My absence has been wholly due to one word: ‘love’. Yes, folks. Since my last post I’ve been pretty busy falling in it, getting married in it, building a house in it, and other things that seem contrary to the very word, in the name of love.

Yes love, or should I say romance. To be quite honest with you I didn’t experience the difference between the two until I got ‘hitched’ back in January. It was really romantic and I swore at that moment that everything felt perfect. We closed the ceremony with the blessing of Holy Matrimony. It felt ‘Holy’. I Agreed. Well…I can tell you now that I really didn’t know what to expect.

Let’s face it. Marriage today is a mess. But don’t take my word for it. Look at the stats…

The United States of America holds a divorce rate of 50%. That’s only the first marriage! The rates increase as you get older up to 70%!! It really begs the question: “Why even bother getting married!”

I have three reasons that I think can shed light on why it’s not working in America.

I. Marriage by the majority isn’t seen as ‘Holy’ anymore

Since this whole evolution thing, you’ve got no choice but to define marriage in evolutionary biological terms. So, looking in from that worldview, marriage is only seen as a means of procreation and power. Living in a group means stronger numbers and procreation to the max would create more potential for survival of the genes. Conflict in marriage leading to divorce or separation is totally a matter of the failure to adapt leading to extinction. I’m making this all based on a very thin knowledge of how I view marriage from an atheistic-evolutionist perspective.

My marriage was called ‘holy’. As a Christian I believe that God alone is holy. I can’t make anything holy. So this means that marriage belongs to God. Me and my wife are just mere participants in something God created. So, this pretty much means I have no power over marriage and my wife is my wife because God says so and I chose to accept it. So no matter how much I fuss or cuss in my marriage cause of whatever made me jealous (or selfish) at the end of the day she is always my wife and it’s God’s marriage. Not mine.

I really think the ‘holy’ factor missing is a serious problem for America because marriage is taken on the view that it’s his/hers or it’s mine. So we do it ourselves. When there’s a problem between spouses and we can’t handle it, we bail, take the quickest way out and move on. But avoiding conflict only leads to more conflicts that fail to be resolved. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t situations that are dangerous and serious protection needs to be sought out. Violence and life-threatening circumstances needs to be avoided. My point is simply that our marriage in it’s end result is a product woven by our own two hands because we made it in our own image and likeness and not after God. It’s not ‘holy’ its just what we are – all too human.

II. Pain has lost it’s purpose in marriage

Marriage can bring the issue of pain like never before. Dishonestly, violence, and fear are some of the things plaguing the morals of society. What do you do when it’s coming from the person who sleeps right next to you? The natural impulse pain is to avoid it and rightly so! But in marriage divorce is the modern popular solution. I don’t think I need to explain this. You can look at the stats again get it from there. But there is good that comes out of pain as well. I study Taekwon-Do and I had to endure a lot of pain. Much of which was beneficial. I even suffered some bruises and a concussion. Ask me if I regret it? Not at all! I think, judging from my experience and what I see in my dojang (the Korean counter-part to dojo) that people will not endure any kind of pain if it is not for a purpose and one that they themselves desire.

We know that marriage has pain, but no one comes into marriage expecting it or anticipating it to make them better. I got knocked out in Taekwon-Do and it taught me to keep my hands up when sparring; even with a white belt! I knew what to do with my pain – learn from it. But in marriage we’d like to think it as pain-free. Marriage is pretty much that place you go to where your always in love and you live in the castle with the princess happily ever after (with no concussions). Right? If this isn’t so, then why not expect pain? It’s because we don’t know what to do with it.

As a Christian, sin to me is as real as a strike to the head. So, even though marriage is holy and made by God, I still make mistakes and have a lot of proclivities in my life. Humans bring sin into marriage and…well you can just look at the stats again. My point is that with sin outside of the equation, we don’t know what to do with the pain caused in marriage and we end up just dumping it everywhere except where it matters. The Cross of Christ. We men resort to passive aggressive behavior, alcoholism, verbal and physical abuse, and late nights out of the house because we are paralyzed with pain. That pain we feel is telling us something is wrong in Gods marriage and we need to give it to Him. We might have never even of done it and that pain is a wake up call just like my concussion was a wake-up call to close my defenses properly. As a Christian, I am not to fix my marriage myself, but I’ve learned to ask God what needs to be done.

NEXT…III. Marriage is becoming increasingly Sexually Bankrupt – Pt.2

As a college professor, I have the privilege and arduous task of asking each of my university students to give a ‘self-introduction’ at the start of each semester. This method of ‘breaking-the-ice’ has become the first and most important part for what I regard as successful teaching. I’m a conversational English professor working in South Korea; a culture that brings many unique challenges to the classroom.

This semester, I decided to pay much closer attention to the introductions of my students. Their introductory notes contained prompt sentences for students with difficulty starting conversations. I asked them to describing general information about themselves; hobbies, family members, birthday, etc. These are quite useful since I do teach a beginners English course.

Today, I noticed an interesting trend in the students thoughts about the university. They were asked  what they dislike about the university and this was the popular answer of the day: “The one thing I hate about ****** University is religion.”


This sentence recurred all through the day. Consequentially, I felt a subtle sense of insecurity while sitting in front of all these students who seemed non-enthusiastic about the whole idea of religion. They didn’t even narrow it down to  Christianity! Just, religion.

I found myself contemplatively repulsed, not just by the rejection of my personal belief system, but all religions! Since when did religion become a bad thing or a hateful thing? Is religion really the enemy?

History has taught me things about religion. The crusades, in my opinion, say nothing good to the general public about Christianity. Christians warring against the Islam (or vice versa) doesn’t really give the notion of peace. Muslim sects still fight in opposition to each other. Also, there are so many different denominations within Christianity. Scholars have estimated that there is roughly, at least 38,000 denominations in Christianity. Islam also has its many sects as well (73).

Each one of these religions claim that they are right about something and the others are wrong while they all share similar tenets within their faith system.

Religion is indeed congested with a variety of views and interpretations, but is it the enemy?

I see one thing demonstrated from this overgrowth in religion. It don’t think it’s about religion at all, but about people. If it were truly about religion, then perhaps we would be able to sit down with reasonable, honest intentions and attempt to discover the truth. But history and human behavior shows me otherwise.

Human beings are – prideful. It is our pride – our sense of self that prohibits us from any potential change. Our hearts are inclined to favor our own opinions and views over others. Anything that speaks of ‘change’ is a potential threat to what we value. This is what I see when I think of different religions, sects, and denominations. It is REALLY about the TRUTH or is it about YOU?

As a Christian, this problem of ‘self’ is the central understanding of anthropology. Man is selfish. He defines everything for himself and because of this there is every form of division that exists. I hate to admit it but Soren Kierkegaard was right (I have a love-hate relationship with existentialism)! Sin is really an existential issue about the self/subjectivity. It’s not just the breaking of some abstract law on stone. It’s man’s confusion and questioning of his existence and meaning. Observe the Bibles explanation for mans waywardness:

“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Romans 1:18-23

The last section (verse 22) is speaking about the formation of religion! I don’t think religion is the enemy, but the outcome of our confusion about who we truly are and where we are going.

I can sympathize with my students with this new perspective. But I think, if we try to remove religion, will find something else to replace it. That, consequentially, will become religion.

Anguish of the Self

Posted: February 22, 2010 in Devotional Thoughts, The Bible

Disappointments happen.

I excelled in my studies as a student. My longing was to become part of the leadership in church ministry. I experienced the work of God and in my personal studies and academics in a remarkable way. I also received the affirmation of my peers and they considered me to be of exceptional understanding and character. Along with all of the acknowledgments came this sense entitlement to ministry. I thought to myself that God had ‘authenticated’ my purpose, my goals as a minister.

That moment has long gone…

Later in life, I experienced much difficulty in answering the question ‘why’. Why didn’t I get in? Many of my peers did, but I felt as though I were a ‘black-sheep’. Overtime an increased sense meaninglessness and despondency came. I thought that God didn’t ‘want’ me. I felt ‘deceived’ and embarrassed. Occasionally and frightfully, borderline suicidal thoughts would occupy my mind at this period. I found no rest. I was told that I can be happy doing ‘nothing else’.

Where did my peace come from? Why did I find such offense in God?

John the Baptist was great man. He was hailed by Christ as the greatest of prophets. His eloquence and passion for the Messiah brought many with hearts that desired change to the throne of God. He spoke candidly to those who oppressed the truth of God concerning their hypocrisy and exploitation. This man’s duty was defined in the words of the prophet Isaiah “The voice of one crying in the wilderness; prepare the way of the LORD. Make his paths straight”. Yet, in the midst of his work he was imprisoned for the truth.

Upon John’s imprisonment, Jesus made himself known by working miracles among the people. John heard of these things, but yet there was speculation in his heart. Seeking justification, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus “are you the one who should come, or should we look for another?” (Luke 7:20) To be the forerunner of the one to bring liberation to the world and to remain imprisoned is a most shameful experience.

Jesus heard this question and reiterated all the things that John knew with these words “Blessed is he who is not ashamed of me” (Luke:23)

Did John lose confidence in Christ because of his experience?…

Did I lose confidence in Christ because of my experience?…

I have spoken to many Christians, who like myself and John have lost confidence because of not attaining to what we ‘foresaw’ as our purpose. Bitterness, anger, and un-forgiveness often occupy the words in such conversations. John’s situation teaches that shame and discouragement in God comes when God is not the center of our purpose but when we use God as a means rather than the ends. We venerate our goals above God. I venerated my career as a minister before God! This is a subtle but very true form of idolatry.

Many may consider using the word ‘ idolatry’ to be harshly critical, but maybe it is our understanding of idolatry that needs to corrected. It is not the deification of mere material things, but that which we purpose our lives around. The images which the children of Israel casted into gold were significant of the lifestyle which they chose. So, idolatry is not an overcritical word here. It is understood as when we define our purpose outside of God.

This misplaced trust opens the ‘self’ to every depreciating experience. Bitterness, anguish, restlessness, and un-forgiveness towards God all have their home in the mind that takes God as the means rather than the ends. Our sense of ‘self’ becomes ashamed of God and we see him as deficient in accomplishing our goals. We find it hard to pray, hard to believe God again because of our misplaced sense of ‘self’.

“All things come alike to all…”(Ecclesiastes 9:2) Christians are not exempt from the circumstances of life. Jesus was not. Why should we be? Disappointment in life will happen, but it should never threaten our sense of ‘self’. In this modern time we are no longer defined by traditions, but by prestige, scholarship, financial assets, etc. While it is true that God may help us attain these things, we too, like Abraham can be tested and like John may face life changing difficulties challenging us as to where we find that sense of ‘self’.

Jesus was tested…

Remember the test in the desert? “If you are the son of God…”

John’s imprisonment, Abraham’s test, and the wilderness experience of Christ all tell the same truth; ‘self’ is found in God, not in what we can attain with or without Him. To anchor our soul on anything else will only invite genuine threat to the ‘self’; the breaking of the 1st Commandment.

I now understand why God prevented me enter the ministry. I love Him more because of it. My heart was lifted up, and I had to be brought low to see that ‘self’ is not found in ministry, but in God. Disappointments happen, but self is not found in what I can attain. It is in what God gives to me; Life in Christ (John 10:10). The Gospel taught me “Blessed is he, who is not ashamed of Me.” I hope that we would place life in Christ above and before everything else.

Soli Deo Gloria

A New Hypocrite

Posted: February 9, 2010 in Philosophy

If I claim inclusivity in my morals is it exclusive?

Quite recently, I posted a blog entitled “Why I am Not an Atheist.” I intended on sharing some reasons for my non-conformity. To put it plain, I couldn’t settle into atheism philosophically.  However, I was told that I was too concerned with the idea that absolutes are necessary in ethics. But, now I wonder, why was their no inclusivity applied to my position? Is there an exclusive bias somewhere?

Where do we get the idea that ethics has no need to be absolute? Someone might say from scientist and philosophers, but wouldn’t they be contradicting themselves by using an exclusive statement to promote inclusivity?

Relativism is like a vacuum. If a statement in this belief were practically and fully endorsed, then it too would be relative in this kind of thinking. In other words, inclusivity only makes inclusivity. But does anyone notice this chaos in relativistic thinking? The logical outcome of this philosophical outlook would lead to the break down society.

Who can say that ‘I’ or ‘you’ are obligated to obey a standard that teaches ‘absolute tolerance’ with the idea that ethics is ‘inclusive’? Why then should we be intolerant and ‘hard-nosed’ on beliefs and the issues in life? Why then not release the incarcerated, the ‘clinically insane’, fundamentalist, the jihadist, dismiss the religiously intolerant, the pedophile, and those whom society has ’qualified’ as rejected and unfit to function within, what some believe to be an inclusive ethical system?

A hypocrite isn’t just someone who says something and doesn’t do what they say, but has no intention of following through with their words. If Christians can be accused of this then so can other belief systems.

To postulate ethical conditions as inclusive and yet employ exclusion is just plain hypocritical and dishonest about reality. Its almost like no one wants to be wrong anymore so just take it all in! I believe you’d be very hard pressed to find anyone who believes “Al Qaeda has every right to believe what they want about the United States.” Or “You can believe in your idea of Allah! That’s fine with me!”

It’s just dishonest to not carry out what we believe to its logical end. If we can’t follow through with it, then we’re better off not believing it.  In the end our own hearts will tell the truth of the impossibility to follow relativism.

I was taught that life was to make something of yourself…

As I read the Gospel of Matthew I felt drawn to these words “Take no thought for your life, what you will eat, what you will drink or what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and clothing?… It’s interesting in the Greek to see that the words”take no thought” (better translated “stop worrying!”) is a subjunctive with a negation. What it means is that this grammatical instrument is pretty much its the strongest way you can say “Stop!” in Koine Greek. It doesn’t come clear in the English but Jesus is asking…no…telling his audience to stop living life so focused on securing a life of material and aesthetic satisfaction.

That is a very strong challenge today. Society has the strong current that pulls everyone into the race for economy. Our works determine the power of our efforts and people who ‘fall short’ are marginalizied (or marginalize themselves) for the greater achievers. The garbage man has but little significance in the eyes of the public as opposed to the lawyer or the politician. I can see the point Jesus is trying to make and how it can greatly change things in today’s society. I am sure that, if we, as people took less thought, we will find contentment. The standards, or ‘points-of -reference’  made by society (heritage, ethnicity, scholarship, etc), which we often use to determine our significance will no longer exist. Yet, these artificial ‘standards’  do not define a persons worth, but contribute greatly to the destruction of our souls and (the souls of others) when we become highly preoccupied in them. Money, food, pleasures or achievements are all sought by all means necessary, to either alleviate the hunger of the soul, and becomes a misguided point-of-reference for meaning in life.  Society has trained our minds to think in that matter. We live in a world created by men. This is the only reason for this fragile economic outlook.

Life as Jesus sees it is beyond what we have made it to be. I suppose that many are anxious, unsatisfied, and hungry for more of what the world has to offer  due to our low expectation and outlook of what life is really all about. If life isn’t about these things, then what is it about? I was taught that life was about making something of yourself…

Taking no thought means that we’re not made to seek satisfaction in ourselves and in our efforts. That is due to the absence of holiness – knowing and living as under one who belongs to God. That is why Jesus says “Are you not much more than these?” Holiness is the key to contentment in the eyes of Christ. “See ye first, the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.” Why does he call them things? I suppose he treats it as insignificant as we treat ourselves on account of things and things must make room for holiness.

I was taught that life was about making something of yourself. Christ taught me that I was made something already.


When I was young I would think myself into fear. My thoughts would go something like this: “If God didn’t exist, then there would be nothing…” This line of reasoning terrified me. As I got older I became rather apathetic to religion and started to view life my own way. I lived life void of any transcendental point of reference and tried to ‘wing-it’. Also, I remember confessing there was no God, but only enlightenment (Buddha). My mom was very sad about this, but she still loved me so much despite my open non-confession. This went on for about 4 1/2 years or so.

I later realized that to reason God’s non-existence wasn’t proving to be very effective. I tried to live and think like an Atheist about there being no God, but it just wasn’t working out for me. Here were some of my arguments:


It always came to me as common sense to reason that God didn’t exist. There is pain and suffering in the world. War exists and I think it will always exist. Don’t ask why though – that’s just my opinion. But the problem with using evil as an argument causes me to question where do I get this idea of evil? If God didn’t exist, then neither does good or evil since there really is not standard to go by. Also, evil doesn’t really work as a good argument because it’s not God doing the evil – it’s us humans who are screwing each other over every chance we get. So trying to be an atheist from this reasoning didn’t work for me. It did satisfy my appetite for justice to blame the idea of God, but rationally it didn’t make any sense.


So, I thought perhaps the idea of God is just a figment of man’s imagination; a deification of ideas. That worked for a while, but later I started to see that this doesn’t disprove the existence of God at all, but is a starting point leading to the conclusion that, perhaps he does. Where did we get this ability to conceive perfection anyway? That was like a one ended stick argument for me. So, I discarded it.


Then there was the plurality of religion. So many ‘gods’ and so many different beliefs.  Have we gone mad? I thought I was on to something, but then I realized that multiple religions don’t disprove the existence of God, but actually proves that there is a universal existential concern in the heart of all cultures and religions that needed to be addressed. My first conclusion was the wrong conclusion.


The argument from science seemed to be useful to a lot of people. Didn’t work out for me though. It seemed like an inconsistency with how science is done in the laboratory. I mean, c’mon! It all came from a bang? That just brought more questions! It just wasn’t sufficient to me. So, it didn’t really fit as a good alternative. Although a lot of people say evolution is ‘scientific’, it just seems like a very biased interpretation of information. Pretty much, you gotta believe in the non-existence of God first before anything brought to the table actually makes sense. The former proved to be very complicated.

Well, I don’t know if these arguments would work for anyone else, but they did for me. However, I haven’t told you the strongest argument yet.

Here it is:


How is it that such a desire for coherence and comprehension can come from nothing? That desire was the premise of all my thinking; trying to make sense of it all. If it came from nothing, why am I trying to make sense of it? Why are Atheists trying to make sense of it? The ability to conceive and comprehend lead me to believe that the world was made to be comprehended and to conclude that it came from something that contains no comprehension seemed like, here I say it – insanity. (No pun intended)

Knowing all these things made it irrational for me to be an atheist.

About two years ago I remembered hearing some troubling news about an amputation. As it turns out, a man in his early 20’s from Idaho severed his own hand because he was lead to believe from reading The Book of Revelation the ‘Mark of the Beast’ was a literal mark. This isn’t the only time something like this happened because of a literal interpretation of the Bible.  I remembered on more than one occasion hearing stories like this over the news.

Even in my college days there were some strange interpretations. One morning I walked into my next door roommate’s pad and noticed  that he wasn’t there. Later that day I asked him about his absence and he told me he was praying. I said, “but I didn’t see you, I came into your room and you weren’t there”. He said, “I was sitting inside the closet”….oh.

I heard some interpretations as well back in my hometown at New York City. One one occasion, an elder stood up and told everyone that if you didn’t pay tithe you were going to be cursed by God. Hmm.. I thought to myself, “Wow, I guess my cursed already because I’m broke!” On another occasion, I was stopped by some two guys wearing black robes that told me I was divine because Jesus was of African decent. They read the text in Revelation 1:14 where it read that “his head and his hair were white like wool…” I suppose wool hair was the emphasis. Then I was told that I must follow them because the black man is superior…mmkay.

Questionable interpretations about the Bible seem to never go away. While some interpretations do come from those who devoutly wish to follow God’s word, some interpretations have contributed much confusion to the question of ‘how’ to understand the Bible. Now, I know Biblical Interpretation, as theologically dense of an issue as it sounds, has little immediate concern for some people unless they do plan to be devout in their Christianity. Nevertheless, it is an issue of concern for me and maybe for others; when a situation arises where answers are needed. However, I think I won’t wait till a crisis occurs to know the ‘how’ of it all. Kind of like waiting for their to be a fire, but put-off figuring out where’s the nearest exit.

Church History to be very useful in helping me understand this situation. From what I’ve read, Biblical Interpretation has always been the ‘nerve’ behind some of the biggest issues and the most dangerous actions taken by the church. Even today there are a variety of interpretive methods used for the Bible. Some people desire a more ‘liberal’ understanding where they exercise more freedom in the lifestyle, while others gravitate to a more preserved or ‘conservative’ interpretation to protect the ‘truth’. I don’t particularly hold allegiance to either camp, but I do appreciate some interpretations they bring to the table. Ultimately, I try to say away from 4 types of interpretation: Allegorical, Naturalist, Existential, and Over-personalization a.k.a ‘cherry picking’.


Allegorization is a lot like using way to much of your Christian imagination inside the Bible. A good example of this would be anything in the Bible mentioning wood is the cross, red is the blood of Christ, and water being the Holy Spirit.

Where did this come from? Well  it came from early Christianity. While other Christian leaders before the 2nd Century used allegorization as a method of rhetoric, it was later made a system of interpretation by the church father Origen.

Origen interpreted the Bible in 3 ways: ‘Body’, ‘Spirit’, and ‘Soul’. Body’ was a somewhat negative/inferior kind of interpretation.  This was accounted to the fact that Origen was influenced by Neo-Platonism.  The body interpretation (literal) played the least significance and so, he emphasized the ‘Spirit’ and ‘Soul’ over the ‘Body’. This later progressed to a 4-fold interpretation and things started getting out of hand. By the time the Middle Ages were around there was a 7 fold interpretation. This pretty much lasted till the Reformation. Allegorization was mostly used in preaching.

Now, I can see the good in allegorization for it’s creativity and rhetorical beauty given to a Bible text. It can serve as a good tool for the communication of truth (e.g. preaching rhetoric), but it was progressed to a primary method of interpretation. This is where things get weird. The literal is downplayed for the more creative form of interpretation. Rhetoric goes over and against what the Bible actually says. This pretty much puts the Bible in a position to be interpreted in any creative fashion and it eventually loses it’s meaning and intent.

So, while it sounds nice to hear in a sermon that Lazarus represents ‘a man who repents’,  snakes in the wilderness are ‘the curse of sin’, and that Song of Solomon is actually about Christ and the church it really isn’t. Christian sentiments have their place, but not as rules of interpretation.

Next: Naturalist Interpretation