Marriage and Happiness

Wedding-Rings-Background-Bible-4The goal of marriage is not happiness. Don’t get me wrong, happiness is a very important part of marriage, by it is not the goal. The goal of marriage is holiness. It can get so frustrating when nearly all of society says people should marry for happiness, or suggests to get married for one’s happiness. Happiness comes and goes whereas a marriage should not be so fickle. Marry someone who has the same goals for holiness and work for the Joy that will carry you there….Joy that will give a solidarity and strength that happiness never will.

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My spoiler-free review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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First of all, let me say I’m writing this after only one viewing, and letting the experience set for a couple of days. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Not just as a Star Wars film, but just in general, this was a really fun ride.
The performances were genuinely great. After the appalling prequels, I feared campy dialogue via stiff cardboard-people…which was nowhere to be found here, thankfully. Daisy Ridley as Rey steals the show in a way that’s almost not even fair. (Her character is just awesome in a way that continuously surprised me. Her character is kind of an impossible combination of pretty and clever and fun and innocent and tough. Her character can definitely stand on her own in a way that Disney princesses tend to fail at. New role-model anyone?) Just putting her performance to the side for a moment, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson were all stand out performances in their own right…freaking Harrison Ford surprised me. I was anticipating a dry  older actor just there for his paycheck, but holy cow…Ford gave Han Solo a new life I didn’t see coming. Props to Harrison Ford, seriously.
This movie handled itself very well. There were call-backs and references to the other films aplenty. I’ve seen many dispute that it had too much in common with the Original Trilogy; but the biggest gripe my fellow fanboys and I had was that the prequels felt too far removed from the legacy films. The parallels were a very loud response to all the negative feedback the prequels had. So, while I definitely feel what people are saying, I also have to recognize that many of the parallels are necessary to try to bridge the old and new. And in no way did they detract from a very good story.
I have to give a nod to both JJ and the effects department for the decision to concentrate on practical effects. Oh goodness, the world felt so much more tactile, and real thanks to this decision. Overall, visually, the world feels like the original movies: gritty, worn, and lived in.
The score still feels like Star Wars, and while there seemed to be much less of the heavy use of the traditional themes, the new Rey’s theme was absolutely wonderful. Each previous film seemed to have a standout theme or song unique to it…but this overall score seemed a bit more subdued, maybe to it’s benefit. I haven’t decided quite yet.
The best part is that for all of the wonderful highlights, and despite some criticisms, this film holds itself together really well, a testament to JJ Abrams ability to direct on so many fronts. Nothing seems to stand out too much, or overpower the other aspects. The film can be taken as a whole, and it is wholly good.

I want to give this film a 10/10, but some similarities with the old trilogy seem to rob it of originality, and there were a couple more nit picky items like some under-used cast, and the strain of questions left answered. I give it a 9.1/10. (This score may change depending on how the next films handle the unanswered questions.)

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Worship.

It’s always good to revisit this.

Random Thoughts with Zach

worship

It’s not fear that grips me, but restlessness. A hightened sense of things.

The glow before me is both searing and relentless, but suprises me in it’s gentleness. It compells me forward, but I want to run and find a place to hide. As if anything could hide from this light. This….aura around me is the most extremely alien thing I have experienced, and yet, it is also strangley so familiar. Before I can even be fully aware of even myself, I am overwhelmed by it. Instantly, my eyes shut instictly from the intesity, and it proves utterly useless. Nothing can hide. Just as instantly, I am pulled to the ground by the sheer weight of the air around me…and I allow myself to kneel. It is the most right thing to do. And, although nothing has been said, it is not silent around me. The sound in my ears…

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On Gaza and the recent outburst of violence in Israel

Photographer: Eyad Al Baba/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

 

The recent additions to the ongoing conflict in Israel has really grabbed my heart and attention these last few weeks. As such I have been not only keeping up with various news sources, and praying, but also reposting and sharing news articles to keep my friends and family aware of what is and has been going on in the region. This prompted a good friend of mine to ask for some clarification on the matter. This was my response:

          “Scripture and Theology aside, we have to remember that Israel is not only our only Democratic ally in the region, but they are also the only nation over there giving full rights to women, and to Arabs, (not to mention, they don’t murder gay people for being gay either), and Israeli arabs which make up 1/5th of the population are the free-est Arabs in the Middle East. As far as humanitarian ideals are concerned, so far…Israel’s kinda up front in the region…in my opinion. (Insight on the subject could change…Israel is still a country governed by imperfect humans.)

          Israel finds itself in a very tough situation, which I wish I had a better answer for (something I am waiting for the critics to come up with as well). If you remember the intifada following 9/11 which was marked by multiple suicide bombings in civilian areas, Israel responded by putting up a wall along the West Bank and around Gaza, to restrict the movements of the terrorists that were coming from these areas. After doing so, the number of suicide bombings dropped dramatically. A peaceful, non-violent solution that worked very well. Until Hamas got their hands on Iranian missiles and started rocketing Israel. This lead the the Iron Dome, which works very well, and targets rockets already in the sky. Another peaceful solution. Here;s the thing though…Iron Dome is not perfect, and some rockets are still getting through, killing Israeli people. The response is then rocket the location of the launchers. Hamas’ response was to start putting launchers in schools, hospitals, and UN buildings. Israel calls the location 15 min ahead, and gives a warning shot and siren when the place is about to be hit, in an attempt to save lives. Hamas tells women and children to rush to the building to defend it, telling them that Allah will save them. Hamas is using human shields as cannon fodder for press. So Israel continues to protect its citizens, as should be expected. I would not expect Israel to purchase the lives of Palestinians at the cost of Israeli lives. They are there to protect Israeli’s first…then to try to help the other nations.

          Now we find ourselves today, after Hamas has violated 5, FIVE, cease fires in July alone. I would that Hamas would agree to one, so they could both stop. Israel has said repeatedly all they have to do is to stop the rocketing…and Israel would stop its attacks. Nobody likes seeing women and children die in Gaza.

          All we can do in America is watch in horror, and do what we can to support our ally, and continue to seek a peaceful solution. What I am against most vehemently, though, is all the criticism from the UN, the international community, and more so, Americans who criticize so easily without offering a solution. I wish I had one to offer them, but the UN is straight up sanctioning Israel, and calling for war crimes investigations because….Israel has the gaul to defend itself? That is my position right now, and I am posting what I can to try to get conversations like this started, because we all have a voice in our government. We all share some small responsibility for the support or lack thereof of our ally. So I’m starting to watch our congress and president for their actions. Can’t tell what Kerry is actually up to because of all the hearsay and gossip. I’m not ready to criticise him for trying to help. As far as I can tell, he’s calling for a cease-fire…but I don’t know the details. I’m still just a dude trying to follow along….and trying to start other dudes and dude-etts to keep this thing on our conscience, and to be ready to do our part, whatever that may be when the time comes.”

As a Christian I believe that the nation of Israel has a divine right to exist and defend itself. I also happen to believe that Jesus wants each and every one of the Arabs, Jews, secularists, and every other representative of other religions and world views….every single person not only in Israel, but world wide to come to the saving grace of knowing Him. Of finding that peace that passes understanding by the power of the Holy Spirit. I don’t expect everyone to understand or even accept my Christian point of view on this, and in such case, I would defer to my previous statement. #Peace

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It’s Okay To Say We’re Not Okay

Excellent thoughts on the tragic loss of Robin Williams.

Christian in Chaos

By now, most of us are all too tragically aware of the loss of one of the most brilliant minds in comedy and drama, acting itself.  I wasn’t planning on writing anything about the loss of one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, but something changed over the last 24 hours.  People began sharing with me how they have lost someone to suicide, and others sharing how they’ve been dealing with depression.

I am uniquely familiar with depression.  Though it’s not been a friend, it’s certainly been a companion for some time.  My heart immediately goes out to anyone struggling with it and/or suicidal ideations.

In college, a friend and I would sit up with another friend, we’ll call him H for Hope.  H struggled so much with depression that there were times we were afraid if we’d leave, he’d hurt himself.  You could feel the tangible darkness, the weight…

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<due to a lapse in memory to keep up this blog, feel free to imagine lots of creative and insightful posts in this gap>

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Joseph

After listening to a sermon about Joseph, I realize that the story of Joseph in Genesis is one of the most profound stories of any individual in history. A story that touches on human trafficking, betrayal, loyalty, honor, family, and faith, Joseph stands out as one of the few people in the Bible I think we can all look up to. This story opened my eyes to what has always been passed over in teachings with an assumptive manner, I think I will study the life of Joseph more closely.

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