Soapbox: Platonic Friendship

Soapbox Platonic Friendship

I’m a Geek, not a Nerd. I’m not into science, or math, or anything like that. I do have a deep, deep love of history (though in a geekier, less nerdy way). The real difference is nerds are into science and geeks are into stories. I love stories and all the things that are wrapped around them. I’m loyal to my stories and can be a bit ‘fan-ish’ about them. For instance: Lord of the Rings. I’ve read the books numerous times, seen the movies (extended edition) more times than I can count, and have random facts about both stored away in my head. I’m tempted to buy any and all paraphernalia that even hints at Lord of the Rings. Multiple different print editions of the books line my shelves, along with books about the books, and about Tolkien. To this collection has been added, by me and loved ones, lots of Tolkien’s random writing. It’s a story obsessiveness. I want to know all about what I love.

I love stories and a handful of particular stories especially.

This is how this plays out: I miss a story and its characters, but can’t watch/read it at that moment. So, I look up stuff about it. I get on Pinterest and look up Firefly. I chuckle to myself and pin away. Yes. Yes. I’m so familiar with the show I can quote most of the scenes I’m pinning. It’s strange, I know. But, it’s me enjoying the known, revisiting old friends. (See? I’m a Geek.)

Recently, I’ve returned to Sherlock. I haven’t watched it since season 4 came out, and not as a complete unit. A few weeks ago on a Wednesday night, Price mentioned something that made me think of Sherlock. Obviously, I had to start re-watching the show. The show, the story, the characters pulled me back in in an instant. I remembered and re-enjoyed all the things I love about Sherlock. It’s clever, unique, artistic, funny, relatively clean, with most excellent character building, and (most of all!) most of all the friendship between John Watson and Sherlock Holms. It’s beautiful. (A running theme in all my fandoms is friendship.) I love how they’re best friends, but also annoy one another. I love how John gets Sherlock, and how much Sherlock thrives having John as a friend. I love their loyalty, friends no matter what. I love their comradery and teamwork. It’s just wonderful. It makes my heart happy.

MaleFriendshipRuined

The other night, after all the day’s work was done, unable to find a book that gripped me, I went on Pinterest to look at Sherlock stuff. I smiled over clever memes, teared up at favorite lines, then . . . wait . . . what is this? Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. No. Stop. Quit. Please. All this stuff about John and Sherlock being gay, homosexual, having sexual a relationship. Really? Face Palm.

Every time.

In just about every fandom the world has seen fit to ostentatiously turn male friendships into something sexual.

Sherlock: John and Sherlock.

Band of Brothers: Winters and Nixon. (I kid you not.)

MCU: Bucky and Steve/Thor and Loki.

LOTR: Sam and Frodo.

Supernatural: Dean and Castiel.

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Winters and Nixon. Courtesy of Pinterest.

It happens again and again and again. All male friendships are twisted and turned into something they’re not. Our culture is so homosexual-centric and so sex oriented we can’t have friendships any more. Male friendship is being ruined. Currently, it’s almost impossible for two men in a story to be close buddies without someone turning it into a gay thing.

It makes me sad.

Can two people of the same gender with the same shared experiences not love each other platonically? Do we even know how to do that anymore? We lose one of the great joys and blessings of this life when we destroy platonic friendships and relationships.

Funny enough, you don’t see this as often with female characters. It’s there, but not as prevalent. Fans seem fine with girls being friends, platonic friends. The gay side is still there, but less extreme and extroverted. You have to dig deeper into the darkness of fan-fiction to find it. But male friendship? It’s just about gone. Is this because women form bonds more quickly amongst themselves?

Our inability to honor male friendships makes me concerned for my own stories. What if I found a Soul/Haze homosexual fan-fiction? No! No! They’re friends, buddies, brothers! Brothers! Why can’t men just be friends? Why do we always have to sully them with unintended sexuality?

Even Supernatural has an episode where Sam and Dean meet a fan and find out, to their horror, that there’s an undercurrent of them having a sexual relationship. They’re brothers! Brothers! Where do we draw the line? Why can’t we see this is ruining male relationships? Why can’t we see that we’ve let sex into every facet of our beings? It makes us jaded. It clouds everything. It taints what once was pure. You watch. Soon, it will be parent and child. We will take all forms of love and make them sexual.

Sex is great. It’s a gift of God. We’re all sexual beings. It’s part of being human and creaturely. Unfortunately, we’ve made the helpful servant the master, and it’s a horrible master! Instead of keeping sex in a good, right, and pure place, using it as God intended, we’ve poured it into every segment of our lives. The outcome: girls and women writing male homosexual fan fiction about two real men who bravely fought in WWII—who still have living children and grandchildren, people who know them—having sexual relationships. It’s disgusting. They can’t just be friends. Oh no, of course not. We can’t let friendship be enough. Beautiful, strong, faithful, loyal, good friendship, one of the strongest bonds in humanity isn’t enough.

What really gets in my craw, is that the whole LBGT etc., gay community, who screams bloody-murder about not forcing people into a sexual box and safe spaces, doesn’t defend the straight the way they demand the straight defend them. Imagine the hue and cry if a fan made a gay couple only platonic friends. Image the witch hunt, the tar and feathering! But, if you take two historic or obviously platonic males and make them straight, it’s like the sweetest, best, cutest, coolest thing. Please kill me now. What hypocrisy.

Okay. I’m getting off my soap box, but fans, come on, let friends be friends. Embrace the beauty of the non-sexual friendships as much as you do the romantic ones.

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Soapbox: Deserve

 

Soapbox_ Deserve

Image from Pixabay, edits by me.

 

I seem to be in a bit of a soapbox mood, but I promise I’ll get back to my Lessons from Being Sick soon. (Previous soapbox, and Lessons from Being Sick)

Right now, we tend to banter around the idea of ‘deserving it’. Something good happens in your life and all your friends pat you on the back and say, “You deserve it”. A dream comes true, a magical vacation is taken, a promotion, a gift, or just me-time happens and we deserve it. Yes, we all have to take time to semi-re-center ourselves. Sometimes we give and give and give and give until our bodies just shut down. It helps if you can see the signs of that happening and take a few hours or even a day to regroup so that you can go back to serving others. But, do you deserve it? Have you really gone above and beyond what everyone else is doing in such a way as to deserve it? Are you truly and purely worthy of being spoiled, by yourself or by others?

Have you ever stopped to wonder about that?

Have you ever stopped to notice the selfish and sometimes stupid things we do because ‘we deserve it’?

What about the other side of the coin? We never think about the fact that if you have earned this reward, this promotion, this dream come true, or this me-time, then you can un-earn it. If you deserve it now, you could not deserve it tomorrow. You can deserve that new handbag today…don’t ask me how that works, you deserve a handbag? …and then not deserve it tomorrow.

We are so quick to pat ourselves on the back for all our hard work, but we don’t ever talk being lazy and deserving poverty. We don’t talk about deserving health issue because we refuse to say no to upsizing our drinks and taking a walk. We don’t talk about deserving problems in schools because we refuse to teach our children self-control. We don’t like deserving negative things. We’re super happy and agreeable with deserving days off, expensive treats, massages, and diet-cheat days, but we’re not happy with deserving the consequences of our sins.

See, only one human being has ever lived perfectly enough to be worthy, to deserve, anything nice. Only one person live the life that earned him…well, life. And he chose to take on death for us…the unworthy. Because, honestly, I’m not worthy and don’t deserve to see my dream of being a homemaker come true. I don’t deserve to have my health in an upswing. I don’t deserve to have a husband who is loving and kind. I don’t deserve to live in the 21st century where I can sit on my back porch on a not so hot summer day and write this article. I don’t deserve the grass, trees, and plants that surround me. These are all of grace. My whole life is grace upon grace upon grace.

Do you want to get rid of entitlement? Teach children thankfulness. Teach them that it is a mercy, a grace, a debt that can’t be paid to be born in the USA. Teach your children, and develop in yourself a heart of thankfulness. Take a moment to be thankful for what you do have and stop worrying about what you don’t. Take a moment to consider your own sinfulness. Think about how selfish you are, and then be thankful for the grace that has been shown to you. Instead of thinking of all the good things you think you’ve earned, think about all the judgement that should rightly sit on your shoulders. Tremble at the thought that if you did truly earn some blessing, then you can just as quickly un-earn it.

Believers will stand out more and more as the world spirals.

Image from Pixabay, edits by me.

We need to get our heads out of the entitlement game, out of the self-deserving game, and start thinking about grace and thankfulness. Next time you buy a new shirt, game, book, bag or whatever it is, don’t think to yourself that you’ve earned this and this is why you should get it. Think to yourself that you haven’t earned it. It’s a gift. A gift to someone who doesn’t deserve a thing.

And remember, the only one, Jesus Christ, who did deserve and was worthy of every beautiful thing in this world, gave it all up. He set his ‘worthiness’ on the altar of sacrifice for us, his saints.  He set aside everything that was his right, that he did deserve, that he had earned, that was his privilege, to take on everything that wasn’t. He took on all the rights of death and punishment, the only things we had earned, that are our true rights. He took what we earned so that we wouldn’t have to pay that cost. That’s like the sweetest person you know dying, willingly, for a serial killer. Think about it. Christ didn’t deserve his death, we did. But what we didn’t deserve, what was given to us by grace, we can’t lose. I didn’t deserve my salvation, I don’t deserve my salvation, and thus I can’t lose it. I can’t un-deserve it because it’s not about me. It’s about Christ. He earned it. He is worthy. He is perfect. He will keep my salvation for me.

As our world spirals down into more idiocy and self-harming philosophies that make no sense, believers will stand out and more and more. We won’t take a moment because we’ve earned some me-time. We’ll take a moment because Christ has generously given us a chance to do it. We will do it with thanksgiving, and not a hording of our time against those always clamoring for us. We will understand the benefits and the proper placing of down time, entertainment, recreation, so that it doesn’t take over our lives, and we will be thankful for the many generous gifts of God. Instead of demanding, we will be humbled that he is so kind. Instead of tight-fistedly holding onto every drop of this life, we will be glad for the gifts as they come and go.

Stop talking about deserving any blessing, be it spiritual or temporal. If you believe and trust in the Word of God, you will understand that you deserve nothing good, you have earned nothing good, and so you will come at life with a heart of thankfulness, for it is all of grace.  This will set you apart from the world. This will make you different. Be ordinary. Understand you don’t deserve any blessing in this life, or the life to come. It’s all of grace.

Sunday Thoughts: Happiness and the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Movement

Yes, cause you are the center of the universe and get to decide who is worthy and unworthy.

Yes, cause you are the center of the universe and get to decide who is worthy and unworthy.

I know I promised to start the series on things I learned from managing our boutiques that have helped me as a housewife, but two things have been irritating me so I’m going to write about them first.

Sometimes a rage builds inside me, wanting out.  Maybe it’s my Irish roots turning me into a flaming redhead with anger management issues, but whatever the reasons, it happens.  In my line of sight today are two things: one, our modern-day concepts of personal happiness, and two the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity movement.

So, first things first.  You’ve all seen the quotes on Pinterest, on cards, plaques and on your Facebook feed proclaiming your happiness to be of chief importance, right?  They say that true love accepts you for who you are, no one should ever try to change you, and that if the world doesn’t accept you as you are, you have the right to reject and ignore them.

How narcissistic and self-focused could we possibly be?  If I followed any of this advice, I would be divorced, fat, lazy, lonely, alone, and angry at the world. (I’m not saying being fat is a sin, I’m saying I would be a glutton cause I like food.)  I would push most, if not all, of you out of my life starting with my husband and going on from there.  When did we decide being happy was the chief end of man?  And why don’t we see the inherit dangers that belief brings.  With that line of thinking, we would see the murdering of innocents because they get in the way, a high divorce rate, and suicide….oh wait.  We see all that.  This belief system would also incapacitate a society from convicting murderers of all stripes from bullies, to serial killers and terrorist….oh wait, we see that too.

When I think my goal in life is to be happy and that all stress should be eliminated, then I am my own god, my own authority, and you have no right to say otherwise.  Could we embrace a more unchristian attitude?  Now, it is true that I can’t change my husband….in the grand scheme of things, and he can’t change me.  But, we should be helping each other in the process of sanctification.  If my happiness and lack of stress are the most important thing, then I need him out of my life.  I mean the guy wants me to decide what’s for dinner.  He works all day and expects me to keep the house clean, our finances done, and food on the table.  I don’t like doing finances, cleaning the house, or deciding what to cook.  I’d rather sit on the couch and write fantasy stories.  Who does he think he is?  Well, I think he thinks he’s responsible for leading our home, and the man earning the paycheck while I work from home, which is exactly what I’ve been telling him for years that I wanted to do.  If he wanted to do what made him happy, he would sit at home playing video games all day and eating junk food.  If we both did what made us happy, we would both be slobs living on welfare doing nothing.

See the problem is that our society has lost a critical component of truth – total depravity.  Human beings are not naturally good, kind, hard-working, honestly, loyal things.  Occasionally, God shows us some common grace and we are all those things.  But, left to ourselves, left to pursue our own happiness, we would all stop working, engaging, and growing.  We would, instead, sit around selfishly ignoring others, while the world crumbled around us.

Because Stress is the worst Sin you can have in your life.

Because Stress is the worst Sin you can have in your life.

The idea that you should love me for who I am is another lie.  Have you looked in the mirror recently?  I’m so glad my husband loves me despite who I am.  I’m glad God loves me because of Christ.  I’m not a nice person, nor a pretty one.  I can only be those things by the grace of God.  I’m thankful He puts people in my life to help me who aren’t worried about me being happy, but instead being holy.  Pursuing holiness is hard work and stressful.  It requires you to put yourself in a state of iron sharpening iron.  You have to hang out with people who just don’t think highly enough about you.  You have to hang out with people who aren’t as cool as you.  The horror.  (You should read this with your sarcasm voice.)

We, as Christians, need to stop pinning, reposting, and decorating with lies.  We need to see them for what they are – the Devil’s whispers.  We need to remember that nowhere in the Bible does God say our happiness is our chief end, that you need to get rid of stress, and you should be accepted for all you are.  What the Bible does say is that we should be poor in spirit, mourn over our sin, be meek of heart, and put on the fruit of the Spirit.  We are to go to war against sin.  War.  If you’ve forgotten how bloody war is, go watch Lone Survivor.

And, the Health, Wealth and Prosperity movement only adds to this.  Could there possibly be more of a First World Problem than not being healthy, wealthy, and prosperous enough?  Only in a wealthy country like America could such a religion spring out of the Bible.
“God is not afraid of pain.  He does not try to keep us from it.  He does not avoid it for Himself.”  – The Language of Sparrows

So...who is defining blessings and what gave you the right to just hand them out without any qualification?

So…who is defining blessings and what gave you the right to just hand them out without any qualification?

If you can read the Bible and deduce that you are supposed to be wealthy here on earth, you have skipped some critical passages.  If that was true, why did Christ die?  But not just die, why wasn’t he wealthy, healthy, and prosperous while he was here?  Did he not have enough faith?  What part of laying your treasure in heaven do you not understand?  What part of the world hating you do you not get?  The Bible is not speaking of physical riches but Spiritual ones.  We aren’t called to live healthy wealthy lives, but quiet ones in the pursuit of holiness.  God is not in the business of making you happy.  He is in the business of making you holy.

“Life is pain, Highness.  And anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”  – The Princess Bride

Do you think Pastor Saeed Abedini is clinging to promises of happiness here on earth while he suffers, and is tortured in an Iranian Prison?  No.  Those concepts won’t sustain you when you are suffering, being tortured, hurting, angry, or enduring trials.  You must cling to the hope that just as Christ suffered, you will suffer, and just as He is glorified, you will be glorified too.  You must know and understand that the sufferings of this life are nothing compared to heaven, to seeing Christ.  You must know that God is in control and is not the cosmic Santa Claus, but the one who is redeeming, cleansing, and making holy a people unto Himself.

Don’t let yourself get sucked into the idea that all suffering is to be avoided.  Keep your eyes on your treasures in heaven, on Christ.  Don’t look for a better church, better friends, and a better life.  Look for the fruit of the Spirit, a way to serve, and battle your own sin.  This is the life of a believer.  Not happiness.  Not peace.  Not distressing.  Fighting.  Failing.  Looking to grace and the hope of eternal life motivated by the unfathomable richness of the love of God seen in Christ….and Christ died.  Don’t lose that.  Christ died.  Do you want to be like Christ?  Remember he died in a point of submission.  How much does that fly in the face of our culture?

You are never out of the fight.  Don’t let the world around you define who you are!  Look to the Scripture.  Look to Christ.  Submit your heart and mind to the teachings of the Scripture and get busy serving your local church.

Okay….I’m getting off my soapbox and getting busy managing my home.