Critical Reading

Being a critical reader is an incredibly important skill for anything, whether it be school or work. To be a critical reader, one must learn ways to stay engaged with the material that is being read, and read the material in such a way that the information learned is retained. For example, ways to actively engage in reading are highlighting and taking notes. Doing these two things will help you not only to stay focused on what you’re reading, but to be able to remember it later. While ways to stay engaged in reading are different from person to person, it is important to use whatever techniques work for you if you want to get the most out of any reading you have to do.

The fall of the house of usher

The poem “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe is a poem about both the fall of an actual house and of the fall of a bloodline. In the story, the narrator visits a friend of his who, for all intents and purposes, lives in a haunted house. The narrator documents the declining sanity of the house’s owner, and the impending sense of doom that surrounds the whole situation. The senses of suspense, building fear, and anxiety that Poe creates throughout the poem were incredibly real, and simply reading the short story was quite an experience. I personally do not like getting scared, whether by books or movies (I just don’t see the point), but this story by Poe was a different experience altogether. I highly recommend spending some time to at least read a few of Poe’s poems.

The minutia of doctrine

As a Christian, it is easy to get caught up debating the small details of the Bible or one’s Biblical beliefs with both believers and non-believers. With believers, debating minutia (minutia being anything that is not related to the Gospel) is nice, because it helps them sharpen one another. However, if it goes on and on, it can become a point of division within the church. If that outcome is inevitable, that has to be recognized and prevented as soon as possible. Christians may not all believe in the same thing, in regards to the afterlife and the Genesis account and so on and so forth. What is important, however, is that we believe that Christ died and was resurrected to pay for everybody’s sins. In witnessing to non-believers, it is easy to get caught up in arguing about a Biblical point for hours on end, even if the point has little relevancy to the good news of Jesus Christ. The focus needs to be directed back toward the main issue of Christ and his sacrifice. If a discussion with a non-believer is occupied by lengthy Biblical discussions, but never actually covers the Gospel, is there much of a point?

Relying on the approval of others

In today’s society, the acceptance and approval of other people is a driving force behind why people do things. Especially in the youth, peer pressure is a large contributing factor to many behaviors, both good and bad. The problem with this is that there is no individuality, and those who fall behind the fads are laughed at and abused. If people would just be themselves and not worry about the approval, or lack thereof, of other people, I feel like there would be a lot more creativity, a lot less judgement, and a lot less depression in our society.


Believing in yourself is the only way that you can truly overcome the trials of this life. If you don’t believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter how much support your friends or loved ones support you. It won’t matter how many inspirational quotes or blog posts you read if you can’t have self-confidence. The reason that self-confidence is so important is that ultimately, only you can control your actions. Your pastor can preach to you, your mother can encourage you, and your employer can provide you incentives, but if you don’t have the drive to get up in the morning and believe that you can do it, then everything is pointless. You will end up stuck and discouraged. In the end, people can only help so much. You have to make the decision to believe, achieve, and overcome.

How to work with people (a continuation of how people work)

In my previous post, How people work, I gave a brief outline of the most general, predictable emotions and personality types of people. “How does knowing how people will react help me?” you might ask. Knowing how to work with people is probably one of the most important skills in the world today. It will effect your relationships, your careers, your education, so on and so forth. For example, if you are capable of working well with people, it will be very easy to advance into management positions and move higher in the ranks in your place of employment. You may still be thinking”That’s all fine and dandy, but you still haven’t told me how to interact with people.” Well, based on my previous post, interacting with people on a general level is quite simple. Straightforward people appreciate straightforwardness. It will increase your relationships with those people and increase their productivity. However, don’t try to beat around the bush. For roundabout people, you need to be more subtle. You must keep their feelings constantly in mind, and you need to be more creative about criticism. However, given the right incentives, they will shine.

How people work

No two people are exactly alike. Everybody has different looks, thumbprints, and life experiences. Emotions and reactions, however, are surprisingly some of the most predictable parts of human nature. Think of it this way (this is an incredibly toned down version of a deep field, but it will fit our interests just fine) – people are either straightforward or roundabout. Straightforward people generally value straight honesty and dislike secrets, subterfuge, and frilly emotions. Roundabout people are the exact opposite. It’s hard to get a direct response, emotions are usually very complex and confusing, and they will generally read into things, sometimes more than necessary. Hopefully this easy aid will assist you in your further encounters with people.

Analyzing Poetry

The practice of analyzing poetry is revered by some, and scorned by others. Some people think they can discover the deep, applicable meaning of some piece of poetry. For other people, analyzing poetry is nothing other than grasping for some meaning in an irrelevant work of words. I, as you may have already guessed, do not respect that practice. I believe that while there may be some value in analyzing the classics, poring over them in the hopes of finding some modern application is quite pointless. After all, perhaps the curtain is just blue because that’s what color it was, not to represent the depravity of mankind.

Romanticizing Strife

In the past couple years, I have encountered a multitude of young people who appear to act as if their whole life is a tragic romance novel. Everything they do and say reflects that they think that there is somehow a twisted beauty in things such as self-harm, depressed poetry and even suicide. Quite frankly, these are lies. There is nothing beautiful about any of these things. It’s tragic that so many young people in our generation feel this way. Further, to them, any of this kind of truth is only judgment by people who just don’t understand what they’re going through. My heart calls out to these young people to just wake up. There is nothing beautiful about self-harm, there is nothing nice about depression, and there is nothing tragic or romantic about suicide.

(I realize that this is an sensitive topic to some people. This post is nothing other than me posting the truth. Thanks a lot and feel free to comment.)