Christianity & Homosexuality

Within the past few weeks I have seen an unusual spike on the social media over this ‘Religion VS Homosexuality’. Videos and posts had seem to be posted everywhere. This unusual spike of interest is the consequences of a video posted by a young man in Georgia when his parents confronted him of his sexuality here.

The mother starts off the conversation with words of love before jumping straight into the subject with expressing acknowledgement of his sexuality from a very young age. Something she then contradicts as ‘God doesn’t make you that way’ and claiming that his orientation is an outcome of a choice (How a young child chooses to be gay is beyond me). Now a lot of people are promoting this viral clip as ‘Parents beat up child/kid when he comes out.’ I think it’s extremely apparent this is not the case and please I’m not condoning anything that happened in this video, but it’s obvious this 20 year old ‘child’ has not just come out the closet and there seems to be issues within the family that are maybe not to do with his sexuality. I don’t take this video on face-value at all but what concerns me is this growing hatred caused by media.

Homosexuality is a sin. Regardless of the fact that it is only referenced very few times, it is still referenced as a sin and will always be continued to look on that way by those with faith. Lev 18:22 “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; that is an abomination.” – It’s not vague. It’s not encrypted. Homosexuality is a sin. This is not to say that Christians hate homosexuals and that they believe they are a disgrace. It is also a sin to cast judgment and no sin takes precedence. All sin is equal and yet a lot of Christians are very guilty of seeing one above all else. John 8:7 “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Westboro Church is all but too familiar with this particular ideology that ‘Fags’ are the cause of Gods wrath and world problems. These people are hardly Christian but more; obsessed with anger towards homosexuals. WBC are on the very far end of the spectrum and are genuinely disturbing to true Christians. Regardless this makes news but it’s the overall cloud named Christianity that gets the blame.

It also goes the other way. News travels of the ‘gay agenda’ because all gays want to do nowadays is take over the world and take over traditions with their pink frilly dresses and cosmopolitan cocktails. Men in tight crisp white suits are to parade down the aisle in a choreographic manner lip syncing ‘Like A Prayer.’ And let’s not forget the horde of spikey haired women and their first dances to ‘All The Things She Said.’ Seem ridiculous?  Because it is. It’s not true or at least I hope I never experience a gay wedding like that. Gay marriage for the most part is a separate issue that borders legal equal rights and Christianity. So I’ll make my point very simple. Enforcing gay marriage upon a church purely for your own spectacle and indulgent is not right (this opinion extends to straight atheist couples).

I think it’s fair to say however that the vast majority of homosexuals are not trying to impose an agenda and neither are the vast majority of Christians are actively attacking gay people. But still more and more of what I experience when I speak to certain people is this hate. I am a homosexual man but I was once a Christian and if you must know my sexuality was only a small part of my loss of faith. Whilst I am one of the lucky ones, coming out for me was extremely breezy, the hardest part was telling my Christian friends. I really did expect the worst but I should have known better. I knew the bible. I knew it’s stance and I knew my friends. I did experience little animosity from those who I weren’t exactly close to. Whether proximity has relevance, is not the point. There was no condemnation from them because at the end of the day sin is equal and everyone is a sinner.

The difference is that Christians would want homosexuals to see that part of their lifestyle as a sin, just as Christians see parts of their own lifestyles as sins. Understandably this can be a cause of friction. However what some homosexuals need to also understand that whilst they may not believe in it, these people do and these people genuinely believe that they are trying to save you – Don’t take offence and hate them all your life. You want equality – let them speak their mind. There’s a flip side here, some Christians need to understand that people don’t like to be pushed. No one is protesting with placards to Christians that every time they masturbate they are one step closer to hell.

Recapping some books I’ve read this year (2013)

I’ve always recapped on what I’ve watched at cinema in the year at the end of the year. Which I will do after I have seen The Desolation of Smaug but for now I feel like recapping the books I have read.

Usually my top ten films are ones that have been released in that year. I find it a bit harder to keep up with book releases (as most people probably do) so whilst most are fairly recent they most certainly weren’t all released this year.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I have reviewed this recently on my blog but it deserves another mention. It’s a fantastic riveting story that retells an aftermath of an alien invasion in an interesting way. The second book The Infinite Sea will be out sometime next year although no release date has been put in place as of yet. I’m very exciting to see where it goes next because to be honest it looks like the last of the human race are fighting a losing battle but it should be a good read.

Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson 

This book is a contemporary thriller/drama; imagine the plot of 50 First Dates but instead of Adam Sandler helping you, you have a psychopathic maniac waking up next to you. It’s brilliantly written from a first person perspective of the memory loss victim which you would imagine would be tedious – it really isn’t. There’s a film in the works for next year December 2nd. Whilst I really loved the book I’m not entirely sold on a film adaptation but with Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong casted it could be worth watching.

Legend by Marie Lu 

Again I’m a bit late on this bandwagon. This book is extremely popular in the YA section with two sequels already best sellers. It follows a young man Day who is living in poverty to survive but he is extremely skilled and branded a wanted terrorist, we also follow June who is a military official with a Vendetta against Day. But they both soon realise they have a common enemy. I haven’t read the other two books I will be buying them and reading them soon. It’s not the most original story but it’s still quite exciting even if it was at time predictable.

The Rapture by Liz Jensen 

Another contemporary/thriller following Gabrielle Fox a psychiatrist in England who is given a very unusual subject who seems to be predicting the future. This book at times a bit slow but still very gripping in plot. It was a small gem I picked up as it was fairly cheap and I really enjoyed it.

Nyteria Rising by G.L. Twynham

I did start reading this last year but didn’t get around to finishing it completely due to busy projects but I did re-read late last year finishing it earlier this year. This book is third in ‘The Thirteenth Series’ where Val is forced into combat against more enemies whilst trying to prevent attacks from some long-term enemies. I was living in Lincoln at the time of picking up the first book as it had the ‘local author’ sticker and I loved it. I got hold of The Turncoat (Second book) and I was completely hooked and Twynham’s imagination holds no bounds in this instalment and it wont stop there. Looking forward to reading the next one ‘The Awakening.’ I’ve said this before I think in my Turncoat review but this series would make a fantastic long-term TV series!

Carrie by Stephen King

An oldie as we all know. I did read this a few years back but with a remake of the film I decided to read it again. My all-time favourite Stephen King book, love the way it’s written, love all the themes he touches on. King is extremely talented on bringing depth to characters and a delicate sense of realism on the paranormal which is abundant in this short story.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff 

Ok. I had a bit of a hard time with this book. It’s concept is interesting set in the present day when Daisy is shipped off from Manhattan to her cousins in England a war is declared and Daisy and her cousins are stuck in a now occupied England. It was written well, I like the style, it’s kind of Daisy re-telling the story as if it happened a good time ago with this sarky kind of feel to it. A lot of caps are used and theres no dialogue as such. The first few chapters got me hooked but it wasn’t long until I got bored. Not so much a fan of the incest love story with her cousin either.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The third book in the Divergent series where Tris and friends leave the Chicago city barriers to meet the rest of the world but what lies there may not be any better than the government in their city. This book I felt was a waste of my time. I was bored, the mish-mash of plot was unbearable.

The Resurrectionist by Jack O’Connell

  Described as ‘A Masterpiece – a dose of the uncertainty of Kafka, the fantasy of Bradbury, the crisp prose of Greene, and the noir of Chandler’ – At which point I should have decided this book isn’t for me if the short reviews are as pretentious as a Lars Von Trier production. However I thought I could give the ‘big adult read’ a go, I shouldn’t have. I’m sure it’s a fantastic book and while I love surreal worlds and chilling atmospheres I really just couldn’t be gripped.

Ok. ‘Book Haul‘ which is a list of books you say you are going to read. I don’t usually assign myself books that I say I’m definitely going to read unless it’s one that I’m really excited to read and even then it’s whether or not I actually finish it but here’s a little stab on what’s next on my list.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Prodigy & Champion by Marie Lu

The Maze Runner by James Dashner 

The Awakening by G.L. Twynham

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken 

My Most Anticipated Films of 2014

Coming to the end of the year now and we have had a very good year of films with the likes of Catching Fire, Man Of Steel, Star Trek, Iron Man to name a few.

However, can next year live up to this years popular flicks? I think it most certainly can. Enough babbling bring on the list! (not in any particular order)

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes – 18th July

With Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes being a surprise smash after many reluctant views on the reboot, Dawn has a lot to live up to.

Set in an dystopian aftermath of an outbreak, Caesar’s thin allegiance with the remaining human population is threatened when certain members of both sides don’t seem to like the idea of a peaceful multi-species society. The film has bought back none other than the CGI star Andy Serkis as Ceasar and Judy Greer stars as Cornelia. Gary Oldman is also casted as a character named Dreyfus. I am extremely excited for this film can’t wait to see the final product.

Mockingjay Part 1 – November 21st 

Catching Fire is already a huge success at the cinema with director Francis Lawrence being praised for making a faithful yet screen friendly adaptation of Suzanne Collins novel. Lawrence of course is already directing both parts of Mockingjay that is eagerly anticipated.

Mockingjay Part 1 takes us to the mysterious District 13 where they have officially declared war on the Capitol. With Peeta in the custody of the Capitol, Katniss reluctantly is given the role of the ‘Mockingjay’ – a symbol and a spokesperson for the rebels however she feels an internal conflict with her newfound allies. Julianne Moore is casted for President Coin, the current leader of District 13 with the rest of the usual cast in their current roles. I’m not overly impressed that it is in two parts, having read the book I don’t see why they bothered. Oh… Money, now I see why.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – 2nd May

The Amazing Spider-Man reboot was a master piece compared to Sam Raimi’s mediocre version of the masked hero.

Spider-man 2 takes place when Peter Parker is forced take on two new foes The Rhino and Electro when he uncovers OsCorps dark secrets. All the usual cast is back along with Jamie Foxx as Electro (AWESOME!!) and Paul Giamatti as Rhino. Chronicles apex predator Dane DeHaan is casted for Harry Osborn.

Robocop – February 7th 

Starring Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy/RoboCop. Alex Murphy is critically injured and close to death. An organization see’s a way to save him by making him a prototype for a part-machine part-man Cop. However not everything is kept within the company’s plans. I remember as a kid watching bits of RoboCop so I don’t know much about it. After seeing the trailer it looks to be pretty exciting!

X-Men: Days Of Future Past – May 23rd 



After watching ‘The Wolverine’ I was a little bit annoyed considering how much I loved First Class. Alas, I still have high hopes, it will be nice to see all of the X-Men cast back on the screen together again and the trailer has definitely got me excited.

An older Professor X and Magneto send Wolverine to the past to try and deter an event that threatens both humans and mutants in the future.

Godzilla – 16th May

This project has been kept well under wraps with only little hints here and there. We obviously all know the general story. A giant radioactive lizard is on the loose. Apart from that we don’t know anything and of course that’s gotten a lot of people excited. Maybe we can forget that cheesy Emmerich remake even existed.

 

 

Other films that I might go to the cinema to see:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier –  April 4th

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.
(More of a Thor man myself).

Transformers: Age Of Extinction – June 27th

A mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down Autobots and Decepticons – and a paranoid government official – on them.

(Starting to lose interest in Transformers or anything Michael Bay related for that matter)

Divergent – March 21st 

In a future Chicago the inhabitants from a young age choose a faction based on what they virtue the most. When Tris takes a test that tells her she’s ‘Divergent’ and fits into more than one faction she is told to keep herself under the radar but that’s harder than it seems.

(Read the book wasn’t completely taken by it’s story or hype – but it does have Kate Winslet as the villain. Could be interesting as a film.)

The Fifth Wave By Rick Yancey – Review

There is so much that goes on, yet it is written so perfectly and with such precision and subtle plot-cues, it makes perfect sense and tries not to fry the brain with information but it is Sci-fi heavy.

Set in the aftermath of an alien invasion, Cassie is alone and scared but she packs a lot of will… and the M16 comes in handy. She goes on a journey to find her younger brother amidst the new world, she has to face fears and come to trust her instincts because she sure as hell can’t trust anyone else but herself.

The story starts off on the dawn of the 5th wave with Cassie reminiscing about the first four waves of attacks from the silent but violent alien visitors in the sky. Whilst keeping your interest keen, it is not much of a page turner at first. The book is separated into sections and the first section is essentially the plot set-up with very little going on in the present world of Cassie. For a ‘young adults’ Sci-fi it is actually very Sci-fi heavy which I like but others may not be likened to at first. After this section of the book however it is all ‘go, go, go’ and the action really kicks in.

Cassie is sullen, sarky, strong willed and very intelligent with no care for trivial things, which provides a breath of fresh air from your usual ‘omg, I’m a whiney plain jane with nothing else going for me’. At times Yancey does fall Cassie into the cliche especially when it comes to the love interest – Ben Parish. At times it became extremely grating that Ben Parish gets mentioned as often as he does by Cassie, I don’t know about many people but I know if my family have died along with more than 90% of the population, my high-school crush wouldn’t exactly be in my thoughts. However these cliches are quite few and far between and it is pretty much bearable.

Whilst the main character is Cassie each section has been written from a different point of view. The other main character being Ben Parish/Zombie whom has been saved by the army and put into a camp to become a soldier, this creates a nice contrast of Ben’s seemingly safe base compared to Cassie’s isolation and survival in the wild. There is also a section in which is in Cassie’s brothers point of view, however I felt it didn’t really add much to the plot or the themes and seemed a bit unnecessary.

The book was been beautifully written and the plot, whilst still borrowing a lot from other alien-invasion stories, still provides an edge of originality that keeps it fresh in the Sci-fi genre. Yancey does not over do it and leaves a lot to the imagination and is constantly questioning who you trust as a reader much like the characters themselves. I definitely recommend it to any sci-fi lover and those who don’t enjoy sci-fi may just appreciate this book if you can handle the first section.

4/5 Rating:

I give it a 4/5 rating, would of got a 5 if it wasn’t for the cliches slipping through and the annoyingly slow-pace start. The rights for the film have been sold and is in-development. Whilst there still is a chance it may not be made, judging by the hype and sales of this book it is seems unlikely. I’d expect to see a film around 2015/early 2016 and it has a lot of potential to be fantastically cinematic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKkEAIs4pJc – Book trailer

Appreciating Yourself

It’s not very often I talk like this but sometimes I think we all need to at some point. I have come to a point in my life where I’m finding it hard to talk to people. Not that I think I’m alone, or think that I have no one to talk to but more to do with finding it hard to be open. I’m not open very often, I don’t seek sympathy in fact I hate it when people feel sorry for me, which most might consider it a good personal trait however it’s also a big downfall. The reason why it’s a big downfall is due to the fact that feelings and thoughts tend to get bottled, concentrated and will eventually manifest in a very ugly way.

For the past year or so I have been in a very dark place in two ways. One in an emotional way and the other more metaphorical, as in, I have been very much conditioned and kept in the dark from myself and my own personal development. Most of you will know what I am referring to, some of you don’t and I’m sorry to say a lot of you of my close friends probably haven’t a clue, that is nothing personal but it’s not easy being in a situation that I was in, it was very uncomfortable to say the least but also I felt completely content it’s a very strange and conflicting feeling to experience. Everything seemed to make sense but in actual fact it made barely any sense at all. If you’re reading this and expecting me to delve deeper and gain some kind of gossip I’m sorry to say, this isn’t about placing my past and personal problems out on a public forum but more to explain my own personal feelings and my own understanding of myself with the hope that maybe someone could come across this and this might help them.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve come to gain a better understanding of something that I didn’t quite grasp. Sure a lot of people around me were telling me, a lot of people got frustrated, a lot got upset but most of you fell short of one thing – understanding. How could anyone understand me when I barely understood myself?

I made a lot of mistakes and one really big one. I was pathetic to allow myself to fall into a stupid trap but even more pathetic is the fact that I still allow it to trap me in many ways. I’m still at this point very terrified. Terrified for two reasons, 1. I’m not sure how long it will take to overcome this feeling and 2. Will I ever truly be free from it? – I know I will be one day, I’m much stronger than that, I still have a lot of dignity and I tend not to dwell. However dwelling is also good, it’s good to think things through, it’s good for your own personal experiences and it helps you not to make the same mistake again and I’m taking the time to dwell as most people should.

I find that there are three things that could happen:

1. Find comfort in someone else.
It’s very easy to fill a void in your life with someone else, whether that be a relationship or a close friendship it really doesn’t matter. For some this could work really well, but we have to be honest here – it’s not always the best option. Because you’re not finding comfort in yourself. Instead you’re finding yourself trying to be as pleasing as possible. You’re not thinking for yourself at all. It’s unfair on you and it’s unfair on the other person.

2. (To be blunt) Being a slut.
This is possibly the easiest thing to do. Filling a void with sex. It’s a quick fix that can help your self-esteem and gain you confidence. Unfortunately it’s very short lived. You’re not repairing yourself. While your ‘magic number’ might be rising to a nice figure that makes you feel like a stud/glamour model, it’s a dangerous path that can lead you feeling half full. By all means go and be a slut if you want, however I doubt you will find much in it. As human beings we are too social for the ‘fuck & chuck’ to be fulfilling.

3. Appreciating yourself. 
This is by far the hardest however it’s the most rewarding. At times when things get you down, it will make you feel worthless and pathetic no matter what it is that has happened. Judging ourselves has always been humanities downfall, it’s something that can linger on the outside or something that can spiral downward and be a seed for many problems to come. It’s not going to be easy but spending time with yourself and your own personal goals will help you to start appreciating yourself and it is the only way that you may truly get yourself together.

I have been extremely vague on purpose, because it really doesn’t matter what has happened. These are feelings that we all go through at some point in our lives and they are not exclusive to one particular situation. I hope this helps some of you, it certainly is helping me and to me thats what counts at the moment.

Divergent (By Veronica Roth) Book Review

As it was praised as ‘the next Hunger Games’ and there is now a film out next year starring Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet I thought I’d give this book ago.

Quick summary: In the dystopian world of Chicago the public are split into five factions based on what virtue they value the most. Amity for the peaceful, Dauntless for the brave, Abnegation for the selfless, Candor for the honest and finally Erudite for the intelligent. Abnegation born Beatrice is turning 16 and she finds she doesn’t fit in, a test soon proves that she doesn’t really fit in anywhere, she is Divergent a secret she must keep. Regardless, to avoid being factionless, she decides to leave her family and join the Dauntless, but over time she soon realises what it means to be Divergent.

Now I love dystopia, I love post-apocalyptic however after finishing this book it made me feel quite deflated. There is a lot of flaws and whilst I believe Roth has a great imagination, she fails to exploit it to choose a safer, more cliche, style of development. For me, there was no real explanation why Chicago is split into factions, to ‘avoid war’ is a bit of a sell out and doesn’t really work for me. What is outside Chicago? I believe it’s partially hinted that there is a world outside Chicago, but again no more clues as to what. Even if it is in the second book, Roth could have set it up a bit more. Why 16? 16 seems a little young to be choosing your place of residence for the rest of your life, and also Tris’ character development over the book suggests she’s much older. I feel that Roth’s choice of making the ‘coming of age’ 16 a little too much of an attempt to engage in Young Adults, when 18 would be perfectly fine and make sense. The factionless? Now these guys are people that failed initiations into Factions and live a world of poverty and are treated badly, segregated from everyone else. Now there seems to be a lot of these people but none of them thought to uprise? Again not entirely explored, do these people have any human rights? Is there a stigma about them? Again not explored, not explained.

You can’t just feed a reader random information with little or no backstory and expect you to just accept it, especially when dealing with Dystopian/Sci-Fi novels. I just couldn’t engage with the world, without these little questions answered as far as I am concerned it’s extremely flawed.

Character development. Dear god Roth! She made a very strong, brave and courageous character and ruined her. Her relationship with her trainer made her extremely pathetic. There was a point where Four (the trainer) explains that he likes her and doesn’t want ‘just sex’. This prompts Tris to well up and get upset because “she’s not pretty enough obviously.” After that I just couldn’t take the character seriously, especially after Roth had built such a great and powerful girl-turning-woman and then boom – From Katniss Everdeen to Bella Swan in one paragraph. No Roth, you naughty author!

However the concept I liked, and I did read the whole thing. Dangling the “why is being Divergent dangerous?” like a carrot was a very good move to keep us wanting more and keep us reading. The book wasn’t terrible, it just could of had a lot more to it that would of made it a 5/5. I’m giving it though a 2/5. I’ll read the second novel and I might go see the film. I sure as hell wont be first in line though.

The Host – Review

The Host Review 3.5/5

As many of you may be put off by this film because it is Stephenie Meyer’s work, I do suggest you give it a chance, you maybe surprised by it’s interesting concept and stunning visuals. (Don’t worry there is no silly girl that finds it clinically depressing to be choosing between a werewolf or a vampire in this film.) 

The Host starts by telling us how perfect the world is and how everyone is equal. However this perfect world is no longer ours and is now run by an alien race called Souls that possess our bodies body snatcher style. When a soul named Wanderer (later nicknamed as Wanda) is inserted into the body of Melanie Stryder, to get information for a very unusually un-soul-like Seeker (souls answer to the police), she is surprised that Melanie still resides in the bodies mind.

Melanie, scared for her brother and lovers life, bombards Wanda with images of compassion to strike a chord in Wanda’s good will. Having developed this love for them, Wanda/Melanie then set out to find them. But they are unknowingly followed obsessively by the Seeker.

This is a great concept that I feel hasn’t had a real chance to be explored in Andrew Niccol’s screenplay much like his work with In Time. His answer to an internal dialogue between Wanda and Melanie is unoriginal, cheesy and at times laughable. I’d imagined whilst reading the book it would be a bit difficult to do, however sticking an echo on Mel’s voice over to me just didn’t work. Their conversations to each other were very unemotional and didn’t feel that they had that bond that they were meant to. With the exception of one scene nearer the end where it was done very well.

The love triangle, or love square is a bit strange on screen however it kind of works. We get top notch performance from Saoirse Ronan, William Hurt, Diane Kruger and that woman that plays the bitch mother in titanic. Lacking was Max Irons as Jared, Mel’s love interest whom comes across as dull, his native english accent kept popping out a few times too.

The visuals were stunning. The desert scenery and the set design was fantastic really upping this films credibility The once human world is now a cheerily eerie place, with futuristic chrome cars and helicopters with a mellow car chase that wasn’t too underplayed or over the top.

I feel that this film was missing something. Whilst I get that the main plot is a romance, I feel that the original work written by Meyer had more thought provoking sci-fi themes that Niccol could of conveyed nicely on film. We don’t get to learn much about the souls apart from they are lovely bunch of people that make our eyes have a beautiful silver rim, what little insight we do get provides the comic relief. Antonio Pinto provides a very atmospheric and strong score in the film that was nicely melancholic.

I was happy enough to watch it and not get bored. It was a mellow sci-fi film with a complicated romance that was more interesting than Meyer’s past films. The film does leave room for a sequel and with the romance plot resolved (and hopefully Niccol gone) I’d imagine the sequel would be promising.

So it gets a 3.5/5