Saturday, May 16, 2015

Stunted Trees

Back in February, Tim and I went to Panola Mountain and took a guided tour up the mountain.  At the top we saw these amazing trees that had grown through the rocks.  Turns out that the mountain had actually stunted their growth, but the State Parks of Georgia do what they can to preserve them.

Today, with Tim out of the country, I went to the park and walked the trail with my brother Andrew.  Seeing a toddler in a 25-year-old man's body trail along with me was so relaxing.  Autistic people like Andrew are considered inferior in society and even a waste of resources.  These people are usually the same people who want to save the stunted trees on top of Panola.  Which is more valuable in the long run?  Definitely the Andrews.  You don't know joy unless you get lost on Panola's Watershed trail and help your brother down big steps and try to protect him from tripping on tree roots.

Desiring God made an excellent article linking Bullying with Abortion.  The main idea behind bullying is to prevent people from making other people feel inferior based on race, religion, disability, beliefs, etc.  What they always forget is that this applies to developmental stage, too.  Most abortions are aimed at people like Andrew, the stunted trees.  Planned Parenthood goes to the most impoverished neighborhoods, the neighborhoods with the most racial minorities.  Doctors can abort a baby simply for being the wrong gender.  Only 8% of Down Syndrome kids are born. 

How is this not bullying?  Why is it wrong to cut down a stunted tree on a monadnock but perfectly alright to pass laws that can euthanise amazing people like my brother?  Why can't people see the amazing uniqueness caused by their challenges?  Sometimes I even hypocritically think like these people when it comes to people who have terrible personalities and do nothing but sit and watch TV and eat and try to boss other people around.  We are all to blame for this.  How can we take the most annoying person we know and try to see his or her uniqueness and cherish that?

C-bomb: Harry Potter spoilers

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has a bizarre time travel sequence that also reminds me of the Reformed tension between predestination and free will.  Harry and Hermione are lost in the woods.  These scary Dementors arise and try to kiss out Harry Potter's soul.  Harry tries to do his Patronus charm but can't.  Suddenly a stag Patronus comes and saves Harry.

Not too much later, Harry and Hermione go back in time and wait for their past selves to get to the same point.  Harry sees the Dementors preying on himself on the other side of a lake and wonders why that stag Patronus has not come.  Then he realizes that he sent the Patronus to himself!  He then sends it and saves himself.

In JK Rowling's world, Harry was destined to send his Patronus to save himself.  It was already planned.  At the same time, Harry had to make the decision to send his Patronus.  The whole of history was already planned, but Harry is still responsible for his decisions.  He still has a free will.

It will always be a mystery, but the Bible teaches it and I believe it.  Acts 13:48, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

C-bomb with fandom spoilers: Link and Zelda

I want to see how many days in a row I can blog while my hubby is out of the country.  Here is my first day.

I started reading the Legend of Zelda manga series.  I don't have time to play the game, but after putting together a puzzle of the map of Hyrule, I decided I needed to explore those places.

To the dismay of some people, the first book, "The Ocarina of Time," reminded me of the Calvinistic struggle between God's sovereignty and man's decisive responsibility.  Link, the main character, travels to Hyrule Palace to see if he can help solve the darkness that has come over the land caused by the evil Ganondorf.  He meets Princess Zelda who claims she dreamed of a green angel who dispelled the darkness over the land.  He was destined to be the Hero of Time, and on learning that he collects the three stones that make the Tri-Force that summons the goddesses and opens the Temple of Time so that Link can play the ocarina, sleep for seven years and age into a teenager, and win against Ganondorf. 

So, it's rather pagan, but it goes to show that everyone knows they do not completely control their lives, but they still have a responsibility to carry out their purpose in life.  Link did not decide to do nothing while he became the Hero of Time.  He actually worked to find the stones and then to fight Ganondorf. 

In the Bible, you can see this same tension.  In Romans 4:3, Abraham is credited with righteousness because he believed.  He believed simply because God gave him a promise and chose Abraham to bless the world through that promise.

At the same time, James 2:14-17 talks of people who wish to end poverty and hunger but do nothing to help the people.  "Faith without works is dead."  Abraham became righteous because God chose him, but he waited mostly patiently for 75 years until he could have a son with his lawful wife Sarah.  Yes, he tried to help God by having a son with another woman, but despite his flaw, God sustained his faith so much that he was willing to sacrifice his long-awaited Isaac on an altar as a burnt offering because God told him to do so.  No questions asked.  He just packed up and went to Mt. Moriah, and then God pre-enacted Christ's crucifixion and resurrection by sparing Isaac and sending a lamb to take the punishment for Isaac's sins. 

I'll do another geeky illustration of this in my next blog.