Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Society In 30 Year Moral Decline???

I may be a Christian or follower of Christ or whatever other appropriate name one wants to attach but I often find myself in disagreement with large portions. To the point where someone very close to me declared that I hate all Christians and despise the church. That statement couldn't be closer to untruth because that person was a Christian and I love her. Actually, the majority of important people in my life are Christians and I have no hatred for them. Except maybe when my brother makes a mess of the kitchen only twenty seconds after I scrubbed it clean. The church I found in Brantford is a place that I enjoy and am very happy with. The reality is, I definitely don't outright hate every Christian or Christian institution. Actually, I would like to believe that I don't actually have real hatred for anything. Rather, I am frustrated with many of the beliefs and actions of several Christian groups. I am highly critical of many Christian institutions since I often feel their priorities are out of whack. Plus if an institution claims their work is to glorify God than I feel they should be put under more harsh scrutiny. I think it is a bold claim to make and the organization better be ready to back it up.

The purpose of the previous paragraph, was to give a little background on my stance with things Christian. I was attempting to show that I am not out to condemn or attack Christianity. As I stated previously, I would fall under the broad category of what people call a Christian. I also don't believe that I necessarily go out of my way to criticize or attack Christianity. Unfortunately, many Christian groups make it far too easy for me.

I stumbled across a magazine produced by a very well known Christian evangelist. I am not going to mention his name because I really don't want to give him the publicity nor do I want to make this sound like a personal attack against him. Unfortunately, the reality is that I do not agree with 99.99% of the words I have heard or read that came from him. His big gimmick is that he is basically a prophet and is informing people of the coming end times. Now, I have a whole other rant on 'end times' talk and how I totally disagree with much of what has been spouted. I really don't feel Christians should be looking towards Jesus magically zapping us off to wonderland. I feel our are duty is to try to make this world as close to 'heaven' as possible and try to display true love to all people on this Earth. But, I am heading off into an entirely different rant now.

FOCUS! Anyway, I came across an article which basically said that we know Jesus will be returning very soon because society has been in a 30 year moral decline. I'll ignore the whole problem with prophesying Jesus' return and how a moral decline is necessary for this. Instead, I will focus on my problem with the statement that our society is in a 30 year morale decline.

Claiming the world is in a 30 year moral decline leads one to believe that the world must have been fairly moral previous to that. It definitely says that things are much worse now than they were 30 years ago. I think the claim is missing a very key phrase which is 'if you're a white male.' As our society has progressed, it obviously is no longer the white male dominated world. Nope, we've got those pesky 'minorities' and females getting that equality. We live in a society now that a women or a 'minority' could easily be put in a position of huge leadership. They could even be the leaders of our nations. Oh wow, look at that morality decline!!!!

Yes, I am being sarcastic. I look at the world today and I see a lot of positive progressions. You look at the 1950s, a time period many look back fondly, and you realize the Southern states was plagued with the atrocious Jim Crow laws that significantly harmed Black people's way of life. In Canada, residential schools for Natives were still prevalent and it is now very clear how damaging those institutions were. Women's rights were significantly less in the 1950s and they were definitely considered second class citizens. Today there are many laws and programs in place that help women from horrid things like sexual harassment and abuse. The fact is, harassment in the work place was very acceptable and unavoidable even in many places in the 70s. In today's society, many are actively trying to right these previous injustices and putting things in place to try to rid them entirely. I realize sexism and racism still exists but I would argue it has greatly improved since the 70s or even the 80s.

For people who miss the 'good old days', are they really pining for Imperialism, the Holocaust or Apartheid? Those are just three horrendous things out of a million that have happened throughout the world and were all over 30 years ago (some starting over centuries ago). To me, it seems very clear the past was not a moral haven. In some ways, I would argue we have seen a 30 year rise in morality.

Today, there are many groups formed with the focus of human rights. We are much more aware and concerned about the world around us. For example, look at how many people are pushing for aid in the Sudan. Now, I am not claiming perfection here. I realize there are many ugly flaws. I am saying that there are far more human right laws put in place today than there was 30 years ago. There is much more concern and awareness of the abuse done to 3rd world countries. Many people are taking much more proactive stances in trying to correct and resolve these human right problems.

To me, that is far more important than the fact there is a movie that shows 20 seconds of boobie or there is same sex marriages. Actually, I am glad there is far less persecution and abuse done to homosexuals. No matter your stance on the matter, you must agree it is not very loving or moral to attack a certain group of people. I am very proud that we are a much more tolerant society in that way.

Our world still has a lot of problems. I believe people are much more concerned about the injustices in this world. I see people striving for improvement rather than endorsing immoral actions. To me, a naughty song or violent movie really isn't a big deal. It bothers you? Then don't watch it. The important morality is how others are treated. As humans this what we need to constantly try to improve and change. Rather than wasting our time on the much more trivial matters.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pssst. . . I Have a Secret

Wow, my daily posting ended at a magnificent 2 straight days. Oh well, at least it didn't take seven trillion more years to finally post again. Today, I am going for the semi-regular cop out post. I don't really post anything insightful or exciting or earth shattering but rather opt to sending you off to a site that may do that duty for me.

Several months ago, I was directed to a blog called Post Secret. Basically, it is a site where people send in postcards and the cards contain a secret this person has not told anyone. Some of the cards are extremely powerful. Others are really humourous. Almost all of them contain some creativity and art. It is quite the innovative and fascinating site. It gets updated every single Sunday. Run over there and check out the new batch now!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rediscovering Writing

The first time I ever picked up a writing utensil, I created a lovely work of art for my mom. Unfortunately, she interpreted it as scribbling on the once clean white wall. I believe my first experience led to me not being able to have a freshly baked cookie. Surprisingly, despite this crushing incident, I recuperated and returned to writing. Probably helps that elementary school demands that a student uses things such as a pen, pencil or marker on a regular basis. Though they seem to not appreciate one using a wall to do their work, either.

I wasn't a young student who picked up quickly on a lot of the skills in school. It took work for me to grasp things like math or colouring in the lines. Despite lacking some skills, I always had my creativity. I remember at a very young age making up stories to tell my cousins. They often came over to my house and asked me to tell them a tale. I was usually doing it on the fly. When I was younger, I would ride the bus to school. I would entertain myself and seat partners by telling some fantastical story. Of course, I loved my mom telling me a story before I went to bed. I loved entering into another world and allowing my imagination run wild.

Not surprisingly, I was quite happy when I learned to read and write. I remember taking a notebook with me to the babysitters and spending several hours writing different stories or poems. It was a great opportunity to allow my mind explore new lands or to tackle new adventures. When it came to writing, I was always very creative. Even though I didn't enjoy or do well in every school subject, I always looked forward to anything involving creative writing or story telling.

Grade 3 was probably the time that my love for writing really exploded. I give all my thanks to my teacher, Miss McCombe. I remember she gave me a notebook and told me to write to her on a regular basis. This was not an assignment or anything that was graded. It was a teacher that was encouraging a child to write in his free time. The notebook contained everything from letters to journal entries to poems to stories. She always provided some type of feedback which I absolutely loved. She really helped foster and nurture my love to write. I will always be grateful to her.

Sadly, I allowed my writing to slip over the years. I had countless poems and stories written during my childhood. In comparison, my collective works from the past 10 years is quite pitiful. I have very few short stories or poems. The majority of my works consist of mandatory assignments for school or the sporadic journal entries over the years (guys don't have diaries).

It was this summer that I told myself I want to recommit to writing and seriously pursue it. My long time goal has been to have a novel published. I would absolutely adore a professional writing career. I also know that it is very hard to have a successful and profitable writing career. Especially if a person hopes to enter the marvelous world of fiction. Of course, that is why I am looking to getting into teaching for my current career. But I have decided, I will not give up the hope of being a writer.

This is why I am going to try to continue to keep up this blog. I will return to my not-a-diary writings. I will read. Lots. Because continued reading is a great road to take in becoming a better writer. There is a lot of amazing writers out there. Maybe some constant reading of their works will cause something to rub off on me. Or maybe I can come up with a way to rip off their work without anyone really noticing. Hmmmm. . . no one really remembers that Dickens guy, right? I will venture back to my childhood and begin writing stories again. My imagination has been kept trapped for far too long. It is time to unleash it. The poor world will not know what is in store for them. Beware.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bye Bye Summer

Traditionally, the beginning of the school year is the true sign that summer has officially departed us for the year. How does that work exactly when one did school the entire summer? Of course, once a person is completely finished with the school world and has entered the dreaded work world, it seems rather pointless to use school as the summer measuring stick. Unless of course if you have kids or happen to be a school teacher. It would appear a large portion of the Canadian and American population does seem to judge the length of their summer in this way. Everyone else just uses a calendar.

Despite taking 5 courses over the summer, I still have to declare it a good time. I even got a 3 week break from school in August. I ended up having quite the adventure with Emily. We explored Manitoulin Island and Bruce County. If those names caused you scratch your head then I suggest you use the power of Google. They are pretty common Nothern-ish Ontario touristy/camping spots. Now, if you were scratching your head for other reason then I'd suggest Nix, it is a pretty powerful anti-lice shampoo. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.

Actually, I should probably hit the rewind button on this recap tale of my small summer vacation. You may say, 'why don't you just edit the above paragraph?' I say, 'stop trying to be helpful.' My blog. My rules. I've decided to go for the rambling theme today. Which means my summer retelling will be all over the map.

Anyway, before Emily and I embarked on our adventure, I actually got to spend a week at one of my most favourite places in all the land. I worked for a week at Medeba. Any loyal blog reader will know I have a very long history with this place. It will always hold a dear place in my heart. It was extra special this time because I got to return to my all time beloved position at the camp. Program Director. Many fond memories of that position and this time it was just as enjoyable. Though it was odd being in a role of leadership for a bunch of staff that had no idea who I was or why I was in such an important position. The staff was amazing and were able to survive my week long reign of terror.

Right after Medeba, Emily and I ventured off to North Bay where some friends had a cottage. It was what would fall under the 'relaxing' category for how a weekend was spent. A nice change from the crazy and busy atmosphere that is Medeba. Of course, I am partly saying this because I wasn't one of the people that slaved over the stove and prepared a Breakfast for several hours in the very late evening/early morning. I also got to talk to one of Emily's lovely friends who happens to have a strong love for writing. I always enjoy talking to her about writing and often I come out of it really motivated. Can't you tell? My 3 weeks of no blogging must be such a strong sign for my renewed passion. Oh well, at least my sarcasm is strong and healthy.

And now ladies and gentlemen, we are back to where we were several paragraphs ago. Was it worth the ride? Anyway, it was a really great week of camping, exploring, hiking and adventuring. Both Emily and I have some really great stories to tell. But any great writer leaves the reader with wanting more. Since I am a wannabe great, I am going to do just that. Keep tuned in and I'm sure I'll give that week the prose and attention it deserves.

Anyway, I am in the school computer lab. I can definitely say summer is over. I am excited to be here. I look forward to many of my classes. I actually am finally going to read my first Harry Potter book since it is a required reading for a course. I've gone a long time without reading a single line from those books. I'll finally see if it warrants the hype. I am surprised to see how many students are not happy to be back. It must be the age difference that causes one to appreciate school much more. I really do enjoy my time here. Though my current strategy of overloading my course load has caused me to slightly look forward to the end. My time here definitely has inspired me to continually pursue learning and education for the rest of my life.

With that folks, I am calling it a blogging day. I hope to try to keep this going at a pretty regular basis. I'm going to shoot for daily but I'll be happy if I get something up once a week.