One Faith, Many Paths: Nicklas Otterdahl-Jensen

For this time around, I chose to interview someone all the way from Norway. So, here’s my first international interview!

1. How and Why are you a Christian?

I am a christian because of experience, essentially, possibly due to charity as well. I was a very young radical atheist and thinker when I was really young, always a bit socially alienated sure, as well as introverted, yet clever as a child. I was easily the most anti-religious person of my class during child school, and in that sense, the most spiritually poor. This changed with experience on the inside, coupled with conscience, and a certain feeling of knowing what is right, that lead me gradually to become a christian. Essentially I try to figure it as God’s love of the poor, that I was granted such mercy and ability to know. Whereas I had no such nature before. To answer why I am a christian currently? Well, I might not be a good christian in all honesty, but in an odd way that allows me greater outreach to those who are not Christian, so it may carry some reason as well.

2. Which denomination are you?

I have none, raised mostly in protestant churches, though, I agree generally more with the Angelican point of view which try to reconcile the core points of all 3 major paths. I find it fascinating and presume to learn rather than presume to know.

3. Favorite Bible verse? Why?

Gen. 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Joseph speaking to his brothers who were going to murder him but instead sold him into slavery) 

It essentially shows how God can turn that which is evil, into something which serves good. The devil must have thought it a grand victory when Christ was crucified, little would he know that the path was now clear for the salvation of man.

4. Favorite Biblical figure besides Jesus? Why?

Honestly? I’d say Paul. Who reconciled a strong faith with also the human humility a great person would have. He wept at the very thought of people going to hell. I mean I love Peter who’s more or less the definition of a repenting sinner, but whereas Peter had all human elements within him and with time reached greatness, Paul had all the elements of greatness within him, and with time reached a grand sympathy.

5. What is your current profession?

Creative digital artist.

6. Tell me a little about your childhood?

Other than what’s already been said I would say my childhood overall was kind of crappy, but at least it was worthwhile.

7. What is Christianity like in Norway? How different is it from US?

The better question would be if Norway knew what Christianity was at all. In every way, sense and whatnot it is different, some for the better, but probably most for the worse. It’s a nice place, though.

Advertisements

Film Freak: That’s What I Am

Studio: WWE/Samuel Goldwyn Films

Rating: PG

My Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 101 minutes

Summary: Set in the 1960’s and based on true events. Andrew is a student who is paired with a geeky, tall student named Stanley, who is often picked on by bullies. Through Stanley and a scandal involving their homeroom teacher, Andrew slowly learns to stand up for himself and others.

Review: The WWE is no stranger to charity.  Their superstars are involved in the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  In 2011, WWE started a campaign against bullying called Be a Star, which this film started. I  thought the movie did a great job of confronting the issue. Andrew was an excellent narrator and we also see some good character develop.

I thought Stanley was also a great character. You could see him as someone who wanted respect without stooping to the level of those bullying him or others. I also liked their teacher, played by Ed Harris. (you might remember him as Mr. Holland in Mr. Holland’s Opus.)

If I were to nitpick, my main problem is the rating.  Because the teacher is accused of being gay, I really felt the movie deserved a PG-13 rating. I don’t think children younger than that are ready for that topic.  Granted, the movie is somewhat ambiguous about whether the teacher actually is gay, but the issue is still addressed.  Other than that, I feel this movie is well done and I recommend it.

 

 

 

Saint of the Month: Maria Goretti

Born: October 16, 1890

Died: July 6. 1920

Feast Day: July 6

Patron of: Rape Victims

Maria Goretti is one of the youngest martyrs in Catholicism. She was strongly devoted to God and was the daughter of a farmworker near Anzio, Italy.  When she was 12 years old, she was raped by Alexander Serenelli, who was the son of her father’s partner, who lived with her family.  When she refused his advances, Serenelli stabbed Maria to death.

Now, you may think that is the end of the story.  But years later, Serenelli received a vision from Maria, saying taht she forgave him for his crime. Because of this vision, Serenelli reformed his life.

To me, Alexander’s reformation is a true miracle.  I remember being told by a professor that rape was the worst thing you can do to a person, and I agree. I don’t believe that the victim is ever  at fault.  No one “asks” for rape by how they dress or their actions. I have heard people who’ve been raped say they feel vulnerable and that they have difficulty moving past it.  That is why I think Maria can be a role model.  Forgiving those who have harmed us can be difficult, but Jesus called us to love everyone, even our enemies. Loving those who love us back is easy, as He said. Yet when Jesus was mocked, scourged, and crucified, he did not retaliate. Now, does this mean we should not defend ourselves? Hardly. Non-violent self-defense is permitted and expected. Loving everyone is a challenge, but our reward is great.

Why I Am A Christian

By now, you’ve probably noticed I’m unashamed of my Christianity.  It’s time I explained why.

I’m what you call a “cradle Catholic”. It means I was born into my faith. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never doubted or wavered.  If your faith is never tested, it never truly grows.

To be honest, during my teen years, I began to question my faith.  I realized that being a Christian only to keep out of Hell was incorrect. I’d also heard of all the horrible things we Christians have done, like the Inquisition. But I started reading about the saints, I realized a reason to be Christian. If Christianity had inspired so many people to become heroic, it can’t be that bad.  I also realized I owe a debt to Jesus. He did a lot to save me.

Now, I’m not about to tell you that you should a Christian too.  I know I can give you all sorts of reasons, but in the end, it’s not me. I’m just opening the door. God does the rest.

Now I know what some of the arguments are. I will offer some rebuttals.

1. How can I profess a religion that is responsible for bloodshed? Atheists aren’t so pure either.  Allow me to quote Answering Atheism: If Christians have to answer for the Inquisition, Atheists have to answer for Stalin.  Evil is part of human nature. Christianity has nothing to do with it. Everyone who has ever done evil in God’s name has done it through misinterpretation.  Besides, Marxists like Stalin and Lenin believed in their convictions probably as strongly as any Christian. Christians have also done good in God’s name. Besides the saints, there are missionaries who have taught children how to read and write. We have lead charities. We oppose tyranny.

2. How can I believe something science has claimed doesn’t exist? Science can neither prove nor disprove God.  Science can only prove what is tangible.  I feel that religion is proof that there is something beyond the material world. Shakespeare said it best: “There are more things in Heaven and Hell than dreamt of in your philosophy.” If there weren’t anything beyond the physical realm, then why would so many religions exist.

These are my reasons for believing in God. I feel that it is my answer.

One Faith, Many Paths: Shahayla Shadburne

For this month, I am interviewing a good facebook friend of mine named Shahayla Shadburne, who I met on Christian Anime Alliance. She is an interesting person and I think you will enjoy this post.
1. Tell me about your childhood.

I was born on a reservation, I was the only white girl so I got a lot of good and bad attention. I had a pretty good childhood, chasing rez dogs, going on hikes with the guys, and following my 10 kittens wherever they went.

2. What do your parents do?

My parents are the head of a ministry that writes discipleship materiel for Native Americans. They also teach bible studies, and at one point a youth ministry.

3. Why are you Christian?

3. I used to study all sorts of religions and Christianity is the only one that truly teaches Grace and Love. All other religions have a set of rules or practices that you MUST do, or you wont be happy, or go to an after live or so on, Christianity is the only one that I have come across that is clear that Humans can’t be perfect, we need to just give God our life and he will help us with the rest.

4. Favorite bible quote?

I have two,
“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

” I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go : I will guide thee with mine eye” Psalm 32:8

5. Favorite Biblical figure?

I have always loved Ruth, she is the picture of a strong, loving woman.

6. What do you want to do now that you’re out of High School?

I’m thinking of going into YWAM DTS training, or some sort of missions trip, and then going to college at Northwest university for intercultural studies.

7.You’ve told me you have friends who aren’t Christian? Any advice you would give to other Christians who want to reach out to other faiths?

Be a friend, sometimes its good to not preach all the time at them, but just be a good friend, if things come up that you don’t agree with, plainly tell them your opinion, but don’t be judgmental. Also I try to pray for opportunity to reach out, sometimes my friends will ask questions about Christianity.

8. You strike me as a very outspoken Christian. Is there any reason you do this?

Honesty is really important to me, I find that if I’m clear about what I think, things are open more for discussion and then I can learn about what others think and evaluate what I believe based on the bible.

9. Do you have any relations to any Native American tribes?

We have none but I have many family friends that are native American, and living with native Americans so much it kind of feels like I am one myself now.

Saint of the Month: Maximilian Kolbe


Born: January 8, 1894
Death: August 14, 1941

One of the many myths perpetuated about Catholics is that  back in WWII, we did little to nothing to stop Hitler.  In reality, the opposite is true. The pope at the time declared many churches as sanctuary for Jews hiding from Nazis and spoke out against them.  This caused the Nazis to place them in concentration camps as well.  One Catholic who certainly did oppose the Nazi regime was Maximilian Kolbe.

Kolbe was born in Russian Poland. In 1920, he reopened a Polish friary and started a Marian press.  Despite being diagnosed with tuberculosis, he had successful missions in Japan and India before returning to Poland in 1936, three years before the Nazi invasion.  He eventually was captured and sent to Auschwitz. He took the place of a man condemned for execution, causing him to become a martyr.

I feel that Kolbe can be an inspiration.  In today’s world, Christians are still being persecuted for their beliefs. We must oppose tyranny in all its forms.

Interview with a Pagan

Thanks to my Internet connection, I’ve met lots of people I might not have been able to in regular life. I have even met people of other faiths. I realize that there are fellow Christians who, like myself, wish to share their faith even with non-Christians. I feel that this should be done because Jesus also did the same. For this reason, I am sharing an interview I conducted with a pagan named Naomi.
Disclaimer: This is merely an interview to explore the differences and misconceptions of paganism.
1. What was your childhood like?

Personally, for me I don’t remember that much from my childhood due to a severe head injury that put me in the hospital for about 6 months when i was 18 1/2. What I do remember though has both positives and negatives. A negative I do remember was my paren’ts divorce when I was 10. To me, it was a very traumatic event as a kid which stuck in my mind very deeply. A positive was the fact that my dad was a truck driver, we got to go alot of places with him in his truck that we probably would have never experienced otherwise.

2 How did you become a pagan?

I was raised as a Christian, but at the churchs I would go to they would ostracize me like as if I was a horrible person that needed to be avoided even though they would talk to my sister. When my latest boyfriend told me he was a pagan and we openly discussed it, it made sense to me and I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.

3 What gods do you worship and why?

Typically, my worship centers around celtic, norse, ancient Egyptian and Greek pantheons with just a hint of Buddhism and other teachings of enlightenment as well. The Celtic is part of my heritage, The Norse is part of my boyfriend’s heritage and it just makes sense to me. the rest is because certain parts appeal to me for various reasons. Buddhism is because I believe in the teachings of peace and enlightenment.

4 Do you have anything against Christians and why?
No, I have nothing against Christians as a group. There are just specific adtitudes and people I strongly dislike.

5 Have you ever read the bible?
Yes as I said earlier, I was raised Christian so I have read the bible cover to cover several times. I have a lot of Biblical knowledge and i also believe the Bible contains things that are even applicable to me as a pagan.

6 Have you ever read anything by christian authors?
Yes i have. My two favorite all time authors are C.S. Lewis who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien who wrote the Lord of The Rings. My opinion is your religious viewpoint doesn’t typically have any bearing on if your writing is good or not.

7 How do you pray?
I usually light incense and go to my specific god or goddess who presides over my specific request. Like when I pray for our soldiers abroad, I go to Athena who is a goddess of wisdom but also a protector of warriors.

8 Do you celebrate any pagan holidays?
No not specifically at this point, I typically light incense at each solstice to celebrate the change of the seasons.

9 What about christianity do you agree with?
I like and agree with the face that Christianity is based on love and tolerance. I also agree with what jesus said to the pharisees, because no matter what your faith and beliefs are you should stand up for them no matter what.

10. What do you believe is the worst misconception about Paganism?

I honestly feel alot of people in society today especially in america which is heavily based on christian beliefs believe and have developed the idea that paganism is strictly devil worship and animal/human sacrifice. There is an element of that most definitely, but my pagan friends and I are normal everyday people who lead normal everyday lives.