Friday, October 28, 2011
In today's society cell phones are everywhere. A majority of this generation has a cell phone, and the role that cell phone plays in each person's life is usually a significant one. The cool thing about cell phones is that you can be in 4 places at once, having 4 separate conversations with 4 totally different people. (I picked 4 at random) Cell phones have evolved over the years so that they can be very personalized, and it is for that reason that a cell phone can be viewed as an extension of oneself.
Have you ever wondered why your parents get so upset with you when you bring your cell phone to the dinner table? Its because the way they view cell phones is so different than the way our generation does. To our parents, cell phones are an accessory, something that is not needed, but for a lot of us, we feel like a part of us is missing when we are not with our cell phones. We grew up in a technological age, and its for that reason we often times identify ourselves with our cell phones. We see our cell phones, as an extension of ourselves, without our phones we are incomplete, but doesn't that sound a bit funny?
In class we discuss the different part of our selves, the soul, spirit, heart, and the mind. The question I want to ask is, What part of ourselves do we put in our cell phones? Our cell phones are just tools, but for so many of us, a day without our cell phones causes much more stress than it should.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
With this story i have a automatic tensing when i read how to coax your child into not being afraid of fearful things. I grew up not celebrating Halloween and still do not. I also grew up where there was already a natural fear in my environment. This fear was from high crime rates, instant death likely if you wronged someone or their family, witches and magic men are real, and naturally the tropics in Papua New Guinea were hazardous. So when I got to the States, i wondered why on earth would people want to scare themselves? Are our lives not full of fear daily? So i want to ask parents when their child is afraid of something (that is meant to scare and in essence be evil) why would you tell your child to not to be afraid? I understand for most people this holiday is for dressing up, fun, and candy, but there is a fear about Halloween that is expected. Fear to me is evil and i don't want a apart of it. I respect cultures and their holidays, but why is this holiday about fear. Isn't there a bit of anxiety when your scared? Should parents encourage their child to enjoy fear?
Monday, October 24, 2011
During the past couple weeks, we have discussed in class the importance and the process of forgiveness, especially as related to the effects of genocide in Rwanda. In class, we noted the connection between one's relationship with God and one's relationship with others. Apart from a genuine, growing relationship with God, we cannot truly forgive those around us. I think the Amish would agree with this belief and yet add to it. For the Amish, refusing to forgive others as God has forgiven you will result in God with-holding forgiveness from you.
I think the Amish truly grasp the depths of their own depravity and the heights of God's grace, and I think we have much to learn from them. Their view of forgiveness reminds me of the parable in Matthew 18:23-35. The king's servant,whose enormous debt is suddenly erased, immediately demands from his friend the small sum that has been borrowed. Instead of forgiving as he had just been forgiven, the servant throws his friend into jail. If we, like the servant, have received an incredible gift of forgiveness from a holy God, how can we refuse to forgive other human beings, who have sinned just as we have?
Friday, October 21, 2011
Soul Surfer is a 2011 drama film based on the life of surfer Bethany Hamilton. At the age of thirteen, Bethany lost her arm to a shark attack. The film details the events surrounding this attack and her struggles during the aftermath. Bethany was born to surf. A natural talent who started surfing at a very young age, she was leading an amazing life on Kauai, Hawaii participating in national surf competitions, when everything changed. On Halloween morning, a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams. Soul Surfer reveals Bethany's fight to recover from her ordeal and how she grappled with the questions about her future. Bethany says on her web site: “It was Jesus Christ who gave me peace when I was attacked by the shark...When people ask me what my faith in Christ means to me, I usually answer in just one word: "everything!" This was true before the shark attack as well as after. And I truly believe that this faith is a big part of what did get me through it."
In class we have been discussing the five primary terms that refer to the immaterial man, with one of those terms being soul. Among the ways that soul is used to describe the immaterial man is "the immaterial part of a person with feelings and emotions" and "the whole person". But the description that I personally like best is "who you really are at the core".
When I first saw the trailer for Soul Surfer I immediately knew that it was a movie that I really wanted to see...I love inspirational movies that are based on true, real life experiences. But at the time that I saw the movie I wasn't sure that I completely understood the title. I've seen it mentioned that the title may refer to a term coined in the 1960s to denote someone who surfs purely for pleasure. But in Bethany's case I believe that the title of the movie and Bethany's experience itself refers to something much bigger and much more important than her love for surfing. It refers to her soul, the immaterial part of her person that she drew upon for strength to help her through an incredibly challenging and difficult time, leaving no doubt that her strength and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of personal empowerment and spiritual strength that clearly shows that her body is no more essential to her surfing and her amazing comeback, perhaps even less so, than her soul.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Intimacy and "All Good Things"
Recently, as my roommates and I were trying to decide on a movie to rent for our weekly movie night, we ran across a movie entitled "All Good Things". The movie was inspired by a true event, and this particular aspect, as well as the fact that Ryan Gosling was the lead actor, led us to rent it.
The movie is inspired by the life of Millionaire Robert Durst , and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst, the suspicious murder of his friend Susan Berman and his involvement with the death of his neighbor, Morris Black. The movie alludes to how these events might have happened and the guiltiness of Mr. Durst. Nevertheless, in real life Mr. Durst was never found guilty for anything, and was acquitted from the potential murder accusations regarding his neighbor, being let off on the basis of self defense.
After watching the movie, I was left with a clear image of how deceitful relationships can be, and how easily we are lead to believe lies about others and ourselves, blinded from the truth and then hurt by the very truth we had been avoiding. The relationship between the main characters, which in the movie are portrayed as David and Katie Marks, is one full of deceit, lies, false images, and a harsh realization of the truth.
This fact directed me back to our previous class discussion in which we mentioned the relational and intimacy rupture that occurred when sin came between, not only humans’ and God, but between man and woman. The divide that sin caused between this later relationship, that was created to portray the perfect image of the God Head relation, produced a crack between the intimacy that was supposed to be found in all three aspects: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Sin came to deceive and create shame, turn perfection into imperfection, and distort the image we have about each other. In the movie David Marks (Ryan Gosling) sums this idea up in a conversation with his wife: “You make me out to be this person that you think that I am. I’m not this person!”
Man is still blinded by this sin and is lead to believe that the original pattern never changed, and that man and woman can create a perfect relationship and can create deep and balanced intimacy within all three aspects, without a fail. Even Christians are lead to believe this very same lie, as they think that God will restore all this once they enter into the union of marriage. Nevertheless, they forget that if God cannot restore the intimacy between us and Himself while on this earth, due to the presence of sin, then He cannot do the same thing within the man and woman relation because of sin. Until sin is completely removed from the equation, a perfect intimacy will never take place.
If you take a look at the movie trailer you will understand the constant lies that this couple was lead to believe about each other, and where their beliefs led them. At one point in the movie and the trailer, Katie Marks (Kirsten Dunst) states the following: “I’ve never been closer to any one and I don’t know you at all.” That sums up the results of this broken intimacy that cannot be perfectly restored; we can always strive, but never fully achieve it. But an awareness of a truthful constant investment that we must have in all the three aspects of intimacy (Physical, Emotional and Spiritual), within a marriage relationship, will prevent us from living a life full of lies and un-fulfillment.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Kate’s relationship with her husband and children began to spiral out of control until Kate could no longer grip her reality. I believe this situation is more common than people will admit to and, even though it develops an obvious sign for change, some people’s reality may be hindered to the effects experienced from the adrenaline rush of today’s fast past world. I know of a few incidences where a marriage ends in divorce and parents lose sight of what is important for the family; this has even affected me directly. As John 14:1 states, “do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God.” God does not condemn the clutter of our schedule, but the worry and stress that is created as a result of the clutter for it can eventually cause our relationship with Him to become hampered.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
A few months ago my roommate shared an incredibly interesting article with me. This article is about a 7-year-old girl names January. What makes January's story so intriguing is that this precious little girl has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Now, for those of you who are not aware, Schizophrenia does not typically show up until late adolescence/early adulthood which makes January's case extremely rare. January was diagnosed at age 5 when her parents were forced to hospitalize her not only for her own safety, but the safety of her younger brother as well. January loved her younger brother, but frequently and without warning would lash out in extremely violent outbursts toward him. These attacks became so intense that the parents actually kept the brother separate from January by living in two different apartments.
January has been hospitalized on multiple occasions has seen several psychiatrists and specialists, all of whom stated over and over how rare her condition was. Medication after medication has been tried, unsuccessfully. I was particularly interesting in a statement made by January's father regarding her symptoms. He stated: "We've come to understand what her baseline is -- she's always a little bit psychotic -- and she hallucinates about 95 percent of the time... She has so many hallucinations. When the medications work against one set, another set emerges to take its place. It's like fighting an insurgency."
This comment captured my attention and I began to think about Neil Anderson's book Bondage Breaker. In this book Anderson shares example after example of people who have fallen under the bondage or oppression of demonic influence. By no means do I want to pretend I am a psychiatrist and have all the answers, but the words from his book and the examples of people who have been oppressed and delivered continued to ring in my mind as I read the story of this precious child. The fact that medication only helps in sedating January, but never really "cures" her leads me to believe that perhaps January is not fighting against something organic or chemical, but instead is in a fight against something that is not of this world.
I think the thing that strikes me the most out of all of the story is the parent's reaction. In the blog that gives January's story from beginning to end and the article shared above, the parents share their feelings of hopelessness. They have since come to accept that this is their life, and they will just have to adapt, yet it breaks my heart to hear this. Parents just want the best for their children. Imagine having to sit by and watch as your child fights a continuous battle between reality and fantasy. Imagine as you watch her conquer these hallucinations one moment and lose to them the very next.
I don't know if they family has considered the possibility of a spiritual implication over a mental illness, but I do pray that somehow this family finds peace, and perhaps some how this child can find a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
A recent article done by CNN labeled "OCD in children: A darkness has overtaken me" looks at the growing trend of obsessive compulsive disorder occurring in children as early as 3 to 4 years of age. The article was published to help bring awareness for OCD awareness week (this week) and to bring recognition to the launch of the international OCD foundation kids OCD website today. The article looks at the stories of two young women suffering from this disease, Allisa who is 17 and Mystery who is 10 years old. Both girls have faced the hardships of the symptoms for OCD which are constant worry and anxiety to constantly do repetitive behaviors to rid their minds of unwanted thoughts. Allisa now 17 began at the age of 9 , to repetitively: turn the lights on/off, and wash her hands as well as avoid eating due to fear of food poisoning. Mystery who is now 10 began to wash her hands repetitively at the young age of 5. Both girls are under going treatment for this disorder yet in times of high stress the unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors begin to emerge. The article also has facts about OCD ( ex: 1 in 100 kids suffer from this disorder) from the OCD kids website and links to it as well. Reading this article had me reflect back to the book were currently reading "The Anxiety Cure" by Dr. Hart.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
So when I scheduled my October date for my blog I should have checked to see if it was during fall break because I have no assigned reading or class lecture to go off of. So I began going through chapter 35 in the Hendrix book and it occurred to me just how important something like a concordance is when doing biblical study. I am always going back and fourth looking up different passages that speak on a topic that I am exploring. A couple of instances where my concordance has come in handy was during conversations that I have had on the topic of homosexuality and gay marriage.
Homosexuality seems to be growing in our society, or at least people are speaking out about it more. But I feel like every television show today has at least one gay character or the show is about the gay lifestyle. Look at one of the number one comedies in America, Modern Family. The title speaks volumes about the new paradigm shift in families today. I must admit, however, that my wife and I love this show and Cam is one of my favorite characters, but I can't help but wonder if Hollywood has a sort of 'gay agenda' to desensitize our society to being more accepting of gays and remove the stigma about same sex marriage.
One particular conversation that I had dealing with this topic, I could not remember any passage other than Leviticus Ch 18. Of course the natural reaction to this passage is that it was written a long time ago and was part of the Old Testament law, so therefore it is no longer a valid reference. Too bad I hadn't heard Dr. Corsini's lecture discussing that there were three different types of law in the Old Testament but I got into scripture to find more New Testament passages that dealt with homosexuality. Looking through my concordance I was expecting to find a numerous amount of passages condemning the act but to my surprise there was only one, 1 Cor. 6:9. This verse dealt with the fact that homosexual offenders would not inherit the kingdom of God. Scripture is much more clear about abstaining from sexual immorality. Some may argue that homosexuality is not included in that expression but such an argument would be difficult to sell.
So even though I know that the bible clearly rejects the acts of homosexuality as sin, I have at times questioned my responsibility as a Christian and the topic of gay marriage. This questioning came about when I watched a very interesting documentary titled, Lord Save Us From Your Followers, that talks about how the gay community views Christians as harsh, judgmental, cold, arrogant, hateful, and bigoted jerks. I highly recommend this documentary for an eye opening and challenging self-reflection. What you must be careful of is going from the extreme of, "God will judge you and you will get what you deserve," to the other which is, "God loves you for who you are and if you are gay that's ok, just be a good person." As I was personally trying to figure out what my political view was regarding gay marriage, I found myself relying on my own understanding and not on the Holy Spirit's guidance. I figured that homosexuals had every right to be married and that I or anyone else should be able to tell them that they couldn't. We do live in the U.S.A after all and just because I don't agree with their actions, doesn't mean they can't do it. I had stuck to the love sinner, hate the sin mentality. (I know, I'm a sinful heretic)
This was a view that I had up until a few months ago but I never felt right about it. This summer I was doing devotions on a completely different topic and all that I kept thinking to myself was, "Do not cause your brother to stumble." So I went to my concordance and looked up stumble. The verse that stood out to me the most was Romans 14:13, "...Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." Upon reading this moment it hit me that while in the worlds eyes gays should have every right to marry, in God's eyes giving gays the means to carry on their lifestyle is allowing them to sin and putting a stumbling block in their path. Needless to say now I have an entirely different stance on gay marriage and even though I may laugh at the two characters, Cam and Mitchel, I have to stick with my guns and remember that the laws of God are higher than the laws of man.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Recently the American Psychological Association (APA) did a study on Stress in America. In this study it was shown that a majority of Americans are living with moderate to high levels of stress. APA states that Americans recognize these high levels of stress as unhealthy and know what it would take to remain healthy, such as: eating right and getting enough sleep and exercising. However, taking such measures has proven to be a challenge due to being too busy and having a lack of energy and motivation. It was said that “[Americans] report being too busy as a primary barrier to preventing them from better managing stress.
I have begun to read our next assignment in class, a book called “The Anxiety Cure” written by Dr. Archibald Hart. Hart sees stress as preparing the way for anxiety which is a major factor for those who work in high functioning and demanding jobs. Overall, Hart seems to attribute stress to the fact that many of us live too fast paced lives. As he said, “If you really want to know why you are so stressed-out, consider the fact that you, like many others, are too hurried, hassled, and overextended.” (Hart, 1999)
After reading part of Hart’s book, I was reminded of another book called “The Life You’ve Always Wanted.” In this book, author, John Ortberg, discusses spiritual disciplines, and one discipline is the practice of “slowing” or the “unhurried life.” Ortberg says that the hurried life is “the enemy of the spiritual life” and can inhibit us from receiving and giving God’s love. We wear ourselves out from doing so many things that we are too tired and overwhelmed to give any part of ourselves to others.
The phrase “stop and smell the roses” never seemed more appropriate to me. I find myself getting impatient at almost anything- when I have to wait at a stoplight, when I am waiting for my food to cook, or waiting in line at the store. I get frustrated and stressed that these tasks cannot go faster because I am thinking of the million other things I need to do. This mentality that all things need to be done instantly and results should be immediate is a very dangerous mentality as a future counselor.
As counselors, we cannot demand immediate results from our clients, it is going to take time. We are going to have to slow down and be willing to go with them on a journey that could take longer than we think. A hurried life also can cause burnout in the counselor which is never productive for the therapeutic relationship. In essence, we somehow have to learn to slow down; most likely we will not have many opportunities to stop this chaotic life, but we must learn to slow down. A hurried life may seem productive but in the end we miss so much along the way and end up causing more stress and anxiety not only for ourselves but those around us. So as I said before, I believe it is time to slow down and “stop and smell the roses.”
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Although fictional, this is a clear example of how hurt people, hurt people. Author Sandra Wilson, in her book "Hurt People Hurt People", describes how unseen wounds of parental verbal abuse and unavailability can leave persistent scars. Children often put more effort than necessary to get their parents approval when they are not cared for and loved in appropriate ways - the way that God intended. Not knowing that they are special to God, they may develop a sense of shame: a feeling that they are not good enough or worthless, often resulting in the making of inappropriate choices to deal with their hurt.
Harry Osborne eventually became the second Green Goblin in attempt to get his father's approval, even after he was dead. He sought to avenge his father's death by taking on his father's killer, Spiderman.