The other day I saw a fish on a car and it was truly ridiculous. You know, that fish thing you put on your car has been around for a while. Recently (I don’t know how recently) but this fish with the word Darwin in it, facing the other way, with legs, came out. Anyway, I was at a stop light at the car in front of me had this fish, with the word TRUTH in it, consuming a smaller Darwin fish with legs. I don’t know. It struck me as a bit… ridiculous.
Another cool thing that happened to me is that I was talking to someone and they used the phrase “socially ept.” You see, this phrase doesn’t really exist, there’s no word ept in English. Ijust snuck it in there on one of my mymind entries, because although it doesn’t exist, it should. At any rate, sure enough, David used it in a later entry, and then this person used it in conversation. I love it when I start things that kind of catch. Because it rarely happens. Osmosis… grorange… we hardly knew ye.
Andrew wrote me approximately 1 hour after writing my last entry and informed me that the title of that second film I found so interesting (maybe it was only interesting because I was stuck on a long flight) is Keep Cool, or You Hua Hao Hao Shu, directed by Zhang Yimou. This is the same guy that directed Raise the Red Lantern, To Live, and The Story of Qiu Ju. As you may or may not remember, The Story of Qiu Ju is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, a movie in which absolutely nothing interesting happens. To Live is OK, except they use the exact same music on every scene transition. At any rate, I can’t believe the same guy directed Keep Cool.
Anyway, I would really really like to get a copy of Keep Cool. If anyone can get a hold of this, I would really really appreciate it. And it’s surprising how many people have seen this movie. And they all seem to like it. After I get a copy, we’ll have a big jack-html-update party and watch it together at my place. You have to have updated in the last month to be invited though. That means you must start a thought page, Joe.
After reading Adrian’s entry I was reminded of a similar incident. I was at Fry’s Electronics and I thought I saw Li Ho. One thing I do when I see people is occassionally just stand next to them and stare until they see me. Don’t ask me why I do this, I’m just weird. Anyway, I did this and then he eventually noticed me and I realized, oops, that’s not Li. That was hard to recover from, as I had been intently staring at him for several seconds.
On Sunday we got into this issue that’s kind of been on my mind. My whole life I have strived to be a good Bible study group member. Does this make any sense? I don’t try to be a good leader, but I’ve always wanted to be a good member. Meaning, I try to volunteer answers as appropriate and stimulate conversation during Bible studies. This is ever since I was in elementary school. Or maybe Junior High. But at my church, our class was always really quiet, but I tried to you know, stimulate conversation, because I thought that made it easier for the teacher.
Of course, I don’t think I always took the right approach. For example, with one teacher, Sarah Seo (now Lee), to stimulate conversation (seriously no one in the class ever talked) I would ask highly personal questions about her relationship with her boyfriend / fiancee, now husband. It stimulated conversation, but I probably wasn’t helping things out. But I was nosy also.
Anyway, I really do believe that conversation in Bible study is good, and as a member, I’ve always tried to stimulate good conversations. The problem is, I mean, my struggle is, I never know when I should keep quiet or when I should ask a conversation stimulating question. Some people react well to it, some people don’t, so it requires a bit of tact. Fortunately, I have this in spades.
So anyway, here’s the thing. And I occassionally write on my page for people to respond, but people never do. They only respond to my trite/immature stuff. For example, Henry got all mad that I called him lazy, spoiled, annoying, and not a good pianist. Which made me feel bad. That I forgot to include huffy.
Anyway, respond. Here’s the thing. I believe I’ve written about it before here, but it’s about riches in heaven. I am firmly of the belief (currently at least) that we should seek riches in heaven, that it is good and holy to do so. I think there is nothing good about sacrifice in itself. It’s only good if it has a greater purpose, and that greater purpose tends to be selfish. But it’s being selfish for the right things.
So, I think we should all be selfish about heavenly things, as Jesus says, store up treasures in heaven where moths cannot destroy. Of course, that calls us to be sacrificial on earth. And we should be. But sacrifice isn’t good in and of itself. It’s just because we’re receiving a greater reward that it is wise.
Like in my view, Buddhists and Hindus to whom self-sacrifice is a big thing are basically fools. Because their self-sacrifice gets them nothing, because it’s predicated on the wrong idea, that sacrifice for its own sake is a good thing. It’s not. Whereas the Christian idea of sacrifice is infinitely wise. As Paul said, everything he has on earth is rubbish compared to Christ. And as someone else (Jim Eliott? I have no idea) said, He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Sacrifice here for gain up there. That’s why it’s wise.
In my opinion, the idea that we should sacrifice for its own sake, or do anything for its own sake and not for any notion of reward, is the influence of humanist ideas creeping into Christianity. Humanists who believe that there are certain ideals that are ideal for its own sake. I just don’t agree with that. Or the influence of liberal Christianity. Many liberals say that salvation is not about eternal life or after death, but its symbolic, that it means like full life here. That love itself is eternal life. Thus, to love one’s neighbor is inherently good, because that itself is eternal life.
I disagree. I do think loving neighbors has rewards here, but greater still is that it reaps eternal rewards. I’ll say more about that later. But I’m just really against ideas where we should do things for its own sake.
The biggest thing to me is that I feel the notion of reward is very very Biblical. You know, you never want to explain away Scripture, and say, well, it seems to say that, but that’s not what it really means. Come on, that’s lame. Anyway, there are just too many instances in the Bible where God / Jesus call us to look for heavenly reward as motivation for our actions. God in the Old Testament consistently presents a covenant and then says “Do it and you’ll be blessed; don’t do it and you’ll be cursed.” In the New Testament, Jesus does the same thing. Treasures in heaven. The Beatitudes – sacrifice now and receive more later. Paul, etc. All casting our eyes heavenly for our riches in heaven and the prize. It’s just all over the Bible, too much for me to ignore.
So here’s the thing. Sorry I’m finally getting to what I’m railing against so late, but whatever, I’m into stream of consciousness. It’s like art. Anyway, the study had this idea, we should seek a relationship with God, not because we seek things from Him or whatever, but simply because we love Him. And it was extended in our discussion – if you do things in your Christian walk because you expect heavenly reward, there’s something seriously wrong. You should be doing it, essentially, just because it’s what should be done.
And you know, that sounds noble and everything. It’s just not Biblical, that’s all. I presented my view, that it’s good and ok to be motivated by desire for heavenly riches, since clearly in the Bible, Jesus and God appeal to that a lot. As does Paul. And I think people will get different riches, based on what they did (in the same heaven). I mean the Bible seems to say so. And the people were like, well, yes, that’s what it seems to say, but you have to look at Scripture in the light of other Scripture, and not take particular passages only to extremes.
So my problem is, what is the other Scripture I’m supposed to look at it in light of? The noble idea seems to be, we should do things simply because we love God, not because we want reward, and that in heaven, everyone gets the same thing regardless of what they did on earth. That sounds both noble and fair. But where the heck is it in the Bible? The troubling thing in the study is that the day they present the idea of reward in heaven, they had Scriptural references, but the day they have the idea of obeying God not for any return, there was none. That’s always troubling to me, because no matter how good an idea sounds, if it’s not Scriptural, well, it’s not necessarily true.
Anyway, I know I can be wrong about this. I’m not being falsely humble here. Although this is my current understanding, I really do think I can be mistaken, it’s just I don’t know the Scripture that mistakes this idea. So that’s why I’m asking you to respond, just so I can know. Anyway, that’s where I stand right now. There’s something in us (the result of this humanistic modern culture I think) that wants to say that we should love for its own sake, not for reward, and that in heaven, everyone gets the same thing. But until I find Scripture to back that up, I’ll believe the opposite, of which there is Biblical basis.
Last year, Peter Chung rocked my world on many occasions. One time I remember very well – for a long time (6+ years) I was really into that passage in 1 John that says perfect love casts out fear; he who fears shows that he has imperfect love, for there is no love in fear. I was really into that, meaning, I really believed we shouldn’t fear God at all, that if we felt any fear towards God, it just showed we had imperfect understanding of His love for us. I mean, how can we really fear Him if we know He loves us? I mean, pretty much what the verses say. I was really into this. In my view, the fear of the Lord was an Old Testament notion, rendered obsolete by Jesus, the embodiment of God’s perfect love for us.
So when I heard people say like, “I’m learning more about what it means to fear the Lord” I thought in my mind, he’s mistaken. It’s not a good thing to fear the Lord, in fact, we should be seeking the opposite. So I pretty much thought they were wrong about this.
Peter helped me realize that I was doing what all cults do – focusing singularily on a particular verse to the exclusion of all others. And he helped me realize that in light of other Scripture, there is a good and holy place for a fear of the Lord, even in the New Covenant. And while that verse is true, it must be taken in context and in light of the Scripture as a whole. So in essence, I was too caught up in a single passage, ignoring all else. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Anyway, I know this can be true of my ideas on riches in heaven and motivation also, I just want people to help me out. So please respond. Although no one will because this entry was so boring. Thanks.
So that’s what I brought up in Bible study and I think people got annoyed, because not everyone is into talking about stuff like this. Peter was last year, which made our Bible studies great. Andrew Hsieh is this year. But everyone else I think could care less.
Keep praying for miracles in 1999.