Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On our way...

Now that we have finished this class, we are back on our way.
We have been well informed, well supported and well prepared from this class. But this does not mean the battle is over yet.
We still have to strive to learn, strive to defeat the devil and strive to be a true children of God in this dark world.

May the God of peace be with each one of us and to remember that we are never alone in this journey!
That we will defeat evil and will see the glory of God.

Thank you Professor Paulo and Adriana.

The Inner Circle

In this writing Lewis talks about the people’s desire to be part of a group or the inner ring because nobody wants to be left outside the circle. Lewis quotes “I believe that in all men’s’ lives at certain periods, and in many men’s lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside.”
This is very true because in psychology we have studied that people tend to conform to a particular group. A study was conducted in a way where there were six people in the group. One person was the subject and the rest were part of the study. When the researcher asked them which line (on the board) is longer, all of the men said the shorter line was the longest. Now this was an obvious wrong answer but surprisingly the subject said the same answer along with the other men. Why? Because he wanted to get along, be a part of the group rather than an outsider or an outlier. This theory is called the group conformity.
We have experienced this in our schools. In middle school friends will threat other friends that if you do not follow or do what they are doing, then you are not part of the group anymore. So for one to be a part of the group they need to do something crazy but they still do it just to be in the group. Many times it has a negative consequence rather than a positive.
So what can we do about it?
I would say listen to your heart. Do not let the voice of others interfere with what you want but doing what the individual wants is very important. In the lasts paragraph Lewis says “The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it.” We need to break that desire to be in the inner ring because if we don’t, then it will destroy us.

“If you live for other people’s opinion, you are dead.”

The Goodness of Pain

If God is good and omnipotent, why doesn’t he do anything about the pain and suffering in the world? This question has been asked by non Christians and Christians trying to understand God. But many people seem to have trouble understanding pain in a Christian way.
As Kreeft says in his talking we think that a loving God is someone who is kind to us. What we really like is we want a grandfather in heaven rather than a loving father. Yes, the grandfather enjoys to see us what we want to do but he does not necessarily discipline us. I believe we need to shift our thinking from a grandfather God to a loving father.

Pain tingles many words such as suffering, sacrifice and sadness. People don’t like pain. They don’t like problems, hardships and troubles. But the thing people miss is that these troubling things is what makes us move forward for the better. Pain can hurt but at the same time it is a blessing. The most when I have learned to love God is not through the times of prosperity but the times of grief, anger and frustration. That is truly when I meet God, feel his presence and love for me.
So is pain really bad? I think it is beneficial for people to go through. Of course it is not a pleasant feeling but it turns out to be a blessing.

“No pain, no gain.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Redemption

The major differences between Christians and other religion is the part of redemption. Forgiveness, grace and love is the characteristics found in Christianity alone. We believe in a God who is loving, who gives himself for the sinners, who gives grace and mercy to his children. So for me the God I believe and pray everyday is a personal God. He feels close to me, he is alive and he is real. I don’t think I will ever feel the same with Hinduism, Islam and any other religion.

Also in the last two paragraphs in this chapter, the author mentions the purpose of higher education. Good and evil seldom appear alone so our Christian response can be a mix. Therefore part of the goal for Christian higher education it to “test the spirits”. In college, we need to learn how to discern well because it is a feature of wisdom and wisdom is the main goal of higher education. The reason we seek wisdom is because it helps us find and follow our vocation within the kingdom of God, which has “come near” but has not yet “come home.”
So yes I do agree we need higher education to gain that wisdom but I also think it can come from elsewhere too. We should not solely rely on higher education but we must learn the attitude of stewardship and a life learning student. Thanks to the attitudes, we are able to do more.
Here is why:

It is the ‘advance man’ of our true selves.
Its roots are inward but its fruit is outward.
It is our best friend or our worst enemy.
It is more honest and more consistent than our words.
It is an outward look based on past experiences.
It is a thing which draws people to us or repels them.
It is never content until it is expressed.
It is the librarian of our past.
It is the speaker of our present.
It is the prophet of our future.

Man or Rabbit

The author tries to answer the question “can you lead a good life without believing in Christianity?” So his conclusion is that we cannot be good without God. In the last paragraph he writes “morality is a mountain which we cannot climb on our own efforts.” But I think the good life which Lewis argues is not true. I think that living a morally good life is possible without God and without Christianity because moral values does not only exist in Christianity but also in other religion and culture. For example in elementary school I was taught not to lie, to follow rules, to obey my parents, respect elders and to be nice to others. These are not taught in a Christian way but they are the values of a Christian.

I know a Japanese friend who has the character of an angel. She is a role model to the class by doing her studies well, being considerate to others, athletic but she is not a Christian. The reason why she is so good is because she was brought up in a culture and tradition that is being good. I can tell you that Japan is not even a Christian nation but their tradition can be morally excellent. So for this example how can Lewis say being moral is something that we cannot do it by ourselves. It is possible I guess.

Abolition of everything

Lewis views that the modern system of education is failing to understand what it is to be human. C S Lewis criticizes the modern education because it is neglecting the emotions, which is the natural values and focuses on the reason. According to CS Lewis, this produces two problems, one is it produces empty chested man meaning that they have no emotions. We are producing men without chests, men without operative organs of apprehending objective values or natural law, or the tao.

Man’s conquest of Nature will be completed when human nature is conquered. Values will then be a thing for humans to produce and modify at will, not a thing to be guided by. So the only force left to motivate us will be the force of natural impulses which is the tao/ our emotions? So if we give up the tao, we don’t have any leverage to keep ourselves from falling.
People see values as subjective (influenced by feelings) rather than objective (independent of the subject).

So in the 3rd chapter Lewis asks: “what kind of society is this new education inserted?”

What kind of change do we need in our education? I propose some classes in our college core curriculum. The classes I propose are parenting and money management. These two are something that we all need living in this world and the college does a good job neglecting them. Maybe those little changes can bring some change. Hopefully.


For CS Lewis he categorizes love into four elements but I will only talk about eros. Eros is “being in love” and this has nothing to do with the sexual desires. Lewis says that sexuality is an ingredient in the state of being in love so sex is not everything. Lewis calls the sexual desire as Venus.

I observe that in todays world people have venus over the eros. You’ll see this in the media, movies, songs and everywhere that people are driven by their sexual desires. This quick impulse has them make decisions which they regret or even destroy themselves. Another pain in the world for God. People tend to distort things to their own pleasures and excitement over the real purpose of creation. God created sex not for pleasure sake but for a higher purpose, for an intimate love relationship with a significant other. But no, we choose pleasure over anything. We want the temporary satisfaction rather than thinking about it long term.
Honestly, I do not know how to change our culture now. Because in Korea too, they are not taking sex seriously. People think it is ok to have premarital sex.

Human beings created the culture and we are being destroyed by our culture. I believe only God can change us from the inside.

The Reason of Fall

So the fall now. Why was fall part of God’s creation? Many people ask and still do ask why God created the tree of knowledge because God is all knowing, didn’t he know that Eve was going to eat it? Maybe sometimes we ask too much. Sometimes we just need to have faith that what God is doing is right. Maybe he has a greater purpose for us. We need to sometime just accept the fact that we are fallen.

So why the fall? For me the best answer I can give is because of love. God is love and it is a two way thing. You give love and you receive it back. There are two sides of true love. Love is beautiful, joyful, and it’s a positive word. On the other hand it contains words such as sacrifice, pain sorrow. These two sides, the happy and the sad make up one true love. It is like a coin, there is no one side, it has to have these two.

So going back to creation, when God created the world, he needed something that would have pain, some sacrifice for his creation. Because without it, he cannot express his true love for us. Because we have fallen, he had to come down on Earth for us, to really show that he loves us. This is the major difference between Christianity and other religion. Our God came down on Earth for us, so that he may know us more in a personal level. God showed his true love by having Jesus die on the cross.

For example if I was a very good boy, following all the rules and commands that my parents have for me, obviously my parents would love me. It is easy to love when things are going the way they are. But the real challenge for my parent is when I start rebelling, when I don’t follow their rules and do things on my own. So when I disobey my parents and they have to pay the price for it, they have the choice to love me or not. If they truly love me, then they would forgive and consider me their child again. If they don’t truly love me, they would not want me anymore because I am a troublemaker.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Poison of Subjectivism

We human beings are being conditioned in this world. There is no good or bad for us. What is good for us is what we have been conditioned. Which I think is true because I remember a speaker from January Series last year named Ishmael Beah, he was the author of “A long way Gone”. He was explaining how he was able to kill innocent people. It was because he was conditioned that it was ok to kill innocent people regardless of age, gender and race. That is what’s happening to us right now.

CS Lewis says “Unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish.”

CS Lewis intentions in his writing is to point to a better way for the human society. Through his works we can realize how corrupted human beings are. Why are we going in the wrong way rather than the right? Why do we destroy ourselves? Why are we missing the point? Is this how we were created?

I begin to wonder, what happened to us? Is it all due to the fall? I believe God is more powerful, so why not bad perish and the good prosper? What are we doing or what are we not doing?

Monday, January 19, 2009

What we were called to do...

The author talks about the kingdom of God on earth. How we as Christians can participate in the enlarging of His kingdom.
He keep saying the purpose or the value of college education is for us to help you find and prepare for our vocation. In other words he is saying that college education is meant to prepare me for prime citizenship in the kingdom of God.

I really like when he says “ Christian college community that cares as much about the kind of person you are becoming as what kind of job you will eventually get, and as much about how you will do your job about which job you do.”

Yes I do believe in this statement because I think that Calvin does an outstanding job for its students. It cares, it supports and it mentors. Calvin strives to teach students to be good citizenships of His kingdom and on Earth, good stewards and loving people. So for me it has been a great joy being on campus and seeking for opportunities to grow in different areas.

Thank you Calvin.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

100% of us Die

This is one of the most fascinating readings I have read for this class. I have enjoyed it very much and found myself agreeing with all of his points.
In the first sentence CS Lewis remarks “a university is a society for the pursuit of learning.” College is where we come to learn. But what many students don’t realize is that learning happens outside college too. Furthermore, more learning happens outside of classrooms. I think I tend to learn only in classrooms, but I need to pay close attention to life not just in the classrooms.

Some people achieve more than others. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama. These are great achievers. So what is the secret to the people who achieve more than others in life?
CS Lewis talks about “The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable.”
The names above are those who have not waited for the perfect time nor the opportunities, they are the ones who made opportunities for themselves. They are proactive with their life. Also opportunities go to those people who seek for them. It comes to the prepared.

In the end, life is fair. You reap what you sow.

Mere Mere Mere

At the moment, I feel like I have eaten lunch and while I am still it is digesting it I take my next supper. The food from lunch and from dinner overlaps in my stomach and I don't feel quite well.
That is how I feel reading CS Lewis because I read one thing today and another on the second day. I do not have enough time letting my thoughts sink in with the content I read and I have to produce a blog everyday. Nonetheless I still have to write my blog today whether I have indigestion or a stomach ache.

In Mere Christianity CS Lewis tries to answer some of the questions that have not been answered.

I really enjoyed his analogy of the house. He says we are all in the same house, we all have the same core of beliefs in the Christian family of Evangelical, CRC, Presbyterian and many more. So whenever we have reached our own room we should be kind of those people who are still searching for the room, who are in the hall ways and to those who have chosen a different door than yourself.
If the door I chose is Presbyterian and the other door is CRC, although we practice our beliefs in a different way, we are still in the same family of Christ with the same core belief (such as believing in the Trinity, Jesus is our only savior and etc.) and I should not judge my neighbor because he is doing something different from me.
Human beings have the tendency to judge and dislike those who disagree with them and different from them. We have to remind ourselves that being different

Not only do we accept those in the hallways and in other rooms, we also have to pray for those who are wrong. The wrong who I think is those people who believe in other gods. What can we do for them? I think we can first start by praying for them.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It is my first time to read from the devil’s perspective. I am very amazed by how the devil got it all figured out. Just going through Screwtape Letters, there was the devil giving specific and profound instructions to its follow on how to deceive, how to pull down, how to make people lose faith and all sorts of temptations. Yes I do agree that the evil one knows a lot about me, about my weakness and my strengths. Probably as much as God would know about me. But to me that doesn’t seem fair, why would God give power to Satan if he knows he will use it to take His children away.

In the Bible we notice how powerful the devil is. When Jesus finishes his fasting of 40 days, Satan tempts him with bread, which Jesus needed it the most, then Satan shows the whole world and ask to bow down to him and that Satan would give it all to Jesus, then the last temptation is to jump from a high place. The second temptation, Satan shows the world and this means that he too has some power.

So I can conclude that there are ultimately two powers that are in conflict within us. Both are powerful but the hope for us Christians is that God is more powerful than the evil one. It is unfair for Satan to have his powers but being the child of God gives us authority and the power to overcome temptation. I think many people are not aware of that so we easily fall into temptation, but we Christians need to be strong and bold to overcome the evil in this world just as Jesus did in the mountain.

So here is my letter to Screwtape:

Dear Screwtape,

I guess you can’t sleep every single night peacefully because you know that already that when your time is up, your destination in only one, hell. Where do you find your peace Screwtape?
I know that you are screwing around with so many people out there but you know what? We have a God that is all loving and merciful to us, regardless of how much we screw things up.
I exactly know what you want Screwtape, you need Jesus in your life. Once you admit him as your savior and humbly bow down to God, who knows you might be forgiven and you don’t have to entice people to your evil world?
But if you choose not to, then I’m sorry to say Screwtape that you are screwed. You lost your game and you know it well.

Your disaffectionate buddy,

The other side

We need to think from different perspectives.
I highly recommend this book by Paul Arden: "Whatever you do, think the opposite"
It's a funny and profound book.
And I'm sure the author would have used this picture for his book too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just ask me

It is always fascinating how CS Lewis writes his theology because it doesn’t read like a theology but like a simple story to be told. Sometimes I get it but other times I am left puzzled by his analogies and examples.

It is my second time finding this paragraph in the readings: “ Lord finds our desires, not too strong but too weak. We are far too easily pleased.”

I approve that we do have too little desires and we hardly ask blessings from God. We feel selfish and unchristian if we do that. But a breakthrough of this thought was presented by Bruce Wilkinson in the book of “The Prayer of Jabez” and suggests that it is ok to ask God to bless us. I remember a lot of people in disbelief about Bruce’s idea but it was convincing to many. I believe in a God who is loving, caring, wealthy, almighty, and so amazing that I cannot describe in words.

Let’s just say a father has a son. The father owns a country, he is the king and he can do whatever he wants to in his land. Later the father has a son. He loves the son so much that he would give him anything. When he asks to play with him he will, when the son asks to buy him a soccer ball the father wants to give him the best. The reason is simply because he loves him so much.

There is a saying I remember: “God’s desire to bless us transcends our desire to be blessed.” Therefore we can ask him to bless us. We have the right as the child of God to ask anything. Maybe we are just too happy with the little things we have but we should boldly ask to do things beyond our imagination.
God loves you.

We are gods!

Plantinga mentions so much in the second chapter about creation that I don’t even know where to begin. He comments that creation is neither a necessity nor an accident. God had a purpose for everything he created. But what I don’t understand is that if I were God and being that I am love too, I would not create a world where creation would suffer. I would not create 65 billion people only to save a few. This world is not perfect and we know it all, but God is. So why didn’t he make a perfect world for us anyway in the beginning?

Have you ever thought that we ourselves are also gods? Yes it is shocking and maybe a heresy to think that we are gods but it is true. We are God’s creation and God’s children. If our father is a God, then that makes us also a god since we are a father and children relationship with God. No doubt about that. We possess everything which God has because we are created in his image.
 When my mentor said that “I was a god” I could not agree with him. How can I be a god? But he convinced me that I was and it is true because it says in the Bible.

In John 10: 34 “Is it not written in your law, ‘I have said that you are gods?’ “

Just look around us. Literally everything started from an idea, then put into an action and voila there it is! Still don’t understand?
The books, the computers, cities, buildings, movie, music, iPods, clothes, cars, and I’ll stop here. Everything I mentioned on the list above is created by a person or a group of people. People created them, therefore doesn’t that imply that we are a creator?

So what does this imply? What do we do then if we know that we are gods? It means we have such creative power within us, a power to create anything we want. So let God’s people create something that is loving, something that God will really appreciate and through our creation, God will be glorified.

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Creativity Needed

CS Lewis talks about the purpose of education and his point is education is to created good men and good citizen of this world. Yes I agree with his statement but still how come many people don’t grow up as a good men and citizen? Is there something wrong with our education? I think there is and I want to point out one of them.

I believe one of the mistakes at a higher education is the way they test what we know. So they have made up this system or curriculum known as the ‘exams’. The administration thinks it is the best to evaluate how much a student knows. This is not the best and perfect way to measure how much a student have learned. As college students we know what exams means. It means to take out the textbook in which we have not read for many weeks, trying to burrow notes from friends, asking the professor for a study guide (which is basically cheat notes), to study from 7pm to 4 am in the morning, cramming all the information which the professor wants, can’t wait to finish and after it’s done voila! It’s finished and never would I have to pick up another biology or a philosophy book in my entire life. You ask a student what have you learned from that class? I am not sure how many of us could even answer the question. The reason is because most of us only study for tests, quizzes and exams. Out of those times we never look at the book (might not be true for some). But here is the important thing of all, we do not even remember half of the things that was on the exams and we stupid enough to keep repeating the same old method again and again.

What are some alternatives for an exam? I really don’t know but I know that the current method doesn’t work well. Exams equals grade and that’s it, period. That is not purpose of education and there is no learning at all. I hope I could give an answer and maybe the administration should be more creative on how to make students learn effective in college.

Friday, January 9, 2009

No right to what?

The ultimate action for every human being is happiness.
Getting education, getting married, getting a job, making money, going on vacation, having children, sleeping, eating, hobbies, successful and numerous more is a way for human beings to fulfill their longing for happiness. Faith or religion is not an exception. People can say we truly love God, trust God, seek God but we do all this so that we ourselves can be happy. We trust in a higher being so that our hearts can be filled with happiness.

Yes we human are born selfish. If you observe a two year old child he think he is the king of the world. He wants everything his way and if that does not happen he makes sure the people around gets the message by crying or having a grumpy face. It is our instinct to want for ourselves but in the readings of Plantinga, he urges us to not hope for ourselves only but to extend that hope to other human beings. That is why Jesus is considered a great man. The main reason he came down on earth was because of us, because of others. He did not come down here for his success or reputation but merely for the love of his children and to save them. The sacrificing love of Jesus compels us to do the same. That is why our goal on earth is to be like Jesus because there is no other human being that lived on the face of the earth who has been perfectly following God’s will. Jesus Christ is the perfect role model how Christians should live their time on this earth.

I have the right to happiness, but only in a Jesus like way that God would be glorified through my pursuit of it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

4 seconds without Hope

The first chapter of this book talks about hope and the author’s final conclusion about hope is that Jesus Christ alone is our only hope (p.16).

Reading about hope reminds me of a little poem that I have taken note years ago and it goes like this:

It is said man can survive
40 days without food
4 days without water
4 minutes without breathing
And four seconds without hope.

Hope is a very susceptible word. People pay attention to it. It is a word that fills the heart with positive emotion, joyful, some kind of change and people want hope. This is why one president Obama made it to his presidency because his message was change in Washington which will eventually bring hope to all Americans and hopefully around the world. People bought this message and voted for him.

Hope is ubiquitous.
I wake up in the morning of the hope that I will live a good life today.
I go to class in the hope of learning something new.
I go to the dining hall in the hope of getting fed.
I do my devotions in the hope that God will speak to me.

So my activities are based on hope and if my hope is not met then I will be sad, worried and disturbed. Then I hope again the next day and on it goes. But what we hope for in this world is only temporary. The only eternal hope we can hope for is Jesus Christ.

Ideologically Tainted

The second reading was much more impenetrable than the first. In the first paragraph I understood he was talking about this new word ‘bulverism’. Then he goes on to explain that we exist in two new senses. One is Freudians which they explain the world that we exist in bundles of complexities. The other is the Marxians who interpret that we exist as members of some economic class. Then I got lost after that.

The next paragraph that made sense to me is when he mentions ‘it is admitted that the mind is affected by physical events.’ I have a personal opinion on this quote. I believe that everything that happens to us is created in our minds or the thought. Everything we see in this world was at some point in the mind of a person. Through their imagination and action, their idea was born into the physical world that we live in today.
I can categorize people into two groups. Two types of people in the world, one group thinks and acts. The other group acts then thinks. The difference between these two groups is that the first is not affected by the physical events but rather their thoughts influence their physical world.
For example if the first group has a positive mind and is very happy with life. One goes out the door and finds that it is raining (this is the physical event) but one is not mad or angry. Rather he is happy that it is raining and that it gives moisture to all living things to grow. In this sense, he is in control of his mind which the physical world does not influence him.
On the other side of the story, one’s thought is mad and negative about life. He goes out and finds the rain and his reaction will be negative which being mad and angry at the weather. He blames the weather for everything bad that happens and the physical event affects the person’s thoughts, then it affects their attitudes and their actions and so forth. See how we can control our thinking and change the way wee see things going around this world.

Men cannot change his or her physical events but men can change the way they think.
So that is what I do. I know the greatest gift God has given men is the power to think. My thoughts are either positive or negative, happy or sad, creative or destructive. That is all my choice. If I change my thoughts, the whole world changes. If I don’t, then it’s stagnate just like my thought.

“Nothing changes until you do.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Meditations in where?

“What an interesting text to read on the first day of class” I thought to myself. C.S Lewis has this new ideas and perspectives which people normally don’t see and it attracts the audience into this thoughts. I mean who would think of meditating in a toolshed, look at the beam of light that is coming through the cracks and write out a few pages of essay? I respect this man for his bizarre way of approaching things and I enjoy it.

I accept the notion of looking things along and at. I am familiar to look ‘at’ things not along. No I have not had many experiences and I am quick to judge rather than to think. What I hear from other people about their experiences spurs me to judge rather than understand and it is not easy to throw away this habit.
However I do want to mention that we look at things as we are not as they are. When we see a waterfall we have the judgement or glasses that the waterfall is pretty or ugly. Nothing is pretty or ugly, it is our thoughts that is pretty or ugly. It is the way we look at things. So when someone says if something is stupid, that is false. Nothing is stupid or smart, it’s the thought of the person that is stupid.

Through this course, I would like to learn how to look along things and form it to be my habit of looking at things. This would allow me to see the world as how God may have created it to be rather than man created it to be.