Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Travels

       This is my last blog post  written and posted on American soil for 2010. In a couple of hours i will be flying over the country, and then over the Atlantic and Europe to finally go back home. It's been 2 years since last time i was in Greece for Christmas and i am very much looking forward to it. One of the "catches" of going back home is the traveling aspect of it. From a car to a train, from a train to a bus, from a bus to a plane, from a plane to another bus and then ANOTHER plane. Oh yeah, i didn't mention that all this is a process of almost 20 hours... Very, very fun times!
     Something I've discovered recently about myself is that my reading speed increases by 4x times than usual. I literally eat books the one after the other. So, i brought 25 books with me and i'm hoping the otucome of the journey will be worth the trip. I'll catch up with you guys lateeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Seeker of Light.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Who is God?

As I've stated in my introductory post, some of my topics will be more "touchy" than others. Well, this is one of them. I will present my thoughts, but the main purpose of this is post is for you viewers to consider and respond. If you don't feel like you have something to say that's cool.
    Being raised in a protestant environment while in the same time experiencing a secular way of life I want to observe that many young Christians do not really put thought in their beliefs. "Jesus died on the cross for my sins." Ok, but why? How does this sacrifice affect your life today? So the questions I'm bringing forth shortly is striving to do just that. Think.

         "Reason can be used to determine that God exists, but it falls far short in discovering all of God's qualities."  
                  Thomas Paine

If we could understand God's qualities then He wouldn't be God now would He? The Bible serves as the main source of information in understanding the sides of God we are allowed to. As I've been studying the Bible here and there, recently, I've come upon certain passages of contradiction between the God presented in the Old testament and the New. Here is one:

In the Jewish Torah God has given the Israelites a set of strict laws they should abide to and follow. There's a specific passage in Leviticus 20:10 on the issue of adultery.

       "'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death."

In the Jewish traditions, executions were committed by the entire community, usually by lethal stoning. Even in Arabic nations today, that's how adultery is punished. This is a without a doubt gruesome, and ruthless punishment. God ordered it. Even if it has deep reasons behind it, if you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then he really gave this order.

   Hundreds of years after this command was written, a Galilean carpenter, considered by many, the Messiah, came upon such an execution in Jerusalem. The religious leaders were aware of his "heretic"- for them- teachings. He basically claimed that he has come to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah. This statement on its' own caused controversy. When they saw him, the leaders tried to trick him by asking him what they would have them do. If he commanded them to stone her, he was going against his own teachings of forgiveness and compassion. If he did not allow them to stone her, he was going against the Law of Moses. Jesus' answer was witty, clever, and unexpected:

      "You who have never sinned should throw the rocks first."

Nobody moved. Slowly, the leaders and the crowd dropped the rocks and left. My question is: Doesn't Jesus still cancel out the Law of Moses? There is nobody who hasn't sin. Why place that law in the first place? Is Jesus truly the God who placed that laws of the Torah?  An answer I usually get is that "Jesus does not cancel the Law, but fulfills it. What does that mean? Why did he have to become human to fulfill it?

I believe to have some answers to these question, but i want to hear other opinions. Tell me...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I live in the Zoo

"Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road."

Last week my school's theatre department was presenting two student directed one acts. My roommate happened to be in one of them. The first one act was called "Second chance." It was a play dealing with the elderly and their attitude towards getting older. It was an ok play i guess, with good acting. The second play, however, the play my roommate was in, Edward Albee's "Zoo story" caught my attention. There are only two characters in this play. The first one is Peter, a middle class textbook publisher. He is enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon at the park. Jerry, a poor and troubled New Yorker barges into the park and interrupts Peter's peace. They fall into a series of conversations about life, sexuality, and love leading to a shocking finale. The play ends with Peter, losing all control, stabbing Jerry leaving him dead on the bench. The play as a whole is dealing with human nature. You have a wealthy publisher, a man that's making 200,00$ a year, somebody who seems to have it all together. In reality Peter is as messed up and broken as Jerry. Their only difference is a wife, two daughters, two cats, and two parakeets.

   It seems to me that Albee is striving to communicate that people are like animals. We really do not care much about others. We are selfish and individualistic, and even when we act like we care, we prove over and over that it's all about us. Even after Peter hearing the horrible things Jerry went through, including his abusive landlady and stimulated dog, one would expect that he would value more his own blessings. That doesn't happen. Peter ends up defending his bench. It was like he forgot everything Jerry just told him, about how much bigger problems exist in the world. He just cared about his bench.You can however, argue that Peter wasn't just fighting for his bench. He was fighting for his solitude, his manhood, and his freedom. Because that bench was Peter's only escape from the troubles, and routine of his everyday life. For him, some stranger came to take that away. For Albee- and i think i agree with him on this one- every single person has something in their life willing to take a life to protect. Everybody has a bench. That is exactly what makes us humans identical despite our small differences. I got the impression that Albee goes even deeper in saying that not only we are all the same in our selfishness. Our ability or even willingness to love and care about our neighbor is overshadowed by our selfish needs and wants.

The animals in the zoo seem not to mind the company of others but once one gets in their "cage"- Jerry intruding into the dog's hallway-, they don't like that very much.That's how Albee suggests us humans are. We appear to be ok with others walking outside our cages. When somebody decides to walk in however is where we lose it.
   There are many other ideas presented in this one act, I won't get into now. I would encourage you to read this play and think about it. At first, it may seem as confusing and "out there," but i think Albee knew what he was doing when writing this.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This was the life

I really enjoy Amy McDonald's music.

This is my favorite from all her songs. For me personally, it brings back memories from past years. The lyrics of the song are slightly ironic:

                     "And you're singing the songs
                            singing this is the life
                       and you wake up in the morning
                            and your head feels twice the size...
                    Where are you gonna go, where are you gonna sleep tonight?"

You feel like this is the life yet your head feels like it's about to explode. For many of us, that's how some or our teenage years were. This doesn't necessarily imply countless hangovers, and sleepless nights. Just try and bring back to mind all those silly things you did as a teenager. Things that were fun, maybe educating, but not wise. Things that, when doing you were probably thinking "this is the life." Then you grow up and realize that life is far more complicated and messed up than what we teenagers would like it to be. And that is exactly the point where regretfully admit: "This was the life..."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts on Christian movies

So, I read an article my father recommended. This was its’ title:
“Why are Christian Movies so bad?”
I have to say that I love films. I watch anything. Drama, Action, Comedy, Horror, you name it. Growing up in a Christian home I’ve watched quite a number of films made by Christian filmmakers. It saddens me to say this, but I agree with this article. It’s true that Christian movies are pretty bad as movies. There are many reasons for this. In the article Scott Nhering mentioned a term which intrigued me. 

Evangelical Isolation
I have to agree that Christians have isolated themselves from the rest of the world. The mentality of many Christians is simple. “If we can’t change them we will then be separated by them. We will let them live their lives and we will live ours.” That’s a mentality that led to isolation. This, even though not a physical isolation anymore, has become a definitely psychological one. The world views Christians as people who live in their own little bubble, laying all their troubles and weaknesses on a “Higher Being” to cover up their insecurities. This view withstands until a Christian proves differently. There are Christians who are respected in their societies, because they are not conforming. They are not following the norm. They do not get satisfied with a meaningless way of life with a goal of wealth, or even a typical Sunday morning service. They are actually not scared to step in a “grey” zone in order to impact the secular world. Trying to impact your society when you are preaching off your church stand won’t make much of an impact. You need to step out TO the world to preach, and if necessary you can use words (St Francis). That is exactly what Christian filmmakers should do if they want to impact the secular world. You can’t impact a secular world by presenting themes and problems which do not relate with their sense of reality. There are three ways to attempt communication with somebody from a different world, whether this is physical or psychological one. The first way is by start yelling from your world in the hopes that the people of the other world will first hear your distant cries, and then hopefully understand. It’s obvious that this method isn’t very effective. The second way is by reaching some sort of agreement with the other world. Both want common understanding and both work towards such a result, so they meet halfway. In the third method you realize that there’s no other way you can communicate your message other than diving in their world, getting a better understanding of their beliefs, and then attempt to communicate the message. Sadly, most Christians persist in following the first method. Here is our church; if they want to get saved they will come here. Some believers even participate in marches outside abortion clinics, or invade gay weddings. They might physically seem to be reaching to the other world, but in reality spiritually they are just screaming their heads off from their own comfort zones. They do not make any effort whatsoever to understand the people they try to influence, and the reasons why they are the way they are. Back when I tried harder to be a Christian somebody in church asked me. “You have friends from outside the church? Drinkers, and Smokers?Why? The Bible says blablablabla!” As a matter of fact that was the closest I ever got into living like Christ. All his friends were sinners. This applies to filmmakers as well! Why are Christian films so bad? Well, simply because they do not want to have to do anything with the audience they strive to impact. That’s the reason why Christian films are mostly embraced by Christians. The best Christian production in my opinion is “to save a life.” Let’s be honest, as a plotline, developed characters,  the movie just cannot compare with any Hollywood hits. What I liked about it was that it portrayed the other world. It showed the positive sides of both a secular, and a religious lifestyle. The film also touched the subject of hypocrisy, which is what really won me over.
To be fair however, I have to admit that it’s double times tougher for a Christian filmmaker to pass on a message than a secular one. People associate Christianity with strict religion, senseless laws, and anti- pleasure preaching. There are particular words which people associate with Christianity. As soon as a word like “Salvation,” “Jesus loves you,” or “prayer” appear in a film over and over again, it causes the secular viewer to become more and more irritated.  It’s so sad how the best Christian messages have been passed on by secular productions, whom also encourage secular beliefs. Films like “seven pounds,” and “the green mile,” are not only amazing productions, but also carry a valuable moral applied in Christianity. One may argue that there are not available resources for Christians to make a hit film. That is a good argument, but if you really work on your filmmaking skills, producers will see that. If you write thought provoking material with a good message, they will see that.
These are some of my thoughts on the subject for now. I know I've presented some general ideas without elaborating yet, but i will soon. Feel free to comment and ask me any questions.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"How could I make a man out of you?"

I have observed that lately, many of my friends, boys and girls are debating on the subject of manhood.
What should a real man be like? What should he stand for? Where should he be getting his strength from? How can he protect himself, and those he loves from harm? What happens when he remains apathetic?

Hollywood has given us a few examples of how a"real man" should be like. Here is a recent one:

Meet Aragorn! King of Gondor and one of the greatest warriors in Middle Earth. He is calm, slow to anger, charismatic, decisive, a true leader. He always keeps his sword near, and when the enemy arrives he does not fear to fight, no matter their numbers. This is a guy willing to sacrifice his dreams and feelings for the woman he loves, for her prosperity. Most importantly, he is willing to sacrifice his life for his people.

You might be wondering why i used this Lord of the Rings character as an example. See my friends mentioned him as how many people view a real man. A warrior! A king!
     Oh boy, us men have such a high standard to live up to if that's the case. I mean, this dude can kill orcs by the hundreds! His sword is taller than me! He is dating an elf! I have to admit he's kinda intimidating for a college bum like me.
      I do not doubt Mr. Aragorn's manhood, but i feel we're missing the picture if we set him as the stereotype of how a real man should be like.
      Yes, a real man may not own a sword. A real man may not be a king, or one people look up to. A real man may not be as handsome or appealing, and of course just because you're not dating an elf doesn't mean you're not a real man.
   For those who insist that a man should fulfill the example of a equipped warrior, ready to put it all in the line and fight to the death I have to say this. You can carve the sharpest blade and lay it upon the hands of a boy. With some instruction and training the boy can become amongst the most fearful warriors. Here is, however what separates this boy from a man. The boy can fight battle after battle, no matter who the enemy, no matter what the odds. Unattached, fearless. He might be experiencing victory after victory, which will bring more and more pride in his heart. Then one day he will pick a fight too great for what he can handle. This will cost him friendships, family, his pride, and maybe even his own life.
    A real man picks his battles. He knows that you cannot always win, even more than that he knows that some times it's impossible to win. There's a difference between being brave and being just plain stupid. Just because you have the guts to fight doesn't mean you should. When he chooses to fight, every victory humbles him. She reminds him of what he could have lost, and so he is thankful. Every loss he keeps in memory instead of trying to forget. For it is from his losses that he receives greater lessons about life than his victories. There are times where he does not feel as brave and courageous. There are times where he is  so scared that he wishes he could run away. But he doesn't... And it's not the fear of loss that prevents him from doing so. It's Love. Love for his family, his wife his friends, the cause he fights for. It is this love that keeps him from stepping down when facing the greater challenges.

   Now, you might say: "You said a real man doesn't necessarily have to own a sword! Yet you describe him like such a bad ass warrior!"
    Well, not all wars are fought with swords. There are so many battles in life where your opponent is faceless. Maybe a tough situation, overcoming an addiction, or facing a tragedy. These are some of the battles modern men are called to face, and trust me, they can be far more intimidating than a goblin with a battle axe.
   This is all for now. For next time, i will attempt to explore another side  and issues on manhood. Until then, feel free to make any comments, and objections! Stay safe and fight the good fight.


Seeker of the Light

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why follow me

      Hello my name is Kostas Romeos, born in Chattanooga Tennessee, raised in Athens Greece, and currently living in Mishawaka, Indiana. I will be talking allot about my cultural transitions and life experiences later on. No, that is not my attempt to persuade you to follow my blog.
      We live in an era of constant change. The media is bombarding us with information which -outside the reach our comprehension many times- manages to shape the way we live. Sometimes it's good to take a step back and view life and its' mysteries from the outside, without being "brainwashed" by the media and people spreading their opinions. You must think that I am some sort of "media" hater. Nah, that's not the case at all. As a matter of fact I'm working on my BA degree in Communications with a Media concentration. It's very important to be able to analyze the information given to you before you allow it to affect your life. So, let's say that's what I'll be trying to do over here. I've always considered myself a friend of wisdom even though I don't always follow her counsel, so philosophy will definitely be present in many of the issues i will discuss. Film has also consumed a great portion of my life so I'll be talking about a couple motion pictures as well. Growing up in a protestant home, while having extremely different beliefs than everybody around me has always been a challenge in my life, therefore religion will be amongst the hottest topics debated. I am open to disagreements, questions and comments of any sort and even grammar and punctuation (did i spell that right?) corrections as English is not my first language. I really want to encourage those who are crazy enough to follow my posts to think about the issues. Even if what you read makes you mad, just that will be counted as success in my book!
    We live in a world of darkness, there is no doubt about that. Many times it seems that even a tiny sense of happiness is overthrown by the sadness and pain surrounding our every day struggles. So, let's take a step back and take a better look at the world around us. Who knows? We might find a light bright enough to give us hope for the future.


Seeker of the Light