8.30.2010

I skimmed my journal today, back to when I started my current notebook like three years ago, and boy, hindsight 20/20. I can now see what I failed to see in my life back then. Dumb Elena grows wiser with time, that's good. Or shall we say, blind Elena suddenly sees clearer when she's not in the situation anymore? Anyway, I also see how I've grown, and all the prayers that God answered. Haha, when I got back from orientation, I wrote that would God please grant me a strong Christian community because I cannot deal with it if everyone was like the people in my orientation group. God has more than answered that prayer. I have an interfellowship, interchurch, intercollege Christian community. I love that. And one thing that I saw that I wrote a lot was that God isn't first in my life, God I'm losing my passion for you, blahblahblah. Ok, well God still isn't first in my life sometimes, but many of my idols are gone, and I wouldn't say I have a problem with "losing my passion" anymore. I dunno how that happened, but he's always on my mind, and I seek him in a much more stable manner now. Maybe because I'm not overwhelmed with and distracted by school and everything I was involved in anymore. Life used to be such a big time crunch, such a big distraction... Maybe I have my priorities figured out better now, I dunno. Maybe I don't rely on emotions as much now? I don't know how it happened, but it did, and it's very cool to behold how I've grown. That is all for now.

8.18.2010

悩み

the URL of this blog doesn't make sense. Only angiosperms have fruit. What am I thinking.

Anyway, there's been a lot on my mind lately. The word that comes to mind is 悩んでる。Troubled, but not in trouble. (More languages = wider range of expressive vocab!)

The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis has been very thought-provoking. It basically explores the question, if God is good, then why is there pain, or something like that. Anddd to make a long story short, basically he says that the primal sin of man is that of choosing self above God, which is not exactly the way things were meant to be (what's more important, the Creator or the created?). So anyway, I was thinking about how often I choose self above God... and it's like 99% of the time. No, I don't go about breaking the law. You could call me a Pharisee, kind of. I follow the law, for the most part. In the eyes of man, I come pretty close to blameless. But that darn primal sin nags at me and nags at me, and even though you can't tell from the outside, I know that 99% of the time I do things to please myself, because I am the center of my universe. Adam's sin is my sin. And your sin. In him all have sinned and all died. Anyhow, the dilemma that this raised was that I don't know what it means to have God constantly at the center. Is the Holy Spirit even working in me????

So I went on a walk and a large portion of Romans 7 and 8 (summary: I don't do what I want to do, but I do what I don't want to do... what a wretched man I am, who will save me? Jesus of course! ...There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...) kept running through my head. Except it was spotty, so I figured I should reread all of Romans and the answer would be in there somewhere. First, I was reminded that salvation is by faith and has nothing to do with how much you sin. Ok, fine, I know that I'm saved, I'm just wondering how come I still have so much sin if I'm supposed to be dead to it. And then... I almost expected this, but we talked about Romans 7 and 8 in Sunday School like 2 days later. To make a long story short (second try), we are to count ourselves dead to sin (Rom 6:11), but we are still putting to death the deeds of the body (Rom 8:13). Basically, your cancer is being removed, so you should start acting like a normal person again as a sign of faith that you are getting better, but at the same time, there are still lingering symptoms of the illness that we are still fighting. Kind of. The very fact that there is war being waged in my members indicates that the Spirit is at work putting to death the deeds of the body. I'm not completely rid of my sinful nature yet, but the struggle is on, and there will be a day when I'm completely sanctified. But until then... it's a struggle. If there's no struggle, then something is wrong. Check yourself.

The other thing is that I was suddenly notified that I had been chosen to serve on LS core team next year, and they were wondering if I would accept. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME EARLIER when I was thinking about which direction I want to go this year. So it's in-reach or out-reach, and I would really like to take care of LS and pray for them and love them and wrap myself up in this family, but at the same time I don't want to wrap myself up in the Christian bubble. My heart is to build relationships with those who don't know him yet. But then, LS is very missions-minded and I'm sure I could do a lot with outreach as a group. But it's not the same as building relationships. Are the options even mutually exclusive?

...Among a plethora of other things on my mind. For example, Amazon just canceled my order for Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan due to lack of availability.

8.08.2010

On Time and God

So it occurred to me that the passage of time is characterized by decay and change. How do you know that time is passing? Well, for one thing, you can tell by the increase in overall entropy (randomness) in the world. That seems to be a universal marker for the passage of time. They say the universe will end in a heat death which basically means that chaos will eat the world. As long as time progresses and matter exists, entropy will happen and increase. It just does. It's inherent in the nature of time, just like balls dropped at the surface of earth always fall down. Everything in nature wants to be at a lower energy level, which basically means everything in nature wants to fall into chaos. Negative entropy doesn't exist for the universe. And neither does time go backwards. On a more micro level, the increase of entropy translates into decay. You can tell a new house from an old house because the old house shows more signs of decay. Time just does that to stuff. You can never make an old house naturally look like a new house after a while, because time doesn't go backwards. On an even more micro level, time will sometimes look simply like change, not necessarily negative change. Think of anything alive and growing. A growing plant looks like it's defying decay and entropy for a while, but let's not forget the cost of its growth on the surroundings. And in the end, even the most robust of plants will become a fossil or less after a million years. Even your mind/soul, which are not physical things, experience time. I don't need to explain that because we all experience time and are aware of it.

Ok. So time always causes decay and change, and God never decays or changes. Therefore, God does not experience time, except in the person of Jesus. Think of all the implications. Praying for something after the fact does not make the prayer any less valid than praying for something before the fact. It's all the same to him (although it's rather counterintuitive to us who do experience time). Predestination becomes much less of a problem because it's no longer an issue of God-chose-me-so-I'm forced-to-be-Christian/God-didn't-choose-me-so-there's-no-way-I-can-believe-even-if-I-wanted-to. He sees your post-death judgment in the present tense before you were born. There is no injustice in choosing or not choosing you before your birth. It's really not that complicated.

Anyhow. Credits to C.S. Lewis and my time travel seminar (for predestination). Many years ago, I had formulated a lot of the ideas here, plus other related ideas, but I thought maybe I was being heretical because to no one ever prays for things in the past and everyone always seemed to get hung up on predestination which I thought shouldn't really be a moral problem if this was true. Now I read all of C.S. Lewis' stuff on God and time and (I am not kidding) our ideas are the same down to the very analogies we used (not included here), although his ideas were slightly more developed. Wes said that's because we both have the same Holy Spirit, haha, which actually makes a lot of sense. Anyway, I think God's transcendence over time is something that too many Christians forget about, so here's to serve as a reminder. Also, I wanted to share because the scientific/logical backing is something I only recently realized, so it's new to me, too. Hopefully, it's logically and theologically sound.

8.05.2010

Jesus in Japan!

Some of you know that recently I've developed a ...strong interest in the advancement of the gospel in Japan. This guy came to my church in SD and he is the reason Japan caught my eye. I met him briefly that week and he is so sweet.



I cannot bear to think that 98 or whatever percent of people in Japan have never even heard the gospel and meanwhile so many are killing themselves for what I strongly suspect is academic and job pressure. Monta Vista seems to see similar trends.  That's why it hits me so hard, because it's so close to home. They NEED Jesus and the hope that comes from knowing that your performance has nothing to do with your worth. Anyway, the point is that Seima and his family have been forced to postpone their departure to Japan because of insufficient funds. I know that they would appreciate your prayer and financial support a lot right now. hint. hint. :]

8.01.2010

Ahh, my heart's never really left human bio. So I changed back. Actually, it's pending approval right now and will be approved shortly. I couldn't handle looking at all my chosen bio electives and knowing that they described a human bio major while being denied the right to call myself a human bio major. General bio just doesn't sound as cool. Ok that's all.

Oh yes and as much as I complain about not knowing what to do with myself after my class ends, don't listen to me, because I will be fine. I'm happy at home. I'm not dying of loneliness or boredom, and I won't. Talk about getting in touch with my introverted side, but really. Solitude is good sometimes. I am consuming a fair number of books (maybe I'm a little too absorbed sometimes) and I will get myself to hang out with all the people I normally don't see once my class ends. I will pack for school, I will hang out with my family and my God, I will cook, I will clean, I will read more, I will play piano, I will play with my cat, and I will not go crazy from idleness. Even after everyone starts school, I will live at Kevin and Erica's houses if I have to, but I will not go crazy from idleness, boredom, or loneliness. I will enjoy my summer to the fullest and I will not be ready to leave for school until the day I actually leave. Alrighty, that's the mindset, Elena.