25 2 / 2013
What’s causing a riot in the Middle East? Political uproars, terrorism, energy crises? Maybe, but also flight attendant uniforms. Designs for a new uniform for Turkish Airlines were leaked on the internet, and the reaction was not positive. Turkish Airlines is commonly regarded as a prominent face of Turkey, as its modern sophistication represents the attitude the nation wants to show the world. Turkey is very concerned with maintaining its place as a modern, Westernized nation that also happens to have a strong history and Islamic presence. Currently, the female uniforms include form-fitting blue blazers, white shirts, and skirts at the knee, incorporating European flair and trends straight off the fashion runways. The proposed designs put their flight attendants in long dresses and traditional Ottoman-style fez caps.
There are a variety of criticisms about the new design. It is said to be rather costume-like, playing up the history of Turkey in a diminutive and uninteresting way. The uniform is substantially more conservative, which may be aimed at pleasing the right-wing Islamic government. Turkey is still a rather secular nation, so placing its major airline’s female workers in conservative outfits does not seem to be the result of widespread cultural tendencies but more of a scheme to satisfy a particular group. Many Turks dislike the uniform for its modesty and lack of excitement, saying Turkey is a fashion-forward nation that doesn’t need to look to the past, but rather should be innovative and modern. Many just thought the uniforms were plain ugly.
The airline responded quickly to the negative reactions, stating the design was just one of several preliminary ideas and that they were not yet meant to be seen by the public. The designer of the uniform received the brunt of the uproar, with many believing that something so against Turkish fashion should not have even been proposed. The designer, popular Turkish and internationally-renown haute couture designer Dilek Hanif, responded by saying she is also working on several more modern designs, and when she is finished they will be presented to Turkey and the world.
It is surprising that something as seemingly inconsequential as flight attendant uniforms could cause such a cultural and religious uproar, especially in nation like Turkey. Middle Eastern airlines play a prominent role in their respective nations’ economies, as for example Emirates Airlines is adding billions of dollars to the GDP of the United Arab Emirates. The look of flight attendants, the employees that interact most with customers, is in fact important, as for many, the first locals travelers meet when going to Middle Eastern countries are flight attendants. Emirates Airlines is commonly regarded as one of the most elegant airlines, and their flight attendants are always clad in stylish and crisp cream-colored suits, red hats and scarves evocative of the Arabic veil. The uniform is culturally relevant and representative, but also modern and aesthetically appealing.
People will be anxiously awaiting the formal presentation of the new Turkish Airlines uniforms, and it might not come as a shock if they stick with their current design.
23 2 / 2013
We all heard of punishments for not following God’s law, but what about the consequences when we only follow God’s law out of fear? When the Bible says fear the Lord, many people take it out of context and believe they should quiver under God’s law or God will strike them with plagues and lightening. God isn’t watching our every move and waiting for someone to fall short of the law so he can curse them. In fact, punishment is the last thing God wants to do when we fall short. Correction is the correct term to use, and punishments are sometimes the necessity for us to learn from our sins.
The law is for us to live a more fulfilling life than what the world can offer alone. God knows that we have a sinful nature so he knows that we will fall short of the law some times; therefore, we should follow the law out of love instead of fear. I’m not suggesting that we should have no fear of the law. It is good to have some fear of God’s power, but the issue with all fear and no love is that once we find a way to hinder that fear then we will no longer follow the law.
For example: most husbands are faithful to their wives not only because they fear the consequences of adultery, but most importantly because they love their wives. If a husband is only faithful to his wife because he fears the consequences then that is not love, that is selfish ambition. Once that man a way to rid that fear such as knowing how to sneak around then he will act on adultery. But, if that man is faithful because first and foremost he loves his wife, then he will have no contemplations of adultery.
Another example: God doesn’t want you to be in an abusive marriage because you fear your spouse, God wants you to remain in a marriage because you love your spouse unconditionally.
On the other hand, some Christians love God with all their heart, but they continually sin because they have no fear of the consequences. Some of my Christian friends have premarital sex and they love God, but they have premarital sex because they have no fear of God’s law. The only way they won’t have premarital sex is if they are sketchy of the girl’s sexual past, or if they don’t have a condom, but they don’t say no because of God’s law.
Therefore, to live a fulfilling life you need to have a balance. Foremost, love God with all your heart. No law in the Bible would make much sense to follow if you have not dedicated your love to the Lord. Furthermore, fear God’s law because of your love for him. You fear the food you put in your body because you love your body and you want to take care of it. You fear how you punish your children because you love them and don’t want to abuse them. Therefore, fear God’s law because you love God and want to praise him.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions when you read the Bible. It doesn’t help to follow scripture because you love God, but you don’t understand what you read. Every thing in the Bible is there for a great reason, not to fill up pages to create a thick book. Buy a study Bible to help you understand the laws, join a study group, and talk about scriptures with your friends which all of this is part of loving and growing with God.
06 2 / 2013
Attending college in Boston is fantastic, but every once and a while I just feel the need to get out and explore. I just finalized that I will be studying abroad in Berlin in the fall. Berlin! I don’t speak German, but through some research, I concluded that it will indeed be an exciting adventure. Berlin is a cultural mecca in a variety of areas, including architecture (which is what I will be studying there), cuisine, music and fashion. Also, several interesting people were born there. Allow me to profile this fabulous foreign city for you.
Architecture: As an architecture student I can, and would love to, give long-winded descriptions of important German architecture, such as Schinkel’s 1823 Altes Museum and Behrens’ 1910 AEG Factory, so I will. Karl Friedrich Schinkel was the German architect of the 19th century, and he designed a wide variety of buildings in Berlin that used neoclassic and neogothic styles to give a strong nationalist feel to Germany. His Altes Musuem used Greek and Roman architectural references to give monumentality to the nation. Peter Behrens, roughly a century later, was also trying to show the greatness of Germany, chiefly their booming industrial economy. The AEG Turbine Factory also used Greek temple references, with symmetrical sides to show how the factory acts as a concrete temple. Neat, right?
Cuisine: Germans like their food hearty. They like potatoes and beans, pork and fish. They like a variety of wursts (sausages) and krauts (cabbages). Beer is also a city-wide favorite. If ever in Berlin, grab a molle (glass of beer) in a pub or outdoor beer garden.
Music: Berlin has been a hub of classical music for centuries. Many important composers have worked in Berlin, and the city is still known for its enlightening orchestras. Ballet, opera and choir are also still very popular in Berlin. On the other music spectrum, Berlin is currently very involved in the electronic scene, and there is even a subgenre developed in the 1970s called Berlin School that is a derivative of ambient music. Berlin techno is still very relevant today and plays an important role in the city’s urban fabric.
Fashion: When I think of German clothes, the little outfit with the shorts and socks and vest and hat comes to mind. But that is not in fact what every German wears. The outfit, chiefly the lederhosen, or leather breeches, is not still currently worn on a daily basis, but only on certain events like Oktoberfest, and only in certain areas like Bavaria. Today, Berlin is very involved in high fashion and has its own major fashion show. The city is known for its unique shopping, and includes stores like KaDeWe, the largest department store in continental Europe, and Mykita, a Berlin-based eyewear retailer known throughout the world.
Famous People: Many famous people have risen out of the streets of Berlin. For example, the Grimm brothers, of the children’s fairytale stories, were all born there. Also born in Berlin was Edward Munch, painter of The Scream, Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, and Marlene Dietrich, famous actress.
Overall, Berlin seems like a very exciting and exuberant city. I’m immensely looking forward to spending four months there. And if this travel guide was not inclusive enough, please feel free to pick up a Fodor’s, I won’t be offended.
04 2 / 2013
Recently, I browsed on Twitter and came upon a tweet that read, “The reason I’m single is God is preparing me for the one he has handcrafted and created just for me and me only. For that reason I can wait.”
Some Christians believe that God handcrafted a future spouse just for them as if all Christians have one soul mate. If God handcrafts future spouses for Christians then why are Christian divorces as high as secular divorces? That’s like a shoemaker handcrafting a pair of shoes for your feet and they don’t fit. Either God lost his creativity, or we’re all flawed marrying flawed people, yet choosing to love each other unconditionally. I believe the latter.
First, we must analyze the meaning of handcraft. The Oxford definition of handcraft is, “To make skillfully by hand.” If God handcrafted our spouses then God waited until we were ready to marry, handcrafted a spouse, and then descended them to Earth; because handcrafted means to come from the hands, not from the womb. Or, handcraft can be used in the active voice such as when a woman becomes pregnant, God handcrafts events in the person’s life to specifically form them for a significant other and they both meet when the time is right.
But, there are no biblical scriptures that support handcrafting people besides Adam, and there are many other logical ideas that refute handcrafting. The only person in the Bible described as handcrafted is Adam. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7. There is no other scripture describing a human being handcrafted from the ground–even Jesus came from the womb.
Did God handcraft Adam for Eve? No, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’ In the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27. God handcrafted Adam in his own image, not in the favor of Eve. Did God handcraft Eve for Adam? No, as you read above, God created man and woman in his likeliness, not in each other’s likeliness. And, Eve was not handcrafted; she was formed from a rib. A rib is not like the clay that created Adam; a rib is a bone that cannot change form, and neither can you form something into it.
Therefore, does not merely handcrafts spouses for Christians or for everyone? If so that means that Christians have perfect matches while secularist have to try their luck in a world of millions of people. Somehow Christians have trouble coping with their handcrafted spouses as secularist. So does God wait until we become Christians then handcrafts us a spouse or are we all handcrafted from birth for a significant other whether we recognize God or not?
I believe God handcrafted everyone to become Christians, but some have crafted themselves to be atheists. If God handcrafted everyone a specific spouse then by freewill we can craft ourselves to fit someone else. Therefore, if you believe you have a soul mate then you should spend your life searching for them because if they have crafted themselves for someone else or to be celibate then you’re SOL (shit out of luck).
Whether God handcrafted us a soul mate or not, we don’t have to meet them. Same as God created every human being, but we don’t have to believe in Him. But, Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Humans are a reflection of God, which is why when Jesus was born the travelers recognized him as the son of God. Therefore, if God handcrafted a spouse for each of us then it should be a mirror experience when we meet them. Have you ever met someone who looked familiar but you couldn’t recall how you know them. The same experience would be if God handcrafted our spouses. When we meet them we would recognize them, but not know them. This is what people call “love at first sight.” Maybe God does craft spouses for us, or more accurately, God crafts us into his image, which causes us to recognize each other because we see Christ through each other.
01 2 / 2013
An issue with dating in conservative states is that people are more family oriented and sheltered in Christian beliefs of sexual sin. I am not attacking Christian beliefs; I am merely stating that Christian beliefs have a strong influence on how we approach people to date. If you were taught that premarital sex is a deadly sin and that lusting is a deadly sin then you will be very cautious on whom you date. These beliefs will cause a person to want to get married young or at least date someone who has strong Christian values to help them resist sexual temptation. When Christians take these beliefs to the extreme they cause themselves to do the following when looking for a date: 1. Check for red flags before they know the person. 2. Believe no one is virtuous enough for them. 3. Wait until they find the one that God crafted for them. How do these three characteristics result from extreme Christianity?.
I am a 22 year-old college student who grew up in a conservative home in Tennessee. I was raised with the beliefs of remaining a virgin until marriage; do not burn with lust, etc. The issue is not Christian values, but not being properly taught on how to exercise Christian values. Therefore, when I entered college my goal was to find a girl who was either a virgin or abstinent from sex and is practicing Christianity (by that I mean studying the Bible and possibly participating in campus church programs).
There’s nothing wrong with having standards because standards show that we know our self-worth and what type of people deserves our attention, but my standards weren’t mere guidelines, they were a contract; if a girl could not live that contract then she was automatically undatable. For example: if a girl were a nonbeliever or agnostic then I would automatically reject her as a potential date. I’ve read the scriptures that say to not marry a nonbeliever, but it doesn’t say to not date a nonbeliever.
Although, I wouldn’t tell someone to date a nonbeliever and I wouldn’t tell someone to not date a nonbeliever. I wouldn’t tell someone to date a nonbeliever because dating can lead to love, and love can lead to marriage, and marriage can lead to becoming a nonbeliever (on some occasions). That is a whole other argument so I’ll leave it at that. And, I wouldn’t tell someone not to date a nonbeliever because sometimes we can learn more about God from someone who doesn’t believe in God. We can become stronger Christians by hearing opposing views.
On to my second point. If you have a great fear of sexual immorality then you will be cautious of the girl you date. Something simple as a style of clothing can be a red flag if it causes sexual thoughts. Although a girl’s clothing style does say something about her, but it shouldn’t necessarily be a red flag. Something simply as tight jeans can be a red flag when you’re super religious about sexual immorality.
Being too concerned about sexual immorality will cause you to think that kissing, hugging, probably touching of the elbows, and alone time will lead to sexual immorality. Again, its okay to be cautious of what turns you and your partner on, but it shouldn’t cause you to flee every attractive girl because you fear that she’s too beautiful to resist temptation.
Lastly, some Christian men will wait until they meet the girl that God crafted for them, or at least that is what they believe because somehow they cannot meet a woman good enough for their Christian standards. The issue with believing in a soul mate is that, well, they don’t exist. I do wonder why some Christians believe that God crafted a special someone for them when God didn’t craft a special someone for Adam. Eve was taken from Adam’s rib; she wasn’t formed from clay like Adam. A rib is a bone. You can’t form something new from a bone. Bones don’t bend and fold. So how did God create Eve from a bone? I don’t know. I wasn’t there, and the Bible doesn’t give a step by step explanation. I’m merely saying that God created Adam and Ever perfectly in his image, not each others.
Therefore, Christians who want to date in conservative states should visit relevantmag.com, which is a Christian website that has good articles analyzing the subjects that I wrote on. Dating in conservative states can be hard when we’re trained to go straight for marriage instead of enjoying casual dating. Sometimes dating the “wrong” person helps us to know more about ourselves and what we need in a relationship besides reading scriptures. The scriptures on dating and sex are more so to guide our choices, not to dictate them into looking for perfection.
27 1 / 2013
26 1 / 2013
As a Christian it is impossible to be spiritual and not religious. How can someone say that they believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but they do not read, study, and follow the scriptures explaining why Jesus died for our sins? Your faith in Jesus Christ can only be strengthened by your understanding of Jesus parables and other teachings on sins. Jesus did not die for us to be drunk without guilt, to lust without shame, and to murder with a clear conscious. Before Jesus Christ, humans lived in a debt to God that no amount of currency, sacrifices, or righteous acts could pay. Imagine that every righteous act earns you a step closer to the exit door of sin, but because of our human nature we would always slip up and sin, stumbling ourselves back to the floor.
This is why God sent his son, Jesus, as an undefiled human who could pay the debt of sin because he was sinless. Now, that Jesus paid the cost to release us from the bonds of sin why should we return to sin? Maybe its that we lived in sin for so long that it feels unnatural and odd to live righteously. As when I decided to be abstinent from lust, it often felt unnatural to say no to my sexual desires. Here I am a 22 year-old college student, a time in my life when my hormones are full blown and in an atmosphere where my peers are experiencing with love and sexual pleasures. Yet, I have to say no to it all because I was once in debt for my sexual desires and now that Jesus paid for my debt why should go back into debt knowing that I can’t pay it off.
Its easy to think that God expects us to be perfect, but no. If it had been possible for humans to perfect themselves by practicing scriptures then there would have been no need for Jesus because humans would have paid their debt after perfecting scriptures. Jesus didn’t die for us to live perfectly, and Jesus didn’t die for us to live free in sin; therefore, I’m stuck in between. Am I supposed to live righteously or sinfully? Its not about how much righteous acts you do but what you’re doing them for.
Grace is a gift so there’s nothing we can do to earn it because we already have it. Its like going into Sams Club (a grocery store) and asking the staff what can I do to receive this free sample. They’ll look at you like you’re crazy because there is absolutely nothing you can do to receive a free sample. Its doesn’t matter how many groceries you buy, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a basic or platinum member, and it doesn’t matter if you entered Sams Club through someone else’s membership, everyone who enters can receive a free sample at absolutely no cost.
Imagine asking God what can I do to receive your grace? God will look at you like you’re stupid, and its the one time I’m glad I cannot see God’s face because I can’t imagine the embarrassment it will be to see God looking at me like I’m stupid. And, God will answer, “There is absolutely nothing you can do to receive my grace. It is a gift.”
If you are familiar with the movie Grace Card then you know at the end the father gives the murderer of his son his grace card. The murderer did his full jail sentence and paid his debt to society, but there was absolutely nothing he could have done to pay his debt to the father. No jail sentence could bring that father’s son back neither if the murderer took his own life it wouldn’t have brought the father’s son back. Therefore, the father gave the murderer his grace card because he knew the murderer’s debt could never be paid so he released him from his debt.
Therefore, being religious helps me understand that grace is a gift and not something I can earn, not the other way around like the media portrays it to be. As James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”