One Of The Guys

Ever since high school, I’ve always been one of the guys.

It was never a conscious decision, or something that I “planned” in any way, it just sort of happened, and to be honest, it’s not something I’ve thought too much about. It’s just sort of a fact, similar to the fact that I love hot tea and binge watching sessions of Friends.

Something commonplace and totally normal in my life.

Nonetheless, one day, not too long ago, I actually did happen to think about it—due to the fact that I was going to a graduation with a group of friends to watch three bros graduate. I was naturally nostalgic, as these were people I grew up with, so I decided to google one of those articles on Buzzfeed like “What it’s like when you have a lot of guy friends” or “Humorous things that happen when a lot of your friends are guys“. And, while doing this, I ended up stumbling across an advice column on this very topic.

Long story short, this person was borderline negative at the prospect of having a friend of the opposite gender – accusing it of simply being a way to “get attention from guys”. After, researching further commentary on this topic, I found other articles from similar viewpoints, one calling it an avenue for “confusion and frustration” – even going so far as to call opposite gender friendship a sin!

Sadly, as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, I don’t believe these viewpoints are all too uncommon in some circles. Oftentimes, both the church and society can become so obsessed with sex and marriage that any kind of platonic interaction between guys and girls is viewed with suspicion.

Even movies, such as When Harry Met Sally, that address the age old “can guys and girls be friends” question typically end up with the two friends becoming a couple. And while I don’t disagree that this can sometimes happen, I personally find it rather ludicrous to say that every guy-girl friendship has some kind of Fruedian undertone just waiting to emerge at the worst time.

Thus, to contrast with an article in support of guy-girl friendships, I’ve decided to list a few reasons why having friends of the opposite gender can be a good and godly thing for us as Christian teens and young adults.

  1. Jesus did – As Christians, Jesus is our ultimate role model. In the 80s, the old slogan WWJD was popularized, and ever since, faithful Christians have asked the famous question, “What would Jesus do”? If we’re going to look closely to His example, we’ll be quick to find that Jesus spent time with both men and women.

In Luke 10, it is clear that Jesus was close friends with two sisters named Mary and Martha, even going over to their house for dinner. Furthermore, in Luke 8, Jesus travels with friends of both gender, and the women traveling with him helped support Him in His ministry. According to www.gci.org, this was simply unheard of during this time era. Nonetheless, it is evidenced that Paul follows a similar pattern later on in the New Testament, and even calls Persis a “dear friend” in Romans 16:12.

2. We learn from each other – I have always believed we grow through having friends who are different than us. Whether it be culturally, racially, gender-wise, or anything else, we understand those who are different than us through relationships. We learn to appreciate each others’ differences while learning that we’re not as far apart as we usually think.

While guys and girls have their differences, we are ultimately all human beings, with individual stories, testimonies, and personalities. Having friends of the opposite gender can help us realize that maybe guys aren’t so much from Mars and girls aren’t so much from Venus—maybe we’re all actually from the same planet earth.

3. It reduces stereotypes – When I was in middle school, I used to have a legit fear of the opposite gender. It sounds crazy in retrospect, but because of some of the stereotypes I was hearing about guys at the time (They’re all crude, they’re only interested in one thing, they have no manners etc.) I used to feel borderline panicky around anyone of the opposite sex.

Nonetheless, once I started making friends with actual guys, the stereotypes began to fall away one by one. No longer did I characterize the whole male species as being somehow dangerous. I began to realize they’re just people, like myself. And, I soon found that a lot of them can actually be pretty cool.

4. It lets you feel comfortable having a feminine/masculine side – According to psychology, no one is all “masculine” or all “feminine“. This doesn’t mean anything strange or that gender differences aren’t important. It simply means that we each have different sides of our personality—and not all of them fit neatly into boxes.

Around my guy friends, I often feel a freedom to let out my sarcasm and joke around in a way that might come across odd with a close girl friend. Meanwhile, I was once talking with a guy friend who confided that most boys don’t like to sit around and have discussions, so it would be difficult trying to sit around and just talk with another guy. With our opposite gender friends, we can feel free to let sides of ourselves show that might not come out otherwise.

How about you? Do you have any close opposite-gender friends? How do you believe they’ve helped you grow? Feel free to share in the comments!

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Mystery Blogger Award

Hey everyone, I have some big news to share! I was just nominated by Dainty M. for the mystery blogger award! Thank you so much for the award Mfon, if you’re reading this!

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The rules to this award are…

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • List the Rules.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  • Answer five questions from the nominee.
  • Nominate anywhere from ten to twenty bloggers.
  • Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

This award was first initiated by the wonderful Okoto Enigma and I think it’s a great way to meet other like-minded bloggers and make new friends.

Three Things About Me 

  1. I’ve been out of high school for about a year now.
  2. My best friend also has a blog, which currently has a grand total of one post.
  3. My dream is to become a successful author someday.

Mfon’s Questions 

What’s your favourite season of the year?

Probably winter. It’s very hot in the state I live in, so cold weather always feels like somewhat of a relief. Plus, it’s the season that holds Christmas and Thanksgiving, which makes it twice as awesome.
What’s the one thing you’d do if there was no stopping you?

Hmmm, that’s a toughie. Probably right now, visit New York City and the Christian Passion Conference with a group of friends. I’ve always wanted to take a trip with friends.

Soda or juice?

Juice. I honestly don’t really like the taste of soda.

What’s your idea of fun?

This is probably going to sound sort of geeky, but I love reading and writing. There’s always something magical about escaping into the depths of story.
One piece of advice you would tell your younger self

Trust God. I know this sounds like you’re typical Sunday school answer, but it’s oftentimes easier said than done. Nonetheless, I’ve found with age that God always works things out perfectly in His timing.

New Nominees 

 

Julian

Angela 

Juni Desiree 

Alex

 

Papberry 

Questions 

What is your favorite movie and why?

Tell about an embarrassing childhood moment.

What would you tell your teenage self (if you’re still a teenager, what would you tell your twelve year old self)? 

If you could have any dream come true, what would it be?

Which would you rather be, a penguin or a flamingo? 

 

 

The Lie Of The Sacred And Secular

As a Christian teen deep within evangelical subculture, I grew up very aware of the “sacred/secular” dichotomy. All through middle school, I watched mostly Christian movies, listened to all Christian movies, and read every book at the local Christian bookstore I could get my hands on.

Once I got to high school my taste began to expand.

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As I became exposed to new shows, movies, books, and music, I soon realized that I was consuming a lot of media that people might label “secular”. Far more of an odd realization, I really liked some of it—and some of said movies, books, and songs resonated with me more than some “Christian” movies, books, and songs.

How was I supposed to make sense of this—I often wondered. As a Christian, how ought I view these “secular” forms of media? And how was I supposed to make sense of the fact that they weren’t all dirty and depraved the way Christians often portray “secular” media?

Now, at eighteen (almost nineteen), I’ve finally made sense of my teenage confusion. And, I came to one very big realization—there is no such thing as sacred and secular. 

This was a lie that I bought into for a long time, and at times, still catch myself in, but over time, I’ve come to realize that this view is far from Biblical, and more of a modern construct than anything. We are to evaluate media based on whether there’s something of value to be found in it, not based on whether or not it’s creator identifies as a Christian or sets out to make a specifically “Christian” movie.

Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

By this definition, there are some things that we should not allow ourselves to be exposed to. Movies with extreme gratuitous violence or near pornographic scenes should be steered clear of, and music that degrades people and disrespects basic values should not be found on our playlists.

Nonetheless, this is clearly not a warning against anything “secular“.

One of my favorite songs is a song that’s technically classified as secular, called Hanging By A Moment—a song seems to allude to God in a very real, honest, and vivid way—as the artist sings lyrics like this.

Desperate for changing, starving for truth, I’m closer to where I started, when chasing after you…I’m falling even more in love with you…forgetting all I’m lacking, completely incomplete, I’ll take your invitation, you take all of me…

Many singers—including Hunter Hayes, Owl City, and Carrie Underwood, do the same thing. Others, sing about things like love and life, in a clean, thoughtful, and beautiful way.

Whatever is true, noble, right, and pure. 

Many movies like The Blindside or Raise Your Voice have positive encouraging messages about family or being the best version of yourself.

Whatever is true, noble, right, and pure. 

Many books like To Kill A Mockingbird and The Outsiders tell stories about how under the surface, no matter who we are or where we come from, we all have the same basic needs and wants.

Whatever is true, noble, right, and pure. 

Perhaps it’s not so much about whether a form of media is “Christian” or “secular”—perhaps it’s whether we’d be comfortable consuming it if Jesus was in the room with us. Jesus wasn’t only found in church, but He was always spending his time in God honoring pursuits. The same should be able to be said of us. Biblically, there’s no such thing as sacred and secular.

In the end it all comes down to the heart of the matter.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge Day #2: Thirty-Nine

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Day Twenty-Nine: Bullet Your Whole Day

  • I woke up (Although, considering you’re reading this, I guess that’s pretty obvious!).
  • I wrote a couple of blog posts (Which you can find in previous entries)
  • I ate lunch (Vegetarian chicken nuggets)
  • I brushed my teeth and washed my face (Yeah, the boring morning routine)
  • I drove to the grocery store (Three cheers for Wal-Mart!)
  • I began my application for Liberty Online (I’m going to start soon!)
  • I studied for the CLEP test (Yay?)
  • I emptied the dishwasher (My day just keeps getting more exciting…)
  • I talked with my mom (My day is finally looking up!)
  • I worked more on blogging (Hey, it’s my responsibility to keep this site going!)
  • I ate dinner (Spaghetti!)
  • I finished a book by Karen Kingsbury called Return (It was really good!)
  • I’m about to wants TV with my mom (The Middle, and than Black-ish)

That’s all for today! I’ll be back tomorrow with the last day of the challenge. Until then, I hope y’all have an awesome night!

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Ten

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Day Ten: How important you think education is

As a lifelong bookworm and aspiring writer, I believe education is a very important part of life. I believe that both formal education and informal education can enrich our minds to help us become more intelligent, well rounded human beings. God gave us a brain for a reason, and I believe it’s our job to be good stewards of it, making the most of each opportunity to learn and become better equipped to serve our Lord and Savior. 

Many Christians have become critical of education (particularly colleges) in recent years, due to increasing secularism in school curriculums, but I do not believe that education itself is to blame for this. True knowledge will always lead us back to knowledge and as Christians, it’s our job to answer through a Biblical lens the age-old-question—what is truth? 

Some of us have had the opportunity to go to Christian schools and colleges and I think it’s awesome that option exists. Due to the great minds of many believers collaborating for the purpose of creating a Christ-centered Christian learning environment, there are many fine and prestigious Christian schools available to us. Others of us, have landed in secular schools. While this is definitely the much more difficult option (I was at a secular school last semester for the first time in my life), God can use us even in those situations. Wherever we are, it’s important that we always work hard and glorify God as we strive to make the most of the brain that God has given us. 

We also need to, in the midst of pursuing an education, make sure we’re well rounded. It can be all too easy to center your life completely around schoolwork, which I believe is unhealthy and unbalanced approach. School is important, but so are family, friends, and faith. Those things should always come first for us, no matter how demanding the school we attend is. We need to be sure to set aside time in our day for other things besides just school in order to live healthy and balanced lives.

How about you? What are your thoughts about education? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below! 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day One

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IT’S BAACK!!!

I am officially starting a new thirty day blog challenge for the month of January. Since I got such a good response on my challenge this past summer, I decided to do another one—with a whole new set of questions to answer. I hope you guys enjoy reading these and I hope  you stay with me throughout the series. I always love reading comments from you guys, so feel free to jump in and give feedback.

Now, for the first question: “what, why and where I write.

What: Honestly, I have a pretty huge variety of things that I write. I love sharing my thoughts with the world and there are a variety of mediums in penmanship that you can use to do that.

One of my favorite forms of writing has always been fiction. I love creating characters to meet and different worlds to explore. It allows you to live a thousand different lives without even leaving your house. Like reading, writing gives you adventure, wonder, and suspense—as you lead characters through a host of different situations. Currently, I am working on a fiction series for teenagers that I hope is released sometime before I’m thirty. I don’t have all of the publishing logistics figured out, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated if anything changes with that!

Another form of writing that I love is songwriting. It’s very possible that this one could have emerged from watching too many movies (Remember Camp Rock and Lemonade Mouth?) but it’s a form of writing that I’ve found to be extremely therapeutic. It allows you to write about feelings, situations, and people in a much freer manner than most forms of writing allow. Songwriting is basically a musical diary of your life, your experiences, and your beliefs. This is also another form of writing that I would like to dabble in professionally in the field of lyricism.

Last but not least—I enjoy blogging. This one is probably a bit obvious, as I am writing a blog right now. I am a semi-new blogger, as I started in the summer of 2015, but I have grown to love the art of blogging. As an extravert, it is super exciting to see people actually respond to your writing and make friends through the blogosphere. It is perhaps the type of writing that gets the most immediate feedback, which makes it a unique and exciting venture.

Why: I suppose the obvious reason is that I absolutely love it. I love seeing words emerge on a screen and I love telling a stories and teaching through the power of the pen. Nonetheless, the biggest reason that I write is to make an impact. I’ve always dreamed of impacting the world and writing gives me the oppertunity to do that. It gives me the chance to share my faith, help others grow in theirs, and help people think about important issues. If you look throughout history, you can see the impact of writers like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, and Ray Bradberry. I want to leave that kind of legacy.

Where: This one honestly differs from day to day. I have found that certain writing spots “work”, while others simply do not. One of my favorite places to write is in my bed with good music playing and the lights dimmed, leaving the Christmas lights above my bed to shine solo. I also sometimes write on the downstairs couch just outside the living room or in waiting rooms. The life of the author can be quite sporadic at times.

How about you? What, why, and where do you write? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments! 

Some Musings in Joseph’s Shoes

Note: The story below is in no way intended to be an addition of or distortion of the nativity account written in Scripture. This is not meant to be an exact, academic account of Joseph thoughts and feelings—this is simply written as a journal entry of what Joseph may have been feeling and thinking in light of the facts we are given in the Gospels and historical documents. Please do not take this as anything other than speculation as to what it may have been like to be in Joseph’s shoes.

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I can barely believe all that’s been going on lately. It all seems surreal, like something that would happen to some other guy. I knew it was supposed to happen someday—I studied it throughout my schooling, after all—but to me? A simple carpenter, engaged to a nice local girl? 

At first, when she told me, it felt as if someone had stuck a dagger through my chest. “It’s God’s baby.” she had told me. “An angel visited me and told me I would give birth to the Son of Man.” Now, I’ve never been one to doubt God, but this sound a little far fetched—even to me. My initial thought was that she’s been sleeping around, even though she’s never seemed like the type of girl to do such a thing. After all, Mary’s as pure as snow. She would never do something like that—not Mary. 

I knew Mary was a good person, but what was I supposed to think? Even more pressing, what was I supposed to do? I didn’t want her to be stoned—I didn’t want anything to happen to her. I love her—I have even before the marriage was arranged. She had a beautiful heart, I couldn’t be more lucky to be set up with someone like her. 

“What would our life look like together?” I wondered. Holding our heads down as we received dirty looks from the townspeople? Having to desperately try to explain to my friends that we did nothing wrong? Constantly being object of suspicion among the townspeople? I thought that the best thing for both of us would be to divorce her quietly, and draw the least possible amount of suspicion and attention as possible. That is, until I was visited by an angel last night, confirming that everything Mary had said was true. 

Mary was pregnant with the Child prophesied about in Scripture. 

She was telling the truth all along. 

I knew the road ahead would be hard, but after that sign from God, I knew what I had to do. I had to marry her—and be the best father I could be to this Child.

This blessing to us and the world.

Out of every couple throughout the course of history, we were the ones God picked to raise the Savior. I may have no idea what I’m doing—I’ve never been a husband or a father, after all, but I know that Mary and I will figure this out together. We’ll figure it all out together, because we’re a team. From this day forward, Mary and I are going to face the biggest challenge two people could face. 

Raising God’s child through the power of God and for the glory of God. 

As hard as it will be, I knew deep down that there was no greater honor. 

And I’m going to do this thing right.

No matter what the cost.