forget about spiritual things until I go to bed. I pray before I go to sleep every night, but to be completely honest, a lot of the time it’s only out of superstition and habit. I pray during the day when I’m worried or nervous about something, but a lot of the time, I find that my prayers are selfish. The fact of the matter is, I think I am selfish. I want to be kind and helpful to people, but I’m distracted by video games and homework and friends and classes and commuting and relaxing.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I am blessed to have been born in the U.S. to a fairly wealthy middle class family. I don’t deserve what I have, but I am exceptionally thankful for it. I can’t begin to fathom how lucky I am. I’ve never seen war or extreme poverty or terrible sickness–not first hand, anyway. The point is that I get so wrapped up in my own life to remember those who are less fortunate than me.

I also know that I’m hard on myself about this stuff. I have done good things for other people, and honestly, I think I’ve made a real difference in some cases. I was part of creating an advocacy program for young adults with disabilities, and I’ve seen it make a big difference. I raided around $400 and did the Walk for Hunger last year. I know my music has inspired some people here and there. I just wish I could do more. I go through periods where I feel like I’m being lazy and I have too much free time. The trouble is, I don’t feel like I’ve made a difference where I want to.

Two things that I feel passionate about are mental illness and war. I can’t fix either of those problems, but I can pray about them, and I know I don’t do nearly enough of that. My other problem is that I am ridiculously disorganized. I’m not good at setting up fundraisers or demonstrations or even little prayer groups. I’m not a good leader.

However, I can do this: I have around 250 followers on this blog, and I can ask all of you, in whatever way feels right, to pray for the victims of any kind of violence: that they would be safe, that they would find places to go to or ways of defending themselves, and that the people causing this violence would change.

I also ask that you would pray for anyone suffering from mental illness, that they would find healthy ways of dealing with it, and that they would find support in loved ones.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Getting Tired Of This

Is anyone else getting tired of hearing about ISIS? I just read a report talking about another attack on several Christian villages that took place yesterday. ISIS is scary because they are making progress. They are accomplishing their goals. They are successfully conducting attacks on innocent people, destroying entire villages and getting away with it. It absolutely baffles me that the U.S., or anyone for that matter isn’t doing more to stop them.

I know that we’re all tired of war. I personally believe that war is fundamentally wrong. However, there comes a point where we have a moral obligation to defend our brothers and sisters. When I say that they are our brothers and sisters, I don’t mean to sound churchy. I mean that they; that we are all members of the human family. We are all connected, and even though we are far away, we have a responsibility to and for them. Furthermore, it is not simply the innocents who are our family. The members of ISIS are also our family, whether we like it or not.

I do not advocate violence; I do not advocate revenge or active retaliation. I advocate defense, and I advocate prayer. Ultimately, if we cannot physically be there to defend our family, we must pray for them. We must spread the word and let the world know what is happening. We must pray for our enemies, as well as our friends. We must educate and defend the vulnerable in our own country. We must spread love in any way we can so that in the future this does not happen.

We must not hate them because they are violent. We must not hate them because we do not understand them. Though it is difficult, we must pity them and pray for them because they do not know love.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Love Everyone. Just Do It. It’s Not That Hard.

I’ve been following the Britney Maynard story off and on via Facebook, and quite frankly, I’m appalled at some of the things people have said about her–people who claim to be Christians. I know it’s basically pointless, but I often feel like I have to come to the defense of people or causes or what have you on the internet. Do I believe that what she did was right? No, I don’t. If I was in her position would I have done the same? No. I don’t think so. Do I think she was brave? cowardly? I don’t know. I think in some sense she was very brave. She no longer had control over her life, so she was taking control in the only way she could. Furthermore, I think she handled it very well.

When people say really nasty things about her, they are making judgments about a literal life and death situation. She and her family do not deserve judgment–not from us. From us they deserve nothing but love and condolence. Whether it was suicide or not, and whether suicide is evil or not doesn’t matter now. What matters is that there is a family who has lost their daughter.

Something I’ve learned from this is that love has to be intentional. There is the love that happens naturally, which isn’t always as reliable, and then there is the love that we intentionally feel. In most cases, it is our emotions that initiate actions; however, if we are to make the world a better, more loving place, we have to act. We have to create love. Maybe it’s a little cliche–maybe a lot cliche, but a good question to ask in any situation is: what would Jesus do?

I read an article once, written by a professor (I think) in Ireland. He was riding home from a conference on the train one day, just thinking about stuff, when a man who was very clearly drunk got on the train, holding a bouquet of flowers. The man told the prof “these are for my mother.” He was very clearly upset. A few minutes later the man told the prof that he was going to pee out the door. Then the prof wrote, “In that moment I asked myself, ‘what would Jesus do?'” Then he got up and offered to hold the drunk man’s flowers for him.

It is actions like this that foster love. When we do and say kind things to one another, we are allowing ourselves to be more loving, and it can only get stronger as we continue to act this way. We can’t love some people and hate others. It just doesn’t work. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything when people do terrible things to each other. That’s not love; that’s laziness. We should always defend the innocent, even if it means causing a little trouble, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love those we disagree with.

It’s okay to hate actions, but generally people have a reason for doing terrible things. Maybe they had a terrible childhood. Maybe they are uneducated, scared and power-hungry. Maybe they’ve been corrupted by extremist religion. Those aren’t reasons to hate anyone. Those are reasons to pray for people, and yes, those are also reasons to fight.

It might feel forced at first, but if you make yourself love everyone, and I mean everyone, it will start to become genuine. So don’t be so quick to judge.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Monday Morning

Yesterday was a long day. Mondays are always long for me. I usually get up early, around 7:00, to finish the weekend homework I didn’t get to. Then I have class from 11:30 to 2:00, then I come home for about an hour and a half, at which point I have to go back to school for a class from 4:30 to 7:30. Then I come home and watch The Big Bang Theory and Scorpion with my dad.

Mondays are a bit stressful, but I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this in the middle of the week. It’s good to get it over with.

Yesterday was a pretty exceptional Monday, however. I got up and was eating my toast with humus, when I felt like I should probably read something from the Bible. I don’t read it as much as I probably should, but yesterday morning I wanted to. Sometimes, the honest reason I don’t is because I’m a little afraid of what I might find. There’s probably something very questionable about that.

Anyway, so I decided to jump to Psalm 64. I picked it because 64 is my favorite number, and here’s what I found:

1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
    protect my life from the threat of the enemy.

Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
    from the plots of evildoers.
They sharpen their tongues like swords
    and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
    they shoot suddenly, without fear.

They encourage each other in evil plans,
    they talk about hiding their snares;
    they say, “Who will see it?”
They plot injustice and say,
    “We have devised a perfect plan!”
    Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.

But God will shoot them with his arrows;
    they will suddenly be struck down.
He will turn their own tongues against them
    and bring them to ruin;
    all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
All people will fear;
    they will proclaim the works of God
    and ponder what he has done.

10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
    and take refuge in him;
    all the upright in heart will glory in him!

I’ve been praying about the Middle East, specifically the problems caused by ISIS. It’s a really dire situation and I really do feel for the innocent people over there. Yesterday morning it was like God said, “I’m listening. Everything will be okay. Just keep it up, and do not give up hope.” The psalm just seemed to reflect so strongly what’s been going on in the world, and what I’ve been feeling. I was in a good mood for the rest of the day yesterday.

This weekend I started writing a new song. I got the idea from the priest’s sermon on Saturday. He talked about how the joy of the Lord is different from superficial happiness. It’s a joy that we can feel even in the darkest, nastiest places. He used the example of Saint Paul who freaked his prison guard out by singing, and who later wrote the letter to the Ephesians, which our priest called “the epistle of joy.”

All I’ve got so far is the chorus, but it goes like this:

This is a song to sing in the dark
This is enough, a spark to start a fire
This is a prayer you answer with love
Because you are God, and you are with us.

I don’t know what to do for verses yet. I ran into this same problem when I was writing “Good In Things,” where I had the concept and the chorus for the song, but I didn’t actually know how to concretely “talk” about it.

Anyway, my point is that God answers prayers. He doesn’t always answer them in the way we expect him or want him to, but he does, and he is always good. There’s a lot of crap going on in the world right now: war, disease, sickness, struggles within families. It’s always been this way, and it probably will be this way for a while, but God is listening, and it’s not going to be like this forever. I have no idea what he’s doing most of the time, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing anything. It just means he’s a lot smarter and sneakier than us silly people.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

My Enemy (Final Version)

My Enemy
by Katie Rose Curtis

We’ve started dropping bombs on Syria.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others have joined us in the effort to destroy ISIS.
Civilians will die.
Countless civilians have already died.
We will train “moderate rebels” to be our ground forces.
This will take a year.

Israel drops bombs on Palestine.
Palestine fights back;
and that’s not all.
We have never seen the
beginning of war.
It’s all we’ve ever known.

Parasitic.

Cyclical.

We watch it on TV, and change the channel
because we don’t want to see.
But it’s still there, somewhere.

Countless little countries whose names we’ll never know;
who we’ll never bother with because they’re not a trade partner
or a threat,
fight each other;
fight against themselves.

And we pretend we’re sophisticated.
We pretend we’re above it.
We hold conventions
and make movies
and write stories,
But somewhere there’s a riot.
Somewhere there’s a protest gone wrong.

Somewhere a white man has killed a black boy.
Somewhere a mean man yells and beats his wife.
Somewhere a straight man breaks his brother’s heart.

And someone somewhere is alone.
In every high school it’s the same.
There are the ones who hate each other
and the ones who hate themselves.
“Kids are cruel,” they sometimes say
and write it off.
They won’t read between the lines.

Some kids grow up broken and perpetuate the problem,
but the ones who survive
learn to love or die inside.

History is the great master of bitter irony.
It’s hard to deny that the nicest men,
the one’s who want the world at peace:
John Lennon
Martin Luther King Jr.
Christ,
are the first to die.

Someone once asked Jesus,
who is my neighbor?
who is my brother?

And Jesus told him.
Our brothers are the ones fighting far away.
Our brothers are the ones we’ll probably never see
and never agree with.
Our brothers are the ones who, like us,
need love.

But we fight in the name of God.
We’d fight in the name
of all our cousins’ cats if it came down to it.

The Buddhists believe that one should never harm a living thing.
One should love the least of these.

Forgive the people.
Don’t forgive the deeds.
People are wrong.
People are human.
It’s all a matter of degrees.

But the rhetoric is wrong.
We say we have to
fight for peace.
We talk about what it will take to
destroy the enemy.
Destroy,
break down,
eradicate;
these are people we’re talking about,
and I have no enemy.

World Peace Is Unreasonable

You know what I’ve noticed lately? There are no positive or happy posts in Freshly Pressed. There is nothing positive in the nightly news. People are quick to find the negative in everything. People are afraid. People are depressed. People are worried. I see the U.S. turning into a nation of pessimists, and it’s not good. If people continue to focus only on what’s wrong with the world and with each other, then we’ll all become broken and isolated, and families, communities, and eventually the nation will fall apart.

I know I’m irrational at times. I believe in people, often to the point of absurdity, but I see so much potential and beauty in everyone. I’m not exaggerating. I know that everyone is special and loved by God. I can almost feel it. I believe that love is so powerful, and I think that people need to be more willing to love outwardly, and even obnoxiously. Yes, bad things happen, but we can always rebuild and change and be made stronger. We can let the world bring us down, or we can refuse to let that happen and bring the world up with us.

I once told a friend of mine that I have to love everything or I’ll go crazy. I used to believe in war, because I used to believe that revenge made things right. However, you can’t believe in war and love people. Maybe it’s unreasonable, but I refuse to define anyone or any group of people as my enemy. The strong should defend the weak when it’s necessary, but fighting over anything else is immoral. I felt that it was a personal offense when I found out that ISIS was killing Christians, and I do feel like that organization should be destroyed, but a part of me feels bad that we have to kill these people. They should not be hated, because they are haters, and it is hate that causes all the world’s problems. They are so wrong about God and the world, and they should be pitied because of this. Somehow they have become so corrupted and evil that they will collectively kill people for their own power and satisfaction. At least mentally, they have lost their humanity.

This may sound unreasonable and possibly offensive to some of you, and I apologize if it does. Hate is so much louder than love, but I believe that love is so much more powerful. I believe that if the world unites and gets loud enough, hate will die. However, we need to teach people to focus on the positive and to see the good in others. We need to write about happy things and be friendly and helpful to strangers. We need to stick together and show support for each other, and we need to teach the next generation to do the same. Technology is quickly making the world more and more connected, and I really do believe that world peace is possible if people will just make an effort to bring it about.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

My Enemy

Last night we started dropping bombs on Syria.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others have joined us in the effort to destroy ISIS.
Civilians will die.
Civilians are dying.
Countless civilians have already died.
We will train “moderate rebels” to be our ground forces.
This will take a year.
What will happen in that time?
Who else will die?

Israel drops bombs on Palestine.
Palestine fights back.
We were born into this.
We have never seen the beginning of war.
It’s all we’ve ever known.

We watch it on TV, and change the channel
because we don’t want to see.
But it’s still there, somewhere.

Countless little countries whose names we’ll never know;
who we’ll never bother with because they’re not a trade partner
or a threat,
fight each other;
fight tyranny;
fight against themselves.

Here in America it’s a constant game of checkers
with our present
and our past.

We pretend we’re sophisticated.
We pretend we’re above it.
We hold conventions
and make movies
and write stories,
But somewhere there’s a riot.
Somewhere there’s a protest gone wrong.

Somewhere a white man has killed a black boy.
Somewhere a mean man yells and beats his wife.
Somewhere a straight man breaks his brother’s heart.

And someone somewhere is alone.
In every high school it’s the same.
There are the ones who hate each other
and the ones who hate themselves.

There are those who feel alone
and those who are constantly told.
“Kids are cruel,” they sometimes say
and write it off.
They won’t read between the lines.

History is the great master of bitter irony.
It’s hard to deny that the nicest men,
the one’s who want the world at peace:
John Lennon
Martin Luther King Jr.
Christ,
are the first to die.

Someone once asked Jesus,
who is my neighbor?
who is my brother?

And Jesus told him.
Our brothers are the ones fighting far away.
Our brothers are the ones we’ll probably never see
and never agree with.
Our brothers are the ones who, like us,
need love.

But we fight in the name of God.
We fight about semantics.
We fight about technicalities.
It doesn’t make sense.

Forgive the people.
Don’t forgive the deeds.
People are wrong.
People are human.
It’s all a matter of degrees.

The Buddhists believe that one should never harm a living thing.
One should love the least of these.

But the rhetoric is wrong.
We say we have to fight for peace.
We talk about what it will take to destroy the enemy.
Destroy,
break down,
eradicate;
these are people we’re talking about,
and I have no enemy.

Open Letter To World Leaders

This is the letter I just wrote to President Obama, President Putin and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

 Dear President Obama, Ambassador Power and President Putin,

My name is Katie Curtis. I am a United States citizen, and more importantly, a concerned member of our human family. I have recently become aware of the situation in Ukraine and the hostilities between that country and Russia. Today, July 17, 2014, I saw in the news that a Russian missile was found in a downed passenger plane over Ukraine. By no means do I intend to cause trouble or point blame. Rather, I implore you all, as leaders of the world to take a look at our situation and see if you cannot come to a peaceful solution. Our world is so muddled with wars, hostilities and violence as it is, and I can stand no more. I was very young when the United States went to war with Iraq and Afghanistan, and I have grown up in a time of war, though I have seen almost none of the violence except for what is shown on television. Throughout my high school and college career I have studied the World Wars and the devastation they caused. I learned about the United States Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. I learned about the French Revolution, and the conquest of Napoleon. War is something that can be traced back to the beginning of time, and yet most of the time it seems so needless. I don’t have a concrete solution to any of the world’s current problems, and I have my own ideologies the same as anyone else. I know it is difficult to make peace with people you fundamentally disagree with about so many things. I wish I could speak for everyone; however, I am writing this letter as a Christian, and I am basing my requests on my beliefs. Jesus Christ, the person and God I follow, said that the two most important commandments from God were to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. He also said that we should go beyond loving our friends and love our enemies. I don’t know what this looks like on a large, global scale; however, I do know that it means going out of our way to create peace, even if it means putting the needs and desires of our enemies first. I think it is often pride and fear that do not allow us to do that. Having power is an enormous responsibility. It is the duty of those with power to care for the ones without. So often power is misinterpreted as the right to impose ideologies, false standards and our own prideful desires on others. If world leaders truly used their power properly, there would be no revolutions; if the rich used their power properly there would be no poverty; if the educated used their power properly, no one would be uneducated. This is what I truly believe. I know it is difficult to put aside centuries of developed ideologies and built up grudges on such a large scale, but it is your responsibility as world leaders and defenders of your people to come to a solution that upholds human dignity and preserves innocent lives.

Sincerely,

Katie Curtis

A Blast From The Past Of Mythological Proportions

Some of you may remember that when I started this blog I wrote a seven part mythology story. I haven’t written much in the fantasy genre since then, but I had an idea that I might either incorporate into the mythology somehow, or write as a standalone story. Anyway, here are the links to parts 1-7 of the mythology if anyone is interested. I’ll be posting the first instillation of my new story shortly.

Mythology Part 1
Mythology Part 2
Mythology Part 3
Mythology Part 4
Mythology Part 5
Mythology Part 6
Mythology Part 7

A Voice For Peace

Hey guys.

This is really important.

I’ve been watching the news lately and I’ve been praying because it seems like we’re super close to going to war with Syria. I really don’t think simply sending some missiles over there is a good idea, nor will it be the end of our interactions with that poor country. It will lead to war, undoubtedly. These kinds of attacks always do. I do not believe that war is a reasonable answer to our problems any longer. Our weapons have become too advanced and dangerous and going to war with Syria will only lead to conflicts with their allies; something we cannot afford.

This is a time when we must set aside our differences, our religious views and our political opinions and band together to fight for peace. We must sing, play and write our hearts out so that our voices may be heard. If this is truly the United States of America; a country governed by the people for the people, then we do have a say, and we can make a difference. No one is too small or quiet to make a difference. You can help simply by blogging or making flyers to hand out at your work or school. If you agree that we cannot send missiles over to Syria, please “like” and reblog this post.

Thanks,

Katie