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Saturday, September 19, 2015

We're All Equal

As I sat there listening to my instructor berate me, it was then that I realized one of the reasons we love God so much, why He is so great- because He shows no partiality.

Ever since I started graduate school I've faced many difficulties, and today I wanted to touch on the subject of "partiality," as mentioned in the Bible. There are so many places where God tells us we should show no distinction between the rich man or the poor man and that God Himself doesn't show partiality. He's fair, and He considers us all equals. There's no favoritism.

When I began the process of enrolling to grad. school I was directed to an advisor over the phone. She answered the phone and then asked what degree program I was going for, in her usual tone, and then when I told her my intended major for graduate school, her voice perked up and the tone changed. She talked to me for almost half an hour about how much I would love school and that of course my GPA was high, because all graduate students had done well in undergraduate school. And I have to admit, as I listened to her enthusiasm, I felt a bit like I had "moved up" in the world. She treated me better than she did the undergraduate students. I liked it.

When classes finally began, I expected all of the professors to be snobbish and look down upon us. I was surprised to find that half of them regarded the students as equals. They were kind to us, but then they'd tell us stories about the undergraduate students and how they could care less about their life, always implying how "foolish" undergraduate students were. But the professors took the time to learn about our ambitions in life, because we were suddenly "important."

The other half of my professors regarded themselves very highly. And one of them challenged me in an argument just to gloat over her superiority in the fact that she had a doctorate, I did not, and she would of course win the "argument" over how silly my religious beliefs were. She went on further to tell me that I couldn't know certain truths if those "truths" weren't written by scholars.

So as I sat there, I thought, I don't care what she thinks of me. I already know she thinks very poorly of me because I am not on her level of education, but that's okay. God thinks the same about me as He does the neurosurgeon or the homeless man on the street. He values each and everyone of us just the same, no matter what our education may or may not be. 

And all of a sudden it hit me that here I had been treated so well up until that point, not realizing that those who had not acquired my educational level were being treated as nothing. Nobody cared to hear about their career ambitions. Nobody cared about if they were enrolled in undergraduate school. The older adults looked down upon them due to their youthfulness, and maybe perhaps somewhat out of jealousy. But just because the professors didn't care about them, doesn't mean that God doesn't care.

And I'm so glad for that. God cares about you as a person. He delights in our communication with Him. He loves you just as much as the billionaire Christian or the Christian doctor. He doesn't care if you have a degree or not. He doesn't care if you live in a mansion. He loves us equally. And because He loves us equally, we must love everyone else equally. We must take care to treat those whom the world despises with extra love and attention. They are no different from us. And I have come to realize, that my "position" in the world means nothing. It is nothing to God, so it's nothing to me. And I pray constantly that God would never let it get to my head where I treat someone poorly or with disrespect just because they aren't like me. So examine yourself too and see, if you show partiality or do you treat everyone as equals? We need to be striving to ensure everyone sees that because God is no respecter of persons, neither are we!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Modesty & Double Standards

 I know, modesty is one of the most talked about issues. You've heard everything on it, but I feel like it needs to be reminded of again, because I'm not sure how modesty has been talked about so much and yet nothing is being done to maintain that within the Church.

The other day I sat in my faculty meeting as I listened to the principal discuss the importance of addressing the dress code. Now this was a dress code for homeschoolers, so you'd think that dress codes wouldn't be a big deal. But the common issue was students wearing short shorts and leggings without a covering. And interestingly enough, the principal said that shorts above the knee and leggings worn by themselves or had a cover above the knee were "not appropriate." And everyone agreed, as did I. What I cannot understand is that a Christian organization deems those to be inappropriate, yet why do I see Christians wearing these things?

Shouldn't this be clear cut? The Old Testament speaks of the clothing the priests were supposed to wear, and it mentions that they were to cover up their thighs. Now this was a dress code for men, not for women. And if God wanted their thighs to be covered up, how much more women? Not only that, but the skin tight clothing items are a big deal as well. When a woman wears leggings and isn't covering her bottom or her thighs, that's very distracting and extremely inappropriate. If God wanted us to show the outline and form of our bodies we wouldn't be wearing bottoms- just tops. This isn't just an issue for women though, because men are now into this too, not with leggings but other very skinny jeans. Tight bottoms are never a good idea for men or women who profess to be Christians.

Another thing that has been bothering me is that a lot of people I know before they are married have conservative clothing standards, and then all of a sudden, after marriage, they throw those out the window and you see them wearing bikinis, going around shirtless (men), wearing short shorts, and just inappropriate clothing in general. It's as if they didn't learn anything from their parents rules. It was more of, "I can now do whatever I want, so I am!" It's a very poor testimony.

Why are Christian brides allowed to wear strapless dresses but somehow that's inappropriate to wear in any other setting, especially in church? Why are Christian women allowed to wear short shorts and tube tops to the beach or even tankinis, but it's wrong to wear short shorts and tube tops outside of that setting? How are 50's swimsuits (which basically covers up the midriff and a couple inches of the thigh, but still show cleavage and lots of leg) okay to wear or any different from a bikini?

Does anyone realize that our standards have been warped? It's very disappointing and discouraging to me. And no, you don't have to wear shirts that button up to your neck. You don't have to look like you came out of the 1800s or any other era that was somewhat modest according to today's standards.You don't have to "say no to sleeveless." You can wear certain things within reason. Just be aware of what you're wearing and if it's appropriate or not. Christ died to give us new life, not so we could continue living and looking like the world.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Grief Part II

My dog Dakota
I decided to compile a list of ways to help friends and family members through a difficult time. Going through this has really helped me to think about others and my reaction towards those who lost a pet, and I've realized I didn't necessarily understand, so I was unable to empathize or really show compassion. And for that, I am very sorry. And I am grateful that through the loss of my dog, I have the ability to understand why other pet owners feel so sad. I have the ability to realize why it's even more important to pay extra special attention to those who have lost a loved one. And you don't have to go through the loss of anything to be able to utilize these tips. You can become the encourager to others right now without having to experience it!

1.) Pray for your friend/family member and tell them- Don't just say you'll pray. Do it. Pray every day for them. Remind them that you're praying for them. It's one thing for someone to say "Oh, I will pray for you." And it's another thing for them to text, email, call, or message you and say, "I prayed for you today." There's a difference. Give reminders to your friend or family member that you are praying. And when you pray, pray more than just a minute for them. Show you care by praying longer for them.

2.) Send encouraging words along their way. Someone will know you truly care when they receive a card in the mail, an encouraging Bible verse, a sweet note for the day, etc.

3.) Send a gift (completely optional)- It is really nice to know someone took the time to think about you by sending something, it doesn't matter if it doesn't wipe away the pain. It shows you care. Make up your own care package for someone who is grieving. Send them flowers to show you care.

4.) Learn how to respond to those grieving- When someone tells you they lost an animal or a person, don't just go, "Oh." Don't just say, "I'm sorry," and then continue on with your personal life and how horrible your week has been at work. That's really a slap in the face. Never say nothing either, because that hurts too. Acknowledge their pain, but be careful, some people get offended if you say you understand and you have never been through the same type of pain. It doesn't bother me, since it's intended for the best, but it can make others upset.

 When someone tells you sad news like this, tell them you are sorry, you will be praying for them, and tell them if they ever need someone to talk to about it, you will be there for them. Sometimes people who are grieving would like someone to talk to and sometimes they do not, so the best thing to do is let them know you're there whenever they need you.

And that's about it. Let me know about your thoughts below in the comments.

*And thanks everyone for your prayers, I appreciate them-I'm feeling much better!