I know it is not New Years yet, but this is not a year in review post (I will save that for later). This is about the affect the this season in life has had on me. It just happens that this season correlates nicely with the calendar year.

Some of the biggest changes are from my girlfriend. She has taught me so much. A major thing is feminism. Guys, we are sexist. We don’t do it on purpose, it just happens. As I have grown closer to a girl I have learned about this embedded sexism. Also, I have drifted slightly from my absolute scientific worldview to add some more gray areas, but this change is only partially due to her.

Massah also changed me, so much it reshaped who I am at the core. How much? So much that I feel like people who don’t know much about Massah don’t know much about me (or at least the most current me). Massah taught me about God, people, myself, and the world. It reshaped my worldview. I learned how much God has gone through and how much He loves me and all of humanity. No post will do justice to this revelation (but I might try someday soon). I learned about my teammates, and how people interact. I also learned about cultures and how we all have our own culture. I knew this before, but on this trip I learned how much of ourselves really is from our culture. I learned how to stay true to myself while living in another culture. A major outcome of this “culture shock” was the hit to my absolutes. I found out that many of my absolutes were cultural absolutes, they are things defined as absolute by my culture and are not necessarily true in other cultures. This shook me to the core. But sadly the most violent shock was returning home. I left the place of new found knowledge and had to live in this change back at home. But home was no longer home. It was not what I left and I was not the one who left. Lets just say entering back into society was hard (especially school life). For instance it took months to be OK eating off a wet plate or cup or to put toilet paper in the toilet.

Also, friends have influenced me for the better and worse this last semester. Some have challenged me to be better. Some have taken time and emotional energy. I have learned what I need to do to keep myself going strong. I have learned who really knows me and wants me to be doing my best. With my friends its hard to say specifically what I have learned, cause each time I am with them I come out slightly changed.

This has been an interesting time of growth. I am still slowly realizing what all happened.


What is Love?

This is the biggest question that faces teens, couples, families, and between friends. Some people talk about it with the “5 languages“. Some say there are just these and some say there are more. I would say that these are a good starting place on how to express love, but what is love?

The Bible lists a bunch of verbs and adjectives that love is and is not, which can be found here. That is not the most useful definition. A more useful definition is where Jesus says that his disciples will be known by their love, and that the greatest love is for one to lay down their life for another. The ultimate example of this is Jesus’s life. He lived in order to die. So how did Jesus love?

My view is that Love is understanding people. This is an odd concept but let me explain. Look at John 4 and Jesus’s conversation with the Samaritan Women. Does Jesus love this women? I would say yes, because he is breaking EVERY cultural taboo in order to have this conversation, and the end of this conversation leads the women to restoration. Why else would someone do this? Now how does Jesus love? I would argue that he loves by knowing the women. He knows who she is and what she has done and addresses the core hurts.

Another example would be marriage. What do people get in marriage? A covenant that the relationship will not end, allowing a safe guard for the most intimate connections to be formed. And these connections are what? Knowing each other. What person knows you, sometime even better then yourself, better then your souse? OK your parents are close, but only if a relationship is new.

Now that I think I know what Love is, what do we do with this information? A big word/idea at my school is community. What is community? This is a question for another post, but I would say that communal living is the response to love. Live with people, get to know them, and love them. What else would humans do? Look at many crimes, suicides, hurts and other evils. They are often by people who are left out; done against people who are not understood. Now I know its ideal to just say “All our problems will just go away if we love each other.” I believe that, but also I believe that we tried that (the hippies) and that we are incapable of that amount of love. So I would say the response should be to truly love the people around you, and begin to start to know them, their stories, their culture, and the people they love.

P.S. Also community can help you get through anything. As I have personally experienced the last couple of weeks.