Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Really Want To Know

This is a question for my male readers. First, I'll explain myself. I was only asked out by one guy (major, effing jerk -- and I said "no") ever. I was 19 at that time. No other guy asked me on a date. Craig and I ended up dating because I asked him out. So, here I am. I am cute, funny, pretty and extremely intellectual. I was homeschooled, but I knew a lot of guys my own age when I was 16-20 (started dating Craig at 20). I was reserved, but not shy (I'm shy now). Am I intimidating or something? If you met a girl who wasn't clingy or desperate or annoying is there another reason you might not ask her out? What is it? This is a hypothetical question so think from the hypothetical standpoint that you are single if you are not when you answer it.

No, I'm not traumatized or anything. I'm a happily married woman. I am intensely curious, however. So answer the question already.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Incidents At Random

Craig and I made some new friends this past week on Sunday. This other couple at church invited several families over for a cookout including us. We had never met them before because our church has two different services. We attend the early service, our new friends attend the late service. So, we went to rsvp for the get together they were hosting. Since we had never met we decided to introduce ourselves. The husband is G., the wife is J. After introducing ourselves G. noticed Craig's rather conspicuous guitar coffin case. "Is that a guitar?" he asked. Craig replied in the affirmative and then I said, "No, it's actually stolen money and drugs." With a straight face. Okay, win one for first impressions. Fortunately, my new audience laughed. Yeah, I won't be saving that line for a job interview.

Sven called this morning. Yes, I was confused too. He told me he was from the Netherlands and he wondered if I could help him. He was trying to reach [insert random gas company whose old phone number now happens to be our home number]. I explained that we were a residence, but I did have the current number to [insert random gas company whose old phone number now happens to be our home number]. So I gave him the number. He told me that [insert random gas company whose old phone number happens to be our home number] should be paying me a fee for fielding calls. I totally agree.

No further news to report. Things are fine here, just fine.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On One Condition

The worst thing a person can do to another is offer conditional love. I submit that it is the cause of much sorrow and darkness. Perhaps the greatest cause. I would rather be hated than be the recipient of conditional love. To say that affection will only come if the object of affection does what the giver wants is a sentence of living death. You think I am being too extreme? Well, let's partake of an example then.

My favorite tv show is Smallville (I'm sure you all knew that). The relationship on Smallville that most interests me is the one between Lex Luthor and his father Lionel Luthor. It portrays the results of conditional love. I know, this is fictional, but stories can often illustrate to us what we find confusing in real life. When we first meet Lex he is the subject of his father's will. Lex is strong willed and emotional. He desires to be a good person and the audience cannot help but like him. Lionel is ruthless in his treatment of Lex. He places Lex in charge of a Luthor Corp plant and demands Lex achieve perfection in all his business dealings. Lex tries passive aggressive strategies to bypass his father's inflexible standards. Somehow Lionel is always one step ahead of Lex. It's like a horrible game between father and son. Nothing Lex does is good enough for Lionel. Lionel pits Lex against himself just to teach Lex how to be strong. We get a few flashback moments between Lex and Lionel. What we learn is that Lionel has always told Lex that he is weak and pathetic. That's how he tries to be a good father to Lex. Even when Lex does the right thing Lionel can find some mistake in it. Lionel himself is committing the greatest mistake a father can commit: conditional love. It is a mistake that teaches Lex he must be a perfect son or forever live ashamed and angry. Later in the series Lionel turns his life around and tries to reach out to his son. He is eventually able to offer the unconditional love that Lex never knew. But then it is too late. Lex is a bitter young man who refuses to believe his father could love him. Lex has taken conditional love to the next level. He distrusts everyone around him. He drives away even his closest friends because he constantly manipulates them in order to keep their friendships. And they tire of it. He is a lonely, sad, dark, obsessive, manipulative person.

So I repeat, the worst thing you can do to another human being is offer love based on their performance of your standards or wishes.

At the same time unconditional love can be taken to an extreme or used in an unhealthy manner. It's kind of like the battered wife principle: don't allow the abuser back into your life without proof of full repentance because that's unhealthy. Don't allow someone to take advantage of you just because you love them. Limits must exist in order for unconditional love to work. Those limits, however, should never be more important than the love we have for those around us. First offer the love, then the limits. If you go the other way round the person will probably never realize you care.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do Not Want!!!11!!!

Warning: This post contains a major Smallville spoiler. If you are not watching Season 7 and you intend to get it on dvd you and watch it later than you may not want to continue reading. Remember, you were warned.

**Spoiler Space**

It was one of the best Smallville episodes I have ever seen. It was on par with Justice from Season 6 where several JLA characters team up to take on Lex Luthor. It was on par with the episode in Season 5 where Clark lives a day twice and Jonathan Kent passes away. It was better than the Season 6 finale where we are duped into thinking that Lana Lang has died (that would have been the best episode ever if only it had been true -- take the emo Lana, take it and go). It was even better than the Lexana wedding -- which was mainly good for reasons of writing and execution than storyline. The opener was the most stunning and intriguing opener I have seen on any Smallville yet. Lionel Luther died before the theme song. I cannot believe it. My favorite character is gone. I think he might be my all time favorite tv show character. John Glover's portrayal of him was so poignant, so ruthless, so amazing. Everything Lionel did was in character. Thus, it was in character for him to die the way he died: at the hands of Lex Luthor. Lionel never would have expected Lex to go that far. Not even when he hated Lex in the earlier seasons. I was stunned. I am stunned. I actually cried. Yeah, I'll get over it. But I don't know how I can keep watching without Lionel. They took the best part of the show.

Then again, Clark stepped up to the plate like the hero he is meant to be. That was encouraging. And Lex has become superbly evil. This could make the show worth watching. Having so many main characters has got to be tough on the writers. The elimination of Lionel Luthor may help them focus on Clark becoming a superhero and Lex becoming the biggest baddie ever. Who knows? This could be good. *sniff* But that doesn't mean I have to happy right now. . .

Ah, Logic # 15

I link to this article concerning the autism/vaccine erroneous link because I think the dissemination of accurate information on the internet is important. Also, because it is a very logical article. One of the best I have seen on this subject. I especially enjoyed the bit about getting information on the internet. People, there's a lot of crap out there. Try to use common sense.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


In which Star Trek: The Next Generation episode did Data ask Captain Piccard to deactivate him? No, this is not a trivia question. I can't find the episode and it's making me bonkers that I can't remember which one that was. If you know, please tell me.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"I Have A Bad Feeling About This"

Emotions are an interesting concept. I say this partly because I have sequestered most of my emotions. I tend to be extremely logical. To a fault in fact. Mr. Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series and I would get along very well. We both make the same mistake, we fail to evaluate the emotional level of those around us. The question then becomes, how did I get this way? Did I, like Spock, choose to emulate the behavior required of me? Did I ignore my emotions because I was taught that they are unacceptable and perhaps even evil? A Vulcan does not have emotions. A Christian should control her emotions.

It all sounds eerily the same does it not? We are societally afraid of our emotions. Especially in the Christian evangelical setting. The strange thing is, there are many in evangelical churches who rely solely on their emotions to understand God. You know all those slogans about how Jesus is "my best friend" and we have "to be on fire for God." (By the way, if you're on fire you should stop, drop to the floor and roll around to put the fire out, only then should you continue reading this blog post.) I am not writing this to condemn or vilify Christian evangelicals. I think there are many good things that they do. Outreach is definitely one of their strengths and I applaud them for it. On the other hand, I am pointing out a logical anomaly in their doctrine.

Many evangelical churches despise the notions of doctrine and theology. Yet these are important things. Wars have been fought over different interpretations of biblical passages. You cannot convince me that doctrine and theology should be ignored in favor of experiences. I am not saying we should wage war over it now, heck, we have freedom of religion so we can discuss it freely. I encourage a positive response to the questions of what different doctrines mean. I am merely pointing out that doctrine is important (not all important, no, not more important than God). I do not think it is possible for humans to know everything about God. There are things we have to accept. At the same time, the wishy-washy drivel you sometimes learn in church is not helpful.

It is not so much the positive aspect of that drivel that I want to discuss. It is more the negative aspect. The continual need to tell the youth that their feelings are invalid or they should be ashamed of them. The fact is, obsession is a problem. Feelings are not. They are feelings, neither wrong nor right, but simply there. It is healthy to accept them for what they are and discuss them without hurting anyone. It is also helpful for parents to teach children how to express their feelings appropriately as they grow older. What would you rather have: A child who throws her ice cream cone on the ground because she wanted a piece of gum instead of ice cream (I can't justify her decision, no)? Or a child who says, "I really wanted gum not ice cream"? Okay, duh. The second alternative. Well, telling the child that she is spoiled and cannot have everything she wants is going to get you the former. Telling the child that you love her, you understand why she wants gum, but today we are having ice cream might still get you a tantrum. But it won't get you a child who goes through the rest of her life believing her needs are invalid and she should be ashamed of them.

There is nothing wrong with feelings. Even feelings that are rebellious toward a parent or authority figure. The fact is, children need to know they are individuals. They will never learn to live with their independence if they are not allowed to disagree. Pulling away from an angry child or withdrawing as if hurt when a child disagrees is damaging. In a rather evangelical sounding statement, I submit that God would not do that to his children. Even if he could not agree with us, he would not walk away to a distance or make us believe that we are always guilty of something (even just having a feeling). Why is it that evangelicals treat the youth this way? Not just in their own homes even, but everywhere? There could be many valid reasons. In fact, I am open to hearing them if you wish to join in the conversation. I am expressing my opinion and my hope that things will change for the better. That is all.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

People Are Gullible

This post is meant to precede a series of my thoughts on religion in the U.S. today. I would draw your attention to this article found on the NeuroLogica Blog. It's an interesting description of how psychics ply their trade (i.e. dupe people so they can make money).

After reading the article linked above I felt creeped out. This is not because I ever believed in psychics. Personally, I think it's all hogwash. This is because I have known preachers of Christianity who have employed the same methods to get money from people and have called it the gift of prophecy. I do believe that God can speak to us today. I am not denying his power. But I also think that most people who claim to be prophetic and then utter vague incantations that could be applicable to anyone are frauds. Most of what they say is geared to get a bigger offering. Or they might actually believe they are prophetic. That is possible. Let me try an example to help you understand. If you tell a Christian that she "reads the Word a lot" and "should remain strong in the Word to accomplish her destiny" then you are certainly not saying anything new or unheard of. Chances are if the person identifies herself as a Christian then she does read her Bible a lot. The whole thing about "destiny" is vague and inscrutable. It does not mean anything. For the record someone who claimed to be a prophet actually gave me the above "prophecy." Personally, it did more harm then good. I went around wondering what the heck that meant and where that left me for a couple years after that. I could have actually been doing something useful. But no, some weirdo said something that didn't make sense and my upbringing had taught me not to ignore such people.

Now, however, I am a different person. Aside from the fact that in Revelations it suggests that prophecy has ended, it's illogical to pay attention to every bit of reasoning that comes from the mouth of someone who claims to have a prophetic gift. Many Christians act like someone is an "unbeliever" if she questions the words spoken by a "prophet." I would say no. Paul did tell us to test the spirits. I consider it a matter of common sense. Why believe everything someone says? Especially when there is no way to prove them wrong. People who claim to be prophetic are often believed -- for a while at least -- by evangelical protestants. I have seen this time and again. Someone claims to have this "gift," stands up and makes a prophecy. The time for the prophecy runs out and nothing happened. Unless, of course, you search the news and stuff. You can always find something that will coincide with the prophecy and could be what the person meant. Yeah, I call bullsh**. If there are multiple events that could be interpreted as the prophecy, but nothing definitive than it's obviously not sensible to go on listening to every word that person says. Furthermore, I have known several people who actually make stuff up to reinforce others opinion of them. They lie. It's a sad commentary on today's religious culture in the U.S.

My favorite of the methods some so-called prophets use to gain credibility is the argument against those infernal "unbelievers." The person will hold their religious meeting -- seance-- and then they will see someone walk out of the meeting less than halfway through. The person will then come up with multiple stories concerning people who "don't believe" and who have "already gone home to gossip about this meeting." Essentially, the "prophet" wants the followers to realize that they are special for believing in his meeting. Frankly, it's creepy. People who have to put others down in order to reinforce their own reputations are up to no good.

On the other side of things I have known people who are overly critical of other Christians beliefs. Again, sad commentary on today's religious culture. But perhaps not completely. The fact is, we have the freedom to believe what we want to believe in this country. That is a huge plus. So long as we have that freedom I cannot dismiss everyone I disagree with. Religious freedom is one of our most important rights. So go on, believe what you believe. I would never make a law against your gullibility.