Saturday, February 25, 2012

The "Born This Way" Philosophy.

One of my friends told me a story about something that happened in his comparative religion class. They were discussing abortion, and one girl, who was a devout Christian, was saying that it was immoral and should not be practiced. She held firm in this view until one boy asked her, "Would you still fight for a baby's right to life if it grew up to be gay?" This, in my friend's words, "froze the room," and our Christian became uncertain. I wish I had been there.

First of all, the answer is yes. If the child we save at the clinic on a random Monday grows up to be gay, or a school teacher, or a drug dealer, or a doctor - it doesn't matter.

But here's what gets me upset: Do certain people not deserve life? No. Everyone deserves their shot at life. I don't have to agree or support what they do, but they still deserve life. This segways nicely into my next rant. I HATE the "born this way" philosophy.

This is a philosophy that has become prevalent in the World and glorified in the media. Yes, somethings we are born with and cannot change, like our ethnicity, our gender, and our families. (I know some people think you can change those things, but sorry, buddy, you can't.) Other things, like our interests, the type of people we want to spend time with, and our beliefs are ours. We choose them, even if we do so at a very young age. I am a firm believer in the principle of "moral agency." What that means is that God has given us the ability and the opportunity to make choices about what we do and who we become. (Still, the consequences of our actions are set. We choose the outcome with the first step we take.) The "BTW" philosophy has three major flaws:

1. It insults the intelligence and individuality of people.

2. It denies people that "freedom" that it claims to hold dear.

3. It states that people can never change. Ever.

If people are "born that way," then they don't make choices about who they are. They are born into a category or classification. They are born into a label, such as "hippie", "prep", "gay", "straight", "jock". Can you imagine what this implies? Picture a doctor and a nurse in a newborn nursery. They have a pen and a stack of Post-It notes. They walk up to a baby, look at him, and the doctor says "This one's emo." The nurse then writes "EMO" on a Post-It and sticks it to the child's forehead. That child then grows up hearing "Oh, he's just emo," over and over again. The child has a very small chance of becoming anything but emo. That's just what the BTW philosophy says.

The BTW philosophy claims to embrace freedom to do whatever people feel is best for them, or in other words, determine their own morality. Yet, as expressed above, if people are in fact "born this way," wouldn't that mean that their morality is not determined by themselves? That something bigger than them, whether it be God, or biology, or something else, already hardwired them to be a certain way? If this is the case, then they can kiss their "freedom" goodbye. They are playing into the hands of the (natural) man.

I just finished reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo again. It is SO GOOD. In it, there is a character named Javert. Now, Javert is a policeman who hunts for the protagonist, Jean Valjean, for decades. Jean Valjean repents of his original crime of stealing bread, and his breaking of his parole, but Javert cannot wrap his mind around the fact that people can change. We know people can change, I mean, just look at Lindsey Lohan. She went from adorable child-star to insane, drugged-up shoplifter. (It makes me so sad.) Was she born an insane, drugged-up shoplifter? No, anyone could tell you that. She made some dumb choices. Now, how about the opposite? If you have ever walked into a church, you would see dozens and dozens of people who are trying to change for the better. The BTW philosophy states that people are born a certain way, and neither cannot, nor should not try to change. "If you were born lazy, that's cool. You can never change, so I guess you'll just suck at life. If you were born annoying, no worries, you just won't ever have friends. You were born with sociopathic tendencies? Oh, well then, you should hurt whoever you feel like, because you ARE a sociopath, and that's who you are! It's your identity! If you ever change, then you'll be denying the true YOU! You'll never be happy if you change. Why let society make you feel like you need to change? What you're doing is right for you. Be the victim! Don't worry about how you make others feel - it's all about what makes YOU happy!"

Bleh. It was hard for me to write all that crud. The BTW philosophy is an excuse for selfishness and laziness when it comes to improving one's self. It is so disappointing to me to see how many people have fallen into this trap. Don't ever let yourself think that you were just "born this way". It's a way out of facing decisions. Unfortunately for those people that do fall into it, there will be a day when they have to stand and account for those choices they made. The World has begun to applaud people not as they make their way through the marathon of life, but is now encouraging people to never leave the starting line. We should all be striving  to move forward, and not dwell on the way we began. The song should say something along the lines of, "Look how far I've come, I was born that way."

Think about it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

COMMUNICATION

You know how totally EASY it can be to just TELL someone how you feel? This, I believe, is one of the main problems with high school: people never just talk about their thoughts and feelings. I guess it's hard to be that self aware all the time, the outcome is uncertain, and the way things are may change. Still, isn't it better to clear the air and deal with the consequences than be frustrated longer than necessary? You never know how well they may take it. They may totally understand, and if they can't, then maybe it's better that you know things won't work out. If someone is worth the effort, they'll try their best to understand, as you should do too. It's easier to talk to someone than to let it simmer inside you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

World Travel.

I'm very sure ships could be sinking mid-way along kindly made glaciers. I never sway from eating little lunches because it upsets mom. Snakes yield other unfortunate attributes, even queasy bodily kinks. Girls always adore turkeys under the kiwi kayak. Pretty Indians sell new banging, blue buttons. Lice can't vex minor singers in brutally evil ticklish places. Ruling monarchs canNot stop jewel thieves. Buff guys hate eating non-cooked pancakes. Virginians go silly for golf. Can elephants pounce bouncy castles and undo party bags? Even lost toys attack many wilting military men needing cold strawberry slushies. Cool swag guys go before girls secret lovers' lies. Catching burning fires gets to be nasty 'cause every single person goes. Entreat doves' every sailing kind until days run circularly calling cool adoring rain. Angels never stop attending little sweet baby zebras zealously miracles till bravely retiring. Colors unite sails of ambrosia at midnight.

I'm Jordan, and Iraq, 'cause Iran to Afghanistan. <3


Where the Heck is Matt?

Monday, February 13, 2012

The View from the Floor: Valentine's Day?

Whew. What a world we live in. Normally, I like to take the world by storm, smacking back as quickly as it dishes stuff out. But, I've been missing my mojo. Sometimes it's good to feel like you got hit by a truck. (WHAT?!) It allows you time to examine things from the floor. It's a change of perspective. I've thought about pretty much everything you could think of. There are some good things that have come out of this short period.

Do you ever feel like you're close to someone, but they're so far away from you? Maybe literally, maybe not. It reminds me of a song lyric: "It's like we're at a distance/But close enough to whisper both our names/....It's like we're moving forward/But falling backwards playing games." (That's Magnetized by Days Difference) It's super annoying. There are reasons why you love people, and seeing them put up walls or push so much you feel defensive whenever they're around is just difficult.

Upside: I see what relationships are most worth my continued effort! It's sad to see some have to fall to the wayside, but it's what's best for both of us. I love those around me. A lot. I fight for people. There are some friends I have that I have weathered storm after storm for. They know I love them. I know they love me. I know people who I would literally die for. I mean that. If I could guarantee their happiness and safety in this life and the next, I would do it.

I know not everyone I feel this way about would do the same for me. I'm not a better person than them, I just love differently.

Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and I don't have huge expectations. I never have, and I won't in these high school years. It's not time yet. I don't expect flowers, or candy, or a card, or even a date. What I do expect is to be loved by my friends who I love so dearly. Unfortunately, I know not everyone will. There are people who have done what I spoke about above, taken my heart and bolted, or slowly walked away. I hope some of them will bring my heart back - I kind of need it.

Happy Valentine's Day to you! I love YOU. I thank you for reading my blog, and apologize for the random, more shallow posting I've been up to this month. I promise that I'm hitting my second wind.

Here is someone else who values the view from the floor. (AND they're Irish!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GemKqzILV4w&ob=av2e

Peace from the East,
S

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nostalgia

The other day, they were playing High School Musical on TV. I haven't heard or seen HSM for years. It was super exciting to see those "cool teenagers" I admired when I was eleven. Did you realize that the characters only 15 and 16 in the first two movies? Whoa. It was really funny to see my friends in the characters I used to see as so distant. Still, it's kind of weird to see something that I idolized when I was 12. (I'll admit it - I was a tweeny-bopper.)

Little did I know how true to life these movies would end up being. People called them "cheesey", which they totally are, but it's because every teenager could relate to one of the characters on the screen.

This got me thinking about Lizzie McGuire and Phil of the Future, listening to Avril Lavigne and Jesse McCartney. NOSTALGIA.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lists of Likes

This week, my brother had to make two lists for his composition class; one of things he likes, and one of things he doesn't like. He inspired me to do the same. We'll start with things I don't like so we can end on a positive note.

Things I Dislike
-Being stood up
-Heavy metal music
-Being told my "time will come"
-Being treated as a child
-Violent movies (There's enough suffering in the world, why would we want to watch it for FUN?!)
-When people get on my mom's case for not doing enough (Who do you think you are? Try her life sometime, and then you'll stop.)
-Never getting a reply to a text, call, email, letter, etc.
-People living far away
-When people commit to something, and then bail last second
-Waiting a week for each Downton Abbey episode
-Turning in assignments late
-Girls who need every boy to like them
-Not having enough room on my corkboard for everything I want to put on it
-When Mutual is cancelled
-Not being able to dance as much as I'd like
-Abortion
-When people use other's misfortune to continue their political agendas
-Lust stories (Gross. Fo reals, yo.)
-Waking up early
-When people make fun of my brothers
-Poverty
-Not being able to help as much as I would like to
-Wondering if I'm good enough for something
-Those days when I'm tired of myself
-When people know the Gospel is true, and then succumb to the World
-Confrontation
-When people can't take hints
-Not having enough time to do everything I want to do

Things I Like
-American history
-Reading
-The smell of pumpkin bread
-Hugs
-Spending time with my family
-Watching movies with my friends
-Going on dates with some awesome guy friends
-Literature Class
-Downton Abbey
-Tap dancing
-Being on stage
-Owl City
-Photographs
-New York City
-Swings
-That first 50 of swim practice, when you feel totally graceful and powerful
-When people ask my opinion, and actually care
-BBC
-Reading my old journals
-C.S. Lewis
-The smell of vanilla
-Writing and receiving letters
-Broadway musicals
-Playing with kids
-Getting random "I think you're awesome" text messages
-Going my my friends' Eagle Scout courts of honor
-Seeing my friends leave on missions
-Setting goals
-Crossing goals off my list
-History in general
-Old thrillers (Perry Mason, Hawaii 5-O, Mission: Impossible)
-Disney movies
-Jane Austen
-Love stories
-Playing piano
-Singing at the top of my lungs
-Church dances
-Personal progress/honor bee program
-Seminary
-Prom dresses/getting dressed up
-Dancing in the rain
-The scriptures
-GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THE GREATEST THING EVER.
-Going to Cici's after a show
-EFY
-Dr. Seuss
-Sunshine
-Pretzel M&Ms
-Holidays
-Summertime
-England
-Shakespeare
-Priest/Laurel activities
-Louisa May Alcott
-Standing up for what I believe in
-Homeschooling
-Reading in front of the fireplace
-Bragging about the awesome things my friends accomplish
-Oranges
-Theatre Camp
-Discussions
-Panera Bread
-Travelling
-Learning about world culture
-Disney World
-Dreaming
-Going sledding with my friends
-Blogging :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Whoa.

I had a moment today in which I was completely out of control. I was not in any position whatsoever to control what happened to me in that moment. I was in the hands of someone else, and I had to deal with it. I'm not a fan of those moments. I guess I can now relate to my mom when I drive. (Haha. Ha. ha.) Still, those moments come. We have to just take a breath and know that it'll be ok, and if it's not, we did something hard for us individually. Sometimes, we've got to let go and LIVE. It's hard. I like having things go my way. I like being in control. I know I probably come off sometimes as a stick in the mud, or as too intense, but it's because I want to avoid future regret. Valid, right? I obviously think so.

It's been scary for me to let myself form deep bonds with other people, because then I'm not in charge. There are more variables than I can control. But, you know what? It's been awesome. Sometimes, I've gotten hurt. I trust easily, and when I'm betrayed or mistreated, (which happens more than I'd like), it's harder for me to trust that person that easily again. Yet, I constantly find myself back where I started with some of these people. I think, "So-and-so has hurt me so many times before. They have used me and ignored me," but I end up forgiving and then getting hurt by the same person. Maybe I'm not vocal enough?? I'm not sure. But I love people. That's a good thing, right?

The reason it's been awesome is that as I lose control, I gain control. I am able to put my heart in someone else's hands, and then know how to respond if something happens. I'm trying my best to be able to discern who is trustworthy and who is not. I have been taught so many lessons by both types of these people.

(Let me clarify: losing control does not refer to control of my faculties or my behavior. One must always be able to make the best decisions and keep their high standards.)

So, basically, this super random ranting can be boiled down to two points:

1. Sometimes in life, we have to do scary things that deal with things and people bigger than ourselves, including what God wants us to do.

2. I'm still learning how to work with people when I do make myself vulnerable to them. I can't control what they do, but I can control how I respond.

I imagine driving down the road in the rain, and all of a sudden, the brakes lock up. "Jesus, take the wheel!" is the cry that goes up to Heaven. If you ask, he always will. You'll have several moments of uncertainty as you slide atop the pavement, but in the end, the Master is in charge - right where he belongs.