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Archive for May, 2013

vietnamwall_reflectb

This photo has been floating around facebook for the past few days.  When I saw it yesterday, the day before, I can’t remember, it was the first time I had seen it.  For those who don’t know the wall in the background is the Vietnam memorial wall in Washington D.C.  Every name is a person lost to the war.  There are over 58,000 names on the wall.  It is an overwhelming site.

This picture struck me for many reasons.  One, it is an amazing piece of art showing the sorrow of war, the loss of so many, the loss of brother, sons, fathers and now a days mothers, daughters and sisters.  The loss of great friends and acquaintances.  For some there is the guilt of survival.  I think this is worse for those who not only survived but also missed the draft.

Second, it brought up my own memories of the first time I saw the wall.  When I was 17 my family lived just outside of DC and we went to the war memorial one day.  My father served in the Navy during Vietnam and like so many from that era knew many who served and many who died.  I remember he was looking for a particular name, Tom Ball.  A friend from school who enlisted, a friend who would never have been drafted because he was a sole surviving son, a friend who died.  My father is a strong man.  I will never forget looking for that name.  I will never forget him finding that name, leaning on the wall and sobbing for a life wrongly taken.  It was the first time I remember seeing my father cry.

My mother took a photo of the moment, so like the one above.  I am not actually sure it was ever developed but I can see it.  I took a mental photo that day and it is one I will never forget.

Memorial day has become just another holiday for so many.  It has become a time to party, BBQ, travel and just have fun as people enjoy their long weekend.  So many have forgotten the reason for this day.  Forgotten that this ‘joyful holiday’ was built on the bones of the dead.  Memorial day is a time to remember those gone, a time to remember what they died for, and let it not be in vain.

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I have found that making decisions can be a really big pain, sometimes.  I was super excited a year ago when I started perusing my degree in Psychology at Liberty University.  When I first started looking at the school my Dad warned me that I might find their Theological and religious teaching challenging.  Liberty is a conservative Baptist University.  I figured this would mean we might disagree on things like homosexuality and women priests I never thought I would have issues where I was declared to, basically, not be a Christian in their eyes because I saw things a little differently.

I never thought I would have a classmate tell me I was not really a Christian because you cannot be raised one.  You have to have a huge change of heart to become a Christian.  My accepting Jesus at eight, with some confusion because I thought I already had (another story for another time…funny eight-year-old mind thing), was not good enough.  I was not old enough to make that choice… blah blah blah.  I never thought I would have someone tell be that God HATES ALL human beings or that Jesus did not come to earth to save us. (ummmm…yeah…ok!)  I never thought I would fail a test because I answered a question, regarding belief in God (only Christians believe in a big G God, not Jews, or anyone else… hehehehe), wrong.  I never thought I would read in a textbook about theology, how only Liberal Christians (like Catholics…hmmmm) wrongly believe in baptism of babies or not through full immersion, that those types of baptism are invalid.  That only crazy people believe in the real presence (big deal to me) at communion and so on and so forth.  I completely shut down last quarter as everything I read for my required Theology class attacked my beliefs, attacked my faith, and attacked my existence as a Christian.  I failed a class that should have been easy because it was so harsh and I was so frustrated.  I do not have issues with people having a different stand or belief than I do.  I have issues with the idea of attacking others.  I have issues with a class that is described as teaching the basic tenants of Christian faith but teaches only one view and attacks all others.  I have spent much of the last year wondering about where Love comes into all this crap.

I have just started taking two survey courses of the bible (old and new) and already find that where we are being taught various views on the Old Testament we are also being told that any view other than Liberty’s  is wrong and therefore ‘Evil’ (my interpretation).  I agree with some of what they are teaching, disagree with other aspects, and do not give a flying fig about others, but I am not dammed to hell because of any of it.  My last and final rant on this topic is the 30 minute altar call (for lack of a better word) at the end of one of the five one hour video lectures I had to watch last week.  If I am at a Christian University I am probably already a Christian, I am not paying nearly 1200 a class for this.  Nor am I paying to get a migraine from the stress.

So back to the beginning, decision can really be a pain in the…  J I have changed schools; changed degrees more times than I want to think about as I worked to figure out what I am doing with my life.  I am considering it again, I want to attend a Christian school, I love learning about different believes and views on things.  I even do not mind having my believes challenged but I do not like having to regurgitate, with no discussion, information that I do not believe in order to pass a course.  Yes, if I had not checked out mentally, I could have passed my theology course, but I also would have had to compromise everything I believe to do it.

Now what do I do?  Do I continue at Liberty?  Do I drop my Biblical Studies Minor, switch to straight Psych without Christian counseling, and get my degree from Liberty because I do not want to change schools?  Do I change schools?  If so do I hope to find another Christian online program?  Or do I go secular?  What to do?  Of course in all of this comes the question of why Liberty?  I felt God directing me there but why?  To teach discernment in choosing?  To challenge me in knowing what I believe and why?  Of course, there is always that niggling voice in the back of my head that says, or was it because everything I believe is wrong?  I have trouble believing that last reason.  What do you think?

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