The Alien Anthropologist…

Ok, you guys asked for it. 🙂 I started getting into this entire subject because it seems that the world and the Bible mean two completely different, and dare I say, mutually exclusive things by the word “love.” The world… in movies, TV, music, books, poetry, or literature of any media or genre… always talks about love being a feeling. And you know what I think about feelings. X-)

What really got my attention was this song one of my co-workers was forcing everyone to listen to called “Hooked On a Feeling” by Blue Suede. It says, “I can’t stop this feeling deep inside of me. Girl you just don’t realize what you do to me…” and then it says, “I’m hooked on a feeling, I’m high on believing that you’re in love with me.” I work with 2 unsaved people who are deeply offended by Air1, so while they’re there in the morning/afternoon, they make us listen to the oldies, classic rock, and pop stations. On those stations, I notice that a vast majority of the songs use the word “love,” however they’re actually about something else, you know what I mean.

Obviously that isn’t what love really is, but then I thought, “Well then, what is it?” How would you define the real deal? And then I thought of this question…

Thor.jpg

OK, here’s a hypothetical sci-fi question: An alien anthropologist comes to Earth from another planet, learns to speak English, and studies our Western culture… it approaches you and says, “I keep hearing you humans talking about this thing you call ‘love,’ but I’m confused. What is this ‘love?’ Can you explain it to me, please?” What would you say?

I’d probably stand there, scratch my head, shrug, and say, “Um… I dunno.” X-) So posted the question, along with this cute little picture of Stargate SG-1’s Thor, on Facebook and Tumblr, and got more of the same. Here’s what I got…

  1. God is love.
  2. A deep affection for someone, you would do anything for them, you enjoy their company.
  3. I don’t know, but if you’re in Star Trek TNG you end up stranded on an inhospitable alien planet, trapped in an elaborate simulation in order to give a first-hand demonstration.
  4. The reason for War and Peace alike. Just go ask Helen of Troy.
  5. All you need is love.
  6. Love? Above all things I believe in love! Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love!
  7. I’d have to say, “no, but I’ll show you some examples as we come across them.”
  8. I would say that “love” is the most misunderstood word in the English language. People will use it and abuse it and treat it as a noun. Something that is conditional and professed incorrectly, as something they can take and control as a feeling that only you can feel. But true love is a verb, in doing for others, in allowing yourself to give in spite of yourself. To sacrifice your feelings, yourself up to and including your life to allow others to know they matter. Only when you give THIS can you hope to receive it back. In my humble opinion.
  9. Love is always kind. Always making the other person feel special, wanted, important and prized for who they are. Overlooking faults and imperfections and letting them know in words and deeds that they are truly special to you and to God.

And this one answer…

“I would say that it is a biochemical response triggered by a pathological and deeply instinctive need or want or copulate, resulting in emotional attachment. It can also be triggered by purely emotional and mental compatibility. The resulting feeling is what people call love.”

OK, that’s really disturbing. Really. I found that to be a little strange that our entire culture is so obsessed with something we can’t even explain or define. So I thought, “OK… I’m gonna have to do a little research, here.”

Considering I have Asperger’s and my brain isn’t wired like everyone else’s, I did a little research into this “feeling” thing, including research into what Dr. Caroline Leaf says about feelings. And what I find is that the feeling people call “being in love” is actually caused by a reaction in the brain to a chemical called phenylethylamine. My research concluded that the brain releasing phenylethylamine into one’s system is involuntary, caused by outside influences that create the right conditions for each individual person… in other words, you can’t make yourself feel “in love.” You can’t choose to flood your brain with phenylethylamine, therefore you’re not controlling it. Not only that, phenylethylamine has been scientifically proven to be addictive, and people chase it, looking for those people/things/situations that trigger it. But the Bible says in 1 Cor. 13 that love is “the greatest of these.” This made me say, “Whoa, wait a minute… the greatest of these is an involuntary reaction to an addictive chemical in the brain over which one has no control? Greater than faith and hope is phenylethylamine? This can’t be right.” So I’d say it’s logical to conclude that Biblical love is not a feeling. So if it’s not a feeling, then what is it?

Jesus says directly in Mark 12:30-31 that to love God and to love others is the greatest of the commandments… once again, if love was an involuntary reaction we have no control over, obviously being the Creator of the universe, He would know this, so why then would He command us to do something we physically can’t? He wouldn’t. A command, by nature, is an action to be taken… proven by the fact that every other command God gives involves an action to be taken, this is God’s M.O… therefore if He’s commanding us to love, then love must be an action to be taken.

OK then, what does the action of “love” entail? Being called “the love chapter,” 1 Cor 13 seems the logical place to go, otherwise leaving up to personal interpretation can easily lead into the dangerous territory of relative truth and circumstantial morality, and you don’t wanna go there. So it says in v.4-8 that love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails.

Upon taking a good long look at the actual words used in the verse, I notice something: “Love IS patient, love IS kind, etc.,” and I thought about something. If love is an action, then there’s a problem with the transitive verbs being used here… we’re putting them in the wrong context. You can’t describe a verb with an adjective, so then what the heck was Paul talking about? The only way this can make logical sense is to re-think the verbs… these are used in a conjugation that we don’t have a form for in English, therefore something’s been lost in translation. That’s not to say that the Bible is mistranslated, but rather that we’re reading it in a way it wasn’t meant to be read… through “world-colored glasses.” This doesn’t mean “is” as to describe something’s state of existence, but rather to say “takes the action of being.” We don’t have a word for that in English, but “is” is the closest we have. So that means 1 Cor 13 is not actually a description of a thing called “love,” but rather a how-to guide on taking the action of “love.” This is saying that love takes the actions associated with being patient, kind, not envying, not boasting, etc. Now THAT makes logical sense.

And when it comes to feelings, the only thing God ever says about feelings and emotions is that we’re to control them, not the other way around… 2 Cor 10:5 says to take every thought captive, not to let it dictate what we do. So it only makes sense to me that we’re to take the actions involved in loving someone no matter what we feel, and let our feelings catch up.

So, logical conclusion: love is not a feeling to which we conform our actions, but rather a set of actions to be taken towards a person to which our feelings will conform.

But that’s just how my cross-wired brain operates, so that’s the kinda stuff I think of. X-) Honest to God, I’ve never heard anyone talk about any of that before, and truthfully, it’s kinda scary the way the definition of love being a feeling is infiltrating everyone everywhere in every way.

Sherlock Holmes was right when he said “The brain is what counts, everything else is transport.” He’s always been one of the most relatable characters to me. X-) But it’s true in the sense that we should be telling our feelings and emotions what to do, not the other way around. If love is a verb, and action to be taken, then we have to make the choice to take it. So then there’s no love without choice. And phenylethylamine is involuntary, therefore there’s no choice. Think about it… I know I certainly wouldn’t wanna be in a relationship with someone who didn’t choose to be there… how much would it hurt to think that if the person didn’t chose you, but rather blindly followed their flesh? That no thought went into it?

Besides, the phenylethylamine “high” from one particular source is scientifically proven to wear off within 18-24 months, then what? Do you suffer miserably in a relationship that no longer makes you “high,” or do you just keep moving on to another one when the “high” wears off? What a miserable life that would be. But when the decision is based firstly on God’s will and the sense and logic that he created our brains to operate on to begin with, then we can tell our feelings what to do. We can make the choice to take the actions of loving someone that’s purposefully, thoughtfully, and intelligently chosen, and our feelings will align with our choice. To me, that’s a much more desirable course of action… and a FAR more sustainable one that can definitely last a lifetime.

 

Maleficent – a reflection

I absolutely LOVED the movie “Maleficent,” and I agree very much with everything in this post. 🙂

Fraying the Net

From Maleficent Facebook page From Maleficent Facebook page

Ancient cultures the world over have all had oral traditions as the roots of their literature, both to educate and entertain. I imagine in the darkness, by a fireside, story-tellers enthralled their fellow tribes people with tales handed down through countless generations and centuries. What determines whether a story gets told or retold through the ages? I suppose it’s a story that illustrates a moral value, a particular quality or a lesson that your society deems important.

When I was growing up in the 60’s my ‘fireside’ was the all-surrounding darkness of the picture theatre, sitting mesmerized, enthralled by the animated tales of Disney movies; Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella and others. I learnt Good was beautiful. Ugly was evil. Good was always good, Evil was always evil and Good always won out in the end. I learnt being a heroine had little to do with…

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To Kill a Stereotype…

http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/october/why-its-your-job-to-break-womens-ministry-stereotype.html

So I just now came across a link to this article on Pinterest.  I gotta confess, I have completely given up altogether on being involved in womens’ ministries of any kind.  My reason is because I’m always, always, ALWAYS the outsider there.  I’m in my mid-30’s, I have Asperger’s, never married, no kids, I don’t wear makeup, I don’t fancy my hair up, I can’t afford nice clothing so I dress kinda scruffily but completely clean, I live alone, and I work for a living.  I’m basically the exact opposite of every woman that has ever attended the same womens’ ministry event as I did.

What ends up happening is that I’m sitting there by myself, surrounded by strangers who are either mothers talking about their kids or barely-20-somethings talking about boyfriends, fashion, hair and makeup, music I’ve never heard of, or TV shows I’ve never seen, and they’re all getting emotional and teary-eyed over every little thing while I’m just not feeling it… if you’re not familiar with Asperger’s, intense displays of emotion from people around me basically “don’t compute” and throw me clean off… and the whole situation becomes scary awkward for me.  Being in a crowd of people and socializing is already a massive challenge for me to begin with, and when I can’t contribute to any of the conversations going on around me because I don’t know anything of what they’re talking about, and all I get from anyone else is a lot of strange, suspicious looks because I’m not talking, I end up trying to inconspicuously look around the room for the first and most discreet opportunity to run out the door ASAP.  Then later on, I always find out that people thought I was weird and were afraid of me.  Exactly what kind of ministry do I get, or get to do, in situation like that?  The only thing that ever comes of it is that my already destroyed self-esteem gets broken down just a little bit more, and I wish I never went.

There aren’t many people like me on the planet… according to the last set of statistics I’ve heard about autism, for every 1 autistic person, there are 88 neuro-typical people, and there are 4x more autistic men than women, so I’m painfully, painfully outnumbered in the world… and for once in my life, I would so love to be able to get involved in a womens’ ministry that isn’t one big massive stereotypical girly-girl fluff-fest that jabs at every single solitary struggle I have and causes me to leave in pain rather than having found help or even been able to help someone else.  I gotta confess, my hopes aren’t up, however I’ve been praying my heart out that God would destroy said stereotypes once and for all, and show women how to stop girly-girl socializing and start getting real with each other.

“i change endings…”

so i was at work yesterday, and i “randomly” started thinking about a Bible story… The Prodigal Son.  i wasn’t thinking so much about the story itself, but rather the circumstances of the story being told… that’s when something hit me like a cement slab that i never thought about before…

so if you look at the situation in which Jesus is telling this particular parable, it changes things.  he was talking to some Pharisees who were giving Him attitude, which was their usual M.O., when He busted this parable out.  here’s the thing that we usually don’t think about when we read about this situation… the Pharisees already knew this story.  or so they thought.  the story of the son who dishonors his father by taking his inheritance before he dies, squandering the inheritance, and then coming back to beg forgiveness was a well-known story, however the way they knew it to end was different from what we know today.  in the original ending, the father rejects the son and tells him he’s cursed, and tells him he can no longer consider him his son.  but Jesus didn’t tell it that way.  instead, in His version, the father saw the son coming from a distance, and did a very undignified thing by running outside in public to meet his son where he was, and bring him back home, welcoming him back into the family with celebration.

telling the story this way kinda blew the Pharisees’ minds.  if they already knew the story, then you can imagine them being impatient, rolling their eyes, tapping their toes on the ground, and saying various things like, “yeah, yeah, we know, and then the son spends all the money, and then, blah blah blah,” and expecting Jesus to end the story the way they’ve always heard it end.

as i was thinking about that scenario going down, it thought that He probably didn’t have their complete attention until He ended the story in a way they’ve never heard it end before.  they didn’t really pay attention until He changed the ending…

and then all of a sudden, my brain just started to loop the phrase, “He changed the ending.”  He changed the ending… an then a light bulb went on… He changed the ending!!  HE changed the ending… He CHANGED the ending… He changed THE ENDING!!  don’t you see?  He changed the ending!! X-)

so it was a situation that was common, familiar, something that happens all the time… still nowadays, we overlook situations as just being “how it’s supposed to be” without giving them much thought or attention.  it was a situation where they all assumed they knew what was happening, and they knew because it always happened the same way… still nowadays, we look at things happening in our lives that we’ve seen countless times before and assume we know what’s going to come of it because the same thing always does.  the story progressed almost exactly the same way it always does until the ending… it wasn’t the beginning, the middle, or even ¾ of the way into it, it was the ending… nothing was out of the ordinary until the ending.  then…

He changed the ending.

i thought about the situations God has me in, the situations where I know what He expects me to do in them, and i see them always turning out the same.  i see the situation going in a direction that looks all too familiar to me, and always think about how i know what’s at the end of this road because it’s always the same.  and lately, i’ve been feeling like i just wanna throw in the towel because i’ve had enough of it always being the same ending, and that ending not being a good one.  but in the story, it was the ending He changed.  everything was as it always was, the way He said it was, except for the ending. 

in Jesus’s situation there with the Pharisees, if they’d have gotten bored or annoyed with having to sit through the same old story and wandered off in the middle of it, they’d have missed the most important part.  the good part, the new part, the part that would bless them, was at the end.  they had to stay through the parts that they didn’t think were important to get to the part that truly was important at the end. because…

He changed the ending.

i thought about how representative of certain things in my own life this was.  how i keep seeing things happening again and again and again and again ad nauseum, and i always see them end the same way.  i keep asking God why He keeps putting me back into the same situations over and over, and i keep doing everything i’m supposed to do over and over, and i keep seeing them end badly… like the original story.  but then, unlike the original story, just because it’s always ended badly doesn’t mean it will every time.  when He’s in control… when He’s the one telling the story… it will end how He says it will end.  i just need to sit through the stuff i’ve already heard a million times before… persevere to the end, keep obeying His instructions, without giving up due to expecting “the usual”… because it’s the ending He changes.  that’s where the faith is.

and as i stood there with it repeating over and over and over in my head until i found it coming out of my mouth, “He changed the ending…” this whole thing just started to click in my head.  trust Him, keep plowing away at the job he gave me to do in the situation in which that job needs to be done, and let Him be in control, and He will change the ending.  and as it all clicked, i heard it loud and clear…

“I change endings.” 🙂

Rudolph the Useless Reindeer… X-)

so i said all this to a friend, and he laughed and called me Sherlock… i took that as a very big compliment. 🙂  so i dunno, i just thought i’d post it here and see what happens. X-)

i worked at a cash register in a grocery store for 11 years, and during the Christmas season, they played Christmas music non-stop from the day after Thanksgiving until sometimes a few days after Christmas, so i was forced to hear every rendition imaginable of every traditional Christmas song… one year, one of those songs in particular caught my attention: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.  after thinking about the lyrics while listening to it for the millionth time, i couldn’t help noticing how completely nonsensical they really are.  it’s gotta be THE most illogical Christmas song i think i’ve ever heard. X-)  if you stop and think about it, under the conditions of the song, Santa would’ve had absolutely no use for a reindeer with a red nose that gave off light… in fact, it would’ve only served to make the situation worse.

so… Rudolph had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.  ok, hold on a minute, here.  was it shiny, or did it glow?  it can’t do both.  the scientific definition of the word “shine” is the amount of light that reflects off of an object’s surface.  the shine is about the reflection of an outside light source, so the adjective “shiny” would then mean that the nose has no light source of its own.  but if it has no light source, then it can’t glow because to glow, something has to give out the light itself… it has its own light source.  so either it’s shiny or it glows.  bioluminescence doesn’t occur in mammals unless they’ve been genetically altered by scientists… and even then, it’s usually green, not red… so either his nose was shiny, or he’s a scientific experiment that escaped from Baskerville.  which one is it? X-)

later in the song, it’s a foggy Christmas Eve when Santa comes to ask Rudolph to lead the sleigh with his bright nose.  wait a second now, there are multiple things wrong with this scenario.  firstly, what we normally think of as “fog” couldn’t happen in the North Pole.  that requires warmer air to be saturated by evaporating water, so it’s WAY too cold for conventional fog.  but there is such a thing as “ice fog,” which is a fog composed of teeny, tiny, dang-near microscopic crystallized ice particles suspended in the air, but that requires a temperature of around -40°F/C… WAY too cold for Santa to be going outside without some serious cold weather gear.

either way, if it was foggy, Rudolph wouldn’t have been any help, but rather a hindrance to Santa.  if his nose was shiny, then it required a light source to be of any use to him in the night, and if the idea was that Santa wanted to add a light source, Rudolph wouldn’t have one, therefore he would’ve been useless.  but if his nose glowed, he still would’ve been useless because anyone who’s ever been in a car in the fog at night knows that turning on the bright lights in the fog actually reduces visibility.  the light reflects off of all the particles of water… or in this case, ice… floating in the air, causing you to not be able to see anything but the fog itself.  that’s why fog lights are low to the ground and less bright than regular headlights.  if Santa wanted to be able to see better in a fog, he would need to reduce the light level in and around the sleigh to keep the light from blinding him and the reindeer.

so going by the situation and conditions mentioned in this song, Rudolph would’ve been useless with his bioluminescent snooter… poor Rudolph, he just can’t win. X-)

rel sefuekwo u iner uru wenya oleva…

“rel sefuekwo u iner uru wenya oleva…”  nakiuna kiuset imlor Nae aletwen fol imle lor ilererwen tem alwen ihanda.  imlor alwen ihanda neruna sen iner ke lor sejethelna oluth.  hai lor seletherna oluth, iment lor gafaelna kal iment lor kewielna ene ilor ilim.  entna obetien.  entna obetien ol lor ko phenylethylamine alna ol syekath falsha.  gal fuekwowen iner mekiu dos sionthe urol toren.

lor tiriaer ilor danethla fuewkowen u iner el lani aie falsha kal obetwen, kal ent ulunaer ielor ohana.  lor senithena athil mekiu.  dan lor beleona terath, lor sefuekwothe u iner uru wenya oleva.”

lor ilirerwen tiel…

(just gonna warn you ahead of time, this is a long one… it’s something i prayed a few weeks ago… i hope at least one person makes it to the end and understands so that it will have been worth all the time i put into it.)

so, in that episode of Stargate (7.13, “Grace”)… usually it’s Daniel that’s being me, but this time it was Sam…  i essentially watched Jacob and Jack rip my heart out and show it to me so i could see what was really in it, considering i’ve been refusing to admit it.  admit what?  that i truly, deep down, in the tiniest, lowest, darkest little corner at the very bottom of my heart, haven’t really actually given up on the idea of loving a man who loves me equally in return.  

but i feel like i’m supposed to have given up, and i don’t know why.  but then it could be that because You’ve been showing me who and what i truly am, and what my purpose has grown to become, that i grabbed onto that last little ember before it completely burned out and tried to bring it back to life solely on some wisp of fleeting confidence.  after all the things i let go after the events of the past few years of my life, for some reason that only You know, this is one thing that lingered.  after all that’s changed, and so quickly after things began to come back into order, this one seems to have taken the longest.  

i admit, here’s my confession: i felt proud of myself for having let it go… allegedly… and i almost bragged about it, especially in front of Seathriel and Yanweriel when they were discussing the subject extensively.  and i even have to admit to You that i wanted Yanwerion to hear me say that, “i don’t give a flying hoot,” so that he would know that i wasn’t “one of those girls.”  not that i wanted anything to do with him that way, but i just wanted to know that at least one other human knew that this was how i felt and how i thought.  

well, You just pulled that ember out of the dark, and i see it clearly now.  i confess… it’s still there, still burning, though dying and flickering out.  but what i don’t know is what You’re going to do with it.  are You going to put it out once and for all, or are You going to bring it back to life and set it burning again?  i confess again… i don’t want it to die.  there, i said it, i don’t want it to be gone.  BUT!!  i don’t wanna go through this again.  in fact, i refuse.  i refuse to put myself out there and be hurt again.  i have no reason on Your green earth to believe that i won’t be hurt and rejected again.  i’ve never in my life seen love end in anything other than pain, and i’ve never loved without pain in return.  and i refuse to do that again.  now i’m not trying to be sacrilegious or disrespectful towards You in any way, but if You can’t guarantee me that bringing it back to life will not burn me, then i want You to put it out.  and at this point, i already know i’ll be hurt either way, so it doesn’t matter.

i’m asking You now, please… i’m worn.  i’m jaded.  i’m scarred.  i’m calloused.  and if i have to be hurt one more time, i’ll be dead.  and i don’t wanna die.  not again.  i died once already, and if i have to die again, i’m afraid that i’m not gonna come back this time.  i’ve seen what You’re making of me, and i want it more than anything… even this… and if this has to go by the wayside so that i can be what You showed me i’ll be, then so be it.  wow.  words i’d never have imagined in a million years that i’d hear myself say.  but i’m not who i used to be.  and who i am now means it with everything in me.  please, i beg of You… either make it work or make it end.  please, make a way or take it away… because i’m done.  i’m through.  it’s gotta work or it’s over.

i feel You removing the jade and breaking away the callouses that came back with me… but i fear that if you leave me to die again, it won’t come off next time, and it will destroy this thing, this beautiful thing, that you’re making me into for good.  i would rather let it go than to see it destroy what You’re making me into.  everything you’ve shown me has taught me to value what You’re about to do with my life far above this persistent little burning ember that has such potential to scorch me again.  i’m completely indifferent, yet completely confused and torn by some desire… that i don’t even want at the moment… to choose which side of this dilemma to take.  i’m worn, and my prayers are wearing thin.  i’m worn even before the day begins.  i’m worn, and i’ve lost my will to fight.  i’m worn, so please come and flood my life.  please… i’m on the verge on cynicism, please rescue me from the edge.

“you’re missing something vital from your life, and the sad part is that you have no idea what i’m talking about.  you have an incredible life, and yet you’re alone.  i know you’ve denied yourself the experince of love because you think it must inevitably end in pain and lonliness.  it’s time to let go of the things that prevent you from finding happiness.  you deserve to love someone and be loved in return.” –Jacob… after which i heard You say, “that’s Me talking to you.”

“so as long as i’m setting my sights on what i think is unattainable, there’s no chance of being hurt by someone else.” –Sam, confessing something i knew, but didn’t even wanna admit to myself.

is that why i kept holding onto this idea?  so that i wouldn’t give yet someone else the chance to hurt me?  well then… cut that thread.  just cut that thread right now.  i’m free.  no, no ellipses, i’m free.  period.