29 December 2011

Choices, Circles

Which story should I tell? I am profoundly unhappy, said the man
on the barstool three down from mine. His mind, I could tell, was
unwise. He spoke with an accent underdefined. The tip of his
tongue was on the roof of his mouth half the time, just waiting
to be unraveled and rewind. I am thoroughly unsatisfied, he told me,
and his stare held mine. Soft whiskers around the shape of his mouth
began to waggle, he shook his head to allow the pain to unravel.
It came off him as energy—a dark, distant light—like mourning dew
off a leaf that could no longer bear to maintain its form, to cease to be
the cup that holds its gift from heaven. Unsolicited, it was, and heavy.
It came off him like the radiance of majesty that leaves the mane
of a lion stretching his prowess and freeing his mind. A growl
that leaves the ground shaking. The itching of a paw that leaves
mountains breaking. I cannot hold on any longer, he whispered,
like pine needles rattling like frozen sabers. The pages of an old
leather-bound bible flapping in the wind to a wispy echoing.
Cryptic lyrics began their long walk home to grievings and groans
undertold. Old memories revolt and unfold. I am deeply troubled,
he relates. I have lost my entire life's way. Where was I? He begins

25 December 2011

Slashdot on Democracy.

A: Voting with your wallets is much more effective then the fake choice presented in elections. Hopefully, people will finally realize that in today's world, it's the best way to start making a difference.
B: Good thing everyone has the same number of votes in their wallets...

05 December 2011

He is jealous for me. (Moved from Tumblr)

A person in love has one true concern. She is concerned about the person she loves. Everything else seems insignificant compared to her lover. All other things are unworthy of her time. But yet, no one wants someone who is completely absorbed in them, approving of their every move. You want a bit of a challenge. You want some ruffling of some feathers. You want to be told when you’re wrong, and you want your loves to fight to keep you.

I don’t know why we are made this way. Why we harbor such irrational inconsistencies. Why within man exists such paradox. God could’ve made us otherwise. He could’ve had it where all our contradictions were outward. Where our wrestling was external. Where conflict existed only between people, never within. But for some reason or other, God chose to make us harbor inside of us the capacity for self-contradiction. He gave us this potential to fight, to wrestle, to have to strain with ourselves in doing the right thing.

He made it so that we have two people within us. The old self, and the new. The flesh, and the spirit. And the desires of each do battle daily inside of us. Clashing among us, waging war within us. There is a prolonged conflict between the two selves. To do what is right, or to do what is wrong. To seek after God, or to seek after the things of this world. We are often posed with two choices. They are framed in such a way as to tempt us from Christ. To sway our affections from our one true love.

God is single-minded in his love for us. He is never tempted to stray. He remains faithful and steadfast always. There is never a doubt in his mind of how much he loves us because he has already demonstrated to us his great love for us. “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

He who did not spare his own Son. How will he not?

He is jealous for me.

I came to God today in prayer asking him to show me how much he loved me. I was full of doubt, distant, indifferent. I remember once as a child disappointing my dad. I don't remember exactly what I did, but I remember crying out the entire night, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I cried so much that night that I got sick the next morning. My dad never came to comfort me. I had disappointed him. And it had devastated me so much to let my dad down. I wanted his approval. I wanted his acknowledgment. I wanted his recognition.

I had a friend who shared with me that he never argued with his ex-girlfriend, except once. And that one time that he raised his voice, she began to cry. He immediately stopped and asked her why she was crying. She said, "Because I made you mad."

I came to God today asking him how much he loved me, and he showed me something first, before he overwhelmed me with his love. He showed me the state of my own heart. How much I've wanted. How that want has turned to lust. How that lust has overwhelmed me and consumed me. How my heart has coveted possessions, and how my affections have wandered from my one true, first love.

I broke down in repentance. "I have not put you first. I have not put you first. I am so sorry. I am so sorry." It was a startling realization, for one so blindsided, so single-minded. I have not put God first. He has not consumed my thoughts. He has not been my one true concern.

Then he pointed me to a passage I thought I knew well, but seemed all too foreign to me as I ran my hands over the words of the page. Romans 8. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." And, "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." And, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through him who loved us."

And, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"

He who did not spare his own Son. How will he not?

01 December 2011

The Ancients

He lived two years in a cave, three in a den
inhabited by others like him. Strange men. Chiseled
jaw bones and pronounced brow ridge, wandering
about deserts and wastelands dressed in sheep skin
adorning many piercings. Scarred faces from many
long nights sitting in front of fires and falling flat
in desperate prayers to foreign gods. Calloused feet
from many long nights dancing in the shadows
of the cavern walls, putting on puppet shows for
the foreign gods. Strong hands from hard labors
whittling spear tips and stone axes. Bare arm from
hard fall from high place, stung and stunk for days
but prayed and prayed and prayed. Chants worked
and arm healed, now used for gathered honey. Stir
the beehive, run and hide, grab nest and harvest.
Eat for lunch locust and dinner catch fish. But once
for a long time, the world turned strange—absurd.
Dry, dry, dry. Death and decay. Message from the
native God—He still here. Message from the native
God—He still cares. But torture and torment, and
tragic regardless. He called me. The man two years
in a cave, three in a den. Prepare, make way, he said.

28 November 2011

Crown

Look at the trees, and the faces in the trees. The old hag's faces and
the witch's warts. Misshapen figures dancing in the shadows with
shaken leaves, like bears suckling honey. Fallen branches jutting out,
like claws cupping daisies. Dark protrusions in the shade. Flower bed
circling the trunk, like a ring of dancers in twilight worship, or an eel
circling its tank, like vultures circling a carcass. The elm among
the evergreens, these bare and naked boney trees among the buildings
surrounded on all sides by scraped skies, like abandoned cities
overgrown with ivy, yet still dead and dying. The empty park
benches with names scribbled on them in ink and engraved
on metal and with knives, the arrows through the hearts bound by love
and bound by time — two names forever intertwined like a monument
of love that's a tomb dead and dying, filled with bones and dark ash
from within its whitewashed walls, like the scrawl of the nails
of a prisoner buried alive with just enough time to etch out his days
like a book that's a box made of rock with a pen that's his head
filled with ink that's unseen—and it leaks and it leaks and it leaks

21 November 2011

One by one.

God is stripping me of my idols.

Today I've finally come to the point where I'm considering going alone.

19 November 2011

Selfish ambition and vain conceit.

I always take on more than I can handle. And sometimes, in the humbling, I think it is good for me.

One, or the other, or both but neither.

I have this habit of wrapping up my thoughts in nice tidy pieces. As if, the only thoughts worth sharing were the lovely ones. In fact, I have many unlovely thoughts. Thoughts that reflect upon me in unseemly ways. Thoughts that show what I really think, and who I really am. I hide these thoughts from the public, from you, because most people just don't want to hear it. I call it the capacity for truth telling. We just don't have a very high tolerance for ugly truths. Us, Christian peoples. When we speak of having the monopoly of truths—the Gospel message. But we don't want to hear the dark things, the unsightly things, the things that crawl and creep in the night.

So the job of exploring the ugly truths goes to the secularists. The sacrilegious artists. The facetious humorists. They have all the fun with the messy things, the things that we can't yet exactly wrap up in a bow. The things that we know are there, but turn our eyes away from. I'd like to touch upon these truths. I'd like to explore them too. But to do so would reveal just how much of a sinner I am. And it's the truth. I am a sinner. But to what extent do we really believe that? To what extent can we stomach the fact that our neighbors, our friends, our family, our roommates and colleagues are all the monsters that we speak of when we tell of our darkest fears? We are the monsters—the good monsters, yes—who come out at night.

The intriguing thing about zombies is their metaphor. That thing. That undead thing. That ravenous spirit which desires the flesh of other men and will stop at nothing, even as its limbs are being torn off, and its flesh is rotting away, and its soul is dead, to have what it wants. That thing—is us. The intriguing thing about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was not the semi-magical way he transformed by potion, but it was the uncovering. The letting go. The tearing apart of all inhibition. That monster, Mr. Hyde, was part of Dr. Jekyll this whole time. He was it and it was him. And they were one in the same. So that monster, really, lurks within. The greatest battles we will fight, the greatest obstacles we will overcome in life, exist not out there, but in here. We are our own greatest enemies.

But how often do we realize it? How often are we willing to confront our own dreadful sinfulness? How often are we willing to admit to our capacity for harm? We aren't. And we don't. And we go on living lives like we aren't the things we say we are. And we go on picking up trash in beautiful dresses. And we go on writing things that no one will read because it doesn't strike that chord between beauty and truth telling because its censored. It's not even good writing. It's just honest.

This is a dark time in my life. I wonder if that's ok? If I'll be ok?

08 November 2011

I really should stop telling people

I want to be a missionary when I grow up. It's really hurting my game.
(That was a joke, please forgive me.)

05 November 2011

Pen pals.

I am the postcard I send to you.
Your very own self addressed stamped envelope.

I'll be in California December 13th until early January.
Let's play?
:)

30 October 2011

I am tired of winning hearts.

Why can't things just come easy?

But perhaps this is preparing me for the rest of life.

23 October 2011

22 October 2011

The Portrait

She is in her thirties, a woman of business in a suit,
waiting outside for great things to happen and
life passes by while she holds electric fruit to her face,
a truck scrapes the curb, and chain-link chunks fly upward—
she covers her face from the sparks and the stench,
and speaks quickly into the air. Her words transmit a thousand miles
like light speed, but she's worried about her desk and how it should be
her makeup's a mess, hair disheveled, and she looks careless
but that is far from the truth. He is outside waiting
as life passes by. A man in a brown trench coat who wants the good
labored leather boots with the steel tips for work and fights,
ready at any moment to throw down, has to wrestle now with life,
his daughter, just six, just died. He grabs his hair—
she is thrown out the car window on the reverse side,
the car flipped, rolled, coasted, and skid. Her body thrown,
like a toy doll, fell apart, mangled and slit—pulled inside out
like socks in the laundry or pig's intestine to be filled
with its own innards. He loses the feelings in his legs,
falls on his knees, flat on his face, and prostrate prays.
The woman in her thirties sees and phones the police,
and as she leaves, though many notice and feel the need,
fail to mention that black stains are streaming down
her face, like the canvas of the sky after an abstract paint
of two colliding worlds and all their angst, like the insides
of buckets after all is drained. The leftovers:
the smears, the spots, the splatters—and pain.

21 October 2011

Thesaurus.

Treasure. It's almost poetry.

VERBS 10 feel, entertain or harbor or cherish or nurture a feeling; feel deeply, feel in one's viscera or bones, feel in one's gut or guts; experience 831.8; have a sensation, get or receive an impression, sense, perceive, intuit, have a hunch

15 October 2011

Meet the Metaphor

Your relationship with Logic makes me think you met it once at a party, shook its hand to be polite, and then moved on to talk to all the interesting people never giving it a second thought.

— flosofl, a Slashdot user

13 October 2011

Sometimes I just want to be a nerd.

And I just want to talk about nerd stuff.

From the Apple documentation, "Core Data is not an entry-level technology." Today, I begin my tackling of this technology. This is what makes programming fun, the challenge. And in case other nerds are out there reading this, Apple's documentation is by far the most enjoyable documentation I get to read. Google's is not bad, but from there, everyone else just falls off steeply (especially Microsoft and IBM, ugh, even the font and the way they organize the information turns me off). Honestly, I love coding, and I love writing, and I wouldn't mind one day to be writing some clear and understandable documentation for my fellow programmers out there. It's nice to read a good article or two and comprehend something that you hadn't before, and to be able to use that newly found knowledge to try to create something worthwhile with the hopes of making people's lives better.

12 October 2011

I love fall weather.

It is full of anticipation! :)

I don't know how yet to describe the way this weather makes me feel, but I will try in the coming days to put it into words.

Here is a song that comes close to doing it for me,

11 October 2011

Window Sleep

There's a rustling in the leaves where there's talk among the trees
where there's stories being told of the ancient and the old:
a strong and restless wind makes its long way home
it speaks, incants, invokes, gives life and breathes and shows.
The strong and restless wind rustles in the leaves
it tickles in between the long tall trees's toes,
it scratches endless itch of the pecker and the tick
the rhythm and the beat of ancient folk music.

There's a rustling in the leaves and there's talk among the trees
that there's stories being told of the ancient and the old:
the fallen leaves that speak of morals to uphold
in faraway waters where windless sails snap close.
Let the spirit thrive, to find its way inside, to let its meters run
and fill it with the deep where need cries out to need
and people come to seek where breakers, crashes, waves
and souls that make are made polished rocks to save.

09 October 2011

I have quit the test.

I will not allow this test to determine my social interactions any more. I will no longer subject my friends to the tyranny of a four letter categorization, as scientific and methodological as it may have been. Did you know that people use to say things like, "Oh, if you don't have the right four letters, Cadengo won't be your friend"? Was I so obvious?!

Hahaha, that was a joke. I really would befriend anyone. Or try to. Regardless of their letters. But it is true that I usually am obvious about how I feel about many things. And so, from this day forth, let it be plain that I choose my friends because of love for God and love for His people, and not for any other reason, be it compatibility, or anything else.

Today, I take the training wheels off my bike and I ride.

30 September 2011

For Loved Ones.

J: I think it requires bloody, and sweaty, and earnest, and prayer.

37

Lord, please save my parents, my brother. Sometimes that's all I can think about. And other times, I fail them so miserably. Lord, love them. Forgive me, and love them.

26 September 2011

Resonance.

A source of constant sorrow.

That a person would be left unloved because she is unlovely. That love would be distributed like wages to workers, withheld like grain in a time of famine.

A source of constant renewal.

That we love because He first loved us. That God shows His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I've decided.

22 September 2011

The Lucid Dream

I had a dream this morning about my extended family. We used to get together a few times every month, but in my dream this get together was different. People were sitting at dinner tables, saying grace, singing praise, and loving each other. My uncle, who had come up to me last Thanksgiving after I gave a short testimony, devotional, prayer at my cousin's debut and asked me about Jesus, led the time of prayer. The song they were singing, and it was so loud it was all I could hear in my dream, was, "Be glorified." And it was so beautiful, that it woke me up.

21 September 2011

The Seven Deadly Axioms: Part Four.

VII. Anosognosia. Def. To have a disability, but be unaware of its existence. Ex. A man has lost his right arm in the war. He is asked to hold a tray. A person without a right arm who is aware of his disability will place his left hand beneath the center of the tray in order to balance it. A person suffering anosognosia will grab the left end of the tray, as if he had two hands with which to grab and be unable to balance it. The tray will fall. The doctor will ask, "Why did you drop the tray?" The anosognosic will come up with a rationalization, "Oh, I'm so clumsy. Please forgive me!" Or "Wow, today just must be an off day, I'm sorry!" But he will never come near to the truth that he has lost his right arm in the war, and that the tray was unbalanced because he only has one hand with which to grab.

Claim. We are all anosognosics to one degree or another. There are some things that we know we don't know. I don't know who the 23rd President of the United States is [6], for example. But then there are things that we don't even know that we don't know. We can call them the unknown unknowns. For Man to be separated from God, for example, and not know that his deepest need is to be reconciled to God is a form of anosognosia. And how would Man have any way of finding this out? Considering that we don't know what we don't know, the best we can hope for then is to know what we know very well, and to assume all else is unknown. That is, the best we can hope for is faith [7]. To put it one way, faith is the acceptance of a set of axioms—these axioms being a revelation of a few, certain, self-evident truths—and the courage to reason from there.

But what about the man who lost his right arm in the war? Say it was his faith that made him think that he had kept his right arm, but his right arm could not hold up the tray because it was not there. Is his faith wrong? I would say, yes, his faith is wrong. The test of faith is how it shows up in action. The test of faith is if it works [8],
The experience that we have of our lives from within, the story we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to account for what we are doing, is fundamentally a lie—the truth lies outside, in what we do [9]. 
The first story that we told ourselves about ourselves in order to account for what we were doing happened at the Fall [10],
Then he said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The story that the woman told happened to be a lie. Most stories are. But there is one true story. It is the one told not by us or about us, but to us.

[6] A quick google search reveals that his name is Benjamin Harrison and that I know nothing about him.
[7] Cf. Hebrews 11:1, 6
[8] Cf. Matthew 12:33, James 2:14, 17
[9] Slajov Žižek
[10] Cf. Genesis 3

I am getting sick.

I have noticed a pattern. My prayers are strongest when I am weakest.

16 September 2011

Childhood Stories.

I used to dump sand in my hair because I liked how it felt scratching it out.

I had a competition with the girl I liked in 3rd grade about who was smarter. We'd ask each other questions and I'd tell her if she was right or not.

Playground rules dictated we'd count to 100 before it was our turn on the swings. The swings were my favorite, and I hated waiting. So I figured out a faster way. I'd count to 10, ten times.

A boy once threw a rock at me, so I grabbed him and dragged him to the principal. I was the one who got in trouble though. I got a detention for grabbing another kid.

I used to pick on a kid for being poor. I regret that to this day.

A kid teased me and I told my dad. My dad told me to punch the kid next time that happens so he wouldn't mess with me anymore. I followed my dad's advice. The kid cried. Next day, we were friends.

I spent most of my childhood alone. During recess I'd go to the outskirts of the playground, to where no one wanted to go. I'd spend time near the pond, and the bullfrogs. I liked to help the teachers tend the garden, and I'd pick at the clovers all day. One day I was waiting out there alone, sitting against a wall, and a girl came up and sat down next to me. She said hi, but I didn't know what to do, I was so nervous that someone actually wanted to be my friend. So we just sat there, alone, saying nothing else for the entire recess. I had the biggest crush on her for the next four years.

Octobers were my favorite. That's when the Santa Ana winds came in and all the smog would get cleared out. One year the winds were so strong they shut down school for a few days. I'd swear they'd tell this story for generations to come, a kid was literally blown away.

Family.

For a man to charge into fire once requires grit that is instinctive in few men... to go in a fourth time is to know you will die; to go in a fifth time is beyond comprehension.

— Bing West, author of The Wrong War, where he describes the actions of Marine Dakota Meyer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor Sept. 15 for charging into an enemy ambush five times and saved 38 Marines and soldiers

14 September 2011

The Seven Deadly Axioms: Part Three.

VI. Qualia. Growing up, I always wanted to be an astronaut. The vast and endless possibilities of space had captivated my imagination. The stars weren't merely light givers, they were great big burning furnaces, celestial factories, elemental fasteners, and world builders. I wanted to live out scenes from Bradbury's Chronicles. Above me, the red purple Martian sunsets, strange and exotic gradients painted upon the alien sky. Below me, the glorious, dust-filled, iron-tinged, lifeless landscape, and its endless companion, the ever wandering wind.

I wished I was one of them. The characters from his books, the Martians, the ancient, noble people who plundered away their glory, and wasted their many gifts. I'd sit atop a peak among the ranges, perched off some cliff where my people had done battle, shed blood, secured peace. My legs would dangle kilometers over dry river beds and ancient seas and I'd watch the sun set and moons rise. We'd spend the night in desolation, shadows singing over the crackle of our campfire, howling wind at our feet, danger at our doorsteps. The moons dancing with each other, choreographed to some magnificent celestial symphony, unheard by the fainthearted, wicked, and faithless.

We'd look up at the night sky, and spot some distance away a dim shining in the dark. We'd name it earth to distinguish it from all the other lights, we'd call it a planet, a wanderer. We'd wonder who'd live in such a place? What were they like? Would they accept us as we are? We'd make up stories about them to pass the time. And one day, we'd go there, to stop by and say hello. Make friends, and reunite.

“Keep moving forward.”

After I explained to my great uncle, who I call Grandpa, how the people on our team went to Ivy Leagues and/or graduated magna cum laude.
B: So yeah, we have a lot of very smart people...
G: And you're one of them.
The first and great ENFP influence of my life, and my INTJ father's best friend. Dad taught me to tell stories, and Grandpa taught me to listen. :)

09 September 2011

Watching Lost.

After watching three episodes of Season 5,
Mom: I'm the one loss.
*Walks out*

06 September 2011

"Drive it off"

I get this false sense of accomplishment, as if I had run a mile or two, after driving for thirty minutes after I eat a big meal.

Cheesiest Movie Ever Award

Just watched the ending of a movie where a boxer was getting pummeled and lands on the ground. The referee starts counting in slow motion while the camera cuts to a girl in the audience who passionately mouths "I love you!" Then somehow the boxer mysteriously finds the energy to get back up to fight and wins the match in an unexpected victory. The whole crowd goes crazy and the girl gets into the ring, runs into his arms, and kisses him in a loving embrace. Freeze frame. Cut scene. Roll credits.

I might be remembering this wrong, but LOL, that was too good to be true.

05 September 2011

Finding My Voice

Something I wrote years ago while high on caffeine,
Words sound so much better proceeding from my mouth than they do from my fingers. As I type, I realize the objective blandness of my thoughts--the all too real way they fall flat on the page.
Here are my thoughts. Have them. Don't want them? I throw them at you. Ha!
Sometimes all the mute need is a muse.

04 September 2011

Everything was new again.

Have you ever had a dream so powerful that it woke you up?

I fell in love with you, but I knew you were going to die. Everything we had would be cut short, so abrupt, before its time. I knew how it would all end, but I could do nothing about it. So I stayed there with you, in a time loop, spending each passing moment with you until the end, and every time I was given the chance to relive it again I'd always take it, and it'd always be different, but we'd always be together.

It was the most beautiful and sad dream I've ever had. Each time you died was the most painful, but we'd always get another chance. You'd die, and we'd rewind, and I'd always choose you.

My Fandango deal expires in 5 days.

Someone watch a movie with me!

02 September 2011

The Seven Deadly Axioms: Part Two.

IV. Correspondence Principle. It's natural for us to desire simplicity, but we must soon realize that the complexity of the world won't bend itself to our wills. Having an oversimplified cognitive model hinders our predictive power and undermines our very own purpose. How we choose to see the world and the way we believe it works mustn't be determined by what we desire, by our ideals, wants, or wishes, but rather by what is desired out of us. That is, how we choose to see the world and the way we believe it works must be determined by our calling. That is, our faith [3] must align with our calling.

V. Optimization. Pride is the big-headed man on your shoulders [4]. He isn't opposed to anyone but himself and he'll stand on both and call you giant. The great tension in the heart of a man in pursuit of humility is that between his growing awareness of pride and its simultaneous enfeeblement. The clearer you perceive the man on your shoulders, the larger he appears and the less he affects your life. There comes a point in the life of a man in pursuit of humility, a beautiful equilibrium at the intersection of a global maxima and a local minima [5], where his awareness of his own pride is so acute that it, in a most profound moment, vanishes.

[3] Believing is seeing.
[4] Childhood cartoons seem to suggest that a devil and an angel stand on either shoulder, swaying you to act in one way or another. I'd locate them and their battle elsewhere.
[5] I use these terms loosely to draw out a more literal meaning. Here global maxima is the concern one has for others at its peak, and local minima the concern one has for self at its least. An amazing singularity arises, however, in that the most selfish thing to do is actually the most selfless.

27 August 2011

Dr. Linus

Seriously, my new second favorite episode so far,
Ilana: Where will you go?
Ben: To Locke.
Ilana: Why?
Ben: Because he's the only one who'll have me.
Ilana: I'll have you.
Redemption. Forgiveness. And understanding.

25 August 2011

Sustainability.

Intimately tied to and second to humility, it is the hallmark of great leadership. And because of its great difficulty it is what most often fails to materialize,
If the company succeeds at doing that in the years ahead, it won't be evidence that Steve Jobs turned out to be replaceable. Instead, it'll be proof that he taught the company which so many fans and detractors believed was a one-man show to go on being Apple without his intensive involvement. That would be Jobs' final and finest one more thing — and right now, the odds seem decent that he'll pull it off.
I'd love to see him pull it off.

22 August 2011

It is the most profound thing.

It nearly brought me to tears saying it,
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Reconciliation means death.

18 August 2011

The Seven Deadly Axioms: Part One.

I. The Pigeonhole Principle. Although my understanding of greatness has changed over time [1], I've always held this assumption about it. That everyone wanted it and that if they tried hard enough, they could have it. But as I've grown older, I've come to see that not everyone goes on to be great, and even fewer try.

II. The Observer Effect. I've found words powerful, sometimes almost magical. They don't only seek to describe events, they shape them as well. It's as if incantation were not only our deep desire, but also our great and secret power. But if you abuse the use of words, you'll find their power shrink, diminish, nearly vanish. Because the power of words is not in their sound as they roll off your tongue, nor in their familiarity with one another as they echo the things they see, but in their bijection with reality—in the Word's one-to-one mapping with the World [2].

III. Greedy Algorithm. Why do we make the decisions that we do? Sometimes, you'd say, we make irrational decisions—and there's no explaining it, no reasoning behind it. But once you add time into the equation, and understand our perception of it, most irrational decisions transform into special case rational solutions. Given our current information, our wants and desires, and our understanding of the way the world works, we will always still have uncertainties. And the most uncertain uncertainty is, of course, time. Because we are unsure of exactly just how much time we have, we make bad decisions. We choose what's near, what we see, what's ready, and what's available. We choose to wait not; we choose the here and now. And many times, most times, almost all times—we've chosen a suboptimal solution.

[1] Cf. Matthew 23:11
[2] Technically a bijection is one-to-one and onto. But "onto" didn't fit into the sentence, and hence the observation that it is very difficult to be and to speak about being without having spoken about something else having been the what was spoken about and the who was doing the speaking. In other words, we don't escape.

36

Hasten me and I will falter; Hasten Him—Oh, hasten Him.

15 August 2011

I have a hard time letting go.

It is both a good thing and a bad thing. I don't easily give up, but I don't humbly surrender either.

I used to be filled with deep sorrow and painful regret when I would lose a friend or they would drift away. It was sad for me to see possibilities vanish, and probabilities collapse. It is known in game theory that as the shadow of the future diminishes, that is, as the end of the game nears, behavior changes. People act differently end game than they do mid game. Long term investing transforms to short term gain. Risk taking increases. And so do selfish actions.

I am not proud of how I've acted in the past clinging onto the last few ashes of promise among the ruins of a failed relationship. But I am still learning and I've begun to see hope,
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice (Philippians 1:15-18).
Watch as my good friend John contrasts this with Galatians 1:6-10,
What’s the difference—celebration in Philippians and cursing in Galatians? The difference is that there is no evidence in Philippians that the hypocritical preachers were saying false things when they preached the gospel. They preached the true gospel. But the preachers in Galatians were distorting the gospel.

In other words, Paul is more agitated when the gospel itself is defective than he is when the people who preach the true gospel are defective.
And where's the hope in this? That even though I am a defective witness, God can still use me. And so it is no longer about whether I have a relationship with an old friend, but that my old friend has a relationship with God. If I fail in getting along, or keeping up, or building intimacy, if my attempts to relive memories of the illusive, never as good as you remember, past fail—that is not what matters most.

What matters most is that the people we come to meet know and love Jesus, that the time we spend with them, no matter how little or how cut short, was spent pointing them to the cross. And that's where humble surrender comes in. It's not about me, or you, or us. It's bigger than that. I've got to learn to surrender to God, because He is wise, and He is good, and He has a plan. And that's what I'm learning to hope in, and pray for, and work towards.

Dear Friends,

I'll be back in California from Aug 17th to Sept 3rd.

If you have the time, let's hang out! :D

I didn't go to church today.

I couldn't wake up.

And I want to be a missionary?

What am I doing with my life.

14 August 2011

You talk funny.

Thinking in a British accent makes all your thoughts sound so profound.

I bet you're thinking about it right now,
aren't you?

And... in a British accent!

Amazing Grace

I know how it feels to be lost. To not know where I am. To not know who I am. When I was a child I wandered off at the mall, and when the security guards found me, I was told the conversation went something like this:
G: Where are your parents?
B: Shopping.
G: What are their names?
B: Mommy. Daddy.
G: Where do you live?
B: Home.
After awhile, of course, I was found and for the first time I experienced what being found felt like. There's something beautiful about that—the power of metaphor, the meaning in contrast. If I had never been lost, I'd not know the joy of being found. If not for misery, I'd never know happiness.

13 August 2011

On my good friend Martin.

From intjforum.com,
Personally, I did not care for Dr King. I felt he conceded too much, did not press too hard, was too "PC" (before there was such a thing as "Politically Correct").
Haha. Funny. Either he doesn't know the real King, or his opinion has revealed something pivotal about his worldview.

Would someone "Politically Correct" go to jail for their beliefs? Lay down their own life for the sake of others? I think not. It's action, not talk, that determines faith. It's resolve, not force, that determines strength. And it's persistence, not terror, that determines courage.

12 August 2011

"Real Conversations"

S (the other S): You always go for the ones that wouldn't go for you.

35

We don't make thishup. And when we do, we tell you.

09 August 2011

First.

E: If the most important thing to me is also the most important thing for that person as well, thats whats most important.

Namedwell.

S: You have to be selective, not indecisive.

08 August 2011

1 Corinthians 9:19-27.

You have many roles; you have one purpose.
That more might be saved; that God might be glorified.

Lost my voice.

I have much to write, but I'm having the hardest time writing it.

07 August 2011

Preemptive.

Got my first happy early birthday today. By the doorman (the bouncer?) at the Dove, a rather quiet, empty bar with a friendly, smiling bartender lady next door to our apartment. I had to ask him twice, because I didn't hear him the first time, or I didn't believe it. He told me his birthday was the day before mine. :)

05 August 2011

Am I the only one?

Honestly, one of the first things I wanted to see when I got to New York was Tim Keller.

04 August 2011

Harlem.

I sat next to a short, round, and brown lady on the bus along 2nd Av. We were on the sideways seats, and she leaned her side on the backs of the seats to our left. She clutched a plastic bag in her hand, and every few seconds as the bus roared onwards, shifting us slightly to the right, its contents would rustle. She'd pull it out from time to time, to look at it, and admire it. She'd hold it in her hands, the toy, a Disney-Pixar's Cars bubble blower. Its price stamped in big, bold white letters on the upper right. $3.99. Recession-plagued 2011's new 99¢ gift.

But she admired it. Held it in her hands. A smile leaking from the corner of her lips. Laughter peering out. Her eyes bent into half-crescents. She had a child who would just love it. She even bought the refill bubble solution. It reminded me of my mother, and the times we spent cherishing the little things in life. It pierced my heart, for that moment, the love of a mother for her child that no matter how small her means, she would find a way to make her child happy, to bring even for a moment some relief from the burden of life and the living of it.

03 August 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala.

Sometimes I think I'm vindaloo curry.

Smh.

Shaved my head.

I have a distinct memory, because it's not often that I get complimented, of being on Library Walk at UCSD and having a bald, monkish-looking man walk up to me and tell me how he liked how I looked. It was only later that I realized it was because I was bald, and looked like him, that he said that. Hahaha. Also, he offered me some Eastern Spiritualist Voodoo Black Magic Literature. I kindly declined.

34

Because I figured that if you saw me for who I was, it wouldn't matter. And if you didn't, it wouldn't matter.

31 July 2011

Wanted: Writing/Reading Partner.

Description: I am interested in working on my writing craft. I feel especially weak in character development, plot construction, and conflict resolution. So I'd like someone to partner with me in writing and reading by peer reviewing/editing my work, bouncing ideas back and forth, and sharing with me his/her work.

Qualifications: Friend; Avid reader who enjoys writing; Devoted, faithful person who will reliably respond within a reasonable amount of time. Preferably a non-INTJ (you guys know I love us, but I want someone to offer me a perspective I cannot see on my own) and I already have an IXFP (hello Will! :D); an ESFJ would be desired for their consistency and considerate correction, and an ENFP would be nice because of their creativity and candor. Any way, I'd need someone with good taste who is willing to point out my weaknesses by supporting his/her criticisms with good reasons.

Disclaimer: I'm only half-kidding. :D

"He is a gift of a character."

It doesn't matter if people don't think you're brave. Bravery isn't about what people think.

Ch. 33

Always.

27 July 2011

On the value of perseverance.

I once watched Tavis Smiley interview Tony Danza (the guy from Who's the Boss?, the show which they had a class on in Community) on him becoming a teacher after many years of success in acting and tv show hosting. They discussed programs like Teach For America, which for all the acclaim it has received over the years has also received much criticism, where very bright, young, talented fresh out of college graduates go to tough, inner city schools and teach for a few years. They are just thrown in there without much training and the idea is to bridge the gap between the affluent and the impoverished, and to build real human connections between teachers and students, and to bring about substantive, meaningful change.

Danza seemed like a fan of the program because he is, among many other things, an advocate of teachers and teaching, but his one criticism was this: that teaching is tough, and that by the time the teachers actually get good at their job, after 2 or 3 years of teaching, and after all the failing that they go through, and all the mistakes that they make (and learn from), they end up quitting, or moving on to another field thinking that teaching isn't for them. But he said that's the one tragedy among teachers, and I'd say among all learners as well, that once they finally start getting good at something, once they finally start to firmly get the hang of things, they think that this thing is not for them, they quit, and they move on. And he said the only difference between the good teachers and these teachers, is that the good ones stick around.

Hey, you out there, struggling with whatever craft you're trying to master, whatever obstacle you're trying to overcome. Yeah, you. Don't give up.

32

I talk to me.

24 July 2011

1 Corinthians 9:16.

After talking with Mia and Julia today about INTJs and their inability to love, I got curious and stumbled upon a thread on intjforum.com titled, "What is love?" It killed me inside to read all the responses, which were obviously not love. It didn't kill me because these were so-called "lesser evolved INTJs" but because none had been touched in the same way as I had by the truth of the Gospel--that is, that God is love,* and that by this we know love, that Christ laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for each other.**

On another note, I found this response by a fellow INTJ hilarious/tragic, "Here come the long lines of emotionally retarded INTJ scientific answers."

-------
* 1 John 4:8
** 1 John 3:16

Hollow, haunting, resonating.

On the way home today I heard someone singing Radiohead's Creep at Washington Square Park. Although I was dying to pee, I took smaller, slower steps and wafted in the music, the passionate performance of a desperate man clinging to his last, few, tiny shreds of hope. I was so tempted to stay, but I couldn't hold it any longer and dashed down the street and up the stairs. Oh that song, so perfect on a hot summer's night, in a park full of lovers, strangers, and friends. The willing assailants of that song's tragic, sharp edge.

20 July 2011

Grappling hook.

The problem with always getting what you want is that you'll never get anything better.

I don't get what I want; I am blessed.

Don't spoil it for me.

I haven't seen the last movie yet, but from intjforum.com,
I think Snape probably is an INTJ, just a very misanthropic one. His overwhelming love for Lily is just, to me, a side effect of being INTJ. In other words, he wasn't great with his F, and it ruined things for him with Lily.
Sounds about right.

17 July 2011

Prayer Meeting.

I went to RWC's Wednesday night prayer meeting for the first time last week. I hadn't realized how much I had missed prayer meetings (they were my favorite part of KCM). Three people prayed over me - thank you Lord - and when they were praying I couldn't help but think, "How'd you know?" Either I'm very obvious or they had secret knowledge. And although I know I'm pretty transparent, easy to read, etc., I'd still like to think/hope that Holy Spirit gave them a little insight into my life for just that moment, just for that prayer :)

15 July 2011

I want to watch!

Now it's over. It's the real world. I feel like I have to, like, a find a job.

Mily Mena, 23-year-old Harry Potter fan on life having to go on after the end of the film franchise with the release of final movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2

11 July 2011

Reunion.

My two INTJ friends, Brian and Susan, are visiting me here in New York in August. :D I can't wait! Until then, I should get to work so that by the time they get here I'll have plenty of time to play. I'm very tempted to ignore the troubles of life by immersing myself in my work. But I shouldn't, right? I shouldn't take the easy way out, right? I've got to confront fear, to cast it out by perfect love.

Also, I don't usually like to do this but, my blog post titled, "Ray Tracing" is a reference to a technical phrase from physics, which is basically a technique for generating the shadows, lighting, and reflections in 3d images by following each ray of light as it bounces from surface to surface. As a literary allusion, however, I simply mean it as, "Reflections".

31

I wonder how many people attempt to solve the puzzles I leave for them, and why more people aren't as insatiably curious as I am.

Anosognosia

I understand that guarding your heart is very important,
I don't understand why it's so difficult.

06 July 2011

Ray tracing.

I.

Have you ever gone through your old journals and thought, "Wow, I wrote that?" I was looking through my Tumblr the other day, and I stumbled upon this,
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. — Matthew 24:12

There is an important relationship here being revealed between the Law and Love. As lawlessness—that is, the world’s freedom, bondage to sin, and license—increases, it inhibits the warmth—that is, the power, contagious nature, and fruition—of love. In other words, lawlessness aborts love. Lawlessness strangles love. Lawlessness suffocates love. As seeds of love are sown on lawless ground, it is like wheat trying to grow among thorns and weeds. The seeds will be choked to death. And what could have been—what should have been—will not have been.

To bear much fruit, love must be sown in grace. There, you find liberty, not license. There, love is free, not cheap.

Love is devoted. Love is faithful. Love is not about the breaking of the Law, but about Christ’s fulfillment of it. Love is not about losing all inhibitions to follow your passions, but about leaving everything behind to follow Christ. Love is neither lawless nor legalist, but lovingly obedient. Love transcends all categories of human effort by the power of the work accomplished on the cross.

Love is putting another before yourself.

Love is dying.
II.

I've had jealous thoughts lately. I do not like Jealous John. He's not a very good version of me. Jealous John looks at other people and wonders, "Why them, why not me?" And he looks at himself and thinks, "Why me, why not them?"

III.

I had a dream the other day. I was wrestling with God, and I demanded that he release me from these things keeping me from Him—from the lust, envy, and strife, from the disobedience, bitterness, and pain. I asked Him to release me from my past, all my regrets, all my mistakes. And with each request He took a jab at my hip. And with each touch of His finger, I was released. Set free. Made new.

Sometimes we are too quick to seek resolution. But I think part of wrestling means staying in that state of discomfort, uncertainty, and tension. And we wrestle, and we wrestle, and we wrestle. And God hears us, and knows us, and answers our prayers.

IV.

I didn't realize how much peace I didn't have until I started asking God for peace. And how discontent my heart was until I started asking Him to fill it.

03 July 2011

Remember, prayer, and surrender.

I'm going to be alone, more than I would like. But if I've got to be alone, then I've got to be strong. And I've got to not give up. Even though I am alone, I must always know, that really, I'm not. That's because I've got You here with me, always. And there were people like me, before me, the prophets, and apostles, and missionaries, who had callings like mine--to be alone, more than we would like, and to be strong, and most importantly, to not give up. And even if what we say pushes people away--that is, if we speak the truth and by speaking the truth alienate ourselves--we are not alone, because we've got You, and You've got us, and that is our calling. And even though it would be nice to not be alone, to have someone, to have their support and encouragement, and to always know that they'll be there for us--even though that would be nice, it's not necessary. And You give us what we need, not what we want, and You do it for the good, and not for the nice. So Lord, if I've got to be alone, then help me be strong, and help me to not give up. And remind me always, that You are there, and that really, I'm never alone.

#

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

02 July 2011

Becoming fond of the format.

I'm going to be visiting home in about a month or so. Every time I see my extended family, they always speak their minds. You think you guys have it bad? Some of my family members are the most blunt people you'll ever meet, hahaha,
: Jc, you gain weight.
: Look, you're going bald.
: Your shirt's wrinkled. You look poor.
: You need to shave your beard. You look like terrorist!
And they'll always have some secret family remedy to fix me right up,
: Can you smile? Oh, I know a good dentist who can work on your teeth for you.
: Here, try this horse shampoo. It'll grow back your hair.
: Have you ever thought about joining the Marines? It's not that bad, 12 week boot camp, they'll get you in shape real quick.
But in all my years of being fat, bald, ugly, and poor, I've never had a more funny reaction than from my cousin, around senior year of high school,
: Haha? haHA! haHAhaHA! is that a... MULLET?? Jc, you're growing out a MULLET?! HAHAHA NICE!
I wasn't trying to grow out a mullet. I just hadn't cut my hair in a long, long time, and I guess the back had been growing out faster than the top. Haha, whoops, my bad.

Rango.

R: They used to call you the man with no name.
S: These days they've got a name for just about everything. Doesn't matter what they call you. It's the deeds that make the man.
R: Yeah, but my deeds just made things worse. I'm a fraud. I'm a phony. My friends believed in me, but, they need some kind of hero.
S: Then be a hero.
R: Oh no. No, no, you don't understand. I'm not even suppose to be here.
S: That's right, You came a long way to find something that isn't out here. Don't you see? It's not about you. It's about them.
R: But I can't go back.
S: Don't know that you've got a choice, son. No man can walk out on his own story.

R: Did you just see that?
A: We each see what we need to see. Beautiful, isn't it?
R: Yeah, it is.
A: Come my friend. I want to show you something.

R: No man can walk out on his own story... I'm going back.
A: But why?
R: Because that's who I am.

01 July 2011

Things unsaid.

I have published a total of 247* posts on blogspot. I have 703 unfinished drafts, all of varying substance and quality, and most of which I will never return to or read again. I wonder what value these drafts have, and why I find it nearly impossible to throw them out.

----
*248 if you count this

29 June 2011

1.5 Feet.

That's what they say is the distance between the head and the heart. The Bible makes a parallel distinction between knowing, and tasting and seeing.

I've always known the truth behind Psalm 32,
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
I've always known that it is good to be forgiven, that forgiveness is a gift, that forgiveness is something to be sought after and given away freely, but to taste and see that being forgiven is a blessing? That truth has for a long time been sitting 1.5 feet away.

Forgiveness brings peace, and a deep sense of fulfillment. When we lack that, we're probably lacking forgiveness. When we long for that, we're probably longing for forgiveness. When we feel cursed, it is probably because of our sin and its shameful exposure.

But God is good, and He is quick to forgive us our sin. He is quick to lift the curse which keeps us from Him, by the blood of His own son, and bestow upon us blessing after blessing after blessing,
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
My good friend Piper once said that grace is not just pardon, but power. And because of the power of grace, not only are we forgiven, but we also can forgive.

27 June 2011

Dinner Party Roast.

B: "I once knew a man who left no room for the beautiful things in life (trust, love, forgiveness) because he could not stand the ugly things (hurt, pain, disappointment). That man's name was Jeremy Bentham. Jeremy Bentham everyone!"

Speaking to S.

N: "We have a different kind of self discipline. You have the self discipline to be always doing something. I have the self discipline to know not to."

26 June 2011

The Missing Piece.

The first time I saw jenga pieces, I took them and built things. I thought that was how they were used. I built towers, and bridges, and houses. And then, when they ran out, I thought, wow, what a crappy kit.

Before we had grass in our backyard, we used to make rivers in the mud. We'd wait till it rained, and as water poured down the gutters, we'd redirect it by creating crevices in the earth. We created this entire new world, complete with miniature mountain ranges, intricate canyons, and jenga bridges. It scared the wits out of our parents, and we were in trouble for weeks. But I saw the power of how many tiny forces, with enough time and persistence, could change things. And how that change, many times, was mutual.

I've had trouble interacting socially since I can remember. If reverse engineering means analyzing the ways input is processed by a computer into output without access to the inner workings of the machine--then I've been reverse engineering social interactions since I was a child. I did not come hardwired with an understanding of the social protocol that most people find so easy to adhere to. I did not inherit that innate capacity for cluing in on social nuance that everyone else seems to have. I observed. And I imitated. I carried out the scientific method as best I could--forming hypotheses, conducting experiments, analyzing results. Trial and error were my best childhood friends. And I'll still call them up from time to time to catch up and whatnot.

I work with a startup; me and some friends came together and decided to build iPhone apps and stuff. We want to work with social media, social networking, etc. In a somewhat literal sense, then, I am a social engineer (and no, not the bad political kind). Yet, it is a most ironic title. Our goal is to identify some key human insight and to attempt to address that longing that we all have for something which does not exist, with something that does. If I had a key human insight, it'd be that we're not alone. And an undertaking to bring people together, in substantive, meaningful ways, would be my goal.

24 June 2011

Three lines stick.

I'm in love with this song. The lyrics are brilliant,
Do you love me enough to let me go?
The first and second persons in this sentence are ambiguous. We immediately question, who are they? Who is you? And who is me? Do the two me's point to the same person, or could they be different?

If we take this sentence in light of Jesus's words in Luke 9:23, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." We see a new, nuanced, and complex variety of love that isn't immediately apparent. We see a love dependent on counterintuitive laws--that a person must lose himself to find himself, and that in attempting to hold onto himself, will only lose himself. And we see a love that distances itself in order to bring itself nearer.

And then it comes undone. It ravels apart. And we see: If I loved me enough, I'd let me go. The most selfless thing and the most selfish thing meet at one place--the ends you mean to accomplish while acting in self-interest turn out to be the ends that you actually accomplish when acting in the interest of others.
But every seed dies before it grows
Seeds, and death, and life are a recurring theme in Foreman's writing, an allusion to John 12:24, which itself is an allusion to Christ's death and resurrection. In this line, we encounter the passion of Calvary, the sign of Jonah, and the empty tomb. We discover the cost of discipleship, and the fruit of following Jesus. We glimpse the nature of sanctification, and the birth-pains of righteousness.
Breathe it in and let it go
Every breath you take is not yours to own
Our understanding of property and ownership in today's society is largely socially constructed. Native Americans had no concept of it, and thus, when they were first exposed to it with the arrival of European conquerers were heavily exploited. The Bible tells us a few things about property: (1) We possess both less and more than we think we do, (2) What we have we have received as gifts, and (3) We are stewards of our gifts, appointed by our Master.

One of the ways that God reminds us of these truths is by giving and taking away. The thing that he gives and takes away from us every day, tens of thousands of times a day, is the air we breathe. Every breath we take is not ours to own--but God is bigger than the air we breathe, and He is glorious.

The Hopeless Romantic.

B: "You know what makes me feel hopeless? It's not that I can't be with you. I mean, not being with you makes me feel sad, but that's not what makes me feel hopeless. It's that there's no one else in the world like you. And don't say I haven't looked. I've gone searching. I have 800 friends on Facebook (that's a joke, I'm kidding), but really I can't find a thing. Haven't even found a poor substitute, or some cheap imitation. Being with anyone but you is settling, and that feeling that I'd have on my wedding day, saying I do to a woman who I figured would just do, is unsettling. It's nerve-wracking. It's unacceptable. I won't have it. And so I feel hopeless because you're one of a kind. And what would a one-of-a-kind type-a-person like you want with a good-fer-nothin dime-a-dozen like me? What could I give you that a thousand other guys lining up to die for you wouldn't? I figured it was this speech, and this spiel, but you've heard it all before. In every rom-com, fantasy novel, and fairy tale. So I'll give you my hearts--no really, both of them--and see if you won't care as they tear each other apart. I mean, seriously, that's what's going on inside of me right now. I'm being torn apart, by my own hearts, by not being with you."

23 June 2011

Heirloom.

I can't stomach the thought that we are passing down to the next generation, a country that is less viable, less good, less competitive, less compassionate than the one we got.

-- Jon Hunstaman, former Utah governor and American ambassador to China, explaining why he has chosen to run for president

Running in the rain.

It's refreshing to step back inside, and wipe the water from my glasses.

22 June 2011

δούλος.

This is not a program to salvage the economy. It's a program for pillage before bankruptcy.

-- Alexis Tsipras, of the Left Coalition in Greece, after Prime Minister George Papandreou's government won a crucial confidence vote on Tuesday; the PM has pledged to implement austerity measures in order to secure $17 billion in emergency loans

19 June 2011

The Good Fight.

I believe every person has a life's thesis, a central idea behind all their creative work (from their writing and art, to the way they dress and speak). Each of us has a unique way of looking at the world, our special insight into human nature, a particular approach of coping with the absurdities of life. If I could choose my life's thesis to be anything, I would want it to be the Gospel: the Gospel's transcendence of categories (no longer male vs. female, Greek vs. Jew, slave vs. free, etc), the Gospel's reordering of criteria (that a proper understanding of finding solutions to problems is fundamentally about learning to pose the right questions), and the Gospel's specific, concrete, tangible manifestation in my life story and the life stories of others. A recurring theme in my creative work is alluded to in the titles of my blogs: the war waging within between two persons with different ends. J. C. Ryle elaborates,
True Christianity is a fight... Do we find in our heart a spiritual struggle? Are we conscious of two principles within us, contending for the mastery? (Galatians 5:17) Do we feel anything of war in our inward being? Well, let us thank God for it! It is a good sign. It is strongly probable evidence of the great work of sanctification. Anything is better than apathy, stagnation, deadness, and indifference. We are in a better state than many. The most part of so-called Christians have no feeling at all... I say again, let us take comfort. The children of God have two great marks--they may be known by their inward warfare as well as by their inward peace.
If you asked me to speak on every cryptic poem I've written, every obscure line I've spoken, I would be able to talk for days. But I think, as with many other things, they may sometimes remain better--even clearer--unexplained. That's Abrams' thesis, and I quite like it.

16 June 2011

Heartbreaking.

We wanted this child to have everything ... That's why we poisoned ourselves at this factory. Now it turns out the child is poisoned too.

-- Han Zongyuan, a Chinese factory worker and father of a 3-year-old who has absorbed enough lead to diminish her intellectual capacity; hundreds have been poisoned by emissions from a lead-acid battery factory in Mengxi village

Funny.

A chocolate offering, yamaka wearing, hair curling, Hebrew speaking Jewish man sat next to us while we talked. Hours later, as he was leaving, he told us that I was a sensible man, and asked me what I was. I answered meekly, "I'm just a person." He told me that I should be lecturing someday, that I sounded like a psychologist or a philosopher. I was tempted, but didn't find the courage, to say, "I'm a Christian. I want to be a pastor someday." I almost wish I had.

14 June 2011

Mexican Nonviolence.

From Time:
Mexican media have tried to label the caravan as the beginning of a civil resistance movement; it has even been likened to Mexico's version of the Arab Spring. That would be premature. The numbers at most of the rallies were small compared with the populations of the cities involved and the movement is far from united, with many different elements trying to get their causes on the agenda. Nevertheless, last week, for the first time, the relatives of those killed have been empowered to come out on stage and tell their stories. With elections coming up next year and Calderón having already said an end to the war on drugs is completely out of the question, policy change is unlikely. But the movement has only taken the first steps of what they say will be a long-term struggle to end the violence and the impunity that propagates it. Says LeBaron: "The seeds have been planted in a desert. It's not sure if they'll grow, but if they do, it will be a beautiful thing."
And again,
"The seeds have been planted in a desert. It's not sure if they'll grow, but if they do, it will be a beautiful thing."

I love the dry, subtle humor.

We know that Hosea was married, the father of three children, and well acquainted with agricultural life. From his use of certain striking figures of speech it has been suggested that he was a baker, lived as a farmer on the land, was associated with the priesthood and the sanctuaries, had a strongly developed sex instinct which he vigorously repressed. With the same right we could suggest that he was a lover of the desert and an expert on lions, panthers, and bears.

-- Abraham Joshua Heschel, from The Prophets

Make room on your calendars.

I have booked my flight to Cali, from Aug 17th to Sept 3rd. Also, my birthday lands between those dates. :)

11 June 2011

Pots, and shards, and clay.

t: god is fair
t: you are so intelligent
t: in everything else
t: except love

08 June 2011

There were three men.

Each had a prized possession, something that he treasured.

The first man was a simple man. He hid his treasure behind his clothes in the closet where no one could conceivably get to them. But one day, armed thugs broke into his house, turned the place upside down, and found his treasure. They knew it was a treasure because he so safely secured it. And they took his treasure and sold it on the streets for the price of two pigeons. The simple man was sad to discover his treasure wasn't worth nearly as much as he had hoped, and worse, that he could not even afford to buy his own treasure back because he had sold all he had to get it.

The second man was more clever than the first. He knew not to make a big fuss about his treasure, for surely that would rouse the suspicion of eager thieves. So he took his treasure and left it on the curb in front of his house. He left his treasure among the trash, for he thought, surely, no competent thief would go looking there. Till one day a trash man mistook his treasure for garbage, and threw it in with the rest at the dump. The clever man was upset that someone had treated his treasure with such disregard, and distraught that his treasure tainted was now lost forever.

The last man was neither simple, nor clever, but wise. He had seen enough treasure go to waste--stolen, pillaged, rotted away--to know that none of it would last. No treasure on earth was essential. He had possessions, but he knew that they were gifts, and that he was merely the steward. His real treasure was stored somewhere safe, where no thief could get to it, no thug could tamper with it, and no simple-minded fool would mistake it for anything else but what it was. The wise man kept his treasure in Heaven.

06 June 2011

Heart deactivated.

Ah, that feels much better.

Stray.

I've discovered where I went wrong.

I listened to my heart.

Silly INTJ, don't you know, hearts are for F's.

01 June 2011

Arab Spring.

For me and many others like me here in the square, we are convinced that peaceful means would not work, since they did not work over the last four months. — Ahmed Obadi, a Yemeni protester and teacher, on the demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah Saleh; violence raged on Wednesday
Four months of peaceful protests, and we've given up?

In some sense, the swiftness of seeing tangible results in places like Tunisia, Egypt, and even parts of Libya, is detrimental to a people's understanding of the worldwide struggle for freedom. Take, for example, the African American Civil Rights Movement which lasted from 1955 to 1968. Even keeping in mind the well-known maxim, "Justice delayed in justice denied", the success of the protests and the dignity of its participants was secured not by their obtaining results, but by their sustaining endurance. Again, consider the struggle for freedom from British colonial rule in India led by Gandhi, which began in 1915 and did not end till 1945. The Indian people did not give up after a few months, or a few years, or even two world wars. They endured for decades without giving in to a lust for violence, and although imperfect, they now have the most populous democracy in the world.

These cornerstone examples of nonviolent movements, though absurdly slow, showed the dignity of a people persistent. That a people persists is a sign that they really want democracy, that they are willing to fight for, secure, and sacrifice for the sake of others' well-being, and not just their own. Persistence is a sign of pure motives. I'm afraid, however, that as a people grow discouraged, disheartened, and impatient, their craving for power also grows, and, consequently, their love for freedom diminishes. My prayer is that our friends in the Middle East do not become disillusioned by resistance to the struggle, that they persevere to continue to seek nonviolent, peaceful means of attaining freedom, and that those with voice and that those with power will do all they can within their power to help liberate oppressed people everywhere because, as my good friend King was once fond of saying, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

You have a voice.

Use it.

30 May 2011

Something about that.

I saw a Korean man perform God Bless America with a black electric saxophone on the 6 train today.

29 May 2011

Rock polishing kit.

I used to like this girl in my 9th grade Geometry class. She was the prettiest, smartest girl I ever knew (until I met this other girl in my 10th grade English class, and then, in P.E. after I dropped out of football second semester...). One day, I overheard some of my classmates talking to her, asking who she would like. They pointed to me. A flash of shy hopefulness was soon replaced by horror, as I saw her face twist in disgust,

"Ew, I hate sideburns."

That night I shaved off my sideburns and the next day I strolled into class proud, and, once again, hopeful. During group time she walked over to my desk, and I was elated. My sideburns are gone, I thought, surely she'd like me now.

"John, listen to me. Don't ever change who you are for a girl. Do you hear me? Never change who you are for another person."

"Ok."

A girl like that, strong enough and wise enough to know the power that she held, and that's why I liked her. I told myself from that day forward (because I tend to tell myself things like this) that a girl has to like me first, and then I can change. People wonder why I'm a Snape with my outfits, why I shave my head and grow out my beard. I thought it was obvious. It is tiresome to be always and forever explaining things.

Trade.

There is a certain sense in which you won't get me if you don't get my poetry.


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

Obscure movie quote day.

C: Just because you're beautiful, doesn't mean that you can treat people like they don't matter. I mean, I really like you. Okay? ... I learned French for you!

The hopelessly romantic double-edged sword. You can't convince her to fall out of love, and just the same, you can't convince her to fall into love. All you can do is hope to be on the right side of arbitrary. We confuse desire for ideal, and presumption with destiny.

23 May 2011

Why do I want what I do not want to do?

It's not like I lack heart (I mean, I have two),
but too much heart is one too few.
I'm two parts me, and none parts You.
I do what I do not want because I want what I do.

30

S: All the same. I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.
T: I shall take the heart; for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.

Tin men scare crows.

Some part of me thinks my thoughts are the only thing I have to offer.

Now that I think about it, it's probably my brain.

29

“Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?"

22 May 2011

I have few precious things in life.

All of them are gifts. Most of them are written.

India.

You know what I miss about missions? Hearing the missionaries pray fervently at 5am, and pray for what seemed like hours.

19 May 2011

Hello New York.

We are moving out of our New Haven apartment on Saturday. I am emotionally unprepared for leaving this place. I've been coding all day everyday for the past few weeks. I haven't even had a chance to say my goodbyes.

Perseverance.

"For us to have a chance to win, you cannot afford to get tired." — Erik Spoelstra, head coach of the Miami Heat, to star LeBron James. James scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Heat's 85—75 playoff win over the Chicago Bulls

17 May 2011

Treadmill tears.

I found myself crying while I ran today. I wonder if people could tell. If they could distinguish my tears from my sweat. If they could run litmus paper underneath my path and see the color gradient run red.

I was listening to How He Loves and I realized how much I had forgotten, and how little I knew. I have this problem. It's called sin. And it's insatiable. I have this emptiness that's never filled, and try as I might, I always find myself craving more. It's like drinking coke after a run. It tastes good, but it dries the mouth, and dehydrates the soul. I'm thirsty. I'm parched. And I'm dying.

This is my blog for my honest thoughts. I write in my tumblr for people. I write on my blogspot for me. But whenever I preach, no matter the topic, I'm always preaching to myself. Always, always, always, preaching to myself. God loves me. How could I forget? How could I not know? How could I continue to run, gasping for breath, dying of thirst, and not realize how He is the one who sustains me, fuels me, and drives me. That He is the one who brings me through, delivers me, and makes a way.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
-- Psalm 91:11-13
This speaks about Jesus. But Jesus speaks about us.

I have terrible sins I want to confess. But I know that there's rules about this. Social protocol. Ways to let people know. Wisdom in how to do it. But it's just so hard to know who to tell what and why. I dislike when I hear someone confessing a sin that makes them look good. That small twist and turn that says, "Yeah, I'm bad, but look at how good I am because I know I'm bad." I don't want to be that person. But neither do I want to be the self-pitying monster with the ugly insides. Neither do I want my quiet desperation to overtake and overcome me.

I just want to love, and to be loved. But my love is twisted, ugly, and bad. So, friend, if you've read this far, please pray for me--that I realize that only God loves me this way, that He is all I need, and that I seek, long for and desire None But Jesus.

10 May 2011

Vision trip on hold.

Things will not work out. But that is ok. That is good.

Pray that doors will open up in the Winter, or perhaps next Summer. And that, true to my promise, conviction, and faith, I will go.

Babel.

I've always been fascinated by the idea of language isolates. I wish I had taken more Linguistics classes in college (I only took one on Cryptography). Every so often, usually when I'm high on caffeine, I will peruse wikipedia for information on the theories different scholars have about the origins of language and how that relates to historical migrations of tribes and nations, contact between cultures, and conquering and conquered people groups. I love pouring over world maps depicting the different proposed language groups, their size, population, age, and variation. The theories hold that the more languages there are, the older the group--with the number of languages in certain parts of Africa being in the thousands, while in Central and South America arguably only having maybe 50 to 100 distinct languages.

I am fascinated by the idea of language isolates because languages are so profoundly attached to groups of people that they, like the people who speak life into them, can die. I read an article once about one man's quest to write down and record the speech of the last living native speakers of dying languages--cultures, and peoples. They are the last of their kind. He will have them sing, and dance, and tell their legends. They will explain concepts which have no names in other languages, and distinguish sounds which we cannot hear. With each word is the history of a people, long past, stories untold. I've always felt like one of a kind--I mean, aren't we all? And so the story of being the last of a kind--the final breathing member of a tribe long gone whose glory has long since faded--has always resonated with me. As if I were descended from some great people, and within me slept unbridled, brilliant power just waiting to be woken up...

Doubt demon.

What are you supposed to do to doubts?

08 May 2011

Statistics.

4 months minus 1 week on the east coast
10s of 1000s of lines of code written and rewritten
3 crisis moments where I was about to give up and start from scratch
2 almost confessions of undying love
1 iPhone app about to be released
0 muggings

07 May 2011

Temptation is clanging pots.

Abide, abide, abide. There is music outside.

Vision trip to China?

I haven't wanted something so bad before. Is this what girls feel like shopping for clothes at the mall??

(I'm kidding about that second part. I'm not sexist like DeAngelo.)

06 May 2011

Productivity vs. Happiness.

I should plot them out on a graph. I drank a lot of caffeine this week. I spent nearly every waking hour writing code or thinking about code. I am exhausted in all ways. I wonder when I'll receive my break.

03 May 2011

Time Quote of the Day.

"Bin Laden had religious zeal that we don't have; America has a national spirit, and we don't have that either." -- A Chinese online commentator, writing on Weibo, China's most popular microblogging site, while watching Americans celebrate the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

I am a weak man.

I cry every week I go to meet the homeless.

30 April 2011

Takka Takka.

"Sometimes what you're after is not your fault, because happily ever after is what you're taught."

Fringe.

"This is my favorite time of day. Sunrise. When the world is full of promise."

Think fast

First glance

I hate waiting by the phone
expecting something great to happen
only to receive a notification
that i've been mentioned on twitter
or that someone liked my instagram photo.

Closer look

I hate waiting
for something great to happen.

26 April 2011

One, two, three.

I.

I saw a puzzle piece on the ground today.
Beat up and cardboard.

It waited, alone, like me, to be swept up
in that hallway of ours.
I wondered where it belonged, like me,
as I picked it up, like a giant picks me up.

It's amazing how big things get
once you bring them close.

It's as amazing how small they get
once you let them go.

Its edges frayed,
because that's what edges do.
Its colors faded,
colors do that sometimes too.
I wanted to keep it,
like a pocket keeps a penny,
and a pocket keeps some lint,
and a pocket keeps a pocket keeps a kiss.

But I left it,
because that's what people do.
When you aren't me and I'm not you,
when we're stuck here, not knowing what to do,
we leave our pieces behind
like we leave our pennies places
through the hole in our pockets
and the gaps in our grips
they sink to the floor
like an iceberg struck ship.

So I left that piece there, alone, like me,
in that hallway of ours
to fend for herself
to perplex another stranger
bring him close
drop him off
leave him alone,
to confuse a passerby
with her riddles and problems
with the oh so many ways to solve them
yet without others, she's just funny shaped,
razor sharp, colors fade, edges frayed.

Without others,
she's just beat up and cardboard.

II.

I saw a puzzle piece on the ground today.
Beat up and cardboard.

I saw a woman with a mustache,
dragging her babies,
yelling at faces,
looking places.

The soft note as the ivory hits the hammer
it rings in my ear as the jack slams the sidewalk.
The rhythm and precision of such destructive machines
it's a wonder how much thunder goes into these
how much glory and how much story
you'll find in the macabre, the mundane,
the morbid, and the gory.

With what ease the puzzle fits the piece,
the soft flick of the cardboard against the floor
the soft chew, the gentle breath, the once more.
The rearranging of the pieces, the rotation
and perspectives. the matching of the colors,
and lining of the edges.

Oh, how lost a puzzle can be, if it's missing one piece.
But a piece without a puzzle?
Like a question with no answer
or a dance without her dancer.

III.

Things always seem so much more beautiful
before you examine them.

I saw a puzzle piece on the ground today.

Beat up and cardboard.

25 April 2011

House.

"You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you'll find, you get what you need."

21 April 2011

Slashdot on Medicine.

A: By the way, you do know that Western medicine is not the only medicine in the world, right?
B: There is only one class of medicine in the world, and it is scientific. Your attempt to frame science-based medicine as a racial or cultural property ('Western') lies at the root of your reasoning fallacies: you reinterpret comparisons between industrialized and tribal humans as cultural/racial, regardless of whether race or culture has anything to do with it. The superiority of empirical medicine is not cultural hegemony. The life-saving knowledge of microbe theory and hygiene is not a religious belief that be can relativized with shamanist 'healing.'

Quote.

"People of utmost reason are the least reasonable of all. It is this sad combination of needing reason and having no reason that leads them down mean and destructive paths."

18 April 2011

I am unhappy.

I need someone to preach the good news to me, and to pray for me.

10 April 2011

Gulag.

From the film The Way Back,
Voss: No killing.
Valka: No? I think you've killed before. You say too many prayers for an innocent man.
I'm not done watching yet, but so far it is extraordinary.

09 April 2011

Copper coins.

I leave pennies places I go
On windowsills, and garbage pails
Like breadcrumbs for thieves and breathing for sails

I leave pennies places they don't belong
In cups for suggestions, but only in pairs--
"Did you just see that?" and they left it there

I leave pennies places I miss
Redondo, Ventura, Newport, and Long
The red glow of the clock, the resounding alarm

I leave pennies places I like
Like earmarks in mines, and pushpins on maps
Like the sleeve for a book on its inside flaps

When I feel guilty,

I get the urge to shower.

Sometimes it helps. Most times it doesn't.
There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains,
lose all their guilty stains;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
28

Nothing but the blood...

I must have it.

Researchers have identified variations on two genes which may influence how much caffeine a person consumes.

I've broken my caffeine fast. I had been going strong since November. For those of you who know me best, you know what this means..

03 April 2011

few things i love

autumn leaves, frozen poptarts, $5 subs, and reblogged blogs, words with friends, good conversations, friendly strangers, and strange friends, laptop pillows, big soft blankets, movie nights, and dinner tables, taxi cabs, symmetry, making lists, and madeup startups, apple trailers, contagious laughs, firm handshakes, and introductions, nerdy comics, simple times, solving problems, and small group, catching up, missing friends, making jokes, and storytellings.

Vomit.

It's hard to feel like I am glorifying God in my work. I realized that my soul needs a lot of nurturing. I went through this week trying to grind through work (put my hand to the plow and not look back), but it hit me all at once when I got to the end of the week. I just couldn't do it. I need Jesus, and lots of Him. But I'm not sure how. I feel like I've created a false dichotomy between working and spending time with Jesus. Sometimes I wish I could just pray and read my Bible all day, but I know that God wants me to work, excel at my work, and do it for Him. How, how, how? How can I devote so much time to sitting in front of a computer screen and typing up code that no one will see or appreciate and not spend that time wrapped up in His word, meditating over it, praying to Him, loving Him and His people? I know that if I didn't work, I wouldn't spend all my time fruitfully anyhow, but I almost feel sapped, choked, drained, of creativity, inspiration, and love, when I spend it solving abstract problems on the computer, and not towards knowing and loving my God...

02 April 2011

Cafes and caffeine.

I quit caffeine around Thanksgiving last year. I came to Starbucks today and almost gave into the urge for coffee, tea, anything with a buzz, but I didn't realize how much I would miss the experience of a cafe itself. I haven't really gotten to sit down in a coffee shop or tea house and study and work in quite some time. I miss it. Watching customers walk in and out, observing all different kinds of people, looking out at the city and sky as I work, hearing every possible permutation of an order, listening to Satie, Davis, and Jones. It's been too cold here in New Haven/New York to go out and enjoy the city. But the weather is warming up and I hope to spend a lot more time in public places like this getting work done, and, perhaps, sharing a conversation or two with a stranger :)