I’m in the Serra computer cluster, using a Power Macintosh
First of all, let me claim total credit for this. Because I was the
pioneer, and everyone is just a follower. Especially Dave Hong, who has
the audacity to use the mymind.html ™ title. How dare he. That’s quite
bumptious, if I do say so myself.
What’s on my mind this week is what’s on Dave’s mind. I guess the first
topic is worship. We did a Bible study on John, and the phrase,
worshipping “in spirit and in truth” came up. I guess my take on this is
that there are two ways in which we can worship. One might be very
spiritual; a very emotional experience with a lot of activity. The
problem with that is that this type of worship lacks the truth – it is
not accompanied by Biblical wisdom and a godly lifestyle. This is bad.
It’s like the seeds in the parable of the sower that fall on rocky soil –
they’ll spring abundantly for a while, but then because of their shallow
soil, they’ll fall away.
The flip side is worshipping solely in truth. We have all the
head-knowledge, Our theology is flawless, our knowledge of the Bible
exceptional; but we lack the spirit; a passion in worshipping him. This I
think is where the Pharisees went wrong, right?
This isn’t my idea at all. I just remember reading something where this
church was sponsoring a missionary, and the missionary reported that the
new believers there were very on-fire, but they lacked a solid Biblical
foundation. And one member remarked that they’d be willing to trade some
of their knowledge for some of the missions’ believers’ passion.
I thought that was true. I mean, there’s two extremes we can reach, and
the balance is so delicate. But it’s something we need to reach, as it’s
commanded in the Bible.
Another thing… worship isn’t just praise, right? I mean, there is a
reason why there are two separate words. Praise is a part of worship,
usually done near the beginning of the worship service, but it is by no
means all of what worship is. So when we talk about worship, we shouldn’t
talk only about praise, because that’s only a part of what worship is
(which is declaring His worth ship).
Well my bold claim then is that what worship really is a lifestyle. It’s
not an activity that we do once in a while, but it is lifestyle. We
declare His worthiness by our lives; it should reflect how we feel about
Him. So worshipping in Spirit and truth means our lives should be guided
by spirit – passion and action by the Holy Spirit – but also by truth:
our action (and emotion) should be guided by Biblical knowledge, and our
actions should reflect a godly lifestyle, not just blindly following our
passions (which can change).
So Dave, this is for you. You’re right, when we sing and forget, it’s not
worship. But it’s not right worship in any case, as true worship (in my
opinion) is a lifestyle, not an activity.
Well then, about clapping and lifting hands. Well, I don’t know… I
struggled through this myself. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that both of these
are mentioned in the Old Testament. Clapping and lifting hands to God.
So, I mean, there’s a Biblical basis to it. The only problem I used to
have is that I become too aware of lifting my hands, and I wonder, am I
really doing it for God, or for other people? Or because of other people?
I guess what I concluded is that lifting your hands to God is Biblical,
and it is a good thing, as long as it is concentrated totally toward God
and not toward man. Honestly, I’m not at the point yet where I know that
if I am lifting my hands, it’s totally God focused. I’m just too weak,
and very conscious of others around me. But it’s a good thing; I’m just
not ready for it yet.
In any case, I don’t think getting emotional at worship services or
prayer is a wrong thing. I used to be really cynical about these things,
to the point where I doubted everyone who seemed emotional, as I figured
it didn’t really mean anything, as they’re just going to forget about it
anyway. But, I guess my views are changing. Like, I used to think that
there is simply no place for emotions in worship. But someone reminded me
that God created emotions, and there is a place for them. Like there is a
place for passionate love, for holy anger, for holy fear. Etc. In a
worship setting, then, our emotions should be totally focused toward God,
and the natural result of focusing on God is joy, emotional highs. I was
reading Desiring God by John Piper, and he quoted the catechism: The
chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him
forever. He also noted that it says in the Bible to be happy in
the Lord. It is a command to be happy in God. I don’t
know, to me, I think it’s saying emotions are good.
Yeah, when we go back to the same lifestyle, obviously it’s bad. And we
(especially me) should strive to match our actions with our words, and
what we say and sing and whatever. But when we fail to do this (and we
will fail, as we are all human) does that mean we’re supposed to not
praise Him? I can’t believe that. I think that when we do praise Him,
hopefully, at least at the time, we do mean it. And this in itself is
good. Don’t get me wrong; this shouldn’t be all, but it is in itself a
good thing. I mean, Peter was a passionate guy to, and he said all this
stuff like he’ll do anything for Jesus, etc. But then his actions failed
his words, and he denied Jesus. I don’t think that he didn’t mean what he
said, it’s just he was weak. And I don’t think he shouldn’t of said it;
rather, he strove (after the incident) to make his actions in accordance
with his words. And in any case, it’s nothing he could do. He was weak
and unschooled; but God chose him and God worked through him; God changed
him. We can’t change ourselves, but simply state our desire and
willingness to be changed by God, and let God change us. And I think
ideally, praise helps us to do that.
It might be heretical to say that, but that’s what I think. I think when
we praise, we shouldn’t be so hesitant to totally make sure that
everything we are singing is exactly what we feel. But it’s really how we
want to be. I sing, and I can’t honestly say that God is everything to me
(as reflected by my actions), but that’s what I want to be. And it’s what
it should be, and it’s what we declare to God. I say this because there
are praise songs (and psalms also) where the perspective is taken from
God to us. How the heck is this praise? I guess I figure that it offers
insight to the heart of God, and reminds us where we need to be.
Obviously we aren’t God, so when we sing lines like “Come to me, my
people come” we can’t mean it from our hearts. But it offers insight into
God and how we should be, and to me, that’s how it’s praise. It is like
telling God, yeah, I realize this about you and this is how I want to be.
It’s like the song Lost in Love where it says “Lord,
when I am with you it’s easy, I can’t deny Your love, and my heart is
laid open before You; when I am with You I’m lost in love.” When we’re
praising, it’s easy, and I believe that we mean it genuinely, and so in
itself, praise is a good thing. Our goal is to make the rest of out lives
the same way.
Another thing. I used to be really cynical about the purpose of a Worship
team. Like, where in the Bible is a band supposed to lead people? I was
reading Kings or Samuel or something, and what they did is appoint
worship teams to praise God at all times of the day. It was like a relay,
and when one team was done, another team would take over. The point was,
it wasn’t done for people but for God; I mean, the only one that heard
the worship was God. I thought this was true worship. There’s no reason
for people to even hear; that’s like pointless. It should be the worship
team in a closed room, letting only God hear. So I had this vision that
once a week, the worship team would get together and just praise God, not
to practice or to lead people, but just to praise God. I think I still
want to do something like that.
Anyway, at the KCPC sophomore retreat, pastor Julius referred to the
passage where I think Paul says “sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual
songs.” to each other. He explained this by saying that doing this is an
administration of God’s grace. I’m not explaining it well, but it was
pretty compelling to me. It’s an administration of God’s grace. I think
that’s true, too. So I’m not as down anymore on special praise or leading
Okay, the next section is re: Dave’s stance on girls.
I understand what he’s saying about the Western notion of marriage and
romance as being wrong. And I have to say that I would agree with what a
lot of he says. I think a problem is that people think the most important
thing in a relationship is romance, whereas to me, the most important
thing is dedication – to each other and more importantly toward God. I
mean, the divorce rates in countries where romance is the big thing is
totally higher. Romance (like all emotions) changes, but dedication is
like true faith – grounded on a solid foundation.
So I make the bold claim that I can marry anyone, as long as their
priorities are the same as mine. Which basically means their primary
priority in life is serving and pleasing God. Not only that, but I
believe I would love them totally. Not just because I had to, but because
I would. I mean, love comes from God, right? Anyway, that’s my bold
claim. I can happily marry any Christian sister.
At the same time, I don’t think the conception of romance and courtship
is totally unbiblical. In fact, this idea is probably heretical. I mean,
there are various accounts of romantic love, am I wrong? Like Isaac and
Rebekah. Jacob and Rachel too. I think maybe Ruth and Boaz also. And in
any case, the whole book of Song of Solomon is about romantic love. It’s
celebrated. I mean, there are several ways people look at this. One thing
people say is that it’s the way a marriage should be – and if you look at
the book, that includes a bunch of romance and passion. It’s almost
disgusting. Another thing people say is that this is a metaphor for God
and Israel – the lamb and His bride. If you subscribe to this point of
view, this says that God passionately loves His people. This has weird
implications, don’t you think? If we deny passion, then, we deny an
aspect of God’s love for us. I think that for those who are called,
marriage is a good thing. And the passionately love between spouses is
also good, as it helps us understand God’s love for us (I mean, the
parallel of love for spouse and Christ’s love for church is made many
times in the New Testament). So this passionate love shouldn’t be denied.
That part isn’t unbiblical, to me.
I have a whole lot more to say about this, but I’ll save it for later.
I hate Dave Hong.