coffee date five

there  are cute old ladies playing mah jongg at the table next to me and it makes me so happy *^^* today’s topic: dreams. i have some theories about them and a lot of weird experiences with them. first theory: i have dreams about the last or most important thing i thought about before sleeping. second: i have weirder dreams when i sleep in the early morning (6 am ish) or during the day. third: i have more accurate prophetic dreams when i read more.

prophetic dreams? that’s right. i have dreams about things that happen later – not just the everyday types of things that probably would have happened whether i dreamed them or not, but detailed dreams about things that happen years after i forgot the dream. the most vivid example was when i was in first grade. i had a six-month series of dreams about two people i wouldn’t even meet for another year, and it predicted the next eight years of our relatioships. i know many christians would dismiss something like this as either a vivid imagination (i read seven plus books a week back then, hence the third theory), coincidence, or even demons messing with me. however, i have to believe they come from God because a) they usually involve other people’s actions, which i can’t control and b) when i ignore them or try to prevent them things tend to go poorly.

do you believe God still speaks to us directly through signs? i do because of these and other experiences. however, most christians i know don’t because of hebrews chapter 1: ‘long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world’ (hebrews 1:1-2 esv). i don’t think this means Jesus can’t or won’t use signs, however, just that He will use them more rarely. plus, no one can deny we live in an increasingly secular age, where things like magic, gods, prayer, signs, angels, and demons are considered stories for children.

let me know your thoughts on this and any weird, funny, or all-too-coincidental dreams you’ve had!! xx

coffee date four

(i decided to make the featured photos from now on match my instagram feed, don’t know why i didn’t earlier.) so basically these are the simplest things for me to post during school, i hope you don’t mind!! this week i want to talk about some thoughts i’ve had regarding negativity. a lot of things have become common in my life this week and they make me sad, but also determined.

first, the prevalence of white bashing/white guilt posts in my timeline has increased a lot this week. let me be the first to tell you that you should NOT let someone tell you that you are inherently evil or inherently racist because of your skin color. i understand that there are still issues of race in america, but this doesn’t mean you have to hate yourself in order to not be racist. just don’t do or say racist things (and trust me, we WILL tell you when you are, so if no one of color has then you’re good).

second, it seems that although i’ve always known that people tend to use insults they’re afraid apply to them, this week is a particularly ripe time to do so. maybe people are angry about all the valentine’s day posts from happy couples, or feeling guilty because they haven’t hopped on the “give something up for lent” train yet – whatever it is, i’m noticing it a lot lately toward myself and people online. when people you don’t know insult you, or when people you know all too well do, just remember that they’re afraid of something, and that it is not your job to fix it or even find out what it is. hell, maybe you are in fact the problem, but if you apologized and changed and they still attack you, pray for them to have peace, pray for yourself to have patience, and proceed.

finally – it’s midterms. do i even need to express my thoughts on this? just pray, drink tea and coffee, and remember your grades do not define you. (and when you get your scores back, make sure you actually do the readings for the rest of the semester!!)

why christians should not dismiss karma

i honestly don’t get why so many of the christians i know don’t believe in karma – maybe because they think it means the exact same thing you do happens back to you? one of my favorite youtubers made a video on the twelve karmic laws, so i wrote some bible verses that correlate to each law because i’m christian and have always accepted karma as a fact.

the great law – galatians 6:7 (people get what they give)

the law of creation – romans 5:12, 6:23 (death is caused by human sin, or negative intention); 1 corinthians 15:33, proverbs 22:24-25 (your surroundings become part of you)

the law of humility – luke 12:39-40, psalm 14:1 (refusing to accept things will not make them go away); philippians 4:11, 1 peter 5:7 (accept rather than worry about things to change them); matthew 7:5 (focusing on negativity is not the highest way to think)

the law of growth – matthew 7:5, romans 12:2 (change yourself not your surroundings to grow) the law of responsibility – galatians 6:7, romans 5:12 (we cause the negativity in our own lives – note: being a jerk does not mean God will give you cancer. as annie says in the beginning of the video, it is NOT that personal); philippians 4:11 (change your mindset)

the law of connection – 1 corinthians 12:21 (everything is connected and necessary)

the law of focus – matthew 6:24, 6:34 (we can’t multitask our intentions or actions); colossians 3:2, romans 8:6 (thinking of higher things makes negativity impossible)

the law of hospitality and giving – matthew 16:24, philippians 2:12-18 (selflessness shows our true intentions)

the law of change – jeremiah 25:7, jeremiah 11:10, 1 corinthians 10:13 (history repeats itself until we change)

the law of here and now – matthew 6:34, proverbs 19:21, isaiah 43:18-19, 2 corinthians 5:17 (don’t dwell in the past or future)

the law of patience and reward – habukkuk 2:3, romans 5:3-4, galatians 6:9 (hard work and patience give the greatest reward)

the law of significance – matthew 16:18, titus 1:6-9, 2 corinthians 5:14-21 (all actions must contribute to the whole)

let me know your thoughts on this, christian or not xx

misconceptions

it seems that all over pinterest and tumblr are inspiring bible verses with pretty fonts and backgrounds. walk into any hobby lobby or parable store and woodcuts with those same verses line the walls, waiting to be hung in our kitchens. but do we really understand the context and meaning behind these verses, and could we even be using them incorrectly?

1
in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – john 1:1 niv

one of the first verses that comes to mind is philippians 4:13. commonly used to uplift athletes, performers, and the terminally ill, the verse is often seen quoted as saying, “i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” yet the niv translation reads, “i can do all this through Him who strengthens me.” most other versions read “all things,” but the niv is different because it directly references the previous verses. (this is not to say the other translations are wrong, just to point out the importance of context in choosing bible verses.) in the passage, paul is discussing the hardships he has been through while serving Christ. he writes that he has “learned the secret of being content” no matter what situation he is in, whether starving or wellfed, imprisoned or free, at home or traveling. and it is these things, he says, that God has enabled him to endure with a strong spirit. the verse is in no way meant to imply that absolutely anything is possible for anyone who asks; instead, it means that no matter what we experience in life, God will be our source of joy throughout it and enable us to continue faithfully.

another commonly misread verse is 1 timothy 6:1-10. often quoted as “money is the root of all evil,” this verse is used to perpetuate class warfare and demonize the wealthy. yet the niv reads, “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” paul here is speaking to timothy, urging him to learn the difference between true heavenly wealth and contentment and having earthly possessions. he states that loving both God and money fully is impossible, and love of one will produce hate for the other. the Christian believes that all sin stems from a hatred of God, and so if one loves something that is not God, it can lead to loving sinful things as well. this could of course happen in a variety of ways outside love of money (i.e., love of a significant other, love of fitness, love of food), but paul here specifically discusses material goods because timothy is surrounded by false prophets who seek to gain money by turning people to follow their teachings, believing that the money will make them happy.

the final verse i wish to discuss is jeremiah 29:11. this verse is rarely misquoted, just taken out of context. the niv reads, “‘for I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ this verse is often used to console high school and college students without a career plan, or the recently unemployed who fear the future. sadly, however, this verse is not a universal comfort to the lost; it is taken from a prophecy delivered to the israelites living in exile. in the prophecy, God promises that after 70 years He will return the israelites to the land they had lived in before being taken to babylon. He advises them to live as comfortably as possible while they are there, and to stop fearing intermarriage. He directs His people to stop despairing and have hope. this verse is of course uplifting, and perhaps it can be taken as a source of hope today, but in all technicality it is not meant for us.

i don’t want to destroy anyone’s Christmas gift ideas, or say that no one should have a bible verse on a desk ever again. i simply believe it is important to know the context for any bible verse we want to quote. if we can’t even get uplifting, inspirational, and motivational verses right, then what basis is there for anyone to believe Christians have correctly interpreted God’s commandments?

stepping away

i recently made the decision to permanently delete my facebook account, not just deactivate it, and i thought i’d take the time to explain why in case anyone else is considering doing the same. my first reason is fairly basic – i only really used it for messenger if i didn’t have a friend’s number – but others are more interesting to discuss and harder to convince ourselves to fix. 

as i said earlier, i only really used facebook for its messaging app, and rarely posted anything original or shared my friends’ posts. in fact, when i last used facebook i only had about 34 friends, and i only followed four of them. the messenger bit was easy enough to fix: i just asked everyone i messaged frequently for their phone numbers. however, despite my main use of facebook being on a different app entirely, i did still check my feed often enough to feel anxious. because of the number of people i actually followed being so low, i never really had the ‘fomo’ or comparison problems talked about in so many recent studies on social media anxiety. (pro tip: do NOT google that phrase, it might take you to a phishing site.) i did, however, have a strange paranoia about being blocked, or having negative posts made about me. this happened enough in my early years of being on facebook that i guess the fear became a habit. so every time i checked my feed, i was preparing for negativity rather than the uplifting Christian posts i followed. add this to the number of sensastionalist campaign trail ‘news stories’ popping up courtest of facebook’s algorithm, and it was clear i had a problem. i ended up deleting the app off my phone, only checking it at work (for context, i only work four hours on monday and three on friday, so my usage was down to less than an hour per week, excluding messenger). eventually i made the leap to totally deleting my account, not just deactiving it. (yes, this is an option. you’re welcome.) 

i truly believe that, as much as we want to deny it as ‘old people resisting technology,’ facebook lives up to all of its negative stereotypes. it causes stress and addiction, increases the amount of drama in our lives, and floods our minds with negative and often misleading ‘news.’ i realize that all these things could be true of any social media platform, but personally i’ve never had anxiety or other negative experiences caused by them. instagram has drama on occasion but i’ve never been involved in any (i think), and twitter and youtube are hilarious. i will say i’ve had some anxiety over snapchat, but after deleting the app for a few days i was able to reevaluate and remove friends as necessary to restore my enjoyment of the app. i will not be returning to facebook, and i’m glad that i finally overcame my belief that i ‘needed’ an account in order to make a decision that has improved my life. 

if any of you are considering deleting a social media account, try deleting its app from your phone for a few days. if you feel safer and happier without it, and redownloading it makes you return to an anxious state, it might be time to delete your account permanently. social media wasn’t always part of human life, or even your life – don’t let anyone try to make you believe it’s a requirement for your life now.

Media and Societal Values

Media and Societal Values
Does the media influence society’s moral and political opinions, or merely reinforce the ones it already has?

The media can have a powerful effect on how people see certain topics, but in general this influence is seen simply to move people much further toward an opinion they already held. In several countries this has been proven to be the case, through the different media outlets of advertising, news, and entertainment. The first example, on advertising, is from a study done by Italian psychologists Stefano Tartaglia and Chiara Rollero on advertisements in the largest newspapers of Italy and the Netherlands. The study found that although the two countries scored very differently on the European gender equality index, a scale showing whether a country grants equal rights and representation to both sexes or not (Italy being the less equal of the two), the likelihood of advertisements to sexualize women more than men and show men “in occupational roles and women…in decorative roles” was the same, which demonstrated that the media reflected the Italian society and failed to influence or reflect the Dutch society, which unlike Italy has nearly equal numbers of men and women in the workforce. The second category, news media, is discussed in an essay by Francois Gruber-Magitot. In his writing he concluded that French news media tries to reflect the general public opinion through surveys, while American news media is more specialized toward the opinions of separate political groups. However, in both countries the media only reflected what the viewers already believed, and if it persuaded viewers of anything it was merely that their views were correct and should be held on to even more strongly than they already were. The third category, and often the most controversial when it comes to the origin of societal values, is entertainment. In an article on Christian Answers, the role of entertainment media in creating societal norms is considered from several points of view. On the one hand, the article states, the fact that Americans spend six or more hours per day in contact with entertainment media is important to note because “when you spend that much time watching something, you have just developed new role models and a new window on life.” The article also points to the vast number of studies which seem to suggest that life imitates art, not the other way around. On the other hand, family structure is an important factor in deciding how much media influences viewers, particularly children. The article points to studies showing how Japanese media, though having far fewer restrictions on showing violence than American media, has lower rape and violent crime rates by a long stretch. They also have much lower rates of teen pregnancy or pregnancy outside marriage, and thus a more family-oriented society than America. This implies that violent media is only likely to incite violence in those who grew up with violence and lack of supervision as a norm. It can therefore be concluded that media only influences society when the beginnings of a particular value are already present; otherwise, it merely reflects what is already there.
lexxie rae 04-28-2016

Sources
“Entertainment Media – Does It Lead or Follow Society?” Christian Answers. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
White, Lawrence T. “Does Advertising Content Reflect or Shape Societal Values?” Psychology Today. N.p., 26 Dec. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
Gruber-Magitot, Francois. “Does Mass Media Shape or Reflect Public Opinion?” AcademiaN.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

why your hummer isn’t a big deal

  
this isn’t a joke. factory farming uses more fossil fuels and produces more toxic emissions than the entire world transportation sector. note that almost every article i cite states that money and tradition are the only reasons people don’t agree with this. that’s kind of like money and tradition being the reasons people didn’t want to stop having slaves. there is no logical basis. just so you don’t think i’m ‘biased’ because i’m vegan, also note that several of the articles claim people can still eat meat, just a lot less (that’s how we got this problem in the first place, but the point is that meat eaters are addressing the problem, not peta). they suggest pasture-raised alternatives for increased sustainability. while this would in theory cause fewer emissions due to the more natural diet (also a myth), it requires even more extreme amounts of water and land and is therefore also unsustainable. tl;dr: your hummer is more environmentally friendly than a steak. 

emissions articles http://ecowatch.com/2013/01/21/factory-farming-global-warming/ || http://prospect.org/article/are-cows-worse-cars || http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772#.VofG7OxOKnN || http://www.ciwf.org.uk/news/2014/12/livestock-farming-worse-than-transport-in-the-climate-change-stakes || http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/study-claims-meat-creates-half-of-all-greenhouse-gases-1812909.html 

grass-fed articles http://farmersdaughterconsulting.com/blog/?p=114 || http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/opinion/the-myth-of-sustainable-meat.html?referer=&_r=0 || http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/pseudo-sustainability-the-beef-with-grass-fed-beef/