Saturday, March 26, 2011

History of Values Through Music

So, I don't think it is a secret to anyone how much I love the podcast Skeptoid. The latest episode is just too fun and silly not to share, Brian Dunning, one of the world's foremost skeptics, but not necesarily its singers, creates a great trip through history with the aid of humour, a computer, Peter Zachos and a very heavy dose of autotune. Here is the page for the eantire episode:

Here is just the song.

The video is not showing up right on my page so to get a better version go to the podcast page and scroll down.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Älä alistu!/Don't submit!

So, I found this video because it has caused quite a bit of controversy in Finland and caused 500 resignations from the Lutheran Church the day it was released. It was not put together by the Evangelical Lutheran Church but it was done with their money.

Campaign official pages:

If you do not speak Finnish here is the over long and tedious video in a nutshell. "Anni's Story" is the title it is from the "Don't Submit" video campaign. Anni was a bisexual girl. She realized in high school and became quite involved with gay rights and dated a girl in the ninth grade and then they broke up. During this time she was having some problems and met a girl who wanted to just help her with them. One day this girl asked to pray with her and Anni saw the holy spirit. She went to a religious youth camp and became saved. She prayed hard to leave her unholy desires behind and God heard her and she stopped dating girls nor did she really want to. She has been engaged to a man for a year now, she is twenty. She said that being with a woman never really made her feel like a woman, because one had to take the man's role etc.

What really stood out to me is that it is so simple to be rid of lustful impulses. Just admit what you are and give it to God, he will heal you. I would like to say, I do believe that God can heal everything from gout to cancer and it is very much in his power to change a person's sexual orientation or to curb lustful impulses. That being said, lets talk about the practical implications for a young person who hears this. I bet any God believing young person who has this or similar problems has prayed for them. Asking God to change a perceived flaw in you is nothing new. I cannot count the hours I prayed as a teenager begging God to change me, to cure me from this or that affliction. Lustful thoughts were very much featured in those prayers, as was my laziness and other assorted general "badness". God did not cure me, at least not then, of one single one of my flaws. I felt like crap. I felt like a failure. I felt like a bad Christian. I prayed everyday for God to take me to heaven so I could stop constantly failing and sinning. I was tired, I was desperate. What would have Anni's message of easy, reachable fixing have meant to me? It would have meant an ever compounding sense of guilt. It would have isolated my lust for women as an even more heinous crime than my lust for men. Here I had been beating myself up for both indiscriminately.

I call this a suicide inducing flick. Say, it is wrong! It is Sinful! Älä alistu! Don't submit! It can all be made better. God is waiting for you to give your burden to Him and heal you! All that can hold you back now, sinner, is your own lack of faith! Only one you have to blame is yourself. Maybe Anni has more willpower, maybe she has more faith, maybe her prayers are special. Maybe I am failing at this like I fail at everything else because I am too damn lazy to change. Way to rip old wounds open and make me feel like that girl again.

As an end note, God did heal me, but not in the way I expected. He healed me by giving me perspective, understanding and self acceptance, flaws and all. I was good enough for him to die on Calvary for my sins when I was at my worst. Not because I was special or good but because he was and he loved me. He cleansed me when I accepted his cleansing. It does not matter that I am lustful. It does not matter that I am lazy. I am exactly as he created me. This does not mean I need to whore around and not do any work because that is not how he intended me to behave. He intends me to strive for a healthy balanced life. My flaws are really the other side of my virtues. I am lazy because I am laid back. I am content to contemplate and not worry too much about having a spotless house there are more important things in life. I am lusty, but I love my husband and it can be a very positive quality in a marriage when channeled properly and understood for what it is. Now that God has healed me from my low self esteem and depression I can no longer really care about my flaws and can really give them to God, and you know what, stopping the demonization of that part of me has allowed me to not be trapped by lustful thought. When they are no longer forbidden or wrong they take a backseat to more important and interesting thoughts. I am no longer paralyzed by fear and anxiety due to my laziness and am actually able to break the inertia and do what really matters and needs to get done.

Self-acceptance is a wonderful thing. Do not submit to thoughts of self loathing and accept that if you do seek help from God for your problems, which I do recommend, he may not give you the quick fix you want but will allow you to walk down a longer, harder path that will make you a better person and accept yourself, and in the long run that beats a quick fix.

Friday, March 11, 2011

America and Finland

I love living in Finland. Compared to America it is the tops. I am not saying living in America sucks, but it does when you are poor. Being poor in America is a highly degrading hopeless experience. The possibilities are slim to none to succeed and you are blamed for not working hard and ceasing opportunities that are seen to sprout up like mushrooms after a perpetual rain. Now the environment is a little more understanding because the recession hit everyone. For once it was okay to be poor, people understood. The recession was everywhere and it was now the fault of the recession that you were poor, not the fault of your own laziness. I am here to tell you, these troubles did not come about because of the recession, the recession just brought to light the problems America's poor had been having for about a decade or so. The recession took a long time to reach the middle class the poor were screwed for years.

What of the American dream? Well, it is just a dream and has been less and less to do with reality over the years. We had little to no hope for the American dream. For years we scraped by barely making ends meet, frequently relying on food banks and the kindness of friends. It was humiliating and we were judged. Why weren't we working for a better life? Why weren't we improving our lot through job advancement and education? Why weren't we saving money? We did not have enough money for an education, we were ineligible to student loans, there is no student aid from the government, FYI, just loans, think about it. We could not get better jobs because of lack of degrees and in my case lack of a legal status in America. We were not saving money because there was not enough. We went out to eat maybe once every two months, if that and I am talking about McDonalds, and we never went to the movies or anything. Having a computer with internet access was our only form of entertainment that cost money. It was all we could afford and it was the only way to have a social life having no car. There was simply nothing to cut to have more money with out making our lives absolutely bleak. Our only hope was a sudden stroke of luck of a better job or a promotion for my husband. Those things never seemed to materialize, it was like playing the lottery. We still did not have the decency to be miserable. We were able to find fun and entertainment and love each other despite all this and it made people angry who felt like poor people with no real hope should be unhappy.

Now we are in Finland and we are able to work toward the American dream. I do not care what some people say, Finland is a wonderful place to live. My husband is getting free Finnish education in a great school. He is also finally getting his numerous and potentially life threatening not to mention painful dental problems cared for. That would have been an impossibility in America. My son is getting free dental and health care just for being a child. He will have the opportunity to partake of the best education system in the entire word for absolutely free. I am going to be able to get trained for a job and actually work and earn money. Same goes for my husband but first he has to learn Finnish. We are on basic subsistence aid. When they say basic subsistence they mean subsistence, not barely scraping by and wondering what you are going to eat at the end of the month aid like in America. With it we have enough money to actually budget to get a saving account and put a little bit aside every month for surprise expenses and the like. We are no longer hopeless and scared, now we can eat real food and not have to improvise from food pantry discards. We know that if we work hard and cease opportunities we can move up. The American dream is alive in Finland. My vote counts. I can write to political parties and get prompt, non-form letter responses from people that care enough to respond to my actual inquiry and act as if my vote and opinion counts. This is so different than America. What ever people complain about Finland are spoiled and don't know how well they have it. Sure there are problems which is why I will vote and work to make society more like what I want it to be.

So Americans, it is not too late to move to a better country. Has America left you an empty hopeless shell waving the red white and blue sobbing quietly as you face homelessness, unemployment and the hungry hollow faces of your children? It is not to late too emigrate. Take your cold hungry unemployed butt to the library, find some info on a country you would like to live in more and sell what little you have and get a passport and get on out of there. Your family's future depends on it. On the other hand if you are doing well and you have made a profit from the recession investing wisely and buying a cheap house someone was evicted from, I salute you. Help a poor, unemployed neighbor move out of the country to make a new start somewhere else and stop being a drain on the country’s poor resources. Sure the recession is supposedly over but tell that to the poor, they feel no real difference. Soon it is back to being judged and not having the understanding of those around them blaming it on the depression and not their own laziness.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Update on Blogging

So, my posting has fallen off as of late, yet again. I have been worrying about my final exam but it is tomorrow and have some ideas for blogs and maybe I can churn a few out in the interim before my next session of classes starts and that will be a heavy load.