Wednesday, August 11, 2010
So I know it's August and still no compare and contrast article between The Force and The Holy Spirit. Just wanted to let you know this is in process, but it is gonna take a while considering I had forgotten how painfully bad episodes 1-3 are and now I have to watch them.
Some observations on that regaurd:
1. Endless detailed animations and bad writing does not a good movie make.
2. Ewan McGregor can make even the worst dialogue good via excellent facial expressions. (Obi wan has been taught well).
3. Don't wear a backless dress and then tell a guy that how he's looking at you makes you uncomfortable.
4. I liked Yoda better when he was a Muppet. (Somebody make a T-shirt of that PLEASE!!)
5. Apparently you can forget that sandstorms are dangerous in the midst of saying they are.
6. Did Qui-Gon just do a Jedi equivalent of a Vulcan nerve pinch on Jar Jar? REALLY?!?
7. The chase through the city in Episode 2-after a female suspect-and through a pane of glass? Blade Runner anyone?
8. "You want to go home and re-think your life." And my recurring thought is if only Lucas had gone home and re-thought this dialogue. All of it.
9. Midiclorians because you know, we didn't want the Force to actually be Mystical or anything.
10. Jar Jar Binks, for the love of God, why?
Did I mention I have thus far only watched Episodes 1 and 2?
Let's just say that this re-affirms my policy for when I have kids someday. I am not going to tell them that Episodes 1-3 exist. I am not going to lie, I am just going to show them Episodes 4-6 when I show them Star Wars.
Which means someday I will get a phone call when they are over at somebody's house, all excited and hopeful, "Hey Mom? Did you know there's three MORE Star Wars movies? Can I watch them?"
My response, if they're old enough will be "Sure Honey, just don't expect them to be any good."
On a more positive note, I met a Junior Higher in the past week and I got to be wowed by his Star Wars knowledge, and to pass on to him the most important answer to the most important Star Wars question of all time:
Did Han Shoot First?
Now for you Non-Geeks out there you may not be familar with the HAN-SHOT-FIRST movement so here it is in a nutshell. In Episode 4 Star Wars: A New Hope, Han is about to go rev up the engines of the Millenium Falcon and beat it off of Tatooine, when this green bounty hunter Greebo stops him. In the exchange Greebo pretty clearly implies he's gonna kill Han, but Han shoots him first under the table-proving what a tough cool guy he is. In the newly enhanced versions of Episodes 4-6, Lucas added back in some footage that had been cut from the original theatrical version of the film. Some of this footage includes an extension of this scene where Greebo fires on Han first, misses hiting the wall, and then is shot by Han.
The reason this footage is so wrong is because thousands of young men grew up thinking, dare I say knowing, that Han Solo was the man, coolest of the cool and what they aspired to be (This is psychological phenomenon is evidenced in film by the main character looking in the reflection of a car in the movie 500 Days of Summer to behold a reflection of himself as Han Solo in a fantasy sequence). So what does any good Star Wars Fan, any self-respecting Geek do in the face of such footage.
Insist it is invalid.
How do we do that? We wear T-shirts that read: Han Shot First.
If you want in with any true Star Wars fan-this is the question you CANNOT get wrong and I have just given you the correct answer.
Finally, to tide you over, here's a fun take on the Star Wars films from Hank Green.
Also keep in mind I can vouch for the content of this video, it is appropriate and not at all gory despite the screen pic above. Keep in mind I haven't seen the rest of Hank's video blogs (over 200) and so I am only vouching for this one.
Until Next Time Dear Readers I Remain,
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Hello there, Geek Girl here,
So while I am working on my next blog-which is a several part series comparing and contrasting the Holy Spirit of Christendom to the Force of Star Wars, I have run one delay. You see I plan to work only from primary sources-the movies and the bible but unfortunately when my illustrious Dad transferred Star Wars Episode 4 from Laserdisc to DVD only the first half of the movie made it.
In the meantime I thought I would entertain you with a few qualifications for how I identify myself, as a Geek, Nerd, Dork, and a Christian. I will be prefacing each of these lists with my definition of what these terms are so that you can better understand my qualifications.
1. a person with specialized (obsessive) knowledge in a specific category that is not necessarily academic. 2. a person with technical knowledge of computers or other electronic devices (I.E. the IT).
1. I own the ring of power, a sword of Rohan, an ironman mask, evil scientist welding goggles, a tri-corder, and a sonic screwdriver complete with physic paper for, you know, varying circumstances.
2. I embroidered an Elvish shirt for the premier of The Two Towers (which initiated a first conversation with a now best friend).
4. I own 87 Marvel/DC comic books I handpicked from an estate sale (including Stan Lee's unauthorized biography).
5. The first Halloween I could choose what I wanted to be I was SPIDERMAN.
6. In 2005, I dressed up and won "Best Human" at the Vacaville Middle Earth Festival (let me tell you after feeling sub-human all through high school this was quite a validation and honor).
7. My i-pod is named TARDIS and my black laptop is named SKARO.
8. At Comic Con in 2003 I ran up to the stage and slipped Sean Astin a floppy disk (remember those?!) containing ideas for Goonies 2 should it ever be made.
10. On Sept 22nd, 2002 I attended a Bilbo Baggins Birthday celebration at a Marin County park near San Francisco.
11. My T-shirts collection consists of: 1 Star Trek Shirt, 1 Ninja Shirt, 1 Ninja Turtles Shirt (Turtley Awesome!), 1 Nintendo Shirt (Classically Trained), 2 Star Wars Shirts, 2 Lord of the Rings Shirts, 3 Zelda Shirts, 4 DC Superheroes shirts, and 4 Marvel Superheroes shirts.
12. One Halloween when I was going to Junior College I dressed up as Lola from the movie Lola Rent, put all my heavy textbooks in a black plastic bag, and sprinted to every class as if my boyfriend's life depended on it.
14. For a Shakespeare class final I co-wrote, directed, and acted in a student Film that basically was Star Wars meets Shakespeare including such speeches as "Once More to the Trench" "Alas poor Biggs," and the ever-popular Yoda monologue "To Be or Be Not, that is the Question, ehn?"
15. In 2003 I was made an official Goonie by Sean Astin (knighthood for geeks).
16. In 2004 I was handpicked out of the crowd at Comic Con to meet David Wenham and Billy Boyd of The Lord of the Rings movies to ask them a question for a website. My question: "With the books, and what the director wants, and what you want, how do you find your character's center?"
17. My Reboot, Stargate Atlantis, Superhero, Doctor Who, Narnian, Star Trek, and LOTR (including talking Treebeard) action figures all live and play together.
18. My cat is named for a Television character (you'll have to guess which one).
19. The decals on the back of my car are the Tardis, the White Tree of Gondor, and the Tri-Force! (see picture and thanks to Robot1001001).
20. In 2008 my sister and I threw a Sci-Fi Birthday party whose guests included Rose Tyler(myself), Be'llanna Torres, Marty McFly and Doc Brown, A Fan from Galaxy Quest, Tod the Wraith, Dr. Hodge, Sarah Jane Smith, two aliens whose names I can't type in this font, Vala, Col. Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, and K-9.
21. I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring seven times. After that there was no stopping me from seeing movies multiple times in the Theatres.
22. I have more flare than you would believe. I am not even going to try to count it (see picture-now imagine 5 times what is shown and 20% is from DAMEcreations).
1. a person who is socially removed or isolated from others .
2. a person with academic knowledge in a specific content area: e.g. Literature, Science, Mathematics.
1. I had trouble making friends with people my own age from kindergarten through high school.
2. In 5th grade I completely withdrew, stopped talking or socially interacting at all during recess, instead opting to read The Little House on the Prairie series over and over and over.
3. I still experience social awkwardness attacks all the time at the age of 28.
4. In high school I identified myself as "a loner" throughout freshman year and when I finally joined social groups they were the band kids and a circle proudly known as "the poetry rejects."
5. I have written short stories and poems since I was five and have been honored at a young author's fair and published four years in a row in my University's literary magazine, three times under my own name, once co-authoring, and once under a pseudonym (to make sure they liked my work and not me).
6. I have a Bachelors in English with a Associates Degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences.
7. My senior seminar was Transformation Myth and my "big paper" was on the transformational and complimentary power of masculinity and femininity in George Macdonald's fairy tale The Day Boy and the Night Girl (also published under the title The History of Photogen and Nycteris).
8. I have read way too much to be listed.
9. I am a high school English teacher-which means much of the following:
- I am in love with reading and believe it can show us the world and ourselves and can gradually cure selfishness and stupidity.
- I am in love with adjectives, verbs, adverbs, nouns, some prepositions, semicolons, assonance, alliteration, and essay structure.
- I believe that writing can bring self-discipline, clarity, self-realization, and truth into the world.
10. I have books signed by Gary Soto, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, and Rosemary Wells, as well as 1 first edition Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
11. I have more books than I should too many to count and too many for my shelves so they are stacked and on my desk, and in my trunk.
12. I have made and wear T-shirts that read: Wesley Never Dies, The Enemy's Gate is Down, Read Books, and Halflings Rule.
13. I am a walking talking dictionary of characters, plot lines, literary allusions, and imaginary geography.
14. I sometimes compose haikus for all my pictures in a photo album on facebook (okay I only did that once, but I'm resolved to do it again!)
1. a person with few social inhibitions
2. a person who is obviously farcical in their behavior
3. a person who lacks physical coordination
1. Growing up my most frequent question to my sister was "can I hum it?"
2. I tell the worst most puny, play-on-word jokes I can.
3. I grin wildly, chuckle darkly, and compose spontaneous songs about life on a daily basis (ex: We are walking on the beach, but Tatooine's sands are out of reach).
4. When walking, I frequently run into objects or people that are stationary.
5. I can't clap on beat unless I really really concentrate.
6. When I dance one of two things happen:
A) pre-mature rigamortis sets in
B) my arms and legs flail indistinctly in varying directions much like a 80's pop star having a seizure with no correlation to the music whatsoever
7. I have never and never will be good at sports (except for Wii sports and even then really just the hola hoop game).
- a person who professes a belief in the teachings of Jesus Chirst
Okay so here's one of the really astoundingly cool things about being a Christian, unlike being a Geek, Nerd, or Dork, none of my actions throughout my lifetime qualify me to be a Christian. I could tell you that I've been baptized, and I go to church, and read the bible, but these things don't make me a Christian anymore than hanging out in a garage makes me a car, or chillin' at used bookstores makes me a librarian ( I wish!). There is only one qualification contributed by me that makes me a Christian, and that is my ongoing belief in Jesus Christ as my savior. That's my qualification.
Yet I couldn't even have that qualification if Christ had not first qualified me for a relationship with Him by dying for my sins on the cross. Just this last week I was talking to a non-Christian who said very humbly and honestly "I don't think I'm cut out to be a Christian," and my sister wisely and graciously pointed out- "Well, none of us are." We are not qualified to follow God by any of our actions, no matter how good or amazing or blessing to others these actions are, because we are separated from God by our sin. But we are all equally qualified, regardless of our past and current lives, to receive God 's grace. Grace goes beyond mercy because not only are you spared from the punishment or consequences you deserve, but you are also blessed by the one who has every right to judge you for your wrong.
Here's a more concrete example. Imagine that your friend has a very rare golden-age comic book given to them by their grandfather that they absolutely love. I mean he reads it all the time, it is freaking precious him, he has all these memories of his grandpa associated with it and so on. Now you are frankly jealous of this comic. More than that, you really desire it for your own. Moreover maybe you'd like to see your friend who is very proud of it taken down a few notches; I mean he's just so annoying about it whenever it's mentioned, which is way more than any human being should mention anything.
So one day you see that comic lying on your friend's dresser and you slip it into your backpack. You are stealing it, but you justify this to yourself by promising to return it once your friend has freaked out a bit, just to make a point. Or maybe you'll keep it just to make a point; I mean you could go either way. When you get home you go to take out the comic and you notice that your water bottle has leaked all over your backpack. Everything is soaked through, including the top half of your friend's comic, because the plastic wrapper was partially open and so water got in. You use a blow dryer, and you meticulously dry each page-but the ink is still completely wasted. You even look for the same comic online in the hopes that maybe you could make a switch, or at least offer this to your friend as a way of taking responsibility for your actions, but this particular golden age comic is so far out of your price range you know you can never afford it. Even if you could you realize it's not going to be the same because this comic, the one you ruined with your theft, was from his beloved and deceased Grandpa.
So you go to your friend, present the comic, confess everything, offer to try to earn money your entire life to try to afford a replacement comic (which your friend and you both know you can never do) and wait for the axe to fall. The real consequences of your actions are that you deserve to lose your friend-you aren't qualified to remain friends with him after what you have done.
If your friend forgives you of the destruction of the comic, that would be giving you mercy. But instead your friend not only forgives you, but he goes online and buys the same golden age comic you were looking at as a replacement and gives it to you to show you that he and you are still friends and always will be. Also your friend is not a millionaire either-he's working class like you and will most likely be paying for that comic the rest of his life but he does it anyway because he loves you. In addition to that, your friend says that you should start going to comic books stores together, and you do, and your friend continually buys you comics for no other reason than he loves you and wants you to enjoy them.
That's what God's grace is-He loves us so much that even though we are sinners which qualified us for death and separation from Him during our time on earth and after death, He died in our place-paying the price for our sins so that we could continue to have a relationship with Him. And because He loves us, He continues to bless us whether we are good or evil (Mathew 5:45) just because His love for us is that encompassing and awesome.
So what is my qualification for being a Christian- it's His grace and nothing I do.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God,
not of works lest anyone should boast."
And that is my favorite qualification of all time.
NEXT TIME: The Spirit vs. The Force or "Yep, we're talkin' midi-clorians people."
Saturday, July 10, 2010
As this is my first, "Geek Gospel" I will explain its purpose. Basically this is where I take a narrative of some genre that a geek would be familiar with (television, internet sketch, book, short story, comic, etc.) and I use it to illustrate some truth. I am using the second episode from the fifth series/season of DOCTOR WHO as an extended analogy explore how different people respond to God.
So here's my friendly reminder/disclaimer-No analogy is perfect, I am not calling this article or anything in it a literal gospel, and I am not assuming that the episode was written with this analogy in mind.
"The Beast Below," sees the eleventh Doctor taking new companion Amy Pond for her first bout in space. If you haven't seen the episode yet this is your SPOILERS warning (this episode is available on itunes and amazon on demand).
The start of this episode is prefaced with a foreshadowing poem recited in a recording of a child that goes as follows: "A horse and a man, above, below/One has a plan but both must go/Mile after mile, above, beneath/One has a smile and one has teeth/Though the man above might say hello/Expect no love from the Beast below."
The Doctor and Amy encounter the Starship UK, a spaceship containing the entire nation of Great Britain. Sometime in the future the earth suffers such devastating solar flares that every country on earth is forced to evacuate into space. Built into the ship are some rather menacing monitoring devices called "smilers" that look like fortune telling booths at carnivals, with glossy wooden faces molded into a set expression.
The smilers are not surprisingly the sadistic enforcers in a nation that the Doctor declares to be clearly "a police-state," and he and Amy split up to discover as it were what is rotten in the state of Britain. Amy is placed in a voting booth and is told by the person on screen that she will be shown the truth about the Starship UK which is her right as a citizen. Before her on the consul are two lit up buttons, one marked "PROTEST" and the other marked "FORGET" and she is given the option to either forget what she sees immediately after she learns the truth or to protest it. She watches, receives the information in sped-up time and finds her hand on the forget button in a matter of seconds (a neural device has already wiped the memory from her mind based on her choice). This matters because the Doctor and Amy learn that with the exception of a few dissenters who get flushed, the entire nation votes every five years to forget the truth that they know rather than live with it.
Through another series of events the Doctor, Amy, and the Queen of Britain, Elizabeth the tenth, end up in the tower of London where the truth about Starship UK is revealed to all of them. The ship they are in could not possibly travel in space and they were the last nation on the earth beginning to burn from the solar flares. In the midst of crying children and agony, hope appeared to them "like a miracle" in the form of a Starwhale-which is exactly what it sounds like, a whale that can swim through space. It is an ancient creature, and its species was known for guiding first space travelers safely through asteroid belts. It is the last of its kind, and yet desperate to survive the British people captured it, built their ship around it, and now torture it by sending an electric impulse into the pain center of its brain to force it to move forward.
Now that she knows the truth the Queen is given the option to press two buttons like those in the voting booth-to forget or to abdicate. If she chooses the second option the Starwhale will be released, the ship will break apart and her people will die in space. The Doctor decides to modify the electric pulse to make the Starwhale brain dead so the starship can continue it' voyage but the beast will suffer no more pain; an act he recognizes as murder. He does this because his only other alternatives are to let the Starwhale continue to be tortured, or release the Starwhale and let an entire nation of people die. But before the Doctor can finish his work Amy grabs the Queen's hand and makes her hit the abdicate button. Which results not in the Starwhale leaving but instead in the ship's speed doubling. Amy explains that the Starwhale didn't appear by chance, but rather came purposefully to earth, drawn by the suffering of their children to save them.
THE SMILERS AND THE VOTING BOOTHS
Let's start with the Smilers. These monsters, like any that are worth their salt, are only so terrifying to us because they resemble ourselves. They are in fact creations made by the builders of the Starship UK and they represent the duplicity of man-a smiling outward face and an inward capacity for violence that can emerge at any time. They represent the sin nature of man both symbolically and literally since the entire Starship's citizenry puts on a normal public face when, in fact, once they reach adulthood and vote they all have knowledge of the horrible exploitation of the Starwhale and by forgetting are consenting to it.
The voting booth, I would suggest, represents how a person reacts when confronted with their sin. Sin when looked at in honesty is emotionally disturbing because it recognizes the pain we cause others and that we are responsible for that pain. So ultimately what do we do? We can protest and face the consequences of our sin, or we can choose to forget our sin in order to go on with our daily lives.
When we sin, we can harm others or ourselves, but ultimately we are sinning against God because we are harming His creation that He dearly loves. The Starwhale is a symbol of God in this analogy-ancient, benevolent, and self-sacrificing. Also the Starwhale is a literal salvation for the British people taking them from the eminent destruction of the solar flares and continuing to ensure their survival in space.
The treatment of the Starwhale is also very telling of our treatment of God. Instead of recognizing the Starwhale's arrival as a response to their suffering and a voluntary savior, the humans see it as a source of power to serve their own ends. They capture it, build around it and manipulate it in order to go where they desire. The poem in the elevator built by the ships builders clearly identifies the man and beast roles they have assigned. The man is the one who smiles (again connection to the smilers) and who has the plan, but the poet warns "expect no love from the beat below" maintaining that the Starwhale has no valid will or capacity for love, it is a dumb beast and a power source and nothing more.
And we can express the same attitudes towards God as we make Him over in the image we want him to be. God creates us and dies for us on the cross so that we can have salvation, but we don't want to meet God, we just want to utilize Him. All human beings, Christians included, are capable and guilty of this. We see God as the power source and we build our own concepts, our own beliefs and desires around him and pray for what we want to happen. We have already decided for ourselves what the best course of action is and we become angry with God when our lives do not go well under our own direction. But even as we do this, like the citizens of the Starship UK we are haunted by our guilt and the sense that something is terribly wrong with our lives.
As the Starwhale is being deliberately hurt by the humans who justify their actions in the name of survival, it literally suffers for hundreds of years and continues to love mankind. This is illustrated in the episode by the whale's refusal to eat the children and desire to interact with them (via tentacles). In the same way although we have and continue to hurt God by our refusal of Him and our sin against Him, He continues to love and give to us. Amy Pond marvels that all the years of suffering just made the Starwhale kind, and so we should marvel also at the nature of God, who describes himself in Exodus 34 as merciful, gracious, longsuffering, abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
THREE RESPONSES TO THE STARWHALE
Choice to Forget (Agnostic)
Those who realize the suffering we are causing God and others by our sin typically chose to forget. The nation of Britain in this episode does exactly that. What is scary is that although they choose as a society, ultimately it is an individual choice. Every citizen is alone in that voting booth, and it is between their conscience and themselves when they choose to forget. Forgetting the issue of God's existence, side-tabling it so that we can continue living our lives as they currently are, is a pretty fair definition of Agnosticism.
The American Religious Identification Survey given in the U.S. in 2008 found that twelve percent of those surveyed considered themselves either agnostic or atheist. A similar BBC survey conducted in the UK and other nations in 2004 found that twenty-five percent of Britons never prayed, but thirty percent of all atheists surveyed (of all nations) admitted they prayed sometimes. This is the most recent and reliable data I could find that illustrates how many people today choose to be agnostic rather than commit to atheism or God. Going back to the episode, even characters we love and believe to have good hearts, such as Amy and Queen Elizabeth have chosen to be agnostic. But this choice is not without a price, as the entire nation and any who choose to forget go through their lives with subconscious guilt, shame, and a sense that something is not right. The good news is that all it takes is one decision to turn from an agnostic into a true believer (as Amy bravely demonstrates).
Choice to "Kill God" (Atheist)
The Doctor represents that good party of intellectuals, perhaps educated more than the common citizen, who can't stand seeing the pain they are witnessing, so they choose to kill the idea of God. In the episode, the doctor chooses to "kill" the Starwhale by making it brain dead out of mercy; in contrast, I would submit that atheists "kill" God out of mercy towards themselves. Most professed atheists place the emphasis on the rationality of their beliefs, or how their minds and their thoughts lead them to their conclusions about life. But we can't divorce the emotional component from any belief, no matter how rationally we choose to live our lives because we are still human. Unless you are extremely callous, and here I would submit that atheists are not, it is very emotionally painful to live in a world with so much evil and suffering. And to live with the idea that a sovereign living God allows such suffering because He allows humans to exercise free will and all the consequences said will produces (murder, child-slavery etc) is incredibly difficult and painful.
To look around us today and believe that God has a greater plan of redemption, and that He does and will champion the oppressed takes real faith in Him and His will. But the Doctor doesn't recognize the Starwhale as capable of goodwill towards men, or even necessarily a will of its own since he concludes if he releases it then it will flee like a dumb beast. So the atheist also refuses to consider how the will of God comes into play, or if they do consider it they judge it as "not good enough" since they would choose better for mankind. And that's what the kind-hearted atheist proceeds to do-enact his or her own will on every given situation as ethically as they possibly can. But as the Doctor's judgment call towards the Starwhale illustrates, our best can still be wrong. Acting as ethically as he can to preserve lives and to stop pain, the doctor is still by his own words, committing murder and losing his own soul/identity, as he declares that after he has finished he will have to "find a new name because I won't be the Doctor anymore."
The bible declares that "God has chosen the foolish things of this world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty" in I Corinthians 1:27. This means that salvation is made not for those who society considers strong or wise, but for the humble and powerless. No one is in a weaker position of power than Amy in this episode. The moment she understands what she consented to when she voted to forget (she recognizes her sin) she apologizes and repents. The Doctor then callously implies he shouldn't have expected better of her because she is after all "only human." Although badly delivered, there is truth in his statement, humans can fail, all humans can sin.
What you don't know if you haven't seen the first episode of the series is that Amy is an "abandoned child." Her parents are gone from her life, she lives with an Aunt who ignores her, and the Doctor shows up when she is a child, promises to be back in 5 minutes and doesn't show for 12 years. Now in the second episode, her trust in the Doctor to accept and forgive her is disappointed again.
Yet it is her continuing childhood pain and her position of weakness that allows Amy to identify with the children present and to recognize the truth-the salvation the Starwhale offered all those years ago when it came to earth and still offers. She thinks of the fact that the Starwhale won't eat the children, and watches it playing with them (tentacles though a hole in the floor) while still in pain, and comes to the conclusion that the Starwhale does have a will and a heart that loves.
Amy makes the choice that no other human (or timelord) has been able to make-to give up her own will and place herself entirely at the mercy of the Starwhale. And it is a big risk. Her trust has already been placed in others and devastatingly disappointed. But she looks at the nature of the Starwhale and takes the leap of faith. In turn, the Starwhale saves the citizens of the Starship UK, both literally preserving their lives and emotionally freeing them from the guilt of having to continue in their sin. The Doctor is also saved from sin, from having to commit the act of murder that would have taken his identity. Moreover, the speed of the ship doubles as soon as the Starwhale is released, why? Because its will is greater than theirs and it had the best in its heart for these people all along. God's heart towards you and I is the same.
THE CHALLENGE-WHO REPRESENTS YOU?
Dear reader, consider: will you chose to forget the reality of your sin and a God who suffered for you and desires to save you? Will you Kill God by turning Him into a distant idea, or dinky supernatural power source meant to serve your own will and intellect? Or will you chose to abdicate the throne in your heart and give it to Him, trusting that He will save you and take your life in directions greater than you could ever imagine? (I Corinthians 2:9). What will you do with the Beast below? I will end my post with the poem that Amy recites in voice-over at the conclusion of the episode:
"In bed above we're deep asleep,
While greater love lies further deep,
This dream must end, this world must know,
We all depend on the Beast below."
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Hello Dear Readers!
Today I'm going to talk a little bit about obsession-what it is, how it works with Geeks (and non-geeks too), what some of the results of obsession are, and finally how we determine if an obsession is a worthy consumer of our thoughts, emotions, and time. This is a harder subject for me to write on because I am going to be using some personal and rather mortifying examples from my own life to illustrate some of my points.
Obsession: What is it and How does it work?
First let's talk about what obsession is: merriam-webster.com defines it as follows:
1: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly
: compelling motivation, for example: an obsession with profits
This is a pretty accurate definition, except it's a little clinical, and I think in our current culture the adjectives disturbing and unreasonable have pretty much dropped out of our minds. We are a society that likes to obsess at various junctures of our lives, and geeks are not the only ones to obsess, obsession has become a fairly common lifestyle choice. Just look at the level of fandom and devotion for various sports teams, television shows, political commentators/leaders, authors, and dare I say it, blogs, and it's fairly obvious obsession today is more of a trendy indulgence than a sign of psychological abnormality.
What I do like about this definition is its mention of preoccupation and compulsion-because I think that is where obsession really starts to be demonstrated. If I am preoccupied with something for a period longer than a week, and I find myself compelled to talk about it, buy items related to it, and even convert others to the appreciation of it, it's reasonable to say I am obsessed with "it" whatever it may be. And obsession can form through three simple things-as my handy formula below illustrates:
Investments of Time +Internal Thoughts+ Experiencing Emotions=Obsession
I don't care how stoic you are in your disposition, if you invest large portions of your time, your internal thoughts, and continually experience emotions you enjoy in association with something, it is likely that that thing will become the object of your obsession: be it a television show, a band, an artist, a book series, action figure/comics book collection, film trilogy etc.
Obsession and the Geek
Many non-Geeks have expressed confusion at the level of obsession that they seek Geeks reaching-it can be both highly humorous and alarming to them (If you are confused as to what I mean about a Geek see my working definitions in my first blog section). The simple answer I give them is that nobody can obsess like a Geek can because it is how they prefer to have fun. But this needs further explanation that includes a description of the nature of Geeks. Geeks by and large have a very rich internal life-in our minds and in our hearts. There is a lot going on under the surface of a geek that has to do with the joy she/he gets out of intellectual exploration and games and the emotional satisfaction that comes with things linked to this internal life. That's why we like books-it takes place all in our heads, and music-because we can experience it and internalize it. And a dazzling competency in this internal world often leads to the inverse of our being socially awkward and ill-at ease in the real world. Nobody likes to feel uncomfortable or like they don't belong. In the societies created within a Geek's imagination, she or he may be the hero, the irreplaceable team member, or beloved companion (if you want further proof of this look at all the fan fiction on the internet where the author has written him or herself into an existing story as a character). Therefore, is it any wonder they would choose to withdraw to a reality of their own making, from one filled with opportunities for them to fall short and for human interactions to hurt them? I'm not saying that it's healthy, but it is logical, so far as avoiding pain is logical. And for this reason Geeks are more vulnerable to giving way to obsession in a way that is not entirely mentally or spiritually healthy for them.
When a Geek obsesses (though anyone Geek and Non-Geek alike are capable of this) they dwell on every single aspect of the object of their obsession-they immerse themselves in it and everything related to it, because it is enjoyable to them. And because of this internal focus and devotion, the obsessed person achieves a certain level of intimacy with the object of their obsession in their hearts and minds.
And if they are geeks, they may add the mystical component to their obsession, where on some level they now want all things in the world to somehow relate to the object of their obsession. So that the object now goes beyond moving them deeply once or twice to preoccupying them for a length of time, days, weeks, months, and years depending on the level of the obsession. They will read again, or watch again, or listen again, or discuss again and again that object with which they are obsessed. They have explored that object in all its glorious possibilities, symbolism, implications etc. and while doing so have interconnected it to their own lives, their own strands of thought, and themselves.
Ownership of the object of their obsession has taken place (which is why Geeks feel they have the right to critique any further media related to the object of their obsession-some examples: it a movie version of a book or comic, to a new episode of a television show they have already watched for some time, or a new album by a band they have followed). But it can go even beyond ownership. The deeply obsessed person may identify the object of their obsession (that song, that image, or that sequence of dialogue) internalizing it to a level that goes beyond ownership to reflection: they see themselves in it. That movie line on the t-shirt I am wearing doesn't just remind you of the movie, it reflects and expresses me. And this intimacy level with the obsessive object can give the person in question a distorted view of the intimacy level they have with the creators of that object as well-aka- Obsessive Fandom. Which leads us to:
Some Real-Life Examples of Obsession
Okay, I need to be more honest, most of the time we Geeks have a distorted view of our intimacy level once we've become obsessed.
I read an article once written about a Lord of the Rings convention from a journalist who I would classify as a non-Geek. At this event several of the actors who played the hobbits in Lord of the Rings movies were there. In their commentary of the films, these actors had told a charming story about playing "tig" which as far as I could gather was either a British version of "tag" that they had made up on –set. Now what this journalist could not wrap his/her head around was the strange gifts that these fans of the movies had brought to present to the actors at the autograph table. One of the gifts mentioned was a long, hand-calligraphed in ye-olden lettering scroll that listed all official "Rules of Tig," that were mentioned in the commentary. To the geeks who created it, and put much time into it, this was a thoughtful and sincere gift that clearly communicated they got it, they knew all the rules of tig too! They were part of the inner circle. Which of course obviously they weren't. All geeks think we are on the inner circle because in our minds, the area of our lives in which we feel the most free, we are-we have achieved that level of intimacy. It makes sense to geeks, but to someone on the outside of the obession they look at that gift and conclude "this is the most bizarre behavior I have ever seen."
Yeah, we get that a lot.
And if you think it's weird out here, be thankful you've never been inside our heads.
I will say that as I have gotten older my perspective on geek fandom specifically pertaining to gifts has changed. I understand the reasons why the geek to give an ornately detailed and intimate gift to a person who is somehow responsible for the object of their obsession, but I don't think this is always the best thing. I am sure that the actors who played the hobbits in the LOTR films accepted the scroll of tig rules with a generous cordiality, but we have to also recognize that one of them didn't go home and hang it up on their wall.
But some of you Geeks in the throes of your obsession are saying: "What if I want to make something?! Who are you to tell me not to make anything? I'm not good with words and words aren't enough for me to express my level of fandom." To which I will say, okay, then here's my second round of advice. Make something that expresses your fandom, and not an assumed level of intimacy.
Here's my own, still hard to admit, painfully embarrassing example.
I have been obsessed with many things in my lifetime, one being The Lord of the Rings, and another was this little band I came across while flipping through channels one day. One of the singers in this band was what I considered a dead ringer (pun intended) for Legolas. When I got my hands on their first CD, and they had a track entitled, "In the House of Tom Bombadil," (remember geeks love interconnectivity) it seemed a further confirmation that this band was, astoundingly awesome.
They were called: Nickel Creek.
The band consisted of a violinist, Sara Watkins, guitarist and sibling Sean Watkins, and best friend mandolin playing Legolas-impersonating Chris Thile. My sister and I listened to their music non-stop, we learned their lyrics and melodies by heart, and we drove miles upon miles through the great state of California to attend their concerts. A merry obsession in full bloom.
It will be therefore no surprise to you when I say I was interacting with their music on a very intimate level. Around the same time I was getting into scrapbooking and decoupage, though not in the straight corners, pretty patterns, flush edges, precise captions, and bubbly stickers style that is so popular now. What I did was just use whatever I thought was fun (magazine pictures, advertisements, napkins, discarded library books etc) and instead of documenting life I created art-projects. I got pretty good at it after a while- collaged the inside of cigar boxes in pretty ways and gave them to my friends.
And so, since I loved Nickel Creek, what was there for me to do but make them a cigar box collage like any other of my friends? I worked very hard and made a beautiful box. It took me about a month to get all the images and text I thought they would find inspiring, and I also added a few marbles and a small metal knight in shining armor to give it that childhood feel. This is mortifying enough to me now, but did I stop there? Oh no. I felt an intimacy with their songs remember? And being a writer and a poet, I then put a series of songs, some of them replies to songs they had written in the box too. Then I wrapped it and presented it to them quietly at a concert. Oh, and I also put my name and contact information in the box on the side, you know, just in case. At the time I was full of hope, innocence, a longing for art and friendship, and gratitude. And part of me looks at this gift and the desire behind it and is very merciful to my sweet stupid naïve geeky self.
But in the same moment the larger part of me is saying: "What the heck was I thinking?"
You see these band members were not my personal friends, I was a fan. Clear distinction. And while I have the advantage of knowing me and that my motives for giving the box were pure, to them this was likely one of the creepiest gifts they received of all time.
And when I think about that box now, ever, even just for a few minutes, I cringe.
But this story does have a happy ending.
Years later my sister and I drove down to L.A. to see "The Watkins Family Hour" at Largo, at the Cornet after the band had mutually split up into two factions. We went to see Sean and Sarah play, and let me tell you it is amazing-and totally worth the trip if you live in CA. Wandering through the aisles at Michaels craftstore, I saw some foam fingers like the kind people use at sporting events. Inspired, I made us some Watkins family hour foam fingers, that read-Sean is #1 and Sarah is #1-very simple and silly. We asked permission to produce them at the opportune moment at the concert to express our appreciation for the music.
And they were a smashing success! Sean and Sara talked to us afterwards, and we gave them to them as a sort of trophy for their musicianship. Why did they respond to the fingers in such a positive way? Because they expressed our actual relationship-artist and fan-with no bloated level of intimacy assumed. So don't get me wrong, express your geeky fandom, but maybe run it by a few of your not-obsessed-with-that-thing friends first, to make sure it is reality based and expressing an accurate or appropriate level of intimacy.
Hopefully these two real-life examples have shown you one of the greatest dangers of obsession-the obsessed person involved can suffer a disconnect from reality that they regret later on in their lives (box-cringe!). And if the obsession is deep this can take time to realize-it took me several years of maturing to realize that I was living in la la land when I made that box. And likewise, my obsession changed and matured-it turned into fandom instead. I still listen to their music with that deep level of intimacy, but I know I'm not on the inner circle and that's okay.
Another danger to obsession is how it can dominate your life and displace things that are far more important. I'm going to talk about obsession disrupting my relationship with God, which is by far the most important thing in my life, but this can also be applied to an obsession displacing relationships with friends and family or other necessary human pursuits. When I first started watching Doctor Who (the new series starting 2005) I had been provided with all the episodes of several seasons from a friend, and I became obsessed in a very brief amount of time. I was watching 2-3 episodes a day, just tearing through seasons. Then one Sunday morning I am in church, singing a familiar worship song, and in the middle of singing I catch myself wondering what would be happening in the next episode. Although this happened entirely in my head, I was both embarrassed before God and myself. So I repented and backed off of my obsession by not watching any Doctor Who for a week and trust me that was hard. Then I adjusted my viewing to one episode a day, no more, and an equal amount of time in bible study and other things.
Now that's what I had to do for me, if you are obsessed you may not have to go to such extremes, or you may need to take way more drastic measures to get a handle on your obsession. And you may not be experiencing any "ah-ha!" moment regarding what you are currently obsessed with. But here's a few steps you can take to make sure your obsession hasn't reached an unhealthy level.
- See what the people who know you, and you trust think about your obsession.
- Ask yourself, "How much time am I devoting to this object vs other things in my life?"
- Count how many times in one day you are thinking about the object of your obsession.
- Ask yourself, "If I was forced to forgo experiencing/interacting with this object for a while, could I do it?"
- Ask yourself, "Has this object become more important that anyone (i.e. God/Family) or anything in my life that should have priority over it?"
I'd like to clarify-I don't mean see if the people you trust like the object of your obsession as well or even understand your obsession; I mean notice their reactions to it. Pay attention if your friends/family are making comments about you caring too much about your obsession-people are put in our life to help normalize us. If they don't comment, ask them directly, remember, in a multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14). As for the other steps, they are only going to benefit you if you are honest with yourself in your answers, and if your answer to step 4 is on some teeny level uncertain, test it-because that is an indication you could do with a break. After all, the kind of obsession you want to have should be one that inspires you to live your life more fully, to create art your own art, to speak truth, and to reach out and connect to the people you care about. Which leads us to:
A Worthy Obsession
Finally, I would argue that the greatest danger of obsession is how easily it can happen with something that is not really worthy to be an object of your obsession. If you are going to allow yourself to be preoccupied with or even compelled to action by an object, it had better be worthy because it is going to produce results in your life. Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Mathew 11:24); in other words, what you internalize is going to become externalized by you. Remember obsession involves a level of intimacy, so it is a more than reasonable stance to ask what exactly it is you are allowing yourself to become intimate with.
So here's a filter I have used in my own life more and more as I examine the things I delight in, the things in my life it is fair to say I am somewhat if not fully obsessed with (from Philippians 4:8):
"Whatever things are true,
Whatever things are noble,
Whatever things are just,
Whatever things are pure,
Whatever things are lovely,
Whatever things are of good report,
If there is any virtue,
If there is anything praiseworthy,
Meditate on these things."
To meditate is to consider thoughtfully, to be preoccupied with, to obsess on. If I find myself caught up with a tv show, band, song, book, comic, web series, movie, or the like I ask myself-does it tell the truth? Are the actions of the characters/thoughts that are advocated noble? Is there justice? Is it pure and uncorrupted? Is it lovely? Are any virtues such as self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, or faith demonstrated, illustrated, and reiterated by this thing? What about it is praiseworthy? The non-Christian who is ethical I think could also look at this list and recognize the wisdom of it if they desire good in their lives. And this is more than a check list, it is interconnected as well, for what can truly be called lovely if it is a lie? How can something be of good report if it glorifies injustice?
In conclusion, a worthy obsession is something that will encourage the obsessed person to act rightly, and to do good- to grow as a person. How unfortunate it would be if I obsessively escaped into a series such as Doctor Who, where characters travel to the edges of the universe to help others, and I myself didn't start looking for who I can rescue, befriend, and take on adventures in my own life. What a failure it would be if my obsession with The Lord of the Rings only went so far as admiring the self-sacrificial actions of characters and then shutting the book with the thought that it is decently written. In contrast, if I meditate on Samwise Gamgee's attitude of humility and daily self-sacrifice then maybe I will begin seeking ways to become a less self-centered person and more devoted friend.
So my friends, are you obsessed? And if so is it a worthy obsession?
I challenge you to reflect and see!
Until next time, I am yours obsessively,
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Hello there, Geek Girl here,
So some of you may be asking what is up with the blog title?
I imagine your inner monologue going something like this:
"I mean it's an obvious allusion to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but is she saying she's a better writer than Douglas Adams? Because if so I will have to either: A) Stop reading her blog out of deference to that author, B)Actually read one of the Hitchhiker's guide books my Uncle keeps bugging me to read C) Rent the movie and hope the blanks are satisfactorily filled in. Also, is it tea time yet?"
If this wasn't exactly what you were thinking, then hopefully at least you were entertained, as I am whenever I read the Hitchhiker's guide series. I like Douglas Adams as a writer and his continually ill-fated protagonist Arthur Dent is perhaps one of my favorite characters in the annuls of literature. And no, I am not comparing myself to him as a writer for several reasons; one being that he has a vastly superior vocabulary to mine, and two being that I don't think I could capture the humorous moroseness of his view of the Universe if I tried.
I am however utilizing the significance of the number 42 in his novels to my own ends.
THE MEANING OF 42
In the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy, a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings decide they want to know the meaning of "Life, the Universe, and Everything" so they build a massive super computer called Deep Thought to calculate an answer for them. Millions of years later the answer, the ultimate answer that Deep Thought provides them with is 42. This unfortunately doesn't mean anything to our pan-dimensional philosophers, but as Deep Thought points out to them, they didn't really provide her with a definitive question. When they demand that Deep Thought work out what the question is, in her John the Baptist moment, Deep Thought says she cannot calculate it but that they must created another supercomputer greater than herself with biological life in its matrices, whose intricate program of life will produce the question. The same group of group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings, and subsequently created in the same manner that we earthlings might order a custom sofa for an oddly shaped room. However, a mere 5 minutes before the earth's 10 million year program can actually be completed; the earth is destroyed by the Vogons (a highly bureaucratic alien race) to make way for a new hyper-spatial expressway.
This happens of course because as a self-professed "radical atheist" Adam's continual theme throughout the series, is just when we think we can find meaning, or happiness, or any small variations of both, either we or some other equally self-absorbed life-form with come and screw it all up. We can have the answer 42, but never the question, and without it the answer is useless. This is because Adam's ultimate view of life is that since there is no answer to be had all we can do is resolve not to panic, to appreciate the beauty of the universe (such as fjords), and occasionally enjoy a good cup of tea as you quietly and humorously resign yourself to the hopelessness of it all.
This attitude towards life is one that many geeks adopt, embracing 42 as their answer.
And quite frankly, and with all due respect to Adams and his cohorts, I think there is a better, more satisfactory answer than 42, and it is Jesus.
Because as much as I laugh as I read and wish that I could give Arthur Dent a good hug and a nice cup of tea, I can't live my life the way that he does-towel in hand trying not to panic.
I must have more hope than 42 for the Universe and for myself. And I think geeks deserve a better answer as well, and with this blog I shall attempt to point them to it.
FUN WITH NUMBERS
I couldn't resist, although it has little relevance to the blog title itself, exploring 42 a little further. Numbers have spiritual significance that is indicated by how they are used in the bible. You can find this in books by many different bible scholars, but for convenience here's a link to one bible webpage I found, theoldtimegospel.org that shows them.
The number 4 is associated with Creation which is interesting to me because Adams himself was very invested in creation, he has a lovely book called Last Chance to See, where he visits animals all over the world and marvels at their beauty and unique features. Interestingly enough, he also has earth created intentionally in his series, not the result of an evolutionary accident or anomaly. The number 2 is associated with union, division, and witnessing, and so go to town interpreting that if you like.
4 plus 2 equals 6, which is the number of man, or more accurately imperfect or sinful man (That's why the number of the antichrist in Revelation is 666-it is man trying to achieve divinity as 3 is symbolic of the Trinity and divine perfection).
6 times 7 equals 42, and 7 is associated with spiritual completion or perfection, so you literally have imperfect man reaching for spiritual perfection and you get 42.
Pretty wild, huh?
COINCIDENCE YOU SAY?
As some of you more observant folks may have noted my email is GeekGirl452, but this is actually coincidence and has nothing to do with the aforementioned 42. You see I created the email account when I was still trying to come up with the name of the blog, and since Geek Girl wasn't available with yahoo I had to assign a number with it. 452 is a special number to me not because it is spiritually significant of anything. I just happen to like 452 because in the computer animated television series Reboot, the city of mainframe's brave defender (and my favorite character) was Bob, guardian 452. So while 5 is associated spiritually with grace, I was not trying to break up 42 with grace or anything so complicated as that.
I just love me some Reboot!
~Until next time, dear reader, this is Geek Girl signing off
NEXT TIME: " A Worthy Obsession" or "I'm in the inner circle-in my own mind."
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Hello there, Geek Girl here-
Coming to you from a tiny town in the massive state of California. I go by Geek Girl rather than my real name for two reasons. One is marketing- intensive studies (given to up to 5 people) have shown you are far more likely to like me as Geek Girl due to its catchy alliteration and easy pronunciation than by my actual name. Second, I am a high school teacher, which means that the last thing I need is students who got the grade they earned (significant glance in your direction, Bartleby Jones) to find me online and harass me unduly. That having been said, I do live in CA (which means I am sunburnt), I have a degree in English (which means I'm an experienced reader), I teach (which means I passed a background check with the FBI) and I have attended Comic-Con and Wondercon twice each under varying pseudonyms, one of which was written entirely in Angelo Saxon runes (which means you may have seen me already in your lifetime). In short:
I am a JESUS GEEK.
This means that I love Jesus and many, many geeky things such as Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, TV shows, movies, action figures, and comics. This blog is sort of a platform to discuss both geeky things and spiritual truths with some cross-over because who doesn't love a good cross-over (Ex: Superman and the Amazing Spiderman in a Duel of Titans)? In this blog I will also discuss experiences and issues common to your average female geek (yes we do exist).
Because there are no definitive definitions of terms such as Geek, Nerd, and Dork, I have provided you with the following-my very own:
1. a person with specialized (obsessive) knowledge in a specific category that is not necessarily academic.
2. a person with technical knowledge of computers or other electronic devices (I.E. the I.T.)
1. a person who is socially removed or isolated from others.
2. a person with academic knowledge in a specific content area : e.g. Literature, Science, Mathematics, etc.
1. a person with few social inhibitions
2. a person who is obviously and intentionally farcical in their behavior
3. a person who lacks physical coordination
I identify myself as a Geek the most because it most accurately represents me, but I also have nerdy and dorky tendencies. I believe that these terms should be celebrated and used on a regular basis by self-professed Nerds, Geeks, and Dorks in order to destroy the derogatory connotations these terms have carried in the past. I also identify myself as a Christian, and Jesus is my Lord, my salvation, and my best friend. I believe that anyone who is seeking truth will find Him. The following are my spiritual beliefs:
The Bible says that in order to be saved by Jesus Christ both from your sins and from an eternity separated from God (Hell) you need to do the following:
You need to turn away from your sin. You do this by confessing your sins to God and asking His forgiveness.
Sin is choosing your own way over God's way for your life. This is why Adam and Eve's choosing to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was sin-God told them not to because that knowledge and death were not something He intended for His creation. When most people think of sins they think of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) where sins like lying, murder, and adultery are mentioned. When Jesus came He further explained that sin doesn't just come in actions, it takes place in a man's heart and we can also sin through our thoughts (Mathew 5:21-22).
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
This means to look at Jesus' death on the cross and his rising from the dead three days later as a real event and something done personally for your salvation. God is holy and can have no part with sin, which is why when we sin we have separated ourselves from God (see above). And since we have sinned there is nothing we can do to earn our own salvation, we can't reconcile ourselves to God through being good people or doing good things (Romans 3:9-20, Ephesians 2:8).
When we recognize what Jesus has done for us then we understand that God took on the limited form of a human being and faced every temptation we also face but did not sin. He then allowed Himself to be crucified-taking our sins on Himself and even suffering the pain of being separated from God (Mathew 27:46) so that God could forgive us. In order for God to be just there must be a price paid for our sin, and that price is death, but Jesus loves us so much that He paid the price so we could be reconciled to Him both during our lives and after death.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 3:23
"For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21 (added by me for clarification)
ACCEPT HIS LORDSHIP
In addition to repenting and recognizing, you need to accept Jesus' gift of salvation for yourself and ask Him to become Lord of your life. Because you can desire to stop sinning and you can even recognize God's gift as a reality and still chose your own way and not be saved. Just like you can intellectually understand how a political group thinks but not live your life by their standards, so you can believe in Christianity and not belong to Jesus. So the last step is to decide to give up your own will for your life and to ask Him to come live in you and choose for you because you trust Him to choose better for you than you would chose for yourself. Jesus
Himself did this, surrendering His own will in obedience to the will of God the Father (Luke 22: 41-42, Philippians 2:8).
"Jesus said to him (Thomas), 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through Me.'" John 14: 6
"I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (Paul, a disciple of Jesus, wrote this describing himself and how his life is transformed by his choice to follow Jesus.)
Praying can be made into this huge intimidating thing, when in reality it is simply having a conversation with God. You can pray out loud or in your heart and mind, but you need to talk to God-tell Him in your own words that you are a sinner and you want to repent, that you recognize His death on the cross was for you and that you accept His salvation for your life and for your eternity.
Ask Him to come into your life and to dwell in you to equip you with the power of His Holy Spirit (John 15:15-18, John 15:26-27) who Jesus talked about as being our Helper. When you pray God is not looking for eloquent poetry He just wants honesty. Say it to Him how you would say it to your best friend -just talk!
READ THE BIBLE, PRAY, GET CONNECTED TO A CHURCH!
Once you have prayed you are saved-you have now entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This may seem like a pretty abstract and overwhelming concept at first, but try to think of it more simply like any relationship you've just started. What would you do with any new relationship? Well, you'd probably talk to that person, spend time with him in order to get to know him better and share more of yourself with him, and you'd tell your other friends about him.
You can both spend time with Jesus and get to know him better by reading the Bible. The book of John shares the life of Jesus with us from the perspective of one of His best friends. The book of Romans lays out how God's salvation works for us step by step-these are two really good books to start with. But don't feel limited them-there is nothing in God's word He is afraid of having you bring up with Him. Praying is also how you can get to know God and to share more of yourself with Him. Remember-keep it personal and real-prayer is a conversation not a grand speech or a guilt trip, or a list of demands. Talk to God about what you need and ask for help. Ask Him to show you what He wants you to do too and listen for Him to answer you in your heart, in His word, and in your experiences throughout the week.
Tell the people in your life about the decision you made to follow Jesus. Don't worry about what you need to learn- just share what He has done for you. And finally, join a church so you can talk to other people who also believe in Him. Make sure the church shares the beliefs you have-that all men are sinners, that Jesus really died and rose again in 3 days, that there is nothing we can do to add to that salvation, and that He should be Lord of our lives. And don't let yourself be discouraged, churches are very different and sometimes it takes a long time to find one where you really feel at home. Just pray and ask God to lead you where He wants you.
In the spirit of full disclosure I hope this gave you an accurate picture of me, dear reader, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.
~This is Geek Girl, signing off.
NEXT TIME: "Better than 42? " Or "What's in a blog name?"