Niceness

I love people who are driven by compassion, but I am consistently befuddled by their fixation on niceness. They love to look for niceness in their social environments. I have found that many Christians have a compulsion to try and live out the spiritual fruit of kindness by being nice, and I have become resistant to that compulsion over the passed few years.

As far as I understand, kindness has to do with a desire to do good and be helpful to others, and niceness has to do with pleasurable, enjoyable or attractive qualities or experiences. They are not the same thing. Kindness is nice, but niceness does not automatically indicate kindness. (This feels like it could be another flawed syllogism; I think I have a thing for those.)

To be nice is to be polite. It is to behave in a way that everyone agrees is good. To be kind is do what is good and helpful for someone, regardless of whether or not everyone agrees that it is good. I would say that compassion is far more synonymous with kindness than it is with niceness. I think when we begin to tie kindness to politeness, we begin to loose what kindness really is.

Don't just accept what I am saying though, because once again, I am biased. I don't like looking for niceness. I like looking for grit. I like messiness. I look for people to unfold their messiness and grittiness before me, because that is where I find the hidden treasures. I was recently told that God would give me the treasures of darkness (especially in relation to my writing), and that fascinated me because shortly after that was spoken over me the scripture where that phrase is used was read aloud. Isaiah 45:3. Simply titillating!

I am beginning to wonder if this might be one of the things about me that was being referred to. I am fascinated by dark things. I want to know why the human psyche has such darkness, and I want to know what's hidden inside of that darkness. I know many Christians will give me the blanket answer that we have fallen short of the glory of God and live in a fallen world, and while I don't disagree with that, I want to dive deeper. I'm not satisfied with just the all encompassing answer; I want to know all the smaller answers within it.

Well, I guess that's my rant for today. I'm strongly considering changing the description to reflect how much I ramble on. I think I may actually do that.

Anywho! Thanks for reading my blog! God bless you!

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On Friendship and Mentorship

I have a confession to make. I don't want friends. *gasp* I must me emotionally stunted! What kind of person doesn't want friends? Surely I am a sociopath, or something like it.

Well, now that I have made you question my socio-emotional maturity, allow me to elaborate. I see the value of friendships, and I am very grateful for the friendships I have in my life. I love you, friends. However, I don't want any more friends. I no longer crave having peers. I crave something else now.

I crave a mentor. I yearn for a mentor. That's weird, though. I mean, how do you go about getting one? Do I just go up to someone I respect and say, "Hey, wanna be my mentor?" It's not quite the same as making a friend.

Mentorship is very important, though. It's basically discipleship, and I think sometimes Christians misunderstand the depth of discipleship. I wonder if we often think it begins and ends with an unbeliever becoming a believer, or whatever terminology you want to use, but it doesn't stop there. Discipleship actually truly begins after process is finished, because it's really a relationship. It's a relationship that has a teacher-student dynamic, and that's clearly very important sense those were some of the central relationships in Jesus' ministry.

I struggle to find a mentor. I think it's partially an issue of modern culture, because people have become so suspicious of the very concept of authority that a discipling relationship looks problematic (oh, I hate that word). However, it's also because the people who have tried to mentor me have neglected a very important need of mine, and by no fault of their own.

The people who have been drawn to me have been deeply spiritual people, and that's great! I love exploring the depths of spirituality! However, I don't want to neglect my intellect, but that's almost impossible to avoid when the people who want to invest in me focus almost exclusively on spiritual and emotional growth. Again, there's nothing wrong with that! If they're wired that way then they're wired that way. No judgement here.

I hesitate to say this, but I can't help but notice a trend. The people who have wanted to mentor me have mainly been women, and the people whom I have wanted to mentor me have mostly been men. I have nothing against other women, and I will reiterate one more time, I highly value their wisdom and investment in the socio-emotional pursuit of spirituality. However, I want more, and I struggle to find women who are as interested in exploring a purely intellectual examination of faith and spirituality as I am.

Unfortunately, it's weird looking for a male mentor. I am extremely neurotic, so any possibility of my relationships even LOOKING like they could be inappropriate is enough to stop me. So, what do I do? Well, so far, I have satisfied this need by finding people on the internet to listen to.

I love Dr. Jordan Peterson, J. Warner Wallace, and even David Wood. They are huge inspirations for me. I also enjoy the YouTubers Sargon of Akkad and Computing Forever, and to be honest I view their content more than anyone else's content. (I know, I know, some people consider them pseudo-intellectuals, but I still think they have good insights.) Now, I am not trying to bad mouth atheists – quite the opposite actually, I have a great deal of respect for a lot of social and political commentators who happen to be atheists – but I wonder what it might say about what Christian communities may be lacking , when the majority of my need for mentorship is being fulfilled by atheists. We have lost something in our Christian communities. We need to find it again.

My dear atheist friends, please don't misunderstand me. I don't think you are lesser than Christians, I am simply saddened by the lack of Christian mentors who I can connect with. I have found much wisdom and companionship with atheists and agnostics, and I am deeply grateful for that. I only make the distinction to illustrate my point that I wish I could find a mentor who would invest in my intellectual growth as a vital component of my faith walk.

Anywho. Thank you for reading my blog. God bless you! I love you all!

Dark Humour: An Indication of Depravity?

For a few years now I've seen a lot of criticism of dark humour (or gallows humour), as I'm sure many people have seen. I'm sure many people agree with the criticisms of dark humour. Many people believe it makes society in general think that serious issues aren't really all that serious. I would like to argue against that.

I have a bias. I love dark humour. I used to resist my love of dark humour because I thought it was bad, mainly for the reason I shared in the above paragraph. However, as I have been allowing myself to let my spontaneous responses to stimuli flow unhindered over the passed few years, I have begun to accept my appreciation for gallows humour. For those of us who are very sensitive and have had to heal from emotional trauma, it's practically therapeutic.

One of the issues I have run into during this process is the need other people have for my brand of humour to be explained to them. Humour is hard to explain. As I hinted above, it's spontaneous. It's a sort of intuition that everybody has whether they have a deeply intuitive mind or not, and as I talked about in a previous post, intuition is hard to reason with.

The specific issue I ran into was rape jokes. I don't usually think that rapes jokes are funny, but if I am to defend dark humour than surely that would include rape jokes, would it not? And although I was once a bit puritanical in regards to humour, I am no longer in a place where I feel the need to police other people's jokes. So, the question, "Why do you think rape jokes are funny?" weighed on my mind for a long time.

I thought about the intent of the humour as well as the reason for a spontaneous response to the humour. Are people laughing because they think rape is a joke? Are they laughing because they think the victim is a joke? Well, I don't know. I don't like getting into the habit of assigning motive anymore (which is one of the reasons that I have come to hate identity politics), so instead I will simply explain what I have found is my inner process for dark humour.

I love Cyanide and Happiness. It's a great comic which was eventually turned into a great YouTube channel. They deal with all sorts of dark, crude and inappropriate humour, and oh do they tickle my funny bone somethin' fierce! One of my favourite skits is called Ladder. You can watch it yourself if you'd like, but if you don't care to watch dark humour I will briefly describe it.

Basically, a boy can't get his cat out if a tree, so his father offers to help. He gets his ladder, extends it, and prepares to rest it vertically against the tree. Then, he whacks the cat with the ladder until the cat falls out of the tree. Oh, I love this skit. It brings me such joy. But why does it bring me joy? I don't approve if the abuse of animals. I would never be okay with it if I saw that happen in real life. Do I really think the cat's suffering is a joke?

Another bit of dark humour I enjoy comes from Dragon Ball Z Abridged. One of my favourite running gags (well, it was twice, but I hail it a running gag!) revolved around Gohan on Planet Namek. Gohan was a young child at the time, and on occasion he would be in a situation that could be deemed inappropriate, and he would say, "I need an adult." The adult with him would then say, "I am an adult." The implications are clear, and yet I thought it was a funny joke.

Anyone who has read my very early posts knows that I was molested when I was a child, so I know full well how serious it is. I do not think that child abuse is a joke, so why was I amused by that running gag? Well, if you know the show you'll probably know that it was a piece of an even larger joke which poked fun at how bad most if the adults in Gohan's life were at taking care of him, so there's that. Does that mean that deep down inside I think that his suffering is a joke?

Hardly. I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy this humour not because I think it pokes fun at the victims or the very concept of suffering, but because it pokes fun at the perpetrators. In Ladder, the cat's suffering wasn't the joke, the father was the joke. It was funny because my spontaneous response was to laugh at how stupid the father was. In DBZ Abridged, child abuse was not the joke, the adults were the jokes. I wasn't laughing at the poor treatment of Gohan, I was laughing at how pathetic the adults were.

I think it may be the same with rape jokes. I don't think they are supposed to make rape look like a joke, I don't even think they're supposed to make the woman look like a joke. I think they're meant to make the rapist (or the enabler of the rapist) look like a joke. Dark humour is hard to understand, because people seem to immediately assume that it makes victims and their suffering look pathetic, but that's not what it looks like to me. To me, it's making the one who caused the suffering look pathetic, and that's why I laugh.

Thank you very much for reading my post, and if you like don't humour please don't be afraid of it! Examine your own motives. Don't let other people assign your motives to you. They can't read your mind.

God bless you! (It feels so weird signing off with that on this post. Alas, I still feel shame for my dark humour. Oh well, hopefully that will be worked out one day.)

Slowly Growing Out of My Grudges

I'm growing. I'm changing. I'm a little different today than I was yesterday, and much different than I was a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago, and even twenty-four years ago! (I'm twenty-four years old; feel free to roll your eyes at my so-called humour.)

I have contemplated and argued thoughts and philosophies all over the internet. I have adopted different schools of thought, dropped some and kept others, and I've challenged myself here and there. So, I'm different. I'm new. A new creation even. A new creation in Christ! (Oooooooooh.)

The reason I say these things is because I am not proud of everything in this blog. I have written things that I'm not sure I agree with any more, and things that I do still agree with but perhaps were better left out of the public sphere. I know who I am (sort of), and I know what I stand for (mostly). I also know that I lack understanding of myself and what I stand for, so naturally as I grow and my knowledge of myself deepens and expands, some of my thoughts and opinions will change. They have, and they will continue to do so in the future.

I will not delete anything on my blog. I like to remain transparent whenever I can, and I never want to hide my past. I won't hide the paths I've walked nor the thoughts I've entertained. You are free to examine who I was and what I thought. You are also free to patiently wait so you can examine who I will be and what I will think.

I will not go into detail about what previous expressions conflict with my current positions or why. I will only tell you this: I have been holding a lot of grudges. Those grudges were often directed toward left-wing political adherents, and until recently I did not fully understand why. Now I think I do.

You see, I am a very emotional and sensitive person, and for many years now I have experienced significantly more emotional manipulation from the left than the right. That is my weak spot. Right-wing adherents more often challenged me on an intellectual bases, and usually made a point of leaving "the feels" out of it, so I suppose I started to feel safer with them. They can be just as ideologically aggressive as the left, but they never went after my weak spot. After rallying with them it became easy to harbour anger against the left, but I just don't want to do that anymore.

So, even though I still feel emotionally manipulated on a regular bases by people who identify as liberals, I'm starting to let go of my grudges. Now I feel free to agree with them if they happen to address an issue in a way that makes sense to me. I still often feel backed into a corner by the emotional manipulation I see from the left, but I don't feel trapped any more; if you can make sense of that.

In conclusion, I'm slowly shedding the defences I've put up over the passed few years. Hopefully I will continue to shed them as I grow, and I will no longer be partially motivated by grudges in the future.

Thank you for reading my blog! God bless you! (Seriously; ALL of you!)

The Sacred Gift and The Faithful Servant

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." – Albert Einstein

I often see intuitive personality types (particularly INFPs such as myself, and INFJs) using this quote to praise the intuitive trait. I certainly have no problem with that, and I myself am proud of my intuitive mind, but I find myself praising the intuitive mind less and less when I think of this quote. Don't get me wrong, I love the rush I get when a seemingly brilliant theory just clicks into place in my head, but a problem arises with that process.

The intuitive mind is important, because it gives people the ability to come up with new ideas when there are few outside resources which could lead them to those ideas. However, it is dangerous as well. The intuitive mind reasons in the sub-conscience, and then reveals the conclusions in the conscience without immediately disclosing the process which lead to the conclusion. This is certainly beautiful, and I love it, but it is also frustrating. Those of us who think this way struggle to explain our beliefs to others because others require evidence, and that is good. It is good that proof for the validity of our claims is required.

The reason why that makes the intuitive mind dangerous, is because it often makes us feel pressured to prove ourselves, so we backward engineer our reasoning. It is usually a bad idea to do that. It is better to start from the bottom of whatever we are trying to prove, and work from there, but the intuitive mind does not like to do that. We don't like to set our conclusion aside and take an objective look at the subject in question, because we risk finding a conclusion that contradicts our own. That's a hard thing to do.

I don't think the gift has been forgotten. People love intuition! People love when an idea seems to just slide effortlessly into place, like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, without having to drudge through all the other pieces first. I would argue that the faithful servant has been forgotten. The rational mind which looks at the conclusion, and immediately says, "Let's analyze this. Let's see if this is correct." The rationality which looks at the jigsaw puzzle and says, "Wait, I want to take this apart and see if I can put it together again myself."

Few people want to analyze their own conclusions, and that is the very thing which the rational mind, the faithful servant, excels at. I will always love my intuitive mind, but I hope that I never forget the vital need of the rational mind. The intuitive mind only remains a sacred gift if the rational mind is there to apply rigorous discipline. Otherwise, the intuitive mind becomes like a false prophet, and an unquestioned false prophet is anything but a gift.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Sometimes Lyrics Annoy Me

Hello everyone! I’ve been trying to sit myself down and right another blog post for the past week, but my brain has been kind of all over the place. I keep having little thoughts that turn into whole blog posts in my head while I’m at work, but then when I get home I just take a bag of chips to bed and watch YouTube. Not only that, but I’m struggling to write 10 things I love about my dad, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Not because I don’t love him, but because he’s a great guy and I love him as a whole so much that it’s hard to break it all down into smaller points. 

Well, here’s a thought I had at work a few days ago that I continued to rant out loud about while walking home each day. 

Music affects me. It probably affects everybody. Lyrics can make or break a song to me, and sometimes I hear a lyric that bugs me so much that I’ll start singing my own lyrics in it’s place. Unfortunately because I work at chain store I have no choice but to hear music that annoys me if it comes on. 

A few days ago the song Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie came on. When this song was first on the radio I didn’t think much of it, but after having to hear it a kajillion times the lyrics started sticking out like a sore thumb. One lyric in particular really bugged me. 

“And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket.”

I know, it’s not a bad lyric. It’s maybe weird, but not bad. Well, I really don’t like it. I’ve come to believe that the biggest blow you can give to the average woman’s ego is to make her believe she is not wanted, and the biggest blow you can give to the average man’s ego is to make him believe he is not needed. What does this lyric say? It compares the emotional attatchment to the (probably male romantic partner) subject of the song to the emotional attachment of a child to an old blanket. Wanted, but no longer needed. To most women this is probably fine. Not ideal but still okay, because being wanted even when we’re still not needed is almost comforting, even if the comfort is a bit bitter. What if this could be devestating to a man? Yeah, sure, he’s still wanted, but now he has about as much practical use and purpose as an old children’s blanket. 

It’s a small thing, just some pop song, but it has been making me think lately. 

Well, those have been my thoughts. Thank you for reading! God bless!!