I’m so happy that Dave and Andrew updated their pages recently. The best mind pages I think are when everyone just plays off each other, but due to busyness, I guess, that interplay has been lacking as of late. I miss it.
So this entry is just kind of a bunch of random things strung together, some of which were spurred by other entries. Kind of disjointed. Unfortunately, it will be boring for everyone but me. So you can stop reading. Honestly.
I think I’ll start with Dave first. No, I changed my mind – I’ll start with Andrew’s ramblings. First of all, in regards to his brief advice about Las Vegas, our college pastor at KCPC is currently taking his ordination examination in Las Vegas. Pretty random.
My mission team had a little reunion this past weekend and it was great. We saw this video that one of the team members made, and it was amazing. It will inspire you in regards to missions, I promise you. Wong, you gotta see it. It’s pretty amazing. By the way, everyone missed you.
Anyway, it got me thinking about China and I had a lot of good times there. Like Andrew, I had meant to post my thoughts about it sometime but never found the time. But yeah, this weekend brought back good memories. It was a lot of fun. In addition, I talked to several people who are going there this summer, including Tim Dalrymple, Joyce whatever her last name is, Mark Wang, and Sujean Kim. And I was thinking about the experiences they’re gonna have, the places they’ll go, and I was nostalgic. It was a great time.
My favorite activity was bargaining, especially in Electronic Street. It was just a lot of fun for me to bargain with people. One day a bunch of us bargained for either a VCD player or a walkman, I can’t remember, but it was great. I also bargained with a lot of vendors in Beijing. One actually hit me. Anyway, I enjoyed that.
I’ve got a lot of thoughts about China in my head but I can’t cohere them, so I’ll just stop with that. But I think I had more fun that I deserved. One thing though, Andrew – Mr. Lee is currently in Stockholm for 3 years. Just thought you might like to know. And Chrissy is staying for another year.
The great thing about Dave is how he’s so wrong about certain things. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but there are certain things of which he is just so insightful it’s amazing. But then at other times he is so off, I mean, so way off, it’s really interesting. Anyway, a lot of stuff he says about Koreans, the way they think, I mean, I think he’s pretty off with that. Sorry Dave. But it’s interesting.
Anyway, generally I don’t like the idea that what we do now is totally dependent on what we’re gonna do in the future. Wait, that’s not totally right. I don’t know how to express myself. I guess what I’m saying is that I dislike it when attitudes are too future oriented. Like, everything we do is in preparation for tomorrow. I really believe that we need to live in the now, not slaves to either the past or future. And my opinion is that when we overly think about the future, we tend to minimize the effect we can have on the present.
This is why I hate Spring Quarter at Stanford. I feel a lot of times like no useful stuff can be done during Spring Quarter at Stanford because everyone is looking ahead to the next year. So I feel like 10 weeks, especially the 5 last weeks, are wasted in a way. Everyone is just kind of winding down, even though 10 weeks is really a long time. I don’t know, I just get that feeling. And like, especially in FiCS with the elections over and everything there’s just a feeling of winding down, and not being active about anything. I just don’t like that.
Anyway, I don’t see why Dave’s future needs to dictate his next year. I mean, he should just do next year what he can that will make a difference, and then move on to whatever God has the year after. I mean, there can be some influence, but it shouldn’t dictate it. Like if he goes on short term missions, he should join GCM? That’s random. But Dave already knows this and remarks on it on his page so I’m pretty much talking to myself.
Anyway, last Friday night I went to a talk by Tony Campolo, sponsored by PBC. It was an OK talk, but I was encouraged. I pretty much think that of all the Christian leaders I know, my theology most closely matches that of Tony Campolo. So I was encouraged to hear a lot of what he had to say because I pretty much think he is right on.
By the way, I think in the past 2 years I’ve been learning what it means exactly to be a Christian. Is that bold? I feel that way, though. You know, when you’re young, the way they present Christianity, I mean pretty much the only way kids can grasp it, is as a bunch of rules, the greatest of which is the golden rule. So it’s just a bunch of things you do. Later on, you realize that’s just totally wrong, it’s not a bunch of stuff you do, but all about faith, about what you believe.
I think I’ve come to realize now, in the past 2 years, however, that Christianity isn’t just about thinking, about doctrine either, but that there is an intimate, I mean really important link betwen faith and works. Show me your faith without works, and I’ll show you my faith with it. And I really believe that the evangelical church has swung too far on the end of sound doctrine and has neglected good works.
So Tony Campolo talked about this, and he said how historically the evangelical church has stressed that the way to salvation, the way to solve all the problems is sound doctrine. Get people to believe the right thing and everything will be solved. The liberal church has stressed that the way to salvation, the way to solve all problems, is social action. This is the really important thing. His view, one that I share, is that there needs to be a balance between the two, and Christianity is really honestly a balance between the two.
It’s kind of hard to talk about this because my guess is that most people out there honestly aren’t extreme on either side, evangelical or liberal. But it’s helpful to know kind of the history of each side’s positions, and what most of them think and do. I’ll just go into one idea. This is that of premillenialism and postmillenialism. These ideas come from Revelation – there will be a millenium, which is like 1000 years of peace, which is linked to Jesus’ return. So premillenialists believe that the 1000 years of peace will occur before Jesus comes back (I might be reversing the two, and I don’t know these positions exactly, but whatever, it’s the gist). So, our duty is to improve the world, make it better and usher in those 1000 years before Jesus comes back. This is more the social gospel side, and more liberal (although I’m not sure what liberals today believe regarding Jesus’ return) historically. So the postmillenialists believe the opposite, that Jesus will return and then the 1000 years of peace will come. This is more evangelical, from what I understand. If I’m wrong about any of this, correct me.
Anyway, this split kind of started happening in the late 19th century as I recall. The thing is, one camp was really into social activism, as they believed that was what would usher in Jesus’ return. Maybe they thought this return was symbolic, not literal. But whatever, that’s what they were into. The other camp was pretty much the opposite – only Jesus can redeem this world and it’s just gonna get worse until he comes, so we can do anything to really fix it. So they kind of moved from social activism, and were kind of otherwordly in that sense. Like the only hope for betterment is out of this world.
Anyway, like I said, this is just historical and I don’t know how things are now, and I don’t think many of us are totally either way, but it explains a lot. It explains, partly, why evangelicals are so much more into sound doctrine than good works. And I really think that’s wrong.
Not that salvation is by faith and works, like Catholics believe. But the link is really really intimate. I’m getting this just as I absorb the Bible more. Like in the Lord’s prayer (Campolo mentioned this), part of the prayer is that God’s kingdom come, and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Another thing which gets me into this the Good Samaritan story. You know, this story can be really troubling. Because it’s like, is this guy Christian or not? Have I written about this before? I don’t know. Anyway, the story says nothing about his doctrine or what he believes. All we know is that he is a Samaritan, which probably means his faith was kind of a twisted, weirdo thing loosely related to Judaism. So like, is he saved?
It’s troubling to say he’s not, because Jesus points to him as an example of what you must do to be saved. But then if he is, how can we know? He never gives any statement of faith. The best we can conclude, and what I conclude, is that we know he believed the right things because he did the right things. So works are really really really important.
Anyway, I’m getting pretty tired of most of the sermons I hear because they’re just too intellectual and theological. I can’t remember the last time I heard a really good practical sermon. Pastor Dave used to give these, I remember. And I used to hear them before. But now it’s so sound doctrine heavy. I don’t know, I think we just gotta go out there and do it.
Anyway, Christianity is all about love. All you need is love. So go do it. That’s pretty much what it means to be Christian. I mean, of course there’s a bunch of qualifiers, and it’s not that simple, and of course all of us believe this, but I think it’s easy to get sidetracked.
That said, it’s pretty clear to me that I’m a poor Christian. My ability to love in a real, serving way is pretty limited. But I’m trying, and I think I’m learning. I hope.
Gosh that was a long ramble. Anyway, another thing Campolo mentioned was his prayer life – how he’s changed it drastically the last few years. At night, he prays like normal, you know, requests and all that. But in the morning, what he does is just thinks about Jesus. And when he feels his mind start to stray, he just says, “Jesus” and gets back on track. He just tries to focus his thoughts and everything on Jesus. I know, sounds kind of hokey and New-Agey, but I think there’s something to be said for this. Not just always praying laundry list style, intellectually, but trying to focus our thoughts on Jesus. I don’t know, my thoughts on this were more clear over the weekend, but I’ve lost it. Anyway, it’s something I want to try. When my prayer life eventually gets consistent.
So a lot of decisions about FiCS and the future have been going around lately. It’s been interesting. I think for the most part, I’ve kept my nose out of the decision making process in the past, and this is the first year I’ve kind of known what was going on. Anyway, I pretty much don’t like being part of the process. Everyone has something to say and everyone thinks they’re right. Which is fine, and the discussion is useful, far better than someone just doing things. I guess I just personally don’t need to be a part of it. I’ve been pretty Ok with whatever FiCS has decided in the past and that’s fine with me. The church is another story. But FiCS has been fine.
Anyway, one thing that really bothers me is when people almost take a business like attitude toward the fellowship. Like, it’s like the primary goal is getting people to go, and getting people to come to KCPC, and what we need to do to for the fellowship to survive, and stuff like that. I don’t know if any of this is making sense, but there’s the sense that like running the group is like running a business, and it’s discussed in almost business like terms. I’m just not into that.
About 3 years ago, I remember we had FiCS elections at Cubberley, and randomly Leo Hsu’s sister was there. I remember at one point (she is not a believer) during the process she stood up and said how it is not a good idea to do this because in her experience, in such and such a situation, this is what happens, thus it’s not a good idea. After she said this, one of the sisters stood up and basically said, yeah, that’s true in the world, but this fellowship is different, it doesn’t go by worldly principles, and we’re guided by the Holy Spirit and faith, and that’s totally different. Those were some wise words.
Anyway, I really believe that, that any fellowship is guided by things totally different from worldly principles. So any time we use business like language it just makes me nervous. Really nervous.
I guess the biggest thing that makes me nervous is size. I really don’t understand any emphasis on making the group grow. I never really have. It’s far more important to evangelize, no? Regardless of the size of this particular fellowship. For people who come to Stanford as Christians, if they join FiCS I am glad but it’s more important that they go to a good fellowship where they will grow, regardless of where it is. Somewhere FiCS got this emphasis on numbers that I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know why it perpetuates.
Anyway, most of the time, the leaders say that they would like to see FiCS be a place where unbelievers are reached and where believers grow in their love for the Lord. I totally agree, and I think we all forget this sometimes. Because it doesn’t seem to be our emphasis. There’s more talk about class unity, or getting more people to come, or getting people to come to KCPC, or what we need to do for the fellowship to survive long term, or stuff like that. I don’t know, I just think this is all secondary, and that the primary purpose should always be reaching the lost and building up the saints in love, and that everything we do should be guided by these principles.
Maybe I’m just being lame, because I guess the way to do those things is through the other things. But I don’t know, I think the difference in motivation is a significant one, and one that’s often forgotten. Anyway, I think class unity is highly overrated. It’s only a good thing if it is useful in building up the believers in love. But this should be the goal, not class unity for its own sake. With getting people to go to FiCS or KCPC, again, it’s not that important to me where people go. But what I would like to see is for FiCS and KCPC concentrate on being places where unbelievers will know truth and where believers would grow in love, and let people go where they will, rather than focus on getting people to come. It’s subtle but a real difference, I think.
Anyway, I don’t think (my claim) that we should even worry about whether FiCS is gonna survive or not. Or whether there will be people to serve. I really believe, maybe naively, that we just gotta concentrate on those 2 things – reaching lost and building saved, and nothing else, and that if we are faithful with those things, God will provide everything the fellowship needs. If He wants. And if He doesn’t, it’s no big deal if FiCS disbands someday. Who cares? It’s about people, not institutions. We shouldn’t care if FiCS survives or not. Just whether people continue to be reached and grow.
Anyway FiCS is not a business.
Gosh I’m a hypocrite. I say I don’t care about decision making and then I say all these things about how FiCS should be. Ack hypocrisy. By the way, I’ve been thinking recently about my hypocrisy. Because it’s so real. How I can exist just confuses me. When someone goes through my journals someday they’ll think what a hypocrite I was. How I could believe something and then be so hypocritical action wise. Here’s the crazy thing – I actually believe everything I claim to. I honestly do. And why I’m so hypocritical is beyond me. I honestly believe in the power of prayer. So how come I so rarely really pray? I don’t know. I honestly believe that loving others is the most important thing for me to do. So how come instead of serving others I think about my own problems and use people to solve them? I don’t know. I honestly believe that my only true joy can be found in Christ. Then how come I spend so much time entertaining myself and having a motivation of being happy instead of serving Him? I don’t know. I honestly believe sins keep me from God. So how come I come back to my sins repeatedly? I don’t know. And yet, I honestly believe everything I do. I’m just a hypocrite.
There’s this movie called The Apostle with Robert Duvall which I really enjoyed. Anyway, it presented the title character as a genuine, believing and powerful preacher who has some real deep faults. For example he sleeps around and kills a guy. Anyway, you read that and you think, how can a real preacher possibly do that? But when I really think about myself, I can understand. I’m so hypocritical – I so truly believe something and then do certain things which are so against those beliefs, so profoundly hypocritical. Maybe my sins aren’t as severe, if there is such a thing as relativity in sins, but I mean, I’m devout and yet I have such real flaws.
I hope that someday, whoever is reading my journals can have just a modicum of understanding and know that even though I act the way I do, that they might not be so cynical and think I was all words and didn’t believe what I said. I might be more words than action, but I honestly believe everything I say I do. I hope people can understand that it is possible, even probable, for a person to really believe something and have real flaws that keep them from being as they believe. That’s pretty much the story of my life.
Anyway, yeah, I’m a hypocrite. But being a hypocrite partly comes from being human.
Me and Henry and John Yoon are living together next year. Bold.