What Gen Y Needs

Originally Posted May 10 2016

I get asked a lot what Gen Y needs to get by. It’s no secret, though a bit of an elephant in the room.

Unemployment/underemployment/going back to school for lack of employment is around 77% of our generation, the amount of student debt is skyrocketing while value of degrees are plummeting, common law has so flooded out marriage that it has caused the divorce rate to actually go down, anxiety and depression both have skyrocketed to ridiculous levels, and more. There really is no secret that our generation is the doomed generation that has well earned the post apocalyptic future dream that has knocked out the days of hope in the past.

So what is the answer?

“We need jobs!” seems like an answer… until you realize that by posting more jobs we simply lower the treatment of employees. Sure companies hire twice as many people, but give those people a third of the hours. No benefits, no hope, nothing can be found from employment like that.

So is it money then? Should we cancel out student debts? Raise the minimum wage? Create cheaper housing? Again… that would be nice. The average amount needed to live a VERY tight budgeted life right now is about $35000 a year… the average Gen Y employee working 2 or 3 jobs might be able to pull off $23000… Things like rent are simply throwing money down the drain but the downpayment of houses is far too much for most people to save up… But is money simply the answer? No I think it runs deeper than that….

There are a lot of things that COULD help the situation (personally I’d feel encouraged if for one if people stopped calling us Millennials… it was a typo that started it and it doesn’t even make sense! Millennials are the generation after us as they were born the new Millennium. We’re gen Y because we come after gen X!) but all these things are simply just applying cream to the wound… not stopping the source of the problem.

If I was to ask for one thing that Gen Y’s need right now… that maybe this whole world needs… that I know I need… it would be “Hope”

We are a generation without hope… What do we honestly have to look forward to? What can we turn to to rely on? What are we even working towards?

Do we want a future where we can get married, raise a family, live financially secured? What hope is there!? Very few will ever make enough to go that far in life. As the older generations cling onto their old jobs and punch and stab each other to try and add another penny to their paycheque… is there any way we can shoulder our way into that horror show?

Is it relationships we want? That in itself has become a source of anxiety in itself. We were raised in a world where the messiness of relationships falling apart was not only a fact of life but considered to be inevitable. The statistics of marriages staying together for life is so low that it seems almost like mythology, and it’s not the legality that makes the marriage falling apart messy… it’s that there are two people who had that bond together that are now tearing themselves apart…. such a division is NOT a clean cut. Growing up watching that happen time and time again, how can anyone have the courage to say “I will be strong enough to not put someone else through that pain?” but at the same time… the pain of being alone is far too great to ignore… so we close our eyes… we have light hearted relationships without commitment… we tell ourselves when they fall apart “It hurts… but the pain if I had ACTUALLY committed would have been far worse!” to hide the fact that it still hurts like mad.

Do we wait for the government to save us? or the law? Hah! What hope is there in that?? We grew up hearing those names scraped through the mud all our lives. “Whoever is in charge is a tyrant. whoever makes laws is unjust. Everything is meant to abuse us. You can’t trust the cops, the law, the government because they’re all out to destroy us….” So we keep flipping… we chase after whoever isn’t in power thinking that maybe THEY will save us only to be let down again. People fear the law… they hate the injustice they claim to exist…. they feel they have no one to trust but themselves… Government turns to anarchy, law to vigilante, justice to vengeance. There is no hope to be found in such a place. Where double talk between countries, betrayal, false faces, fear, mistrust, abuse of power, propaganda, fear mongering, and more exists.

Do we continue to trust in ourselves? It’s what we’ve been taught to do…. “Only you can control your destiny! Don’t rely on others when you can do it yourself! You have the power to be whatever you want to be! Everything anyone does is firstmost motivated by what is in it for them! That is all humans can do.” But…. that is the least reliable thing we can rely on…. We are human…. we are weak… can anyone deny that? Honestly? We let ourselves down all the time…. “I’m not strong enough…. I’m not smart enough… I’m not brave enough… I’m not attractive enough…. I’m not popular enough….” So we put on masks… we try to be who we are not…. We throw away any belief that we were made to be who we were for a reason and decide that we need to pretend to be who we think would be strong enough to handle this….. But we can’t… because that’s not who we are…. you think you can keep up the charade long enough to weather the storm… but the storm never ends… in fact it just grows stronger…. there is no hope for someone who relies on themselves…. only the anxiety and denial of how pathetic you feel when you realize how little you can accomplish

Hope….

Hope….

Hope….

Is there none to be found? Is there really nothing we can grasp onto? Nothing we can work towards? Nothing that can keep us moving forward? Is life really such a meaningless torture which we have no control over where we’re forced to sit down and just be destroyed day after day without any chance to escape?

….but there is hope….

….there is purpose…

….this is not all there is….

….it could never be….

And so I give the most unpopular answer… the answer we have spent our whole lives being told is insanity! Primitive thinking! Cruelty! Holding back our world! What lunatics would say! What anyone with half a brain would realize could never be!

I say it not because of desperation… not because of insanity… not because of weakness… no… I say it because of truth… and because I refuse to be too weak to admit what needs to be said any longer!

THERE

IS

HOPE!

There is God. God exists. God is real. If there was no God there would be no hope. No purpose. No reason to live! The fact that the generation who had his existence taken out of their lives the most is the generation that struggles the most with hopelessness proves this!

We have fallen not because we are weak. But because we refuse to turn to He who made us strong!

We are not living for fame

We are not living for riches

We are not living for power

We are living because God made us! Because God loves us! Because God made this world! Because God made us! Because God has a plan for us! Because God sent His son to die for us!

Without God, nothing with change. But with God, Everything is different!

Our purpose is not what we think it is!

What is of value is not what we think it is!

Weakness is not what we think it is!

Power is not what we think it is!

You have strength! The strength to say that you are weak! The strength to turn to the one who will make you strong! The strength to rely on the one thing we feel too scared to do! Why are we so scared? Why do such weak arguments as “You’d be foolish to believe it!” ring so true?

Because it is a scary jump! Because if you turn to God, nothing will ever be the same again!

Life with God doesn’t destroy all that stands in our way. As I said… I struggle with hope too… I have trouble seeing a way out…. but I have faith… faith that has seen me through… strength that makes me want to live another day…. strength that makes me realize there is still things left to see in life… because no matter what happens… no matter how weak I am… no matter how many walls I hit… no matter how dark the path ahead seems… no matter how much I feel like I serve no purpose…. God is not done with me yet!

I have seen how little I can do… God… let me see how much you can do through me

Amen

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Morals

Originally Posted May 5 2016

Morals are an interesting thing.

As humans we have instincts. Carnal desires which drive our actions based on our feelings and desires alone. Many scientists talk about these instincts and many scholars these days state that all of our actions are based on these actions, and all essentially boil down to “What’s in it for me?”

But this is where morals are weird… See morals aren’t bound to out instincts… In fact, most of the time they go straight up against them. To live with morals is to fight the very person you are for the purpose of what is the right thing to do. Though some would argue that this is done for a sense of self righteousness or sake of feeling good about what one does… I get the feeling people who hold such theories are not very moral people to begin with…. Because living by morals doesn’t always feel good… It doesn’t always feel worth it… In fact, most days, watching your friends seeming to have more fun, seeming to go farther in life, seeming to avoid any consequences for their actions makes you feel horrible and frustrated for going down this path.

So why are morals a thing then? Well to understand morals, and why people live for them in spite of the lack of self gain for themselves, we need to first understand something.

Morals are bigger than just ourselves!

It’s not about what WE gain or what WE feel. It is about doing what is right because right or wrong do exist and there is a reason that we should do what is right!

Such theories go very counter to the self preservation, there is nothing beyond us, culture we have created which is probably why for the last 7000 years, morals have always been the first thing hit by “cultural progression”… Usually in the exact same ways and order as well…

To think about morals is to realize that there is something beyond ourselves which influences our actions. To realize that is to realize that we are not all there is in life to live for.

Why is Sin?

Originally Posted May 3 2016

When I was a kid I thought I understood what sin was… see God made rules, and to follow those rules was a sacrifice as it meant living a life of morals vs just doing what was easy. Other people would seem to be getting what you didn’t but in the end, whether soon or at the end of time, God would come down and strike wrath on all those sinful people for breaking His rules

…………..I was rather wrong…….

The older I get, the more I begin to realize that sin is something a lot simpler than that.

Sin is an ancient archery term which means missing the mark. So if God is the mark we are aiming for, every time we deviate from that path, we sin. What does this mean? Well for one thing it means that my entire focus on sin was backwards!

See, if everything that does not aim towards God is sin…. that means there are a LOT of sins…. like more than we could possibly list! How does this cause problems? Well if we focus on what not to do we’ll just get overwhelmed and just sin in a way we haven’t seen listed yet. Instead we need to focus on the right way. The ONE right way. And move our focus to trying to aim for Him. It is not so much what we shouldn’t do, but what we should do. Because if you start living your life aiming for what you should do, and why you should do it, the shouldn’t dos become a lot less important.

This brings us to the second thing we need to realize from this and that is, YOU WILL SIN! BADLY!

So far the only people I’ve met who claim to have never sinned suffer from the additional sin of lying… sometimes to themselves!

We are human beings! We are little, petty, tiny, minuscule. We can barely manage a bank book let alone the entirety of our lives!

So you will fail…. but that’s okay… I mean it’s not right, but don’t let this stop you from following after God.

No one is “Too messed up” for God…. no one is “Not able to believe in God.” No one is “Just not good enough to be a Christian.” Why? BECAUSE WE ALL STINK! (It sounds depressing but there is comfort in that.)

What do we do when we sin? when we fall? When we miss the mark? Possibly even miss the entire target??? We get up… say we’re sorry… and take aim all the harder.

Life isn’t like a school where you fail the test and you fail your grade. It’s not like a job where you get fired and it stays on your permanent record for every job you try to get after. We will mess up. We are bound to mess up. We can’t NOT mess up! So don’t let that stop you from chasing after God! Let it push you to try all the harder to get it right the next time!

So why do bad things happen to those who sin? If God is so nice why are there negative consequences? Why is he punishing us if we have no chance at following Him anyways?

Well one thing I’d like to bring up, is the greatest gift God gave us. Choice.

In order for there to be a choice there has to be consequences. The more negative the consequences, the more meaningful the choice. When I’m choosing a direction to take to deal with a medical emergency, my choices weigh far heavier than when I’m choosing what socks. (Though if you choose those argyle socks, your social life is ruined so choose that wisely too!)

Imagine if you will, if there were no consequences to your actions whatsoever… or even if no matter what you did, good things would happen to you. Sure at first it would be good (I’d love it to work like that in a few areas of my life) but it wouldn’t take long until the meaninglessness of your actions got to you.

We human beings are not supposed to live without meaning. We were placed on this earth for a purpose. We were given choices to make which hold weight to them. We were given people to interact with and our interactions matter. When we believe we have no purpose we fall apart! We go into depression. We self destruct!

They say the biggest killer in POW camps in WWII wasn’t the guards, but the meaninglessness of what they did. They say that people who retire usually die soon after. We are MEANT to have meaning!

So why were we made this way? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just build us as creatures with no other desire than to follow God? Why throw in this lousy choice thing?

Well the answer to that is simple as well…. if we had no control, we would have no intelligence. The purpose of intelligence is to maintain control. There is so much in this world that we cannot control, but we can control who we turn to as what is in control! (follow THAT if you can!) We can choose. Do we follow God? Do we follow pride? Do we follow greed? Do we follow fear? YOU Choose! God chose us! In spite of who we are God chose us as His people to send his son to die for us…. will you choose Him back?

Hyperbole

Originally Posted April 29 2016

Anyone who has talked with me for a decent amount of time has probably caught on that I like using hyperbole a lot. This is partly because I grew up inhaling copious amounts of looney toons and Calvin and Hobbes, and as such find overreactions hilarious, but I believe there is a more serious purpose to hyperbole as well.

Hyperbole is a useful tool for debating touchy philosophy in a (less) threatening manner. I could talk about treating animals with respect, as life is important, and some friends would be singing my praises, while others would be screaming…. Things I would rather not repeat. But at the same time, I could take the example of strapping fireworks to newborn kittens after breaking their legs, and chances are MOST of you would agree with me that this is a bad thing to do…. Or else I am really going to worry about why we are friends… And will hide all future kittens from you….

To dig a little deeper into this, we have to understand the term “Slippery Slope”.

Most people have heard this term before, and I’ve heard mixed opinions as to whether it exists, or people are just big babies afraid of change and putting restraints on society. That being said, Slippery slope works entirely on two lies.

Lie 1: This next step actually isn’t all that far at all… Actually it isn’t even a step! More like nuance and interpretation!

Lie 2: The step AFTER this one, and all future steps that creep you out. Man they are AAAAGES farther! Actually I don’t even think they’re even on this path!

And thus by going down this path, we find ourselves walking without end towards our own destruction.

So how can hyperbole help? Well simply put… If you walk one step ahead of someone they will follow you anywhere. But if you walk 5 or more steps they’ll think you’re a freak. So all you’re really doing is showing someone what lies 5 steps ahead!

Though I should point out it isn’t that simple. Bring forward an example too far down the path and they’ll miss the entire connection. Realize people don’t (usually) walk down the path they THINK is wrong. And if they do it is because they think the benefit is worth it. Because of this, simply telling someone, “YOUR WALK IS WRONG!” Will probably result in them shutting you out. What you need to do is show them the logical steps you are thinking starting at the path where they are headed to help them see what you are seeing from a slightly different perspective.

SO! All this back story to basically point out the thing that worries me.

It is getting REALLY hard to be hyperbolic! Like seriously REALLY hard! I don’t know how many times I try to give someone an extreme example and have to stop myself 3 or 4 times realizing “No wait… People already do that…”

How does one argue right and wrong when people don’t even have the foundation that there is a right and wrong? How do you say “It is important to love!” When people don’t know what love is. How do you say “It is your job to lead!” When people don’t know what a leader is. How do you say “This is good!” When most people have forgotten what something being good entails??

We have hit a stage where we cannot discuss advanced things intelligently because the basic foundations the intelligent conversations are built upon are non existent.

Much like a musician trying to play Mozart, a cook trying to make a 5 course meal, or a basketball player trying to make it to the finals…. Don’t underestimate the importance of reviewing and checking to make sure we know the basics.

It’s NOT the Internet!

Originally Posted April 20 2016

It’s not Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. It’s not Instagram, Youtube, or Pinterest. It’s not Computers, Smart Phones, or Tablets.

If you are faced, day after day, with hundreds of people, with access to hundreds of thousands of people of every country, in a forum which they are more open about their feelings, thoughts, and opinions. If you see this day after day, and all you think of is “Time Waster” and “Cat Pictures” which are destroying our society…. Don’t bother going offline…. Because going offline won’t help you. The problem is not technology. It is the people who decide how technology is used.

Technology is a tool. A powerful tool which is used to make what you want. It is hard to govern as it is international waters. It is impossible to control because it is so many people. It can be used to build up or also destroy. It can be used to build lives or destroy them. The ways it is used though is not the fault of the internet, but the hearts of the people who use it.

If you come here as an escape. As a way to let off steam, or do things you can’t normally get away with…. You can and it will break you. You can escape society on here but not reality. Your actions will catch up with you.

But if you come here with a desire to help people, and touch lives… There is no other medium in this world that is more powerful to do so. The Bible says to go out to all the world preaching the good news? Well guess what. Here is where all the world is standing. Are they scary? Yes. Will they react the way you want? Not always. But even if they don’t listen, they will hear you. And trust me when I say, showing love is the most powerful thing you can do on here.

I always find myself in a slight contradiction. On the one hand I spend day after day hearing non Christians label the entirety of the church as big headed, discriminatory, judgemental, fearmongerers who are scared of anything not from the middle ages, and judge things they’re too scared to understand…. So yes… Part of me is happy when people who say “Everyone who uses technology is society’s rejects!” Run away… It’s hard enough to be taken seriously without people adding fuel to the fire.

On the other hand however, every day I’m faced with people by the hundreds… Who hurt… Who suffer… Who have no hope, no purpose, nothing to fill the empty void of their lives. They want advice, they want comfort, they want friends… I’m one guy… And I’m a pretty weak and small guy on top of that… I can’t do this all myself… In fact it is only with God’s help that I’ve come as far as I have. We need less people judging the internet for their own weakness, and more people to demonstrate God’s strength!

If you leave the internet for scaring you, that is all it will ever be. But if you fight for the people on here, and pray for the wisdom, see what impact God can have in even the darkest of places.

“Beliefs”

Originally Posted April 9 2016

What are beliefs? What purpose do they serve? What effect do they have on the world around us?

Beliefs are simply this… What you believe to be reality and what you believe to matter. Do you believe in God? Many gods? No god? That you are god? Those are all your beliefs.

Let me point out that your beliefs have absolutely no bearing on what IS real, but only what you believe to be real. I can believe all I want that I have wings and can fly, but a jump off the roof will still end badly for me.

So that being said, what bearing do our beliefs have on this world.

To start off with… Controversial point number 1: Your beliefs have no control over what others can do or can’t do.

THERE IS A MAJOR ASTERISK ON THIS!

If you believe that something is right or wrong… No… You do not have the ability to demand it of others… But realize something right here and now…. They have no right to force you to follow their beliefs as well.

So here is where that asterisk pops in… See in a simple question of what is real and what isn’t… No, your thoughts and emotions have no bearing on what others can do, no matter how strongly you hold your opinion. If you happen to be right there may be real world consequences to people not believing what you believe, but that is for reasons separate from you believing them.

That being said, is it right to not give a hoot towards other people’s beliefs? If you are asking, should I change my beliefs to fit within other peoples’ beliefs then no…. Because their beliefs do not affect my own and if I start compromising my beliefs to fit within theirs, I know longer believe in my beliefs, My belief is suddenly that my beliefs do not really matter. Which is kinda depressing really when you think it through….

BUT! It is important to be sensitive to someone’s beliefs. If my friend believes that technology is the root of all evil and the cause of all our world’s problems, am I going to purge my life of tech just to suit their needs? Not on your life…. But I will (try) to not say things about technology around them, or try to be sensitive to their own fears and frustrations. Same way I wish people wouldn’t show porn to people trying to stay pure, or invite recovering alcoholics to get drunk.

This is not a compromise where in we sacrifice our own morals to avoid upsetting someone. This is just an acceptance that this world holds people who believe things separate from myself and that even if I don’t agree with them, and may discuss things with them in order to help them avoid what I may believe to be pitfalls of life, that I respect them for their right to decide right or wrong.

So controversial thing 2: People are wrong….. It’s true…. You’re wrong… I’m wrong…. Some of us are less wrong but we are all in the end wrong.

People are fallible. In fact, of the vast amounts of knowledge that exist within this world we can possibly comprehend…… A fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent…. Maybe…. We are stuck within time, within space, within the limited capacities of our minds…. So yes…. What you believe in life is not 100% accurate….

BUT! Does this mean that all beliefs are foolish and just a waste of time? No…. Not even remotely…. Whether you ever accept it or not, reality exists… There are things which just are… For every choice there is consequences because the entire existence of choice relies on consequences. Intelligence relies on the ability to make wrong decisions. Good relies on the existence of bad…. At the end of your days you are going to learn that you were either right or wrong…. You’re going to discover if the things you fought for in life were worth fighting for, or if the stuff you fought for were a waste of time… And there will be things you may never see… The consequences to your bloodline… Or your friends… What impact you had on the world around you…. All of this WILL happen based on the choices you have made in life. You can say it does not matter what you believe because all beliefs are the same, yet the results of people who believe such things end up different.

It is not what you do but why. You can say “All religions aim to surpass the place they are now, and become something greater, so they are all the same. All different paths leading to the same goal.”

But what if the goals are different? What if the motivations are different? What if the morals we hold are different?

Why do you live? Is it to succeed? Is it to become better? Is it to be remembered? Is it to have no regrets? Is it to have an impact? Is it to leave the world a little better than you left it? Is it to love? Is it to hate? Is it to control? Is it to learn? Is it to grow? Is it to evolve? Is it to discover?

How are you motivated to live? Is it by how others treat you? Is it by the successes you have? Is it by what you can get? Is it by what you can do? Is it by those who love you? Is it by those you love? Is it by curiosity? Is it by fear? Is it by hatred? Is it by pride? Is it by sensuality? Is it an inspiration?

Why you live, and how you are motivated to keep going will control your direction, it will control your path. You may be aiming to the same goal of heaven, enlightenment, a good end, a good impact, what not…. But without the same engine and the same route plan, you will not end up at the same place.

So how should we live? I guess we first have to accept that we are different… We will be wrong… We will hurt people we don’t mean to…. If you want to slow down the amount of pain though… Stop focusing on becoming perfect humans. Start by accepting that you are not perfect. That no one else is perfect. And that you will hurt just as many people as hurt you. Be humble not proud. Do not take pride because others sin differently than you, but don’t let others fall into pitfalls that you see clearer than them either. Walk with humility, grace, acceptance of what is in Gods hands and not your own, and most of all, walk in love as God loves you in spite of who you are.

Focus on Needs of Others

Originally Posted March 31 2016

People want this world to change and suffering to end, but it is far too easy to turn around and complain about fulfilling someone else’s needs because you still have your own.

In order for this world to really change, we need to be so focused on filling the bowls of those around us that we don’t have time to focus on the current state of our own bowl.

Is this thinking shortsighted and immature?… yes… if this world is all there is to it. If humans are all there are to look after humans… if we have to look out for ourselves lest no one else do it… then yes… you had best keep a tight grip on your pursestrings and do whatever you can to maintain the lifestyle you need to survive

……if humans are all that there are in this world…..

however… if there is a God… and He is the God of the bible, a God of love, not a God of demands… then why are you worrying about your own state of life? Do you think God will let those who go out with a passion and heart to help His children fall? Do you think your life could possibly end as a waste if you lived it in order to better His kingdom and the lives of those around you?

Love those around you… Love God… Talk with God… go where God leads… Help those God has led to you… do not ignore the tugging on your heart, it was put there for a reason…

This life is a burden you were not meant to carry alone… How do you expect to fix anyone’s problems as you carry a burden too great to bear as it is?