Posts Tagged ‘love’

The Teenage Phenomenon

Posted: April 1, 2015 in Non-fiction
Tags: , , , , ,

When you think of the “modern teenager”, not a lot of positive images come to mind. Things like juvenile delinquency, self-harm, smoking, alcohol, drug use, and distrust and disrespect for authority. Now think of an “average teenage girl”. Shallow, covered in makeup, and caring way more about clothes than any kind of intellectual topic. Just the fact that shows like “16 and Pregnant” and “Jersey Shore” exist says something about the perceived average teenager. The sad part is that stereotypes are based in reality. Even sadder is that often, it doesn’t stop at twenty.

I’m by no means saying that all teenagers are like this – that’d be pretty hypocritical of me, wouldn’t it? – but the truly average teenager displays at least a couple of these traits. I think the problem stems from teenagers being physically mature and really ready to take care of themselves, but not given even an opportunity to take on the responsibility of adulthood. The teenage phenomenon is when people are in a state of being responsible to no one, sometimes including themselves, where they care mostly about their social life and their own pleasure. This is currently a normal part of life, but it hasn’t always been, and it can be dangerous when people remain in that state for too long. When adults who are still in that state influence actual teens, then you get in serious trouble.

The whole idea of a teenager in its current form, a person between childhood and adulthood, is a concept less than a century old. My great-grandmother was married by the time she was my age, and my grandmother was supporting herself by teaching primary school. Historically, people were children until they were adults. From before the middle ages right up until the Victorian era, people could be, and often were, married off or otherwise forced to grow up well before they were fifteen. After WWI, people in general were wealthier than they were before, allowing the freedom to wait until later to become adults (but as mentioned before, many still made the transition to adulthood early.) This was accompanied by less strict ideas of how one should behave. As people remained on their parents’ dime with more freedom and no strings to hold them down, they paid less attention to what they should be doing, and more attention to what felt good. Thus, the teenage phenomenon was born. Still, most people settled down relatively quickly, and nice, tidy, nuclear families were still the norm. People went through the teenage phase and then swiftly grew up. The sixties saw a shift, though, with hippies and the whole idea of “free love”.  It wasn’t so completely abnormal any more to be adolescent for a long time. Through the seventies, eighties, nineties, and early two thousands, it became more and more acceptable to remain in the teenage state for a long time.

Here is where the teenage phenomenon can get dangerous. A person who remains in that state of no-strings-attached fun times can get into major trouble when they chase after more and more “fun”. When a person is only responsible to his or her self, they can hop from relationship to relationship or go through a string of marry-divorce-repeat and it doesn’t mean anything. That’s destroying the sanctity of marriage as much as gay marriage is, for sure. This is dangerous in several ways: teens find a way to get into trouble on their own, adults still experiencing the teenage phenomenon get into even bigger trouble, and the largest group of adult teens (celebrities) influence actual teens to be just like them.

Let’s say, on another angle, there’s a certain girl who is physically mature at 14. In medieval times, she would have gotten married and that would have been it. Nowadays, she is expected to wait ten more years before getting married. She doesn’t want to wait that long, and others stuck in the teen phase tell her it’s perfectly OK not to. So she goes ahead and gets a boyfriend and ends up pregnant at sixteen. Whoah, big mistake, right? Going to ruin her life, right? Back not so long ago, within the last half century, she would have married the boyfriend and started a family and lived a happy enough life. My point in saying all this is that as the expected teenage years stretch out, you get people ready to make adult decisions but not allowed to take the responsibility and deal with the consequences. They make the decisions any way, and the consequences are handled quite a bit by other people. They expect that pattern to continue even until they really should be dealing with it themselves.

A lot of teenagers go through the teenage phenomenon, and they make mistakes, learn lessons, and grow out of it. But, could the amount of mistakes made be reduced with a bit more responsibility? If that girl actually had to stay with the first guy she had sex with, would she reconsider the tiny dress? If that guy had to earn enough money to eat, would he have smoked that first cigarette? We may never know.

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak

Author’s note: This post has been in draft form since April 8, 2013. I was 16 at the time of writing. It was never published because I wasn’t sure if what I was saying was truth or just what I was feeling. After rediscovering it and reading it over I have decided to publish it unedited, because it’s the truth the way I see it, just as much as anything else on this blog.

Pretty much everything that’s wrong with the world can be summed up in two words: misplaced love. You’ve got your obvious love of money, power, control, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That’s the kind of love that causes thievery and wars and oppression and a variety of other unsavory topics. Everyone’s heard that the love of money is the root of all evil. Well, it is. But there’s also love poorly placed within humanity.

There are four kinds of love. In English, we just call it all “love”. But in ancient Greek, they had words that distinguished between the four. I’m no scholar in the ancient terms, but those are the words I’m going to use in this post just to tell them all apart.

Agape is the most pure of the four loves. It refers to a spiritual love, an unconditional love that does not require anything in return. This is the kind of love that happens between God and humans, and the kind of love that people show when they are doing something for someone who can never repay them.

Then there is storge. While the internet varies on the technical definition of this term, I’m going to use it here to signify the love felt between parents and their offspring. It is the closest thing to agape that usually falls under our definition of love.

Next is philos, which literally means brotherly love. Think of words like bibliophile, a lover of books, or Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. It is between siblings, of course, but also between platonic friends and it refers to the love of all humankind when seen as a family.

Then we come to the one that causes all the trouble. Eros love. The word reminds me of “error” and “errant”, like this kind of love means you’re messing up. It can mean that, but it doesn’t have to. All types of romantic love fall under eros, from infatuation and lust right up to long-term marriage.

Eros love gets people in trouble with sin because it’s designed to be between a husband and wife. Under those circumstances and under control, it’s a beautiful thing! The problem is, people feel a little bit of attraction for someone, and they recognize that eros love and want to take it all the way. Eros taken to the extreme causes sex before marriage, teen pregnancy, rampant STDs, love affairs, and even rape. It’s when people get infatuated and don’t control themselves because, as they say, “It’s love!”

Another problem is that people mistake philos and other kinds of love for eros. Mistaking philos for eros is what makes it super awkward for a guy and a girl to be alone in a room together. It’s also what makes a girl say, “I’m really close to my best friend, we’re closer than sisters. I think I should ask her on a date.” She’s mistaking the philos love she feels for her friend for the eros love meant for her husband. Confusing agape, storge, and philos  with eros cause all sorts of messed up stuff like rape and child molestation.

Basically, society as a whole thinks that to love someone means to love them in an eros way. People who crave attention often get it in the form of eros love by being promiscuous. Two people who are best friends, no matter what gender, are deluded into thinking that their philos love for each other is eros, and they act on that. (Fan fiction writers, specifically slash shippers, I’m looking at you.) An adult who wishes to mentor children, even in a group setting, must have a background check done to make sure they will not turn their agape love for these kids into eros. It’s so messed up that we have to do that.

Look, I’m not proposing a solution to any of this state that the world is in right now. I’m just saying, here’s where I think the root of the problem lies. Maybe trying to work at the root will help fix the foliage.

Thanks for reading!
~AnotherJesusFreak

Ladies and gentlemen, please stop friendzoning! The Friendzone is this thing where a girl says a guy is  her best friend, but she wouldn’t date him. I don’t know if that’s because she thinks it’s because he’s not good enough or too good. I don’t do it because it’s stupid. If a guy is good enough to be a close friend, he’s good enough to be a potential date. Of course there are guys that already have girlfriends but I’m still friends with them, which is different. I’m talking about single guys here, or at least if they were single. And of course there are guys that I would only be friends with at arms’ length, and others I don’t want anything to do with, but anyone I allow as close as that up there would be the kind of guy I’d say yes to if he asked me out.

Now, what other girls do should be of no real concern to me, except that it alters other people’s general worldview and from there the world I live in. What I mean is, girls friendzone nice guys (for some reason I’ll never figure out) and go for the *********s instead. Then those nice guys think, “Well if girls don’t like me, maybe I’m gay.” Other people will tell them that, too, if they’re not all into sports and stuff (which is another really stupid thing wrong with the world). So, the few of us girls who have  a bit of sense see these nice guys for what they really are, but now these guys are split into two parts. One set of guys gives in to the pressure and decides they’re gay. (Have you ever noticed that you’ll find a lot more gay guys than lesbian girls? Yeah, societal pressure does that.) The other set of guys thinks those of us who may actually like like them are just friendzoning them too, which becomes a major problem it’s really hard for a girl to hint that she likes this guy in such a way that is subtle, but he actually takes the hint. So she can’t go out with him unless the girl wants to ask him out, which is a bad idea because then he’ll get scared away and… yeah. To summarize: If a guy’s used to being friendzoned, it becomes a lot harder for a girl to go out with him.

Now, occasionally a guy does this too, so I know from my female friends that it is quite annoying. The moral of the story is: if a person of the opposite gender is worth enough to you to be a really close friend, can you try to see them for what they really are? As I’ve been advised more than once, “Marry your best friend.”

Thanks for reading!
~AnotherJesusFreak

P.S. This is compiled from talking to friends, not from personal experience. :P

  1. Purpose – God created the universe, people, and me with a purpose: to please him. I tend to think of a major reason why parents like having children around: because seeing the child happy makes the parent happy.
  2. Justice – People who do bad things get punished. This should keep the world out of chaos. This also means there’s an absolute set of right and wrong. I like it when things are all black and white with very little grey area.
  3. Mercy – You don’t have to look far to see that everybody does bad things. God offers mercy, grace, and the chance to do good, through Jesus Christ, to all who want it.
  4. Friendship – God’s Holy Spirit lives within me, and I can go to God with anything, anytime, and He always listens. I am never alone. He helps me to be truly good, something I can’t do on my own.
  5. Love – God loves everybody unconditionally, whether or not they love Him back.
  6. Free will – God doesn’t force us to do anything. We can choose what we do every single moment.
  7. All-powerful God – He is always in control. There is absolutely nothing he can’t do, nothing He doesn’t know. Add that to “He loves me,” and “He listens to me,” and it’s pretty awesome.

After all, what have I got to lose?

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak

Diamond

Posted: March 11, 2012 in Fiction
Tags: , ,

Candlelight flickered over the table and cast a golden glow on her features. There were many lovely ladies among those in the grand dining room, but none as beautiful as her. Her lips were painted a lovely shade of pink, and they smiled, revealing a pearly set of teeth. Her eyes were soft caramel, and her chocolate coloured hair was up in an elegant bun. The black dress she wore fell so it covered one leg halfway down her calf, but revealed the other leg up to the thigh. Whenever he glanced upon her fair face, it took his breath away.

The hour had grown late, and he asked permission to escort her to her suite. With a gentle nod of permission, they rose. He took her dainty white-gloved hand and walked with her through the lobby, under the shimmering chandelier, and up the curved stairway to the Luxxe Hotel’s famous five-star suites.  He bowed and kissed her hand, wishing her a good night’s sleep. “My balcony has a beautiful view,” she said. “Perhaps you would like to see it?” His heart leapt. Of course he would.

The stars twinkled in the navy-blue firmament. Arianna rested her hand gently on the cold railing. “I enjoy being with you,” she said, “I would like to see you more often.”

Linus moved in and circled his arms around her carefully. “I would like that very much.” He hesitated, about to say more, but her eyes fluttered shut and she stretched up, leaning into him. Their lips met, and something clicked. It was as if they were the only ones in the world. He pulled away, smiling gently. “I have something to tell you,” he said. “I inherited the Billingsworth diamond.” He pulled the clear, egg-sized jewel from his pocket. “And–”

A muffled shout from below caught his attention. Black-shrouded men were moving among the shadows. He stuffed the diamond back in his pocket. “Who are they?” she asked.

“I don’t want to alarm you.” He started to climb over the rail. “Goodbye.” He looked down, searching for a foothold below.

“No.” She caught his hand. “Who are they?”

He looked in her eyes from the wrong side of the rail. “They are after the diamond. They have already gone after my family. I can’t let them get you.”

“You can’t fight them! There are too many. They’ll kill you, and take the diamond anyway.”  Her eyes were wide with fright.

“Then at least they won’t get you.” He stared to climb down.

“Come inside. You can find a hiding place.”

“What if they kill you?”

“I would rather die with you than live without you,” she said.

He climbed back onto the balcony. “You would die for me?”

“You just said you would for me.”

His brows knit in thought for several moments. “It seems like there is no way I can get out of this with both of us alive. I can only save the diamond or you.” He took out the diamond again, its sharp, icy edges glinting in the warm light from inside. Arianna took his other hand. He looked back and forth between the jewel and the woman. With a smile, he threw the diamond over his shoulder. It tinkled on the ground, and while the burglars stared in amazement, Linus let Arianna tug him inside.

 

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak