The Only Thing You Need to Get Good At – inspired by an article on raptitude

My fiend shared an interesting article: http://www.raptitude.com/2017/03/only-thing-get-good-at/

Good interesting article…Stoicism, when I first knew about it, I felt it would lead to some bad consequences like make people numb, insensitive, feels no empathy, no hospitality or love… (By the way, Malcom Gradwell in his book, “David AND Gladiator —- underdogs, misfits, and the art of battling giants” has some interesting researches on the “British stoicism virtue” often pictured as a good example in the period of WWII that London was bombarded by the Nazi Germany – hint, it had nothing to do with the so called peculiar British people’s Stoicism character at all ).

Often, ideas from many different philosophies and religions have many parallels. Some examples in the article: One.Buddhism says we are not happy because we are trying to grasp more than we actually can control. —-Similarity to Stoicism aside, in Christianity there is also the teaching “don’t rely on yourself but Him”. Two. Replace all the instance of the plural “gods” with singular “God”, one can still perfectly understand the main points this article conveys.

About the notion : “We shouldn’t try to be happy by trying to gain control everything”. The truth is: if one only knows philosophy and has vast knowledge, all the things he knows will still leave the human heart and love untouched. Of course, the magical of life is in the experience. That’s why the author said: in the past, though he was sold by the idea for years but practiced badly. I think, now if he really seriously try to practice well, what do you think he will trying to do? He will try to identify the scope of the first bin (things that he can control). This is a dynamic process, because at different life stage or situation, the size of the bin changes: when you are little, you probably has little things you can control, most likely only limited to move your body parts (provided you are biologically healthy ); when you are grew, you can control over your income (money); when you first join the workforce, there are little things you can control in your company; when you are a manager, suddenly you have more things you can control (alone comes some responsibility). When your circumstance changes, the things you can control changes : when you are in a small company you are likely can control more things than you could when you are in a bigger company (in a general sense, there will be for sure some particularities ).

Nobody in a good sense will think he can actually control everything. But, again, generally speaking, human beings tend to be happier as the things we can control grows. I emphasized “generally speak” because that, the key is: you have the “right things” you can control and practicing well. In this regard, there are few things we should focus on; and all of them should concerning the heart of the person and “Love”—-the core gospel of authentic Scripture teaching. Through these things, we can let go of things and gain control of things; we come and go, with peace and happiness.

WHEN LIFE HURTS

Oh Lord, is this our punishmentFor turning against you?

Chaos and natural disasters everywhere.
Misunderstandings abound, scuffles in the air.

Love seems to slowly fade.
It’s no longer the paradise you’ve made.

Living in a complete mess, where lost souls dwell.
We have ourselves to blame, into sin we fell.

Restore our faith in You, Oh Lord.
Teach us your ways;  may your Spirit revive our souls.

Lift us from the curse of sinful living that binds our being.
Redeem us, Oh Lord;  make our hearts your home.

Let your love cover us, that pain and suffering be no more.

Replace hate in this world, 

with care for all to share.

Let your will be done in our lives, set our feet upon the Rock of Salvation.

And with the songs of praise, forever we will sing,

“How great is the God we serve!”

Christ Based Leadership 基于主耶稣基督的领导力—-一点片段的随想

A not lot so serious thought : it means sometimes it make sense to talk nonsense, especially when get together with friends and loved ones (though I personally will not like gossip). Spend quality time with loved ones, no matter what and how we are taking about, itself is a very good thing!
一个不是那么严肃的想法:这意味着某些时候,“闲聊吹水”也是有意义的,特别是和朋友和所爱的人在一起的时间(虽然我个人还是不会怎么喜欢谣言和流言)。和所爱的人们一起待着,不管说什么和怎么聊天,这本身就是一件十分好的事情!

A somewhat serious thought: so let’s not so catch up the words we are using. Because, if human want to clear up our language, it is virtually impossible to do. 

一个比较严肃的想法:那么让我们不要太纠缠于我们使用的文字上面。因为,如果我们人想要真的清理我们的语言,它几乎是一件不可能的事情。
A not lot so serious thought : it means sometimes it make sense to talk nonsense, especially when get together with friends and loved ones (though I personally will not like gossip). Spend quality time with loved ones, no matter what and how we are taking about, itself is a very good thing!
一个不是那么严肃的想法:这意味着某些时候,“闲聊吹水”也是有意义的,特别是和朋友和所爱的人在一起的时间(虽然我个人还是不会怎么喜欢谣言和流言)。和所爱的人们一起待着,不管说什么和怎么聊天,这本身就是一件十分好的事情!

A somewhat serious thought: so let’s not so catch up the words we are using. Because, if human want to clear up our language, it is virtually impossible to do. 

一个比较严肃的想法:那么让我们不要太纠缠于我们使用的文字上面。因为,如果我们人想要真的清理我们的语言,它几乎是一件不可能的事情。

Think about, if you know the crazy —-( for crazy, I mean really he was a crazy man. To get a sense, you may watch the motion picture movie, “knowing…”; in the beginning a professor told a tales about this crazy man:) —-German philosopher,Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote the book “Philosophical Investigations” then you will feel what a mess the human languages are and how desperate this book seems to me.

想象一下,如果你知道那个德国的“疯子哲学家”路德维西.维特根斯坦—-(我说疯子,一点也不过分。要得到一个感觉,你只要看一下那部好莱坞大片,“先知”中的开头,一个大学教授讲了一个关于这个疯子的故事 🙂 )—-他写的《哲学研究》,你就会知道我们人类的语言有多么混乱并且想去修复它们对我来说是多么得感到绝望。(这也就是为什么,我们基督徒在读圣经之前,需要祈祷以求神赐予我们他的智慧来理解他的话语,而不是光只通过人的智慧来理解。并且要和其他人讨论。)

Yes, it may well because our fellowship and community provide a sense of family warm, brotherhood  and sisterhood, so people are join the Christian community; but it can well be said the opposite: because we have faith in Christ, so we are a family , so the people in church cares about us, and it does like a family. 

是的,也许正是因为人们感觉教会提供了一种家一样的温暖和建立友谊的机会,人们就信了基督教;但是,完全反过来也成立,正因为我们有基督的信仰,作为基督的身体的教会给我们提供了一种家一样的温暖和建立友谊的机会。

  
  
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Growth 

We as parents are impressed by that with our kids, when they grow up enough to handle stuff. That’s responsibility. We think maybe that is how God wants to see us. It’s not the same. God wants us to depend on Him, and even when we do have a measure of confidence, the confidence is not, “I can do all things,” but “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

A different interpretation – I like it better

From one of the Books I am currently reading, “How to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON”: “…It’s in the parable of the sower where Jesus talks about the farmer who sowed some seed. Some fell on the side, some fell on stones, some fell on thorny ground, but some fell on fertile soil. It’s a ministry metaphor saying, “Keep sowing the seed. Not all of it is going to grow up, but you should keep sowing it.”

See, I always think and / or heard others explanation on this teaching by Jesus meant that “some people can’t make it” but “some other people can” ( and only those “fell on fertile soil” ). I feel, for this explanation, it seems make sense descriptively; but I always feel something not quite added up. Upon close examination, it seems this explanation have tendency to imply that “you should through your own work/effort to achieve salvation”, it’s like a voice always remind yourself in your head saying: “be careful to watch yourself. Are you the seed feel on fertile soil or not?”

After I read this different interpretation, it feels like a fresh air. How true! and how dangerous the old explanation can be! No to the analogy of “seed” to “person”.

A bonus question: It is interesting about the “seed” is singular ( not “seeds” ). Makes you think, doesn’t it? ^_^ What do you think the “seed” in this parable refer to? 🙂

—-

Read Mark 4

A commentary on a Christain newsletter: “FREE INDEED 13… the Highway of Holiness”

Nowadays, many Chinese get their driver’s license while they’re in college. Like most Americans, I started driving when I was fifteen. My biggest fear was a head-on collision, so I always stayed far to the right side of my lane. However, when my Dad noticed this tendency, he told me that more fatal accidents are caused by drivers straying too far to the right than by drivers going too far to the left.

Looking ahead to the New Covenant, Isaiah foretold that “A highway will be there; it will be called the Highway of Holiness.” Isaiah 35:8 On this highway, the Galatians had a head-on collision with the Law of Moses. Some of the Galatians reached the point where they lost their salvation, because they went back to trusting in their own ability to follow the Law of Moses ( um…’collision with something is because of trying to following this same something by believing in one’s own ability ‘, what is this something really meant ( just recite all the content of the Law of Moses doesn’t count! 🙂 )? ), instead of relying only on the finished work of Christ on the cross. “You have been cut off from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law ( Here, the critical thing is what is the “Law” in essence; and again, I don’t meant to list all the manifestations in Human Language about the “Law”. I think in the context of the script, it should be interpreted as familiar with a family of concepts: rules, dogma, regulations, moral right, social norms…etc. One can see, even justified by faith is without doubt, but the without comply something that is observable, measurable thus to have any knowledge on our human side to judge if an action is comply to it or not, it is not possible – because our limitation as human to vindicate our faith. Again, I am not just limit all the “Law” as describable in logical text; one has to have faith when he or she needs act out no matter the current and past information shows any certainty of the out come.); you have fallen away from grace.” Gal.5:4 We must avoid returning to a law of dead works, but straying in the other direction is also deadly. (Yep, I can almost following previous reasoning to see the “other direction”. It is not “justified by law” but it is also not “Once saved always saved”, Faith is not a LICENSE for anything, because it is not a LICENSE! It turns out this is the main point of this letter, not the other way around.)

By the way, I very admire Paul’s effort in Galatians, New Testament: He tried to explain all these in a logical way by a text that reads contradict itself; a paradox is not a contradiction, but it is not a paradox, you need really spend much energy and thinking to understand it as a coherent whole.

“Certain persons have crept in unnoticed…godless men, who change the grace of our God into a LICENSE for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Jude 4 “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him.” ( Can we say: (A) Not all those comply the “Law” are saved but some of those comply the “Law” are saved? And (B) those who have Faith but not comply the “Law” are not saved? —- Once again, I found myself stuck in the imperfection of the human language and logic reasoning; while I think B might be a “misunderstanding” of “Faith” altogether, the exact composition in A I can not articulate in Human language clearly — to such extend that I can only say some of those could lack of stability in staying in the A. ) Titus 1:16 When the government gives you a driver’s license, they are giving you permission to drive on the roads they built. ( Um…what is the purpose of this analogy here? Does “the grance of God” is a LICENSE for you to following the “Law” —-thus, you have qualified to follow (a certain) law ? I am not sure this is correct either. It is better not to “use” “Faith” as an instrument for something else. ) Those who try to change the grace of God into a LICENSE for sin, think that the sacrifice of Jesus gives us permission to live sinful lives. ( This actually implies people always know which things are sinful, which things are not sinful. For me, it is obviously not always this simple, especially in our modern life —- again, I want to remind that I am not using this as an excuse for sinful act; I am just saying that “do no evil” intrinsically requires to know “what is evil” . ) Think of how evil Jesus would be if this had been His mission. Paul briefly addressed this other danger in Galatians. “But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out we are still sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild what I have once destroyed.” ( You see, in the script, it is actually make sense, because it says it is we “find out” we are still sinners, and certainly, we should not “rebuild what we have once destroyed ( by a good reason ) .” ) Gal.2:17 There is a saying today that has become popular among Christians: “If I’m going to err, I want to err on the side of grace.” ( Again, it assumes I know what is err. The only situation this sentence make sense is that we take the “if” at the beginning of the sentence seriously —- if he or she knew all well that it is an err, there was no need to add the “if”, he or she can just say “I’m going to err….” um… I know, many problems are resulted in this kind confusion…—–take it seriously that, “it might be on the side of grace” => means it might turned out to be not an err after all.) Err on the side of grace? That means a license to sin! How horrible!

In 2002, I went to L.A. for five weeks of training to become a teacher in China. A respected leader in that organization preached that we can live sinful lives, because our sins no longer offend God. He said, “God told me, ‘You are far more worried about your sin than I am.’” I replied, “No, God did not tell you that. He would never say something that contradicts His own Word so badly. If the gospel you are preaching is true, then why do we see so many times in the New Testament where Christians are rebuked for living sinful lives?” As long as we are content in our sins, Jesus will never be conqueror over our sins. The best friend of that leader attended his Bible Studies, and they did everything together at training in L.A. Our government forced his best friend to leave China because he often got drunk, often went to prostitutes, and he started several fist fights without just cause. Think of how badly the name of Christ was DISHONORED in the eyes of all the Chinese who heard about that teacher who got kicked out of the country. That teaching organization said they only hire Christian teachers. The government and everyone at his school thought he was a Christian! ( For me, this is just to say we should not pursuit “Christian” as a “Label” that just can put on your head to make you feel better; nor society should treat “Christian” as a certain kind of “diploma” to qualify certain kind of job or working. 🙂 )

This is why God planned to give His people a New Covenant long ago. “It is not for your sake that I am about to act. I am doing it to protect My holy name, which you have DISHONORED among the nations.” Ez.36:22 700BC There are five times in Ez.36:20-23 where God says His own people “dishonored” His name because their behavior made Him look bad. In Ez.36:24-30, there are eleven times where God declares what He WILL do to “show Myself holy through you before their eyes… I WILL give you a new heart and a new mind. I WILL take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart.” Ez.36:23, 26 We cannot walk with God until we have this change of heart. “A highway will be there; it will be called the Highway of Holiness. Evil-hearted people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways.” Isaiah 35:8 ( Words are plain simple but hard to understand, but more critical is that its goal is not to just understand but to act or live out. So,”after know this”, want to do? How to do? —- please note, it is often the case that: To do something before know this other thing is easier than to do the exactly the same thing after you know this other thing( I personally see this another human flaw ) —- my personal resolution is only to realise that God (the holy spirit) is not separable with you; just like the son and the father is the same, we are the same when the grace of god is in us. To dishonour God is to dishonor myself at the same time, thus I can feel a kind of pain in myself at the same time or each time I dishonor; it should be unthinkable that one will like self dishonor continuously. It might well be the true meaning of begotten an new “obedient heart”.

Linguistic in Bible

I ask the question: do you think God created the world in 7 days of 24/7 a day, literally? 

 As soon as this question was out, I can feel that some may think I have little familiar with the Script if I am not just a pretended-Christian. They said they would discuss it and tell me the “results”.  Later, they asked me what happened on day 4 in Genesis 1. Of course on day 4, God speared the light and dark, day and night; God created “day”, and in this sense, God created time. But I said, “see, language problem”. However, little can realize what I just said. Most people didn’t aware of this, until I point out specifically that:  yes, God created “day” on day 4, but it was already day 4, how do you measure day one, day two..etc, it is a self recursion, because we don’t know the “day” yet on “day one” , and God created the “day” on day 4. Well, at least on the human language level, we can see our limitation as humans. 

The Scripture also said, in the beginning there was the word ( John 1-1 ); God destroyed the babel tower and created different human tongues to divide them. Human Language is also a gift from God, and it bears the same essence of the Word that Him uses to communicate with us. It is a gift, it is sufficient and it is important, and I believe everything we feel the trouble is from our human limitation. Therefore, I think it is very important to treat our language very fearfully, and when read the Scripture, I try to do so, sometimes, as careful as possible.

For another example: when I read the Genesis 3, the Fall: The fruit of the tree of Good and Evil can open your ( Eve and Adam ) eyes, and can make you have the knowledge of the Good and Evil. After the crafty serpent seduced Eve, Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise”. How did she “saw” if her eyes were not opened yet? I mean, the Script here, must not meant they are blind before ate the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil, there must be some other meaning; or they were truly blind, but the “saw” here is not used literally, it most likely the one of the meanings of “see” in the Morden English, like, when dealing with a problem after some time, suddenly,  “Oh, I see”.

I feel there are countless this kind of language interpretation issues in the Scripture. Another, maybe the word, “knowledge”.  Because, when Adam alone in the world, He can already “naming” the things ( and can know he can’t find anyone be his companion, his helper, so God created Eve for him ); it means man must already have some knowledge just because be a living being, even before eating the forbidden fruit. I have to feel very awed by what kind of “knowledge” the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil offers.

Anyway, this way of reading the Scripture may be also dangerous. I often feel bewildered and strange, but precise because of these perplexity and bewilderment I also feel a profound beauty and dependence on the Christ.