Friday, October 7, 2011

Spiritual Gravity

When I was younger, I once visited an exhibition on the life and the works of Einstein. Besides the famous equation (E=mc2) the thing that I remember most vividly was the visual demonstration of gravity. The tour guide spread a spandex-like material over the four corners of a wooden box (the top had been taken off). She pointed at the spandex and said, "This, is the space time continuum." Next she held up a metal sphere and said, "This, is any old planetary mass" and as she dropped the sphere on the spandex she confidently asserted, "This is gravity - when an object of mass warps the fabric of space and time". She then gently rolled three silver-metal BBs across the spandex and as one of the tiny spheres passed the larger one its momentum carried it right to the edge of the dip in the spandex before it faltered and was pulled into the gravity of the Larger Sphere. I was fascinated.

I feel this to be true of the spiritual as well as the physical.

There is such a thing as Spiritual Gravity. As a person who has been at times driven by selfishness, fear, and anger, I find myself in my worst moments to be very much like the metal sphere. I work so hard to warp everything around me into an extension of myself. I begin viewing books as means of gaining more understanding and things not worthwhile in themselves but worthwhile only in making me seem more intelligent. The people around me become means of satisfying my needs and want and become important to me only in so far as they grant me a better picture of myself.

And my attitude towards the World affects those around me tremendously. Especially those I am in closest contact with, my classmates, my family, my friends, my mentors and teachers.

The opposite is true too. When I feel loved and liked and cared for and at peace with God and myself, my interaction with the World is fraught with joy, wonder, and compassion.

So I commend Self-Awareness to you:

“Self-awareness [as opposed to introspection] is attentiveness to my way of relation to people and things. In particular, it involves understanding how my outlook affects the way I see the world and how it affects the world itself. This self-aware life does not accept that there is a private world of introspection and a public world of action. It insists that my interaction with the world includes my attitudes as well as my actions.”

-Abbot Christopher Jamison “Finding Happiness”

Bottom Line: Insist on living a life that is self-aware and thus alive to ones interaction with the world. Why? Because I can only change if I am aware of the thing that needs changing – namely, me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

In Which I Begin Again

It's been a while. So many things have happened since I last wrote here. Hopefully, this will be a chance to create something new. And a chance to practice. And to Endure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Poem From the Fridge

I saw bits of the first line already there and composed the rest. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Treasure Chests

There's a book I once read.
About a man whose body became a diving bell.
Trapped and locked-in with only his blinking left eye to communicate with the world.

And so he became a collector - a collector of memories
The meals are always delicious if you get to choose the best ones you've had.
And so are the moments.

I'm not trapped, nor do I seek to be.
But I like his idea.
And so I keep a treasure box in my mind.
A place to store away those moments that I love
And bring them out to glitter in the sun when the need arises

A feast with friends
The light that falls upon the golden cross atop an altar.
A lake in England with the gentle rain pattering upon its surface the fog rolling in and mountains looming on the furthest shores.
The halo that the setting sun forms as it dances with her hair
The first time I heard Rachmaninoff's 2nd.
The love I feel for those whom I know and who know me.

I could go on.

But really, you should make your own.

Happy Collecting.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

An Affirmation on the Way

There is such an incredibly rich tension in the paradox of faith.

It's visceral.

There is no salvation apart from Christ

and yet to have faith in Christ means living that out in works.

On one hand 'cheap grace' is not the grace of Christ,

but on the other, works without faith is dead.

That knife's edge that avoids both and yet holds both in tension...that's the rub.

One thing that I do know, I am a sinner apart from Jesus (present tense!), and it is His work that saves me.

I cannot be saved through faith in myself.

Having faith in Him means thinking about Him, talking with Him, reading His word, doing His work - Loving Him in the fullest sense of the word.

In Him is found true joy, true peace, true rest.

To Him belong my best and highest.

He is the end of all my striving.

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." (1 Jn 5:3)

Because of these facts, I humbly, but firmly affirm: "there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his." (Hebrews 4:9-10).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Notes on Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of those places where the squalid comes together with the luxurious and trendy like runny ink from two different colored pens.

In the midst of some of the narrower streets its hard to see the sky. As if being crammed full of jutting advertisements and blaring car horns wasn't enough, both sides of the road are flanked by skyscraper apartment buildings at least 20 stories high. After all, you've gotta live somewhere when you're trying to fit 7 million people in an area roughly the size of the area from La Mirada to Yorba Linda.

Yet, if you get into one of those apartment buildings (the one's called 'mansions' anyway) the 22 floor has a spacious and commanding view of the harbor, the airport, the park, and most of the Hong Kong skyline.

In fact, Hong Kong truly lives up to its origins as the center of trade in south east Asia and a former British Colony.

For example:

They drive on the left side of the road, and the driver's side is on the right - not the left.

English and Chinese signs are alternately and often simultaneously displayed in ads, storefronts, etc.

The whole of the city/country is chok full of Shopping places. Every brand name you've ever heard of and some you probably haven't show up here.

And what struck me most was the fact that most of the ads feature fair skinned models which were starkly contrasted with the sheer amount of my people who were buying the merchandise. (97% Chinese population!)

One can have Dim Sum for lunch and go for Afternoon Tea a couple hours later.

You can get everywhere by Subway, Bus, or Taxi...much like New York.

If there was ever a place where East met West - it'd be in Hong Kong. (And Singapore! As it so happens, my parents are from both those places).

The language is also quite fascinating, I've yet to find a language that is as expressive, flexible, and immediately casual and intimate as Cantonese. Even if it's two complete strangers, the moment one starts using Cantonese, it sounds as if they've known each other for years.

The funny thing is that Cantonese is really a dialect of Mandarin which is the official Chinese language. The writing is the same, but Mandarin speakers and Cantonese speakers respectively see each other's languages as 'the chinese with the funny accents'.

It's hard to find Hong Kong Residents who can speak both fluently.


Hong Kong's a busy and fast paced city...and its lifestyle is more resilient to the gospel than a lot of other places. Plenty of distractions. I've had some pretty interesting experiences there...more of that later.