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December 5th, 2006


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04:23 pm - Complexities of life
This is probably not going to have any specific content, and therefore I'm not friends-locking it. It's just time for me to have a little vent, that's all.


It annoys me when people make big deals out of something that's not necessarily a big deal. Especially when it's technically (Biblically) a "gray area," such as what books you read or what style of clothes you wear (though I could probably build a Biblical argument against some of the hooker-esque outfits currently popular) or what sort of food you eat.

I realize that not everyone has thought this through the way I have, starting with art and working outward. But still....

Saint Paul was pretty bold on this topic. In Romans 14 and a few other passages, he singles out both sides for instruction. To the confident, those who revel in the freedom Christ's forgivenss and grace implies, he says, "Be careful not to put a stumbling block in your brother's way." In other words, if you know someone has a problem with something, then even if it's okay for you, don't do it around them. Don't drink around a recovering alcoholic. Sound, loving advice.

To both sides, the confident and the weak (those who see sin in mouthfuls of meat and the observance of holy days, or whatever seems more restrictive) he says, "The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."

There is a responsibility to our brothers and sisters, yes, to refrain if it would harm them (and we know that it would--in some of these cases, ignorance really is an excuse). But there's also a line, which we have to learn not to cross: if we only live under the judgment of the law, we're not really living in the freedom of Christ. If we only care what others think about us, whether or not they condemn us, for example, for watching Studio 60...then surely we're living at a lower level than if we only care about what God thinks. His opinion will surely affect how we relate to our fellow human beings, in a good way, in a sensitive way. But there's a line there. Fear should not be allowed to dictate the limits of our freedom in Christ.

Only love of Christ and love of others should be able to do that.


Well, that wasn't exactly a vent, nor exactly new, but whatever. Guess I just needed to say it "out loud," again.
Current Mood: crankycranky

(20 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


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From:maevebran
Date:December 6th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
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I understand your rant. I feel similarly sometimes.
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From:izhilzha
Date:December 6th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
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Your icon? WINS. *dies laughing*
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From:maevebran
Date:December 6th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
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It is a quote from Bones last season. The FBI agent is a Catholic and the Froensic Anthropologist is agnostic. They were in New Orleans and dealing with Voodoo. The Anthropolgist tried to draw the paralels between the beliefs and the FBI Agent responded with "Jesus is not a zombie!" it is priceless.=)
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From:scionofgrace
Date:December 6th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
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::loves Bones:: The arguments between Booth and Bones are just wonderful, aren't they? I loved the one about faith in the episode with the Gravedigger.
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From:maevebran
Date:December 6th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
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Deffinantly. I adore Seeley Booth for his faith. Last year's Christmas episode where he told Brennan Could you lay off the Christmyth thing. Some of us believe it is more than a myth." Made me a FAN of the show.
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From:mistraltoes
Date:December 6th, 2006 08:33 am (UTC)
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That's my favorite Bones quote, I say it all the time. :D Glad to see it on an icon. Though I enjoy it more in the context of the whole line: "Jesus is not a zombie! Man! I shouldn't have to tell you that." My favorite thing about Bones is the way that it approaches Boothe's faith vs. Brennan's rationalism; it's much more respectful of faith than this type of show usually is.
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From:maevebran
Date:December 6th, 2006 08:49 am (UTC)
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My favorite thing about Bones is the way that it approaches Boothe's faith vs. Brennan's rationalism; it's much more respectful of faith than this type of show usually is.

That would be my favorite thing about the show as well. (David Boreanaz playing Booth doesn't hurt.)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:December 6th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
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I seem to have more Bones fans on my flist than I realized. Huh. I haven't watched it since the pilot (which really underwhelmed me). Perhaps I should give it another shot.

Like I *need* another TV show. *facepalm*
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From:maevebran
Date:December 6th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC)
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Yes you need to give it amother try. The first season is out on DVD as of last week and there should be a new episode tonight at 8pm on FOX.=) (It is also on iTunes for legal downloads. I recomend he episodes The Man in the Fallout shelter and The Man in the Morgue from last season. Of course there hasn't really been a bad episode.)
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From:kizmet_42
Date:December 6th, 2006 01:40 am (UTC)
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[sigh]

Words to my heart, dear, words to my heart. Thank you.
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From:izhilzha
Date:December 6th, 2006 01:49 am (UTC)
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You're welcome. I'm just pleased that my little vent had anything in it that could speak to someone else. :-)

God is good.
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From:jd3000
Date:December 6th, 2006 02:28 am (UTC)
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There's one immutable law of the road: Everyone besides you is a worse driver. That carries over to viewing the spiritual life of others as well. Some may be super-righteous, others may delight in that which you believe goes against the Scriptures. Both can bother you. But as Paul pointed out, everyone has their own standing before God.

-JD
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From:scionofgrace
Date:December 6th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC)
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You know what I think it's like, the tension between living free and living righteously? It's like walking a highwire, balancing between the two extremes and taking great care not to fall in... unless you just focus on the Goal, and then there's no hesitation at all; you know exactly where to step.
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From:izhilzha
Date:December 6th, 2006 06:02 am (UTC)
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A very good analogy! Thank you! :-)

p.s. i'm checking to see if i still have your snail addy...
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From:mistraltoes
Date:December 6th, 2006 09:14 am (UTC)
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I find this topic particularly crazy-making, since there's literally almost nothing that you can do that doesn't cause problems for somebody or other (and I seem to know all of them). Which means it can't really be as simple as 'don't do x in front of somebody who has a problem with x'. That just leads to legalism; it's how Muslim women wound up covered from head to toe, y'know? And I know Christians who are nearly that extreme about dress. I can't in good conscience accept the idea that all women are responsible for controlling the libidos of all the men who see them. Or that I'm responsible for unusual and unexpected reactions to something I've put into a story. So at the moment, I tend to interpret this passage more along the lines of 'don't deliberately encourage people to do things they think are wrong'. You really can't control what people think.

Feh. I wish I had the answer to this puzzlement. Unfortunately, it continues to elude me. Please to pretend I've said something clever.
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From:izhilzha
Date:December 6th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
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I find this topic particularly crazy-making, since there's literally almost nothing that you can do that doesn't cause problems for somebody or other (and I seem to know all of them). Which means it can't really be as simple as 'don't do x in front of somebody who has a problem with x'.

Exactly. I mean, I think there's a place for taking that kind of care--but yeah, I fought this out in my mind long ago and decided that if someone was going to have issues with my scifi or fantasy writing, well, that's not my problem as long as I'm walking with Christ in obedience. My business is to write the truth as I see it, whether that involves metaphors with dragons or clone armies or nanotech or telepathy...or not.

it's how Muslim women wound up covered from head to toe, y'know? And I know Christians who are nearly that extreme about dress.

YES. I mean, there's a certain biological point to the libido, and to the fact that women are supposed to look attractive. It's hard to know what to say to people who think we should at least try not to look "sexy" (what does that mean, exactly? It differs depending on who you ask--one of my brothers says he has no problems if a gal is wearing a strapless dress, but deep V-necks are very sexy to him).

So at the moment, I tend to interpret this passage more along the lines of 'don't deliberately encourage people to do things they think are wrong'.

I guess my interpretation is a little more passive-agressive, but along the same lines. If I know it bothers someone, I won't bring up the topic--unless it's very, very important to me. And I certainly won't, for example, recommend "Buffy" to some I know has issues with witchcraft.

This same passage in Romans says two interesting things: "Do not let what you consider good be spoken of as evil," and "Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves." In other words, be free in the Lord, but be careful you don't fall off into doing whatever you want--take thought and walk with the Lord in all things, I guess.

Please to pretend I've said something clever.

Who needs clever? I just wanted some discussion, and you've given me that. Thank you muchly. :-)
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From:whitemartyr
Date:December 6th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
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I think one of the biggest things is to not let worry or fear of causing someone to stumble get in the way of being who you are. Though, if who you are is a slut that's something that needs to be dealt with clearly before you even worry about causing someone else to stumble. Deal with your own shit, then worry about others. Isn't that what that whole plank in the eye stuff is about? Yes. The sad thing about North America today is how oversexed EVERYthing is. Which means I think that unlike in the past where a woman wearing pants was scandal because you could *gasp* see the shape of her legs... your standard of dressing like a woman, being curvy etc and enjoying that, would be so tame, I mean look....forget dressing provocative when you've got Britney Spears flashing her crotch to the world. You know?

It's... where is your heart at? And who are you hangin out with? Everyone sins and stumbles. And if you spend too much time worrying you'll end up a pharisee or a recluse. Neither of which are good. And you KNOW how I feel about what people comment on re: TV shows 'Christians' should or should not watch. Grrrrrrrr.

Anyway...
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From:izhilzha
Date:December 6th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
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I think one of the biggest things is to not let worry or fear of causing someone to stumble get in the way of being who you are.

On the one hand, I think you're absolutely right. That's how I approach my writing, and how I'm learning to approach my womanhood.

On the other, there is a place for seeking God to make sure that we're not slipping away from some specific thing He wants us to do or not do, an expression of love, by compromising just because it's easier. ("What is right, rather than what is easy.")

So it's a matter of balance, and of trust God to let us know if and when we cross the line.

The sad thing about North America today is how oversexed EVERYthing is. Which means I think that unlike in the past where a woman wearing pants was scandal because you could *gasp* see the shape of her legs... your standard of dressing like a woman, being curvy etc and enjoying that, would be so tame

Well, yes. :-D

And again I think we're back to balance, because tame-in-comparison could still be dressing provocatively, if I'm not careful. Just because I'm not showing everything doesn't mean I might not be drawing attention in a particular way that I shouldn't. So thought, and care...but not fear. I think I'm getting there. (Also, the whole OVERSEXED thing might make people more sensitive to the sexual potential in an outfit, which is the most annoying side effect of that part of our culture, to me. People, it's not all about that.)

And if you spend too much time worrying you'll end up a pharisee or a recluse.

And we both know I'm too much of a recluse already. :-) And, in point of fact, the learned part of my introversion is at least somewhat caused by this exact sort of thing: if I go out among people, my chances of hurting them in some way go up. Heh. Silly, but there it is. I'm trying to learn better.

(Thank you for contributing to this discussion; I love that we can just ramble about stuff like this in my journal. Whee!)
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From:kalquessa
Date:December 6th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
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What's really ironic is that Paul and Jesus both say many times "Look, this isn't a make-or-break issue, so just do what seems best and try not to torque one another off over it, okay? Don't be jerks. That just makes us all look like jerks. Kthnxbye." And some of those very passages are the ones that various people/denominations selectively quote in order to back up their claim that everyone who does/doesn't do X is going to HELL OMG!!1 The passage about veiling is a good example.

Paul's message was "Yes, it's true that it's no longer really important for women to observe the custom of veiling while praying and prophesying. But since it's ticking people off and making them think that you (and thus all Christians) are improper and immodest, why don't you just wear the veils to make them feel better? Of course, if eventually people get cranky that you are wearing veils, you should stop. Whatever keeps people from being contentious." Several denominations of Christianity read the first half of this passage and freak out that everyone must wear veils or suffer eternal damnation. Apparently they never read the second half. *shrug*
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:December 6th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
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I know. Stop beating each other up, right? People are supposed to know that we belong to Christ by the ways we love each other.

(Though I admit that the veiling passage isn't real clear to people who weren't living in that time period....)

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