Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Film Class and Morals

This is one of those gray areas that can cause decisions that are neither good nor bad.  Imagine being in a film class where you have to watch films.  One week, the film is a movie with loads of language and nudity.  You are a believer who does not need nude images in your mind for the rest of your life.  What do you do?

I remember having to read graphic books in AP English my junior year.  I was only 16.  I read them so I could get the grade I needed.  Looking back, I realize that reading Woman Hollering Creek really did molest my mind.  I still remember "Never Marry a Mexican" like I read it today.  If I saw the 16-year-old me entering AP English, I'd simply have to ask what educational value there is in graphic sexual images and juvenile vocabulary.  For example, is there a book about women losing their innocence but using enough words that you know what happened,  not giving unnecessary details?  I actually thought Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston did a good job of that.  You know what the main character did but it was tasteful.  I wasn't watching it happen.  To a nerdier extent, I got only 5 or 6 books into the Wheel of Time series.  I knew when the characters "came of age" and needed no more than enough words to let me know what they did.

Even if a film or a book is a landmark in the history of films and books, that does not mean that it is worth reading or watching.  You can have a film about racism without filling it with immature riots, foul speech, and body parts.  West Side Story is such a film.  Remember the Titans is such a film.  Do the Right Thing may be considered "culturally relevant" but it's directed by a guy who did not mature past the age of 12.

I hope one day schools do assign books and films that have educational value.  They don't have to be clean of all impurities, but they don't have to be lewd either.

What say you?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Government backed: beginning of HRE

The good news is that I found my church history book and can blog about it again.  The bad news is that I'll write more about issues in the Church in general.

In this chapter, we see the beginning of one of the biggest mistakes, asking the government to back your church.  In about 590, the Eastern Orthodox church obeyed whatever their governments told them while the Roman Church wanted to keep Christian theology pure.  However, they also desired a unified government for protection.  At that time, the Franks had the most unity.  The pope made an alliance with them.

The Frankish empire became baptized under Clovis.  His wife persuaded him to become a Christian, and his little empire backed up Rome in all political endeavors.  Clovis's sons could not rule like he could, so the Merovingian dynasty soon gave way to their servants, the major domos, or mayors of the palace.

Pepin of Heristal, their mayor of the palace, organized their household when Clovis's descendants failed to rule the empire, and he made his position hereditary; his sons would succeed into his position as mayor of the palace.

Pepin's son, Charles Martel took this position in 714.  He defeated the Muslims at Tours, saving the Rhineland from Islamization.  Therefore, the papacy owed allegiance to him.  He unified the Teutons into his empire and baptized them.

His son, Pepin the Short, was the first to declare himself king of the Franks, the first Carolingian king.  He conquered the Lombards who wanted to take over Rome, and he won the current lands of the Vatican, which has been theirs until Italy's unification.  Pope Stephen II re-kinged him in thanks.  This is called the Donation of Pepin, and through the years, it became the Donation of Constantine through what the Franks added to it.

His son, Charlemagne, continued to rule the lands and help the pope.  He went to church as a tradition, but he also had mistresses and concubines along with his wife.  However, he knew how to lead and held the kingdom together.  One time, Pope Leo III was going to be executed, so he sought refuge under Charlemagne.  The king came back to Rome and cleared Leo of his charges.  On Christmas in 800, as Charlemagne knelt at the altar, Leo crowned him as emperor of the new Roman Empire.  The universal Church was now united to a universal government, at least in word.  They were not united spiritually.  Charlemagne considered the church to be the soul and the state to be the body, and thought that they should be separated.

They soon bickered over who had ultimate power: did God assign the emperor to the people, or did the Church appoint him?  They eventually decided that the rulers were under the authority of the Pope.  Charlemagne died in 814, and his sons could not keep the empire together.  The Treaty of Verdun officially separated France and Germany in 843, but the Holy Roman Empire was a recognized entity until 1804.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Church held back the Muslims while Rome tried to rebuild its empire.  Charlemagne wanted to reunited with him, even by marrying their empress Irene.  She said no, and the Eastern church debated over icons.  The Pope and the King both opposed icon worship, but the Second Council of Nicaea approved of their veneration in 787.  However, the eastern rulers could not prevent the Muslims from conquering the Mediterranean lands on the south, creating three distinct groups within the former Roman empire: Roman, Eastern, and Muslim.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cartesian Psychology

As many people have noticed, I'm trying to sit from my arm-chair and rethink all the psychological issues that I have encountered my whole life: ADD, Tourette's, Autism, Aspberger's, etc.

At first I started in July deciding that none of them really exist.  If we treated people as if they were alright, then, life would be so much better.  I personally was feeling so free knowing that there's actually nothing wrong with my obsessions or lack of attention.

Then I started the class on professionalism in the law office.  And I read a hypothetical about a man who could not sit still at a meeting.  He tapped his pen, his fingers, and could not make eye contact.  My first thought: what if he has ADHD and can't help that?  So, there are differences in people.  Not all people learn the same way, not all people listen the same way.  After reading the professionalism chapter, it's a miracle I can work for a law office. 

But I also traced all my quirks and anxieties over the summer to sources that had nothing to do with me, but they built up psychosomatically through tics and fidgets that I have to take blood pressure medicine for or I won't sleep.  I have anxieties that can be lessened with Prozac.  Hallelujah.  Even so, I still think the man with ADHD at the law meeting could prepare ahead of time for such a situation by possibly praying in the morning, taking time to just sit and be still, read something, eat breakfast, and then when he finally starts to notice that his hand just can't stay out of his nose, perhaps he can figure out some alternative.  Or even discuss it with his attorney.  How can I not tic so much in court?

But I digress, I still want to think about personality differences as if they are gifts from God and not anything that makes you less of a person.  They just make you different.  And they are all used for God's glory and constantly remind us that we cannot live independently.  We must depend on others to do what we cannot do.

Well, it's late and I shall log off and await the hate mail.  Good night.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

12 Highlights from my trip to North Georgia

1. Tim and I read out loud from the entire first half of the Two Towers in 6 days.

2. Ticket to Ride is not just a Beatles song, it's a great board game.

3. I still can't believe I watched all of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.  When I heard he music I was not shocked that Danny Elfman did the music.

4. I fell asleep through Last Samurai, but I'm pretty sure it was an alright movie.  If it helps any, I feel asleep at the Hobbit, too, and that's just becoming my thing no matter how good the movie is.

5. Tim really takes care of my brother, often thinking of his needs before Dad or I think of them.

6. I love doing word puzzles from Penny Press even more now.

7. I still love the Anne of Green Gables series.  I'm on the sixth book and she's still my friend.

8. Matt Chandler's Explicit Gospel is a really good book, even if the chapters are long.  He says exactly what the public needs to hear, but will they hear it?

9. We did three puzzles.  No, four. 

10. Doing the last puzzle, a show ran on PBS about Jewish entertainers and Broadway shows.  I'm still not sure if I should be offended that they still pay attention to race or not, but it was interesting.

11. Starting Sunday morning with a Bojangle's chicken biscuit and a fully-loaded Cheerwine just completes my trips across the North Carolina state line.

12. We totally intended to go to church Sunday.  Really.  I think my car just took a Freudian slip and I somehow ended up in the Highlands and not in Murphy.  An hour trip took three.  It's still my favorite part of the trip.