sTeReOtYpEs

Do you ever notice that notice that who look like each other are often friends with each other? No matter where you go Aclose friends will often times have similar occupation, world views, social class, and maybe even dress like each other.

I understand why people do this. We find comfort in spending time with others who are just like us. We relate to each other. This is great. I don’t have many close friends but those friends that I do have act just like me. As much as I love spending time with others who have similar views on things as religion, ethics, and politics, I can’t do that all the time.

In my journey of self educating myself, I have noticed some pattern`s between people who always had the same friends who were just like them. The danger that lies in having friends that are not diversified  that too often occurs called stereotypes.

STEREOTYPES ARE DANGEROUS! Often times stereotypes are far different then what they appear to be. One example, out of many examples that I have of how a stereotype was rebuked for me, was when I was very young. Now my parents sheltered me to a degree. They didn’t shelter me as in trying to not expose me to the “evils of the world” but they sheltered me by not always telling me what the typical stereotype of how the world sees certain groups of people. When I was very young, I was lucky to serve others who had disbilities. Through that I quickly learned that those with disabilities are not any less of a person because their body works differently than mine. By having the opportunity to serve those different than me it really has changed my perception on stereotypes.

I argue that if you don’t expose yourself to those in different cultures you will have more biases towards others. Building relationships with the weird, lost, broken, and different will give you a  deeper love for others. In the book of Matthew it says that the greatest commandment of all is to love the Lord and the second is to love others. If you are doing well with the first one, you most certainly will be succeeding at the second one. God doesn’t put limits on who to love. He just says to love others. By building relationships and serving everyone, you will be following exactly what His law says.

You may be thinking “this is great, but how do I find diversified people?” The answer to this is easy — just look around! Become involved in your community and get to know others. Go to coffee shops and at about any coffee shop there’s going to be a cork board advertising different cultural events in your community, read the newspaper and be on the look out for upcoming events and classes, volunteer at places you wouldn’t normally go, ask everyone what their stories are, and anywhere you are ask questions.

If done in a biblical way, the Kingdom will be expanded and you will become a more well rounded person. Don’t think of new friends by labeling them as the world labels them. Think of them as being a child of God whom you can minister to, and most importantly be a light to others in a world of utter darkness.

Until Everything is Complete

Dayenu! Mazel tov! Latkes! Any of those words sounds familiar? Well, most of the words previously mentioned are common words to know? even if you have not been exposed to the Jewish culture.

Because of my location that I have grown up in, few people outside my synagogue know that ethnic Jews and Gentiles believing in a Jewish Jesus live in my area. I sometimes think that there’s little knowledge of the small little Jewish communities that exist in my area of the country.

When I try to begin explaining my religious beliefs to many/most Christians a typical response is, “Jews cannot be Christians” or “That’s not biblical; Jesus abolished the law so it does no good to follow it.” Something such as that will/has been said.

For some reason the only holiday I can convince skeptics about Messianic Judaism is Passover. Dozens of people who claim the name of Christ, say that Passover is a holiday to at least go to a service because Jesus celebrated it. This does not make one bit of sense to me because even though in America Jesus is pictured as having blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, he IS Jewish, not Norwegian, as Americans tend to portray him. As a Jew, he would have celebrated all of the biblical holidays as a part of the culture. I don’t know about you, but anything that Yeshua did, I want to do, too. Isn’t that enough? As much as I want to write about reasons to observe Jewish holidays this isn’t this weeks topic.

Too often when I invite someone to a holiday or a regular Shabbat service I get a response of, “I went to one of those services one time. I don’t need to go again; I’ve already experienced it.” Or “My Church {Insert denomination} did a Passover Seder once, I’m an expert. I don’t want to go: I already know everything.” These comments deeply bother me because those who say things similar to this when I invite them to synagogue it becomes obvious that they don’t want to expand their knowledge of Christ because He was Jewish. Then culture that one grows up plays a huge role in their worldview and how they view life.

How weird would it be if you celebrated your birthday just one time? Do you set up a Christmas tree just one time in your life? Do you attend church one time after being saved and call yourself connected with the beliefs and people in the church? No, mostly likely you observe these things yearly or weekly. If you celebrate holidays such as Halloween,  making and distributing Valentine’s cards, and other non-biblical holidays, how do you justify these holidays over God’s appointed ones?

The Bible commands us to observe the Jewish holidays until the end of time on this earth untill everything that God said will be done, is done. Not once in your lifetime but every appropriate time according to the moons. Did you just skip over that in your Bible study? Or did you simply interpret this as this portion only being for the Jewish people? Make sure to read Romans 11 about that. 🙂

I challenge you to take Old Testament holidays equally as serious as the New Testament.

Shalom Y’all!

Age Vs. Wisdom

If you know me personally, you know that I’m a “nerd.” I’m not a “nerd” in the way that some people are passionate about comic books, video games, or rock bands. I am very passionate about self educating myself, helping others, art, writing, making and listening to classical music, and I try to always find things that “cultured people” do. But in a sense, everyone is “nerdy” about something!

When I have free time, when I’m not making art (or sometimes when I’m doing art), I watch public speakers and spoken words being performed. These things highly interest me. One thing that I probably spend too much time doing is watch Ted Talks. Now, if you have watched many Ted Talks, the only requirement to make a talk is to have an idea.

Now, not every speaker at Ted is an adult. In fact, all ages speak! When I watch these child speakers most of them have done something for an audience to listen to (become a child prodigy, be accepted into Brown University at the of twelve, invent some life changing invention, etc.). This week in particular I have been meditating on this concept.

When I started to blog, my motivation behind it was to write about all of the concepts about life that I have; I knew keeping these concepts in my mind wouldn’t do any good. I kept this blog for quite awhile before sharing/advertising it. I did this because I never felt insightful or that I have a voice worth listening to. Why? Because many adults in my life have told me that I don’t know anything because I am young. Even though I try to educate myself (school doesn’t teach you everything that you need to know in life) my voice has never mattered and so I decided to make it matter.

I notice, in especially adults, that children are usually not heard. They are told that they don’t know what they are talking about because they are young. I have a really hard time with this, however. If you have ever spent time with young children before, you probably know that many children have big imaginations and creativity. The older the child becomes the inspiration dies. As they grow older, adults teach them how to think “practically.” Usually by discouraging different thought from their own. Elementary schools do not allow students to freely think.

From personal experience, by the time a child reaches an age that adults will listen to them, students are not confident to express themselves. However, this is dangerous. If adults gave children the chance to speak where could this world be scientifically, politically, and socially? I argue that this world would have less problems if we treated everyone as having an idea worth listening to. Children are great at thinking outside the box and can be great problem solvers!

I am finally getting comfortable with expressing my opinions. I was told this week that I don’t know anything because of my age and that was hard to hear. Honestly, I didn’t want to write today because this person completely pointed out my insecurities. However, I am learning that actively expressing my mind and thoughts is what intelligent people do, and ignorant people listen to the ones tearing others down.

Dear Teacher, Please Let Me Be Creative

Adult coloring books are “the thing” right now. For Chanukah my mother gave me one of these. Now my mother NEVER let me have a coloring book growing up and so this was the first one I have ever owned.

Because I have “learning disabilities” my brain simply gets tired faster then most other people’s brain. I decided to bring my coloring book to school this week for something to do when I have study halls and when my brain needs a break. For an entire school week now, I have colored in my book at various times for long and short periods of time and I have yet to complete one page!

On Monday when I was coloring a memory from junior high haunted me. One day in junior high I was in my study hall, and that particular day the teachers had “overdosed my brain on information.” My brain was tired and I could not focus on school work and I pulled out my loved sketch book. After only a few moments of sketching, the teacher supervising me noticed. When the teacher noticed, they “suggested”/ told me to work on something profitable. This disturbed me emotionally. I put away my sketch book and pretended to study for an upcoming test while trying to hide my tears.

Now to most people this doesn’t sound like a big deal. However, to me it was. I felt punished for my brain not having the compacity of my peers. I pretty much wasted the entire class period because I was staring at my book being too upset to study.

Telling a student to put their sketch book away isn’t a big deal; however, to a dyslexic student it is so much more. Generally, people who have dxylixia are creative. Therefore, we need a creative outlet when our brains cannot handle academics. I’m not a trouble maker at school but I do need to use my creativity in different forms every once in awhile. I am a musician, writer, and artist and I use these forms of art to relax and distract myself from the world. It’s no wonder why I need to occupy some of these elements during school.

Dear Teacher, please let me draw during free time. My brain functions different then yours. I cannot be fed information for seven hours a day and be expected obtain what you have taught me. There comes a point when I cannot soak in what you are teaching me. My belly gets full when I am fed; my brain does the same thing. Please let me be creative and encourage me to pursue my creative outlets during the little bit of free time that you give us. Yes, my grades probably suck but studying when I’m “studied out” will not do any good for me. I do not draw during class, I do not work on Lama-Leah during class, I don’t write poetry or short stories during class, I study and listen to you during class. However, during my study halls or free time, I sometimes simply just need a break. What is so bad about that?
~Lama-Leah

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Ten Reasons To Stay Away from Porn

Porn, something that consumes time, money, and resources of millions of boys, girls, men, and women around the world. Statistically nine out of ten young men are watching it and one out of three young women are watching it.

I am not going to tell you and say that Christians do not watch porn because that is simply not true. In about every walk of life, whether religious or not, this is an impending problem. To me it is sickening to know that many who are around me have watched porn and/or are addicted to it. In response, I am going to tell you, not just for biblical reasons,  but also practical reasons as to why I make an effort to keep this out of my personal life.

  1. It is addicting – I make an effort to not be in the large statistic of porn users. I have enough problems as it is. I don’t need to add something else.
  2. It puts dirty thoughts into your mind about someone else. I absolutely hate it when others have sexual thoughts about me. I don’t want to put dirty thoughts into my mind about someone else.
  3. It supports the sex industry – that is an entire topic in itself. In the sex industry men and women are often times exploited. As is true of many industries, it has a hidden side that is kept from the general public and its users.
  4. It creates unrealistic ideals of what intimacy is. It’s all fake. They are actors performing in a fake bedroom scene.
  5. I don’t my future husband being involved or participating in it. I want him to be living a pure life so I should be doing the same.
  6. In the sex industry, women are sex objects – NO ONE should ever be a sex object. They should be seen as a human being, not as an object.
  7. Sex is special and not for everyone to watch. G-d gave His children sex as a gift between spouses. By watching porn you are abusing the gift.
  8. He instructs His followers to remain pure. Philippians 4:8 says,
    “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
  9. It causes more emotional heartache then what has already existed. When I have had conversations with my brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with this on a constant bases, many of them tell me that they wish that they had never started because now they are full out addicted to it.
  10. I don’t have a desire to participate in it. I am fortunate enough that I do not have a desire to start trying it. But I know that this is not true for everyone. If you are struggling with this, I encourage you to take to heart the points mentioned above and do some research of your own of the truth about the sex industry.

If you are struggling with an addiction and you are ready to get help. You can call the Hopeline at 1-800-394-HOPE (4673).

Dear Bully — An Open Letter

Dear Bully, how are you doing? I want to thank you. Thank you, my dear, for helping me become a strong person, for pointing out my best and worst personality and physical traits to me. Even though I am now thanking you, I will not let what you did to me change me for the worst. I am not going to let your opinions about me change myself. You told me I am fat; I’m not going to lose weight for you. You told me that I’m weird, well, I’m just going to embrace that. You told me that I’m ugly. I don’t put makeup on for you every day. I put makeup on because I enjoy doing it and love playing with different colors. You told me that I’m stupid; I’m smart in my own ways. Your words won’t change me, but instead will strengthen me.

It is obvious that you are hurting, yourself, and you find it easier to bring others down then lift them up. You are insecure, have low self-esteem, and have probably been hurt yourself by someone else. However, though, I feel sorry for you. While I make a choice not to hurt others because you hurt me, you did not make that same decision. I want you to know that you are precious in G-d’s sight. I want you to know that I’m praying for you.

I also know that I will not purposely surround myself around people who bully me because I’m tired of being hurt. I am tired of the little comments, and the rumors. We both have been hurt by different people and we both have a choice — we can choose to continue to hurt others or we can lift others up. Both of us are doing one of those options.

In the end, no one will remember who was the smartest, funniest, made the varsity team, or had the cutest outfit. Others will remember you by how treat others and how you treat yourself.

With Shalom,
Lama Leah

Community

Community, does it exist in this modern age?

I live in the suburbs of a small? but spread out city. I love my current location, but I would be willing to move to a big city in a heartbeat. When I go into the tiny town where my school is located, the sense of small town community is evident. Yet, the more I explore bigger towns and cities the more evident that community is going away.

In this day and age as a society, we are losing the effort to get to know your next door neighbor, the members of your church who aren’t in your “group” of friends, and the people who are around you on a daily basis, but don’t even know your name.

Over my holiday break I had the privilege to spend the afternoon at a dear friends house. Now this friend knows what it truly means to embrace, connect, and expand the community around her. When I arrived at the house I came to have coffee with this friend; something that’s not unusual for me to do. Over the course of the afternoon, others kept arriving to this home. If I counted right, at the peak of guests arriving, twenty people where at the home. People were just dropping by and they knew that they would be welcome.

As I reflect on my visit I wonder, what has happened to true community? Has society became so industrialized that we don’t try reaching out to others?

My answer to this are two simple words — “staying comfortable.” We create our little group of friends and get comfortable in it. They laugh with us in good times, and cry with us in hard time. Often times these people look like us, maybe have the same occupation, or religious beliefs. I mean this is great to a degree, however, when one tries to join your community, are you willing to let them in? If they don’t look like you or have the same social status. For anyone, this generally can be uncomfortable to do.

In the end, we are all the same. We are all human, we are all sinful, and we all have hidden stories that haven’t been told. Why do we not embrace each other as children of God? How are you going to make a difference to embrace those who are not in any community? Will you stay comfortable, or make a difference in another’s life?

Baby, It Says It’s Positive

“She is so young.” “She is a good girl. Good girls don’t get in trouble.” “She should take care of it.” “She made a mistake.

Well, if you haven’t figured out this weeks topic is teen pregnancy. Gasp! And no, I’m not making a pregnancy announcement.

I love others! G-d has given me a heart for teen girls who are struggling with consequences of their own actions and the consequences of others actions. I, as has everyone, in some form have dealt with both. Naturally, teen pregnancy is an area that is in this wide variety of topics.

Recently, a friend introduced me to the television show“Once Upon a Time.” In one of the episodes one of the Princess’ was pregnant at a young age. In one scene her boyfriend’s father did not say nice things about the her bring with child. This particular scene bothered me.

Society says that expectant mothers who are not in ideal situations made a mistake. This is a stigma that I believe should be changed.

When you call these ladies as “making a mistake,” the child will believe that they are a mistake. Biblically, the Bible never says a baby in- or out-of-wedlock is a mistake. Even though in some instances once the child comes into the world, loved ones will see the situation different; children who are born into this situation will one day hear unplanned pregnancy as being a mistake. By association,  when you say this about one expectant mother who is not in an ideal situation, you are saying this about any mother who has ever walked in the same or similar shoes.

Think about it, G-d said that He knew you before you were born! Notice He didn’t say that “I knew you before you were born if your parents saved their virginity for marriage.” He said I knew YOU – not giving any conditions on the way that you were conceived.
Also, He said that He knit you together in your mother’s womb, does that sound like a mistake to you? He knew you! And He knew the situation that your birth parents would be in when they conceived you.

This Christian culture points out teen parents and yet says that they are pro-life. This is extremely hypocritical. If Christians were truly pro-life, they would embrace rather than judge; offer to help instead of offering certain passages of the Bible: and lastly, love instead of hate. If we truly believed that babies were created by the heavenly Father, Christians wouldn’t be as quick to judge.

I simply do not understand this. When a woman finds out that she is with child, she basically has four options: she can keep the child, have a closed adoption, open adoption, or abort the infant. Christians judge if they choose the fourth option and yet continue to judge if they choose the first option. Christians do not remember that G-d’s son who came to save the world came from an unwed teenage mother.

Think about it, when Mary found out that she was pregnant and not married, she was probably a social outcast. The fact that she said that was a virgin, too… she was probably seen as a crazy person! Today, in some cases someone such as Mary would be a social outcast. Two hundred years ago someone who was not married and pregnant would be a social outcast, let alone
two thousand years ago! 

Mary did amazing amazing things for her times. She did amazing things for any time period! In this Christmas season, I challenge you to reflect not only on Yeshua, but also on Mary. She was given a task by G-d that was not easy by any means. A young virgin gave birth to a Son who came to save first the Jews and then the Gentiles. How’s that for a positive pregnancy announcement? Who would ever say, “She made a mistake” after that?

Three Pointers

High school basketball. A social event that is dear to many but not me. Last night I went to my first home basketball game of the year with a friend. I was excited to watch one of my friends on the other team play. The friend whom I went with and I both agreed that we would rather come for the pep band then the game, we had no idea what was going on, and we cheered when everyone else is playing. Needless to say neither of us are athletes especially not basketball players.

In a heart beat I would go to the symphony over a sporting event but I do acknowledge that the atmosphere of sporting events are fun. The point of basketball is to aggressively through the basketball into hoop right?

While watching this high school basketball team I observed several concepts. The first is athletes are tough! They are not afraid to be aggressive to steal the ball. The second is, it takes alot of strategy in order to succeed! And lastly and most importantly, it does not matter how much talent a player has, you won’t go anywhere if you don’t communicate and work well with the team.

This concept goes much further than on the court. In life, these three things will make you go far.

1)You have to be tough. I never saw any of the players go and cry after being pushed down. What did they do? They simply stood up.
2) You have to have have strategies. Do you know where you are heading in life? If you don’t have a strategy, the other team will get the ball.
3) Teamwork. How well do you work well with others? I have learned that you don’t really have to like someone in order to work well with them. So often people who excel in one area of life and don’t work well with others, do not go as far as their potential. I’m not saying to always have everything you do be a team effort but you need to find a balance between independence and asking others for help.

If you follow these simple steps you will score many three pointers in your life.

“Forever Alone”

“Forever alone.”

A phrase that high schoolers fear will happen to them if they are not in at least a few relationships in high school. In my personal life, I see more teenage boys worried about this phrase then young ladies, but young ladies are concerned about this, too.

More and more I am seeing something that is concerning me about this generation. I am seeing girls who are settling for something that is less then what they deserve. I’m seeing teenagers who say that they are lonely or “forever alone” but once they are in that relationship their significant is doing more harm then good. I’m seeing girls in relationships with boys (notice how I said boys, not young men or “guys”) who clearly don’t respect her. Who keep profanity in their lives constantly, and don’t present themselves in neat matter. This worries me because the way that the significant other treats themself and treats others is a total reflection on how you view yourself. If you feel like scum, you are going to be in a relationship with someone who treats you like scum. If you truly believe that you are one of G-d’s beloved child, you will find one who too, knows that, treats you with respect, and loves you in a Godly matter. Ladies, you are worth more then settling for someone who has a lack of respect for you and others, and doesn’t love you in a Godly matter.

When I see my peers who are/have settled,  they seem to believe that they will find fulfillment, happiness,  or a purpose in a relationship. But the truth is having a boyfriend or girlfriend won’t do that. Yeah, they might make you happier, but you will never find a purpose, or fulfilment   in a romantic relationship with anyone on this earth. Only a personal relationship with Yeshua will bring you any kind of true fulfilment, purpose, and happiness.

Satan will disguise what true fulfillment is. He will lie, deceive, and try to fool you, but keep in mind that deceiving you is his goal!

When you make decisions in who you peruse, keep in mind what your motives are. It’s better to be single now and live for G-d, then to settle for someone who will pull you away from Him.