First thing – Dave, you know what the Jews thought about using God’s name, right? They held it to be so revered they didn’t even pronounce it. So like, it was written there but they never ever pronounced it, or used some substitute word. It was too holy. So they were really big on not using God’s name in vain. Anyway, everything I’m about to say right now I’m making up because I’m not sure if I remember it or it’s just my imagination, but I think they in time forgot how God’s name was even pronounced. The thing about Hebrew (again I’m making this up) is that in the written language they only have consonants, not vowels. So like God’s name is written YHWH, but how do you pronounce that? So some people write Yahweh, other people write Jehovah, or whatever, because you have to fill in the vowels yourself. But no one knows how it is really pronounced. Anyway, like I said, I don’t know if this is right so if I’m wrong correct me.
Also, I think Joshua and Jesus had the same Hebrew name. Like Yoshua or something. God saves. But again, I might be wrong about that. Anyways, interesting.
Another thing that was on my mind while writing the last entry was a big criticism that liberal Christians have of evangelical / fundamentalists. It’s that we worship the book instead of the author. What that means is we’re so dogmatic about the absolute literal truth of the Bible and how it can only be that way that we limit God? Is that right? I’m not expressing myself clearly. Probably because of my highly literary writing style. Anyway, a criticism is we worship the Bible, not God. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. But you know, it’s an interesting idea. I mean, the Bible didn’t even exist until Christianity had spread quite a bit, you know? So obviously, it is possible to be Christian without the Bible. So what did they base their ideas on? How did they do it? Good question.
It really kills me when people put up thoughts pages and say it’s not a thoughts page. Please. Talk about denial. You know what that is. It gives you the right to criticize other thought pages. So like, you can say stuff like everyone thinks they’re deep but they’re not, or whatever, or have other criticisms, but then you can say, oh, but mine is not a thought page, I don’t pretend to be deep or anything, and therefore anything I say does not apply to me. Whatever.
What I love about thought pages (of which everyone on jack.html has; I love how there’s this following of jack.html and whenever I change it, people follow. I feel like I’m doing a service, revealing the best of the web. You’re welcome, Kevin.) is how it reveals something true about all of us – all of us think that we are right and that everyone else is wrong. I’ve written about this before, but it’s true; you must think that you are right or you can’t function. Anyway, that’s totally revealed in these pages. Some people think that everyone around them is pretentious or overly self-impressed. Or sometimes it’s just direct, and people say why others are wrong. But everyone thinks they’re right, and I love it. It’s so arrogant of all of us, but like I said, if you don’t believe you’re right, you can’t function. Of course, there can only be one real truth. And you’re reading it right now, baby!
Another thing I like about these pages is it puts you on the line. In the latest Newsweek, George F. Will slams Al Gore pretty hard, I mean, no mercy at all. By the way, the media confuses me. Like people like Henry are always whining about the liberal media but then you have columnists like George Will in Newsweek who just slams liberals all the time. Read his latest article. He has such an obvious disdain for liberals, it’s almost funny.
So I have never claimed that my thought pages weren’t thought pages. Also they were the first thought pages on the Stanford web. I have no evidence to back that up. Just like there’s no “evidence” of God.
Anyway, I hate movie critics or music critics. Because all they do is criticize and nitpick without putting themselves on the line. Actually, I hate all people who just kind of criticize but don’t put themselves on the line. That just irks me. It’s easy to criticize, but harder to make a stand yourself that leaves you also open to criticism. I mean just making a public stand. I’m rambling now. Echo! echo! echo.. echo… (who gets that reference?) Anyway, I like thought pages because it’s like, come on, you know what you think is right, so just say it. And it puts you on the line because it leaves you open to people slamming your thoughts, and that is cool to me. Of course, no one has convincingly slammed my thoughts, but that is probably theoretically not possible.
I guess I dislike the other extreme also, where people always say their thoughts, I mean publically, and will never back down even in the face of convincing, contrary evidence or argument. You might get the impression that that is me. And maybe it is. Hmm. Gotta think about that one for a while.
I also share Henry’s dislike for Bill Maher, the host of Politically Incorrect. I just really really dislike him. I mean, he hosts this show which seems to be like a forum for the discussion of opposing viewpoints but he is so closeminded himself and argh. There was a transcript of a show where briefly Christian music (“Christian rock”) was discussed on r.m.c., and it was great because you know, he already has his mind made up about everything, and everyone was against him. So what he was saying is that Christian rock is an oxymoron, because rock is about (inherently, he’s saying) rebellion, sex, drugs, etc. And everyone there was against him, the only person I can remember is Coolio but everyone was like, you’re a fool; music is just expression, a tool, and you use that tool and expression in different ways. And he just seemed like an idiot but wouldn’t back down on anything. Anger.
Another example – he’s against animal testing but for no logical rational reason. There’s this quote about like if he knew that testing on this animal would lead to saving someone’s life, he still wouldn’t do it. Like he wouldn’t choose the person’s life over the animal’s. And the thing that angers me is he says something like, and don’t ask me to explain it, it’s just how I feel. OK, logic man. Anyway, he is a certified fool.
Anyway, Korea was named after the Koryo dynasty. And I also find it fascinating how countries are named in different languages. That is just totally interesting to me.
Another thing though is that it’s not necessarily true that the Chinese named us. I think (I’m not sure about this one) that a long time ago, Koreans all used Chinese characters for everything. In that sense my guess is it was a lot like you know, the different Chinese dialects. Anyway, we could have named ourselves and they just used it too, since we used the same characters. Until that King Sieji or whatever his name was invented the Korean alphabet. Which is so much more logical that Chinese characters.
I don’t know why this came to my mind but while I was in Korea, I went to a lot of museums. And like a lot of them had stuff about what Korea used to be like in the past. I’m sure most of you know that Korea basically has no basis for national pride whatsoever. At least based on our past. We were always this poor country that was from time to time taken over by other countries. Our greatest achievement was developing a system of under floor heating. But I digress.
So one of the things that fascinated me was the evolution of Korean food. Especially Kimchee. Somewhere it listed what used to be put in Kimchee and I was just like, what? Most notably, they used to use fish to make kimchee. Can you even imagine that? So it’s just interesting to me how things change like that. The language changed a lot, too. Like there used to be dots or something. I’m sure the pronounciation changed a lot too. Like nowadays, it’s really hard to distinguish between those vowel characters (only the Koreans will understand what I’m talking about) ah-ee and uh-ee. You know, the combo ones. I read somewhere though that in the past, they sounded very different. Which makes sense, I mean why else have 2 separate characters?
So something that really fascinates me (this is turning out to be a really boring entry. Oh well.) is how languages change with time. Like you know, spoken American English has changed so much in the past 200 years. Like you read old books, and it’s like, huh? But even in like the past 50 years. Here’s just one example. I think they used to say stuff like “Don’t let leave.” Meaning, “let’s not leave.” I see it in like books from that era and movies too. But it just sounds so strange now. This came up with the remake of Psycho, because they chose to use the exact same language and it just didn’t sound totally right now, apparently. That’s so interesting to me.
By the way, there is no such thing as proper grammar or language. I just wanted to let people know that. Take a linguistics class, and they’ll all tell you that. Languages change all the time, constantly, so there’s no such thing as correct English or whatever. What there is is certain rules, like the majority of English speakers might use these particular rules, or in formal situations these particular rules might be most often used. But there is no correct English; anyone who thinks so is seen as a dinosaur and naive by most linguists today. I love that last sentence. It makes me sound so authoritative about linguistics. I took 2 linguistics classes at Stanford. Yeah I’m the expert. But nevertheless it’s true that linguists recognize that there’s no correct; in both syntax and semantic analysis, they don’t try to encode what English should be, because there’s no such thing, so most syntax people (I don’t know about semantics, actually) try to encode what is actually used, which changes a lot, because that’s real English.
Anyway, one thing that’s made me think is how media (movies, TV, radio, etc) affects how English changes. Obviously, it can cause certain language changes to spread like mad really quick. Like valley-girl speak. Or just new terms that come up like a lot of the internet terms. So it can change a language real quick. So it’s possible that since media is so widespread and has such an influence on this country, that it will cause the language to change much more, much faster, I mean, than in the past.
But I’ve had an opposite idea before. My feeling is that you know, we watch TV and movies so much now, and since we see so many old movies and TV so much, it will keep that kind of language around, so new terms and usages might be added, but because we watch so many old movies, it will kind of keep us talking that way. So in that sense, media will keep old language constructs alive, so the language won’t change as much. Does this make any sense? I mean, if in the 1800’s they had all these movies that people watched all the time where they use Thee and Thou all the time maybe they wouldn’t have stopped using it, you know? Anyway, whatever.
OK, last thing. Henry you fool, stop bringing up my church idea like until I do it, I was just being a dork. I have thought about it, believe it or not, but it’s a long term thing. OK, so here’s what’s been on my mind regarding that. Like, the way I see it, it would start without a pastor at first. Once we reach a critical mass, we’d get a pastor. That sounds bold but a lot of the churches we (2nd generation asians) go to started that way. At least according to John. Anyway, I figure we’d meet in a house at first, much like UBF at Berkeley. So I would need John’s insight in how we would do that. Actually, John is the person that said to me that we should form a church. OK, I cast all responsibility onto John.
Anyway, we’d have to meet in a house. So what would the format be like? I have no idea. Which is again why I need John’s input. The biggest problem I see is that there needs to be someone to lead it, both administratively and as a teacher. I really think there needs to be a clear teacher. But then who’s gonna do it? I’d like John to, but that’s quite a commitment. I don’t know. I couldn’t because I can’t teach. Just ask Joe Kwan or Ivy Wang, ex section members. But John’s “pastor” does it, so I guess it’s possible. Anyway, someone would have to do it. There would have to be a clear teacher.
So as long as we met in a house I don’t think it’s a problem. You don’t need to worry about equipment or anything. Like, someone just uses a guitar and that’s all cool. We can just sit in a circle. I’m kind of a fan of organized worship services, so even though we’d be in a house, we would have a service, not just like free-flow random time. Big to me is saying the Apostle’s Creed and singing one hymn. Both of these things because it links us to the worldwide church. So I figure the format would be a lot like FICS frosh year.
So as long as we were in a house, it would be not a big problem. It would almost be like a small group. The question is would people feel satisfied by this? Or do they need to go to a church, or feel like they’re at “church” on Sundays? I’m not sure about that.
But it will grow. Again, being in a house is ideal because there is no expenses. Nearly, at least. So we’d be all working and whatever and tithing faithfully, so by the time we’re big enough that we need to move, we will have accumulated enough to do the Vineyard thing and meet in like a school or whatever on the weekends.
Here it gets tricky I think because it’s hard financially without being a part of a bigger organization. So the question is what denomination would this church be. So I’ve thought this over a lot too. Like I personally feel an affinity towards the Southern Baptist denomination, but I don’t know. Being non-denominational is a cool thing nowadays. But my feeling at least now is that I would want to be part of that denomination Bethel is part of, like Christian Missionary Alliance. Not because of theology or resource or anything; I’m just very much into their mission-mindedness. That’s what I’d really like to see in any church I go to.
OK, so once it gets bigger it gets harder, because it requires more time on the part of the spiritual leader, maybe even a full time commitment. Anyway, here’s what I would like to see. Eventually, we’d split into different house churches, each led by a shepherd. They would be divided geographically. So they’d meet Friday nights, at a different house, and really be a church, having teaching, fellowship, and evangelizing. Each shepherd would have to meet regularly with the spiritual leader of the church. I mean, a big meeting, with all the shepherds. On Sundays, we’d just meet for worship. No Bible study. Because Sunday is just a celebration of the body. The real ministry to the members happens on Friday nights.
So eventually we’d need a pastor, a full time one. Here’s where it gets unclear to me. Because I would really want the pastor to share the same vision as the church. Actually what I really mean is that I want the pastor to have the same vision as me. And my vision is that of an Asian american church, of which I believe there is a place and need for, that’s big on evangelism and missions, and based on the house church idea. I don’t know how easy it would be to find a pastor, a good one, that shares this idea. My dream is that the church would be pretty big (I really think there’s a need for such a church in the Bay Area, and based on the cell church idea, that rapid growth is feasible) so that good pastors would be attracted to it. But I don’t know. Getting a good pastor is crucial. By the way, I’m really worried that I’m going to turn out to be one of those elders that causes problems because he totally disagrees with the pastor. I’m so afraid. That’s kind of why I stay out of leadership. Better that I keep my criticisms in my own sphere than cause havoc for the church. But I digress.
Anyway, this pastor stage is key and I don’t know how possible it is. So obviously I don’t have everything worked out Henry you fool. But I will tell you what I’ve thought. I’ve thought about asking Paul Rhee my old youth pastor who’s currently in SoCal to come up and start a church because 1) he is a great teacher of the Word, 2) just a great guy in general 3) he’s involved with a 2nd generation church so he sees the place for it and 4) I’m pretty sure he’s down with the cell church idea. This is actually more ideal. The thing is I couldn’t ask him to come up because then he would have to leave his current church, and I don’t think I could ask him to do that. Because I wouldn’t want him to leave if he was up here, so I couldn’t ask him to do that. Anyway, honestly, I pray that somehow a way might be made for him to come up here, even now.
So I know nothing about finances so I have no idea how that would work.
By the way, it needs to be a 2nd generation Asian American church, and independent from any parent ethnic church. I feel very strongly about this after hearing Ken Fong’s talk at Urbana. All those things need to be there. First, 2nd generation. Second, Asian American, not just Korean American or whatever. Here’s why. You just have to reach whoever comes, and the trend with our generation is that Asians kind of hang out together, but it’s mostly Asians and not whiteys or others. Mostly, I mean. Anyway, look at ethnic fellowship groups at campuses across the country and you’ll see that Asians just kind of mostly flow together, more or less. It just happens. Anyway, regardless of how it started, Korean American or Chinese American, in time it would become Asian American anyway. And it must be independent from any parent ethnic church. Anyone who thinks it can successfully work any other way is just naive.
Should I explain that? Ok, Ken Fong distinguishes 3 types of Asian Americans. He classified them by fish types, like how far they are from the land, but I can’t remember that so I’ll just explain. One is straight from the homeland, and they obviously have their needs, most notably the language thing. Then there are like hybrids, who are kind of mainlandish, I mean, share some values and stuff but also like where we are now. That’s most of us. Then the third type is those who are just totally not mainland at all, but really part of the culture here. You know, whitewashed. This will probably be our children unless you grow up in L.A.
So there are 3 types and each have different needs, and ideally, there should be separate churches for all of them. Here’s why. If you link them, well, someone has to be the head of the church. And as well as that head might mean, ultimately he will do what’s best for his group. Right now the heads of the churches are type 1s, and they, when push comes to shove, will do what’s best for the type 1s in the church. Not that they don’t mean well, but it’s their mindset and all that stuff. And I’m sure we all see this at our churches. The head pastor regularly does stuff that’s not necessarily ideal for the type 2 people. I mean, it happens all the time at KCPC. It just can’t be helped, because the groups have different needs and you can’t always do both. Whatever type the head pastor is will win out.
Anyway, there’s this idea floating around how type 1 pastors envision seeing a time when the type 2 congregation will get bigger so eventually the type 2 pastor will become the new head pastor of the church. My feelings are this. First, it’s funny to me how every pastor who thinks this thinks that they are being revolutionary or something. I’ve said this before. I mean, tons of pastors have this idea. It’s not new at all, nor is it rare. Second thing is I think it’s totally naive. Once that happens, if the type 2 pastor really becomes the head pastor, what you will see is all the type 1 people going to different churches. Because of the same thing – when push comes to shove, the head pastor will do what’s best for the type 2 group. I mean, this makes sense, because it’s the bigger one. But the type 1 people won’t like it. Partly because all our parents have way too much pride. Anyway, if their needs are being met, if they’re not the primary group in the church, they’ll leave, go to a church where they are met, which will be a type 1 church. Yeah, I think to think that that handoff will be smooth is, in my opinion, misguided.
So the question is, how come right now, with type 1s in charge, the type 2s don’t leave? And the answer to me is twofold. One, they actually are leaving. If you look at our generation, how many people have left the church because it wasn’t meeting their needs? OK, I can only speak personal experience, which is faulty, but a lot of people leave to other churches or church altogether when there’s nothing for them. Like for older people it was because there was no EM when they got that age. Or other reasons. And the 2nd generation churches are doing really well because of that reason; people aren’t getting met where they are so they go there. So they actually are leaving.
But not totally, and that’s because I think parental influence. A lot of us won’t leave a church because our parents go there. Which is cool. But our parents won’t feel the same way if the switchoff really occurs.
Anyway, what’s happening right now is damage control. Type 1 churches attitude is basically we don’t want to lose the type 2s, which is noble. So that’s why all these EMs start all over the place. They weren’t there so much like 10 years ago. Oh that’s other bad thing – things don’t start happening until bad stuff has happened. But that’s a poor way to do things. What I mean is the first 2nd generations started leaving the church and eventually they started EMs. But that just sucks because you lose people in the process. So much better to have vision ahead of time so you don’t lose people. Which I say is don’t wait until you start losing people in EMs, but do the 2nd generation church now.
Anyway, it’s damage control and the whole attitude is just don’t lose people, keep people from leaving. But that’s bad because it’s not evangelism oriented, not reaching, really, and a church needs to be reaching to be alive. This is just opinion right now. But anyway, we’re just trying to reach people who have been churched all their lives, mostly, and that’s not good. But it has to be that way now because of the way everything is structured. It’s gotta be a 2nd generation church. I really feel that way.
I could go on and on. I really do believe that the arguments for it are compelling. Here’s another reason why. Ken Fong was talking about Japanese Americans’ experience, since they’re like 2 generations ahead of us, they’re a good model. And a whole bunch of them were lost because their needs were not being met. The church he is at now grew out of what eventually formed, a 2nd generation church. Anyway, I don’t think there are really compelling arguments why the same thing won’t happen, at least in a somewhat similar way, to us.