Monday, May 6, 2013

Thoughts

You know, if I died today, what would people remember about me? What have I done that is exceptional in anyway? Nothing. So far my life has been a rather wasted piece of work I'd say. Sure, hasn't even been two full years since I accepted Christ as my Savior, that does not give me any excuse to not be living each day to the glory of God. I'm sure that many would have kind things to say about me, but that's true of just about everyone. I don't believe I've ever done anything actually worth remembering. Nothing. How empty is my life? I'm always rushing from one thing to the next, but do those things truly have any meaning? I'm officially tired of the superficiality of everything. What is it with so many christians not building, or challenging each other? Why don't we? Because we're too lazy. What ki9nd of excuse is that? Do we really want to stand before God one day, giving the excuse that we just didn't feel like it that day? De we want to stand before the creator of all the universe, who died to save us from our sins, and use laziness as a reason we did not reach out to the people around us?
"I'm too busy"
"I'm too tired"
"But I want to do this instead"
"I'm watching a movie right now"
Snap out of it people! The society we live in is falling apart all around us, and we're just "too busy" to do anything about it! Why so many complacent christians?
"But it makes me feel awkward"
Not to disrespect you or something, but is your personal comfort MORE important that the eternal living soul of the person you just passed on the sidewalk? I'm completely guilty of this, but I am challenging myself, and you to step out of your comfort zone, and go and talk to people about God, and their eternal state. Let's get our priorities straight people! Go minister to God's people, go preach the gospel to the unsaved.

Smile

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Josh Eddy

I didn't know him. Actually, I didn't even know about him until a month after he died, but his story has changed mine. A year ago today, Josh Eddy's life came to a sudden end when he fell into a river. No one was expecting it. He and some friends were hiking up at Rainie Falls, he was trying to take a picture, when he slipped into the icy river. I try to imagine what it would be like to watch one of my best friends drown. I shrink at the very thought. Today, a year after Josh's earthly life came to an end, must be a incredibly hard day for so many who knew him. I've been praying for those who were closest to him all day, those who were with him the day that he died, those that only came in contact with him a few times, I can't imagine the pain that they all must feel. I feel badly enough about it, and I didn't even know him. At the same time though, I am so incredibly happy for Josh, he's with his Savior now, living in complete and utter joy! I pray that despite all the pain in missing Josh his family and friends feel, they can appreciate how much joy he has come into after his earthly journey was over.

I said that Josh's story has changed mine. Let me explain that a little: I first became aware of Josh's story a month or two after he left this earth. A friend had written a blog post in which he was mentioned. I watched his memorial service, I cried. His sister wrote the lyrics to a song that made me weep. The words his family said about him brought on more tears. Josh had a love for God and others that was so intense, his legacy has continued to live on. Josh's influence on others in the things of God has continued. Reading his blog was like having thunderbolts going through my soul. Josh's love for God, life, and others has inspired me, among many others I am sure. My life is by no means perfect, in fact I often feel like it's not worth living. Josh has helped me to realize that life is about so much more than MY circumstances. No matter what things I may go through, I can always be joyful in the Lord. I can always help others. I can always live for God. God can use me to help others through what hard things they are going through. God has used Josh even after his earthly death. I cannot say for sure, but I think that perhaps, Josh has influenced even more people after his death than in life. I don't know if I would have ever known about him, or read his inspiring blog posts had he not been taken from this world. I know that through Josh's death, God has used him to influence me.

My condolences to all who knew him, my prayers are with you.

I would encourage all who read this to watch his memorial service, and read his blog. Links are below.

His blog: http://joshyeddy.blogspot.com/

His memorial service (service begins 15 minutes in): http://joshuaeddymemorial.com/

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Thesis Paper


My British Literature course has come to it's close. I finished my final paper on Monday! I'm sad, but kinda glad to have that off my list of things to do. I thought that this paper was relatively interesting, and since you peeps haven't heard from me in like forever and a half, I thought I'd share a little of what has kept me away from you for so long ;). Hope that you enjoy it!



Disclaimer: I don't necessarily believe all that is said in this paper, but I had fun writing it! It's about that subject I mentioned before, about Satan and Eve's similarities. Very interesting stuff! And, it's pretty lengthy, about 8 pages long double spaced.


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Eve’s Influence On Woman Characterization
By Rebekah Perkins
Throughout medieval literature, women characters often seem to be characterized as different kinds of evil; especially if they have a significant role in a storyline. One reason for this recurring theme is that the first of woman to appear in literature brought on the downfall of humankind. This of course begs the question: who was this woman? The woman who has influenced the perception of women throughout the entirety of recorded time, is Eve. Regardless of religious beliefs, Eve has affected how women are treated, viewed, characterized, and written about. Because Eve fell to the temptation of wanting to be like God and was the first to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Eve is viewed as weak, susceptible to temptation, and even as a seductress as she convinced Adam to eat the fruit too. Eve’s actions have given women reason to be thought of as untrustworthy, among other unattractive traits.
“Do you not believe that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives on even in our times and  so it is necessary that the guilt should live on, also.” -Tertullian (A Woman’s Apparel Chapter 1.)
So why have Eve’s actions so radically affect how women have been viewed for centuries? Consider this: Eve’s actions, have direct parallels to the actions of the Devil himself, Satan. Though perhaps an unconscious association, these parallels between Eve and Satan would cause people to be biased against Eve, and her descendants, women. The parallels between Eve and Satan have caused centuries of women being characterized as weak, simple minded, or evil.

There are three main parallels between Satan and Eve which will be focused on: Wanting to be God/like God; Jealousy/Replacement; and the Need to Bring Others Down with them. If one is familiar with the story of Satan’s, Adam, and Eve’s downfall, than the first of this list should be evident. Satan’s downfall was caused by his belief that he was equal with God, and that he should have a throne in heaven along with God.

“...His pride had cast him out from heav’n with all his host of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring to set himself in glory ‘bove his peers he trusted to have equaled the Most High if opposed, and with ambitious aim against the throne and monarchy of God raised impious war in Heav’n and battle proud with vain attempt.” -Paradise Lost, Bk 1. Lines 36-44

This quote from paradise lost sums up the downfall of Satan in a neat and concise way. Satan was a prideful archangel, who believed he was equal with God, and more worthy than his peers, the other angels. After attempting to set his own throne in heaven, a war rages, in which God and the angels who had remained faithful to Him, win, and Satan and his followers are cast down into Hell.
“‘Is this the region, this the soil, the clime’ said then the lost archangel, ‘this the seat that we must change for heav’n, this mournful gloom, for that celestial light? Be it so, since He who now is sov'reign can dispose and bid what shall be right. Farthest from Him is best whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme, above His equals’...” -Paradise Lost, Bk 1. Lines 242-249
Here we see Satan after his fall, taking in his surroundings. Satan is disgusted with the place, but concludes that living in such a state is better than living in heaven where he believes he is being treated unfairly: at least here he has supremacy. Of course after this Satan would seek revenge against God, and when God created earth, and it’s inhabitants (Adam and Eve) this opportunity was not one he would pass up. Satan though, when he visited earth, was overcome with jealousy when he saw all that God had done for humankind.
“Revenge at first though sweet, bitter ere long back on itself recoils. Let it! I reck not, so it light well aimed (since higher I fall short) on him who next provokes my envy: this new favorite of Heav’n, this man of clay, son of despite whom us the more to spite his Maker raised from dust. Spite then with spite is best repaid” -Paradise Lost, Bk 9. Lines 171-178
Here it is evident how Satan feels about the new creatures on earth: he’s jealous of them. Satan’s words “new favorite” indicate that he feels as if he is being replaced by the new creation, that God is replacing him and his followers with the newly created human race.
“Which to his eye discovers unaware the goodly prospect of some foreign land first seen, or some renowned metropolis with glistering spires and pinnacles adorned which now the rising sun gilds with its beams. Such wonder seized (though after heaven seen) the spirit malign but much more envy seized at sight of all this world beheld so fair.” -Paradise Lost, Bk 3. Lines 547-554
Satan is not only jealous of the humans themselves, but the entire world that God had created for them. Of course the Devil being jealous can only mean that he will act even more swiftly, as now he feels the need for revenge against God, and these humans who have replaced him. Satan’s jealousy leads him to feel the need to bring Adam and Eve to the same fate as himself.
“But neither here seek I, no, nor in Heav’n to dwell (unless by mast’ring Heav’n’s surpreme) nor hope to be myself less miserable by what I seek but others to make such as I, though thereby worse to me redound. For only in destroying I find ease to my relentless thoughts. And him destroyed or won to what may work his utter loss for whom all this was made, all this will soon follow to him linked weal, or woe: in woe then, that destruction wide may range!” -Paradise Lost, Bk 9. Lines 124-134
Here Satan declares that he does not want to go back to heaven, or be less miserable, but only wants to make others miserable along with him. Satan claims that making others as forlorn as himself is the only way that he can find peace from his “relentless thoughts”.
“All hope excluded thus, behold instead of us outcast, exiled, His new delight: Mankind created and for him this world. So farewell hope and with hope farewell fear! Farewell remorse! All good to me is lost. Evil, be thou my good. By thee at least divided empire with Heav’n’s King I hold by thee, and more than half perhaps will reign as man ere long and this new world shall know.” -Paradise Lost, Bk 4. Lines 105-113
Satan has no desire for good, he asks evil to become what he would consider to be good. Satan is so enraged and eager to bring down Adam and Eve, that if complete evil is the only way to divide heaven’s empire, than that is what he will do: he will embrace all evil and relentlessly bring on the downfall of humankind.

For Satan to bring on the downfall of humankind though, he must get close to them, and find out their susceptibilities. Satan discovers that Adam and Eve are forbidden from eating of a certain tree in the Garden, called the tree of knowledge. Satan sees the potential in this, and sets off in determination to convince either Adam or Eve to eat of the fruit. The opportunity that Satan had been waiting for came quickly when Adam and Eve decided to do their gardening separately in order to be more efficient with their time. At this point Satan possesses a sleeping serpent, and slithers into the Garden undetected by the guardian angels. In the form of the snake, Satan proceeds to find Eve where she is gardening, he sits a while and admires her beauty, but then proceeds with his task and strikes up a conversation with Eve. Eve is caught off guard when the snake begins to speak, as she and Adam were the only two newly created creatures who had been given the ability to reason and speak. The devil is very beguiling, he unabashedly admires Eve, and tells her she is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. Eve eventually asks how it was that he had come to be able to speak, and so Satan in form as the snake, tells her that he had been wandering around, thirsty and hungry, and had come across a tree. The snake relates how he had slithered up into the branches and partaken of the delectable fruit on it. Satan goes on to claim that after eating the fruit, he had been blessed with the ability to reason and speak, and once he had this newly found reason within himself, he went to find her, because she was the one worthy of worship due to her beauty. Eve of course asks the serpent to take her to this tree, and he readily obliges. When Eve arrived at the tree the serpent had led her to, she immediately recoils and declares that she is forbidden from eating of that fruit, or she will die. Satan was of course ready for this reaction, and proceeds to try and convince her that the tree can only be good. Eve, being naive, believes him: it would seem evident to her that it was good for the animals, as it gave them the ability to reason and speak just like she.
“Goddess humane, reach then, and freely eat!” - Paradise Lost, Bk 9. Line 732
Satan tells Eve that she will become like God, she will know all things. To Eve the evidence is clear, the fruit did the snake gigantic amounts of good, and if it did so much good for him, surely it would do good to her also.
“In plain then, what forbids He but to know, forbids us good, forbids us to be wise? Such prohibitions bind not!” - Paradise Lost, Bk 9. Lines 758-760
Eve demerits God’s warning against the fruit, saying that prohibiting them from eating it so that they would not become wise was not a binding reason not to proceed with eating.
“What fear I then, rather what know to fear under this ignorance of good and evil, or God or death, of law or penalty? Here grows the cure for all: this fruit divine, fair to the ey, inviting to taste, of virtue to make wise. What hinders than to reach and feed at once both body and mind?” - Paradise Lost, Bk 9. Lines 773-779
With these words, Eve has fallen into the first of the parallels between herself and Satan: wanting to be like God. Eve partakes of the fruit, and so brings on the downfall of humankind. After eating the fruit, Eve confides with herself.
“But what if God hath seen, and death ensue? Then I shall be no more, and Adam wedded to another Eve shall live with her enjoying, I extinct. A Death to think!” - Paradise Lost, Bk 9. Lines 826-830
Eve comes to the realization, that God could still sentence her to death. Further than that even, Eve realizes that if she were to die, then God would likely replace her with a second Eve. The thought of being replaced by another fills Eve with jealousy towards this hypothetical woman. The second of the parallels is fulfilled, Eve is now jealous, and feels replaced, as did Satan; and Eve, again just like the Devil will not just stop at feeling jealous, she must do something about it.
“Confirmed then I resolve Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe. So dear I love him that with him all death I could endure, without him live no life” - Paradise Lost, Bk 9. Lines 830-833
Eve’s motives for bringing Adam down to the same degraded level as herself are more than just being jealous and feeling replaced, she claims that she does it for love also. Regardless of motives, Eve has completed the last of the three parallels between herself and God’s nemesis, Satan.

Both Satan and Eve have fallen to the temptation of wanting to be like God; both have felt jealousy over being replaced; and both have felt the need to bring others down to their degraded level after their individual falls, but now, how does all of that tie into woman characterization?
“Do you not believe that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives on even in our times and  so it is necessary that the guilt should live on, also. You are the one who opened the door to the Devil, you are the one who first plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree, you are the first who deserted the divine law; you are the one who persuaded him whom the Devil was not strong enough to attack. All too easily you destroyed the image of God, man. Because of your desert, that is, death, even the Son of God had to die.” -Tertullian (A Woman’s Apparel Chapter 1.)
In other words, all women are held accountable for what Eve did. For the last two thousand years or so, Eve has represented the fundamental character and identity of all women. Through Eve's words and actions, the true nature of women was revealed; her story tells men what women are really like. Even without the parallels between Eve and Satan, Eve represents everything about a woman a man should guard against. In both form and symbol, Eve is woman, and because of her, the prevalent belief has been that all women are by nature disobedient, guileless, weak-willed, prone to temptation and evil, disloyal, untrustworthy, deceitful, seductive, and motivated in their thoughts and behaviour purely by self-interest. No matter what women might achieve in the world, the message that Eve sends warns men not to trust women, and women not to trust themselves or each other. Whoever she might be and whatever her accomplishments, no woman can escape being identified with Eve, or being identified as her. Imagine then, how much more this must be magnified due to the similarities between Eve and Satan! Many may not even recognize these similarities at first glance, but they are there nonetheless, and are a cause for even more bias against women. This perception of Eve has endured with remarkable tenacity, and persists today as a major stumbling-block in attempts by women to correct gender-based inequalities between the sexes. Consciously or unconsciously, it continues to serve as the ultimate weapon against women who wish to challenge male hegemony. It is so deeply rooted in the socio-religious psyche of civilization that attempts to discredit it, or dismiss it, or simply ignore it as self-serving patriarchal fiction and myth-making have met with little success. Women were seen either as saints capable of rejecting their sexuality totally or as the very embodiments of temptation. The cult of the Virgin Mary grew alongside the view that, although child-bearing was an unfortunate necessity, sex was not really a good thing and women were dangerous temptresses. The courtly love tradition might be seen as giving women an elevated status. Few women however had the status of ‘lady’, and some of those who did were rather ambiguous morally: the great romances of Lancelot and Guinevere, or Tristram and Isolde, were based on what were essentially adulterous relationships, that resulted in personal or social tragedy. Shakespeare’s plays even tend to have a bias against women. Romeo speaks much more than Juliet. There is also an unusually high proportion of single fathers in the plays. Shakespeare’s later heroines definitely have more to say for themselves. Interestingly, some of them are most articulate when disguised as men, e.g. Rosalind (As You Like It), Viola (Twelfth Night), Portia (The Merchant of Venice). Eve has influenced literature and culture for hundreds of years, and even today women can be characterized badly because of her.

All of this brings things to the originally stated conclusion: the parallels between Eve and Satan have caused centuries of women being characterized as weak, simple minded, or evil. Both Eve and the Devil fell to the temptation of wanting to be like God, both felt jealousy over replacement, and both had to bring others down with them. Due to these similarities, consciously, or unconsciously, women have been characterized in many unflattering ways. Whether in literature, or in the culture, Eve’s actions have been the cause of much division between the male and female sexes.