This post is only intended for me. It has been truncated purposefully to allow for difficult reading.
Thank for your ignoring it! =)
Worldliness is pervasive, how do you define culture, and the culture of our world? American culture is pervasive, and worldliness is the spirit of that culture, the world that we see around us.
Yet, Jesus gave us a way to combat the world, God’s word, so we are rooted in something that is before the world, and the tradition that ought to stand far above the world.
From the word we know what ought to be praised and rejected from the world. That is specific revelation, and that is how we know what Jesus cares about.
Natural revelation tells us what is life, who am I, what do I desire, why can’t I get it, etc.
People who are of the word will be hated by the world, and God’s word makes you at odds with the world.
Those who try really hard in the world reveal how much they want to be of the world, those try hards reveal who they actually are and what the affections of their heart are.
For a season, in this period of time that we are in the world, Satan is king, and the world is given to the world ruler, and Satan is ruler of this kingdom.
We as Christians are spies in enemy territory, and we are supposed to live like that, act in accordance to that, and be wise, shrewd, and capable spies in that regard.
We are spies that occasionally recognize one another, Christians who occasionally see other Christians living in the world but not of the world.
Jesus said that when I am lifted up, the ruler of this world will be cast out, and Jesus breaks the power of this world and its ruler, but does not take away the status of the ruler.
So Jesus has come, and he is here, but not yet fully to take away Satan and his rule over our world. It’s like DDay;
Although the war was over, and we knew it, there was still a battle to be fought, and we needed to take out a ruler who is Satan, and all the powers of Satan that we deal with is merely his powerful shudder of an already defeated enemy.
Jesus said it this way, that the world has no claim on him, and Satan has no claim on him. Satan gets the world, and gets to be ruler of the world system. The world is his, and it makes sense for Christians to be against the world then.
It makes sense that I would find resistance from being in the world. Because they hated Jesus, they will hate me, and that is the way it will be for a time, when Satan is the ruler of this world and Satan makes the rules.
In the text, Satan has blinded the minds of the unbeliever, and has shaped the minds of people into their own perceptions of what is considered normal and right and acceptable. They twist what is normal, so that our normality is shameful to show.
Why is it so hard? Why is it so difficult to live in this way, to have to go about the world in this way, as in the world but not of the world, and why don’t people see reason, and logic, and find that to be enough to examine the evidence of God?
Why is it embarrassing for us to mention it? Why is it rejected and met with hostility by so many, and why does it seem like a losing battle at times, when ministry is hard, and people do not respond the way we want them to? It is because the ruler of this world is Satan, and all that we do goes against the God of this world who seeks to make our life difficult.
The tactics are the same; mockery and maligning, insecurities, and anti everything that we stand for.
Essentially, anything that is perceived to be higher, is mocked, because they do not think there is anything higher than themselves. They can rest in the commonality of so many in this way, and they can find strength in their numbers in the world.
(SIde note, there are those who say there are more Christians than Atheists, and atheists are the minorities who are oppressed and never given I voice. I say distinction is between those who live as if they are not of the world and those that do, and many people who call themselves Christian would therefore be a part of the majority, and that would make us who try to live in accordance to the teachings of Jesus the truly oppressed minority.)
It makes sense that what I stand for would be hated by the world system. Often I say to myself, who needs this; if I just become a part of the world, and live according to my own fleshly desires, I would feel so much better, be less stressed.
I would have a job I wouldn’t hate, because I would be living it for myself, and my own rationale and purposes. The people at my work would love me, and see me as one of them, as more than just one who does fine work, but as committed.
Yet, what they say is that you seem to be controlled by another power than us, than the company, another force in your life, another ‘God’ and we want no part of that with us.
So they look at you and the world, and see you marching to a different tune than them, so they think, this person is weird, and I don’t want this person to be a part of me, my company, or what I stand for, as they see that we see them as just a job.
Even the way that we live is different; we raise our kids differently, in community instead of a singular family, and everything in our world is already arranged so that for those who try to work around the system, and not with the system, they fail and cannot get ahead. Do I feel this kind of friction? O yes I do. Often I say to myself, if I did not have ministry occupying my life, I would have so much more time, to research people, philosophies, writing techniques, writing jobs, and other ways to make much of who i am. I say to myself, man, money is so hard to get, and I am unhappy because I am living in this way, with people paying for my rent. Forget that, let me just live at home, with family, save money, it’s the same city! I won’t need to be with community, I can just live accordance to myself. While i’m at it, let’s just keep up the pride of my accomplishments, let’s go and become that teacher, and get the approval of students, and take pride that I did something different than others. Let’s be with Meredith, let’s amuse our flesh and minds, let’s give it all up and give in, and just make one another feel good. Let’s please the family by hanging out with them more, doing what they ask of me, or let’s just agree with them about Jesus and not talk about it, because it causes arguments and strife. Let’s give up on family altogether, such a mess, just abandon them and leave them to their own devices, let them kill each other, let’s not care about their eternal souls.
This. would. be. truly. worldly.
The world is hostile towards me, and I live differently than what the world would have me do, and I live differently than what I wish I could allow myself to do. The world is hostile to how I live, and wants to force me to live in accordance to its ways.
So it’s tricky and subtle though. If it was obvious, and the world was a depraved place, of course that would be revealed, and the world would seem very undesirable, and we can see that. But if there is socially acceptable worldliness, then its hard.
As Christians, you can just see God as something you experience a few hours on Sunday, and the rest of the time of your life you can live in accordance to the world, without any friction, without any drama, as the world and Christians all over say.
So then what makes a Christian and a Non-Christian different? Simply because they do something different on Sundays? Otherwise they can share a common status, and share a common level of income, and a common living arrangement?
That is the American dream, isn’t it? To have that life of balance, of the world and God by the hour, and that makes it seem like living a life with the best of both worlds is right and a sign of skill, of a comfortable life and a comfortable afterlife?
This makes no sense. Yet, very quickly, it can seem like it makes perfect sense. That is how our world operates, and we are in the world, so this is what Jesus meant for us to live in the world but not of the world, because of how we live Sundays. (Side note, I think more than the way we spend our time, it’s how we see God’s time, as something unimportant and not central; we center God and fit God into our schedule, we do not fit our schedule around God, because our schedule is our time.
By treating God in this way, we are in fact not treating God as God, but as ourselves as God, and we can somehow use God and what that offers to give us what we want, whether that be the perception of good God-honoring Christians, or heaven.
Separately, this calculating mindset reveals how sin might manifest itself, as we think about how best to utilize our time for Jesus, we can quickly see how that takes Jesus away from the center, as it is “our time” for Jesus, and not His time for Him. The hyper-efficient and time-conscious J, can therefore miss the heart of God entirely, even as they think they are doing it all for God, and doing enough for God, and giving it all for God, and not legalistically treating God’s work as tasks and duties.)
The person who lives this way will be praised for this way of life, and they will receive many things from the world, all the while thinking they have Jesus too. They make it seem like instinct is Godly; the instinct to maximize time to benefit the self.
It’s instinct to please people around you, and they make it seem like if you can please God and the world, then it is worthy of praise. But of course, what is it about Christianity? It is it about pleasing God? No; we are sinners who cannot do so.
So what would this person say about the difference between a Christian and a Non-Christian? They would respond that Christians believe differently, they believe in a personal creator.
You ask them, so okay, then is morality subjective, or are there absolute truths and morality? They would respond, yes I believe in moral truths.
So you ask them, okay so do you believe in an afterlife, or just this one? They would say they believe in an afterlife.
So then the question you ask would be who is Jesus, and they would say, Jesus is Lord and savior.
A person can respond like this, and answer like this, but still be entirely bought into the world system, as they live in the pursuit of glorifying the self, and the well-being of the family.
The same affections of the heart for these people and Non-Christians alike.
So, Do you love the Lord? What is the affection of your heart, Andrew? Is it for her? or is it for Him? What are you anxious about, what concerns you?
The world honors this kind of life that is anxious about what it wants you to be anxious about. The world honors a house swept clean, someone who has everything outwardly handled, and is not wrapped up in debauchery, or uncoolness.
These people could have the right doctrine, and could state it as such, but they are definitely still in the world and are of the world.
Worldliness is loving the world, and the world is very appealing, and very easy to want to love. The world is glorified to be loved, and it is sophisticated, and marveled at, and it is right to place that sort of study, and that sort of desire for the world.
The affections of the heart. So what affects me? What affects my heart, is it her, is it him, is it anything at all? Sure, I can rationalize it and say nothing affects me in the end, but what affects me at first? What pokes at me, nags me, punctures me?
Whoever does the will of God abides forever, so is that what affects me, the love of God? That is what its all about; love. It might sound cheesy to say, but it’s true, that it is all about love, and loving that which is worth loving.
All that is in the world, is met with the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride of life itself. “For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world.”
It follows this sort of progression in people. When we are young, we are just fleshly animals, wanting to be satisfied, wanting our cravings to be met through the world, whether that be through food, or sex, or comfort.
When we get older, we start to see things we want, idolize things we want, and technology, and television, and we want to possess objects of glamor and value in the world.
As we are old, we take pride in our life, our accomplishments, and the ways in which our life turned out better than others, or the life that the world has given to me. It is this sort of life that fits in with the way of the world.
So when we buy into the world, we begin to believe the silly. How can our desire for heaven be fulfilled by human desires, and physical substances? How can drugs deliver us from our desires?
Drugs and our addictions do not deliver as much as it makes us long for more. It is this longing that lies at the heart of our struggles after the desires of the flesh.
Our eyes are so colored by this craving, for things int he world, far more than a sexual craving, because more than that, the body wants comfort.
Which is ironic, because if the body craves comfort, at what point will they be most comfortable? In a coffin. People unwittingly desire death if they desire comfort. Life to them is merely to be depraved, or to engage in non-life as a kind of comfort.
To party hard, or to veg. This life of mediated comfort is simply worldliness. That is what we think of as desirable, when we think of people who have an easy life, the capacity to do both of those things.
We have a desire for beauty, the shiny, the glamor of consumer goods. If that is our chief preoccupation, external beauty, then we look for that in people, human beauty, and we feed the desires of our eyes, and we long to possess them as objects.
More than the visible, we have the desires of our imagination, the eyes of the mind, as we see the life we could have, the stuff we could have that money can buy, as we fantasize with darkened eyes, about the future that fits in with our comfort.
So for me, as I lift up my eyes, what do I fixate on? What do I see that I want for myself? The eyes of my heart, what are they looking at?
Above all, we are dutiful people, who come to church, and at our church, do a lot for church. Yet, it is not about duty. It is about God. Where are the eyes of my heart wandering towards? What do I feast upon, as the life that I desire?
If I desire an easy Christian life, then it has everything to do with comfort, nothing to do with sacrifice, and nothing to do with God.
If you obsess over things that have nothing to do with God, then that is the obsession regarding the pride of life. Achievements, glorify, and to be the one who is praised, even in the works we do in the name of God.
To be very productive and generative in this way, to plan your life and organize your life and construct your life to fulfill the imagination of your darkened eyes, is to pretend that you have achieved something more awesome than you think.
Are you awesome? Are any of us awesome? Do I have the pride of life in me, and do I rely on things i’ve done to defend how awesome I am?
Our identities as Christians cannot be based on stuff of the world, on achievements, as we are not made of just stuff.
The one who should open his life to Christ cannot do so, because they are wrapped up in the pride of life, with the invictus of their own abilities, and the power they see in themselves as the top of the world.
The scientific mind would be one who would consider the claims of God, but arguably what keeps them from doing so is not the problem with religion, but their own sense of self-sufficiency.
They are offended by God, because God offends their perceptions of their world and what they think matters. The maddens of that; how God offends us? He’s God, we’re human! The only way it makes sense for them is to say that I am a God too.
So we’re Loki from the Avengers. Master of my own fate, Captain of my soul.
Worldliness is complicated, which is why many churches don’t preach against it to their congregation of ‘Christians’ It seems to follow a warped logic of God created the senses, so why is it wrong to please our senses and sensual pleasures? When would it ever be wrong to please our senses, when would we be wrong to use the world to please ourselves? What captures people? What is the affections of the heart? What is wrong with this way of living for a Christian?
These are questions that never get asked, and we just take it for granted that things are just the way they are.
So none of these things are sinful, having nice things, or being comfortable. It’s not a sin to be rich, it’s not a sin to sleep. Because of this, worldliness can creep in when you least expect it.
That’s why you need someone who can love you very specifically, to cautiously see your life, examine your life, to speak to worldliness if they see it in your life.
Stuff is stuff, food is good, gluttony is bad. Fear of not having the amount we crave and the amount we are accustomed to, is what keeps us worldly.
So what is it that I crave more of, and how do I think of God that allows me to give in to those cravings? Is God merely an input–> output engine, where I give God my time, energy, money, and he gives me community, comfort, and heaven?
Do I have a love of the Father, or a love for what the Father can give me? God gives good things, and is the giver of all good things, but if I have money and I say I do things in the name of stewardship of my money, that is what lies to Christians. It is proper stewardship to horde my money, as God gave it to me to protect myself from financial harm. It is proper stewardship to focus on getting more money, and doing what it takes to get the next promotion, and the next level of income. It is proper stewardship to show my wealth to impress others, so that they can believe in God too, because I am rich and can say I am rich for God. Total Absurdity.
The love of the father is not in such a person who says such things. Love is supposed to grow, and just as the love I have for my friends have grown, the love for the new things then becomes more loving towards those things.
My love for Jesus and God grows and ought to grow; it is not supposed to grow cold. I am called to have love for this world, because Jesus’ words say the people in this world are in need of love, for they love stuff and not God.
Do not love the world, or the goods, or the salary, because those things are merely tools, used to win souls for the kingdom of heaven. Do not get enamored by tools instead of what the tools can do for the kingdom.
The world is passing away, and the desires pass too, but those who abide with Jesus, remain forever. So, I am to do the will of God. So if we believe Jesus, why we build our life upon stuff, if eternities of people, and souls of people are at stake?
All of that is the passing away of stuff, but in Jesus we have the abiding of the eternal. It is therefore really good news, and therefore incredibly desirable, and rational, and right, but the world has the power in numbers, and people take its comfort.
Argumentation therefore does not work on madness, as people can’t help what they love. Yet, friendship with the world is enmity with God, God wants to be our heavenly Father, and here we are giving other things authority in our lives instead.
Jesus says that he has given us God’s name. What is God’s name to Jesus? it’s Father. No one else in history has taught this way, so personally, no rabbi has ever called God ‘daddy.’ That is where Jesus’ source of strength lies, his identity.
Jesus says that everyone will leave him, all his disciples will leave him, but that’s okay, because Jesus is not alone, his father is with him. That’s why he can instead comfort us with his words, even though he knows he is the one who will go through extreme discomfort. He says to us, “in the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
God wants to be God, our heavenly father wants to be our heavenly father. This is why when we love the world, things that are not Him, and are not worthy of those who are of Him, God is rightfully angry, and we see the harsh justice of God in OT. The chief problem is that they didn’t look to God as their savior, they looked for other things to save them instead, other Gods, authorities, philosophies. Let the world offer whatever, to dwell in the tents of the wicked would be to be a friend of the world, and therefore it would be enmity with God.
But how do you call someone on this, and say, hey, I think you’re being too worldly of a Christian. You can’t! How do you know this perfectly in yourself? You don’t! THe only thing you can do, and the right thing that you should do, is to doubt yourself. It is right to say, O Lord, search my heart and know me O God, because I do not know myself as you do. Is this cynicism, or is it merely a recognition of how in this world, this is the caution that we must take, as we are behind enemy lines?
So Godliness with contentment is great gain, but those who desire to be rich fall into temptation into a snare into many senseless and harmful desire that plunge people into ruin and destruction. How baffling is this, that we live this way?
So, we’re not talking about those who desire to be rich so that they cheat people with pyramid schemes or overt thievery, we’re talking about people who devote their life to their jobs, and do what is senseless in order to get the comfort of stuff.
Don’t argue with the word of God, don’t desire to be rich. But who doesn’t desire to be rich? Everyone desires to be rich, even though we might rightfully condemn it in ourselves afterwards. Initially, we definitely desire to be rich.
How do we combat this desire? By desiring other things, and by desiring to be rich towards God and people. Then you can say, man, it would be nice to be rich, but at least i’m not occupied by temptation for riches, or caught up in a snare for it. There are many people in our world, older people, who have lived as the world demanded, and found it lacking. Yet they have more money than they know what to do with. Slowly they despise the world a little less, and they began to love it more.
That makes sense to love money, because the opposite makes no sense. Of course you would desire money, it would seem wrong to desire poverty! Who says to themselves, I want to be poor? So what then is at the heart of my desires?
What does not make sense to the world, and what am I finding friction in as a result of living differently than the world would have me live? There are those who call themselves Christian but then drift away from the faith, oftentimes due to the world.
So as I think about God, and his Word, I am blessed by God and his word, and I find joy in adjusting my life to the will of God. I would therefore find it a pure joy to be grateful for people who become Christian, and enamored of people to be saved.
If I lack this, then could it be that i’ve allowed the world to encroach upon my own life? “Check yourself before you break yourself.” Do we grow cold towards God when we grow warm towards the world?
Maybe i’m tired. I might just want autonomy. My heart wanders, and it grows in affection for things that are not God or God-honoring. My theology might be right, but my heart might be given over into the world.
Eventually, if i’m not careful, I might forget what I know through theology. Will the claims of the world overtake my reasonable faith? That is the concern. That is why we need daily reminders, to stop and smell the roses, or in this case, the stench of the world. Stop and smell the world. Sniff it out. How does it smell? Don’t let it go without passing under your scrutiny. Examine it, question it, dissect it, define it. Break it down, before it breaks you.
That is how to be a true rebel, and to be true to yourself, instead of merely a rebel without a cause, and still being a part of the world.
DT helps with those daily reminders, but not if it becomes a ritual.
We need to read the word of God with the desire to affirm truth, in the midst of lies.
We need to see it as the antidote, for the poison that we take in.
We need to see it as the lifesaver, in the sea of confusion and irrationality.
Each day, we read the word, and go back to basics. What is life? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? As far as we know, nothing else in our world happens from nothing. Why would I live thinking our world happened from nothing, and natural stuff caused more natural stuff? Why would I choose to live irrationally in this way, in accordance to dumb things said by smart people, something as dumb as our world having caused itself? If we have something rather than nothing, what caused this something? What are the characteristics that this something must have, in order to cause our universe? What word would we call something with those characteristics? Okay so once you get to that point, what does this something want from us? What is it about us that doesn’t feel right? Why is there suffering in this world? Why do we want a world without suffering? Why do we see suffering as bad? If suffering is bad, then what is Good? Why do we all universally have a concept of what good and bad are, or what right and wrong is? Why do we cry at funerals? Why do we dislike separation? Why do we crave security? What security is there really in what we hold on to? Why does this world seem to offer so little when we want so much more? Why do we like music? Why are we sad when a song ends? What is it about the song that resonates with us? What is it about us that we all resonate with? What is love? How do we know we are loved? How do we know for sure? Why do some people start out thinking they love someone, and then regret it later? What is it that they love about love? Are there different forms of love? What is the most universal form? How do we communicate that love? What gets in the way of love? What do I do if someone doesn’t love me back? How do I love people if they hate what I might love? Am I to love when it is easy, or also love when it is hard? Why is it so hard in this world?
What would make living in this world easier? Should I aim to live an easy life? What is the cost of living an easy life? Why would I want to have an easy life? What are the characteristics of those who have an easy life? Are they happy? Am I?
A human who asks these questions would go far towards getting at the truth, and the truth will set them free. Arguably.
So, we need daily reminders, daily DTs, to affirm what is true, because everything else in the world affirms otherwise and affirms against the logical progression to these questions.
We need to have a clear renunciation of money, of worldliness, of anything that seeks to capture our hearts, and oftentimes it is through money. So what clear thing needs to be done, in my own life, that declares this to myself?
Am I laying up treasures on Earth or treasures in heaven? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Jesus said not do love money. It’s quite clear. What does it look like to love money, and why would someone love it? Why is it wrong?
Yet of course, concrete specifics does not show it in the heart. You could give a lot externally, to visibly not be gripped by money, yet inwardly still have it grip onto you, and cling on to your desires.
Jesus said do not love money, which is separate from those who simply have money. What does he say for them? As for the rich, charge them not to be haughty with their money, rely on God, and not on the money or stuff.
Take hold of that which truly abides forever. So, what is it in my own life that needs to be clarified in this way?
Jesus also said that we may be sanctified in the truth, and that God’s word is truth. How would I use the word to sanctify me, the clarify my position, and purify my desires?
This is the situation that we are placed in. We are deliberately sent into the world, for a purpose. It is not merely to be in the world but rejecting everything that the world has to offer, as a philosopher might, or an aesthete or an artist might.
How do I remain unsullied by the world? By being true to my identity, as spies, as one who is to infiltrate the world, and wrestle people out of from the grip of the world. Man, this is clarifying for my own approach with regards to my job search.
I am to become and remain an alternative to the world and its ways, so that when people, in their more honest moments, oppose the world, I can shed some light onto what the world is, and why we want more than what this world has to offer.
True Art, True Joy, True Love, and True Life.
Loving the people of the world, but hating the world and all that it stands for. Let me equip myself with the Word, to handle myself in the world.
Humble myself, for God gives grace to the humble. The proud will be opposed, and then we will be humbled.
God I don’t want to be worldly, I want to be more like you Jesus, and allow the word of God to be the word I live by.
In this world I will have tribulation, but in everything like those tribulations, I can therefore take heart, for you have overcome the world.
(Side Note, No Gods, no masters. Fight Club – The things we own end up owning us. So what is it that we own? We’re certainly not mainstream, not religious, not buying into the lies of the media. What do we own? We own our names, our identities, our causes, our sources of significance. Our hipster labels, our brands, our customs, or desires, and as we cater to those things, they end up owning us, and we end up worshipping that as our gods, instead of thinking we are godless.)
Hi! I have returned to the world of writing. I think this will be very good for me, seeing as how I have neglected this part of my soul for far too long. If there’s anyone out there still reading this, hello again! That’s a picture of me on the beach.. I finally got a chance to walk those sands again and clear my head. =) The view was incredible.
The photos definitely didn’t do it justice. Anyway, just wanted to put in this filler post while I go off to a DanaHouse Dinner. Look forward to many more posts of a philosophical nature to come! Oh, also, I got a brand new theme! I like this one a bit more; it’s slightly more minimal, but it has a brighter outlook than my previous one! Okay, that’s all for now, talk soon!
Was feeling inspired. =) Didn’t even add about what happened today, felt discouraged cause I missed this opportunity to talk to guy who was looking for a church, discouraged cause of rejected flyers, but then, turns out the guy I flyered to, Lily’s friend, felt bad about rejecting my flyer, because I was so personal and kind, so kind that he was willing to come out to a2f on friday, to see what it’s all about. =) God of the unexpected.
When I was younger, my parents took me and my sister to church. My parents wanted us to go to church so that we would learn how to be good obedient little children. The whole time that I was there, I didn’t learn anything about what Christianity was really about. It was a good church, but I wasn’t a good attendee, and never really paid attention, and instead, I would always fall asleep during Sunday services or just go to the fun stuff and then leave before service. As I got a bit older, I began trying to see Christianity in a negative light. All around me, all the Christians around me seemed to all be disingenuous, assumed them to all be doing things for the wrong reasons, in the sense that I thought the things that Christians do they do because they fear God, and they are merely obedient out of fear, without any genuine compassion for the good things they might do for broken people. I thought that Christians were lied to, and did things based upon lies, as I thought that doing good things won’t bring salvation. They thought that doing good things would bring them salvation. I though that Christians never thought for themselves, and they only did things because other people told them to, because God told them to, and in this way, I thought that Christians were stupid in not thinking for themselves. I thought that Christians were people who never thought for themselves and the only reason they did good things for others was because they feel bad that they made Jesus die for them on the cross. I thought that Christians were people who were futilely trying to repay their debt of Jesus dying on the cross, and that it was all a sort of transaction, and the broken people were just the people stuck in the middle as I thought they only viewed people as a way into getting into the good graces of God. I thought Christians only pretended to show compassion so that God could save them. That is not to say that the Christians I grew up with were this way, merely that I was looking for a way to see them in a negative light. Ironically, I was the one who didn’t think for myself, because I just believed in what my parents told me, about church, and how it was just a place to learn how to be good. Well, being good was easy, being good for the right reasons is hard. And so, I never thought that Church would be able to teach being good for the right reasons. And so, after concluding this, prematurely for myself, I decided to leave at the age of 11, and go out and explore the different ideas and worldviews the world had to offer. I settled on Agnosticism, the in between, not saying there is a god, not saying there isn’t. I thought this would be the most amicable way so as not to alienate or harm anyone, or insult anyone. I didn’t know that God had other plans for me. Although I claimed to be agnostic, I always knew that there was something weird about the way in which my life worked. Something weird about how the things I go through end up benefiting me in the end, end up being for my good. I had just attributed this as me just learning from my mistakes or seeing the good in everything, in a positive light. I thought it came from me, this ability, to see the world merely through rose colored glasses, and beauty in the world.
Emotional Distance. After I concluded that a God who only wanted actions without the heart, after I concluded that God was a bad thing for people, after I concluded that God taught people to do good things for bad reasons, I began to be proud in thinking for myself. NO longer did my parents dictate what was good, bad, right, wrong, what to do, what not to do. I would stay out late at night, get into all sorts of trouble, dealing with cops and drugs and stupid things that I thought made me better, more intelligent, and more enlightened than anybody else. The crowd I hung out with was never delinquent, they were the smart kids who also occasionally smoked weed, the smart kids who I thought had it all figured it out. And so in joining them I thought I had it all figured out. There was completed, but such things never satisfied. I didn’t know it at the time, but the drugs were merely numbing the thing that I didn’t want to feel, which was my general unease at the world and the utter dissatisfaction in the way my life had turned out, my dissatisfaction in the way that this world is, without any true joy. I remember I would drown myself in the media and television, watching endless hours of cartoons, playing endless hours of videogames, I remember thinking to myself one Saturday, after all the cartoons had ended, man, Saturdays are boring without tv. Without tv, life felt empty, and once I realized that my life could only be filled by tv, I felt empty. But It was all I had, so I just kept it up. Eventually though, tv wasn’t enough. I began looking for other ways to feel fulfilled and false joys to feel satisfied. I found pornography to be another false source of freedom, a way to do what I wanted and to feel something, while at the same time, to numb, and to make me feel fulfilled, I turned to pornography as a way to stimulate and imitate the feeling I was searching for. These false joys were never true. Yet, I never saw them as false joys, if anything, I felt that my joys were better than the things that other people chased after. I arrogantly looked down on people who found significance in money, because money just came from parents, and nothing good comes from parents, so, they must just be deluded by the money. I saw grades in the same way, people who cared so much about grades, enough to hang out after class to hang out after class to talk to the teacher, that’s just trying too hard and being desperate, and having it own you. I thought I was so great not having an owner, no God, no masters. When I viewed people in this way, I didn’t let them know that I felt this way, I hated, inside my heart, and I just closed it off, thinking that this is just the way the world is, a world that believes in falsehoods, a world that can only have this temporary joy and temporary feeling. And so, resigned to this conclusion, I began to view people with what they thought was compassion. The person with money, I saw them as the victim of money, as I viewed people as victims of this world. While that is true, the way in which I thought this, viewed this, or expressed this, was only intellectual. I looked down on people who were in relationships because I thought they were just lying to the other, and I was very cynical, and I thought that being cynical was very honest, I thought that being cynical is how you realize that there is a world in need of compassion, and how being a cynic is how someone becomes compassionate. Cynicism is just one of the things that I experienced during … I began to do this thing where I explained the world around me. In my quest to find all the answers, after thinking that God wasn’t the answer, I began to try to explain everything about the world around me. Why do people chase after money, I explained people as if they are trying to get happy, with something that won’t make them happy. I didn’t view the tragedy of this, and merely really explained the reasoning for this. I explained that people chased after love, because they were craving attention, and explained that there is a reason for us, a desire to be cared for, and to have someone attend to us in this manner. I reasoned that idea, and I looked down on people who chased after money, love, and grades. I thought myself so much better, so much more enlightened because I gave money to the poor, volunteered in the red cross, getting A’s in papers and tossing them in the trash, and by having other people like me, but never showing that I liked them back. Alexa. With my pride, I elevated myself and distanced myself from these average people who just did as they were taught, and just did as they were told. But someone taught them to follow money, their parents get a good job, get good grades, taught them that love was the answer, Disney movies, and I figured, I was taught that too, but I chose not to do things that I were taught. That act of rebellion was where I figured I was so much better than those who fell to the convincing things of this world. By thinking that I was so much better, I thought that I wasn’t being fooled myself. By distancing myself from all these people, that I just thought was stupid, gullible, and foolish. I failed to interact with any person on any true, heart to heart level. A friend of mine once told me, that I’m not a good friend, because in our friendship, they thought that they cared more about me more than I cared about them. And it’s not even about refuising this, like what are you saying, of course I care, I care so much, I take so much time, I try so hard to listen and say something to make it right, and I was there, but that was the problem. I would say it, I would convey it, know it, reason it, explain it, but I never expressed it. Sympathy was all I could offer. I never put myself in anybody’s shoes and empathize with their pain, because I thought that pain was an emotional, unnecessary thing, unnecessary motivation, that I thought led Christians to do good things in this world for God who they felt guilty, had to die for them on the cross.
- I looked down on people who tried to get good grades, who chased after money, chased after love. I thought that those things were stupid, and stupid people fell for them. I figured I was so cool, cause even though I could become like them, I am smart enough to get that grade, I could try to be that lawyer, that thing that parents wanted me to be, I figured I had so much power, if I refused what I was capable of doing and getting. Which is why I did stupid, self-glorifying things like rejecting someone who asked me out. Getting an A on a paper, then throwing it away, and instead have a friend of mine get curious, dig it out of the trash, and confront me about it. I thought that this was a good thing, that I wasn’t a slave to the world, and sure, it is a good thing, problem was, not thinking I was a slave to the world, made me unable to see that I was a slave to the world. I was a slave to my own pride, I wanted to feel so good, so much better, and so much more different than others, I wanted to be seen in that rebellious light. This led me to see others in this bitter resentful light, and I thought that this was what compassion was, where I needed to step in and intervene and teach the world that they’ve been fooled, by religion, by parents, by money, by love. And so, that’s what I did, I taught, I aspired to be a teacher so that I could change the world one child at a time. And change them so that they would be like me, and learn to think for themselves, instead of just believing what others told them was true. Flash forward to college, but first, and by having this desire to change the world, I began to be seen as a nice guy, as a guy w ho wanted to rid the world of something bad, and that was my title, I was the nice guy, and I had the shirt to prove it. I was the guy who held doors for everybody, gave money to the poor, even though he didn’t have that much, and it was his parents money, the guy who would be the shoulder to cry on, who would spend late nights listening to people’s troubles and not write papers that were due the next day, spending the night staying awake with parents who were yelling who wouldn’t bother going to sleep, who would skip school to make sure his dad came back from jail, and I thought I was so good for taking on so much stuff. I thought I was so much better than other people who were wrapped up in their own thing, their stupid love, their stupid money-seeking, their stupid searching for fulfillment in all the wrong things. I thought I had compassion on these people, and that I was doing the right thing. People would pinch my cheeks and say I was a good kid, my grandmother would say I’m the nice one, Kwai Jai, Ge doi hoe gwai, obedient, and it was this title that gave me all the power, because them thinking I was something and me knowing I was something else, I had the power of truth, and I could use it to lie to them, and not tell them, that all the things I did, it was not because I was obeying them, but because I was doing what I wanted to do, choosing to be good, choosing to be compassionate, and not really doing it out of a parental love, or a familial niceness, or learned value. Derived, addiction to what such joy must do or bring, no, it was just so that I could do the right thing. So mch pride in that notion. So much arrogance in receiving praise from others. Flashforward, to college, By not caring about grades, I ended up doing very poorly in high school, ended up getting a 1.9 gpa, had to take classes after to get a diploma, and I got it a few months after the rest of my friend graduated. With that diploma, I wanted a fresh start, I figured, you know, now that I know that I am really that kind of guy who thought for himself who would be so true to his values that he would be willing to sacrifice his grades to keep the integrity of doing the right things for the right reasons, now I would be the guy who could play the game for the right reasons, the guy who could get the grade, and not care about it, the guy who could chase after money, and not care about it. The guy who could love somebody, and not care about her. My life freshman year, was centered around not caring, not caring about. Well no, my life was centered around so much more, but it was a miserable way to live. Freshman year in college, I thought that there was only one way to really make my life different and better than all the rest, and that was to be the very best at being the very best at being the very least in my profession, and I figured that teaching would fit that bill. And so, I ended up being an English major, ended up wanting to be an English teacher, and not wanting very much else in the process. My reasoning for being a teacher was that I could change the world one child at a time, and teach people to think for themselves, beyond religion, money, family, success, which lies to them, and tells them things they want, as if they were things they thought they needed. Some of my mottos became, there is nothing that you need, only that which you want, nothing is certain, or the thing that I would say to my mother is that, sai gai mo yut ding, this world has nothing mandatory/permanent. My life was characterized by this ambivalence and ambiguity with my parents, Everything was just a possibility, just a matter of circumstance. Because I had to explain that to the rest, I explained that, to myself, about the rest of the world that I saw this is because of this, because of it. I explained everything fullness For example, money, is the thing that lies to people, and tells them that it is the thing they need. So People who would chase after money, are more willing to do things like cheat to get what they need, or think they need. My explanation, my rationale, what I thought was good intellect, would say that bad things done for good reasons make those bad things not quite so bad. So the bad thing like cheating done merely because they were a victim of money makes cheating not so bad. People are victims, instead of being victims, I had this prideful way of looking at people, Seeing people as victims is already a prideful way to see people, but seeing that people are victims, and thinking that you had the capability to fix them, that’s pride on a whole other level. I wanted to be the fixer. I wanted to think of myself as capable of such a feat. And I was dedicated to doing just that, no matter what. And for my own reasons, on my own terms, I wanted to fix what I saw was a problem with the world. I graduated just barely getting my diploma, wanted to become a teacher, wanted to get good grades, went to BCC, was on my way to doing just that, was in FInanical aid line one time, saw a girl named Jessie there. Turns out, she was the roommate of Vivian, Pearl, and Emily, all currently serving in different ministry groups. When I met them, they asked me, about my life, about my background, whether or not I went to Church before, I told them, I used to go to this church in Chinatown, called CCUMC, but I mainly thought of it as a daycare, as a thing to do because of my parents. They asked me did I know Wesley Lau, and I was like O yeah, I knew Wesley, he was one of these guys that I thought of as a role model. I figured, hey, maybe It’d be cool to see him again. And so, I went out to Friday Bible Study one night, and saw Pastor Daniel giving a message. I sat down, listened to the message, and afterwards, as response sheets were passed out, I saw Wesley turn around, pass me a response sheet, and turn back around. Then he did a doubletake as he turned around slowly, and saw that it was me, and his eyes widened, and his face broken into a smile, and said “Andy!” and I was like “Wes!” and then we saw each other again after 7 years or so and it was awesome and we hugged and yeah, it was cool. After that day, I was just so floored by the different Christians, so floored by how Christians seemed from my own invention of them, people who would open up their lives and homes and treat us to dinners and events. These people who would show genuine love, these were the people who I couldn’t find a fault in, or rather, these were the people who I couldn’t fully explained, as I could explain everybody else. At least, not with further information. So that’s what I did, I took course 101 with Joe Song. That was an incredible experience where I learned all the things that were in my own head, my own issues against Christianity, were torn down. The main issue I had was for Christians who only did good things because they felt guilty for making Christ die for them on the cross. My assumption was that Christians lived the way they do in an emotional guilt-driven life that led them to show a semblance of compassion, and commit those seemingly compassionate acts out of guilt. Course101 helped me realize that there’s nothing that a Christian can do to repay that grace. A Christian knows that the guilt can’t be absolved, and the death of Jesus on the cross is something that Christians can only receive, and it’s something that Christians cannot do to earn that gift. Which is why, in my mind, Christians were no longer people who were showing off their good deeds to God, no longer were Christians people who showed off their good deeds to God who died for them, but no, Christians were people who wanted to be a good witness to the Gospel, the good news that Jesus is where the goodness of Christians come from, and Christians were really people who wanted to take God’s words to heart when he said “Love one another, just as I have loved you.” Those were the Christians that made up my new worldview. And Course101 also led me to CS Lewis, and his quote which says that if I have a desire which n othing in this world can satisify, the most logical explanation was that I was made for another world. That desire, was a desire of wanting a joy that lasted beyond one Saturday morning, a joy that lasted beyond getting high, and a joy that lasted beyond feeling as if I was better than other people. The desire that I wanted was a more permanent joy, a joy that could not have come from here, a joy that hints that I was not made for this world. And so, with that in mind, during the first day of passion week, I got to see what Jesus went through in his days leading up to the cross and I got to see what people went through as they interacted with Jesus right before his death. The character of Pontius Pilate called out to me, as I found myself being the one who said, I wash my hands clean of these people, than these people who chased after money and love and dreams, to think that I could feel so absolved of guilt just as much as Pilate thought he could absolve his own guilt of sending Jesus to die on the cross. I knew that I was a sinner, and I knew that my pride, had damaged all the relationships in my life, and kept me from having anything beyond my limited worldview, and kept me from doing anything besides explaining the world around me. So, I had already intellectually torn down my previous assumptions about Christianity, all that was left, or so I thought, was to make a decision as to whether or not I would call jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Afterwards, David Dip met up with me to eat dimsum to congratulate me, and it was there that he called me a Baby Christian. I remember feeling a little insulted, but he was so right, because I had so much more to grow up in. At the time, I did not quite know how significant that decision was or what it would entail, and it wasn’t until This past winter retreat that I learned so much more, and realized that there was still so much more to go. This past winter retreat, I was deeply struck of people who God used, despite their troubled pasts, and what it was that allowed them to move past their past, and gain a true understanding of love and grace, of relationships with trust and love among peers. I thought that Christianity could be fully explained, but some things are beyond explanation, and God wouldn’t be God if I could explain him, and trying to explain everything made me miserable, and a liar, as if I could capture the truth with my explanations. Without truth, I could not have trust in my relationships. I wanted to be a teacher, and how, teaching was, at that time, During that time at Winter Retreat, I saw how God can only use people after they had allowed themselves to be vulnerable and put themselves in positions where they were desperately clinging to the cross. I was never in that position, because I could always endure and handle everything that came my way, every pain that might result I felt proud to be able to take on all those tasks, pains in serving God dutifully. Pride in toiling for the Gospel. Pain in dealing with parents who loved, but never seemed to care enough to change, who would love, but never seem to care for me enough to yell a little less. I realized that by not letting people know about this past, by not expressing this past, and my pain regarding it, by not feeling my past, and instead, hiding it by explaining it, that they are the way they are because of their upbringing, explaining is just genetics, just the nurturing of their poor farmer parents and this is just explaining away the pain, and this made the pain more bearable, but less of a thing that I could learn from, and less of a thing that God could use. Not only that, but it made me miserable, both to my peers and to my leaders, because by wanting to explain pain but not experience it, my peers could never really relate to me on a deeper heart to heart level and my leaders could never speak truth into my life. Truth was merely a possibility that could be seen and reasoned from the things that I could explain, and contrive to be the case. I began thinking to myself, why did I crave explaining so much? It is because by explaining, I could say, I had it all figured out, I have the answers when these people don’t, I could take pride in having it all figured out, as opposed to those who didn’t. Maybe I cared so much for explaining because if I could explain then I didn’t have to express the pain I felt, if I could explain, I didn’t have to feel, because I thought that emotions were bad and feelings were bad that just lied to you and had no benefit. Why would I care so much about explaining, it’s because I figured that in order to show somebody that you learned something, you have to teach it, I took this to heart, so I thought, the only way to grow, is to teach, but recently I learned that this was wrong. It set me up to be a know it all, someone who set things up in a way as if he could teach everything about the world, as if there isn’t anything more to learn, and this made me a nuisance to my peers who could never see me as their brother, my leader who could never speak truth into my life, who could never teach me anything, because I thought I knew everything. Finally, explaining away things, which I do so often, is the only way that I can express myself. It has made me say things callously without thinking about what it might mean to the people that I’m saying these things to. For example, explaining to my parents the origin of how parents who loved me, but didn’t care for me, I failed to realize that I care about what reaction my peer might have to this possibility. To me, it’s just an explanation, just a hunch, just a question, but to others, it’s an accusation, a truth claim, a doubting of a parent’s love for the son. A question such as this is an unloving one to make. I learned that the things that I say should not be a possible explanation, but a true expression of how I feel. I’m working on it. It’s hard, but day by day, I learn that God works in unexpected ways, when I allowed myself to be opened, not jus tin my mind, but also in my heart. When I allowed myself to be humbled, desperate, dependent, clinging to the cross, everyday, as I think to myself, O Lord, you know, I can be honest, you see me O Lord, I don’t have to pretend, I don’t have to mask my feelings, hide my feelings. I can be vulnerable around you, around me peers. And so, that’s what I’ve been experiencing, getting a chance to flyer and do Soularium, to be vulnerable and facing my fears, and placing my trust and faith in God who is sufficient, and who’s sufficiency I draw my worth from, not in anything I do Lord for I can do nothing without the Lord and it is only when I humble myself, and down and discouraged, that I feel desperate, like a failure, that God is using me to make something happen. I experienced this with Kalvin. When I met Kalvin, I woke up in the morning and I got a text from Kenny Choi, telling me that I should hold off on getting baptized, since I made my Lordship decision and should include that in my testimony. I remember being so discouraged, and also around this time I lost contact with someone I wanted to do Course101 with, and I began to experience fears and anxiety about this situation. I thought to myself, man, I’m an English major, I should be good with words and should be able to write my testimony by now, and man, how could I possibly present Course101 to Hashy, I’m so incompetent, can’t even get my own act together. How could God ever use me to present spiritual surveys, eat with random strangers at the dining commons, or pass out flyers to strangers on sproul? Grades were an anxiety as well as some of my grades didn’t show up on my transcript yet. Overall, I was feeling like a complete failure, so low that I wanted to hide and get away. I made up a lie, saying I was meeting up with a friend, and went out, planning to just grab some food and go mope by myself. God had other plans. After I picked up my food, I saw this guy sitting there, alone, eating right outside Bear Ramen. Eating with a random stranger was the last thing on my mind, as all I wanted was to be alone. Yet, I thought to myself, why not, might as well just trust in God and see what happens. So, I sat down next to him, introduced myself, and long story short, we had a great conversation, he told me he wasn’t Christian, but wanted to see what it was that I saw in it. We exchanged numbers, and now he’s one of our freshmen in A2F. It was then that I realized what it meant to have my sufficiency lie with God and not in myself. I was floored at how sweet God works, to use me even when I felt most discouraged, and especially because I felt incapable. When I stop trying to take pride in my own competence in reaching out to people, that is when God humbles me as I get out of his way, and let him do his thing. God would use me in this way for so many other instances of serendipity, in reaching out to people through Soularium, like Young, or Ryan, Lily’s ChemE friend, God has given me a reason to try, even when it is tough, and now, especially when it is tough. For when I get out of my comfort zone, and do things even when it is difficult, God tears away those difficulties, and gives me the power to surpass such superficial obstacles. God, in his perfect and mysterious wisdom, has his ways, and I can trust and have faith in him, who has been faithful to me, when I humble myself, and let myself to be used by him to exact his kingdom work here on Earth. For God chose what is foolish in the world, to shame the wise, and God chose what is weak in the world, to shame the strong. God can’t use people who try to make it on their own, who take pride in human ability. God can only use people who say, I am not enough, I need the Lord. Please help me, a sinner. When I got home, I turned to our DT text for that day, and I was so struck by what Psalm we were going through. Psalm 20:6-8 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed, he will answer him, from his holy heaven, with the saving might of his right hand, some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. Now I know, when I feel depressed and discouraged, I can stand upright, for God is with me, every step of the way, my sufficiency is from God and his saving might, and his name and not my own, is what I glorify with my lips. God, in his perfect and mysterious wisdom, has his ways, and I can trust and have faith in him, who has been faithful to me, when I humble myself, and let myself to be used by him to exact his kingdom work here on Earth. My prayer is that he may work in me, and use me and shape me, to be his humble and contradictory masterpiece, and that I may express my testimony of how God has worked to shape my life, to all who have ears to hear. Thank you.
-Woo, finally, got something down! All the bolded stuff is stuff I wanna fix, but I don’t know, I’m super tired, as I know I’m not about to say 13 pages of stuff. I definitely need to edit, but at least I got something now. =) Okay, I pray that God can help me with conveying the things I say.
See you all soon!
O Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. I think about my life, and the ways in which I have rejected a relationship with you; although I recognized sin in my life, I never committed to work towards shaping my life to conform to the image of your Son. What does that mean? It means that my heart has been denying your calling, to be a certain type of person, a person who is Christian, a person who is loving, a person who is loving enough of others, to know that the things I say would affect them, and therefore, should be said with love. With that in mind, it means that if I now know, as I do, that I say things in a way that do not allow a relationship to form with me, if I say things in a way that isolates, distances me, then I, to conform to the image of God, am now to change the way in which I relate to others. During this retreat, I have realized so much about myself. First, it is the truth that I have only related to people in one way, and have only communicated to people in one way. Everything that I say, I teach. There is a saying, that to show someone that you truly know something, you should be able to teach it to someone else. As a result, I taught everything to everyone. This created two problems. The first was that by communicating in the way that I did, as if I was teaching something, I automatically took on a position of arrogance and authority, as if what I said, was something that I had the experience to talk about. This led to many issues, the first was people thinking I was a know-it-all.
I realize this was a sin, both in the fact that I really didn’t want to change, and in the fact that, perhaps deep in my heart, there was a pride in choosing such a profession as teacher, a far more humble profession than say, a financial analyst. This allowed me the benefit of looking down on people who had money, and made it so that I could be like, look at you, choosing the world, see me, I chose the lesser, that makes me better. Perhaps this desire is behind why I say everything as if I am teaching it to others. Needless to say, this made me an annoyance to say the least to my peers, and seemingly incapable of accepting truth according to my leaders. What was the cause of this? When something would be pointed out in my life, a sin, I would explain, teach why such a thing is the case. I wanted to explain everything, and when I was confronted, I would admit to the sin, but then I would go into this lengthly description of what led up to it, what it did to me, and its impact on my outlook. What was this missing? It was missing genuine repentance, that comes only from the sinner’s prayer, of having no words, except, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Though it can be explained, there is a time to explain, and there is a time to express. Explaining is not always beneficial, as not only does it make me seem arrogant to peers and leaders, it makes it seem as if I am avoiding issues of sin in my life.
The larger issue, is that by constantly being in this mode, where I teach everything, it seems as if I know all that there is confidence in the things I teach. Even the hunches I taught were said with such conviction and authority, that the sheer way I said it, made it carry more worth than I intended. This led to people thinking I wanted to feel special, in having my hunches be heard, when in fact, I was merely expressing by teaching, which was the only way that I knew how.
And of course, what this created, was a life in which there could be no relationship. By always seeming the teacher, I could never express sorrow, grief, and pain that would make me like a brother to my brothers. Essentially, I thought that for people to know me, all I had to do was teach my thoughts to others. I had no idea that to truly know someone, is to see them as more than information, to see it as people who show vulnurability in their honest admission of sin, and the need and dependency on God. I merely relied on myself, never showed vulnerability as to how sin affects me, merely explaining its presence, for I feared seeming weak if I did, and did not trust others to see me as still worth loving. Yet, to truly know someone, is to say, you are my brother, and to do that, you need to see misery, pain, and reveal it, show it, express anguish, so that people can relate, in trust, for it takes trust to be open emotionally, to know that you won’t be ridiculed, that you won’t be seen as weak. It takes a desire for truth to have trust, it takes trust to have a true relationship.
I waded in ambiguity, because I never cared about truth. Because as soon as I said something was true, then I would have to deal with the reality of sin in my life, what it has done to me, and what it has caused me to do. Sin of my parents, just bickering, fighting over money as their idol, has made me shut off my pain receptors so I could take on more of that pain. As such, I did not care for truth, whether it was truly a bad situation that I was in, and I gave a rationalization, and explained their evil, and by explaining, it made it less unmanageable, and more bearable by not letting the pain I felt be known or expressed. So by shutting off the reality of the situation, and settling for my explanation without expression, I lost touch of reality, and stopped caring about it altogether. It led to me placing a lot of confidence in myself, in the reality I thought, for I could explain it logically, yet I always knew that just because something is logical, did not make it a truth. I didn’t care about truth, just cared about whether or not something could make sense, and it could be the case, and everything was all potentiality, all possibility, with no ground on truth.
I became the relativist, who was a relativist who said to himself, There is no such thing as absolute truth, except that there is no such thing as absolute truth, and if there were, it wouldn’t matter, cause it’s merely the truth of what can be explained, not a truth outside of explanation.
If I were aware, or cared about truth, I would have to categorize my parents, where do they fit, evil parents, good parents? Instead, I said, my mother is this way because of this, my father because of this, it’s just the way it is. I accepted it, grudgingly, and never let God use this pain to shape my life.
If I did, it would first require an assessment of it as a pain, as a burden, as a evil done to me, and an evil in my life, and that would make me seem weak, which would hurt my pride, as someone who could take on a lot of pain, and for a better reason, than Christians who took on a lot of pain out of coercion, I took on pain out of genuine compassion for parents, and then I looked down on those who didn’t seem so genuine. The picture that needed to be done was, You try, you fall, you grow dependent on God, God uses the situation, the pain, to shape you, you grow, you try, you fail, repeat. I went, Everything is a choice, don’t try unless you know why. Inevitably, by not trying, you start to sink, and get into the place where you are low, in misery, falling, and you get used to the pit, the dark, that which you’ve sunk into, the sin, and you cease to care to get out of that pit. It never jumped to dependency on God, because I never wanted to be conformed to the image of Christ, to get better, because I found pride in being able to explain sin, and therefore, take away its impact on my life, and a desire for me to get out of it, as it was merely a circumstance, a possible case, explained, taught by me, to me, that I taught to others, teaching merely what I know, never expressing who, or what, I am. Emotions aren’t bad, money isn’t bad, it is all only bad in the hands of sinners. Emotions let us know a truth about what we are caring about, and by giving up emotions, I gave up caring, and settled only for explanations, one of many, that could result in the truth of the world’s problems.
To break it down: The sky is blue because it reflects off the water. The sky is blue because of the pigments in the sky. The sky is blue because it is sad. All such things are true statements to me, true in the sense that they make sense when seen in a certain light. Yes, reflections are mirrors, so the water which is blue, would logically reflect and create a blue sky, if water could have that type of affect on the sky. Yes, the sky is blue because of the pigments in the sky, pigments is that which makes up color, blue is a color, so the sky is blue because there are things that make up the color of blue in the sky. and Yes, the sky is blue because it is sad, because the word blue can be seen as a term for sadness, feeling blue, and therefore, it can make sense that I meant it in this way, poetically, as if the sky could express sadness.
See, all these things are true, but none of them are honest, and none of them can be related to on the basis of growing a relationship. Here is what had to happen.
The sky is blue because it is sad. This is because blue means downcast, so the sky takes on that categorization, of sadness, and it is a poetic truth to be gathered. I feel sad, because I realize the sky is sad too. I want to make the sky not sad. So I splash a bit of yellow onto the canvas, making it bright.
See what I did there? The sky is sad, so I feel sad, as if that truth of “blue’ being poetic, allowed another poetic, myself being saddened by a sky that is metaphorically saddened. And even then, with that truth known, the sky could be changed, transformed into happy, with the bright color yellow, that has to take on the truth of happiness, and grow in even more truths.
Which is why for me, relationships were superficial. By never stating a thing that is the case, merely teaching things that could have made up who I was, I could never grow with truth, and move on to more than truth to trust that another person could express a truth, and definitely would not say that person’s truth was something worth caring about enough to listen to, and would not say, o man, I’m only teaching, not expressing, i’m not giving a truth, which means they can’t know me, I care to be known, I am willing to change how I communicate, to not teach, but to express.
Steps of faith. No one will hurt me, if I am vulnerable, emotional, for emotions are not bad, just like money is not bad, and glory is not bad. Emotions are bad when they compel people to do bad things, or good things for bad reasons, as emotions include the joy that Christ wants us to receive. Money is bad when in the hands of the idolator, who makes money the God of their life, but good in the hands of God who wants to give us true riches, and to use our money in a way that honors the Lord. And glory is not bad, only bad when it glorifies the human ability, and not the God who gave the human that ability. Essentially, sin has made good bad, and bad good, Pain is bad, but I rationalized it as good, and by doing so, did not allow it to be a true burden, and did not let that burden be a way in which God could shape my heart and help me grow.
look at that, teaching still, even with these words. forgive me. How do I express how God has worked in my life?
Okay, anything more, another day. Good Night!
It has been said that i’ve become far less logical than I once was. Not quite sure why that is the case, I suppose perhaps it could be because I have stopped writing for me. That will now cease, as writing will now commence.
In excess deeds one gets lost and forgets the meaning behind the deed along the way.
Choice is bad in the hands of those who do not choose with God in mind, it is not the case that one should give up choice altogether, for such choice is given by God, the giver of all good things, and to deny choice is to deny his greatest gift for which the son of God died for us to keep.
We are to tell God, i’m sorry that all the good that I try to do for you will amount to nothing good before you, as it goes through my sinful hands, and sinful hearts, all of what I serve to you is nothing you don’t have already, and let me never think it enough to serve you blindly, and instead do so intentionally, knowing full well that that which I make with my hands are that which you have already, and with that in mind, so Lord, accept this sinful offering from my sinful self, it is all I have to give. Like a father, pleased by a child’s mashed up rendition of a clay bowl or pot, the Lord is pleased by our sinful derivations with good intentions.
One will always choose to serve the Lord if one always remembers that the Lord chooses to serve you.
Serve you in giving you the opportunity to serve too, to give what you can, not as you ought, for as sinners we cannot give what we do not have, which is goodness, and so all of what we give is tinged with sin, yet, the Lord takes it and purifies it within, and makes such grace of God a testament to his power in our weakness as sinners.
We choose to be slaves of righteousness, but in the excess desire to be slaves, we forget what we are slaves to, and instead we become slaves to the idea of slavery, and righteousness is lost on well-meaning, sinful souls.
It’s not much, but here you are. The Lord is pleased.
Here you are, no one else is stepping up to the plate, so I felt compelled to give you this. The Lord is saddened.
I think it worse a sin to serve God with the wrong intentions
then to not serve God at all. For though we are called to serve, we are not called to serve blindly, without choice. Which is why the Lord calls us to be a living sacrifice, and not simply to be the bullet the Lord uses, but rather a rifle in the whole of God’s arsenal. Not simply used once, but reloaded.
I may serve less, but at least one can serve without Satan using what we think we’re okay in doing, against us.
If the Lord loves a cheerful giver, does he hate a miserable one?
God is pleased with our weakness, when we choose to do something beyond our ability. It may be the case that your abilities have not reached its end yet, so weakness is not yet experienced, but my hunch is that the end of your abilities is reached, but so as not to show weaknesses, you push yourself beyond your abilities, and hope that next thing will please the Lord instead, but you get weaker and weaker each time, getting burned out from faith.
The problem is, the Lord won’t be pleased with this thing that you think he wants, because the Lord already has everything you think you can give Him. We are not to give till it hurts, then give some more, we are to give till it hurts, realize the hurt means that we are futile, weak, human sinners in need, and the Lord is pleased at our realization, and we have Him as our strength that renews our resolve to serve, as we remember He served us with the greatest of gifts, the gift of his one and only son, through death on the cross.
In the beginning it’s, because God called me, because God said so, but do you think the Lord is pleased by that?
Wouldn’t he rather be pleased by, because I want to, just as the Lord wants me to?
I have a hunch about me.
I am long-winded, I have too much backstory, too much intro, too much lead in, and therefore, confuse, or obscure, the point or truth, which is generally at the end of my longwinded verses.
Conclusion before Intro.
People get distracted, if I am long-winded.
Though I like to offer the logical steps I took to get to my conclusion, people do not understand the logical steps, get distracted by logical steps, and see what I say to be without a point.
That is not to say do not offer any backstory, just keep it shorter.
Couple problems, 1: I skip steps in my logic.
2: I am long-winded.
3: I have an overly-long lead-in to my conclusions, I do not put my main point first.
4: People get distracted, have difficulty following along, and see me as illogical, confusing.
Connecting today’s message to myself.
I am a lot like Pharaoh because I view people who criticize me as Pharaoh views Moses.
Did not have to have the lead in:
I think about our message today and how Pharaoh views Moses with a personal distaste, which leads to Pharaoh being unable to change, and unable to accept criticism. Which is the same as me who sees fellow brothers, Bryan Mau, as someone with a personal character flaw which leads to me not wanting to accept his criticism, and leading to me being unable to change. Which means I am a lot like Pharaoh because I view people who criticize me as Pharaoh views Moses.
I do not let people know where I am going.
Primer, Preface, helps people follow along.
Explain logic to topic.
I say what my chain of logic leads to,
just because it makes sense, does not mean it’s right.
i’m okay with the idea that i might be lying.
people see it as pride in my hunches, as in blind trust on myself.
I like it longer, more time to think of conclusion that we are both working towards.
i say my hunches as if I truly believe it will be true.
i do not say it as if I adamantly say it to be true,
i say it because i adamantly see a connection.
skipping steps, wrapping statement in presentation.
They think of it as arrogance, if I talk about things I don;t know about, as if I do.
it’s not the fact that i’m right,
it’s the fact that I try to be right.
make it clear, that I am not sure, that I have doubt, that I am unsure, that it is not absolute.
perhaps hunches are actually wrong, perhaps hunches should not carry so much weight.
People make truth claims. I assume people don’t make truth claims,
the world is different than how I see it, though I have in my heart the absolute truth, that there is nothing absolute, the world itself at large makes truth claims, and that is the standard of the world, that people expect.
That way, when I speak, even though in my heart I know I do not say it with absolute conviction, other people see it as if I do, because they expect it from all of humanity.
I assume people won’t make expectations, assumptions, but they do.
I also interrupt people, a hunch of what you might say, and i say as if I know, which makes me arrogant.
The way I think the world is, and the way the world actually is, is different.
I make hunches based on a world of false assumptions.
ambiguity. double negatives.
Progressive Revelation, blessings in disguise.
Naivity about the world, idealistic about the world,
always try to be concise.
Human lives are so fleeting – why not grasp every opportunity for happiness that comes along?”
“I think you are confusing pleasure and happiness,” you tell her. “Yes, I could have pleasured myself with other girls. I would have enjoyed it, I’m sure. But that isn’t happiness.”
“I don’t understand,” Melissandre frowns. “Surely pleasure is happiness? Doing what you want to do, when you want to do it?”
“No,” you shake your head. “Happiness is something deeper, something beyond yourself. Happiness is truly loving, truly helping others, truly serving. These things last beyond the fleeting moments of pleasure that we might try to grasp along the way.”
“So… you never got to be with Zoey,” Melissandre points out. “Does this mean you will never be happy?”
You smile at her. “Quite the opposite. I loved an amazing girl. I was true to her. I gave my life to help her, to protect her. Because of that, she is fulfilling her destiny.”
“So, what you are saying,” Melissandre says slowly. “Is that happiness is sacrifice?”
“In many ways, yes,” you nod.