Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Open Letter To Hermione Granger-Weasley Concerning Emma Watson

Dear Hermione,

Forgive me for using your first name but I am unsure as to whether you adopted the Weasley name, kept your own, or if you and Ronald hyphenated both of your names.

I am unsure of how much you stay current regarding Muggle news but, because both of your parents are Muggles, I believe it is safe to assume you follow it somewhat closely. Because of this I also assume you have heard the recent news regarding Miss Emma Watson and that she has become a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN.

I am unsure how how influenced she was by portraying you for all of those years in the Harry Potter films. I know her intelligence, passion, and her sense of independence are her own but how perfect that even after that role has been completed, even as she grows and becomes her own person, that she would become someone whom I think you would be proud of.

How wonderful it is that Ms. Watson was able to fill a role of someone who felt deeply about fairness and equality, as you fought for for the House Elves, would grow up into someone who is still fighting for fairness and equality. You must be proud of her declaration of striving for gender equality, of her being a “freedom fighter,” of sorts, just as you were.

I have now listened twice to her speech given at the UN and can say I agree with, if not every word, than close to every one. Despite this I will not label myself a “Feminist.” A part of this is because of what she said, it has become an uncomfortable word, but also because though I agree with her, there are some Feminists that I merely get frustrated with. It seems some argue not for equality but for being treated just the same, that all women should be treated exactly as men are stereotypically treated. But I believe not all women want that, nor do all men. Yes, I believe they, men and women, should be treated fairly and justly but, as Ms. Watson said, there is a spectrum.

According to Myers-Briggs personality type tests I am an INFP and supposedly only 4% of United States are this personality type. Among males it is even more rare. In college I majored in Psychology and, in my classes, as my teachers talked about typical thought patterns for men and women, I more often identified with those assigned to women. Since then, this has typically been a recurring trend.

I am a heterosexual male, strongly attracted to the opposite sex. But I have no desire for power, have little ambition to lead, do not care for promotion, I am horrible at math but love art and writing, and am not motivated by money. I have a strong dislike of sports, a part of this is because I am so non-competitive and confrontational that I get frustrated with those who are very competitive. In other words, I do not posses many of the attributes associated with being a “manly man.” I feel compelled to say I have fought Missouri wildfires with little fear, have been a part of building houses and cabins, and, if someone helpless is hurt then I can get angry and passionate against those who hurt them. I know it's silly and a part of what Emma and HeforShe is fighting against, but I feel like I needed to share those things so people will know I am not a “sissy.”

I have been blessed, though I have grown up and continue to be a part of a Christian sect that is very traditional and conservative, to be supported for who I am. I have accepted I am who I am and am comfortable in my own skin. That I am nurturing, that I feel deeply, that I desire to serve instead of lead. My parents have supported me as I first thought I wanted to be an elementary teacher and then decided I believe my calling is to be a Youth Services Librarian. They understand and accept that I would turn down more money, a position with more potential for promotions, in favor of a somewhat low-paying job in which I will be happy and will feel I am making a positive difference.

Sorry to go on a tangent, but I say all that to illustrate that we are all different. Yes, I stand behind and support the Feminist cause of equality. I think it is stupidity to not pay two individuals doing the same work, the same pay. I believe women have the same potential for greatness and excellence as men. I know that many women are smarter than I, that they can make better engineers, architects, and rocket scientists than I could ever be. Some of the best, calmest, most level headed, strongest leaders I have served under were women. So, yes, I believe we are equal but I still maintain we are different, we are all different. I am glad Ms. Watson is promoting this along with her call for equality and that she realizes that is not a war of man against women but rather a war for humanity to feel, to be strong, to be gentle, to be brave, to strive and be the best you can be whether man or woman and give the support and tools for others to do the same.

Thank you for your service to humanity.


Jared White  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Illusional Romance of “We Were Destined to Be”

It seems our society strives to make us think that which is most romantic is when destiny crashes two people together, they were fated to be together, they didn't really have a choice, they were “meant to be.” I understand the perceived romance of such a forceful love, I even understand not being able to help but “love” someone ...but isn't there something even more romantic about “I choose you, out of all others, I choose to love you” instead of, “I can't help but love you. The universe aligned in such a way that it just had to be,” or, “You're so attractive I just couldn't help myself.” The first is a matter of the head and the heart, working together to continue to reinforce love, of getting to know your lover's brain as well as body, of getting to know more than just their smell, taste, and touch.

Society tells us love should be effortless, you shouldn't have to work at it, that it will “just happen” and keep happening. But in all other areas of our life don't we learn and experience that often the best and most enduring things come through hard work? Don't we most value those things which were gained by hard work or treasure certain things because they were given to us as a gift made possible by someone else working hard? Why should one of the most important things in our lives be effortless? Why should one of our most important relationships not take work? Again, isn't it more romantic for someone to “work” at loving you, to nurture and care for your relationship, to better themselves for your sake, to make themselves more lovable, not because you ask them to but because they love you enough to try? Isn't this more romantic than, “I love you because it's easy”?

I believe I would someday rather hear, “I choose you, I know I will not die without you, but I know you will enrich my life. Yes, I am in love with you but I can help myself. I choose to not only love you now, when it is easy, but to also work at loving you, even when it's tough.” I know passion is important and I want to be in love, but do you really want to be with someone because their body demands it? Because they “can't help themselves”? If that is really the case, then what happens when someone else comes along with which their body chemistry is even more finely attuned? Will they be able to help themselves then? What happens when the planets seemingly perfectly align and they know fate wishes them to be with this other person?

Just some thoughts for all to ponder

P.S. I am really a hopeless romantic. I love romantic comedies and an occasional love story. I was in love with one of my best friends for years, a part of this was for her own sake but I also can't help wondering if a part of it was because it would have been so “perfect” for us to fall in love, it would have been so romantic for us to have gotten married. A part of me romanticizes about meeting someone and “just knowing they're the one” but I also know I will be able to choose whether or not to have a deeper love with someone or simply an attraction borne of seemingly perfect circumstances, an adorable smile, shining eyes, and pheromones that call to me in the breeze.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Continued Uniqueness While Forever Becoming More and More Like the Father

I think in Heaven we will continue our journey to become more like the Father, we will have an eternity to work on it, so maybe “someday” we'll get pretty close. So, does this mean eventually there will be a bunch of identical creatures occupying Heaven? If so, then what was the point of our experience while on earth, of giving us each unique DNA, of creating us with different strengths and different weaknesses, of allowing us to experience different joys and different sorrows? If he wanted sameness, I think he would have bypassed earth and just created us ready-made, purely spiritual beings.

Rather than becoming more and more the same, I think that though some aspects of us will do that, we will actually become more different and unique. Because though we may all be becoming more and more like our Father, our Father is so complex, so “huge” a being that we will never become “large” enough to encompass this vastness. Our experiences, our DNA, our uniqueness puts us more in tune with some particular aspect of God which we better understand than any other being and through eternity we will better come to personify that aspect, and in so doing become more unique and different than the beings around us who are better learning to personify some other aspect of God.

A part of why I think this way is the image of us, as a whole, as the Body of Christ. Each of us are a part. I am the left earlobe, you are the right eyelid. Given eternity I will never be the whole body, you will always be a part of me as I am a part of you. We will grow, we will change, I into a better earlobe and you into a better eyelid. Together, all together, we will come to look more like Christ and our Father. We will continue to learn to function as one, to share what we experience of heaven and God but I think we will forever remain different parts.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

God's Justified Egocentrism and How it is a Manifestation of His Love

Think back on your life, to when you were small. When you weren't being selfish, you wanted to share with those you cared about. If you were eating something good, you wanted to share it with your mom. If you were watching your favorite cartoon, you wanted your dad to watch it too. You wanted to share that flower you found, that rock, that bugger out of your nose. Because sharing something you thought was wonderful is what you did with those you loved. As you got older this trend continued. You shared your favorite music with your friends, your favorite shows, your special spot, your favorite game. When you had a significant other, if you experienced something wonderful, discovered something beautiful, you likely wanted to share it with that person. You wanted to share the beauty of the sunset, the wonder of the stars, the vastness of the Grand Canyon or the delight of New York. 

We wish to share the best things with those we love. We wish for them to feel the joy, happiness, bliss, and delight that we experienced when we encountered those special things. Now think of God, he is the Being from which all of those truly wonderful things you want to share streamed from, they flowed out of him and had their origin in his nature. He's the best thing around, the most beautiful, the most perfect, the most wonderful and oh so many other things. So, because he loves us, he seeks to share himself, he seeks to show himself to us, he desires to bring us into Heaven so we can look upon his face. Everything we have delighted in sharing with those we love are derived from him. Yes, he may be egocentric, but it's because it is really all about him, revolves around him, streams from him, comes back to him. He asks us to look at him not because he is selfish or vain but rather because he loves us and he knows that, truly, there is nothing else we would rather see, nothing else we could delight in more, he shares himself with us because that is the best he has to offer and it is far better than anything we ever attempted to share with those we love...except perhaps seeking to share him as he has shared himself with us.