Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Book Versus Hollywood

I finally had a moment to sit down and watch The Hobbit.  As an English major and generally passionate reader I have read many books that have subsequently become movies, and Tolkien's works have been no exception.  I have sat and listened to heated discussions on the topic of comparison between movie and book many times and centered around different texts and productions.  Honestly, I have to come to a rather rare conclusion.

I like them both.  Tolkien's work is magnificent.  So is C.S. Lewis's Narnia series, as well as Harry Potter, and Les Miserables.  They captured countless hearts to the point that many felt inspired to cast the stories in cinematic homage.  But instead of drawing comparisons, wouldn't it be more enjoyable to admire each work for the virtues it possesses?  True, the original stories do not always match the movie, but these very well made flicks hold their own.  Tolkien could not have included the spell binding music of Howard Shore, and the Harry Potter books have no trace of the beautifully haunting compositions of John Williams.  Could Victor Hugo have imagined the amazing job Anne Hathaway did in her rendition of Cosette's mother?  And I don't know about you but the cinematography in the Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter movies leaves me breathless every time.

Perhaps we compare and criticize because we want others to know we have read the book, or to prove that we are experts in this particular matter.  Perhaps it makes us feel wise so to do.  But isn't it wiser to look around and enjoy what each kind of artist can bring to the table?  You and I have different talents.  But that doesn't mean that I am right and you are inferior or vice versa.  Wouldn't it be a happier, more beautiful world if we put our comparisons and criticisms aside in this and all situations and just bask in the joyous artistic inspiration that we find all around us? 

Getting Him to Treat You Well

In a recent conversation with a younger lady friend I made something of an interesting discovery.  We were discussing my cooking and she mentioned, laughingly, that I ought to teach her that and other man catching skills.  Almost without thinking I responded, "Man catching skills are the exact same thing as living happily skills."  She paused, thought, and then concurred.

Ladies, it is true!  There is a surefire way to be lucky in gaining and keeping masculine attraction, and a massive part of it lies in how we treat ourselves.  I hear women telling me that they want men to treat them well; they want a man to treat them like a lady.  And then they meet a man and in order to try to keep him end up in a hotel room or backseat of a car.  If we want men to treat us like ladies, we have to act like ladies first.  We are used to, and generally want, men to take charge of the situation and we often end up following their lead.  That is perfectly fine.  But remember that you are half the relationship, and your desires are valid, too.  I see so often women becoming so frantic in trying to keep a man that their neediness ends up driving the man away.  You are better than that, and you deserve better. 

So how does one put that into action?  Ladies, if I can impress nothing else on your minds, please know that the world will not end if he leaves.  Let's say you have been dating a man and he has decided to go a week without calling.  Do not wait by that phone, and certainly do not seek him out for any reason!  While the phone is quiet, go to the gym, the store, the park or wherever and smile warmly at the next guy you see.   Old guy, young guy - it doesn't matter.  Just keep that soft, welcoming smile on your face.  This will bring other guys to the table and when the original man comes back he will see that you weren't just sitting around weeping over him, which makes you more attractive and interesting to him.  And it is perfectly acceptable to unapologetically tell a man that though you like him and will date him, you will not become physically involved with any man until he commits.  This does something to the male brain that makes him take a woman more seriously.  Setting that standard will, believe it or not, make a guy want to be around you even more.  It illustrates that you are willing to respect yourself and when you respect yourself, he is much more likely to respect you, too.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Speaking Their Language

I often write about specific issues, my take on certain questions of the day, and the like.  But I thought it might prove wise to take a moment and explain to you what I am really doing with this blog, or what is my actual intention.  Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a religious firebrand.  My entire life has been straight arrow, God has always been my first priority, and spirituality is my home base.  I am also widely knowledgeable about the Bible and other religious texts.  And I have an overwhelming desire to flood the earth with the light of faith.  However, I have learned from experience that when one begins quoting scripture in this world half of the audience will immediately tune out.

As teachers, and all of us are teachers in some measure, it is not our business to teach lessons.  It is our business to teach people.  Before we teach it is wise to listen and understand better the interests and priorities of our students.  When we do that, and speak in a language they understand the students can make better progress.  So instead of discoursing on the evils of adultery with threats of hellfire and damnation to back it up, I find it more advisable in a blog setting to promote the ideas of eternal romance, a happily ever after ideal and the like.  A sermon on the ills of alcohol turns into a discussion about how to be physically fit and cultivate a powerful mind/body experience, and yes, avoiding alcohol aids that experience.  Or taking it on a different level, we can discuss the power of being our own masters and thus avoiding alcohol or drugs, which would take us away from self mastery.   Taking this approach may also speak to those who are highly religious and give them a bit more of the reason behind conventional commandments.  This is my third blog and I learned from experience that if I spoke in a manner that was comfortable to myself (ie: extremely elevated speech) I received primarily blank stares.  So I learned to tone down my use of big words et cetera.

Sometimes we become concerned about how people will view us when we are living morally upstanding lives.  Certainly such a life seems odd in the eyes of the secular world.  But remember one thing.  If it is true, it will hold water outside of the framework of a religious text.  It will make the highest of logical sense.  God's commands always ultimately make perfect sense. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Single Ray of Light

We have heard much lately about 50 shades of grey.  But it's time to turn the tables a bit and analyze the true meaning of sexy.  And it may come as an extraordinary surprise to many. 

Let's begin by defining the nature of sex.  I highly doubt there are too many people in this world who will argue with the idea that sex is a good thing.  Period.  It lifts people to a climax that overwhelms their senses and for all practical purposes is the pinnacle of pleasurable emotion.  It creates families, is steeped in love, and has potential to create everlasting affection and commitment.  It in fact lifts us to an emotion that is often beyond our conscious control.  But in this society we have a tendency, I think, to be afraid of what we cannot control, and this tends to distort how we think about sexual intimacy.  We all agree it is good, but we discuss it in terms of being "nasty", "dirty", "naughty" and the like and this, I believe, leads to our treating it as though it is so.   We call it foul names, partly because the light of joy and happiness it has the potential to create blinds our finite minds.  So we subconsciously seek to drag it down to a manageable level.

We might describe sexual intimacy based on mutual love, respect and ultimate commitment as "exalting", "exquisite", and "everlastingly passionate."  We might call it "ennobling."  And that is exactly what it is.  It is the ultimate act of love, beauty and creation.  It can bring us nearer to God than almost any other single act we can perform.  But in order to reach that pitch, we need to wait for the right time, way and person, and then surrender to the emotion in its purity.  Anything less waters it down, and I fear we in this society have a great deal of watered down sexual relationships. 

So instead of dragging this magnificent situation down to a manageable level to our pathetic mortal understandings, why don't we look upward and let it carry us heavenward with it?  Why don't we get truly brave and adventurous and rise to a level that human minds can hardly comprehend?  Why don't we learn how heaven on earth really feels?  I wish each one of us a life of intense and non watered down bedroom experience.