Friday, December 30, 2005

Finally Saw "Serenity"

My husband got me the DVD of Serenity for Christmas, and now i can finally see the conclusion to the "Firefly" saga. It was a lot of fun and made me think. But, as usual, the thinking got complicated. If you've seen it, did you notice the theological undertones? The villian, a ruthless bounty hunter and agent of the government, believes that he is working to help create "a world without sin." By extension, we are led to believe that the government he represents also believes in, and is trying to create, a world without sin. Noble, but look at how the movie presents that effort:We finally discover that the race of unimaginably barbaric space raiders, known as Reavers, were the accidental by-product of the government's attempt at scientifically creating this world without sin. They had put something in the air at this one colony that was supposed to stop agression. To their horror, most of the people lost all motivation for everything, stopped working, talking, eating, and essentially just laid down and died. The rest of the colonists had the opposite reaction, turning into a band of cannibalistic, self-mutilating, brutal and unrestrained marauders - the reavers.

The antagonist/Governement agent's task is to stop the crew of the Serenity before they discover this fact. The movie implies that attempts to create a perfect world can only result in more harm, and that some level of agression is necessary for a healthy life/society. The hero of the film is Serenity's captain, who openly admits that he favors "all 7" sins and states, "I mean to misbehave." All of this is within the context of fighting for truth and self-preservation, and i am sympathetic to his battles against a corrupt government. But what does this say about the nature of good and evil? Must doing the higher good always be accomplished through sin and lawlessness? Must the pursuit of a better society always be futile? Can a "world without sin" only be achieved through totalitarian governments, the destruction of all who stand in the way, and biological experimentation?

It is as if we are truly ignorant of the possibility that the world could be changed by our self-sacrifice rather than our violence.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cut my hair!!!!

Ok, let me say up front that simple everyday things have a tendency to take on huge significance for me. I got my hair cut today, and yes, it is a big deal.

For those who know me, you already know why. I've had long hair for a decade now and never done much with it. It's been straight and as plain as a blank canvas. And, like a blank canvas, everyone keeps wanting to do things with it :) But today i finally decided to have it cut and layered.

Normally, that's just a huge adjustment for a girl. For me, it's also an opportunity to wonder about the meaning of hair. Why did God give us hair? I remember thinking as a kid that it was really cool of God to give us a part of our body that is so easily customizable. Nearly everyone sees their hair as an opportunity to express themselves or create a certain aesthetic style.

But we're really never told this. What if we're really supposed to leave it alone? What if we're not supposed to alter it (just like some people think you shouldn't alter your skin with tatoos and probably most people think you shouldn't cut off appendages for the fun of it)? I'm pretty sure messing with your hair is ok, but i do wonder a little sometimes.

So anyway, i've done it. I've gone from an extremely plain style that was actually quite unique, to more "updated" style that i fear is just like everyone else. Of course, walking around the mall afterwards, i found very few people with hair similar to mine. I don't think i've just conformed, but I have wondered today.

At the very least, it really stays out of the way better now. So maybe in one decision i've managed to become more feminine and more practical all at once :)

Saw Narnia . . .

Just today we finally got to see the Chronicles of Narnia movie. It was really good. Not quite Lord of the Rings, but still really encouraging. I am so thrilled the movie industry is cranking out more of these good epics.

Recently i was reading something about Feminist Bible interpretation and this lady was saying she always loved the Chronicles of Narnia books until a friend pointed out to her that the girls didn't get to fight. Ever since then, she's felt kind of disenfranchised by the novels. It's like she feels like, as a woman, she's not able to be a full citizen of Narnia, or something like that.

But after watching the movie, i really don't feel the same way. The girls didn't really fight (Susan does shoot someone), but they get to see. The girls were the ones who spent time with Aslan before he was killed, and the only ones who witnessed his resurrection. Little lucy is given the power to heal, and is a flawless model of virtue throughought the story. I don't remember enough about the books to swear that these aspects of the film existed in the books themselves. But Susan and Lucy are just as much citizens and royalty of Narnia as the boys. Their role is different, but just as vital and visible. If anyone recieved less honor, it would have been Edmund. All that to say - i didn't notice any real patriarchalism in the film. And it is worth going to see, if only to encourage the movie industry to put out more films like these.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

P. S. Happy Honda Days????

Continuing my thoughts about the emptiness of Christmas, does it shock anyone else that we have carolers singing "We wish you a happy Honda Day" on TV? I suppose this isn't really that bad. Advertisers make a career out of taking something we already have and re-shaping it to serve their product. RRRGh! there it is again!! (the tv is on in another room)

It's just amazing that "holy days" went to "holidays" to "Honda days." We went from sacred, to sentimental, to purely material.

I'm not really trying to get on to Honda. It's not really that bad that they should run a sale over Christmas and call it Honda days. But it just drives me nuts to see something so holy so emptied of its holiness and forced into the service of business.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas without Jesus isn't just bad - it's boring!

One thing i've noticed this christmas season is that there are only so many different ways you can sing "there's no place like home for the holidays" and "jingle bells." I've heard some of these songs over and over again, almost to the point of being sick of them, and a remarkable dearth of the tradititional Christmas carols. Our church's play practice has kept me out of morning worship this month, too, so i haven't even been able to hear them much in Church. I know it sounds like a cliche' but Christmas without Jesus really feels empty. I pulled out some hymnals the other day and just started reading through the Christmas carols. There is some rich theology and beautiful imagery in them that i've really missed.

When we can't talk about Jesus, everyone knows that Christmas is supposed to be special, but it's like there's this huge black hole where the "why" ought to be. Why do we take a whole month to celebrate love and giving? Umm, because we need to sometime? No wonder people are starting to wonder if Christmas is worth all the effort.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Redemption in Snow

I think every winter i like the cold less and less - maybe i'm just getting old and crabby :) And the less i like cold the more i think about the fact that there probably wasn't winter before there was sin (since they ran around naked). But then eventually i realize that if we never had winter, we'd never have snow. We would have never marvelled about a God so creative and generous to give us trillions of unique snowflakes. We wouldn't have the purity of fresh-fallen snow to remind us of redemption. So even winter seems to be a curse twisted into a blessing.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Maybe the Christmas Season is Supposed to be Stressful

Yesterday, while i was constantly rushing to get things done in time and always feeling 2 steps behind where i needed to be, I realized that the "Christmas Season" has always been stressful, right from its beginning. The very first Christmas was preceded by a very difficult time of preparation: Mary, pregnant for the first time, newly married, probably being judged and gossipped about, having to take a long road trip at an extremely inconvenient time. To top it all off, the trip was to pay taxes, of all things, not for vacation. Imagine Christmas season and tax season rolled into one!

Which all makes me wonder, what if the time leading up to Christmas is actually supposed to be stressful? I'm sure most preachers have preached about how we shouldn't let the busyness of Christmas obscure it's real meaning - our church's play this year is even about that. We really do have this idea that busyness and stress is something that's not supposed to be a part of Christmas, something we managed to add as our culture messed Christmas up.

But what if the greatness of Christmas is such that it is necessarily preceded by struggle? There had to be slavery for there to be an Exodus. There had to be sin for there to be a redemption. Or maybe it's just that Christmas is so wonderful that Satan will always try to make it diffucult for us to get there.

Of course we can overdo it. Of course we can invest ourselves in things that really aren't worth the effort. Of course we can get caught up in meeting other people's expectations, rather than doing those things that are really meaningful.

But maybe, if we're stressed and overwhelmed, it's not necessarily because we're doing it wrong. Maybe it means we're doing it right.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Deconstructionism and the Mad Hatter

I just came across this hilarious and delightful bit from another website. I'm pretty sure it wasn't really written by Carroll but you get the point:

Scholars have been thrilled recently at discovering a hitherto unpublished fragment of Lewis Carroll's work about Alice . It goes like this:

'When I use a word,' said Humpty Dumpty scornfully, 'it means what I want it to mean, neither more nor less.'

'My dear old thing,' said the March Hare, 'there's more to it than that. When you say or write something, you've got to reckon that you can't keep tabs on it. Other people may take what you say quite differently from how you meant it. It's like setting a bird free. Once it's gone, it flies where it wants.'

'I'm afraid he's right, Humpty' chipped in Alice , passing him his tea. 'If you want to get through to us, you've got to use words in ways that we'll understand.'

'Absolutely,' the March Hare agreed. 'There's no ultimate reason why we shouldn't call that teapot over there by the name "hot water bottle" instead. But if you were the only one who did call it "hot water bottle" you'd be in for a shock come teatime.'

Alice continued, 'Of course, you could start a new fashion, and if you did it frequently enough then at least all your friends could get the hang of it, and we'd know "hot water bottle" meant "teapot".'

The Mad Hatter had been listening to all this with mounting displeasure. 'What tommy rot! You're both talking as though Humpty could use language to communicate something.'

'He's not as thick as that,' objected the March Hare defensively.

'Not just him - anyone,' the Mad Hatter came back, splattering bits of muffin over the tea party in his intensity. 'Language doesn't give me access to what Humpty thinks. How could I know he was using language in the same way I was? When he says, "I'm having a nice time here" he might mean by "nice" what I mean by "nasty". And we could never find that out, because all we have to say is that what we mean by "nice" and "nasty" are other words. It's all just words. It's as though each one of us is inside a little bubble, all on our own, and every now and then we float close to each other, but we never know what's going on in the bubble next door.' He paused for breath and turned to Alice . 'Another cuppa, please, Alice pet, three sugars.'

'Pet, eh?' said Alice from between clenched teeth. 'That sounds like an offensive socially conditioned sexist term.'

'Only to you, Alice dear, just your subjective reaction,' said the Mad Hatter, taking his tea and sipping it. 'Blinking ____, I asked for sugar, didn't I?'

'So sorry,' said Alice sweetly 'In my language "three sugars" means you don't want any.'

'You know jolly well what I meant ...' the Mad Hatter accused as the tea party broke up in disarray.

I found this at as part of a larger article on deconstructionism. I must confess i don't fully understand deconstructionism (and i haven't yet read the rest of the article), but it points out the problem with the extreme forms of some parts of relativistic postmodernism.

Some would say that perfect communication is impossible (which i agree with), but then they take it so far as to say that all knowledge is impossible because all effective communication is impossible. This is when we find people saying that we can know nothing with reasonable certainty. Again, i am grateful for those who have alerted us to the fact that all communication is approximate and we know less things with absolute certainty than we think we do. But if communication is really impossible, why do the people who believe this bother to write books and articles and blog posts trying to "communicate" this belief? If any communication or knowledge is impossible, why bother to write?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Worship of the Bible

Awhile ago i found this article (framed as a short story) about our ability as Christians to elevate the Bible actually higher than its supposed to be. I know at first glance that may sound impossible, and i don't think all the church is guilty of it, but it does make you think. I really reccommend it.

"The Sacred Idolatry"

It talks about how Christians can sometimes put more emphasis on the Bible as the way to know God, than they do on actually knowing God. But then, i find myself asking, am I able to know God apart from the Bible? I'm not talking theoretically - i know a person without a Bible can still know something about God and that a person who rejects the Bible can never really know God. But in my own life, sometimes i wish i could learn more about God first-hand. I wish i was better at discerning His leading so i could learn from that. I wish i was better at identifying the ways He was active in the events and circumstances around me, so i could learn from that. Sometimes i wish He would speak to me directly more often, so i could learn from that.

I know some people might read this and say that my lack of personal "divine experience" is an indication that there really isn't a God. Of course I disagree. I have seen God working. I have heard him speak. I just wish i had more of that to accompany the thousands of years-0ld stories i read in the Bible. But i am grateful i have those stories, because as i have described i don't have a whole lot besides them to help me know God.

Anyway, all that was to say that maybe the article goes too far in its emphasis on knowing God rather than knowing Him through the Bible. The Bible really is one of the best ways we have of knowing God, especially until we learn to see Him in the present.

Friday, December 02, 2005

My Feeble Attempt at an Explanation of Divine Inspiration

Hello again.
I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about the Bible and what I believe about Divine inspiration. I'm a youth pastor and a student, so it's been coming up a lot and I'm keenly aware of how important it is for me to be at least close to right on this one. Here's what i've come up with so far:

"The Bible is God’s word because to reject what it says is to reject God. The Bible is God’s word because it is both the record of God’s revelation of himself (in the stories) and the preservation of God’s revelation of himself (in the prophecies). It is God’s word because those who wrote it were serving God in doing so, and wrote truthfully about God and what He has said to us. I don't think the non-prophetic parts were dictated by God to the writers, but just as I find help when I attempt to preach, I am sure the Lord helped those who wrote these things down for our benefit. "

What do you think?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What If We Really Are Supposed to be Pacifists?

What if Jesus really did mean for us to be pacifists?
I have friends who would answer "Of course!" and ones who would answer "Of course not!" I have relatives in the military, relatives who have their concealed-carry permits, and (on the other hand) friends who belong to the church of the Bretheren. And it's hard because i respect all of them and don't want to offend or to discredit the things they believe so firmly.

But i cannot picture Jesus carrying a gun. I can't picture him hurting anyone, even in self defense. He left some dangerous situations out of concerns for his safety, but as far as we know, He never fought back. He spoke up for himself sometimes. He didn't collapse into a miserable pile of defeated humanity.

But of course we can't ignore that this is the same God who commanded the Israelites to attack and annialate (sp?) whole groups of people. I guess you could call it localized genocide. The "man after God's own heart," who is still one of our examples of faith, was a man of war.

But what if, like so many other things, the rules have completely changed since Christ has come? What if the time for that is past? I really like the quote that "the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing," and it makes sense. But what if we really are more powerful when we refuse to fight than when we do? What if God was trying to tell us about a spiritual reality that doesn't seem to make sense in our normal world - but is still true? What if it's one of those things we have to take on faith?

There's a third option, what if it's right to fight for someone else, but not in self defense? What if we should defend others, even through violence, but what if it's selfish to defend ourselves?

I really don't know. I'm not trying to bash the military or the NRA or any of that. But i really wonder. What if we're going about everything the wrong way? If i am a follower of Christ, shouldn't that include His lack of violence?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Current Notion of Faith

This one isn't extremely deep, but it has been bugging me for a while.

The other week i was watching an episode of Firefly on Sci-Fi. If you haven't seen it it's about like 8 people on a private ship in the future, wandering the universe trying to make money and avoid entanglement with the corrupt Alliance government.

Anyway, like most tv shows it had multiple plot lines. One of them involved Jayne, as he and several other crew members visit a planet where Jayne had escaped from some time before. Jayne tried to avoid being recognized, since the last thing he had done before escaping was rob the local magistrate. Unfortunately for Jayne, he ended up having to dump all the money he stole as he left. Unbeknownst to him, the slave laborers on the planet found the money he dumped and thought that Jayne had intentionally given it to them. Ever since then, Jayne had been a hero, and the laborers even put up a statue of him. When Jayne and his crewmates show up on the planet, the laborers give him a hero's welcome, but eventually it comes out that he was trying to steal the money for himself, and that he had actually abandoned his partner in his efforts to escape. Jayne told the people they had been foolish for believing that anyone would be so selfless, and then pushes over the statue of himself.

Back on the ship, Jayne speculated that the laborers were probably putting his statue back up, dispite what they knew about him. The captain replies that maybe it wasn't about who Jayne really was, it was about who they needed him to be.

Plot line 2: There's actually a preacher on this ship (although he has a mysterious past), which i guess balances out the fact that there's also a prostitute. Anyway, there is also a teenage girl, a genius. One day the girl gets a hold of the preacher's Bible, and the preacher finds her writing in it and tearing out pages. When asked why, she replies that she's "fixing" it. She edits the story of creation to make it fit with evolution, and comments that "Noah's ark is a problem," since there's no way that samples from thousands of species would all fit in one boat. She tears that page out.

The preacher stops her and states that you can't "fix" the Bible. His comments are something to the effect of "It's about having faith in something beyond yourself." Essentially he was saying that the point is not whether or not these things make sense, but just that you believe them. Unless i misunderstood him, he meant that it doesn't matter whether they actually happened, just that you believe in something bigger than yourself.

I didn't notice it immediately as i was watching the show, but now i cant help thinking these two plotlines were not put together randomly. Both have to do with faith. But both seem to conclude: it's not about what really happened, it's about what we need to believe in. And i think this is the new faith.

Faith itself seems to be relatively popular. Everyone likes believing in something beyond the physical and scientific. Santa Claus, perfect virtue, miracles. Even the moral lesssons of Bible stories. But it stops short of believing that there is a God big enough to do the impossible. It just likes hearing about the impossible. The ark is a good story to believe in, not something that actually happened, in this kind of faith.

I suppose it's better than nothing. But it is so far short of the glorious faith that is more than a sentimental hope, but the affirmation that real things happened in a real world and made a real difference.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Suffering-Centered Theology

Yesterday i got to thinking, and once again i've made the realization that much of my theology is centered, not around Christ, but around the avoidance of suffering. Let me say up front that i know this is not a good thing and the thoughts that follow are not intended to convince anyone to think this way. But maybe you are more like me than you realize.

Like many people, my main motivation for accepting Christ in the first place was to escape hell. Essentially, to avoid suffering. Of course, a secondary motivation for my Christian life was the knowledge that God blesses his people in this current life, and punishes sin in this current life as well. Once again, avoid suffering, take the path of blessing and comfort.

Then as a Christian, i discover that it is my job to help other people find salvation in Christ, too. Why? So they can be spared the suffering of God's wrath in this life and the next, and can enjoy the benefits of God's blessing and provision in this life and the next.

I'm also told i'm supposed to help others in material and temporal ways. We are to encourage those who need it, provide physical assistance to those who need it, be kind and generous. Why? To spare them from suffering.

If i'm not careful, it's extremely easy for every act of obedience, every expression of devotion, every effort of ministry and compassion, every reasoning about ethics, to become completely centered around suffering and the avoidance therof. That which is good is that which spares the most humans from the most suffering.

Where is God in all this? He is both friend and foe. He is the source of comfort as well as the judge whose wrath we seek to escape. But obviously he agrees that human suffering is the highest evil because He sent His Son to suffer on our behalf, so we could escape it. We recognize Jesus' sacrifice as great because He endured the worst the world had to offer - suffering.

I hope by now you can see how dreadfully deficient a theology this is. God is not someone who is loved because He is wonderful, he is someone who is obeyed because He is powerful. And this kind of theology doesn't help us when we discover that part of serving God is suffering for him. What are we to do, when, having entered this life to escape suffering, we discover that it involves suffering? Surely there is a better answer than just "we suffer in this life to escape a greater suffering in the next."

But the problem is that this theology is so hard to escape. Because it's all based on fact. God does punish. Hell is real. And the Christian life and afterlife as a whole does involve much less suffering than that of unbelievers. So it's hard to break out of this mindset once you get it, because you cannot deny the facts it is based on.

Somehow i need to recognize that God is more than punishment and blessing. Somehow i need to learn to value His glory just for it's own sake. That doesn't make any sense to me yet, but i know it's real. Somehow i need to discover that God is worth loving for reasons other than just that He gives us things and spares us some trouble.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Officially a Scholar?

Hello again. I just wanted to state that, this weekend i'm visiting some friends, and i packed more books than i did clothes:
3 library books to be returned to my alma matter
2 Bibles
2 commentaries
1 book on youth ministry
1 textbook for a class i'm in

Compared to:
1 extra sweater
1 hat
Socks, etc.

I know there are other (probably better) ways to judge a scholar, but this surely must be one way.

While I'm not being too philosophical i might as well go ahead and say that today I'm visiting the library at Concordia University. It's a small school so it's a small library, but it sure is nice to be in a Christian college library again. It is a neat library, though - a nice place to read. And i got to laminate my own library card :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Is Music a Drug?

I wish it was safe to assume music was real. Not real in the sense of actually existing or happening, but real in the sense that it connects you to something real. If you're like me, there is a huge difference between the way you feel in a quiet room, and in one where music is playing, even if everything else about the setting is the same. Some music makes me feel hopeful, or energetic, or like i can feel God's presence, or like the world really is beautiful. And although music isn't the only thing that makes me feel those things, it is perhaps the most effective method.

Which leads me to a troubling thought: music might be a drug. Drugs make you feel or see things that are not grounded in reality - it's just a chemical reaction. Is music nothing more than something that causes us to hallucinate feelings? Are the things we feel when the music is playing, that go away when the music stops, fake?

It seems the only other option is that music is a portal to something real. That the singers and the musicians are participating in a metaphysical act that helps us to "see" something that was always there but we couldn't feel it. Perhaps they are giving voice to a spiritual energy that is all around us but we didn't notice. Anger, fear, hope, joy - what if these are not suggested by music but actually given voice through music? What if it's more than just the physics of vibrating air, but actually something - real?

But, of course, don't Christians believe that the world itself is not just physical matter and electrical energy, but powered by spiritual forces as well?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Why I Love Star Trek (and am learning to love Stargate SG-1)

Ok, so any of you who know me can probably skip this one since you've probably heard this speech a hundred times before. But it seemed like a record of my philosophical musings would be incomplete without it. In fact, i think Star Trek is probably one of the reasons i ended up being an attempted philosopher.

The thing that makes star trek so incredible (especially the older series like Next Generation) is that it's not just about the drama or the action, but it's about thoughts and ideas. it doesn't just play with your emotions, it makes you think. But setting itself in the future, among alien races on other planets (or in the case of SG-1, in a compound that doesn't actually exist and is completely different from our daily realities, and also dealing with aliens and distant planets), sci fi allows us to look at ethical and philosophical isues from a new perspective. They address the same issues we face daily, war, justice, racial relations, even personal relationships - but they take them out of the settings we're used to seeing them in. They don't talk about Blacks and Whites, they talk about Cardassians and Bajorans, or Klingons and Romulans. So I, as a white person, can look at the racism issue from a more objective standpoint - taking myself out of the picture. It's not about us and them anymore. I can forget for a minute my personal experiences and concerns and look from the outside at two other groups dealing with the issue. And it makes us all think more clearly about both sides.

Of course, i'm postmodern enough to admit that completely objective thought is impossible. I can't completely forget about my experiences as i watch the experiences of others. But it brings me a lot closer.

Capital punishment looks a lot different when we see it in a world so far removed from our own that we don't have a vested intrest in who wins or loses. It's not my relative who was the victim nor my relative who is the condemned. So it looks different.

Sci fi also helps us think about ethical issues we don't have to face yet. What about time travel? I really don't think that will ever be possible, but if it is one day, we will be better prepared to make decisions about it because sci fi has for decades already been making us think about what might happen. How much worse for us if we only started thinking about it once the situation was upon us? How many mistakes would we make that could have been avoided if we had just had more time to think before we had the power to act? You can probably see how this same concept applies to other things that are not possible for us yet, but may be in the future. Human cloning keeps getting closer, but Star Trek was dealing with it decades ago. (i think? Maybe not decades . . . I'm not sure. I know they talked about it in TNG but i'm not sure which season)

Anyway, that's why i love star trek. Although, i don't hardly watch it anymore. Kind of like star wars or even Lord of the Rings. You watch it a few times and it impacts you and you talk about it forever.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Real Femininity

Ok, so here's one that's been bugging me for a while now - what does it really mean to be a woman? Or what should it mean? Or i guess maybe the real question is: what is real and appropriate femininity?

First, let me explain what i usually think of as feminine things: frills, fancy clothes, jewelry, makeup, perfume, trying to look pretty, and avoiding things like dirt, active sports, and assertiveness. And i've always thought of these traits as useless. In fact, i usually think of them as counterproductive to leading a meaningful life.

And here you can see why i think of myself as a philosopher. While most women, even women i respect, have no qualms about wearing makeup, i'm always hesistant about it because i ask "what does this mean?" We are changing our appearance to earn more approval from people. does this make sense? I mean, every culture does it. It just seems like more of a vice than a virtue. But i still wear it sometimes, but i still don't really know what to think of it. Of course makeup itself isn't that big of a deal - but what are we really saying when we wear it?

Frills, fancy clothes, jewelry: although i have some jewelry i really like and like some nice clothes, any more than a minimum of these thing seems like a waste of money. Money that could be helping other people or buying practical things that we enjoy - like skis. Plus, the nicer you dress, the harder it is to do anything physical. You're more afraid of spilling things on yourself. You can't touch anything messy without a second thought, whether it be a kitchen counter or a child. When we dress up, we become decorative, not functional. Is that what we want? But of course i do it some. But i wonder.

The thing is, it seems that everything "feminine" is geared toward this idea of a nice, pleasant, decorative woman who is incapable of doing a lot of important things. You can't cry - ruins your makeup. You can't play tag or catch without changing clothes into something less "feminine," and shedding your excess jewelry.

Of course i've been influenced by many things. My religious and family background emphasized wise use of money and inward beauty over outward beauty. Two strikes against expensive clothes, jewelry, and makeup. However, i did end up with a really good self-esteem and body image idea. :) I felt beautiful, even without makeup. but now i'm not sure what to do in a world where not wearing makeup isn't so much a bad fashion choice, as much as just "weird."

Leadership also isn't thought of in feminine terms. Just think about the words "man of God" and "woman of God." At least to me, they bring up two completely different images. A man of God was like David, bold, and faithful. He fought wars and danced madly in worship. His faithfulness set the example for all of Israel. Or John the baptist, preaching in the wilderness and living off locusts (i don't really know why he did this. Did he not have anything else to eat or was this some weird spiritual discipline.)

Woman of God? Sweet sister sue who dresses in long skirts and teaches the kids in sunday school. Always has a soft voice. Would never be expected to lead the church in a new direction. She just keeps things running smoothly, does her job quietly, doesn't shake up the status quo.

Manhood is identified with bravery, courage, willingness to make sacrifices, strength. Womanhood: pretty, dainty, pleasant.

Can you see why it's difficult to understand what i should grow up to be? I'm not a man, i'm not supposed to be a man. But I really don't like the idea of femininity as this culture defines it. So what do i have? Lots of women reject stereotypical "femininity," womeon who work in traditionally male professions, join the military, or play sports. But most of us still have this idea that as women we have a lot of work to do to take care of our appearance.

I guess what i'm asking is, is my only alternative to a poor idea of femininity to copy masculine traits? Or were those traits really masculine to start with? Have we just ascribed strenth and valor to men? Am i as a woman supposed to be different from men in cultural ways - not just biological? and if so, what are those ways? Or is there a noble lifestyle both men and women can work toward, without being thought of as less of a man or less of a woman?

If there is, i hope it doesn't involve makeup.

Things I Might Post About One Day

So, this is partly a memo to myself to remind me of potential future topics, and maybe a "teaser" for the rest of you. Feel free to comment and suggest additions. :)

-Real/appropriate patriotism.

-my obsession with any new "toys" i get and how i always think everyone else wants to hear about them

- when do you start to "feel" like an adult

- why i believe in happy endings

Attempted Philosophy

Welcome to my new blog! I've developed a tendency to think of myself as a philosopher since i'm always thinking and questioning things. Usually the people around me say i think too deep, but that's ok i guess. But I'm more of a philosophy student than someone who's earned the right to teach. So it's becoming obvious that calling myself a philosopher sounds like i think i know more and am a lot wiser than i really am. So, "attempted philosophy" seems like a better term for what i do. Kind of like "attempted murder" :)