… King Kong …

Dave Hong, in my opinion, has the most consistently interesting thoughts (wait, I take that back. It’s not consistent, but it is the most interesting) on the Web. And I wonder why that is. I mean, why I feel that way. Dave has been remarking lately that we think alike, but honestly, that kind of disturbs me. I just appreciate his social insight, that’s all, and how he thinks about things that people don’t often think about. And it is true that I have told other people to read it, in fact, read it with other people in the past.

What people who read this page might not know is that the most interesting pages on the Web are written by Dave, Henry Hsu and Andrew Wong. I’m too lazy to make links for them but they are on this page, which includes the only things you need to be looking at on the Web. Anyway, if you’re reading this, and you’re not reading theirs, you are missing out. Of course, if you’re a Roman God, you’ve probably already read all our pages. Ha! By the way, I don’t want to imply that other pages there aren’t as good as the above three, it’s just for me personally, I jive with them the most. I think they are special diamonds on the Web. Of course, I appreciate the others or they wouldn’t be on jack.html

Anyway, another thing that people might not realize is that a lot of times, my page is just like an interplay or response from someone else’s page. I often read what someone writes and it makes me think so I respond to it, on occassion directly to them, just on my page. So there’s a lot of context missing when you just read this. It might be interesting to someday read the pages of me and others in chronological order, to see that interplay, but Dave took off his old pages so that’s no longer possible. Also Kevin Lee’s old pages are gone too. There was one that resulted in a couple of lengthy responses but that one is hidden away now.

So since I’m interplaying, let me continue. By the way, Emily Kwok lists my page as “awesome.” That is quite a compliment to me. Especially considering her intellect. There are like 5 Berkeley grads at Stanford this year that I’ve kind of gotten to know and their intellect is seriously stunning. Just take a look at their resumes online. I’m too lazy to make links but their user names are achuang, ericmao, and bling. No joke, their resumes are just wrong. According to Dave Hong’s theory, they will have very little riches in heaven.

Also, sorry Mark, but there’s no way I’m gonna participate in a Christian thought page ring. I know some people are into this but I don’t really read people’s pages if I don’t know them. It’s just seems kind of stalker-ish to me. Oops, I’ve just offended half my audience. No what I mean is, if that’s your thing, that’s cool, it’s just not me; I wouldn’t feel good about meeting someone through their page, you know? It’s just kind of strange personally. Anyway, everyone’s page that I’m interested in is on jack.html, and that’s good enough for me. Actually what this has to do with is my dislike of networking. You may not believe this but I hate networking. (Is that a college word or what. Networking. Like “touching base.” “Hi, I’m just calling so we can touch base on a few issues.” That kills me.) I mean, like meeting people just so you know more people. It’s actually repulsive to me. Like, if I happen to meet you, that’s cool, and I’ve gotten to know plenty of people that way through various spheres. But it’s just not important to me that I meet other Asian Christians throughout the country (I’m speaking about what I know) just to know them, you know? It’s just kind of strange. So like making some ring of Christians I don’t know isn’t that important to me, sorry. It’s just not important to me that I meet random people. I mean, if there’s a purpose, that’s cool, like a conference or a retreat, or like if I meet you in person that’s another. But it’s just very strange to me to meet people otherwise. But hey, that’s just me. It’s not canon. Yet.

Okay, why am I writing this? Oh yeah! It’s because I think Dave Hong is wrong. Regarding earthly praise and heavenly reward. By the way, I do think that there is a notion of reward in heaven, and it’s not like everything is going to be the same, like some people seem to feel. Some people will have more rewards, others less. Everyone will be happy, but I think that the riches in heaven thing is real.

Anyway, I’ve thought about that a lot also, but these ideas don’t sit well with me. Like here’s the thing. You would think that reward should be based on what we do, right? Like our intentions and things. So why should it be taken away just because someone praises us, like if it wasn’t our intention to be praised? I mean, what did we do wrong? That’s just terribly unfair, unless somehow our praise here is equal in value to the riches we just lost in heaven, but I don’t think that’s the case. And of course we all know that God is fair. I don’t really mean that. God isn’t fair at all. God is just. But everyone wants to think that God is fair. At least everyone complains when it seems God isn’t fair. But He isn’t.

Anyway, it just doesn’t seem right, because the New Testament seems to indicate that our reward is based on what we do, not what others do. But if praise here necessarily takes away our reward, it’s like our reward is dependent on what others do also; whether they praise us or not. And that idea is one funky monkey. And it seems jacked that I am doing a great disservice by running around and pointing to people and complimenting them. By the way, Dave; you’re the greatest. So smart and so pious.

Anyway, I think that everything depends on the heart, and whatever happens outside of that is irrelevant. Actually, I’m sure everyone thinks this by default, but I’m just saying it again. I guess another reason Dave’s theory seems strange is that, like, it leads to strange phenomenon. I mean, the people we would most want to emulate are those that receive the most riches in heaven, right? But by Dave’s theory, we necessarily can’t know about those people. Once we know about them, and want to emulate them, they get less riches, and they’re not the ones we want to emulate anymore. Catch-22. And it’s like, did Barnabus do Paul a great disservice by bringing him to the attention of the leaders in Jerusalem? Like, since he became so known, did he lose all these riches in heaven? Chunky monkey.

So what’s possible is that Paul sacrificed his riches for the good of many people. But to me that’s hogwash. I think that sacrificing things on earth is a good thing, but there is nothing noble about sacrificing things in heaven. That in fact, there can be no good thing from sacrificing things in heaven, that that is not even possible. My personal belief is that people have become confused about sacrifice and believe that sacrifice itself is noble. And to me that’s ridiculous. Sacrifice for itself is stupidity; hate to be blunt but it’s true. Like if the purpose of the sacrifice is just lame, then the sacrifice is also lame.

To be honest, I think Christianity is predicated on selfishness. In the Old Testament, it’s always, do this and you’ll get reward; don’t do it and you’ll be punished. Constantly. And in the New Testament, it’s pretty similar, I think. At least in places. Do this and you’ll get riches in heaven. Repent and salvation will come to you. So sometimes to get riches in heaven, it requires sacrifice on earth, and then it’s good, because the purpose of the sacrifice is good. But sacrifice for sacrifice sake is idiotic. And sacrificing riches in heaven is totally idiotic. So yeah, the motivation is selfish. And I don’t think that’s bad. I mean, God seems to appeal to it a lot. My bold claim is that we don’t appeal to it enough. We seem to say like, yeah, be good, sacrifice, do things for it’s own sake. Why can’t we appeal to selfishness? Jesus did. He said, if you sacrifice, you’ll get a lot of reward in heaven. There’s nothing wrong with doing things so you can get rewards in heaven. Especially since this will usually require you to sacrifice on earth. The point is, the appeal is ultimately to selfishness. At least that’s my bold claim. And I think we don’t appeal to it enough.

My guess is that this will not jive well with some people. And that’s cool, I mean, if you believe that sacrifice for itself is good, or that there is no place for selfishness (maybe that’s the wrong word. What I mean is that the motivation is a reward for yourself, so you do something to get something.) at any level in the Christian walk that’s cool. I think it’s well intentioned but misguided. I actually think it’s a perversion of the forms of Christianity without the motivation, as has been done so much, which is why it’s so important to understand the motivations of Christianity. Love is good because of God, not for itself as the world seems to think. And sacrifice is only good because of what God does through it, both through our sacrifice on this world and in terms of reward. But I really do believe that in both the Old and New Testaments, there is a strong appeal to our selfishness as I mean it for us to do things, and that’s only right.

The only thing that trips me up is when Moses says to God either spare the Israelites or blot my name out of your book. I can’t really make sense of that. Actually, I think Paul also says, how he would give up his salvation if all of his people would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Which doesn’t make sense by my ideas. Maybe I’m totally wrong. Oh well.

Anyway, going back to earthly praise and heavenly reward; there’s some interesting stuff about it in Les Miserables. I highly recommend this book, the unabridged version. It is just so thick and it tackles so many different ideas. It’s amazing. Like he’ll spend hundreds of pages describing certain things that are only marginally related to the main plot but it is interesting in its own right. At any rate, one of the ideas he talks about is the whole monastery / convent thing. I think it’s related because their belief is that they’re doing the noble thing by shutting away from society and I suppose doing the unseen pious things. If you go by the idea that not getting praise from men gives you the most riches in heaven (I mean along with other things) this seems to be the best thing to do. But Hugo seems pretty critical about it, thinking it misguided, and I tend to share the criticism. The biggest thing to me is how Jesus so much tells us to do things for people, you know, the fatherless and the widow, and the poor, and so forth. I mean, loving people is just a big part of Christianity, but those very things seem to be so prone to praise, because the very nature of these things is public. So I’m not sure about the earthly praise / heavenly riches dichotomy.

Of course, I received my riches in heaven early. Her name is Jieun Park.

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