What Does the World Have in Store For Me?

Image

I suppose the basic answer to that question is nothing. However, I’m sure God has some things planned for me, and it’ll sure be interesting to find out just what those things are. Maybe not what I think.

I have mixed feelings about what my parents have always wanted for my life- to go to UCLA law school and be successful and classy from there. Pictured above is the beautiful smog-filled LA skyline from a congested freeway.

Currently, I am an economics major, and am about to declare an accounting minor (actually, of late I’ve been reconsidering it). The only thing is… I don’t know if I like accounting. It seems a little boring. At this point, economics seems a little more interesting to me, more fluid and relevant to the world around me. So I’m not sure exactly what I want to do. Sometimes I wish God would just whisper it in my ear. But this would be a little scary, and also, I wonder if I would listen to Him if He did tell me. Maybe He doesn’t care all that much as long as I give Him the glory in all things. But come on, it must matter a little? Surely he doesn’t want me to be an engineer, because I’m not good at math. I would imagine that He would want me to do something that suits me… but what does suit me? And don’t say being a writer, because I will always be a writer, and there are reasons that I don’t want to do that full time.

Well, on a slightly unrelated note, I just sent out an email to inquire about the position of staff writer on a university newsletter. We’ll see where all this takes me, and I suppose I must have faith that I’ll be taken to the right place. It’s time to get out of the driver’s seat.

 

Advertisements

The Same Old Religious Debate

1world

I must be honest, lately I’ve been a little troubled by the age-old question of “why so many religions?” This never puzzled me much before, but recently, it has been a nag. So this morning, I did some research on Islam, because I feel like I should know a little bit so I can at least have an intelligent conversation if the topic ever comes up. Why Islam? Well, Islam has similar roots as Judaism, and consequently, Christianity, and I thought that some people on the internet would have a lot to say in defense of it. I was right, and much to my dismay, it wasn’t all of the usual, emotional stuff. I read an article about how supposedly there were scientific things in the Quran about biology that couldn’t have been known at the time through humans (El-Najjar 3). Similar claims are made about the Bible too.

But the more I researched, the more I realized the flaws in this religion. Of course, people also point out flaws in Christianity, but those are of a different nature, and as a believer, obviously I am rightly biased towards the validity of the Good Book. It turns out that many of the ancient mosques, instead of facing towards Mecca, are actually pointed closer to the direction of Jerusalem (The Quran’s Archeological Evidence). If you are interested, you can read more about it in this article. Of course, that isn’t conclusive proof that Islam is whack, since there is no conclusive proof, it just kind of steered me in a personal way back towards my own faith, towards Jerusalem.

Another interesting thing that maybe you didn’t know is that Muslims also believe that Jesus walked the earth, but they claim that he was a prophet who was not the resurrected son of God (Godlas 1). Now this gets interesting. Why would Muslims claim that Jesus existed, just not in the same way that Christians believe? Why these commonalities? Wouldn’t it be easier for them to just deny Jesus altogether? If there is agreement between the Judeo-Christian camp and Muslim one on something, where strife has existed for centuries, then couldn’t you conclude that there’s something there, that one of them is right and the other, wrong? And which one has really stood the test of time? Now you decide that. I know I’ve decided.

I think there’s a rather reasonable explanation for the supposed scientific evidence in the Qu’ran, even if it isn’t just a coincidence. God has definitely had relationships before with people who later disobeyed Him. Solomon, Samson, just to name a couple that I am familiar with. Isn’t it possible that part of the Qu’ran was divinely inspired, possibly through some kind of prophet who later went rogue? Or perhaps some kind of mix-up? Look, don’t get mad, it’s just a theory.

The purpose of this post was is not to put down Muslims and accuse them of things right off the bat. I don’t have too many logical reasons for what I believe either because I’m not some kind of Biblical scholar. However, I would encourage anyone to think about why they believe what they believe. Don’t overthink it, because overthinking leads to dark places. Think about it, because you’re bound to think about it eventually, and if you didn’t think about it calmly, you’ll think about it in emotional state where it would be better if you didn’t think about it so much. Know why you believe what you believe, but don’t go looking for conclusive proof, you won’t find that. However, one thing that many people come to conclude is that the universe could not have been created by accident. Along with it being unlikely, it’s depressing to think of things like that. So then, who did create it? I would imagine that whoever did would want to communicate with his creation, either directly or, I don’t know… through a book maybe? Just thinking out loud here. Prophets? Yes, that makes sense. So which one is it, now that I’ve gotten this far? Is it Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism (which I still need to research), Judaism, or Christianity? If you choose Christianity, well then, you have to choose it on a much deeper level than that, but it’s a start. It’s a start of a relationship based on redemption, a relationship with the one True God. So it’s not just a religion, and if it is just a religion, then you’re probably approaching it the wrong way.

 

Works Cited

El-Najjar, Hassan Ali. “The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Quran is His Message to Humanity.” Aljazeerah, 2007. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

Godlas, Alan. “Jesus: A Summary of the Points About Which Islam and Christianity Agree and Disagree.” Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

“The Quran’s Archeological Evidence.” Debate.org.Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

 

Image: religioustolerance.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moral Predicament (And you can decide!)

th

 

The life of a Christian is wrought with all kinds of moral predicaments, as it should be, I suppose. Do I talk to this homeless guy? Get a divorce? Confront the annoying person? Take this job? Marry him/her? Forge that signature? Tell the lie or spare the embarrassment? Well, I don’t need to tell you about all the kinds of decisions that a person will face, I’m sure we all have enough examples of our own.

My latest moral predicament has been centered around a short play that I am writing as an assignment for my playwriting class. I went in thinking that, somehow, I was going to glorify God through this play, find a way to “witness” if you will. It wouldn’t be easy, but I was going to do it. Not in the most obvious way, of course, because that probably wouldn’t work for my assignment. So I thought, “maybe I’ll do some kind of allegory.” Take a page from CS Lewis, yeah, won’t that be clever.

Now, instead of that great idea that I was going to mysteriously bring into fruition, now I have just kind of an ordinary play, but with some creative twists, the kind of trash us writers live for. I have four college kids in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland. All of them are Christian, but they’re not exactly exemplary people. One is a girl named Lizzie who is a new friend of a bubbly creature named Jeanine. Then there is a couple, Natalie and Jay. Throughout this interaction, Lizzie feels excluded and wonders why she was invited in the first place. But Natalie and Jay, the perfect couple, suddenly engage in a nasty fight, and Lizzie, too, explodes. The themes in this play are mainly hypocrisy, human nature, and social position. Oh, and by the way, the word ‘bastard’ is included in this play. I tried to avoid all other language and borderline language. How do we feel about that?

Even though everyone is a jerk, Jeanine, at least, realizes her imperfection, and the voice of reason, or God, if I may be so bold, has the last word. In a subtle kind of way, of course, because us writers are continually trying to be subtle and at the same time, powerful with our words.

Well, I’m not so sure about this whole thing. Is this the way that God wants me to bring him glory, or should I just shout the message from the rooftops instead, as they would say? Mind you, Jesus spoke in parables to deliberately confuse those who were not willing to understand, but well, he was Jesus. And He always spoke most directly about the kingdom of God. So I don’t know if that applies to me at all.

Well, no one said that life wouldn’t be difficult and filled with conflicts of interest. If anyone has any suggestions for this play and/or my soul, they are welcome. I have already made some changes that I think are favorable for my purposes, but I still wonder if I should just scrap it.

 

Media: notoriousspinks.com

What It All Comes Down to

I have decided to start listening to podcasts from Lighthouse Bible Church, and last night I listened for the first time. It was very dense and thorough, covering many topics while still sticking to a theme. I would highly recommend it, unlike some of the movies I’ve seen lately. Here is the link
http://lighthousebc.com/sermons/

When I saw the topic, which was Hannah, I was kind of excited, because I explicitly remembered reading about her. I remembered how she asked God for a child while she was barren (who would be the prophet Samuel). And I remembered how sweet and humble she had been, referring to herself as a “handmaiden.” Man, that killed me. I’m trying to imagine an American woman doing that. It’s pretty hard. (Don’t worry, I am an American female, so I think I am qualified to make stereotyping jokes like that every once in a while 😉 ).

That was most of what I remembered. I didn’t remember her prayer really, but that was the part that the pastor focused on in the podcast. Pastor Patrick emphasized that what’s really special about the passage is that she doesn’t make much reference to her particular circumstances. What’s special is that Hannah gives God his due praise. Because He is the same in all circumstances, He is still the rock and the fortress. (By the way, he explains that rock actually refers more to a cliff face. Doesn’t that make so much more sense?)

It’s ironic because what I remembered was the story of Hannah and the particular circumstances. That is not to say that the circumstances are unimportant. No, God reveals himself through circumstances. That is why the stories of the Israelites are recorded. But the stories are not ends of themselves, they are for the purpose of glorifying God.

So I guess it would have done me some good to remember the poetic language and the pathos as well as the actual story.

But I am reminded of the point of writing, the point of music, the point of everything. I am reminded that in my own writing, I am supposed to be glorifying God too. Does that mean I have to do it very explicitly? Should I be in the business of hymns or something? I don’t know. Should I try not to concern myself with great matters?

Again, I don’t know, I am afraid of saying the wrong thing. But the real takeaway is that God needs to overpower my writing, and God needs to be the reason for it. It can’t just be a theme or a motif or a “pop.” It’s got to be the whole deal. So far, that’s not happening. Am I taking too long to work up to it? Who really cares about those literary techniques, those insights on modern life, those in it of themselves are nothing! Lord help me to just write, write well and write for You. That is the prayer of undergroundvoices.

Image

Free the Whales!

th

I have never been an animal rights activist, PETA gal, or whale whacko. I believe that the problems that humans face should be addressed before those of animals. No offense to the animals or activists who have genuine concern.

Last night, I tuned into the last half of the documentary “Blackfish.” I can’t say that I went in biased towards the whales. Last summer, I visited SeaWorld for the third time (the second that I actually remember). I enjoyed seeing the dolphins, the sealions, turtles and yes, Shamu in all his corny amusement park splendor. I also enjoyed going on Journey to Atlantis and riding this really dorky kiddie ride with my father. I think we got some looks.

But I don’t think I’ll be going back to SeaWorld. It is tainted for me now, along with many of my good memories in ignorance. I’m not even all that disappointed that I can’t find my SeaWorld hat.

It truly amazes me how SeaWorld can get away with lying about things. How can they call themselves educational (which is their justification for keeping animals in captivity) when they deny biological facts, like that whales in the wild can live up to human life spans and that the flabby Shamu dorsal fin is not a normal whale attribute?

And how many trainers need to die before some important changes are made?

If whales are kept in captivity, can’t they at least have the opportunity to roam around more and have more food to eat, isn’t there a way? Clearly, something is wrong if SeaWorld trainers are dying and Dorsal fins are collapsing. Why doesn’t anyone care about anything but profits? What about having some respect for God’s creatures, huh?

SeaWorld, according to their website, does not acquire its dolphins through the inhumane Japanese method anymore as documented in “The Cove.” But why should I necessarily believe what they say?

I never thought I would say it, but here it goes: Free the Whales! Or at least make their lives a little easier. I believe that an American business is capable of at least that much!

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Today was my third day of college. So far, I only have one casual acquaintance because he is my partner for a group project. It’s an interesting experience, commuting to college two days a week. You’re kind of anonymous when you’re there, just one among thousands with no little niche. It’s a good thing in a way, such a big environment. You get a lot of second chances because when you do something embarrassing (like I ALWAYS do), chances are the people who saw you doing it won’t see you again or remember. At least, I hope so. Like today, I had quite a few blunders. I accidentally opened an emergency exit and sounded a little alarm… In a library. My green tea latte spilled on the cup (which seems painfully trivial, but trust me, it was awkward). Oh, and I asked a really dumb question in accounting class, and couldn’t even play it off or make the professor catch my drift. I am convinced that after only 3 days of school, at least 2 of my professors are convinced that I’m some kind of idiot.

Every time I walk to class, I feel like I see the same sea of faces. Asian girls, maybe speaking Korean or Chinese or Californian, pretty girls on bicycles, cool guys on skateboards that whiz right by me at startling speeds, shy girls with their arms crossed, frat boys, artistic types, nerdy guys, short girls, groups of laughing, happy people, the occasional couple holding hands, girls wearing Greek shirts, blondes, Hispanics, African-Americans, Africans…

Most of the people I see, I know wouldn’t want to get to know me. But sometimes I see people with lost eyes, who don’t seem that different from me. If only I could stop them and say hi, say something, ask what their name is. But that is weird. So the current propels me forward, propels them in the opposite direction. We aligned in space, for a moment, but that was all. I know that they have their own life, and that I will likely never be part of their world. And as strange as it seems, the thought makes me sad.

Sometimes, I’m not that bad at walking, as opposed to standing. I feel weird standing sometimes. I can swing my arms and look straight ahead. I can walk fast too. I can look almost normal, like I’m just another girl who has her own life too, I can put on a brave face, a serious face, and pretend not to notice people, pretend that I don’t feel loneliness and apprehension. But I have a feeling that anyone who really pays any attention to me will see right through this thin facade, and the thought terrifies me.

Sometimes, I feel sorry for myself, and I weep when I am alone at night because I feel like my life is going no where, or that it’s just not moving fast enough to where I want to be. This happened to me last night. But then I told myself to get a grip, to stop being so ridiculous. I’m going to college, doing what I always wanted to do, getting a fresh start, not to mention I just recently had a book idea that I have a good feeling about. Not to mention, I have my family, who is always there for me. I got to thinking on the bright side, then reverted back, seesawed a few more times… And then, all alone, I started singing a worship song, all alone in my room to the stillness of the night. The stillness, that was really kind of like a churning. I know someone was listening, I know God heard me. I was afraid, the thought of the glory of God made me cower. It’s like in an old Disney movie, when someone says something like “oh, look, it’s blah, blah blah.” And then they’re like, “HOLY CRAP STICK, IT’S BLAH BLAH.” You know the corny little comedic technique. That’s how it is with me. Most of the time, I console myself with the thought that God is watching. And then, on rare occasions I’m like WAIT, GOD IS WATCHING… I’M NOT ACTUALLY ALONE! And then, that reminds me again what it’s really all about. It’s about God. It’s about God, it’s about God. That’s not something you can learn in a day. I have to remind myself all the time. It would be better if I reminded myself more. Better yet if I took action.

Sorry that this post has been so melodramatic and abstract. I’m in a weird mood now, in case you didn’t get that impression. Hopefully I’ll start making sense again soon.

20131003-212950.jpg
campusmediagroup.wordpress.com

In Defense of Oldies Stations

It seems like people have been giving oldies stations a hard time almost as long as the songs they play have been around.
I’ve seen articles, sitcoms, and comedy routines poke fun at them for repeating the same songs over and over, which they are definitely guilty of. And yes, that can be very annoying. How many times does a person need to hear, “Can’t Hurry Love” or “I Got You Babe.” Do those sound familiar? They should.

People clamor for “new oldies.” I believe I heard that on the Simpsons once. But do you really want to hear new oldies? Let me tell you, I’ve heard that more obscure stuff on satellite radio. Sometimes you make an exciting new discovery or hear an underrated song. But a lot of the time, there’s a reason that those songs were shoved into oblivion. The reason is that SOME OF THEM JUST AREN’T VERY GOOD. They sound like bad acid trips, alley way stomps, or worst of all, disco barf. On the other side of the coin, there’s a reason that you hear the hits over and over. Because people liked those songs back in the day, and they like them now.

I grew up on oldies stations, and I just love them. I feel happy when I hear songs like, “Hey Jude,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Locomotion,” and many, many others. Sure, the obscure stuff interests me too, but I’ve had serious bonding moments over songs like “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Can’t Take my Eyes off You.” Also by Frankie Valli, “My Eyes Adored You” nearly made me get emotional the other day. I’m such a sucker for that crap. It’s funny how back in the day (generally), the music had more respect and reverence for women, even if society didn’t. And now everything is so disgusting, but we supposedly “respect women.” Well, that was a nice little segue-way.

On a lighter note, I saw a blurb on the news about a viral video of a guy who blasted “Build Me Up Buttercup” on a crowded LA freeway and got fellow commuters to sing along with him. I think that’s just beautiful. Well, you know, unless someone gets distracted and crashes. So maybe that’s not the best idea, unless you’re at a red light. Yes, what a good compromise. Consider that added to my bucket list.

Hope you enjoyed this rant.

20130930-202838.jpg
beatlesalbumcovers.com