Posts tagged William P. Young

“Paradigms Power Perception and Perceptions Power Emotions”

“Most emotions are responses to perception—what you think is true about a given situation.  If your perception is false, then your emotional response to it will be false too.  So check your perceptions, and beyond that check the truthfulness of your paradigms—what you believe. Just because you believe something firmly doesn’t make it true.  Be willing to reexamine what you believe.  The more you live in the truth, the more your emotions will help you see clearly…

I’m in a book discussion group and the above title and quote was taken from the chapter titled “Verbs and Other Freedoms.” Some heady stuff out of a bizarre, fictional account of a father wanting to come to terms with his young daughter’s murder. I sped read this book by William P. Young, “The Shack” published in 2007 when it first came out. The second time around, I’m reading it more leisurely and thoughtfully because I am discussing it with nine other ladies.

In our discussion last night, the context of this particular chapter brought up expectation vs. expectancy and also responsibility in relationships and rules.  Of course, I see things almost in a 3-D way (the latest fad in cartoons for movie goers). First, I perceive things from an American point of view, also where I have lived in other Asian or post-Soviet cultures but finally I am currently trying to absorb the Kazakh culture in Astana, Kazakhstan.  American + other Asian or Ukrainian cultures + Kazakhstan = 3D!!!

“Perplexed” is the main verb for me when living in Astana, I’ve used the highly descriptive word “flummoxed” before too.  Kazakhs have about 120 different nationalities living amongst them so that mix includes people from Germany, Korea, Turkey, Russia, Mongolia and other countries from the Soviet Union.

What happens when conflicting paradigms come in contact with one another?  Do the perceptions of differing parties compromise on their own and embrace the other or do they stiffen up by adhering to their own rules that are their culture’s norm?  Do some cultures seek truth in their paradigms?  Do the Kazakhs want truthfulness to be a part of their culture? Do they have some tried and true proverbs that speak to that issue about truth? I doubt it. Obviously, I have more questions than answers.

I don’t think anyone purposefully seeks after wrong thinking. To me, that would be like a person going after poison with self-destructive motives. Many people are sincerely convinced about their own perceived truths and what has been handed down to them from their elders.  Are they willing to reexamine what they have been taught in order to make a paradigm shift?  Wars are ignited when paradigms bang into each other, the hotheads can only think about killing the other person with supposed “wrong thinking.”

So how does one “live in the truth,” as the author William P. Young, suggests in this fictional account which is totally unrelated to Kazakhstan?  Yet in a way, I think there is much soul searching among most Kazakh and Kazakhstani people in this vast land.  This might be stretching it, but the murder of Kazakhstan’s reputation has happened, it was once a proud and prosperous land going back to the great conqueror Genghis Khan. Just as the father in this fictional thriller has to come to terms with murder and seeking vengeance, so too Kazakhstan has to resolve some age old issues.

I believe the younger Kazakh people in today’s 21st century generation are taking responsibility and want to have a global perspective.  They want to be in relationship with the rest of the world of the big global players but there are rules to go by in order to be counted in the game. However, at the same time the Central Asians are holding on to their cultural norms to respect their elders. Unfortunately, many of the older people in Kazakhstan haven’t made the paradigm shift into the globalized world we live in. We have a recipe for disaster and maybe no hope.  We talked about hope last night, that’s what keeps us moving forward. Will the Kazakhs be able to keep their forward momentum going?

Yes, the older people have strong emotions one way or the other about believing that the Soviet Union was the best because there was a perceived stability. The post-Soviet undercurrents swirl around all of us who live in Kazakhstan depending on what happened in the past, what is currently happening with the world economy in peril and what will happen in the future.  Soul, spirit and whatever else makes up a person besides emotion and intellect is very important too.  That is why I’ll end with this quote that I love attributed to Arnold Bennett:

“There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.”

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“Dark Knight” and “The Shack”

A high school friend of mine wrote that she really liked the latest Batman movie “Dark Knight.”  After seeing it myself the other day, I asked her what she liked about it.  The movie portrayed the age old struggle against good and evil, the Joker character, played by the late Heath Ledger, was definitely evil.  To me it seemed it was TWO movies rolled into one.  The producers could have made a sequel by ending it at a certain point but it went on and on for 2 1/2 hours.  I would tense up whenever the Joker appeared because he was intensely evil incarnate.  I’m not sure who can replace Ledger in that role with the upcoming sequel to this movie, I suppose I’d go to watch it out of curiousity. 

I went to watch “Dark Knight” because of the early reviews and since I missed so much of what was going on, I might have to see it again to piece it all together.  I rarely watched the Batman t.v. series as I was growing up as it was banned from our living room t.v. watching.  The requisite Batmobile was souped up as ever but no Batboy with his “holy expletives.”  This movie is intense and you almost need to take notes to chart where the Joker is at what time in the movie because some of the main characters get bumped off or so you think.  Joker lives by NO rules regarding life whereas Batman has a rule to not kill anyone though he has the power to do so.

On another note, I finally finished reading the quick read, fictional book “The Shack.”  I don’t know what stalled me, 248 pages should have been done in one sitting really but I was busy with out of town company and travelling I guess.  At first, “The Shack” is a real page turner similiar to the “Left Behind” series.  Warning, it does get a little strange in its theology in the middle of it but the author William P. Young has a good heart, I believe.  He wants people to understand about forgiveness, grace and reconciliation.  That’s a hard one to swallow when it comes to forgiving the murderer of the main character’s little daughter. 

Many parts of this book are quotable but I’ll give a sampling from p. 204 from the chapter “Verbs and Other Freedoms” and a quick quote from Buckminister Fuller: “God is a Verb.” The following is the Holy Spirit speaking through the character named Sarayu:

“And as my very essence is a verb…I am more attuned to verbs than nouns.  Verbs such as confessing, repenting, living, loving, responding, growing, reaping, changing, sowing, running, dancing, singing and on and on.  Humans, on the other hand, have a knack for taking a verb that is alive and full of grace and turning it into a dead noun or principle that reeks of rules: something growing and alive dies.  Nouns exist because there is a created universe and physical reality, but if the universe is only a mass of nouns, it is dead.  Unless, ‘I am,’ there are no verbs, and verbs are what makes the universe alive.”

There you have it, Batman movie is promoting rules and laws that are broken by the criminals and this latest bestseller book is a tangled but clever story about forgiveness against the perpetrator.  I’m also reading Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book on holiness and I’m reminded of what God says, “Be ye holy as I am holy.” A process we should all strive to pursue but not so simple in our evil world of dark nights and haunted shacks.

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Photos from our MN Farmyard

I don’t have much to write on Kazakhstan obviously being back home on “vacation” in NW MN.  Today I should have quoted from Ron Vossler’s latest book “Wedding of Darkness” but I already gave it to my Mom for her to read.  Quick read of three riveting accounts of what happened to Ron’s relatives who were left behind in Odessa, Ukraine area.  A misnomer to call them “Germans from Russia” really because geographically his relatives were living in what is today called Ukraine, they just happened to speak German. Back then when they immigrated to Dakota, their orientation was Russia because that is what the czar in Russia expansively referred to Ukraine as, Southern Russia.  Therefore, Ron has a difficult time explaining that whatever the Ukrianians went through with the Holodomor (Terror Famine of 1932-33), his ethnic group went through it as well just because they happened to be in the way of the great Utopian ideology touted by Marxists.

This year the Ukrainians are memorializing 75 years since the “Great Sadness” where families were tragically torn apart.  Good lines in Ron Vossler’s book as he poetically weaves together pieces from interviews he did with his “Germans from Ukraine” relatives who left for the U.S. after the 1932-33 starvation period together with primary source material and what Ron read from old Dakota newspapers he translated from German. 

Ron’s life work is tied up with resurrecting what happened to his dead relatives and the mystery of silence that prevailed in his Wishek, North Dakota surroundings.  Finding out about his relatives tragic past, changed his life.  Ron wants reconciliation, as do I, in our current history books about what REALLY happened under a despotic government that went more than haywire, it went crazy against families and personal property.  All in the name of collectivization and the great Utopia.  (BTW, Utopia does NOT equal heaven, it’s true meaning is “nothingness”)  The Ukrainians and the Germans from Russia who happened to be good, hard workers and owned property were targeted first under Stalin’s purge in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  They were reduced to owning nothing and even their lives counted for nothing!!!

Currently I’m reading a book on Holiness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, simultaneous to that I’m reading the No. #1 bestseller “The Shack” by William P. Young.  The latter was a self-published fictional book and it describes a man’s “Great Sadness” of losing his young daughter to a sadistic serial murderer.  I’m half way through and can see why it has fallen through the cracks and not published by the Christian circles or the secular ones.  Simply, it is NOT smarmy enough with sex scenes but also it is not orthodox enough in its theology for Christian publishers.

However, the main character in the Shack apparently works through his sadness and I think that Ukraine and other countries like Kazakhstan can work through their “Great Sadness” if the truth of the atrocities are brought out in the open.  Similar to a rape victim never quite healing by keeping silent, so too have history books worked against the millions of victims and their families by not exposing what communism actually did to ordinary people while the Soviet Union existed. 

Then I reflect on holiness and what Kazakhs, Latvians, Estonians, Russians, Germans from Russia, Ukrainians and a host of other nationalities had to go through under the bloody hands of Stalin.  He and his cohorts were all about materialism and accruing wealth and power.  Stalin forcibly had thugs seize what possessions had been in families for generations, but namely love, communication and trust were destroyed. 

Getting back to Ron Vossler’s short account in “Wedding of Darkness,” the village church bells were taken down from every steeple throughout Ukraine.  Also, from a local newspaper account I read of that era a western observer witnessed church bells sitting on a wharf in Odessa (port city on the Black Sea).  These bells were about to be melted down to be used for machinery and equipment.  Holiness vs. Materialism, it is a war we all wage in our hearts and I’m reminded that my MN farmyard is not my home, heaven is.

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