25 December 2010

Time quote of the day.

"You got so strong. You used to be chicken, now you're prime rib." -- Mom, talking about my brother, who recently graduated from marine boot camp, to the rest of my family.

14 December 2010

This is how I know I want to be a preacher.

When I have the most powerful nightmares, as if I was in Helm's Deep with my back against the wall and surrounded on all sides by the enemy, I come out swinging the Gospel. I have this deep belief that armed to the teeth with the Truth, nothing can stop me.

I had a most heinous nightmare.

But I woke up in tears because of the Gospel.

"Because there's grace!"

The cry of my heart, as I preached the Good News to those I loved (and didn't even know I could love) and to myself (who needed it most), was so powerful that it transported me from sleeping to waking, and I lost almost all self control at the revelation of the sight of the knowledge of the Truth that "Because there's grace!" We are saved from all sin, no matter how heinous, shameful, or wicked and we can cry out to Jesus, "Abba! Father! Thank you, Lord!"

"Because there's grace!"

I can wake up from a nightmare filled with my depraved, dark crime against the Righteous, Holy God and still be assured of my salvation, and the hope for all because of God's unending, incorruptible, steadfast, never relenting Love.

13 December 2010

Ideas are a dime a dozen.

It's the person, who thinks them up and executes them well, that you want.

My facebook newsfeed is full of status word clouds. I wanted to do that (and of course, better). But that project is now on hold for want of a greater project. Let's hope this is all worth it. I think it would've been fun analyzing people's statuses, chats, tweets, blog posts, etc.

I both look forward to and dread what my life is going to be like for the next six months: Coding all day, every day. It's the indie band on tour equivalent of a computer programmer. Haha.

11 December 2010

Narnia.

From Wikipedia. Lewis's words:
Since Narnia is a world of Talking Beasts, I thought He [Christ] would become a Talking Beast there, as He became a man here. I pictured Him becoming a lion there because (a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; (b) Christ is called "The Lion of Judah" in the Bible; (c) I'd been having strange dreams about lions when I began writing the work. The whole series works out like this.

The Magician's Nephew tells the Creation and how evil entered Narnia.
The Lion etc the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Prince Caspian restoration of the true religion after corruption.
The Horse and His Boy the calling and conversion of a heathen.
The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" the spiritual life (especially in Reepicheep).
The Silver Chair the continuing war with the powers of darkness
The Last Battle the coming of the Antichrist (the Ape), the end of the world and the Last Judgement.
I really want to watch the latest movie, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I think that it is such an appropriate choice for a metaphor of the spiritual life. And I find it funny that for many people this is their least favorite of the books and/or movies.

I actually remember having the distinct impression, as a sixth grader first encountering this magic place, that this was my favorite and most beloved among all the books. I think it was the dashing and adventurous nature of the story that captured my imagination the most.

I wonder how I'd feel about this book if I read it again, now, almost all grown up.

01 December 2010

To elaborate on my last post.

I've been praying and deliberating for the past few weeks about moving to New Haven, Connecticut to live with my good friend Amos. I have two main objectives to complete while out there: Learn Greek in preparation for seminary (I want to become a pastor and missionary someday), and work on various projects, like really work, with Amos. This means that I will be putting my iChat log analyzer on hold for now, but I'm glad I started it because it was great practice for what's to come.

I was torn for quite a bit, but I've finally come to a decision, and that is to go to the East Coast and be an adventurer for once.

I had a lot of considerations and hesitations. For example, practical ones: how will I make money and survive, will this set back my resume and job hunting, how will I adjust to life on the east coast, am I going on a fool's errand? Also, spiritual ones: Am I taking a step of faith or am I running away? Is pursuing this antagonistic to pursuing God? What do I do with my impure motives like selfish ambition and vain conceit?

After seeking the advice of friends and family, I think I'm ready to venture out into the world relying purely on the promise, provision and grace of God. Whether in good times or in bad, whether successful or unsuccessful, I am confident that God will lead me and guide me to His clear waters. I am willing to try and fail, rather than not try at all. As long as trying doesn't mean disobedience to my Lord.

Dear readers, please pray for me. And I'd love to talk about this more in depth if you'd contact me: gchat me, call me, email me, etc. Also, I'm set to leave mid January early next year, so that means... If we can, let's hang out before I go! :D

In about 1.5 months...

New Haven will be my new haven. :)

Ha. Ha.

30 November 2010

29 November 2010

Rolled up my shirt sleeves today.

I feel like an architect.

It's funny trying to be deliberately messy in order to look nice. Reminds me of how the Jeff Wingers and Ted Mosbys of the world spend hours each morning making their hair look like bed head.

Also, I think I've discovered that my left forearm is distinctly skinnier than my right.

25 November 2010

Thankful for the flu.

But the food... :( Oh, the food!

27

She wished for summer, but waited for fall.

22 November 2010

Confusion??

Ever since I started doing sit ups I can never tell if I'm hungry, full, indigested, gaseous or constipated. I don't know whether to eat, rest, poo, stretch or drink pepto-bismol :(

20 November 2010

Two pretty pictures.

Wordle is an online service to automatically generate neat looking word clouds. I've always wanted an excuse to use it, and now I've found one. The first image is a list of my top 100 most frequently used words, stripped of punctuation and case, where the size of each word is proportional to its rate of occurrence. You can click the image for a larger view.


I manually added up the variations of my different takes on online laughter (haha, ahaha, hahaha, HAHA, etc.) and it is by far the most prevalent idea that I project. Hence its size in the image. Now, this next picture is a word cloud of the same list but with the option to remove common English words activated.


Apparently my favorite words to use in conversations consist of greetings and goodbyes, intensifiers, qualifiers, fillers, and pauses. Perhaps buried deep somewhere in all my talk are the words that will change this world (ha!) but for the most part, it's formulaic fluff. Hence, word clouds. :)

19 November 2010

Some more data.

The first column is how often I initiated a conversation, the second is how often the other person initiated, and the last column is the total number of conversations we had.


I find these results interesting because there is so much variation here. If you look closely, you will notice that the ranks of the people in this list are a little different from that of the other list. This is because I might have conversations more frequently with certain people but they may not last as long, or be as full of dialogue. In fact, I only had two conversations with #14 from the previous list, and as I remember they were quite epic.

Also, notice the odd dynamic in the likelihood of a person to initiate because of perceived differences in social protocol according to personality (in cases where we are both introverted, but one is compelled to take on the role of the extrovert) and/or gender roles (boys are generally required to pursue while girls can be more passive).

I feel like I'm putting part of my life on blast. But, of course, this is all for the sake of science! Sort of, haha. :)

17 November 2010

Do you ever wonder who your closest friends are?

Finally, some progress on my project. Here is a list of the top 20 people I've chatted with from June 2010 till now. The three columns represent the number of words (actually, tokens delimited by spaces) exchanged: my words, the other person's words, and the total number of words.


I'm a nerd, and I love this kind of stuff. Pretty cool, right?

I always thought I was a good listener. I never realized how much I talked in comparison to others. Perhaps my calculations are off, haha. I'll check more on that tomorrow...

Also don't worry if you think you deserve a higher spot on the list, this data only accounts for when I use ichat on my macbook. It does not include when I chat on my desktop or with gchat. Functionality to process these formats, and others, is planned.

There is so much more information to gather from these logs, and I'll post more up as I go. If you have ichat, and log your chats, please let me know if you'd like to help me work out the bugs in my program. Thanks!

16 November 2010

Modern Family.

I don't mean to brag, but, when I was a kid I was exactly like Manny.

Dear friends (and stalkers),

I hope you know I'm joking, right?

26

He had twice the heart, but half the strength.
He lived twice the life, but half its length.

Plan B (aka Plan Bitter aka No More Mister Nice Guy aka Toot It And Boot It).

Next girl who likes me, I'm going to tear her heart out and stomp on it.

25

Bitter is better aka she fell in love and now she feel stoopid cause I toot it and boot it.

13 November 2010

iPhone 4: Case or no case?

The case for a case:
  • Protects the phone from scratches and accidental drops.
  • Better reception because it prevents me from shorting the antenna.
  • I spent $20 on it.
The case for no case:
  • The phone just looks so nice without a case.
  • The case makes my phone heavier, and fatter.
  • The case obstructs certain buttons and ports.
Help me. What do I do?

10 November 2010

Today was a fairy tale.

I got 7 chicken macnuggets in my 6-piece. I had to recount just to be sure.

09 November 2010

Manufactured Consent.

Sometimes the chains that bind us are so strong that in order to break free we must first be broken.

When was the last time you waited?

Lily: Marshall, no! We're on pause. There's no crying in pauseland. Pauseland is a magical place with popcorn shrimp mountains and butter sauce rivers.

Heart House.

House: Masters, if lying to a patient saved their life would you do it?
Masters: No.
House: That's a lie. If your grandma gave you a really crappy tea cozy for Christmas, would you tell her you liked it?
Masters: Yes, but that's different.
House: So you lie when it doesn't matter, but you won't when it does. How'd you get so screwed up?

04 November 2010

Tents, and ropes, and pins.



For the past few months, television has been saturated with images of pleading politicians, parading pundits, and subsequent scandal. Just when we thought the act was over, only a day after the end of the drama of the historic midterm elections, PBS has come out with a new miniseries called Circus. It's fun and insightful and serves the purpose of weaning the American audience off of its addiction to theatrics in a much more benign form than the name-calling, finger-pointing, and horn-tooting we've grown accustomed to.

02 November 2010

Moonlight in the stream.



I have a deep emptiness that is satisfied by no other than Jesus. Try as I might to turn to idols, I can never overcome the incessant nagging of the pit in the bottom of my soul longing for true fulfillment. I glimpse this when I turn to Jesus, I know no other explanation than that it must be true that He lives and loves and will deliver me from my broken state. I know no other explanation than that He is who I am looking for, He is everything that I need.

I've decided to implement the Amos protocol.

If you're a girl, I can't talk to you.

SO LONG AND GOOD RIDDANCE.

Addendum: A girl who is an INTJ (i.e. Susan Kim) counts as a boy.

Addadendum: Possible exceptions made for girls who are currently in love (i.e. dating).

30 October 2010

"The Clarion Call to Action"



Finally, an insightful YouTube comment:
This is the kind of speech you want to see quoted in future history books.

And these beautiful words were not given by a world leader, president, or congressman. They were given by a stand-up comedian who has a comedy show on TV.

We are at a strange time in the kingdom, when the wisest, sanest, most rational voice of them all is that of the court jester.
Thank you psychicwoosh.

29 October 2010

Welcome to my nerdy side. Wait, that's all my sides.

I don't really like talking about things I want to do or plan to do because I end up not doing half the things I set out to. However, because I'm pretty dedicated to this project and because it's going to be fun, I will share just this one time.

I've been working on a top secret project (shh!) for the past two weeks. This is the reason I've been reading Kochan's Programming in Objective C-2.0, which is the main language used to program Mac OS and iOS applications. I've just about finished the book and I am now beginning preliminary coding.

I want to create a program to view and organize iChat logs. A similar program called Logorrhea was discontinued a few years ago. It can view iChat logs, but it isn't really what I have in mind. For example, it doesn't have the capability of displaying fonts, colors, links, etc., and it offers no help in organizing chats with actions like grouping, moving, or deleting.

My goal isn't simply to make Logorrhea 2.0 or to mimic the elegant log viewers of other chat programs like Adium. I want to make a program capable of sophisticated, statistical analysis of linguistic patterns. Essentially, I want to create a framework where I and others can apply complex algorithms to analyze people's social/thinking habits via their chatting/language habits. More on that later.

Most chat clients store their log files in plaintext, HTML, or XML, which are formats that are commonly viewed in web browsers. However, Apple, in an unusual fit of brilliance, decided to make things a tiny bit more complicated. They store the chats in something called a property list (.plist for short) which is a form of XML but written in binary (0's and 1's). This makes it inaccessible to web browsers for immediate use unless one day someone decides to implement an interpreter.

Anyhow, to show you what this means, I've included a dump of the raw data after translation from binary contained in an 8kb chat log I had with a friend. This is not something you can look up with a text editor, however, if you are interested in seeing it for yourself you can use the developer's utility Property List Editor which is included on all Macs.

This chat had a total of 8 lines. See if you can find them:

27 October 2010

What do I do these days?

If you can't tell, I love two things: reading and lists. And since I love lists, I will leave you with three.

Books I've read from cover to cover, since July:
Books I am currently reading:
As far as my opinion on any of these books, I'd recommend them all. Haha. If you want more details, ask and I will supply. Also, I link to Amazon not because I'd get a cut (I don't) but because I find that they have the most consistently high quality and reliable reviews.

I think I try to read too many books at once. I'm so greedy!

I don't know what my wife'll look like.

But I know what letters she'll have.

ESFJs care. And when they don't, they pretend.

They care enough to pretend to care, and that counts for something, right?

(I'm mostly half-kidding, haha. Yaksok.)

24 October 2010

Growing pains.

Introverted (I) 54.05% Extroverted (E) 45.95%
Intuitive (N) 58.33% Sensing (S) 41.67%
Thinking (T) 50% Feeling (F) 50%
Judging (J) 56.76% Perceiving (P) 43.24%

This is horrible news. What's happening to me?

17 October 2010

Nothing but the Blood.

Current mood: Longing to feel vindicated.

My good friend John once told me,
Our great need is to be and to feel loved (by God). In Christ God has borne witness that we are. And the beauty of grace is that his love for us is as solid as the rock of Gibraltar. Grace for the unlovable is the gospel! But the contemporary gospel of lovability diminishes grace.
Oh, the paradox, that we are unlovable, yet are loved. And do you see how I said we, and not I alone? Even in my language I'd prefer the company of others.

In need of great grace, we all are. But me, especially.

10 October 2010

I hate the personality test.

It plays out like a Greek tragedy. You would think that by knowing your weaknesses and flaws you would be able to use that knowledge to prevent your downfall. Yet time and again we see the hero, keenly aware of the prophecy laid against him, fall victim to an inescapable fate. And the frustrated onlooker is left wondering if the hero has simply succumbed to self-fulfilling prophecy, or if we are truly bound to some unseen, unkind destiny.

Has the hero surrendered to his own fear and doubts in what actually is an underdetermined future? Or has he played out his part in a story penned by another's hand? Or, perhaps, is it a little bit of both?

24

It's the sense of fulfillment that will lure you. And the element of truth that will capture you. It's the longing desire that will bind you. And the never having that will destroy you.

04 October 2010

The Foolishness of God.

That was one of the titles we were considering for The Stand but it was deemed impractical because it was too long. Oh the irony that we, fools for Christ, would be practical.

My heart is broken. I have a friend who I had shared the gospel with for years, but she always refused. One day I stopped praying and I gave up hoping. Now she has joined a cult. And I can't help but think I've failed her. I know it's not up to me. I cannot change a heart. But prayer is powerful, and God can. Please show me the right way to deal with this.

I think one of the allures of a cult is the delight in a secret knowledge. People desire understanding so much that they will exchange the truth for a lie so long as it makes sense to them. But the mystery of the gospel—a phrase I steal from the passage below—is beyond our fullest comprehension.

There are some things that we will never fully understand. True things do not need us to understand them to exist. A third order differential equation exists whether or not I can solve it, and so does something like, say, the Trinity. The fool thinks he knows it all. The wise man understands that he does not.

On a more personal note, I have been caught with my britches down lately and I'm getting rocked by the schemes of the devil. It's time to suit up and battle hard. Ephesians 6:10-20:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

30 September 2010

The root of all vanity.

The great deception is that objects appear smaller at a distance. The great lie is that they really are.

Q&A.

Boy: What's wrong with your heart?
Girl: It's a heart.

22 September 2010

Three unrelated thoughts in order of length.

Less than a journey, life is a death march. Journey implies choice, but we all imagine that we have more control over our lives than we really do. Less than sailors on a voyage, we are survivors of a shipwreck. We wake up on some long forgotten shore with no clue as to why we're here or what we're suppose to do.

If you dream for yourself, your dreams can only be as big as you are. Narcissism is a turn-off not because you're selfish, but because you're small.

In reconciling, most people immediately think of compromise as the answer, but sometimes the best solution is surrender.

17 September 2010

Shipwrecked.

"If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another."

-- C. S. Lewis, my good friend.

11 September 2010

There were two friends.

He was loyal, but not loving
So it was suffocating to be his friend.

She was loving, but not loyal
So it was tiresome to be hers.

10 September 2010

Some opinions.

The current influx of Muslims to America and their building of Mosques in all places from the rural countryside, to the quiet suburbs, to the bustling ruins of Ground Zero is the answer to the mission-minded prayer of opportunity. Long have Christians complained of the repressive, life-threatening mission field in the Islamic world. We can't openly share the Gospel. We can't even secretly share the Gospel. If a man or woman converts to Christianity they will be disowned, persecuted, even killed in accordance to Law. Yet here God opens the floodgate of opportunity to share the Gospel, bringing them to our very doors, and rather than they rejecting us--we reject them.

The response most Bible-thumping, nation-loving Americans are having is one largely composed of fear rather than fear-expelling love. Jesus redefined our notion of love,
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you... For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
I ask you, "Do not even Fundamentalist Muslims do the same?"

And who can forget Paul's call to arms in his radical charge to the Romans,
Let love be genuine... Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them... Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
How can a pastor go on national television protesting Muslims, pushing them away, banishing them from his community before he welcomes them, serves them, and loves them? Could it be that rather than an invasion from the devil who schemes, this is actually an opportunity from the God who works all things for the good?

America is a pluralistic society built upon religious freedom. The constitution that guarantees our right to build churches guarantees the same right to Muslims to build mosques and to Jews to build synagogues. Our call as Christians is not to push away potential competitors from answering the great questions of life, but to share the Gospel, take this as an opportunity to evangelize, and love the crap out of our neighbors.

07 September 2010

When I grow up...

Growing up I wanted to be many things: a frontiersman, an explorer, even an astronaut. I always wanted to discover something new, I always wanted to be first. I grew out of the desire to be first when I realized that (1) I am not the best, and (2) the first shall be last and the last first. But I didn't know how this desire of mine fit in with God's plan for me until today.

God has given me the heart of a pioneer. I want to preach the Gospel where it has not been preached before. I want to be the first to reach a people group. It is no better than staying here, it is not more loving or devoted to go overseas. But that is where my heart is. If God is calling me there, then it is loving and devoted to obey.

There are a few things that hold me back. But I see an answer for each from the very mouth of Jesus when I read the New Testament and see how he responded to His reluctant, unwilling disciples. I have debts to pay. I have to be prepared and properly trained. My parents and my brother are not Christian. I have to give all these things up in prayer to God. I have to surrender them to His providence. He is faithful, he will surely do it.

One thing I am learning is that God's timing is directly correlated to His provision. As He opens doors of opportunity, He is not simply saying here are viable options--He is saying: Go! Right now I know it is not the time. Right now it is time to wait. But I am reminded everyday: Waiting time is not wasted time. The wilderness has a purpose.

"Nehemiah's argument for the timing of the reconstruction was based upon God's sovereign engineering of the circumstances."
-- Andy Stanley

"It was this habit of getting the Word of God into his projects and then confirming the whole thing by an appeal to divine providences that made him indomitable... The call of God was remarkably clear. God himself had moved ahead of Jaffray into the islands. The work had to succeed."
-- A. W. Tozer, speaking about missionary pioneer Robert A. Jaffray

31 August 2010

Liberty vs. License.

In the history of American politics there have been two main theories of the concept of freedom: liberal freedom and republican freedom. Liberal freedom, as stated by Michael Sandel in his book Public Philosophy, is "our capacity to choose our ends for ourselves." It is found in choice and the abundance thereof. Republican freedom, which gets its name from the Greeks and not from the Elephants, is "a politics that cultivates in citizens the qualities of character that self-government requires."

Sandel argues for the latter,
For despite its appeal, the liberal vision of freedom lacks the civic resources to sustain self-government. The public philosophy by which we live cannot secure the liberty it promises, because it cannot inspire the sense of community and civic engagement that liberty requires.
He continues by defining liberal freedom's voluntarist concept: the attempt to secure freedom without attending to the character of citizens by detaching moral considerations from political ones. In essence, the idea that we will rely on people freely choosing to develop character, rather than giving them incentive to do so. However, Sandel argues,
Even as we think and act as freely choosing, independent selves, we confront a world governed by impersonal structures of power that defy our understanding and control. The voluntarist conception of freedom leaves us ill equipped to contend with this condition. Liberated though we may be from the burden of identities we have not chosen, entitled though we may be to the range of rights assured by the welfare state, we find ourselves overwhelmed as we turn to face the world on our resources.
Now, why is this relevant? Because as Christians we have a parallel distinction between the concepts of free will and freedom. Free will is our ability to make the decisions we want, but freedom is our capacity to thrive. Jesus alludes to this when he says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Here freedom is contingent upon two forces: knowledge and belief. You must know in your mind what is true and believe in your heart that it really is. You must not only understand the truth but also act upon it.

The biblical concept of freedom is not that we do what we please, but that we follow His will for us. The former binds us to our desires, the latter sets us free in Christ. Abiding in His word and being his disciples means a limiting of choices and possibilities. We lose freedoms, but we gain freedom.

This is because of God's design for us. We would never put water in the gasoline tanks of our car because the car was not made to take water. It would be a triumph of choice if we did, but it would defeat purpose. The bird flies not because he defies the laws of physics, but because of his uniquely perfect obedience to them. The first airplane lifted off not because we rewrote the book on aerodynamics, but because we finally understood what it meant to fly.

Let my people go.

I'm reading this book by A. W. Tozer about the missionary pioneer Robert A. Jaffray. In it Tozer recounts how Jaffray once went on a trip to the islands in the south of China, mainly to parts of Indonesia,
On this trip he was quite literally spying out the land. His object was not to preach the gospel so much as to discover where the gospel should be preached. "According to my maps," he reported later, "there are scores of ports on the east coast of Borneo, but as far as we are able to learn there is no Christian witness in any of these places." But there should be soon, he vowed, and he made a few marks on his maps and moved on.
On returning, Jaffray had a sense of accomplishment,
"I was feeling glad," he said, "after two months' absence to be home. I felt I had done my bit. I had obeyed His command to go. I had made my report to the board, and could now settle down to ordinary work in Wuchow and leave others the responsibility of the perishing souls I had found in the uttermost parts."
However, this was soon to be replaced with dread. He had a dream. In it he was a fugitive running from Jesus with blood stains on his hand. Below him was white snow, and although he rubbed his hands in it, he would not be clean. He woke asking Jesus, what does this mean? He knew he was washed clean in His precious blood. Immediately he thought of the scripture from Ezekiel,
"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.
What does this mean?
Jaffray needed no Daniel to interpret this for him. It was all too frightfully plain. He thought at once of the lost of the islands. "If I warn them not, if I preach not the gospel to them, I will be accountable for their blood. No wonder I have heard in my ears all these days the cry of the people of Borneo. No wonder I have had ringing in my ears by day and night, 'Balik-Papan! Balik-papan! Samarinda! Samarinda!"
Ah. Pioneer missionary? To preach the gospel where it has never been preached before? This is how Paul felt,
And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation...
Paul and Jaffray shared the same hope.

23

The scientist asks, why does this happen? The dreamer, what does this mean?

30 August 2010

On Leaving Iraq.

From a Time article:
As a Baghdad trash collector, Ali Nasar, 26, has a unique perspective on a view held by many Iraqis. "When the occupation forces came to Iraq, it was good they got rid of Saddam [Hussein], but in fact everything got worse; security, electricity, water and garbage — which is good for me. But when they leave, nothing will be improved or return to the way it was," says Nasar. "No matter if the Americans are here or not, Iraq is a ruined country."
Different news sources paint different pictures. I wonder how most people there feel about America coming, and America going.

24 August 2010

My ringtone.

For the longest time, I think like two or three years, I had Ruth Cho's "Eternal Romance" as my ringtone. But sometime while I was in San Diego I changed it to a song called "With arms outstretched" by Rilo Kiley. It begins with the lyrics, "It's sixteen miles to the Promised Land, and I promise you I'm doing the best I can."

Does anyone else see the beauty in that? It's almost meaningless to know how far you are from the Promised Land. It should never have taken the Israelites wandering in the desert forty years to get there. But it did. And for all we know it could take us forty years to travel our last sixteen miles. What is meaningful is knowing Who has promised it.

I'll never get over the idea of promise. It brings hope and purpose and meaning to even the most mundane tasks of daily life. It means that what we are doing isn't for nothing. It means that waiting time isn't wasted time.

20 August 2010

Comeback in Love.

From G.K. Chesterton's book Orthodoxy,
The chivalrous lesson of 'Jack the Giant Killer' [is] that giants should be killed because they are gigantic. It is a manly mutiny against pride and such... The great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast' [is] that a thing must be loved before it is loveable.
That's from the Gospel, isn't it?
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
In being loved there are two attitudes you can take. You can become arrogant, or you can become humble. Either you think you're great and you deserve it or you understand that you're a sinner and you deserve worse. Either you'll ask, what's taken so long? Or you'll ask, why me? Whatever you do, you'll never be the same.

Love will change a person. You wonder why someone isn't kind to you? Be kind to them first. Even if they don't deserve it. You wonder why people don't appreciate you? Appreciate them first. Even if there's little to appreciate. You wonder why you're all alone? Out reach first. Even if you get rejected. Because this is what God has done for us, despite our unfaithfulness and idolatry.

Love is what changes hearts. Show someone the love of God and you'll be amazed how far it will go. Punishment, spite, anger does no good. Hate leads to hardened hearts and to hurt. But kindness leads to repentance. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
We have received all things. Even our own lives. I have always resonated with the Beast. At first it was a mere outward resemblance, but now I understand there's more. I am not loveable, but God loves me nonetheless. And He loves you too.

15 August 2010

Prayer requests are like dirty dishes.

Do them when you get them, or they'll pile up and your roommates will get mad at you.

12 August 2010

Taste and See.

Two men sat across from each other talking. The first man said, "I know all there is to know about honey." He spoke at length about its origins, how the bee makes it and saves it for later, how the man farms it and uses it for his cereal and tea and medicine. He told him how it was sticky to the touch, golden to the eye, and sweet to the tongue. Yet something seemed off in the way he talked. Normal people don't talk about honey like this. Perceptive, the other man asked, "You appear to know many things, but have you ever tasted honey?"

"No." The first man replied, "I've never had the time."

11 August 2010

14th Amendment Debate of Late?

So many people are ignorant about the facts, I don't even want to argue about this. The question comes down to: What makes a person American? And that's had an ever-changing answer since the very beginning. If you're going to say that the parents' citizenship status determines the child's citizenship status, then you've strayed so far from the American Dream I don't even know why they call it America anymore.

What happened to the fresh start? The land of opportunity? The principles upon which this nation was founded?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
People don't seem to believe these words anymore. We are no longer created equal. Some men will be born in America, but not born American. We have returned to nobility, nepotism, aristocracy.

Nowhere in the United States Declaration of Independence does it say these Rights are limited to Americans, or Citizens, or children of Citizens. These Rights belong to all people, everywhere. And it is our duty as free people to fight for these Rights wherever they are being tied up, subdued, or shackled.

If being born in America doesn't make you American, nothing makes you American. The Dream doesn't exist--hasn't since the beginning. But the Promise lives on: Real citizenship is in Heaven.

09 August 2010

The goal of every teacher is that his student surpasses him.

I beat my dad today at chess for the first time. I realized, he is really good at the fundamentals. He pushes his pawns like no opponent I've faced. He uses his pieces in unexpected ways. He sees my blind spots, and exploits them. At the same time, he hasn't played in years, and I've been peeking at this book on and off in the past few weeks.

So I won. In fact, at one point, after he made a move he saw that I could've checkmated him and pointed out my missed opportunity. I was too busy trying to set up the checkmate that I couldn't even see that I could do it. Then he gave me more and more opportunities, letting me promote my pawn to a queen. And even though I lost it in the next move, he let me do it again later, and that's how I won the game.

D: "I had a friend while I was stationed over in the Mediterranean who I would play every day. And every time, I would lose. But I kept playing him, and I kept learning. And sure enough, by the end of the month I could beat everyone else there, but him."

22

If you're not losing, you're not learning. If you're not failing, you're not growing.

06 August 2010

Community.

Two of my favorite characters to see interact:
Annie: "When you found out I was Jewish, you invited me to a pool party that turned out to be a baptism."
Shirley: "Well, it's not my fault I'm trying to sneak you into heaven!"
Two isfjs. For sure. Hahahaha. :).

04 August 2010

May I know Jesus more and more.

I'm in the desert right now. Stuck between a dry place and a hard place. I found this quote from a friend's blog:
a Kenyan woman speaking to Kay Warren: I feel sorry for you... When you need something, you just go buy it. When I need something, I pray.
It is my arrogance that keeps me from Him. I think I can do everything on my own, and only when it gets out of hand do I seek You. Lord, humble me. Again, and again.

30 July 2010

John the Hermit.

Today I realized that I like going places with friends: bookstores, barbecues, beaches, etc. It's like a literary device, but with people. It draws attention away from the person/speaker and towards the language/activity. I like using analogies in my writing like I like going places in my life. But lately my writing has been a little literal, my life a little lonely.

21

We could be anywhere, as long as we're together.

What I'm learning (supposing) lately.

Brilliance is found in the posing of questions, not in the offering of answers. The solution is found in learning to ask the obvious, difficult questions in less obvious, simpler ways. Solving is a matter of seeing. All true things are beautiful. Not all beautiful things are true. In discovering truth we seek out these three: existence, uniqueness, and beauty. In assembling truths we build upon these two: internal consistency, and external correspondence. With a good foundation and proper materials we may end up with something worthwhile, something to endure the test of time, something real.

So the question becomes: What will I ask next?

20

Man will exchange the truth for a lie, but he's been doing it since the beginning of time.

27 July 2010

For anyone who cares to know.

My good friend got into Yale. So instead of considering going to Boston (because he was thinking about going to Harvard), I am now considering going to New Haven to live with him. Please pray for me because I have to make this decision soon, and I hate making decisions quickly that involve what I will be doing for the next few years. Indeed, my decision to go to San Diego involved a week of fasting and prayer, and I did not make it lightly. These past three years I have been stretched, challenged, and humbled beyond my wildest dreams. I am grateful for it, but I will neither pretend that it has been easy nor that I am yet done.

I applied for a job in Pasadena and I have a phone interview for it tomorrow. Half of me wants to flunk it (not on purpose, but trying my hardest) because that will eliminate an option and make my decision easier. But the other half of me wants to succeed, because I want to know I'm capable of getting a job I want, a good job with decent pay and that will help me in the future. But if they do offer me the job, then that will make my decision to leave a whole lot harder.

Either way, I'm to suffer. And grow. Suffer. And grow.

17 July 2010

Pens, paper, clips and staples.

Do you ever have those moments where you realize (think, hope, dream) that if your friends were to surprise you that now would be the perfect time to do so? An odd call in the middle of the night, or a hasty get together. A random trip to coti's, or questions about your favorite things. I get those moments every once in awhile. My heart skips a beat, and I crack a smile at having figured them out. But alas, it never comes. It was but wishful thinking.

I hope it happens because I want to feel loved, but I hope it doesn't happen because I know I'll never feel that way. It's the wanting that will never let you have. The dark, twisted desire, which at the very moment it gives, takes.

16 July 2010

Names, and things, and such.

A soul tie is a name for this notion that there is something real and substantial behind the emotional attachment two people build as their relationship deepens. It's this idea that the emotional is not simply chemical, but a shadow of the spiritual. I'm not exactly sure whether or not this is true--that in the metaphysical world there exists some tangible, opaque bridge which forms our abstract understanding of the connection between two people. But whether or not the name of the thing is the thing itself, the thing itself becomes real in its effects on people's lives.

Take, for example, the idea of race. From the novel Erasure by Percival Everett:
The hard, gritty truth of the matter is that I hardly ever think about race. Those times when I did think about it a lot I did so because of my guilt for not thinking about it. I don't believe in race. I believe that there are people who will shoot me or hang me or cheat me and try to stop me because they do believe in race, because of my brown skin, curly hair, wide nose and slave ancestors. But that's just the way it is.
My friend Adam had this funny habit of naming things. He went around and named all the plants and animals and things he encountered. It was what separated him from them. It was what made him human, and them other.

19

Bring me something and I'll give you a thousand names for it.

08 July 2010

The Bluest Eye.

If my mother was in a singing mood, it wasn't so bad. She would sing about hard times, bad times, and somebody-done-gone-and-left-me times. But her voice was so sweet and her singing eyes so melty I found myself longing for those hard times, yearning to be grown without "a thin di-i-ime to my name." I looked forward to the delicious time when "my man" would leave me, when I would "hate to see that evening sun go down..." 'cause then I would know "my man has left this town." Misery colored by the greens and blues in my mother's voice took all of the grief out of the words and left me with a conviction that pain was not only endurable, it was sweet.

Pgs 25-26.

After a long while she spoke very softly. "Is it true that I can have a baby now?"
"Sure," said Frieda drowsily. "Sure you can."
"But... how?" Her voice was hollow with wonder.
"Oh," said Frieda, "somebody has to love you."
"Oh."
There was a long pause in which Pecola and I thought this over. It would involve, I supposed, "my man," who, before leaving me, would love me. But there weren't any babies in the songs my mother sang. Maybe that's why the women were sad: the men left before they could make a baby.
Then Pecola asked a question that had never entered my mind, "How do you do that? I mean, how do you get somebody to love you?" But Frieda was asleep. And I didn't know.

Pg 32.

29 June 2010

There are two people in this world.

I have this strange feeling of
Hope and nostalgia and anxiety and heartbreak.

I suppose its due to her.
And my feelings of guilt associated with her
And the way I project those feelings upon everyone else.

I feel like the whole world hates me
I dont think they do
But I feel that way.

I want to get away.
I plan to get away
For my birthday
To just leave, alone, somewhere.

I look forward to it
But I dread it
At the same time.

Induction.

Let there be two people in the world.
The first shall be second, and the second shall be first.

Now add more people.

28 June 2010

Native Speaker.

Before me, Lelia had come off a string of men who made her feel steadily sorry and confused and burgled. Each relationship was ending up a net loss. It struck her how a man could seem to gain a little bit of magic or grace or virtue with every woman he was with, but that a woman--though she said maybe she should be fair and just speak for herself--relinquished something each time, even if it ended mutually and well. One night in bed she said, "The men I've been with have this idea to make me over. I feel like a rock in some boy's polishing kit. I go in dull, scratched up, and then rumble rumble whirr, I'm supposed to come out precious and sparkling again."
"Does it work?"
"They seem to think so."
"How do you feel?" I asked.
"A little smaller."

Pgs 159-160.

09 June 2010

Wishes and dreams galore.

I heard a catchy song on the radio the other day,
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now,
Wish right now, wish right now
At first glance, it seems like a silly excuse for a chorus. Not even children look at the dots of light Boeing 747s emit as they glide through the evening air and mistake them for the streaks in the sky meteors blaze as they plummet towards the earth. The human machine flies gracefully, blinking in and out of existence. But the alien rock burns up like a candle against the blackness of space. In its glorious death, it brings hope to life. A star shooting is a rare occurrence, a singular event. But an airplane taking off happens every day.

Stars are wishes. Not that they grant wishes, but that they are wishes. And there isn't a star in sight in her night sky, so she'll settle for a plane. She is desperate to have a dream. So desperate, in fact, that any dream would do and she would believe anything to make it come true. To believe in shooting stars is fanciful enough, but to have to pretend that reality is a dream is heartbreaking.

The tragedy is not that her wishes go unfulfilled, but that she has none to begin with. She stars the ringleader of a one-woman circus. She recites Juliet's lines in empty parking lots. She holds lonely masquerades in dark alleyways. And her song cries out long after the magic is gone. If only she knew that there was a star out there for her, and to just hold on.

17

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

24 May 2010

My life.

I hate writing about myself because I want to cast the light somewhere else. It's the whole idea of not looking the fool by not opening your mouth. I'd like to imagine my life isn't as bad as it is, so long as I don't say it. But if I say it, then I'm bound by it. I fall victim to fatalism.

But I'm at a Crossroads (well, I moved to Costa). I've got to start deciding, so I can start living. The first decision I have to make is where do I go after college? Do I:
1) Move back home.
2)a) Apply to grad school.
b)Apply to seminary.
3)a) Go on missions.
b) Travel the world.
4)a) Look for work.
b) Spend time off, but work on various personal projects: write a book, learn a language, read, study on my own, research, freelance, soul search, etc.
I suppose not all of the options are mutually exclusive, but I'm a single-minded, tunnel-vision kind of guy. I never graduated the Circus because I couldn't juggle.

The problem is that I want to do them all. Yet there's only one of me, and I can only be at one place at one time (or one place at many times, but never many places at one time, depending on your take on physics). The point is to be efficient, and use my time wisely before I've run out. The shadow of the future, or the end of the game, is uncertain.

I could live as if I had all the time in the world, but I would do nothing. Or I could live as if I were going to die tomorrow, but I'd run out of things to do by Wednesday (only because I spend Tuesdays with Morrie). Anyhow, my good friend John Nash would say to find some sort of equilibrium. Every situation has one.

I suppose the goal is to find the point where I do everything I can do while I can do it, including preparing for things I can't do yet, but wish to do later. The problem lies in the uncertainty of the future: what do I wish now to do later that I won't wish later to do now?

16

Oh, if I only knew what to do.

10 May 2010

Flight Log of Cessna 180 RC.

The Maiden Flight of Cessna 180 RC ended in near-disaster. I was piloting with my dad navigating when the control arm attached to the horizontal tail became misaligned. We had not gone through the proper calibration procedures, and soon realized our error. Shortly after takeoff the airplane began a nose-dive that despite all counter-measures resulted in an uncontrollable tailspin. The airplane crashed head first into a concrete sidewalk, and its propeller shattered into a million pieces.

I can't say I wasn't warned. In the flight manual under "Step 5: Installing the Propellor", the unnamed author cautions: "One extra propellor has been included should you break the original one during landing. We suggest keeping the extra one with you while you're flying, just in case."

The replacement propeller has been properly fitted, and the horizontal tail has been accurately aligned. Flight #2 codenamed "Redemption" is a go once scheduling permits.


09 May 2010

It's time to express things I find hard to express.

Metaphors are for things you cannot put into words.

The paradox of metaphors is that they, for all their brilliance, are a shortcoming. Because the eyes of my mind see blurry, and the dictionary in my head leaks, I resort to metaphor.

The simile is like the metaphor like the pen is like the brush.

The simile keeps things separate, while the metaphor blends. You never take a red pen and a blue pen to make purple pens. But if you have the right brush, you can mix meanings till they mean something new--and sometimes till they mean something two.

All meanings are like centaurs, and old metaphors like minotaurs.

You take two things you do know, and you put them together. It vaguely represents the thought in your head, but if it's close enough people will get what you mean. Sometimes it wasn't what you started out to mean at all, but if it's beautiful enough, you get a unicorn.

The only metaphor we have for God is what metaphors are for.

07 May 2010

"Find the crack."

"In the darkness, there's always a crack. It's how the light gets in."

05 May 2010

Injustice: A Stab to the Heart.



I've watched this three times now, it's totally worth it.

Each time I am struck in a new way.

04 May 2010

Shower songs.

Oh, what a wonderful world
What a beautiful day
What a wondrous God
Who would love me this way.

15 April 2010

08 April 2010

Re: The cat in the box.

Mystery.

God is mysterious,
But not all mystery is God.

That is just one facet of who He is,
But to attribute to Him all that is unknown,
Would be to call God the tree in the forest
Which fell but no one heard.

For God is more than the mechanism
By which the rain falls
Or the sun shines.

He is.

26 March 2010

What I am learning these days.

I tend to be critical and judgmental and I get caught up in catching other people in their wrongs. Worse, I am bitter-hearted and hold things against people who hurt me or wrong me. But a good friend preached to me that in the end of times God will not call us to hold others accountable for the wrongs they did to us or to God. He will only hold us to account for the wrongs we have done to Him.

There are three reasons for this. One, He has a book and he already knows how others have wronged us. Two, we don't remember things precisely and we'd probably get it wrong. Three, we'd use it to justify ourselves. But no matter how others have wronged us, we are not justified in our sin against them or against God. Only Jesus and his redeeming work on the Cross could ever do that.

Therefore, rather than focus on how others wrong us, we must focus on the depth and gravity of our sin against God--the true, perfect, and just God. At the same time, we must also focus on the heights of God's grace--our loving, merciful, Abba Father. There is something subtly beautiful here: The more we understand the depravity of our sin, the greater we can know the majesty of God's steadfast love.

And yet, we cannot have one without the other. That is, without God's grace we wouldn't dare know ourselves. We couldn't. We'd rather die than go there. But, without sin, God's grace would be nothing. Without cost, there is no value. How can you pardon the innocent?

So what do we do? Look to the Cross. It's all there. At the Cross we know both our sin and God's grace. We know our sin was devastating because of the cost that Christ paid crucified on the Cross in the Father's judgment. And we know the extent of God's love because He sent His own Son to die on the Cross for us and raised Him up after three days so that we too may live.

This mystery is inexplicable. This grace amazing. All that every sinful and broken person out there ever wanted was love. We just want to be loved, and to love. That is the core to all our actions, twisted and sinful though they may be. But God turns tragedies into beautiful things. Look to the Cross. It's all there.

25 March 2010

"We read to know we are not alone."

In his book Miracles, Lewis states, "I must hasten, however, to add that this is a book about miracles, not about everything. I am attempting no full doctrine of man." And here includes a footnote: "See Appendix A." Hahaha. :). He has a sense of humor.

More seriously, he goes on to say,
No philosophical theory which I have yet come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that 'In the beginning God made Heaven and Earth'. I say 'radical' improvement, because the story in Genesis--as St Jerome said long ago--is told in the manner 'of a popular poet', or as we should say, in the form of folk tale. But if you compare it with the creation legends of other peoples--with all these delightful absurdities in which giants to be cut up and floods to be dried up are made to exist before creation--the depth and originality of this Hebrew folk tale will soon be apparent. The idea of creation in the rigorous sense of the word is there fully grasped.
This is not to make a literal vs. figurative judgment on the text. To acknowledge that the text is written in the form of a folk tale is not to take away its power, but to bring light to its intent. Other creation stories exist to perpetuate cultures and traditions, or to spread morals and maxims. The creation story as told in Genesis exists to bring worship to God the Creator. How best bring worship but by telling the truth?

15

Mom: "Jc, when the done pants, can you put it in top of the dryer?"

18 March 2010

The Final Final.

There is a delicate balance between "there is time, don't give up," and, "there is time, it's ok to slack off."

Every scene has a story.

These are images from just days before my fourth birthday. Some things to know: I'm the little boy running around in his underwear, my uncle is the one who films and swims, my mom is the one who cleans, my brother's name is kevin, he's the one pretending to be a car while I'm on the computer, and my family calls me jc.



14

The great tragedy is that children grow up.

13 March 2010

Fault Lines.



I love this interview. Dr. Cornel West is my favorite. :).

"Justice is what love looks like in public."

13

To be love-struck is to stand in solidarity.

05 March 2010

Boy.

I really want to say something right now.
My heart is welling up with tears.
I want to say that in ten different ways. For dramatic effect.
But I think I shan't. Was that dramatic enough for you?

I'm going to ignore you.
Because ignoring's the worst thing you can't do.
It's worse than insulting, it's worse than name-calling.
Indifference is what makes angels weep.

It's been crazy this past week.
I've been stressed and stretched beyond belief.
Again, I want to say that ten different ways. For dramatic effect.
Yet, I will resist. I think the crime the punishment fits.

I'm taking cryptography class.
It teaches you how to make and break codes.
One method of concealing information is called steganography.
It's where you hide the message among other things like images, words, and lists.

12

"Where's your son?"
"Do I look like information to you?"

24 February 2010

He'd rather die than be wrong.

From Jonah 3:1-5,
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
The outcome Jonah had prophesied against the city of Nineveh did not occur. In the end the citizens of Nineveh repented and nothing horrible happened to their city. This displeased Jonah because he knew that some people would try to discredit the words God had told him to speak. They would claim, "We were right, nothing happened to our city just like we thought." But it's easy to confuse God relenting for God not existing, or not caring.

God used this story to demonstrate his mercy, his patience, and his steadfast love. Jonah feared that those who did not care, who smugly reassured themselves that God would do nothing, would take credit for God's mercy. However, it was not the righteousness of the doubtful that prevented God from overthrowing the city. Rather, it was the surrender of the faithful which caused God to relent. Jonah simply had to obey, what happened next was not in his hands.

11

I have two hearts, I really do. One for me, and one for you.

21 February 2010

Oh the Places You'll Go.

Jeff ordered a strawberry banana smoothie from Earl's place and offered me a sip. It brought me back to my childhood, to when my dad used to make strawberry banana milkshakes for me and my brother. He'd reward us for doing something very difficult or requiring much patience. Like after mowing the yard, front and back. Or after sitting quietly through a long road trip. Or after a visit to the doctor's.

On the way home he'd go to the grocery store and buy bananas and strawberry ice cream. He'd go into the cupboard and pull out the blender and some cinnamon. He'd go into the fridge and grab the milk. I remember feeling especially loved on those days, although I don't even remember how the milkshakes tasted, nor do I have a shred of evidence to prove they ever existed. It's never the milkshakes that make you feel loved, but the places those who love you will go.

I ordered a coffee and a 1.5 liter aquafina. Later I noticed that the seal on the cap of my water bottle was cracked open a bit. It brought me back to India. We'd check and double-check the caps to make sure we weren't drinking out of reused bottles filled with Indian tap water which has been who knows where. But even sealed bottles were suspect. We had to drink in faith.

I've been to India twice now, and who knows if I shall ever return. God willing, I will be back. But so many times in the past have I made plans and set them in stone only to have them broken and glassed. There is a saying, "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can never see further than the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." I think the story of our lives is written in much the same way. Only the author knows where I'll be.

19 February 2010

At the doctor's.

Every situation I've encountered in life I've subjected to rigorous problem solving. For the most part, it works. I find myself in very comfortable positions, safe from harm, and far from suffering. I avoid pain at all costs, setting up the very structure of my life to be as pain-free as possible.

Yet sometimes the pieces don't fit, and you can't force them to. What's wrong with you is so deeply embedded within you that it becomes a part of you. It slowly spreads like a cancer and the only way for you to live is to have surgery to remove it. That is why we go to the doctor. We must be healed. The good doctor will continue the surgery until it is complete, and he will not relent at our shortsighted pleading.


"If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

At the zoo.

In the beginning I would find fault in the girls who did not like me. I thought they were shallow and superficial, insincere and deceptive. I blamed them for not seeing in me what I felt they should have been able to see. I blamed them for not being able to look past the surface.

I am beginning to come to terms with the idea that maybe they were right after all. Maybe I am not as great as I think I am. Maybe I don't actually deserve to be liked by anyone. Maybe my worst fears are come true. The reason they didn't like me wasn't because I am ugly on the outside. The real reason they didn't like me is because I am ugly on the inside.

New Rules for Friendship.

Fee waiver and scholarships available to: INTJ, ENTJ, ESFJ, ENFP.
Accepting applications from the above and the following: ISFJ, ENTP.
With exceedingly high GPA or standardized test scores: INFJ, ISFP.
Absolutely no, starting with the greatest absoluteness: INFP, INTP, ISTJ, ENFJ, ESTP, ISTP, ESTJ, ESFP.

I am (mostly) kidding. :).

10 February 2010

I live.

Sometimes the only hope I cling on to is the knowledge that things pass. Either it will end, or I will end. But, I live. So I cling, and I hope.

18 January 2010

Baptized in battle.

My father hesitated as he walked upstairs. He wanted to tell me something. I had already told him that I was interested in going to seminary, that I was really considering it post-graduation. He was a marine, and he spoke to me about his days in the military. He said that the toughest job in the military is to be a chaplain.

He said it was because chaplains have to be able to speak to people from all sorts of religious backgrounds, and these people are fighting a war, and they are out there killing other people--and the chaplains have to be able to go to soldiers and tell them, "It's ok. What you are doing is ok."

He said that this was the hardest thing for a man to do. To be a chaplain, to have that responsibility, to provide that comfort, to see the horrors of war--the killings, the destruction, the devastation--and to still be able to tell another man with the utmost conviction: "It's ok. What you are doing is ok."

I still don't know if it's ok. I don't even know if what I am doing with my life is ok. But I understand that this must be the most difficult thing for a man to do. And I understand that it must have been the most liberating thing for a man to hear. Yet even after all these years, I see the scars of war in my father's eyes.

12 January 2010

Because He Lives.



The video is not great quality, but I love the song and I love the lyrics. This simple song has brought me through many hard times--this timeless message has delivered me from much sorrow.

08 January 2010

Found in reflection.

We often find ourselves frustrated at computers. They're complicated and they never do what they're told. But the reality is that computers are quite simple: they only ever do what they're told. And the problem which exists is that computers are too precise. They demand very specific and detailed instructions or they cannot operate, and most certainly will not do what you, the user, intends. We often blame our miscommunication on the computer when in fact the cause of our infuriation is our own ambiguity and our inability to articulate what we mean, think, and feel.

We experience something very similar when we play football. If you are throwing the ball you must communicate to the receiver where he is to expect the ball--and it is only by ingenuity, practice, and luck that any two players ever make a successful connection. Communication is key. We must mean what we say and say what we mean. All else is lost in translation.

9

Symmetry is beauty: Mathematicians will appreciate my turning of phrases.

01 January 2010

Happy Birthday Mom.

This new years is bittersweet. It's been years since I've seen Gus and Colleen. We used to live next door to them back when we lived in San Bernardino, back before we owned a house. Every new years they'd celebrate with us and our family, they would bring a homemade salsa whose recipe was so notoriously hot that it drew accusations of being repackaged from professionals.

They still tell stories about me to their friends and family, about how when I was but four years old they would observe me and my dad troubleshooting computer problems for other people. We were a team, and I was my dad's little helper. I would remind my dad about things he has overlooked with my innocent attention to detail. It's been many years since I was the little four year old child assisting his father with grown up people problems.

"Tell your husband you love him."
"You love me!"