What Now? … Who Knows?

I am blessed with the privilege of having grown up in a world where everything was conservative and Christian. The other view was entirely wrong. Lately, I have been secluding myself into a world of liberalism and frustration with religion. My old ways of thinking are entirely wrong. Today, in this post-election era, tensions are rising, the election was a scary and angry time of the worst attitudes rising to the surface everywhere. I cut off all the people I knew who thought differently. I wouldn’t hear them, and they wouldn’t hear me either. We were at a stalemate. Neither of us could believe that the other would accept a candidate with the information we knew. The issue though was that we were all getting different information. Some friends were following conspiracy theories, others things that were fact checked. I was following opinions of others, Late Night Comedy Shows that made me laugh as they laughed at Donald Trump and exposed some of the scary perspectives of his supporters.

I should’ve thought about it and realized that genuine people were sure to be in both camps. Trump should not be going up in the polls on the anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-media platform we were hearing about. He had to be talking some sense, something that kindhearted people could also believe in. When we retaliated in the “left”, calling Trump and his supporters racist, misogynistic, and hateful didn’t help anything. That just made them scared to come out and say anything, explain themselves. They were able to use their private vote to fight for changes they wanted to see in the world. Changes that are not by default anti-progressive. We have to realize that we all want to live in a world that helps us feel safe. We all want to see a government that works for us not against us, we make decisions based on that desire.

In fact, one of my favorite things I learned in ministry school was from my internship director. He said two things that really resounded with me. He told me “You are never wrong for feeling.” and, another time,”we know in part and we prophesy in part.” The latter being from the Bible. People on both sides of the election whether elated or dismayed think they made the right choice and are behaving in the way they believe in given the circumstances. Whether there is for instance, a governmental conspiracy to collude with the media to destroy Donald Trump’s reputation as some of my friends and family believe or the media was reacting to things they felt were genuinely problematic in the character of Donald Trump and his apparent supporters, absolutely none of us know everything. Even fact checking can be biased, it just depends on the sources. In this information age, where everything is written by anyone for everyone to see, we have no idea who is really writing anything.

I have a picture of myself for this blog, but you can’t absolutely know that I wrote this, even if you know me, unless you watched me write it at a computer in front of your face. I could be anybody. I could be commissioned by the government to spread more fervor for the media that they installed to force their agenda. I could be a Donald Trump supporter who is writing things about the problems with Donald Trump. Despite the fact that writing can come from the heart, people can go against their gut. You never know where people on the internet really stand.

With these retaliations, given the elected President, you cannot know that protesters voted against Trump or that terrorizers voted for him. It is a personal decision that generally nobody is around to watch you make. You can talk for the entire election about how amazing Hillary is, or Trump or Bernie or whoever and then get to the voting booth and mark someone completely different, nobody would know. People are calling those who are beating up others “Trump supporter.” I could wear his entire getup and vote for Hillary, attack people, telling them that Trump’s America is here. I might be doing such a thing for the greater good, thinking that causing racism might expose that racism is a problem with a Trump presidency, just like I thought, perhaps if I go around hurting people, people will see the obvious problem and impeach the man who supported this behavior with his rhetoric. It would be only a matter of time before racism started happening organically.

This happened in the Target bathroom situation where Target changed its policy to allow people to go into the bathroom based on their gender identity to avoid bullying. Some thought it might cause perverted men to think that they could dress up as a woman and enter the women’s restroom to molest children. Because they so believed this, some who were upset about this policy sent men into Target women’s restrooms dressed as women. They did not molest children, but they went to prove a point, a point that they felt strongly was an issue, even though they were the ones causing the problems.

If people believe there is a clear and present danger lurking, they might try to expedite the affect of that danger, rather than see it happen organically as they so strongly fear it will.

Bias surrounds us. Media is made up of people with ideas and thoughts and feelings. If the media were controlling us, those reacting to this election are not upset because they are lemmings, mindlessly following everything the mainstream media tells them to think. They are reacting to a very scary outcome based on the information they have been given. It is not possible to hold all truth. Again, we know in part, we prophesy in part. So I know nothing, but I see both sides, and I have hope for the future because I am trying to see what is going on in the minds of others who don’t think like I do, and it is not as horrifying as I thought.

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Analyzing theCult I Lived Part 3- Purity Culture

Before I went to ministry school, I was offered an opportunity to travel the country with a group called Silver Ring Thing. They were a group, much to my excitement, dedicated to protecting virginity and teaching teens to wait until marriage for most kinds of affection. It was common in this purity culture to feel that relationships in general were  dangerous for your heart, your sexuality and your faith.

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Taboo Subject #1 Gay Marriage should not be Taboo

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I love the idea of raising children with this perspective.

My deepest hope for this blog is that whoever reads it would feel refreshed rather than attacked by the perspective I’ve gleaned over the years. That being said, I want to talk about how God transformed my perspective on gay marriage and gay relationships through media.

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The Redemption of… Maleficent

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Since Maleficent is a relatively new movie, I will try to be as vague as possible so as to avoid spoilers. I have become irreversibly obsessed with the ABC television show Once Upon a Time which is known for providing its “villains” with back stories, bringing proof to the old adage “Evil isn’t born. It’s made.” I believe this is the forerunner for Hollywood’s current fascination with redefining true love and exploring villainy. Thus the retelling of Sleeping Beauty through the eyes of Maleficent, the self-proclaimed mistress of all evil, was a tough story to tell.

In Finding Pearls, I hope to find what most deeply offends and address that offense, so we can take the dirt and sand and turn it into a beautiful pearl. Some have posited that Maleficent humanizes the villain far too much, so that she is actually very separate from the Disney sorceress. Others have argued that seeking to discover what makes a villain a villain is essentially the same thing as agreeing with a villain’s choices and actions, and should be expressly avoided altogether. A lot of this latter attitude seems to come from the Christian community. I find this troubling.

Do we really think we are so strong and good for not choosing a villainous path? Life is made up of choices. Some good, some bad. I would argue that not a single human being, Christian or otherwise, has made all of one kind of choice their whole life through. That being said. Christianity, and the rules of general human decency is about seeking to understand and love our fellowman no matter where they are at.

I appreciated this movie, though it was difficult to reconcile it with the original Disney. The problem for compassionate people with the original Disney is that there are absolutely no redemptive qualities in the notoriously evil fairy who literally calls on all the “powers of hell” and seems motivated to incredible and despicable evils simply because she was not invited to the christening of Baby Aurora (with whom their appears no personal relation). Much as I love the Disney version, Disney’s most horrendous and terrifying character is literally holding onto a sixteen-year-long grudge over being snubbed for a royal baby’s christening. She is so irrational and disturbingly wicked, it is near impossible to find very much compassion for Disney’s original animated Maleficent.

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Not so with the 2014 live action retelling. We get to see Maleficent as a child, we see her kindness towards her fellow forest friends, we can see her fly and the freedom she gets in flight. We see her innocence. And then we see it taken, we see her harden. And we are able to understand why she would feel offended and wish to curse the Baby Aurora.

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Many people seem to believe that some people are born evil. This goes all the way back to Cain and Abel. And it is probably my biggest pet peeve. I’ve seen it also so often in cinema. This is especially notable in the heralded classic Gone with the Wind in the characters of Scarlet O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Supposedly they’re bad, and that’s all they’ll ever be. That infuriated me! I really don’t believe this. What makes life so wonderful is that we all have our story. Much as it seems Hitler was always the cold and calculating, racist general whose infamous secret deeds made the world step back in awed disgust and horror to remember the great scope of man’s evil; there was a time that Adolph Hitler was an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager, and even, a Catholic. We don’t always get the opportunity to see the world through another’s eyes. I believe, Hollywood has made that possible.

I think the most overwhelmingly difficult villain for today’s Disney to redeem has to be Maleficent. But I was impressed by this movie. It had incredible effects, almost Narnian or Tolkienesque. A surprising story, it managed not to scrap, in its entirety, the original Disney version, or the Grimm tale.

Watching movies like Maleficent, helps me to see what motivates others. How they are feeling, what they are thinking, and I see their hopes, wishes, hurts and dreams. I am able to see the whole person. Not just the few isolated moments in history of their seemingly irredeemable evil. As Christians, or even, a simply hopeful race of people, we get to believe in redemption, no questions asked, no one can ever be out of reach.

Image Credit:

Original Animated Comparison picture~ http://www.thereelbits.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/maleficent001.jpg

Live Action Maleficent Comparison picture~ http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/05/08/article-2623624-1DADA5C600000578-704_634x501.jpg

Animated Aurora and Maleficent~ http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/6400000/Maleficent-and-Aurora-sleeping-beauty-6461922-500-375.jpg

Live Action Aurora and Maleficent~ http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/disney/images/d/d9/Maleficent_(2).png/revision/latest?cb=20150329222510