Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The Wall Street Journal presented an article entitled Why So Many People Can’t Make Decisions. It outlines and describes two types of mentalities those who are black/white thinkers and those (like myself) who are the shades of gray thinkers. The article claims that both these mindsets play a vital role in how people handle their daily life at work and in relationships. In addition, depending on the approach a person takes it can largely influence the way that they perceive and interpret decision and reality overall. Stating that those who see the world in black/white tend to speak their mind or make quick decisions, have overall less anxiety about making wrong choices as well they are less likely to consider others’ point of view. On the contrary, the more ambivalent thinkers (the shades of gray thinkers) are more thoughtful about the choices they make, feel more regret after making a decision as well, as they tend to appreciate multiple points of view.
Ideally, we would like to label one better than the other but in this instance I say, “We think about it”. This article is claiming that a certain degree of ambivalence is a sign of maturity. And, I absolutely agree. Not because I myself fall into this category of gray side but because it would seem to me that being a black/white thinkers limits an understanding to that very moment, almost like an adrenaline rush. The article declares that they have an overall need to reach a conclusion just for the sake of reaching it. Meanwhile, shades of gray thinkers tend are able to handle uncertainty. They are not in a hurry to make a decision just for the sake of making it because they out way all their options.
I cannot help but to relate this back to our class discussion about doubt and uncertainty. If the shades of gray thinkers tend to be more at ease with uncertainty, how does this play out in their religion? I know for me personally, I know what I believe in and my decision to believe in it is genuine and authentic. Nevertheless, to be sincere it would be a lie to say that thoughts of doubt do not creep into my mind once in awhile. Then is that just a product of sinful nature or an inability to make concrete decisions?
Chris Ahrens was featured in a local San Diego newspaper sharing his longing to give celebrities an opportunity to share something greater than the new diet fad or even the details of their current fling of the week instead providing them with an opportunity to share their views on Jesus Christ, faith, spirituality, Scripture and religion in their lives overall. He founded the website celebritypreacher.com. On this website, celebrities are interviewed and given the chance to proclaim their faith and beliefs.
My curiosity was sparked when I read the list of celebrities who have contributed to the website thus far, not because I was judging them but because I felt a certain sense of disconnection between what they believe and what they do. We are all called to proclaim our faith, to not only believe in it, but to walk in it, daily. How would being a superstar prohibit or inhibit that? We (including myself) are faced with this issue daily and we are not even superstars (or at least I do not think anyone in our class is).
Life (A.K.A. the world) makes it nearly impossible for us to live in line with our faith. I cannot even begin to understand both the external and internal issues that celebrities are faced with in having to perhaps live this double life. Do I think it is right? No, and overall I think this is what this class has taught me personally, integration is not just a product of combining theology with psychology but it is about becoming integrated. The process by which we can integrate our faith into our practice, knowing that our perception will change as will our circumstances but neither can truly determine our character and our relationship with Jesus.
Overall, I chose to blog about this because I enjoyed the videos of celebrities proclaiming their faith. I would encourage the readers to watch as it helped to gain a better image of the celebrities beyond their “title in Hollywood” and in the eyes of the Savior.
I am sure most of you have heard that the newest Chronicles of Narnia comes out tomorrow (I think), and that it is supposed to the best one yet. But have you heard Liam Neeson most recent comment about Aslan. The voice of Alsan recently told viewers that Aslan not only represents God, but he can also represent Muhammad. This obviously did not make people happy, especially the fans who are also Christians. Fan’s are saying that Neeson is running the film.
C.S Lewis who is the author of the Chronicles of Narnia wrote this Christian series, and in this seven book series, Aslan represents Christ. Lewis once said, “He is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, "What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?"' These books are also filled with tons of other Christian symbolism besides Aslan.
I think this whole story is kind of ridiculous. It would be one thing if Lewis never came straight out and said that Aslan represented God, but he did! So what is all the fuss about. People can say whatever they want really. I don’t care if people think Aslan is their Grandpa Joe. It doesn’t change the fact that the AUTHOR of the series said he represents Christ. I will say it is also ridiculous that Neeson would say such a thing. Doesn’t he know that by saying this he is obviously going to lose viewers? Another thing is Muhammad really didn’t teach things that are portrayed in this movie through Aslan. The last thing that is ridiculous is how people are reacting. I had not heard much before this, but some of my friends were telling me about how some people are going crazy over this, and well it just isn’t necessary.
In an article I read (Anorexia & FBT), it was found that teens suffering from anorexia recovered faster and remained healthier longer after receiving family-based therapy as opposed to individual therapy (IT). Most treatments for eating disorders have often been to send patient to a rehabilitation center somewhere far away from any family or support system in the hope that the doctors and therapist's there could help them get better. There is a stigma attached to anorexia stating that parents cause the eating disorder in their children, but this has been proven to be false and because of this many families agreed to send their loved ones away for treatment. This is now slowly becoming a thing of the past as more treatments are beginning to include the family into the healing process. Patient's treated with FBT have been shown to gain weight faster and show great improvement in attitudes and behaviors relating to food. A study was done to compare FBT to IT and it was found that when patients were treated using FBT 42% of patients had recovered as compared to 23% in the individual therapy group. At follow-up the FBT group had a higher rate of patients in full remission than the IT group and the percentage of relapse for the FBT group was 10% compared to 40% in the IT group.
Reading this article made me hopeful as a Family Therapist in training because I believe that FBT works and I fully support it's process. I have a desire to see families come together to help a loved one in need not to be separated because of an issue; this is the reason why I want to work with families, to help them improve their quality of life together.
Here are some chilling statistics on Anorexia:
- 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Eating Disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide (The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders)
- 90 % of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25 (SAMHSA)
- More than a million men and boys battle the illness every day (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org)
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness?
- A young woman with anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without Anorexia (American Journal of Psychiatry)
- Five to ten percent of anorexics die within ten years of onset, 18-20 percent die within twenty years of onset, and only 50 percent report ever being cured (American Psychiatric Association)
- 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems (The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders)
Do you remember the days when rabbit ears ruled the airwaves? Families spent endless hours in tantalizing tango between man and machine. When one ear lifted, the other fell. When one finger tentatively released, a clear picture turned hopelessly fuzzy. Rolls of aluminum foil were used up faster than glazed donuts at a police booster. One might even think a typical home to be a museum of modern art with the ways in which rabbit ears balanced precariously on the edges of window ledges, wires wrapped playfully around furniture, and aluminum foil flashed flamboyantly in the afternoon sun. Bodies froze breathlessly as an unintentional movement restored the buzzing static to the gentle baritone of Peter Jennings on World News Tonight.
A story in the New York Times discussed an emerging trend leading away from cable and satellite television providers. With the rising costs of these cable subscriptions, some households have opted out of the expensive hedonism of mass media in favor of the simple world of free network HD programming. Many households have supplemented their network programming with Netflix, iTunes, or internet television. Although not without the minor headaches of a weak signal during a storm or heavy foot traffic, the change has gone over remarkably well, and has left few people with a desire to go back to the hefty bills of cable.
As the paralyzing hold that cable companies have over the American public begins to crumble, a renewed emphasis on fiscal responsibility and conservative living is emerging. In many ways, this counterculture has implications that reach far beyond saving a few extra dollars on the television bill. When the channel menu has been whittled down from hundred to a handful, people are left with far fewer programs with which to dominate their schedules. A favorite show may actually become just that: the television show that is most watched on the television, not the favorite show on ESPN…and then on AMC…and then on HBO…and then on TLC…and then on XYZ (well, you get the picture). Time may be spent away with from the television, perhaps spent cultivating relationships with others, investing in more productive hobbies, or even resting from the hurriedness of life.
Few realize the anxiety that can result from being in bondage to their media providers. Large cable bills stretch the budget, which then prompts people to pick up more hours to cover the additional expenses. Excessive work creates unnecessary stress, and if maintained, can have harmful effects on overall health. In an effort to get one’s “money’s worth” out of the cable package, excessive amounts of time are spent watching television, rather than engaging in activities that provide legitimate rest and restoration of the body and mind. Preoccupation with cable programming also takes people away from what really matters: their relationship with Jesus Christ. The more time that is spent filling our minds with media matters, the less time that can being transformed by the renewing of our minds in the Lord (Rom. 12:2). The cable epidemic is symptomatic of a greater problem: treasuring the things of this world over the eternal matters of God. Christ teaches us that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matt. 6:21). If what we truly value are the material things that solidify our “status” in the world, then our heart does not truly belong to God. If, however, we direct our focus to Jesus Christ and teachings of His Word, then our heart will belong to Him. Perhaps God can use this slight movement away from excessive materialism to bring people’s hearts closer to the peace that can be found in His presence.
Although I realize there has already been discussion about the Noah's ark theme park being built in Kentucky, I really want to discuss it on here. The Noah's ark them park, coined "Ark Encounter", is set to open up in Grant County, Kentucky. The plan is to construct a full-size replica of Noah’s ark, load it with animals and actors, and make it the centerpiece of a Bible-based tourist attraction.
With personal troubles disappearing, classes slowing down to and with assignments catching up, I decided to check my deviant art account to check up some updates and reviews of my artwork. I am not promoting deviant art, but to give you a brief info about it, it is a Facebook” for artists” that has been around the same time when Facebook got started. Unlike Facebook, you can post your artwork and you can have followers or “fans” that can be get updated with your work like twitter. Many of people have friends, some with more close friends than others. It is easily accomplished in befriend people than ever before due to social networking and mass communication. But many of us don’t have the experience of what is like having fans. Imagine people that follow you and know you for something you accomplished but you have no idea how person that feels about you, keeps on checking for any updates of your work, and shares your work with their friends. Even writers of this blog site have fans. I have to admit, having a getting an update that somebody is a fan of you can be very addicting like a coffee in the morning or checking for text messages on your phone. This time I ran into something I never received before. I received a message from a fan that wished me a Happy Thanksgiving and God bless me. To be honest, that surprised me in many ways. I am use to getting message like that from family and friends, but from a complete stranger baffled me. I don’t think that fan knows that I already believe in the existence of the Almighty and His Son since I barely leave any messages at all in my deviant art page, other than a “thank you” to a fan. This kind of reminds me what I read about fans from the book, Hurt People Hurt People by Sandra Wilson (I recommend you to read the book). She warn her readers about the consequences when you try to only focus on making your fans happy instead of focusing on accomplishing God’s Will and your loved ones. Fans are not your friends. You can maintain a steady relationship with family, friends, and acquaintances. With fans, you can only inspire or entertain them. It is quite amazing you can entertain people that you will never meet in person. I do want to point out however, that sometimes there are fans that can get you inspired and encouraged as well. And that fan of mine from deviant art just did that for me. I just wished I replied back to that person a “Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you too” message on time. Probably thinks I am jerk.
Note: I am not a Green Packers fan, but I know the Green Packers fans are one of the craziest fans of all times... Go Saints!!
I, like most of America, became a Gleek during the first season of the show. I love the musical numbers and the sometimes bizarre plot lines. However, this season I have often found some of the material to be a little offensive for my taste. Last night, the Christmas episode of Glee premiered. The episode is about the students in the Glee club wanting to share "glee" to all of the faculty and students at their high school. Sue, being the antagonist she is, is the grinch in this episode and is trying to ruin Christmas for the flee club. The overall synopsis of the episode is much like every Christmas story, the unbeliever becomes filled with the Christmas spirit. Although the plot of this episode was heartwarming, the reason I am mentioning it in this blog is because of one particular scene in the episode. Rachel and Finn are looking for Christmas trees and while they're looking she makes the comment that "Christmas trees are the essance of Christmas, they are the meaning of Christmas and they symbolize what Christmas means."
I came across this article and found it very interesting. The article is about a Professor Smith, a Political Scientist from the University of Washington, who did research and found that evangelical Christians fight for rights concerning the sanctity of life; like abortion, homosexuality, sex education, prayer in schools, etc, but nowhere in the mix was the topic of divorce. The sad part is, the divorce rate among evangelical Protestants is just as high as the divorce rate for the public, but the church has followed suit with the culture and made divorce a private matter. In the words of the author "evangelicals allowed culture to trump Scripture". Are Christians to busy preaching against very valid issues to pay closer attention to its own body of believers? Why are we not as passionate about divorce destroying the "traditional family" that we fight so much to hold onto as we are about fighting a homosexual's "right" to be married. Smith believes that divorce will actually cause more detriment to a family than homosexual marriages will and from what I have seen and read this will turn out to be very true if Christians do not step up and speak out against divorce. Not only speaking out publicly, but in the church as well. I'm sick of hearing pastor's say there is life after divorce, which is very true but why are we not helping believer's avoid having to face life after divorce. Is the church going to continue to conform to the worlds standards and beliefs about divorce or are we going to rise up and tell the church that no divorce is not okay and there is hope for restoration.
Jessica Breland is a 6 foot 3 basketball player for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Going into her senior year she was averaging 9.1 points per game and 3.1 blocks per game. Just when she thought things could not get any better her world was turned upside down. She was diagnosed with cancer. Because of Breland’s strength, the doctors gave her some of the strongest chemotherapy treatments, and really pushed her to a full recovery, and she did just that.
Breland said earlier on epsn to her coach that she is the woman she is today because of cancer, and that she is thankful for who it has made, and she would not take it back. She also mentions in her article, “I get something back in return from it, because I experienced it," she added. "It's like a bond between me and people with cancer, because we've been through it, or we're going through it.”
When Breland was finally cleared to practice, she started noticing extreme fatigue problems. Part of this was because her lungs took much damage during chemotherapy. She also say’s, “I'm sure I could go anywhere else and play and be in good shape for practice, but for our practice, it's not quite there.” Brealand is now playing in her senior year, and has really filled in a leadership role that her coach said they lacked last year.
When I read this article I was reminded of Phil. 4:4. Which says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say Rejoice.” She says earlier that she would change what she went through because it made her who she was today. This is how we are supposed to respond as Christians when God puts trials of any kind in front of us. What makes this story even more remarkable is nothing is mention about her being a Christian, yet she still looks at this moment with optimism and with rejoicing.
Is there anything in your life right where you should be rejoicing, but instead you have maybe been a little bitter? I know for me it is easy for that to happen, and I have to constantly be examining my life, and seeing if I am bitter about anything. I hope this article encourages you, as it did me. Also there are many other articles are on her that are just as encouraging.
I was shocked when I read this articles headline the other day... "4 in 10 Say Marriage Becoming Obsolete"! I had heard more and more couples were getting married later in life (although you would never know it if you just took a sampling from Liberty's campus) but it never crossed my mind that 40% of the Americans believe marriage is becoming a thing of the past, something not even necessary anymore. Because living together is really not even considered risque anymore, more couples are adopting the attitude "Why waste the money on a wedding, when it might just end in a divorce anyway" It did make me feel a little bit better to read that just because people perceived that marriage was a "dying trend" many of them felt that it wasn't a good thing or something that they wanted to see happen. It seems that many people still want to eventually get married, but it isn't seen as a priority anymore. In todays society, marriage isn't necessary to have social status, security or even to have a family. Many couples (usually those of lower socioeconomic status) move in together and start a family, and see marriage as something that could happen later down the line when they are more "financially" stable.
A story in the New York Times described the nefarious business practices of an internet vendor gone rogue. He claims to have stumbled upon the economic principle of bizarro world: using negative advertisement to boost his sales. The owner, Mr. Borker, employs brutal, abusive tactics when dealing with his customers. He has been known to threaten people, harass them with emails and phone calls, and even send counterfeit merchandise. These business practices fuel customer outrage, which often finds release in a variety of online forums. The more negative feedback he incurs, the more hits his website gets. His website has claimed high rankings in Google searches, and he claims that this is a direct result of the web traffic about his customer’s “horrible” experiences.
What is most fascinating about Mr. Borker’s story is his reason for beginning his unconventional sales tactics: having to incur thousands in losses because of customers who can’t seem to be pleased. Every time a pair of prescription glasses is returned, he takes a loss, regardless of the reasons for the return. Frustrated with nasty customers, financial losses, and long hours, Mr. Borker decided to give his customers a taste of their own medicine. Mr. Borker became a hurt person. And as a hurt person, he decided it was best to hurt other people. Fortunate for Mr. Borker (and to the chagrin of his customers), his hurt makes a profit.
Can one justify Mr. Borker’s behavior? After all, could he not be considered a victim of internet fraud in his own right? Do the ends justify the means? Isn’t he just one semi-honest man trying to make a semi-honest living? At the root of Mr. Borker’s problem is a failure to consider biblical truth. Christ teaches that we must treat others in the same way we wish to be treated (Luke 6:31). Whether his accounts of customer fraud are exaggerated or not, there had to have been at least some legitimate cases of people taking advantage of online shopping and essentially stealing from Mr. Borker. Then he, reeling from constant losses and difficult customers, decides to treat others the way he had been treated. Ultimately, he felt that he could no longer treat people in a loving, respectful manner without running himself out of business or subjecting himself to undue abuse. No longer caring how he was treated so long as he made money, Mr. Borker rejected the biblical truth in favor of his personal truth: dishonest practices yield an alluring monetary gain.
Mr. Borker’s scheming is quite disconcerting. He has tried to create a paradigm that runs contrary to biblical teaching regarding love for other people. He has developed a worldview that has his self at the very center. He has made a business out of hurting people. Where does it end? How long before other entrepreneurial individuals adopt his philosophy and continue a perverted trend of people-hating for personal gain? How long before we see how even our web interactions can have serious implications on our personal health?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
In a recent episode of House, Small Sacrifices. The team has to decide between faith and science. A man is admitted to Princeton Plainsboro after reenacting the Crucifixion. The patient stated he crucified himself as bargain he made with God for curing his daughter's brain cancer. Doctors break into the patient's apartment to see what could be causing the symptoms of illness and see he has been starving himself. The patient refuses the treatment because it used embryonic stem cells and did not want to break the promise he made to God to save his daughter. Later House visits the patient and tells him that the yearly CT scans that his daughter received were unable to detect tiny spots of remaining tumor and the PET scans he did revealed them. He stated that the patient should receive the treatment because God had already broken the bargain. Resentful, the patient agrees. Later on, House reveals that he lied about his daughter PET scan, but that the patient is still recovering. Instead of losing his faith, the patient uses that as proof that, even after accepting stem cell treatment, God did not punish him proves that God is merciful and all about love.
When I first started watching this episode it started to make me nervous because lately television has been very anti- Christian. It helped me feel a little bit reassured that not all shows are fully anti-God. I did not fully agree with the man crucifying himself because the Bible states that when Jesus was on the Cross he paid for everyone’s sins. I wonder how this episode of House will make people think of Christians. More importantly how will this episode affect Christians? Are we strong enough to trust God when friends or family or even us are in near death situations? God may not always give us what we want but he gives us what we need. We need to be strong in the truth.