Saturday, February 13, 2010

Inside My Mind

Synopsis of "Phantom of the Opera", as relating DIRECTLY to Christine. All outside interactions are cut out.

In the beginning of Phantom, we see a scantily-clad dancer transformed into a diva singing "Think Of Me". After her success, she lights a candle in the chapel and a voice tells her 'bravissima'. The smile on her face is one of hearing the praise of the one who matters most to her, even though she's frightened by the presence of the voice. Later, she is met in a side-room by an old friend from her childhood who leaves her to fetch a carriage so they can go out together. The voice confronts her after the friend leaves and she permits it full mastery. It appears behind her mirror, a masked man in black. He urges her to come with the 'angel of music' he masquerades as, telling her to turn her face from the light. They enter his richly-furnished lair under the opera house and he begs her to help him make the music of the night as he twines his magic around her naive mind. She unmasks him and he promises to return her, and when he does, she refuses to see anyone. The prima donna's jealousies provoke the phantom to ruining her show and causing the young diva to need to take her place through a murder. Terrified, the girl flees to the roof with her friend who attempts to comfort her. They agree to get married and the phantom swears his vengeance. At a masquerade ball three months later, the phantom declares he's written an opera, takes the diva's engagement ring. In the chapel, she confesses how afraid she is of playing opposite the phantom and her friend promises he'll protect her. Early the next morning, she goes to visit her father's grave alone, mourning and begging him to help her say goodbye. She is put under the phantom's spell again until her friend discovers her whereabouts, he and the phantom fight. She rides away with her friend the victor after begging him not to kill the phantom. The opera takes place that night and the phantom sings alongside her. She warns her friend subtly and the phantom draws her in again, then confesses his obsession with her. Crying, she rips off his mask and exposes him. He then kidnaps her to his lair where he demands she change into a wedding gown he prepared for his own wedding with her. The friend arrives and the phantom gives her an ultimatum: marry the phantom or the friend dies. She kisses the phantom and he cries, releasing both of them.

We were childhood sweethearts with Christ, but then tragedy/life occurred and we never maintained the relationship, allowing a voice masquerading as an angel to take hold in our lives. Put under its spell, we wander down, caught in the tantalizing music of the night. We refuse to see anyone after we return from our foray. When power is placed in our hand through the darkness's obsession with us, we realize how frightening what we're addicted to really is and we flee to the arms of a promise that says "let Me lead you from your solitude". For a season, we're together with Him, before the 'angel' claims us. Because of our history with the 'angel', and not all bad either, we're loath to let Him destroy it even when we see it defeated and shameful. We reach the point where dreaming of our loss won't help us to do all they dreamed we could and ride away with the conqueror robbed of a complete victory while we ask why can't the past just die. We're up on the bridge, still in its arms, and we face the choice: we can either unmask our struggle and allow Him to send reinforcements or we can pass the point of no return and fully cede to the darkness.

Right here is where the allegory ends, for when He comes for us in the end, He comes wholly victorious or not at all. We CAN'T give into the darkness to save Him, for He'd already died for us. So we must stand strong and let Him be wholly victorious.

But most don't. Most are too afraid to unmask the struggle, afraid of condemnation and death... and possibly also too comfortable in the seduction the darkness weaves over us. For death tastes sweet 'til you reach the dregs. Just drink five cups of coffee a day brewed in a french press that lets the most powdery and smallest grounds get through and you'll understand what I mean. Coffee should NEVER be even SLIGHTLY muddy-textured or crunchy! /bad metaphor

So when I say 'the phantom of the opera is there inside my mind', I mean 'I need you to know I'm not through the night, some days I'm still fighting to look towards the light'. But I'm getting there by His grace. So can you, and so can the others who still listen to the haunting strains of the music of the night.

Valentine's Day Goes Goth

This was written at three-thirty in the morning after an extended length of trying to sleep and failing, reading 1stTim - 3rdJohn, and experimenting with eyeliner.


Those of you who've known me for any length of time and have met me will agree that in general, I'm an un-intimidating brunette whose fashion tastes run from punkish to just plain weird. Granted, in the summer, I often end up blonde because of swimming and there WAS that one redhead escapade Mama helped me pull off, but that is definitely beside the point. I do wear a lot of black, but that's as close as I come to the goth archetype in my life.

A year or two ago, two of my awesome girl friends decided to go goth for VDay. They have their reasons, and I'm pretty sure the younger of the two has done a blog on her reasoning behind this. So when a third friend, much closer to the goth class as STILL four times as adorable as any goth out there, asked on her FB stat who was going goth for SAD/VDay, I decided I would go goth this year as well.

I asked myself exactly what my motivation was behind going goth on a Sunday when I would have to be at church. Was it to make sure no one would want to be around me ever again? I don't think so, I REALLY want to be friends with these people. How about to scare those who do know me well there? The two or three who do would probably blink twice and tell me what I could do to look MORE goth.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted to make a stand against That-Which-Is-Misnomered-As-Love. VDay has to be one of the most deceptive holidays in the year. At Easter, we have the traditional services that even the heathens attend once a year here in the South. At Christmas, we still put up Nativity scenery with our Santas. Even Halloween, the kids still dress up and, though they may not know the story, the roots still exist.

But we have to set aside a day to guilt-trip others, sell ourselves, gorge on our own wants and desires for fuzzy, light stuff?! It's like we're scarfing down Twinkies and expecting it to be a thorough, balanced, and filling meal! And we SAY we do it in the name of love and romance!

I've been accused of being a cynic when it comes to love and romance. YOU watch people go through this unsatisfying sap fest for nineteen years, see the effects, and THEN tell me something doesn't begin to break, wilt, and die inside at this mockery of the concept behind what Christ died for.

I can't help but think that TRUE love and romance is a day-to-day LIFESTYLE, not a once-a-year holiday. All the special stuff can be done on any day of the year. In fact, the more spontaneous when doing the special stuff, the better. It makes it SPECIAL. Having an assigned date not only sparks the feelings of "another chore" but also those of "it's my due, I deserve it", which in my opinion are the exact attitudes that tend to destroy marriages.

So this is my stand. I will go goth on February 14th and only for February 14th. Me and my mascara. So sue me, I realized I threw out my black eyeliner two years ago (I never used it and it was a hand-me-down from Grandma, and I've recently discovered that sharing makeup is not safe), so I needed to find a replacement. I tried a couple different methods, but I finally settled for a dab of mascara on a TINY paintbrush and using it like eyeliner that way. The planned hairstyle looks way more emo rock than goth, but I like it. Again lacking black lipstick, I use the darkest shade of lipstick I have (I only have two, people!) and dab a TINY bit of mascara over it. Add my black jeans, black tank, black jacket, black armwarmers, black ankle boots, and a chain belt (it's so long that when I clip it on, there's an extra length that I can loop so it hangs like a proper chain). I should be set, right?

Looks like it.

Poor church.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

On Purity

The first thought/verse that comes to my mind when the issue of kissing is brought up is "Do you not know that when a man lies with a prostitute, he becomes one with her" (1 Cor. 6), and to know that for a moment, your lips are one with that person's, that you're sharing the same breath of life... To me, I can't even begin to describe the pain and heartache that would give me, to know I gave that to someone besides my husband.

That would equate to adultery in my life, for the Bible says in Isaiah 54 that the Lord is my Husband and I have chosen to accept that, to remain promised and pure and taken. Yes, if He chooses to send me to an earthly husband, by all means, I will heed, obey, and enjoy that. But for now, I am called to be His alone and I refuse to share my breath and my body with anyone until otherwise instructed. It's not a burden to me, to be set apart or to be chosen, I was chosen! I WAS CHOSEN!

That's such a big deal to me I can't even describe. It's glorious happiness to me to have been chosen that I will ADORE being set apart for Him and that I will always rejoice in His love. When I consider backing down, when people tell me I'm too rigid, I look at the times before I realized I had become chosen and I stare at myself in shock. How could I have been so miserable and wanted to stay that way, even though I did nothing different physically?

My mindset changed and I will NEVER consider backing down on this. It's contentment, happiness, He wants what's best for me and will provide, it's security and love and protection and adoration and sacrificial love... Why would I ever choose to let someone who is not a permanent fixture in my life caress my face with his lips when I have a Husband who caresses my soul with the sunrise and wraps my heart in moonlight and dances with me every day for all of eternity?

Seriously though, I really do think this is a big deal and that you shouldn't have a person in your life you would consider kissing that isn't known to a group (I like an odd number, like three or five for tiebreakers) of adults that you trust to give you Godly counsel. If you feel like you need to hide it from them, break off any temptation, leave the person to their own devices with someone else, and pray to God that He shows them wisdom.

I realize not everybody has that, but I really do think if an effort is made to SEARCH for God's will, He will show it. As for the ACTUAL topic, there are always things that can happen before you actually reach the altar. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but people DO DIE during engagement periods and their intended DO occasionally marry other people. It's been known to happen. I would seriously recommend not kissing until the altar.

It's just my opinion, and I know there are a TON of people who don't agree with me, including a few I've known for a dozen years and even some of my own family. All I'm saying is that I really feel strongly on this point that kissing is so not okay. I'm sorry if you don't agree, I really don't mean to attack. But it's the conviction that God placed on my heart and it's the standard I will live up to.

Those of you on DIOM who follow me around pointlessly through debates probably recognize this post. But over the last couple weeks since posting that, I've been realizing it applies more and more not just to kissing, but to every single aspect of purity.

Think about it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Serial dating...

I can't condone that practice. In general, the only byproducts of the lifestyle of serial/casual dating are divorces, affairs, abortions, and reminiscient-of-country-music obsessions.

The majority of casual dating relationships in high school that I have observed/been-shoulder-to-cry-on run as follows: Spock meets Beverly. Physical attraction. Romantic attachment. Physical evidence. Spock observes Beverly and Wes, does not comprehend their relationship and takes it as a personal affront. Spock plus Uhura because Beverly plus Wes. Spock and Beverly break up. Uhura plus Wes. Essentially, casual dating in these instances teaches you how to accomplish affairs and divorces with very little inconvenience. Oh the wonders of high school!

Among 'Christian' teens and collegiates who think they're older and wiser than their high school days, casual dating is referred to as 'the search for The Right One'. Here it is less likely you will find the blatant drama where it is everyone's business who's with whom. But it is these relationships that tend to go deeper. In high school, everyone KNEW Spock and Beverly had no intention of marriage and that permanency was unlikely. The supposed test if someone loves you is "in his kiss", right? That magical spark that causes the flame in your soul to roar? And yet the fire awoken needs fuel, and when facing the possibility of being together always, Eowyn is ten times more likely to let Aragorn do more than kiss her (if he ever WOULD) than she would've been. Because of that, the potential percentage of diseases and unplanned pregnancies skyrocket. And don't bother with the protection argument, it doesn't always work. And for the women, the automatic abortion function programmed into the pills can do a ton of harm.

On top of all of that, the potential for obsession in ANY casual dating relationship is 99%. Not everyone will take it too far and murder their obsession literally (watch Monk or Castle sometime and you'll see what I mean) but smothering the life they have outside of that one person, paying attention to no one but him, dedicating every breath to him? Not only will life sound like a bad country song when it's over, the possibilities of being an alcohol or drug addict shoot to a level equal toPluto's distance from the sun, depression is likely to kick in, and your 'life' as you know it is over.

I've known three, MAYBE four, casual dating relationships to work out and stay strong. Because of what casual dating will almost certainly do to you spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and almost without fail, I can't support that idea.

Dating with a purpose (marriage, people, DO NOT MISSIONARY-DATE) is something that intrigues me. But I'm of an old-fashioned mold where guardian-approved and -supervised (at very least, in a group with an accountability partner) courting with PURITY, TRUTHFULNESS, and 1 CORINTHIANS 13 BASED LOVE is the only way to accomplish a relationship that will last. Again, that's MY mold; my desire for purity and honesty and respect and selflessness and maybe THEN romance built into my husband's character and relationship with me.

Purity is another issue which I will follow up here later.