If you wanted to see a Christian movie, you should have seen Is Genesis History?. This movie is wrong on so many levels according to numerous reviews by prominent Christian leaders. While I did not watch the movie, I read extensive reviews about the underlying themes and principles that were presented. With grief, I concluded that this was a gross misrepresentation of the Bible and who God is.
The biggest problem with this movie is the notion that there is no hell and that everyone can get to heaven. Somehow the author believes that the love of God cannot permit people to suffer eternal damnation in hell: essentially that love supersedes justice. This of course completely false and while I do not believe that people who went to see this movie walked out believing that this is the way God works, it is a shame that this was even…
Our attention is a very fragile thing. Some people even struggle to command their focus. What does God want us to focus on? We are constantly taking in information, rethinking past events, and planning for the future. A lot of those things go in one ear and out the other. Think about in terms of what tense of time you should focus the majority of your attention on. Contemplating the past can yield guilt, the present moment can be overwhelming, and the future can make you worry. Let’s look at what God has to say about this.
I just mentioned some of the ways that our focus can make life seem like a burden we cannot carry. The most important tense of time to focus on is the present moment! If you spend your whole life worrying about the future and regretting the past, you will be fruitless and never…
I was given invaluable advice by Dr. St. Clair while working for my degree in Religious History at UNC Charlotte: “Do not view myth as right or wrong, but in how it shapes a person or group’s worldview. If you take this approach you will be able to listen to someone’s beliefs, appreciate and develop a better understanding of them.”
I have practiced this faithfully throughout my life which is why I have a diverse group of friends. I have worked to be accepting of straight, gay, black, white, Asian, Muslim, Atheist, Christian, intelligent, ignorant, drunk, sober, users, Republican, Democrat, etc. This approach has put me at the edge of many arguments, watching friends do conversational battle over one topic or another, trying to convince the other to convert their belief system or pointing out how each are wrong. Eventually someone gets their feelings hurt or gets offended.
I get caught up arguing sometimes, but then pause and ask myself if I am debating or learning; arguing or listening. There is a difference. I am not easily offended because I try to refrain from getting defensive and I don’t take myself too seriously. I think those who are easily offended need to laugh more.
Do you take time to consider how others view the world? Or, do you dig in to defend your point of view come hell or high water? I’m not saying one way is better than the other, but I sure learn more when I consider the validity of the counter-point.
(please be mindful of leaving comments with the original blogger. I only hit a button, they did all the work!)
I have been thinking about something I wrote a week or so ago about an exercise a college professor had us do to gain perspective on a topic: argue the opposite of your belief. So I thought I would write an article on why it is not necessary to do anything that relates to self-improvement or personal development. I am also not going to edit this, it will be honest and freely associated. I have no clue how this is going to turn out, but here goes anyway:
Too many people think it is necessary to continue to work on themselves. Why can’t we just appreciate where we are, who we are and what we are in the moment. So many people are focused on the future that they completely miss the present. What if, while planning this super awesome future, you died and missed out on life right here, right now? I am reminded of the John Lennon line “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Plus, shouldn’t we accept ourselves for who we are. If I’m a little overweight and that’s the way I want to be, then so be it. If I don’t make a lot of money, but I am content, then so be it. If I don’t like or have no desire to exercise then so be it. Life isn’t always about me trying to be a greater version of myself. What if I like me for exactly who I am, exactly the way I am?
Companies are constantly attacking our self-confidence with advertising, inferring that we are not good enough, smart enough, happy enough, pretty enough until we buy their product. Then we will be happy. Then we will be pretty. Then we will have tons of friends and be popular.
Then you have websites encouraging us to “Do These 5 Things in Order to Achieve Happiness.” If I spent my time online reading all the advice on how to make me happy I would’ve missed out on my trip to the balloon festival. Now that is living life. I saw friends I haven’t seen in over a year, breathed in some incredible fall air and got to see hundreds of balloons in the air!
But back to the “me being me” talk. Why is it necessary for me to change? Why should I have to make more money? Why do I need to listen to anyone that says I am not okay just the way I am? Isn’t life going to happen regardless? And I will change in time so why put so much effort into it?
Why do I have to have this elaborate plan? Why do people keep telling me I have to have goals? I don’t have to do anything. What if I just want to work my job, hang out with my friends and be okay with that?
I have zero desire to conquer the world. All I want to do is enjoy my little bit of peace and quiet on this little rock as it spins around the universe. If people around me would just accept me for who I am it would make my life a whole lot less dramatic AND a whole lot easier.
I am okay with my spot in life. I like my friends. I like my job. I like where I live. So why can’t everyone else be okay with it also?
How would you counter this viewpoint if this was debate class?
Don’t tell me that you love your spouse so much that you’ll never divorce her or him!
I am not talking about dissolving marriage.
I am talking about your readiness to listen, to think, be flexible, to part with your opinions if it makes sense.
courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Several weeks ago a couple of friends visited us in Pocono Manor. We had a very nice time together and we discussed different topics. They mentioned that their grandson (who is a college graduate) had opinions about everything and became angry and rude if somebody had expressed a different opinion.
It did not surprise us. We hear very often that students and professors are against discussions in universities, that they simply vote against allowing people with different opinions to speak on campuses.
I remember with great love wonderful teachers who gave us…
“What would you do if your daughter got pregnant as a teenager?” This was the question I got in some religio-political debate that I probably should have strayed away from. Debates over strongly held beliefs are usually arguments at best and no one is really looking for honest debate, only an edge to prove they have the best opinion. But the question is very similar to a lot of questions I get as a father of four girls. The intent is for me to consider what I want for my children but something is off. I struggle to wrap my mind around what really bugs me about those types of questions but I think it is this:
A quote from Jim Carey that I am sure he borrowed from somewhere else, “Everything we do is motivated by one of two things; fear or love. We run because we are afraid…
I had a thought this afternoon that makes understanding and defining what is moral and immoral even more difficult: within society that which is considered moral and immoral is ever-evolving. One thing considered immoral today may not be considered immoral in 10 years. For instance, it was not long ago that it was considered immoral to have sex outside of the confines of marriage. Now that isn’t even a discussion. There was a time in America’s past when a white person spending time with someone of color was considered immoral.
I am trying to process the morality dilemma but I must admit it is throwing me for a loop. Surely there is a definitive moral code to which humanity can refer? I need a Hammurabi’s Code!! Am I going to be left with “it’s ultimately the individual’s judgment?”
I am not sure that I am comfortable with leaving moral judgment in the hands of the individual as it would appear to leave the door wide open to abuse.