Friday, 25 October 2013

Lessons From Naruto

Okay, I admit it, I'm a fan of Naruto.  Perhaps I'm too old to be reading mangas (Japanese style comics), but don't lie, you probably enjoy shows/movies designed for children, I'm not alone.

Naruto Uzumaki is the star character in a world made up of ninjas.  The world of Naruto is one saturated with Eastern culture.  It plays off of beliefs that there's a supernatural life force within all of us, and all we have to do is tap into it.  Some people call it chi/ki (sound familiar, DBZ fans?), Naruto calls it chakra.  With chakra, ninja's are able to perform ninjutsu - essentially magical feats only achievable by ninjas.

I don't believe young kids should grow up thinking that supernatural things like magic or chakra don't have any equivalent in this world.  The truth is that there are sources of supernatural power in this world:  God and Satan.  Perhaps some of the "magic" can be explained by science in today's day and age, but not all of it.  For instance, when Jesus divided the five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand people and have twelve basketfuls of leftovers, he was using supernatural power provided by God, it has no scientific explanation.  When Moses confronted the priests of Pharaoh, and they copied his miracle of turning a staff into a snake, they were using supernatural power provided by Satan.  However, God's power is much more powerful than Satan's:  recall how Moses' snake ate the two other snakes before it turned back into Moses' staff. 

But like I said before, I'm a fan of Naruto.  There's a few lessons that we can learn from the brat who turned into a hero.

1.  Naruto never gave up on his dream

Now, I would be among the last to declare that we should make a goal and believe in ourselves.  I believe that we should believe in Jesus, and make it our goal to glorify him.  However, there is something inspiring about those who rise to a challenge and never give up.

Naruto spent the first years of his life without a single friend.  He was alone.  Perhaps this is why he dreamed of becoming the Hokage - the leader of his village - so that people would acknowledge him.  He held onto this dream, even when everyone around him mocked him about it.

As Christians, it doesn't matter how many people acknowledge us, the only one who's approval that really matters in the end is God.  Do you know what my dream is, what would make me more happy than anything else?  To be able to stand before God and hear him say, "well done, my good and faithful servant."  Regardless of any opposition that stands in my way, I will hold on to this dream.

2.  Naruto didn't let the demon inside of him define him

What set Naruto apart from the rest was that he had a demon-fox sealed up inside of him from birth.  This was the reason Naruto didn't have any friends during the first years of his life - he was the host of a beast that threatened the very safety of their village.

We are all born evil at heart.  But we all have a choice to battle that evil or succumb to it.  Ultimately the evil in us will not be purified until we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.  When this happens, we won't be evil at the core, but we will still have our bodily desires distracting us from doing what we need to do.

Those who become Christians find their identity in Christ, not in their old evil selves.

3.  Naruto is brave, persistent, and always gave it his all

It didn't matter what the challenge was in front of Naruto, he had the steadfastness to give it his best and not to give up.  Whether it be training how to walk up a tree without using his hands, to learning a new fighting move, to fighting an opponent who was much stronger than he was, Naruto never gave up.

Each one of us is presented with situations that are seemingly much larger than we are able to handle.  I believe that we can take a tip from Naruto and put on a brave face and give it our best regardless of the situation.

Unlike Naruto, who relied on his own abilities to see him through challenges, we are to trust in God to get us through situations.  God is bigger than any situation, so there's no reason why we should be too afraid to do anything he wants us to do.

Hebrews 12:  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4.  Naruto had honor

He called it "my ninja way."  It really didn't matter if his ninja way didn't match up with anyone else's:  he knew what he believed to be right and would stick to it.  He wouldn't break his promise because that was his ninja way.  He would rather die or remain a fool than to give up on his ninja way.

As Christians, much of what we do is seemingly foolish to the world around us.  Why do we spend so much time and effort refraining from drunkenness, sex, greed, etc., when the world around us does all of it unashamedly?  As a young adult, I often had peers telling me that I'm missing out on a lot of fun because I wouldn't go to parties or get wasted.  To them I was living foolishness, but like Naruto, I was living with my ninja way.

However, my ninja way isn't based on my own sense of right and wrong, as Naruto's may have been.  God expects us as Christians to act a certain way, and we do so out of love and appreciation for what he has done.  So when the world sees things such as homosexuality and abortions as things that are even encouraged at times, and sees anyone who disagrees as foolish, may we as Christians stand firm on what is right, the solid ground provided by God himself.

5.  Naruto didn't give up on his friend, despite betrayal

Naruto's primary rival throughout the series was his friend Sasuke.  They were never good friends; they were more like brothers who fought a lot but would sacrifice their lives for each other when it came down to it (whether they knew it or not).

Sasuke, however, had his own dream - a dream that involved revenge.  He let his hatred guide his path, and ended up betraying not only Naruto but his hometown village.

When Sasuke was in the process of leaving the village out of his own volition, Naruto made the promise that he would get Sasuke back.  Like I said earlier, Naruto didn't give up on his promises because that was his ninja way.

However, Sasuke allied himself with an enemy of Naruto's village, making him an enemy to the whole village.  But not to Naruto:  he still vowed to do everything in his power to bring his friend back, despite Sasuke's clear statement that he wanted nothing to do with Naruto anymore.
I absolutely love this loyalty.  How many of us have friends who betrayed us?  How many of us are still friends with said people?

I can't help but think about marriages right now.  Marriages are meant to be permanent ventures.

Matthew 19:  “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Do you hear that?  When a man and a woman are joined in consummated marriage, they are joined together by God.  Why then are people so quick to have a divorce?  Where is the loyalty to each other no matter what happens?  This is one of my greatest laments about today's society.  The new generation is growing up thinking that divorces are no big deal and to be expected, and they go into marriages preparing themselves for divorce.

6.  Naruto knew the world he lived in wasn't right

It was a world of wars, fighting, and killing.  What Naruto also dreamed of, on top of being Hokage, was a world at peace.  Time and time again he came across opponents reminding him that he was living in a shinobi- a ninja's world, where fighting and strife was to be expected and he should get used to it.  However, Naruto never gave in to this world view.  He continued to fight for peace throughout the series.

As Christians, we know that this world isn't all there is; there's more to come after death.  In life it seems like whatever we do, we cannot change the way of the world.  However, God will eventually bring peace and happiness, and it's our job to make sure that as much people experience the joy of the Lord both in this life and in the next.

Okay, maybe I'm a bit of a loser paying so much attention to Naruto.  On the plus side, however, I bet you'll never read something along the same lines of this anywhere else.  And if you do, that's more than alright:  what good is the creative stories of our culture unless it teaches us important lessons about God and his plan for our lives?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Locked Myself In Bathroom (Plus More Old Funny Stories)

July 23 - Nobody at work is going to let me forget this anyway, so I may as well share this embarrassing story with you.  At work the men’s washroom doorknob was broken.  However, all of the existing parts (as far as I knew) were sitting on the shelf across from the bathroom.  I knew the boss knew about it and it was eventually going to get fixed, however I had free time so I decided it “couldn’t hurt” to take a quick look at it.  After all, I didn’t want to make guys use the women’s washroom (I’ve done it, I admit it - when you gotta go you gotta go.  It’s awkward but somehow more pleasant in the women’s washroom).

I managed to fit together all of the pieces of the doorknob.  I gave the door knob a twist, and everything was working just fine, moving like it should.  Just to be safe, however, I decided to make sure the door locked properly.

The moment I shut the door I realized the flaw in my plan.  What if the doorknob isn’t fixed?  If that was the case, then I would be stuck inside the washroom.

Man, that would be terrible.  After all, I was the only supervisor on duty, and there was a group of people reliant on me for my coveted keys to take care of things such as fixing cashiers’ mistakes at the tills, or unlocking the back door so that people could throw away garbage.

I gave the door knob a twist and pulled.  The door didn’t open.  I had somehow locked myself inside the washroom.

Frantically I pulled out my phone.  I paged one of the courtesy clerks to the back room:  I couldn’t very well say over the intercom “to the men’s washroom.”  When I heard his approach I started banging on the door.  I’m surprise he didn’t drop to the door laughing when he heard my plight.

I was about to give him my set of keys to get into a room which contained a screwdriver, which would mean my freedom, when I realized I had somehow managed to lose my keys.  Just about the time I made this discovery, there was a call over the intercom, “supervisor key to till two please.”  To bad the supervisor was locked in the bathroom with no idea where his keys were.

I did what any sane supervisor would do in this situation, I panicked and phoned my boss to come and rescue me.

As the calls were repeated, the word eventually made its way up to the front that I was locked in the washroom.  I told them it would be five to ten minutes before someone would be there to help them.

With the aid of a courtesy clerk I managed to force my way out of the bathroom moments before the boss arrived.  I still had a problem however, I didn’t know where my keys were, so I borrowed a set.

A couple of hours later I found my keys inside my work-phone case.  I knew it couldn’t be a coincidence that I both locked myself in the washroom and lost my keys for the first time ever.  Somewhere in my desperation I had put my keys out of the way in my phone case as I retrieved the phone.

So next time a supervisor is taking a while to come aid you at a store, perhaps they are locked in the washroom.  Or perhaps you can just think of this story and be entertained while you wait.

August 20, 2012 - A couple days ago a bride was running around in Sobeys with her wedding dress, tiara, and high heels on.  Check that off the “things you’ll only see once” list.

March 5, 2012 - A while ago at Buy-Low Foods a furious customer came into the store.  She demanded to speak to a manager.  She then went on to complain that “this shampoo wrecked my hair!  It got my hair all sticky and I couldn’t get it out!”  She then went on and on demanding that we contact the manufacturers and tell them to stop producing the shampoo, since it was so horrible.  My boss didn’t tell her that she wasn’t holding shampoo, but sunscreen.

September 17, 2010 - This one time I got a letter in the mail telling me that my veterinarian license had been suspended because I took too long to pay my fees.  I'm not a vet, but somewhere out there there's a pet doctor practicing their job illegally.

August 22, 2010 - Today a customer asked a co-worker "these boxes said that the peaches are from B.C., but the flyer says they're Canadian grown?"

How Do I Know If I’m A Christian?

The simple answer:  if you love Jesus with all your heart, and you are truly repentant of past sins and it is your furthermost desire to serve Christ with your life.

But if you’re sincerely asking this question, please read the longer answer:

It is a modern myth in within the religious sphere that calls itself Christendom that if you say the “sinner’s prayer,” or “invite Jesus into your heart,” then you are automatically saved.  For example, if you repeat the magic words to the nature of (but not limited to), “heavenly Father, I’m a sinner.  I’m sorry for all the bad stuff that I’ve done in my life.  Thank you for sending your one and only Son, who died on the cross and rose again for the forgiveness of my sins.  Please Lord Jesus, come into my heart and take this life from me and use it to further your glory,” then that would automatically make you a Christian.

True, it does say in the very popular John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

But what does it mean to believe?

If we honestly believe in Jesus, and what he is done, by nature our very lives would change.  For in recognizing his Lordship, we will by nature serve him.  By recognizing his holiness, we will by nature worship him.  It’s not something that will go away over time.  When we are in the family of God, we are in for good (although there are sects of Christianity that would dispute this).  When we make Jesus Lord of our lives, it is over our WHOLE LIVES, not just the period of time when we are engrossed with emotions or on a “spiritual high.”  If you are truly a Christian, you will stand firm long after you first give your life to God.  True, you will not be immediately perfect (or ever perfect during our lifetime on this earth), but the yearning to be perfect for/as Christ will be there.  You will not turn back on Jesus in the face of the adversity that you in encounter in life.

Yes, salvation isn’t based on works:

Ephesians 2:8-9 - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

This fact alone sets Christianity apart from most other religions.  We aren’t a Christian because of something we have done, but because what God has done.  So we don’t do good in order to get to heaven, we do good because we are already going to heaven!  This is why I claim that I’m not “religious” when I strive for perfection, because in my mind, being “religious” corresponds with “my salvation is based on me doing x, y, and z.”

You don’t need to be baptized to go into heaven.  You don’t need to go to church to heaven.  But, it is commanded of us, and a sincere Christian will want to do their best to follow the commands of God.

How do you know you are a Christian?

Matthew 7:17-20 - Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

This passage was talking about recognizing false prophets, but the same can be applied to looking at the lives of people who claim to be Christians.  Someone cannot be a Christian, and look like every other tree in the forest.  So what are the indicating “good” fruit?

Galatians 5:22-25 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

If you want to know if you’re a Christian, ask yourself “am I displaying, and growing in the fruit of the Spirit?  Is my deepest desire to do what Jesus wants and to live for him?  Are my actions reflecting a pure, forgiven heart?  Do I accept what the bible says as truth?  Am I truly repentant?”  If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then I would have the boldness as to say that there is a good chance that you’re a Christian.

Why don’t I go all the way to say that you’re for sure a Christian?  Because only God knows your heart, he knows it better than you do.  Every chunk of words can be twisted, and if the meaning that I am trying to get across to you is somehow misunderstood... well let’s just say that your eternal destiny is too weighty for me to simply say “then you are a Christian.”

Why Does Sin's Punishment Need To Be Hell?

This is a question that I myself have asked.  Hell to me is too harsh a punishment for creatures weak as humans.  But this is what I’ve discovered.

God is both just and merciful.  Some may have a hard time seeing how the two can coexist.  The simplest explanation for this is that our debt is paid - justice, and we aren’t the ones that paid it - mercy.  Further exploration led me to the answer of why our punishment needs to be hell...

God is perfect, nothing imperfect can coexist with him.  We, as sinners are imperfect.  In order for us to go to heaven we need to become perfect.  If God just made us perfect without punishing us, he wouldn't be a just God.  You may he is cruel for condemning his own son to death, but how much more cruel would he be if he sent people to hell when all he needed to do is simply forgive them?  But since God is just, there needed to be a punishment for sin.  But what punishment would be enough?  Anything less than death and we would have people literally getting away with murder after enduring said punishment.

But it's more than that.  We were created as image-bearers of God, with the purpose of worshipping him and being in fellowship with him.  As soon as Adam sinned, his worship became unworthy, his life lost its purpose, so to speak.  True, we can still praise God, but how could the words of an untrustworthy human hold any worth?  Sin made our lives worthless, so the punishment was death.  Humans are meant to be an example to the angels (Ephesians 3:10-11) even to the extent that we are to be the judge of angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).  Our testimony is worthless if we cannot be free from sin.

Why couldn't our own physical deaths be sufficient to pay for our sins?  Think about that... if that were true, wouldn't that then mean that everyone would go to heaven?  Essentially, everyone would be getting away with their sins - as a physical death means nothing compared to an eternity in heaven.

If mere physical death wouldn't really be a punishment for sin, what would be?  Keep in mind that the afterlife is eternal.  If God gave any finite time as a punishment for sin, the involved people would still be able to go to heaven afterwards, and for eternity, making any period of time in Hell seem like a insignificant length of time in comparison.  A finite time spent in Hell has the same problem as a physical death.  We would need to go to Hell because that's how bad our sin is to an infinitely perfect and just God, this is the only punishment acceptable, it's more than just a made up rule.

But we don’t need to go to Hell.  We can simply worship Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and we’ll be accepted into Heaven.

What is Our Purpose in Life?

The two most prominent viewpoints of the origin of man is evolution and creation.  Now, you don't need a rocket scientist to figure out that I am not a fan of evolution.  It is a silly theory that has too many holes to hold any water (edit March 4, 2016:  not that I would completely out-rule a theistic evolution, but so far the evidence seems to point against this as well).  I say this because I have done research into evolution in the past and if prompted I can list a number or reasons why evolution can't have been the way man originated.  That being said, we must have been created by God.  From this fact comes the obligation to figure out why God created us.  Was he bored?  Did he want entertainment?  The clues that gives us answer to the question of why God created us comes from the world views about God.  There are different pieces of literature that claim to know God's intent in making us, but out of them, the only trustworthy one is the Word of God itself, which exists in the Holy Bible.  In this book God lets us know why we were created.

Genesis 1:
26Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
 27So God created mankind in his own image,   in the image of God he created them;   male and female he created them.

So not only were we created to take care of the creatures of this earth, but we were also created in the image of God.  That means, first and foremost, we need to reflect the image of God.  If we don't do that, then we have deviated from what we were created as.  God created us in the image of God for a reason, not just so we could have a decent starting point, but so that we could have the perfect existing point.

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?  It could mean many things, but I think it is best summarized with an illustration.  What reflects our own image as humans?  Mirrors.  If for some reason the mirrors reflected back an inaccurate picture of ourselves, it wouldn't be functioning properly.  That being said, those who don't reflect the glory of God by being his image-bearers have deviated from their purpose of existing.  Indeed, at the sole of the purpose of our existence is to glorify God, as doing so reflects the image in which we were made.

How do we best reflect the image of God?  By getting to know Him, of course.  In order to show how awesome someone is one can't just make up a bunch of lies, one has to actually know the truth in order to brag about someone.  The same goes for God.  We can get to know God by talking with him, and listening to what he says to us through the scriptures, through the Bible.  Of course the more we get to know God - the more we fill ourselves with knowledge of him - the more we end up doing what he commands, actively reflecting his glory to others through our obedience.


Do you care what other people think about what you wear?  How much does your peers' opinions of your wardrobe play into what you put on in the morning?

Hey everyone, guess what my opinion on  this topic is!  Actually, I believe I may surprise you.

Dressing in the morning for me is easy.  Five days out of the week I just throw on my work clothes because, well, I have work.  One of the other two days I likely will just keep on my pajamas because I really don't feel like going into public and I have no life.  The one day out of the week where I have to decide to wear makes me happy that (1) I don't have much clothes to choose from and (2) I don't have to make this choice more often.

Anyone who has seen me out and about should probably tell at first glance (as if they're only going to take just a single glance at this handsome fellow) that I generally don't really care about what other people think about what I'm wearing.  I'm a dude, and so I don't feel guilty about my inexistent fashion sense or desire to follow a clothing code.

I buy what's cheap, I wear what's comfortable.  I generally just wore what I wanted and didn't care what other people thought of it.  I was convinced that if I was rich and famous and could wear anything I wanted, I'd show up to things in a hoody and jeans even if everyone around me was dressed up (you can't tell me it wouldn't be awesome to show up at the Oscars in the same gear you got together to play video games with your friends in!).

However, I thought of something a few weeks ago...  how does clothing play into my desire to be considerate to other people?

The answer was quite simple, if I wanted to remain respectful to individuals who would rather me show up looking appropriate according to their definition of the word, I would do my best to comply, even if their expectations were baseless and non-congruent to my own clothing ideology.  In other words, if I was planning on hanging out with well-to-do people and they preferred to be seen with people in well-to-do suits, despite my natural proclivity to dress casually, I may just don the suit to remain respectful towards them.

I'm not adopting this standpoint because I have any desire to be a people-pleaser, I'm just saying that in a lot of cases, it couldn't hurt to put down my pride, along with my desire to wear whatever I want, in order to better respect the people that I'm with.

I may not exactly wear the things that others would want me to wear, but I'll go out of my way to chose to wear something that isn't off-putting because I don't want wanting something as frivolous as clothing get in the way of something as important as relationships.

Society’s Commandments

(Written on September 3, 2013)

Yeah, I said it.  Society does have commandments.  They aren't legal boundaries, but rather social unwritten expectations set by the majority.  They are as follows:

1.  Thou shalt worship anything thou desires.  It can be God, it can be nothing.  It can be any number of assorted gods, or the force.  It would be weird if thou worshipped the flying spaghetti monster in the heavens, but thou shalt not judge.

2.  Thou shalt have freedom to have before thee any number or nature of idols before thee.  It shalt be weird if it be Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus, thou shalt be mocked for worshipping such idols.  But thy mockers shalt have no sway over thee, for thou shalt not judge.

3.  Thou shalt use whatever language thou deem acceptable.  Thou shalt not sweareth at thy place of work, for work is sacred.  Thou may be able to sweareth at thy work if thy master giveth thee permission.

Thou shalt not teach thy offspring desecrated language.  But if they learn it from thee, no biggeth deal, they wilt learn it eventually anyway.
Thou shalt not drop F'eth bombs on thy PG-13 broadcast.  Thou mayest use thy deity's name in vain in thy broadcast as often as thou pleaseth.  Thou shalt tryeth not to use thy mother's name in vain, but if thou is trying to emphasize a point it shalt be forgiven, for thou shalt not judge.

4.  Thou shalt be given days of rest.  Thou may rest on it whatever days thou desires.  If thou chooseth to work on thy days of rest, thou at least deserves an additional increase in pay.

One day is not more sacred than the rest.  However, thou may thank thy deity for the happenstance of Fridays.

If thou chooseth to take more than thy share of days of rest, thou may be mocked, however, thou shalt not judge:  thou is only living life.

5.  Honor thy father and thy mother.  Honor thy father.  Honor thy mother.  Honor thy father and father.  Honor thy mother and thy mother.  Honor thy assortment of parenthood figures in thy life, for they are thy elders and they put up with thee.

If thou have thy parents on facebook, thou shalt not badmouth thy parents in front of thy friends and parents on facebook, for thy parents wilt see thy evil deeds.  Useth twitter instead.

Thou may be forgiven for not honoring thy parents during thy teen years, for thou art going through a stage, and thou shalt not judge.

6.  Thou shalt not kill.  If thou taketh another life, thou wilt be judged in this one case, for this is illegal.

7.  Thou may commit adultery.  If thou chooseth to commit adultery, thou may not grumble about thy relationship problems.  Thou may be mocked if thou joineth thyself to a greater than average amount of partners.  However, thou shalt not judge.

8.  Thou shalt not steal, in the majority of cases.  Thou may steal from thy master if thy master hast cheated thee of thy wages.  Thou may steal from thy rulers if thy rulers hast cheated thee of thy wages.  Thou may steal from thy marketplace, so long as thou only steals less than ten cents worth, for it is only ten cents.

Thou may eateth the wares of thy marketplace before thou hast purchased it, for thou art planning on purchasing it.

Thou may pirate any assortment of visual or listening entertainment, for thy artists are wealthy, and thou shalt not judge thy neighbour who does likewise.

9.  Thou shalt be careful where thou bears false witness.  Thou may lie if thy wife asks thee if her robe looketh good on her.  Thou may calleth thy work and lie about being sick, for thou art designated sick days during thy year; thou shalt not calleth in sick during work and get caught, for thou shalt respect thy master.

Thou may lie if it's not about anything important, or if the person thou bears false witness to doesn't really careth or matter.  If thou heareth thy neighbour bear false witness for such things, thou shalt not judge.

10.  Thou may covet.  Thou may covet thy neighbour's house, thy neighbour's car, thy neighbour's pet, thy neighbour's swimming pool:  thou may covet such things, but thou shalt not steal such things, for they are thy neighbour’s.

Thou may covet any body part that arouses thee.  Thou may covet thy neighbour's body part, but thou shalt not touch.  If thy neighbour's garb is unagreeable to thee, thou shalt not judge.

Yes, as you may have guessed with my whole terrible use of Old English that I am making fun of society (after all, I'm allowed to mock, just not to judge).  I find it odd that people look down on others (look down on, not "judge" others of course!) who don't reach their, or society's perception of respectable behaviour.  They look down on others despite the fact that:

1.  If they believe in the bible, they shouldn't look down on other people (and yes, there is a difference between "looking down" on somebody and judging them), but love everybody.

2.  If they don't believe the bible, there's a good chance that they don't really have any solid basis of why they should be looking down on other people, except for their own and society's own unsupported viewpoints.

Seriously, so long as you aren't doing anything illegal, there's nothing wrong with sleeping around, wasting your money on gambling and alcohol, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, or "swearing like a sailor."

One may argue that certain behaviours are not respectful of others, such as affairs, for it affects more than one person.  As soon as one says this, however, they are saying it's wrong to do something disrespectful to other people, and what basis do they have for this?

Plus, if it's really disrespectful to other people, where does one draw the line?  Should it not then be wrong to swear in front of other people for some people may find it offensive?  Should it be wrong to smoke a pack a day because other people pay for your health issues (well, in Canada, anyway)?  Should it be wrong to own a dog because its barking may interrupt your neighbour's nap?  Where does one draw the line, and on what basis?  This isn't a rhetorical question, I honestly cannot comprehend society's system of deeming what is acceptable behaviour.

The Illustration

(Written on July 9, 2013)

Anyone who is familiar with the stuff I write knows how much I enjoy creating and using illustrations to get my point across.  Unfortunately I’m not talking about painting a literal colourful picture.  My illustrations tend to go more along the lines of connecting two or three different ideas, such as what I did with Inception’s Missing Level or Rant I Thought of After Watching “The Watchmen.  Just today my facebook status consisted of a comparison between how people viewed items as their own even though they hadn’t yet paid for it (such as cars and houses) to the fact that in reality we belong to God.

Why is it that a good majority of my illustrations are directed towards God?

Personally, I believe that people can’t help but associate the things they observe to things that most prominently dominate their minds.  Just as I’m sitting here penning this outside on this gorgeous Tuesday afternoon, I’m looking at the vast beautiful sky and my mind immediately goes to how large and beautiful the God who made it must be.  If by chance I had a significant other in my life my thoughts would likely be more along the lines of “I sure wish she was here to enjoy this.”  Someone else may look at this same scene and think to herself, “look at all these man man-made things getting in the way of this place’s natural beauty.”  This person may value the sanctity of earth above all else.  Perhaps yet another person viewing this scene would think to himself “I remember swimming in a similar pond as a child.”

Pictures to memories.  Memories to ideas.  Ideas to beliefs.  Humans were born with the ability to constantly make connections from one idea to the nex t.  It’s a necessity.  We need this ability to learn, grow, and survive.

If someone were to ask me why humans were created, I would say that it was to showcase the glory of God in a whole new way.

Ephesians 3:10-11  His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Humans can connect pictures with emotion.  But what can angels do?  What kind of things do they connect to God’s glory?  It’s probably not a question often thought of.  Humans have this mentality that we are the centre of the universe.  However, it would make more sense for the Creator, not the creation, to be the centre of it all.  Yes, we are important, but we have this value because God has given it to us.

Disagree with me if you like, but I want you to see how by thinking along these lines things can make sense.

If I wasn’t a believer, probably the biggest hurdle stopping me from becoming a Christian is the fact that God is allowing so many people to go to Hell.  Nevermind the fact that this world is so full of pain and suffering - I get that part:  it’s simply due to a process of cause and effect.  Humans turned their back on God and His plan for them, and since they don’t understand nature like He does this results in all sorts of bad things happening.  However, Hell to me seems too cruel a punishment (I have written an answer to why Hell exists).  With a human-centred mind, it’s almost impossible to not think to some extent that somehow God has wronged us.

A God-centred perspective will show us that there is something much more than human destiny involved here:  God’s glory is at stake.

Not only does this physical realm exist, but so does (probably a vast/infinite number of) heavenly realms.  Now we can think of human existence as a vast illustration in itself - an illustration that we may not be able to understand, an illustration that the heavenly bodies CAN understand.

As an illustration of this divine illustration, let me compare your viewpoint to a single pixel in a high definition picture.  Someone with a broader viewpoint may roughly be able to make out the image of a blade of grass.  One with an even better perspective can see this blade of grass is but the tiniest part of a large picture of a sunny nature setting.  Perhaps an even larger point of view would see that it isn’t a mere picture but a full-length movie.

When humans abandon the idea that they are the center of the universe it becomes easier to reconcile with the questions of life that we don’t understand because all we see is a single pixel.

 Left:  picture I took with my iPod of the scene I was looking at while writing this article.  It doesn’t seem like anything special, but real life looked different.  It’s all about perspective.