Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ramblings wRitten from 2011

Found an old notebook dated 2011. Here's what was on my mind a few years ago:

One major truth about the Bible I learned in Bible college was that there was one interpretation of Scripture but many applications. For example....Levitcus was written to the Jews concerning the law they were to live since God was their King (theocracy). As a Christian in 2011, I can look at the laws the Jews followed and had to perform and praise Jesus that He came and removed the sacrificing of animals from becoming a major ritual in Christianity!


This truth of applying Scripture to my life eliminates many doctrinal errors. Such as...some religions look at the fact that Jacob had multiple wives and interpret the Bible to support this way of life. The Bible condemns this way of life in the New Testament (I Timothy 3:2) by admonishing men to be the husband of one wife. The culture of the Old Testament books is definitely different than American culture in the 21st century.


Pastor Keith Gomez often states that God's economy and God's laws never change, when culture changes and the world's economy changes- stand with the truths of God's Word.


God is the constant. Life has many variables.


John 9:1-3 "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made mannifest in him."

 

 

 

Why is a narrow mind prevalent among Christians?


Pride. If we as Christians can prove we can live rigidly perfectly we have somehow proven we are better than the rest of society, thus we can avoid the hard cases and questions that turn our world upside down because we have isolated ourselves in a mile thick protection bubble.


If we as Christians accept broader views our faith will be questioned and we will come to conclusions we don’t like and have to admit we are wrong in some areas. People, even Christians, don’t like people or things they can’t understand, but isn’t this what pure faith is all about?


Why the avoidance of people of color, mixed race, divorced, or handicapped? We as Christians claim the Bible has all the answers and God talks about these issues, but why don’t you or I know any of the scripture passages? Even if the answers are not obvious, we can still base our lives on Jesus Christ because He is the truth. We say we walk by faith but we really walk by rules we have created because our finite minds need a reason for our rhyme.


Sometimes “pressing toward the mark” (Phil. 3:14) means deviating from man’s script for a godly life. God’s will is different for everybody, it’s never contrary to His Word, but it isn’t the same pathway as the next Christian you know. His Word should be each Christian’s instruction manual for clean living, not a robots manual for sameness. The infallible Bible was written to mankind to apply the principles to their lives not to rewrite their own dictations for a group to act out. The Bible does have one interpretation but so many applications. God meant exactly what He wrote and He expects today’s Christians to use the Holy Spirit to apply His truths to their lives. We are living with the Holy Spirit as Christians, are we not? When was the last time you felt the leading of the Holy Spirit of God on your life? Truth never changes but the application of the truth looks different in every life because circumstances, time and people change. God’s will is not rote. God’s will is not only ministerial career choices. If a person is a Christian, their “career” is glorifying God and living like they say they live!









 

 

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Chronicles of Comforting the Heart of a Child in a Broken Home


(The following Scriptures and thoughts came from Rebekah Palmer’s journal dated May 25, 2007)


II Chronicles 12: 1,7,14 “And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.

And when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.

And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.”


God loves truth. The truth is that I am a sinner who is in need of a Savior. God will not forsake me unless I forsake Him. He will return to me if I humbly ask. God loves me.

 

II Chronicles 13:10, 11

“ But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the Lord, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business;

And they burn unto the Lord every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the Lord our God; but ye have forsaken him.”


II Chronicles 15:2 “…the Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”

II Chronicles 16:7, 8, 9, 12 “…Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God,

…yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

…yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.”

 

God does not show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose circumstances are perfect, but to those whose heart is perfect toward him.

 

II Chronicles 19:2 “And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.”

 

Who am I in alliance with? Who is my acquaintance? Do not hide or seek comfort in helping the ungodly or those who hate the Lord.

 

II Chronicles 20:9, 15, 17 “If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.

…for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”

 

If I stay close to God during troubled times, He will fight for me and I will have no need. This family battle is not my battle, but God’s battle.

 

II Chronicles 20: 35-37 “And after this did Jehosophat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly.

And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongaber.

Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehosophat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.

 

Do not make friends with the world to comfort myself from troubles!

 

II Chronicles 21:6, 12 “And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord.

And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehosophat thy father…”

 

II Chronicles 22:3, 4, 9 “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly.

Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab: for they were his counselors, after the death of his father to his destruction.

And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: because, said they, he is the son of Jehosophat, who sought the Lord with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.”

 

My life (how I walk, whether good or bad) is my responsibility, not my family’s. Stay away from the evil brought home and turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the influence.

 

II Chronicles 24: 16-18, 22, 25 “And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house.

Now after the death of Jehoaida came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.

And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.

Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The Lord look upon it, and require it.

And when they were departed from him[Joash], (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.”

 

My God and my Christianity or it will die with the ones who taught me just like Josiah let the faith die with Jehoiada.

 

II Chronicles 25: 2, 9, 14-15, 27-28 “And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.

And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this.

Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.

Wherefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast though sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?

Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the Lord they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there.

And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.

 

Stay with God though come what may— He will give me much more, if not now, in his timing.

I cannot seek solitude or freedom away from God. If I will feel loved and healed during and through this time, I must have God.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Conservative View of Marxism, Cultural Studies and Race Studies

Below is my final paper I wrote for a critical theory class in college this Spring 2013. I read different essays by Marxists, Cultural Studies, and Race Studies and wrote my take I what I felt was important about their writings. Number 1 is my Marxist review, number 2 is my cultural studies review and number 3 is my race studies review. 


1

“The relentless unity of the culture industry bears witness to the emergent politics. Sharp distinctions like those between A and B films, or between short stories published in magazines  in different price segments, do not so much reflect real differences as assist in the classification, organization, and identification of consumers.” –Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno (1944, 1947)

     As Americans living in 2013 we pride ourselves in post feminism and post racism, we claim to be holders of equity and justice, but have we really embraced human dignity no matter gender or skin color or practiced more fair and just treatment of mankind since the 1940s?The ever hypnotizing culture industry, also known as the entertainment industry, continues to lure society into complacency and passivity, dictating how American people are to live far into the 21st century. Horkheimer and Adorno, in their essay The Culture Industry: Enlightenment As the Mass Deception rightly express the hollowness behind the moral, righteous fa├žade of the current generation “Thus the omnipresent and impenetrable world of appearances is set up as the ideal”. (Horkheimer and Adorno 432)
     Behind the glitz and glamour, Americans are beastly consumers feasting off of every brand name, fashion style, lifestyle, and religion celebrity’s offer up on the silver screen. Alas, the endless line of product “variety” offers up a certain level of “sameness” that leaves the buyer with choices already defined for them.As Horkheimer and Adorno say, “The schematic nature of this procedure is evident in the fact that the mechanically differentiated products are all the same.” (Horkheimer and Adorno 418)  This consumption of culture, to have what everyone else has, shapes desire to consume more culture and refrain from criticizing culture in any large and meaningful way.       
     When have you not seen advertisements or athletes and movie stars telling you how to look, behave, think, and want while the economy provides only those clothes, styles, theories, and desires to keep the masses satisfied and hungry for things only entertainment can advertise? When no one stops to question what the industry and economy are controlled by or whom, the culture industry has manipulated and controlled a whole society and “the fight is waged against an enemy who has already been defeated, the thinking subject”. (Horkheimer and Adorno 433)
     From the 1940s to 2013, the area I feel most troubled by the culture industry is their success in romanticizing human suffering. People have been conditioned to feel only when there are props, laughter or sad melodramas, to cue them in on when it is appropriate to guffaw or sob. When I can walk out of a movie theater and hear how moving an actress has been and how terribly one now feels for such a person in her (the character’s) predicament but see that same person turn their nose up at helping people and community members in the same reality performance, I have to wonder if the only way American society expresses any humanity is through a Hollywood set or a Broadway soundtrack. The specific example I am referring to is Anne Hathaway’s recent performance as Fantine in Les Miserables. If you were not biting your tongue to keep from crying out and were not tasting blood during the protistution scene because the poignant song she sang could not have gone fast enough, do not express how great Anne Hathaway portrayed the role. Fantine is fictional. Women in prostitution are not and they live every day with what is done to them and their soul dies with every act committed against them. The difference between Hathaway and a real Fantine? They just don't have a song to sing through their life because all feeling has left them as a living corpse. I'm sure women with sexual assault or sexual trafficking in their lives aren't talking about how moving that scene was. Why would watching a man take advantage of a woman be a most memorable cinematic event? Because it was set to a great song and a Hollywood actress was portraying a prostitute? I'm not upset that you enjoyed the movie. I loved it. I'm not upset that Anne Hathaway did do a wonderful job as her character. I think she was casted well. I am upset because the people who gush over that scene have already forgotten it and are waiting for the next silver screen tragedy and have moved on to their lives of worrying about how much they were taken advantage of by Wal Mart for overpricing their favorite soft drink or whatever. Remember the Sandy Hook tragedy? The people involved there do; in fact, they had Christmas and New Years and now 2013 looms ahead of them in a very different way than last year. Real people experience what Fantine did every day, or are living with memories of experiences they want to forget. Every day is "I Dreamed a Dream" to them. Suffering is not ten minutes long, sometimes it is never gotten over. There is no Hollywood script for lifetime hardships because pain does not slot for two hours at a time.
2
“The girl’s sexuality is understood and experienced not in terms of a physical need or her own body, but in terms of the romantic attachment…her life has meaning through him.” – Angela McRobbie (1977, 1991)

     The British young girl’s magazine Jackie has a targeted audience of girls ages 10-14 and claims to cover all the topics such young people are most interested in reading and learning. McRobbie reveals what these topics are, “The consensual totality of feminine adolescence means that all girls want to know how to catch a boy, lose weight, look their best and be able to cook.” (McRobbie 525).
     In the case of these young boys that are so bent on being snared by a girl, McRobbie tells us “Boys in contemporary capitalist society are socialized to be interested in sex although this does not mean they do not want to find the “ideal” girl or wife.” (McRobbie 536) The magazine promotes a young boy’s desire for nothing more than a good wife and a young girl’s want for nothing more than a husband: who she has to constantly keep interested or another girl will take him away. If another girl does succeed in taking her boy away it is only because he can’t control himself and your best girlfriend is not to be trusted.
    This message that Jackie is sending to youth, fulfillment in a boy if you’re a girl and a girl if you’re a boy is something for society to pay attention to.  Impressionable young people, primarily females, are learning that their self-worth is based on a male’s response: a wayward boy is her fault and a more attractive girl just needs to be out manipulated. This trash teaches a girl crying is an option for getting your way and only the proposal, marriage and honeymoon are life events to look forward to. It is an outright lie that a boy will always fulfill a girl and vice versa.
     McRobbie points out an interesting fact about the magazine’s characters putting forth such poisonous venom, “They are all older and physically more mature than the intended reader. Each character conforms to a well-established and recognizable standard of beauty and handsomeness and they are all smart, fairly sophisticated young adults, rather than adolescents or teenagers.” (McRobbie 533).
     As a young adult looking back to the time I spent in my church youth group, a magazine like Jackie would have been strongly preached against. In fact, many glossy mass marketed magazines were labeled “bad” from those who spoke behind the pulpit. I recently have observed that during my time in youth group I was fed the same message of finding fulfillment in a boy,only in the name of God. Instead of talking about the tricks to dating, many youth outings would be focused on praying about a future husband or behaving in such a way that a godly young man would notice and marry you, putting you into the ministry of serving Jesus Christ.
     I went on to Bible college after high school and successfully completed the degree program to be a secondary Christian educator, perfectly capable of serving Jesus Christ. When I returned to visit my youth group I was stunned with the lack of congratulations among my Christian friends. Here I had spent five years and some of my health to finish school in hopes of becoming a Christian educator and I was seen as a complete failure to what matters most in a young adults life: I had no marriage and no boyfriend. I am thrilled that I finished higher education and am glad that I learned how to find my fulfillment in Christ alone, for humanity is so unpredictable.

3
“The choice of language and the use to which language is put is central to a people’s definition of themselves in relation to their natural and social environment, indeed in relation to the entire universe.” –Ngugi Wa Thiong’O (1986)

     Without language, we as human beings cannot relate to the world, we cannot have experiences. Ideas emerge within language; different ideas will form in different languages. Ngugi argues African literature needs to be written in African languages because language is an approximation of culture. One cannot talk about certain ideas in English that one could talk about in Gikuyu or Kiswahili.
      British/French/Dutch (colonialism) make sense of the world in one way, while African languages make sense in the world in another way. Perceiving Africans by dominant culture (English) is African American not African. Ngugi sees problems and limitations with writing African literature in European languages that are legacies of European colonization of Africa. He sees the individual colony British advancement and not the African country: the whole African experience has been ignored. “We African writers are bound by our calling to do for our languages what Spencer, Milton and Shakespeare did for English; what Pushkin and Tolstoy did for Russian; indeed what all writers in world history have done for their languages by meeting the challenge of creating a literature in them, which process later opens the languages for philosophy, science, technology and all the other areas of human creative endeavors.” (Thiong’O 664) To deny a culture literacy and a voice is to enslave and oppress the human souls of an entire people. We must allow humanity to express how they relate to this life they are living. We must learn from each other to make a moral community.
     Languages provide different experiences and if we lose different languages a little bit of the human experience will be lost. Ngugi puts it beautifully, “Those experiences are handed over to the next generation and become the inherited basis for their further actions on nature and on themselves. There is a gradual accumulation of values which in time become almost self-evident truths governing their conception of what is right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, courageous and cowardly, generous and mean in their internal and external relations. Over a time this becomes a way of life distinguishable from other ways of life. They develop a distinctive culture and history. All this is carried by language. Language as culture is the collective memory back of a people’s experience in history.” (Thiong’O 653)
     Communication, language, writing, and speaking are ways in which humans relate to one another. Think of the folktales heard as a child. Those were passed down in a language from a specific culture. We appreciate their experiences when we read or listen to their histories. Think of how painful it would be not being able to communicate with anyone because your language is not understood. You alone experience joys and sorrows and daily living and you cannot share what you have felt and learned with no other. Different languages must be heard and understood.
     I think it is sad that I am only able to speak one language. I live in American society which is monolinguistic. I am glad I go to a university where students are encouraged to study foreign languages. This helps me understand my community and my world better and it helps widen my influence and increase my learning.
  




 Bibliography

Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno. “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment As Mass Deception”. Ed. Robert Dale Parker New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.

McRobbie, Angela. “Jackie Magazine: Romantic Individualism and the Teenage Girl”. Ed. Robert Dale Parker New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.

Thiong’O, NuguiWa. “The Language of African Literature”. Ed. Robert Dale Parker New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.