Again, it’s clearly just me but I love Dave’s entries. Just, really interesting to me. Anyway, I have to respond to some things he said. This entry is entirely a response to Dave.

First of all, I 100% agree with him that a danger for someone lazy like me with not being a gunner is settling too easily and just being lazy. I was actually going to write about that last time but thought it was getting too long. But yeah, my problem is I take things I really believe are true, like being content, not being personally ambitious, my whole stoic philosophy thing, and strain it through my laziness sieve/colander so that it just compounds my doing nothing.

So yeah, he’s 100% correct that I should try and do more. But I guess my point was that to me the most important thing is why you do something. My problem with gunners is less that they try to do a lot and more why they do it, which, in my opinion, all stems from the “I deserve better” mindset. Not all, but a lot. And you could argue they accomplish more so it’s better. But I dunno, I just feel that along the way, that kind of mentality causes more harm than good, in relational and spiritual ways. I think the why we do is as important if not more for the Christian than what we accomplish.

I still do think that the “I deserve better” thing is maybe the biggest problem in our generation. I don’t really think it’s a problem for Dave but it is for a lot of us.

And here’s why I think it’s a more fundamental problem that us not knowing what we want. That’s definitely a problem also. But in my mind, it would be a problem unless the “I deserve” thing comes into play. Meaning, if we all didn’t know what we wanted but realized it didn’t really matter what we want and all did what we were supposed to do, everything would be fine. Not a problem.

It’s only when you decide that what you want matters, so that it’s something that you need to pursue, something that guides your actions/decision making that it can become a problem. And why the heck would what you want matter unless on some level you feel that you deserve it, or at least deserve better than what you have?

Not knowing what you want doesn’t matter unless we decide that what we want is important enough that it’s something we need to pursue, and therefore figure out what it is so we can pursue it. And that doesn’t happen unless we feel on some level that we deserve better so our wants are legitimate. But yeah, that’s just my take on things.

I actually have no clue how I got to be friends with Dave, Henry, John and Andrew. Dave was KCPC and pretty much my foot in the door to the Donner party. Meaning, I think he introduced me through Late Night. Or not, because I think I met Henry at IV Fall Conference. But I probably met him there through Dave. Anyway, Henry and I were in Philosophy CIV. Truth be told, I think their thought processes were the most similar to mine of people in our class (disturbing) which is probably why I got to know them.

John really is a mystery. I’m pretty sure it was his initiative, though. Just, for some reason, every so often we’d share a meal together. In retrospect, I have no idea why. But, I remember there was a small stretch when every meeting would just me me whining and him saying something encouraging. I particularly remember one thing he said that changed my life. I think we were in Yost. But he just prayed, the gist being we know that we are already victors in Christ; help us to live victorious lives over sin.

That was exactly what I needed to be reminded right then. I don’t know, I guess I had been living as if I was defeated and it was a perfect reminder. I regularly pray that now. Victorious Christian lives. I’ll kind of get into why I was defeated that year in a bit.

Side note. I dunno, it’s weird how that happens but sometimes the things people say that deeply affect me that I remember forever are just little throwaway things that people have just kind of said. Like with John’s prayer. I still remember little things that Albert Shim and Lisa Tahk said in passing that I’ve kept with me also. Weird.

Anyway, Andrew I got to know because we were in the same Intro to Christian Ethics section (John was also in that class – maybe that’s how we got to know each other? Not sure) and he went to that Symbolic Systems Seminar (Tarski and Hutch) from time to time. But yeah, we really bonded in East Asia. Er, at least I did. I dunno how Andrew felt but I distinctly remember when he left Pepperdine with his parents, just thinking how great a time we had together and regretting that we didn’t hang out more at Stanford. I was pretty sad about it. I think I might have told him as much.

We did have a great time, though. Just, Andrew’s a great travel companion because he’s into the same quirky things that I am. Good times. Like, we frequently went to Electronics Street to haggle for VCDs. Great memory that I think Wong wrote about before – we went some place and he went upstairs or something. I went up to find him later and don’t see him so yell, “Andrew”. And he goes “Yeah”. And I go, “Where are you?” And he goes “here” or something like that, that place being on the other side of the wall. And I ask “how do you get there?” And he responds, “Crawl.” So I crawl through a hole in the wall and get to where he is where I find him and a police officer casually perusing pirated software and VCDs.

We watched a lot of VCDs. There was one night near the end of the trip. It was late, it had been a long day, tomorrow was going to be really busy, so we really needed to sleep. And I had a VCD of Jackie Chan’s Who Am I. I looked at him, he looked at me. No question.

Also, great moments in Beijing. I don’t think our teammates fully got our sightseeing style. But a big priority for us was seeing Mao’s dead body, for which they had a viewing a few hours each day. Sam I think was on board with us but Drew, although he came with us, thought it was weird. But come on. How many times in your life do you get to see the actual body of Mao Tse-Tung? That alone made the sightseeing portion of the trip. The cannibalism jokes just made it that much more enjoyable.

Wong was also obsessed with finding this restaurant called something like “Present Misery Reminds Us Of Past Happiness”. It was a theme restaurant. The theme in this case being that time in history where the people were all sent to the countrysides to be “re-educated” or something like that.

And of course there was the massage incident, the Mao lighter incident, and others. Oh, one explanation. That summer, me and Wong prayed together each night. Literally on top of each other. So yeah, with that one bold claim, he wasn’t being witty at all. FYI.

The rest of this entry is about FiCS so Henry can stop reading. He won’t though, because he’s a loser who likes to complain about us talking about FiCS while he skims everything we have to say about it including all the traffic that goes through fics-chat.

Dave I think left out a lot about the FiCS stuff junior year, a lot of which is relevant to me, so, I’m gonna fill it in. Uh, it’s gonna be blunt so, fasten your suspenders. And also, it’s just opinion so, I dunno, I think it’s good if you disagree and give me perspective. But yeah, this part is just really how junior year was for me.

So Dave and Leo did some of the small group dividing but I was there for at least one of those sessions also. I was the one who bolded Hagop Afarian’s name as I recall.

So, just to be blunt, I strongly disagreed with Jimmy Ahn’s ministry style. The thing was this. He basically just did whatever he wanted. And you know, that’s not at all a bad thing. It’s not like he wanted to do anything bad – he always wanted to do what was best. But, I dunno, just, he was a complete freelance guy and although he was good at what he did, I think sometimes (a lot of times), it ended up screwing over the fellowship as a whole.

In particular, the problem junior year was that Jimmy had this discipleship group. At least, I think he did. I’m really unclear on the details, since I wasn’t involved with it or anything and it wasn’t an official FiCS thing so correct me if I’m wrong. But as I recall, it was a group of some of the sophomore (Class of ’99) guys doing something (Experiencing God? No clue) led by Jimmy. And you know, discipleship group, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing.

The problem was, again, just my opinion, but it was Jimmy doing his whatever freelancing stuff totally separate from whatever “FiCS” (whoever that represents) wanted to do. So his cone of ministry did well, at some expense to the fellowship as a whole.

Uh, does it sound like I’m slamming Jimmy? I’m kind of overstating things. And, I dunno, I never ever doubted his heart or intentions. He did what he thought was best for the fellowship, and you can’t fault him for that. He should be applauded for it. All I’m saying is that in the light of hindsight I don’t think some things were best. But at the time, given his intentions, it’s impossible to find fault with him. Except for one thing, which I’ll get into. Uh, hope that makes sense.

But in hindsight, I don’t think that freelancing was best. Three things come to mind.

First thing was, it kind of divided some of the fellowship. Dave kind of mentioned it. But it those days there were the Jimmy people and the non-Jimmy people. Dunno how to explain that but it was there. That’s just the kind of presence he had in FiCS in the early days. Anyway, the thing with this discipleship group was that, I mean, not everyone could be in it. And, I dunno, I just remember a while back talking to someone and feeling that it was kind of accentuating a divisiveness. Just, that was the nature of Jimmy’s presence and the importance of that class to the fellowship. And you know, some non-Jimmy people didn’t care about it. But I think some did.

Second thing was, and this is just my opinion, but I dunno, I think it fostered the notion that freelancing is good, even better than any other method. And so this attitude kind of filtered its way down to FiCS today. I dunno, I think it kind of worked with Jimmy because he was FiCS in large part in the early days. But after the beginning, you can’t have a bunch of people all doing their own thing kind of within FiCS, kinda not, whatever each thinks is best. Since there’s no one main Jimmy like guy, that just leads to chaos. I dunno, I just think that’s something that happened to FiCS that kind of was a legacy of Jimmy. I guess I just feel there’s a difference between taking ownership and being a freelancer and there’s been too much freelancing in FiCS.

Third thing is the most direct thing and the only thing I think Jimmy could possibly be faulted for. Meaning, I thought it was bad even as it was happening. But what happened was, because of this discipleship group, Jimmy insisted that the discipleship group be split among the small groups in pairs, I guess so that the pairs could keep each other accountable or something. I’m not really sure. Anyway, people in that group couldn’t be in a small group by themselves – had to be at least one other person from that group in the same small group.

I’m not entirely certain that Jimmy really felt strongly about this, or felt this way at all. But I 100% know that this was a factor in how the groups got divided and that it’s how my group got screwed. Let me explain. You have no idea how difficult this pair constraint was. When you’re dividing groups, you kind of want a good distribution of “solid” people among the groups. I can’t really define “solid” but I think everyone knows what I mean.

Anyway, it wasn’t a perfect 1 to 1 mapping, but a lot of the solid people were in that discipleship group. So the pair constraint pretty much guaranteed that there would be no equitable distribution.

So it was feast or famine. If you look at the guys group that year, it kind of doesn’t make sense the makeup but that’s why it happened. Either a group got a pair of Jimmy’s kids or none. So, we gave Chi-Hua and someone else, a “strong” pair, to Mike Chong because he was new. Stuff like that. I think there was an odd number of Jimmy’s kids so one group got 3 of them, since you couldn’t have a lone discipleship group guy. And other groups got none. The makeup of the groups this year makes absolutely no sense unless you understand this constraint.

Anyway, as the group division proceeded, not sure if Dave remembers but I completely remember how it was happening, but it became clear that because of this stupid constraint that some group was going to get completely screwed. Just, you had to divide a certain pool in pairs, and that only left a few more “solid” people, and there weren’t enough to go to all the groups.

So, and dunno if Dave knows this, but my explicit thought process at that time was, some group is going to get screwed, there’s just no way around it, so it might as well be me. So I got the group with no “solid” people. Mark, Conlan, and Mike.

I should explain that them not being “solid” says nothing about how they were as people or their spiritual lives or anything like that. It’s just that, for whatever reason, they were question marks. Like, Mark was one of those people, maybe it’s just me, but I was surprised he was in FiCS his sophomore year. Just, there were a bunch of people that year who went to IV their entire first year, and I (and I’m sure others) just assumed they’d stay with IV. So I was shocked when they came over to FiCS that year. These people include Mark Wang, Keith Lee and Dana Yip. Just, completely surprised. So yeah, just, because of that whole IV thing Mark was a question mark.

Why Conlan was a question mark I’m not sure. I just don’t think we knew much about him. To be perfectly honest, he was probably a question mark just because he wasn’t a Jimmy’s kid. I dunno, that thing keeps rearing its head. But yeah, great guy, just I don’t think we knew much about him. And Mike was a junior who was randomly curious about FiCS, not sure why.

Also, and this is just the luck of the draw, but I ended up getting none of the frosh that eventually came to FiCS. The only one who I even got past 1 phone call with was Charles Chang, if you know who that is. But that’s no one’s fault, just luck of the draw.

Anyway, that was easily one of the hardest years of my life. Leading that small group. And the thing is, without question 99% of it was my fault. They were great guys – I was a horrible small group leader. No false humility at all in that statement. I was terrible. Dunno why it was like this, but it was a small victory just getting people to meet. And then, if we did get to meet, I had no clue what to do. I was completely terrible – it was awful.

There were other factors as well. Like, dunno, if people know this but there were some things happening with my family back home that year and it was a tough time for me both emotionally and spiritually. I went though a while with these awful doubts. Bad time to be leading a small group. Also, winter quarter, three of us in the group were taking Phil 160A. I dunno, Mark could tell you horror stories about this. But in short, this class brings out the worst in human nature. I’m only 30% kidding about this. So yeah, they saw me at my worst. And of course, a big thing is, I dunno, it helps a small group when you have someone who can take over if necessary, dunno if this makes sense. I’m not explaining myself well, but we just could have used a member that was fully committed to FiCS and also spiritually at a point where they could have led the next year themselves. And we didn’t have that, in large part because of that pair constraint. So, combine all these things, and through no fault of the members, it was a recipe for failure. And I really feel like I failed them.

So yeah, maybe people don’t realize this but it really affected me. Most immediately, I felt terrible for my members. I still do. To this very day, whenever I see any of the three of them I feel a pinge of guilt for that year. I’m not exaggerating at all about this. I just feel I owe them all a huge apology for that small group. Ugh, just thinking about it now makes me feel so bad. They deserved much better.

The other thing is, it made me never want to lead a small group again. Just, I was such a complete failure at it. I don’t think Dave understands this. Like, I think he thinks I’m just completely leadership-averse. Which is partly true. But not completely. Like, it doesn’t explain me with worship team – I was leading worship for FiCS by my sophomore year, which was a lot of work, commitment, and responsibility. Or why I was OK with leading a small group junior year.

I wasn’t completely leadership-averse – it’s just that after that year, I was strongly small-group leadership averse. I never wanted to do that again. Fail people like that. So, I didn’t do it senior year and pretty much ran from anything like that until this year with Dave and Adrian’s prodding. I’m actually a little surprised at myself that I’m doing it now. I just never thought I’d do it again. My failures junior year scarred me that much.

So yeah, leading that small group was among the most traumatic experiences of my life and I will forever feel guilty to the members for failing them so miserably. Does anyone else remember the utterly random “junior appreciation” thing the sophomores put on that year? They took us all out by that area near the gates of hell (rodin sculpture) and feted us. Totally random. Anyway, some of them said a few words about particular members of our class. I’ll never forget when Conlan came up and said a few words about me, his small group leader. I wanted to commit seppuku. Just, it was so untrue, I was such a terrible leader. Seriously, Mark, Conlan and Mike deserved much better than that.

Anyway, that was junior year for me. Isolated, going through all these troubles, including girl things, a small group leading experience that left me bitter and scarred, never wanting to lead again, and guilty at having let my members down. Also, Charlie snored. Worship team went well though, I think. That’s one thing I feel comfortable with. But even with that with all my internal issues I was rearing to pass the reins.

Side note. I think Henry felt isolated that year also. Anyway, I visited him much more than he visited me that year. Not a lot, but still way more. I’m not entirely certain he knows what my room looked like that year.

Anyway, sorry if that was too much. It was therapeutic for me, though. Maybe you understand a little more about me now. Like why I’ve been so completely averse to leading anything small-groupish. Why I’m so big on there having to be good members in a group. But anyway.

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