[adult swim]

Thursday, December 30, 2004

TSUNAMI: Religious Justification

Thai monks pray during a cremation ceremony for victims of the Tsunami in Phang Nga. Over 117,000 now presumed gone.

Here are some excerpts of an article I found online called "Why Bad Things Happen: How different religions view the reasons for undeserved human suffering." by Ellen Leventry. Thought it worked well with my last post.

According to the first two Noble Truths of Buddhism all of life is suffering and suffering is caused by attachments to worldly things. This attachment, which can take the form of greed, hatred, and ignorance in this life and past lives, can, unless mitigated, return as more suffering (karma). According to the Dhammapada, "By oneself the evil is done, and it is oneself who suffers: by oneself the evil is not done, and by one's Self one becomes pure." Suffering caused by disasters is not necessarily punishment from a divine being, but rather something that must be transcended by not clinging to material objects or relationships. According to Lama Surya Das, bad things happen to good people "because there are myriad karmic causes conspiring to bring about any particular event, which then becomes cause for other effects to take place."

The question of the unjustified suffering of the innocent is at the heart of Christianity, which holds that a sinless man (Jesus) suffered and died for the sins of humanity. Some Christians see in natural disasters God's punishment of sinful people or the world as a whole. Others see catastrophes as a way a loving God tests the faith and fortitude of survivors. According to St. Paul, Christians should rejoice in suffering because it produces endurance, hope and character (Romans 5:3-5). Still other Christians see innocents' suffering as evidence of the inscrutable will of a God who "works in mysterious ways" toward an ultimate but unknowable good. Some Christians offer no explanation but, like Job, seek to trust in God. In the past, Roman Catholic Christians were taught that they should "offer up" pain, with the idea that through faith, suffering that seems meaningless can be redeemed and transformed. Most Christians believe that innocents who die in natural disasters go to heaven. Some Christians believe the deceased must be a baptized, believing Christian to attain salvation.

The fourth-century saint Augustine says, "God would not allow any evil to exist unless out of it he could draw a greater good. This is part of the wisdom and goodness of God."

Many Hindus view suffering, including that caused by natural disasters, as punishment for misdeeds committed in this lifetime or past lives. Even a seemingly innocent person who has not eradicated bad karma from past lives through charitable deeds is susceptible to such payback. Individuals' suffering should be placed in the broader context of a cosmic cycle of birth, life, destruction and rebirth. Hindus believe victims will be reincarnated and may be happier in their next life.

The very word "Islam" means "submission." Many Muslims understand that to include suffering--enduring pain or loss is a way of submitting to the will of Allah. Some suffering is Satan's doing or is the work of his cohorts in the spirit world (the "jinn") and is allowed by Allah as a test of humility and faith. Many Muslims believe suffering and adversity strengthen one's faith, as pain often leads to repentance and prayer and good deeds. The Qur'an mentions many incidents of Allah using natural disasters as a way to maintain a balance of His natural laws or inflict a punishment on a population. Even the Prophet Muhammad appealed to Allah for protection against natural disasters. When the Prophet heard thunder and saw lightening, he said: "My Lord, do not kill us with Your wrath and do not send us to perdition by inflicting suffering on us. Spare us all that, our Lord."

Sometimes it is believed that suffering is caused by a weakness in one's devotion to God. Generally, it is believed that God gave humans free will to feel pleasure and pain, and His purpose in allowing deep suffering of the innocent must be good even if mysterious. God suffers along with the sufferer. Many believe that God's sense of justice, and therefore the reasons for human suffering, are unknowable. To some Jews, knowing why God allows suffering is not as important as knowing that God will punish the perpetrators. All Jews place high importance on working to help those in need; the concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, will help allay undeserved suffering. Interestingly, suffering is the only issue listed in the Talmud that could lead a person to lose faith in God.

[post comments if you like]

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

TSUNAMI: The Spiritual Ramifications

Over 44,000. Gone. Homes destroyed. Families separated. Countries in complete despair. 44,000... Gone... In one day. I can't help to think back to my Baptist teachings and the stories of God's wrath taken away the supposed "wicked". I can't help to think back to the thousands of times Christians have said we are living in the "last days." I can't even help but to ask my GOD why this happened to them.

I asked these questions on 9/11, and I ask these questions again. What will happen to the world's spirituality after this?

What will the Asian and Indian people say? Is this a result of bad karma? Has there lives been so disconnected to there spirituality that 44,000 people paid the cost? What will the Christians say? If the people in these countries believed in the Biblical God and accepted Jesus Christ as there lord and savior, maybe this wouldn't have happened to them? Or is this a Christian opportunity to spread their theology that GOD is indeed Wrathful and that if we do not shape up, we will go to hell. Or maybe the Devil is to blame. We can always blame it on the Devil. Who's fault is it? The deities of India and Asia? GOD? Jehovah? Yahweh? Allah? Lucifer? Our Sins? Us? Can we as human beings allow ourselves just say this is just a random occurrence of nature, nothing more?

Here is an Indian woman mourning the death of her relative in Cuddalore, south of the Indian city of Madras. Her pain and sadness, implores me to write this. While Sunday I was watching, "Meet the Fockers", unaware of this tradegy, 44,000 people died. I now have to come to terms with My God, and My Spirit, and align myself with what my soul needs to do in relation to this occurrence in human history. All I can say is, no matter what religion or non-religion you practice, maybe it would help if we all did the same.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Bring It On! Give me the Keys!

So it's Christmas Eve, and since yesterday I have finished all my shopping. I wanted to enjoy my day off of work in peace... Silence... And lazy sleeping. So of course my Mom waits till the last minute.

Mom: "Shawn, I need you to pick up a present for Jasmine."

Now we have two family members with the same name. [Jazmine my sister, and Jasmine my cousin] We also have two members named Brenda. [My Mother and my cousin] And of course Gary [My Uncle, and 3 of my cousins, which are also also his sons. Why they are all named Gary baffles me]

Seems that my cousin Jasmine [age 8] wants to be a cheerleader. So we decide to get her the Bring it On Movie. Now, I know that movie way to much to admit on this blog, but fuck it. I used to own the first and biggest fansite on the group Blaque [who is featured in the movie] back when I was younger, so I saw the movie a gazillion times. The site has closed down, since the group since broke up. All Natina's fault! [also known as the Left Eye from TLC Wannabe] I still love their music, but what can you do. It is a good movie though.

So my mom doesn't want to go. My stepfather doesn't want to go. It's all left up to me. Now, I have had my license for 2 months now, and never drove the car without my parents. But today, I had to take the trek... ALONE. [with my stepbrother of course, but he's only 9]
So you know what I said...

"Bring it On! Give me the Keys!"

So we drive to Blockbuster which is like 30 minutes away. [i damn sure wasn't going to any type of walmart, k-mart, or any "mart" on christmas eve] It was pretty simple. I was extra careful on turns, since last time I drove on the sidewalk. [don't laugh, like you never did it] The only confusing part is I keep going into the turning lane when I wanted to go straight, and no one wants to let me back in. Ugghh. Parking was free for the Holidays so I was thanking the "Parking gods" heavily today. So we get back, with the movie in hand, and we made it back safe and sound. [would you have have expected anything less. I am the man!]

And since I am the the man... for your blog viewing pleasure, here is a photo of me and the beautiful ladies of Blaque. Don't hate!

[from Left to Right: Brandi, Shawn, Tia, Shamari, Natina eating chicken, one of my friends, and some gay guy I know. This picture was taken at a promotional concert at a local mall. I told them about the website, and they were excited to take a photo with us. Natina was stingy with the chicken.]

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My Politics Of Friendship

Just how many friends do you need?

You need at least one best friend. Having two best friends is good, but don't go over that. Why? Trios, always work best. If one best friend is busy, you can just go to the next. If you go to having three best friends, it just makes life difficult. Making two phone calls is better then making three. You only need two shoulders to cry on. Two opinions on how you should live your life is enough.

Having a boyfriend/girlfriend is one of the best friendships you can have. It's the most intimate, and the most fulfilling. You can juggle a boyfriend/girlfriend and two best friends, and no one feel left out.

Always have a set of close friends. They can consist of friends you went to school with, friends you grew up with, even cousins close to your age. I don't think there is a limit to how many close friends you can have. I don't think anyone has more then maybe 6 close friends. They are usually people you was cool with in high school, and they know everything about you, but they have there own lives, and you only keep in contact with them from time to time. But when you get together, Its all fun and laughter again!

Everyone needs a group of acquaintances. People you know, but don't know. They can be co-workers. Friends of Friends. People in the hood. Members of a group or team. Just a group of people you spend a general amount of time with, just to enjoy there company. There's no limit for them, just keep positive acquaintances near you. Since there is no strong personal connection with them, they tend to bring drama, so just be careful with the company you keep.

Most people have Online Buddies. Just people you meet from time to time. Have some IM conversations, talk about nothing, talk about everything. It varies. I think everyone has had one really cool Online Buddy they talked to that they would love to meet, but they live on other side of the country.

Sometimes its cool to keep some ex's around. Some you keep around for a booty call, others are just there when your boyfriend/girlfriend is acting up, and you just need someone to talk to. Some ex's you just talk to every blue moon. If you are already dating someone, try to keep contact with ex's to a low minimum.

Have anything to add? Have anything you disagree with? Holla at me!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Grown & Sexy

[listening to Fantastia New CD. It's ok.]

I just got back from my company's Annual Year End Party. Yes, technically you can call it a holiday party, but not really, at least don't tell my boss that.

[I do like this song, "Got Me Waiting," and I like the slow songs, but songs like "Baby Mama" just sucks, if you ask me. Poor Fantastia, she was suppose to be the next big thing, but who releases a single with no video before the album is out?!]


So I went out and purchased a really nice black suit. Very Classic. My friend suggested I go with Silver and Black, and it looks really good.

I was Grown & Sexy tonight!

I decided to take my Mom and my Aunt with me. They met all my co-workers and the various clients we have.

It was a very classy event... Cocktail Hour was nice, with the piano player, water fountain, and various finger foods. Shrimp was the favorite of the night. Then an hour in, we took our seats to a Live Latin Band. Interesting how all the black people sat at the same table. LOL.

We had Salad with Italian dressing, Noodles, then Chicken & Mushrooms with potatoes, and carrots & broccoli. Then, yes ladies and gentlemen, I took to the floor...

Everyone at my job was shocked I could dance Salsa and Meringue, but I'm the man, what else can you ask for. LOL. I know I'm going to hear it on Monday. I had a fantastic time though! All the clients raved to my family about how good of a designer I was, so that always feels good.

[I believe Fantastia, I beeeeelievvvvve!]

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