Road Trip II Part 2

Dave made a really great observation about John on the trip. Sometimes, John doesn’t say what he really thinks, but how he thinks he should think. This of course stems from his servant’s heart. Here’s an example. One night, we were short a pillow. And of course, John volunteers to not use a pillow. And he says (I quote) “It’s OK. I never use a pillow when I sleep.”

What an utterly ridiculous statement. I slept with John every night for 2 years. Of course he uses his pillow. What he meant was, it’s fine with him not to use a pillow, but he has to extend that and say something completely untrue. But yeah, John’s like that, and it’s because of his servant’s heart.

Anyway, it’s not just what he says, it’s what he does sometimes, I think. His idea of what he should do supercedes reality. I dunno if this makes any sense. But yeah, he committed to getting up early every day on the trip for various spiritual reasons. Which is of course good. Where it conflicted with reality is that he honestly believed he could do that and not be tired. From time to time on the trip he’d say how he’s not tired. And of course, he fell asleep all the time.

We love John. More than any of us, I think we know that whatever he does, his heart’s in the right place. Always.

Anyway, he got up early on Monday. Dave did too. Dave’s changed. He doesn’t sleep much anymore and gets up early a lot. I think he swam also. He swam several times on the trip before the rest of us were up. As for me, I’m easily the laziest of us 5. Anyway.

We took our time that morning. Me and Andrew swam, Henry worked out. After we got ready, we headed for Chinatown.

Dave mentioned something I thought was interesting. Whenever his family goes to another city (and they apparently road tripped a lot), the first thing they do is locate a Korean restaurant. I think maybe Andrew’s family is the same way? Can’t remember. But yeah, doing that is really important.

I thought that was interesting because my family’s nothing like that. There’s only one time I can remember that we did that, one summer we went to San Diego. But usually, we just ate whatever.

What I’ve realized more and more is that my family really is not a typical Korean family at all. Some of it’s a language thing, the fact that my parents spoke (pretty much fluently) to us in English. I guess I’ve taken it for granted, but now that I think about it, it’s a big deal. I never ever worried that when talking to them I was using words that my parents couldn’t understand. In fact, there’s a good chance their English vocabulary is still better than mine.

And that’s an incredible blessing, I think. It’s rare I think to find a second generation family that can communicate like that, at least in terms of comprehension. Most families I would say are limited in conversation to a small subset of Korean (dunno how Chinese families are) and English, the least common denominator of both. Anyway, I’ve just come to realize this. I could always say whatever I thought, in whatever words I wanted, and not worry about my parents understanding or not, and that’s pretty amazing, I think.

But language is just a part of it. I dunno, Dave and his brothers grew up pretty much white, but I still think their family is more Korean in terms of their roles and how they act and what’s expected whatever than mine is. Just, neither of my parents are typical Korean fathers/mothers. It’s just very different, which is why me and my sister I guess are very different from typical Korean older brother / younger sister pairs. I dunno.

I’m digressing. We went to Chinatown for lunch. Ate at this place that was pretty cheap and fairly good. The great thing about Canada is the exchange rate. I mentioned I had a $0.93 slice of pizza the night before. With tax that’s like U.S. $0.63. I dug.

So we walked around Chinatown, partly to see what’s there (answer: lots of smelly food), partly in search of bubble tea. Bubble tea was one of the themes of our trip. I have no idea why. But yeah, surprisingly, we couldn’t find any in Chinatown. We found a Ten Ren (I think, I sure as heck couldn’t read the sign), but they just sold dry tea, they didn’t serve it. And they didn’t know of any places that did sell bubble tea.

The one place we found was in some mall. And it was without question the worst bubble tea I have ever tasted. Terrible “bubbles”, and a soapy taste. The worst.

After that we went to Stanley Park, I believe in the north part of Vancouver. It’s like a Central or Golden Gate Park. And it was pretty nice. Vancouver was a really nice city. Clean, and a beautiful place. Great weather while we were there also. One thing that annoyed me was there’s this big lake by the park, on the edge of which was our hotel, but the view of it was marred by this big refinery. And there were two gas stations literally in the lake, I guess for boats or something. I dunno, it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Stanley Park was nice. Andrew has this thing where he needs to scope out the territory before committing. Meaning, we drove around the entire park. But that was fine by me. After that it was off to Kamloops to see these people Dave knew while teaching English in Korea.

As Dave mentioned, we listened to a bit of Os Guinness on the trip. His tape called “The Call”. It was pretty good. But hilarious also. Partly because of the utterly bold claims he makes, stemming from the fact that he’s more well learned than just about anyone I know. Dave mentioned the William Wilberforce comment (“the single greatest reformer in all of human history”). There were others. He talked about how the explorers were incredible people. And “the greatest of these was unquestionably Magellan” (which he pronounced with a soft ‘g’).

That wasn’t the funny part. The funny part is when he describes Magellan’s life. He starts talking about it, and the way he says it is, “Every schoolboy knows the story. His deal with the King of Spain. The mutiny in San Julian…” And I’m thinking, I sure as heck don’t know the story. I don’t know, it was funny.

The other great part is his delivery. It’s about 50% of why his stuff is great. And there’s so much great stuff to imitate and make fun of. And we did. None of it would be funny here. I’m not entirely certain it’s funny at all. But it was definitely amusing. His words.

Anyway, he said some good stuff also. The Call is about just that – our calling and what that means. The frustrating thing (about the tape, anyway) is that he skirts around the issue, in my opinion. He talks about why calling is important, some ways to classify calling, the good things that happen when one has a calling, the bad stuff that’s avoided when one has a calling, and stuff like that. But he never addresses the central issue, which is, how does one find one’s call, what is one’s individual call supposed to be like, and stuff like that, so in a way I felt frustrated.

But he had some interesting things to say about calling also. Excuse me while I digress more. We had some interesting discussions on the trip, and a lot of it related to calling. One of us believes that we each have a specific calling. Maybe not now. But eventually we will. And that’s something that’s specific, that no one else can do, and that we should center our lives upon.

I dunno, I disagreed with that, and after listening to Os (have yet to read the book) I’m more certain in my disagreement. What I guess I don’t agree with is the idea that we all have specific callings that no one else can do. Meaning, we’re called to this very particular task.

I just don’t buy that. Os mentioned something, that sometimes people confuse calling with guidance. Meaning, people think calling means knowing from God exactly what they’re supposed to do in every situation. In other words, guidance. And to him, that’s extremely dangerous. In his view, it’s more like the principle of the talents. We’re given things, and we’re not told what to do with it, but we are called to use it. I don’t know, I’m not doing justice at all to what he said, but that’s just a nub of his argument.

Anyway, I feel like the specific calling philosophy lends itself to that danger, a near paralysis if you don’t know what that calling is. You’ll just be “preparing” and waiting and waiting to find that specific call. When in fact, you’ve already been called. Principally, to be His. Generally, to live out the life described in the Bible. And individually, to use the gifts you’ve been given for others. You have been called – why isn’t that enough?

I think the biggest objection I have to the idea of specific calling that no one else can do is that there’s no basis for it in the Bible. If calling must be something no one else can do, it must be something outside what’s in the Bible. Because generally, the Bible says things that are true for all believers. You’re not going to find something that addresses only you in the Bible. So this idea of call requires something extra-Biblical, which is troubling to me.

Beyond that, I just don’t see support for the idea of specific call being necessary for all believers in the Bible. Os recognizes the idea of special call. In particular the prophets. God directly calls them for a specific task. But he says it’s exactly that – special. Not everyone will receive a specific calling. But we’re nonetheless called, and there’s no need to just sit around and wait and prepare.

My sense was, the idea of calling being necessarily specific wasn’t a Biblical conclusion but more a reaction against lazy Christians who just put in their minimal Jesus time because they don’t have a strong, specific, life-guiding call. The thing is, and I think Os was saying this, I don’t think that type of specific call is necessary to avoid those problems. The call that we already all have is sufficient. So there’s no need to go to some opposite extreme that’s not Biblically founded.

Anyway, yeah, that’s my feeling. I’m not into the idea that we’re all directly called to super specific tasks. We’re called to use our individual gifts, which leads to some specificity. I just don’t think all of us can say something like, “I’m called to evangelize the Gujar people of India.” Some can, but not all. And my primary objection is just that that idea isn’t from the Bible. If someone can show me Scripture to show I’m wrong, by all means I’ll change my mind. But that’s what it will take.

Dunno if any of this made sense outside of the context of what we were talking about, but oh well. I’ve warned you enough times that this would be boring.

If you’re wondering what I think my guiding life principle is, I wrote about it before here. I don’t think it’s changed that much, and that verse is still very meaningful to me.

Canada as you know is on the metric system, which is confusing. Gas prices are a double whammy. Metric and currency conversion. So we see signs like, gas is $0.59 a liter. Is that a good price? Bad? No clue.

Same with the speed limit. You know, in the U.S. everyone speeds slightly, and you kind of know how much you can get away with. But what about in Canada? No clue. Can you go an extra 5 K.P.H. above the limit? 10? Who knows? So we just went with the flow of traffic. Everyone does this. I guess on the principle that they can’t stop you if the person in front of you is going as fast/faster.

Didn’t work. We got stopped on the way to Kamloops by the police – both us and the car in front of us, who was also speeding. Fortunately, they didn’t ticket us, just gave us a written warning.

Here’s another thing that Dave mentioned, I think he’s written about it before also. But you know, in the U.S. we talk about mileage, a car getting good mileage, belonging to a mileage plus program, etc. So in Canada, where they don’t use miles but kilometers, what do they say? Does a car get good kilometerage?

Answer: they still use “mileage”. So told us Dave’s friends. They were this married couple that taught at the same school Dave was at in Suwon. We hung out at their place in Kamloops, talking about random things like Glass Tiger, “famous” Canadian band. You might know one of their songs, “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)”. Apparently they had other “hits”. I’m saying this because they had a greatest hits CD and it was more than one track.

Another side note. It kind of bothered me because I think they might have been a little conscious of our education. They asked what we did and it was pretty overwhelming, so I don’t know if other people were doing it, but I was trying to downplay what I did. So our descriptions went from like, finished law school, going to med school, to doing business stuff and programming. I dunno, they made a comment about how this was the most brainpower that’s ever been in their house, and for some reason that troubled me.

I have a friend who hates it when you say he’s brilliant. I think what it is is that he thinks what they’re saying is that he’s “different” or even maybe weird. I dunno, I think it’s that. I don’t like people thinking we’re “smart” and therefore above someone else or we can’t relate to them or something like that. I’m not going to deny our intelligence, but I guess I’m just saying it bothers me when we’re separated for it, when it’s like a barrier.

Anyway, hanging out with them was actually pretty fun. We went to a Canadian restaurant. Complete with a Canadian flag and moose head in front, and a mountie (with a saluting beaver) inside. I’m still not sure what Canadian food is, but I had trout. It was pretty good.

I think the others felt the same way, but I really enjoyed talking to them. Dave mentioned this – the coolest thing about them is how the interact together. It’s pretty interesting. I think it’s hard to interact as a couple. The easiest thing to do is just let one or the other dominate a conversation. But they were better than that. Just this interplay between them and us where they support each other in conversation, defer to one another, and just generally act as a team in conversation. Not sure if this makes sense, but it was cool to see. Plus they were really easy to talk to. I dunno, that’s something I aspire to. To be a good partnership in everything, including conversation.

Geez, this is long and rambling. That’s about all for the day. We saw a DDR machine next to the Canadian restaurant, the name of which I can’t remember, and I played a couple games of that. Then it was to the hotel and that was it. The second day.

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