Archive for August, 2007

important theology


I believe this is my first post on a purely biblical-theological issue. A good thing, I guess- I did spend a chunk of change studying issues like this, and I spend much of my weeks sifting through these as well!

In any case, the following link is a great summary of a very important, indeed crucial, discussion in theological circles. My guess is that almost every theology student and seminary-trained pastor has had to think through the issues, and it drastically affects our understanding of what Jesus came to do. As with any theological issue, there are great and needed points to glean from each perspective. I think the author does a pretty decent job on doing it… Enjoy the article! (beware- it will take a little more time to read than most articles)


Iron, Candy, and the Crucible:: Celebrating Six Years

In a few days, I will be celebrating six years of marriage (known as the “iron” or “candy” anniversary). Below is an excerpt that has given me great guidance in the journey so far. Definitely food for thought, whether we are married or single.


“Marriage is the closest bond that is possible between two human beings. That, at least, was the original idea behind it… It was to transcend every other form of human union on earth, every other covenant that could possibly be made between two people. Friendship, parent-child, master-pupil- marriage would surpass all these other bonds in a whole constellations of remarkable ways… Socially, legally, physically, emotionally, every which way, there is just no other means of getting closer to another human being, and never has been, that in marriage.

Such extraordinary closeness is bought at a cost, and the cost is no other more nor less than one’s own self. No one has ever been married without being shocked at the enormity of this price and at the monstrous inconvenience of this thing called intimacy which suddenly invades one’s life. At the wedding a bride and groom may have gone through the motions of the candle-lighting ceremony, blowing out their own flames and lighting one central candle in place of the two. But the touching simplicity of this ritual has little in common with the actual day-to-day pressures of two persons being merged into one. It is a different matter when the flame that must be extinguished is no lambent flicker of a candle, but the blistering inferno of self-will and independence. There is really nothing else like this lifelong cauterization of the ego that must take place in marriage. All of life is, in one way or another, humbling. But there is nothing like the experience of being humbled by another person, and by the same person day in and day out. In can be exhausting, unnerving, infuriating, disintegrating. There is no suffering like the suffering involved in being close to another person. But neither is there any joy nor any real comfort at all outside of intimacy, outside the joy and the comfort that are wrung out like wine from the crush and ferment of two lives being pressed together.”

The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason, 89-90.

Immigrant Blessings, part 1

(The following is the beginning, God willing, of a series of entries fueled by a hope to keep the experience of the previous generations in my family alive.  It was brought to mind recently as four generations came together recently to celebrate my grandfather’s 90-something birthday.)


Growing up, I was pretty embarrassed about my immigrant background.  I remember wanting to change my name in preschool. “Mom, why can’t my name be Michael?” I thought.  “I would just feel so much better about myself.”  While having some Caucasian friends over as a second or third grader in Madison, WI, I still remember feeling downright embarrassed by the completely un-aesthetic collection of functional furniture in our cramped apartment (my dad was going through medical school), along with my parents’ lack of western social grace and understanding.   This embarrassment of culture, especially as embodied by my parents, continued for some years.

But things changed- not with my culture or my parents, but with me.  My parents’ house still has a random assortment of furniture, and they still function day-to-day in many ways as if they were poor immigrant grad students (even though Dad is an MD/PhD with numerous material and academic achievements).  The difference now is that I see the values they embody as truly valuable and desirable.  Values of simplicity and modesty,  for example, along with a deep desire to keep culture alive through language have grown on me…

They aren’t perfect of course, and neither is the cultural heritage I come from.  But I’m thankful that every  culture and story has its strengths that we can learn from, and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to learn from the Chinese immigrant culture in the last half of the 20th century.