Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

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Fitting the Mold?

April 28, 2007

Today I submitted my essay for the Holocaust Remembrance essay contest.  I’ve been working on and stressing over the essay for quite some time, so it’s a big relief to have it done.  (Now I just have the suspenseful wait until June 1 to see if anything will come of my efforts!)  I read one of the winning essays from last year and, although it was very well-written and moving, was struck by its political correctness.  The author basically states that to avoid future Holocausts we must “strive toward a world of acceptance and celebration of human diversity.”  I’m not against tolerance, acceptance, and diversity, and I also mentioned this in the essay I just submitted.  The winning essay I read immediately afterwards states, “It is an embarrassment to our evolution as a species that in 2006, we still witness hate in our world.”  The evolution of our species?  Diversity, acceptance, open minds and hearts?  All these things (excluding evolution) are good, but doesn’t it sound just slightly politically correct?  I realized after reading this essay that the judges of this contest probably don’t share my worldview, and this opened the temptation for me to mold my essay to fit what I think they would find more appealing — namely, “love, peace, and all that jazz.”

I rewrote the concluding paragraph to my essay three times.  The first time it mentioned tolerance and acceptance somewhat.  The second time it had a much stronger emphasis on the subject.  (Pretty much, I was caving into the temptation to be politically correct and write what the judges want to hear rather than what I really believe.)  The third rewrite came as a result of my dad’s insistence that I watch this video (or the trailer for it, actually).  I finally decided that it was more important to write about the impending threat of another Holocaust at the hands of radical Muslims than try to win the essay contest.  Am I hoping that I might still win a decent place in the contest?  Absolutely.  But I decided that it wasn’t worth it to sell my soul (my convictions and beliefs) for the sake of at most $10,000.  I’ll stand by what I think needs to be said rather than what I think the judges want to hear.  Perhaps my essay will be passed over as a result of this decision, but so help me God.  This may sound like nothing but indulgent self-promotion, but it took a hard struggle for me to decide to do what I believed was right over what I thought was an easier way.  I want to encourage you to do the same!

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Impossible Friendships

December 14, 2006

No one in their right mind will deny that Tolkien was a master storyteller.  Not only is his epic tale The Lord of the Rings one of the most incredible and powerful works of all time, but his children’s story The Hobbit is also very popular.  Clearly, Tolkien knew what it takes to be a successful writer of fantasy.  There is a side of Tolkien, however, that has often been neglected — his role as a father and Christian man.  I admit that I myself do not know that much about this side of Tolkien; perhaps sitting down with a copy of his published letters or reading Humphrey Carpenter’s extensive biography on the man would enlighten me more to his human side.  At present, though, the only thing I have to vouch for Tolkien’s wisdom as a father is a letter published at Albert Mohler’s blog.  I find this letter replete with wisdom that an older Tolkien was handing down to his son on the issues of sex and male/female relationships. 

In this letter, Tolkien not only warns his son about the dangers of the modern world’s view on sexuality, but (as I will focus on in this post) also warns his son that pure friendships are not possible between young men and women.  Mohler put it this way:

Taking the point further, Tolkien warned his son that “friendship” between a young man and a young woman, supposedly free from sexual desire, would not remain untroubled by sexual attraction for long. At least one of the partners is almost certain to be inflamed with sexual passion, Tolkien advised. This is especially true among the young, for Tolkien believed that such friendships might be possible later in life, “when sex cools down.”

Tolkien’s wisdom on this point is priceless.  How many times have we heard the assurance from questioned individuals that a relationship is only innocent friendship?  “We’re just friends, and nothing more,” we like to say.  Yet, if Tolkien is correct, this can never truly be the case between a young man and a young woman.  The trouble is the very nature of friendship.

Friends are people who share common interests and enjoy each others’ company; people who trust each other and are united in a fight for a common goal.  Yet, even more, friends are people who share their hearts with each other — a true friend is a person to whom you can run when you have a problem, knowing that they will support you and help you through that trial.  You can tell a good friend nearly anything and he will be happy to listen and offer you advice.  This is true friendship.

The trouble with boy/girl “friendships” is that it naturally involves a similar sharing of the hearts and affections.  This presents no difficulty for the average same-sex friendship, for friends can share their hearts deeply with each other and want nothing more.  (There are a few queer exceptions to this general rule, but they are not the norm.)  A man and a woman, however, were made for more.  They were not only made to share their hearts as much (and even more) than friends do, but they were designed to share everything with each other.  Thus, when the sharing inherent to friendship occurs, it is almost certain that more sharing will be desired by one of the “friends.”  This is, after all, a natural desire.

Someday, a person will find the spouse with whom they will become best of friends — better friends than they could ever be with a person of their own sex.  The trouble is, it’s very easy to slide into premature friendships with members of the opposite sex before that chosen time.  I’m in no way advocating a total separation of the sexes and no friendship at all between them.  I’m just pointing out the danger of such friendships.  Light, casual friendships are very possible and beneficial between the sexes, but if that friendship ever progresses to something more serious, beware.  Until you have certainly found the person who you will one day marry, keep close friendships only with those of your own sex.  Anything else will only result in desires and expectations that are, most likely, false and misleading, and believe me, you want to avoid such misconceptions at all costs.  So, girls, realize that you can never be “best friends” with a guy and nothing more — it just doesn’t work that way.  And, guys, beware of the temptation to call close girl friends “just friends,” as this friendship it will inevitably lead to something quite different in the end.