Youth Power in Iran sans Extremist Tendencies

The people of Iran are going through their own version of people power. With the disputed presidential elections in Iran, young people and women support the opposition amid arrests of journalists and other social activists. According to NY Times, this is the most sustained challenge to the Iranian government since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

There were, however, growing signs of divisions within the alliance united behind Mr. Ahmadinejad. Members of Parliament upset with the brutality of the government crackdown summoned the interior, justice and intelligence ministers to a hearing.

“I don’t think anyone really knows what comes next,” said an Iranian political analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution by the government. “Most likely, we are going to enter a period of relative uncertainly, with ebbs and flows, until the Islamic Republic of Iran is altered or finds a new avenue for legitimacy.”

Interestingly, about 70% of Iran’s population are under the age of 30.

I have been reading the commentary about the news at NY Times, reading the take of some Iranian, American and Islamic scholars about the Iranian situation. According to Hamid Dabashi,

If you were to follow youth culture in Iran at the turn of the century — from the rise of a fascinating underground music (particularly rap) to a globally celebrated cinema, an astonishing panorama of contemporary art, video installations, photography, etc. — you would have noted the oscillation of this generation between apathy and anger, frustration and hope, disillusion and euphoria. In their minds and souls, as in their blogs and chat rooms, they were wired to the globalized world, and yet in their growing bodies and narrowing social restrictions trapped inside an Islamic version of Calvinist Geneva. Read the full story at NY Times.

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The Power Source

Darkness is nothingness. All it takes to produce darkness is for the sources of light to be extinguished. A candle can light up a dark room until it runs out of fuel or it is blown by a gust of wind.The greatest source of light in our world is the Sun. No wonder ancient civilizations worshiped the power of the Sun, which was the source of light and heat. But what is the source of power of the Sun?

Hydrogen. Internal combustion. Being burned up. The sun is just like one big candle being burned up from within, lighting up the dark alleys of the Solar System, providing light and heat to the Earth and powering the life-giving processes of our planet. Without the sun, life on earth would be impossible.

We see in Jesus an example of the sun, giving his life and his light for the salvation of the world. He was like a candle whose light was extinguished for a short period of time. But he took it up again with a greater passion and ignited the world for righteousness and justice.“ Continue reading

Can Males Be Mothers too?

Father’s Day came and went. I spent the day at church where the congregation honored the fathers among our midst. Since my own dad was at the pulpit, I didn’t get to greet him and honor him there. In the afternoon, we just went to Jay-J’s Inasal at SM Fairview and had a good dinner!Speaking of Father’s Day, when I checked my Facebook account earlier today, I came across this shared link from my friend Roy dealing with Men who Mother. In previous years, such a concept would be unthinkable!

Any person doing “womanly” chores would be called “Andres de Saya” and would lose the respect of his male peers. But with the OFW phenomenon raging wildly in the Philippines and as “female mothers” go abroad to work, fathers are left with their kids. They have to be mothers as well as fathers.Here’s an excerpt of Michael Tan’s article in the Inquirer.

In the Philippines, men talk about being breadwinners although in practice, women are taking up more and more of this burden. Men are also associated with discipline although again in practice, Filipino men can be quite nurturing, at least in terms of “entertaining” children.I drew up a list of “mothering” duties here that men tend to avoid and there’s a clear pattern: they tend to be activities that are often called “menial,” not the most exciting, yet requiring so much time and patience.The roles are often embedded in a rather complicated cultural matrix, complete with contradictions.

For example, we’re always warning our women not to carry anything heavy because their uterus will fall (mahuhulog ang matris). That’s actually a medical myth, but many people will swear it’s true. Yet, notice how our women will avoid carrying a box weighing maybe 5 kilos, but will not think twice about carrying her child, who may be 15 kilos, sometimes even more….These roles are changing, mainly because more women are now in the labor force, many deployed away from home or overseas. But even here, the norms change slowly. A woman who leaves to work abroad will often entrust her children to a woman relative.

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Shades of Grey

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Cor 6:12-13 (NLT)

Don’t you just wish sometimes that we Christians had a list of things that we can or cannot do; words that we can or cannot say; beverages that we can or cannot drink and foods that we can or cannot eat. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he tells them that “everything is permissible.” That is actually a good thing.

In Acts 10, we read about Peter being commanded by God to kill and eat the meat of animals considered by the Jewish religion as unclean. The Jewish religion was quite clear about what food were clean, which were unclean. If you eat unclean food, you also become unclean. But Jesus came to save us from the law of sin and death.From a religion that has a long list of prohibited food and drinks, St. Paul said that “everything is permissible.” It means that you can eat and you can drink in the company of family and friends. Continue reading

A Review of Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

About two weeks ago, I received a package from OMF Literature containing the most recent (new) book in my possession-Do Hard Things by twin teenagers Alex and Brett Harris. My first reaction was: “okay, here’s another pep talk for teens.” But as I went past the Introduction by Chuck Norris, the words of these twin teens (I like the sound of that) won me over.

They dissected the idea of youth and adolescence, traced the emergence and history of these terms and criticized its impact on this generation of teenagers. I liked the way they looked at the stories of great leaders and how they accomplished notable things even when they were still in their teens.

Too bad, the standards have dropped so low these days that not much is expected from teens except that they do the dishes and make their beds. More than that, the teens who, with minimal effort, rise up against these mediocre expectations are considered “Androids” and extraordinary because of the overall low expectations from teens. Continue reading