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Saturday, January 28, 2006

My boss is a Jewish Carpenter

If one day I decide to put a bumper sticker on my car, this one will probably be on the top 10 list. "Will work for chocolate" will probably be up there too, but for an entirely different reason. Chances are that I will never do it, firstly because I hate putting stickers on my car, but also because I am not one who flaunts my spirituality. Plus, if the only way people can tell that I'm Christian is by reading "Jesus gave His life for YOU and me!" on the back of my car, then I have bigger problems.

One of the things that I have been wanting to do for awhile now is to attend a service at a Jewish temple. After that, a Muslim mosque, then a Buddhist temple, and an Atheist meeting to wrap things up. This all came about one day when I was sitting through a regular Sunday service and I hear some loud breathing from this guy sitting on my left side. I stole a quick look and found him to be nodding off, then I got curious and starting looking all around and saw so many others not really paying attention to what was going on. So I wonder, is complacency as prevalent in other religious congregation as in the Christian Church? Are peoples of different faiths truly passionate about their beliefs, or do they do it out of social or cultural obligation/traditions?

My secondary purpose is to have a fuller understanding of how other religions worship their god. I have always wanted to know what Jewish Rabbi preach about week after week: keeping of the law and the hope for the coming Messiah? Reading about it in books only take you so far ... I need to experience it for myself.

Anyone else want to come?

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Hidden Talents!


I have always wondered who came up with the idea of putting fortune in cookie. Something tells me that it wasn't the Chinese that came up with it. Yes, the Chinese invented the compass, paper, gun powder, and a lot of other great stuff, but definitely not fortune cookies. For one thing, there are no fortune cookies in Asia. If you ask them for it, they would just look at you funny and then proceed to loudly mock you in a language you do not know.

Anyway, I have been preparing myself for the emergence of this undiscovered talent and I might have found it! You see, today I went to a buffet and actually only ate one plateful of food! It might not mean much to you, but for me, that's a milestone. It might have something to do with that I stuffed myself two hours before the buffet, but I still count it as a hidden talent. For someone who eats like a goldfish (if you keep feeding them, they eat until they die), this was a great turning point.

In the meantime, I am still looking for my other hidden talents ... I'm sure I'll find some more soon enough.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bathroom Humor



My favorite room in the house is the bathroom, because that's the place you will surely find relief. Ok, maybe that's not entirely true, but I sure do love bathroom humor.


The top picture is from a men's bathroom in Asia, where civilization is only one step ahead of you.





This second picture is from my snowboarding trip last week. I've got to say that I have put much thought into deciding whether or not to dive into that toilet. If that sign hadn't been there to warn me of the shallow waters, I don't know what would've happened to me.


I would love to write more but I think I need to go to the bathroom now! Bye!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tragic Comedy

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole

How true ... how true! For someone like me who is just as idealistic as I am cynical, this quote perfectly captures the gamut of emotions I feel when I think about the world. It explains why sometimes my heart is saddened to the point of tears when I see our society grow more and more depraved. Somehow, we have been programmed to put all the fleeting things of the world on top of our priority list: we choose money over morals, we choose instant gratification over long-suffering love, career over family ...

At the same time, I laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. We are fools in this game of life if we believe its rewards will fulfill the deepest needs of our heart and soul. I think in some way we all know this, that being rich and famous only increases your happiness for so long before it consumes you with its hidden vices. But we lie to ourselves and ignore what we know deep inside, only so we can indulge in temporary bliss.

This world is a sad place ... and I hope we all realize that before it's too late.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

A world of difference ... (part 2)

Thinking back on it , the past two years almost seemed like a dream. Although it was more nightmarish than happy at times, it was well worth it. In some ways, East Asia was the perfect place for growth and shaping character. Through the trying times I was forced to recognize and admit my own weakness, my powerlessness to do what is right, and my ever present tendency to wander away from God. The facades I hid behind shattered and I came face to face with my sinful nature. There was no where to run, no where to hide. The only place left to go was upward, into the arms of the loving Father.

Ironically, after all that I have learned and gone through, I still find myself struggling with the same issues today. I am finding America life to be much harder than I remembered it to be. If I liken my time in Asia to a full-frontal war against an enemy, then right now would be a much sneakier and trickier guerrilla war. The traps are not as obvious, the attacks not as apparent, but slowly and surely the enemy wears you down, waiting for the perfect moment to make his kill.

Fortunately, I am not unaware of the traps before of me, nor am I ignorant of the war I am still fighting. Nevertheless, I fear because I know how wretched a soul I am, how easy it is for me to falter. The only thing to do now is to ask for strength, wisdom, and a light to guide me in my path. There is no other way.


*sorry for the gloom and doom entry, I get pretty mellow late at night*

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Friday, January 06, 2006

A world of difference ... (part 1)

Today marks the six months anniversary of my return back to America. Just thinking about it makes me wonder where the time has gone. In some aspects, so many things have changed; but at the same time, nothing really has.

reminisce with me a moment: half a year ago I was living somewhere in the Far East, riding my bike through the busy streets, dodging countless pedestrians while paddling for my life to escape from the crazy taxi cabs and buses. I was eating street food on a regular basis: when I felt too lazy to cook with my roommate, we would go buy some type of Asian burritos from the street vendors for 25cents, maybe some fried dumpling for another 15cents, and top it off with some bubble tea for another 25cents ... the total cost of a meal would come to be less than $1.

Half a year ago, I was spending my mornings in language classes, always arriving fashionably late for the first class and pretending not to care for the rest. My Korean, Japanese, and (the few) Caucasian classmates would joke around while the teacher tries to bestow her wealth of knowledge upon us. It would range from lessons about ancient stories of the orient, to controversial current affairs, understanding epic poems, dancing or singing random songs, and on special days (we had a lot of those) we would digress and talk about relationships, marriage, divorce ... etc.

Half a year ago, I was playing my secret-agent game, living a double life as a missionary and a student, trying to not blow my cover with my teachers and classmates, but also those I were building deeper relationships with. At random times my teacher would question what I do when I'm not in class, and when I answer "I study," they laugh and ask me what kind of secret job I really have. My older Korean classmates (wives of business men) would constantly try to set me up with their favorite girls, sometimes showing me photo albums of their nieces or whoever, sometimes bringing random girls from other classes for me to talk to... *sigh* And the other classmates ... well, that's enough of that.

Half a year ago, I was in a deep spiritual community. I was friends with people I love and admire ... spiritual giants in the faith, who were speaking and living out the Gospel every fleeting moment, oozing with genuine godliness. I was constantly being encouraged by seeing how God is moving through the world, seeing how He is changing lives, feeling His hand on me.

Half a year ago, everything felt so right, but yet He was leading me another way ... away from the Far East and back to America ...

(to be continued...)

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