Iron sharpens iron…

Devotional blog:

“You gotta have friends” and “where have you been walking?” 03/22/2012 and 03/23/2012, Psalm 119:45 and Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

~Prov. 27:17

While there are quite a few entries in this book where I have agreed with her advice and position there are also those entries at odds with my sense of logic and spirit. Perhaps this is my lack of understanding…in fact, I guess it IS my lack of understanding. In this entry she encourages us to form friendships/relationships with those that build us up and help us make godly choices. Positive people who believe in you and want the best in you. Now none of this in principle do I disagree with. Absolutely, you want to be friends and have relationships with those that will be supportive and strengthen you. However, given this is a devotional and she mentions having friends that help you make godly choices and where to find them such as at Bible studies or support organizations etc. I am assuming she is encouraging us to have Christian friends and it sounds like this is supposed to be preferred exclusively. This isn’t first time I’ve encountered this type of argument…to only consort with those of your own faith lest you be tempted by the ‘dark side’ whatever it might be. I don’t understand why is it that I can supposedly only ‘learn’ from a Christian friend? I have Christian friends and non-Christian friends, why should I value the opinion or advice of one over the other? Though I may ultimately agree with one set of advice over the other, I still consider both equally.

More on this in a moment but I’d like to combine this with her previous entry about “Where have you been Walking?” In this entry she discusses how we need to be aware as Christians ‘where we walk’ in life and to be careful not to fall into ‘subtle’ steps away from the truth such as “spending more and more time with a persuasive friend who doesn’t acknowledge Christ or his principles; reading magazines that make me feel inferior about my body; listening to songs that glorify casual sex; or even walking to the beach instead of church on Sunday morning.” Again I have a lack of understanding here. Why is hanging out with non-Christian friends a ‘subtle step’ toward what is wrong? Why is walking to the beach instead of church on a Sunday, walking away from God? There are plenty people I know that walk to church three times a week and are far from God while other’s fellowship, pray and seek God in a park, on a beach, washing the dishes and I feel they have a stronger relationship.

My point? These entries suggest we have weak minds and little resolve. I don’t particularly like that. Continue reading “Iron sharpens iron…”

Can people change?

Can people change?

When I ask this question I am surprised by the variation in responses I get. I suppose I assumed the general consensus would be “sure, yes”. After all we are all humans with the power of choice and ability to adapt and be flexible in our existence and relationships with others. I don’t think anyone doubts it’s ‘possible’ for someone to change, when I get more specific with the question is when they ‘waffle’.

When I ask about people specifically in their own lives whom they’ve known an extended time…when I ask if ‘they’ could change the response is usually ‘no, they are who they are, they’ll never change.’ I found that interesting. I too believe that ‘anyone’ can change should they choose to do so however, there are people in my life who I would be absolutely dumbfounded if they changed. They seem so staunch in their ways, their beliefs, their attitudes that nothing short of God or the devil himself could change them.

There are people that hold the belief that someone cannot/will not change from personal usually painful experience with that person. I have any number of stories of girlfriends of mine ‘played’ by a guy. They fall hopelessly in love with him, he entertains that off and on for a while then loses interest and moves on. I’ve been the ‘girl’ in that situation. Or worse he strings her a long, sometimes for years so that he has someone to ‘fall back on’–I’ve been the ‘girl’ in that scenario as well. And it happens in reverse a girl cheats on her guy or vice a versa and we are so unwilling to entertain notions that the person who cheated on us can ever be anything more than just a lousy cheater. Isn’t that where the saying comes from? “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” If you fundamentally believe that people can change why stick with saying ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’. The same applies for ‘once a bitch/gossip always a bitch/gossip’; once stubborn always stubborn, once ‘disappointed’ will always be disappointed’, once jaded will always be jaded, once wronged–now everyone ‘wrongs’ them….you get the idea.

I do know what it feels like to throw yourself 105% or more into a friendship and it crumbles anyway because that other person could not be bothered to acknowledge your existence any more for whatever reason. Reasons they never tell you. So what are you left to believe?

A friendship that you desperately attempted to keep alive despite different life paths and yet it died anyway (and that’s saying something given social networking today)…A person walks back into your life and decides they’d now like to be in your life again; you might have hurt them but they’ve also hurt you. Do you let them back in?

I believe people can change and if they want to and it makes their lives happier and I would be excited for them and wish them all the happiness in the world on their new outlook or view on life etc…but no matter how much I might want to be apart of that persons life as well, I am doubtful that I would let them back in. Why? Because I already threw everything I had available at the friendship…I’d feel I had nothing left to give.

Stream-of-Christmasness

I started wanting to write this blog based on one of the devotional entries in the book about what would happen if you took the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas. My mind wandered into wikipedia reading about the history of Christmas itself. My mental wanderings continued into various conversations with friends and acquaintances talking about the mesh of pagan and religious traditions mixed into Christmas nowadays. Then of course that leads to the blatant commercialism that Christmas has become. I’ve only to travel 2 minutes by skytrain to see the influence of Christmas in Bangkok, a Buddhist country. Though they don’t officially celebrate the holiday itself by days off work, they encourage gift giving and the market places are bedecked in lights, fake trees, cardboard snowmen and other such holiday decor.

The rest of my mental wanderings are hazy at best and clarified eventually into a deluge of memories–as though I was being visited by the ghost of Christmas past… Continue reading “Stream-of-Christmasness”

Love and Riddles: How often do you say you love someone important to you?

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Love and Riddles”, 12/6/2011, Song of Songs (Solomon) 2:1-17

So I’ll be jumping around a bit as I play catch up in my devotional blog ‘series’ out of this book. I’m combining two entries in this blog. So Song of Songs or Solomon as its called in some Bibles is quite the ‘lovers’ book. It’s very short, only 8 short chapters (about 4 Bible pages) and sits between Ecclesiastes and Isaiah. I kept missing it when I was flipping through my Bible trying to find it. And the book is all about love and how to treat your lover. And how can you not think this books is about desire with verses like:

1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth–for your love is more delightful than wine. 1:13 My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts.¬† 1:16 My love is mine and I am his… 7:9-12 May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth. I belong to my lover and his desire is for me. Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened,and if the pomegrantes are in bloom–there I will give you my love.

In spite of the lack of explicitly religious content, Song of Songs can also be interpreted as an allegorical representation of the relationship of God and Israel, or for Christians, Christ and the Church or Christ and the human soul (Cited from Wikipedia).

What struck me was the sincere passion these two characters within this book had for each other. Like all good internet junkies I googled “love”… Continue reading “Love and Riddles: How often do you say you love someone important to you?”

Scaling smooth inner walls of trust

Ok after yesterdays sidetrack event of commenting on a blog I’d read entitled “I’m Christian unless you’re gay” (read it if you get a chance), now, back to the book…

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Trust”, 11/27/2011, Jeremiah 31:1-6 and Ruth 3:5

In this section the author, Pam, goes into what it means to have a trusting relationship. She opens with something Ruth said in the Bible: “I will do whatever you say”–what guy wouldn’t want to hear that from a woman? Sorry guys, she was saying it to her mother-in-law. I find the concept of trust interesting in that I have some friends that are incredibly trusting and some that have some incredible walls built up…hell you need some seriously specialized climbing gear to get up the smooth face of their walls.

Then you inevitably ask the question ‘is it worth it?’ Which is terrible I know, they are your friend after all. But it is exceedingly frustrating to think you are making progress only to find yourself on a temporary ledge with your friend laughing at you from above…continually saying ‘you don’t know me, you can never know me’. At that point I’d just rather rappel down and call it a day. Of course self-discovery and self-trust is an ongoing process and I’m sure I’ve frustrated many a friend as well, even though I wouldn’t say I put up walls…I think rather its just a fundamental misunderstanding of personalities. You build an image of what you think someone is in your head and when that turns out to be untrue it throws you for a loop. Not because they misled you but because you built this image that wasn’t who they were inside. Its not a matter of ‘good or bad’, its just not who they were and you have to step back and decide if you are going to take the time to dispense with all your, perhaps years of, preconceived notions and really get to know the person for who they are. Sometimes we are able to do that, sometimes circumstances prevent that option.

I used to say I was very ‘guarded’ didn’t really trust anyone–but who am I kidding…its not who I am. At best I had phases of distrust that ended up evaporating as the event that triggered the distrust faded. Personally I’m a pretty open book, people don’t have to work too hard to read me. At first I was insulted because I thought of myself as a chameleon, I could put on whatever face was required and they’d never know ‘me’. So when people said¬† I was easy to read I was aghast…and here I thought I was this great actress. This was when it was ‘hip’ to be mysterious…ya, no, I’m not mysterious haha. I was in theater from 6th grade up through high school and some in college and didn’t get bad reviews. As an actress, ok I didn’t suck, but as a person–who am I kidding–I suck at hiding my feelings. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t stubborn. Which I know probably drove some of my friends and boyfriends and family insane, knowing something was dreadfully wrong but not being able to truly pry it out of me. Continue reading “Scaling smooth inner walls of trust”