Anthology

To date, I’ve written about one legit, original post for roughly every 10 “peacocks of links” posts. The reason for this is because if I were to write original posts more frequently, I would be “forcing the issue” more often than not. This is why I tend to take my time with writing original posts. The twin purposes of this approach is that, by being conscientious and intentional whenever I DO write something, my thoughts and words would not only be genuine, but that they’d be helpful as well.

Which brings me to this particular post. In this compilation, I will be linking to some of my favorite, original posts (narcissist much?). The reason why I’m doing this is three-fold. First, it’s so that people can directly and more easily access some my original posts. Because I don’t “tag” my posts or write original posts on a frequent basis, many of them get lost in the shuffle. Second, by reading some of my older posts, this will be a great chance for me to personally reflect on the past year before I move across the country in less than a week. Finally, as I begin law school, I don’t think I’ll be able to blog much, if at all. Therefore, I look at this post as a last hurrah of sorts, an anthology of posts that came from the heart and hopefully will last long beyond their expiration dates (or until wordpress gets shut down). After each link, I’ll describe the context within which it was written first, and then discuss what I’ve learned/how I’ve changed second. Anyways, without further ado, here are the posts (in no particular order):
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I’ve got 99 problems, but pride ain’t one…

The genesis of this post was sparked by an apparent misunderstanding I had with one of my friends a while back. To be honest, I don’t even remember what it was about, but the situation I found myself in was that, because my friend misunderstood me, they assumed certain things. Now, my quandary was that were I to clarify or respond to that misunderstanding, I’d be guilty of making excuses and trying to justify myself. On the other hand, if I didn’t clarify or respond to that, my friend would continue in thinking certain things about me. Such a conundrum was what inspired me to (ungrammatically) write a blog post and unpack my thoughts on the underlying tension present within the issue of pride.

Looking back now, I think I oversimplified things in that post. I don’t think it’s as black and white as I made it out to be. For example, there IS a clear difference between self-justification and making excuses versus making necessary and important clarifications. There is also a huge difference between “staying silent” because of I’m confident about who/where I am in life versus “staying silent” because of my fear of being judged as a “whiner”. Most importantly, I’ve realized since then that if I stay committed to living a Christ-centered life, this issue of pride and self-justification becomes secondary and easily takes care of itself.

The Best Revenge Is Living Well

The genesis of this post was inspired by an article entitled “Why Steven Seagal Doesn’t Have !@#$ on My Dad”. A lot of what the author wrote about his dad resounded with my own experiences. The author also made a compelling point about why we are so invested in superhero stories (such as Batman and Watchmen) – not because of their inevitable victory, but because of their fighting spirit through trials and tribulations. As I chewed on this article, I also thought about how God personified grace and perseverance at the highest level on the cross. Then I thought about how, in response to such sacrifices (both by my dad and God), the best way I could live was not in bitterness and immaturity, but to live with contentment and confidence.

Not much has changed since then, although there is a new wrinkle in this narrative in the form of my departure for law school. I’ve had some time to think about it, and the best way to live well and live gratefully as I move across the country is to simply (and obviously enough) do my best. What I get to do in going to a great school to study law isn’t a right, but a privilege, and to treat it otherwise would be a bad testimony on my part. In a lot of ways, this post is probably the most personal one I’ve written, and one that still motivates me, as much as any other post does, to this day.

The Disease of More: Grace or Scorched-Earth Policy?

The genesis of this post was inspired in part by my own experiences and in part by the observations I made about the “grass is greener” mentality. Specifically, I always felt that the “grass is greener” mentality was destructive and always left you wanting more. I’ve always thought that the right mindset is to be thankful for what we do have rather than having everything we think we want. Irked by how this mentality hurt both those who engaged in such a lifestyle as well as those around them, I was convicted to share my thoughts on the need to delineate the difference between constructive ambition and blind greed.

Since the time of this post, I’ve thought a lot about how I could apply the lessons and principles I discussed in it once I start school. The irony is that the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize the opposite problem might be an issue for me in law school. Whereas in my post I discuss the problem of NEVER being satisfied, I’ve realized that I’ve been struggling with the opposite problem of being TOO content and smug, as though merely reaching law school is the be-all-end-all. With the former, the danger would lie in a scorched-earth lifestyle that destroys everything around you because of greed. With the latter, the danger would lie in the fact that nothing gets done and like a dimly lit candle, you’d be blown out before you can accomplish anything.

Childlike Faith & Soldierlike Tenacity

(On a side note, as I’ve read through a few of my posts, I’m beginning to see how often I use the word “indeed”. Yikes)

The genesis of this post was inspired by two sources. The first was my realization of the profound effect that childlike faith has on so many of the Christian’s struggles. The second was an excellent piece written by a 19th century theologian named JC Ryle in which he asks Christians if they are fighting. The connection I made between the two sources was that the more our childlike faith is cultivated, the more we are able to fight the good fight with soldierlike tenacity. I kept asking myself if we aren’t able to have a childlike faith on many of the basic tenets of Christianity, then how would we deal with the larger crises and difficulties of life? Such questions and concerns were what convicted me to write this post as well as quote words of wisdom from Ryle.

Since then, I’ve thought a lot about a third facet to this. In the original post, I thought a lot about the direct connection between God and ourselves, but not necessarily between ourselves and others – which was by design since the former was precisely the topic of my blog post. Nevertheless, childlike faith and soldierlike tenacity is not all there is. There is also the question of how we are to relate with those around us. To that end, winsome conduct, evangelism, theology, etc., should all flow from the childlike faith we have in God and the soldierlike tenacity we display in savoring and contending for the gospel. I think if we are aware of these things, that’s half the battle. As for actually accomplishing and living these things out, that’s a story that’s still being written day in and day out.

Let us not be the spot-finders

The genesis of this post came from a long-held conviction I’ve had about gossipping, quarreling, and divisiveness – both in and out of the church. The Spurgeon quote I came across (which I quote in my post) perfectly summed up my feelings on such topics. On one level, I never saw the productivity in constantly pointing things out about others, unless temporary ego boosts count as productive, desirable ends. On another level, I saw and still see nothing but bad things whenever we engage in being petty spot-finders. I was particularly concerned about how being a spot-finder harms, rather than builds up, fellow brothers and sisters in the church. Moreover, I was concerned about what message we send to the world when they see so much pettiness, divisiveness and pride in the Church.

Since then, I’ve still been convicted by the thoughts and considerations that I originally poured into this post. I’m still tired of the cynism that induces us to assume the worst about people and to zero-in on their blemishes. I’m not saying we need to be naive and blissfully ignorant, but rather, we need to get our priorities straight and make the best of any given situation with the people around us. We should fight for what matters; Life is too short to be wasted on gossip and petty complaints. Additionally, what I’ve been learning more of since I wrote this post is how, so often, we are prone to be spot-finders when people fail to meet our expectations/standards. I would just note two things: first, EVERYONE has their own expectations/standards so it’s foolish to expect EVERYONE to fall in line with your vision of how things should be, and second, it is illogical to expect anyone to meet your expectations when half the time, you haven’t even put them into words.

No Secret Formula

The genesis of this post came from, for a lack of a better term, my “marriage phase”. Based on my own family, things I’ve noticed in society at large, and a ton of my friends entering into serious relationships, I decided it would behoove me to investigate and study up on the institution of marriage. I read through the bible, scholarly papers and marriage books; spoke with numerous married friends; and attended dating/marriage seminars here and there. Admittedly, no amount of “learning” will replace the actual “experience”, but I can safely say I learned a lot, and what I learned actually improved many of the relationships with people in my life now. But yeah, as I was digesting and learning all this, I came across an article about a couple (both over 100 years old) that has been married for 86 years. In it, they discussed their experiences and shared nuggets of wisdom. As their lessons highlighted many of the things that I had been learning at that moment, I decided to highlight those intersections in the form of this blog post.

Since then, I’ve cooled down on my studies, mostly because I felt I plateaued in what I was learning, but also because I wanted to read and study other things. But nothing has changed, and all that I learned is still fresh in my mind. If anything, it’s probably to my benefit to revisit this blog post and refresh myself on the things I’ve learned because many of my friends (I think at least 5-10) have either gotten engaged or married in the past few months. Personally, though I’d like to avoid dating during my first year of grad school, I’d still like to get married within the next 4-5 years.

Perspective Does A Body Good

The genesis of this post came from much of the same thoughts and considerations that inspired my post on not being the spot-finders. Chronologically speaking though, this post came first. If my “spot-finder” post focused on the destructive symptoms of gossipping and spot-finding, this post was actually focused on the root cause: a lack of perspective. We see a guy running red lights and automatically assume he’s crazy, never leaving open the possibility that he’s rushing to the hospital for an emergency. A more practical example is when we encounter someone with a terrible attitude and dismiss them as douchebags without considering the fact that they might have had the worst day ever. But yeah, after these things actually became personal experience on the freeway for me, I felt compelled to write this post.

Since then, I’ve had ample practice to put my thoughts into action with friends, family and neighbors. The sobering thing I’ve learned is that maintaining perspective and trying to hear all the sides out is easier said than done. The most common objection and struggle I’ve faced is when friends and family members took my “wait, gather facts, and see” approach as my being too timid to take a position on certain issues or, worse, my not being on their side – with any rational explanation trying to clarify these misunderstandings being dismissed as empty excuses. It was quite frustrating to be misunderstood since I’m mediatory by nature. Nevertheless, it was a growing experience, and I believe such things will aid me in my law school experiences and beyond.

Confidence, Shyness, and Tasteful Intentionality

The genesis of this post came about thanks to an excellent op-ed piece I read on confidence and shyness. The op-ed piece was excellent and practically/accurately highlighted the mechanics behind the confidence/shyness dichotomy. As I chewed on what I read in the ensuing days, I thought a lot about how important it is for us to be confident about the important things in life. In my own life, the op-ed piece convicted me to consider how this dichotomy operates (for better or worse) in relation to how I live out my faith. Compared to the past, religion is vastly more privatized today. As a result, it’s almost taboo to be transparent about one’s religious affiliation and it’s even trickier when it comes to sharing about it. In my blog post, I summarize the main highlights of the op-ed piece and offer some general comments before writing at length about why it is important for me, as a Christian, to be “tastefully intentional”.

Since then, the importance of “tasteful intentionality” has only been more affirmed in my eyes. In an effort to be “nice” and “tolerant” in an ever relativist society, the contemporary tolerance espoused today has ironically been more intolerant than not. In practice, the contemporary tolerance works by stomping out and clamping down on anything that causes subjective offense and/or makes absolute claims (of course, there are certain things that are objectively offensive and have no place in society, but that’s not what I’m talking about here), such as religion. In light of such controversies as the Chick-fil-a situation, I think the temptation is to grab pitchforks and fight/argue back, but I think it’s more important to realize that the best way to advance productive conversation is to be tastefully intentional about things. Wielding diametrically opposing narratives and systems of beliefs will result in nothing but migraine headaches. What’s most important is to be civil but clear in our dialogues, respectful of the fact that others hold differing positions/opinions, but winsome in hearing them out and engaging them in what they actually say/believe. When we are tastefully intentional, I believe we will be one step closer to actually engaging others in their actual words/beliefs rather than knocking down the cheap straw-man caricatures we conveniently and lazily utilize too often.

Seeing the Ordinary in the Extraordinary

The genesis of post came from my weekly meetings with some friends at Starbucks. Over a few months, I noticed a couple that hung out at the local Starbucks on a semi-regular basis. What was peculiar about this couple was that the woman was deaf/mute. As I noticed them, I watched how affectionate and happy they were, all the while communicating in sign language. Then I thought about how we overly romanticize such stories and celebrate the noble sacrifices that are made, while conveniently forgetting that we are called to do the same in our relationships with our significant others. Problems and obstacles only look cute and seem romantic when you’re not the one that has to deal with it. I was convicted to write this post to highlight the fact that we shouldn’t be striving for “romance” at the cost of “commitment” – a balance which we seem to value less and less these days.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about relationships and marriage. This post was written almost six months ago, and I’ve only grown in my convictions about what I’m seeking and expecting in a relationship and in marriage. Admittedly, this has tended to make me judgmental towards those engaging in serial dating and/or flirting. And yeah, it’s not like I haven’t entertained stupid, immature ideas of what love is or fallen straight on my face when pursuing said ideas of love. Nevertheless, I think we can all agree on the superficiality of what society calls love these days. Generally speaking, what we call love is nothing more than the gratification of our egos in knowing that someone likes us back, similar to the tingly feeling we get when someone “likes” something we post on facebook. Moreover, I think there is something wrong with the pathological NEED to always be “in a relationship”. In the incessant quest to achieve and find the extraordinary through finding “the one”, we end up raising impossible expectations so that no matter who we meet, we see them as nothing more than ordinary. Then we dump them and move on. Pretty sure this is not the way things should be.

Pretty Girls

The genesis of this post was inspired in part by a thought exercise, and in part by my own personal experiences. One such experience was when an attractive female friend of mine basically humblebragged about how difficult it was to constantly deflect and deal with attention from guys. She wasn’t being arrogant in any way, but it was a matter-of-fact humblebrag in every way. As for general experiences, I always noticed how it felt like a burden to talk with pretty girls and how such interactions were awkward 9/10 times (that’s probably my fault). I also think it’s lame that when we enter a room, we’ll immediately discount 75% of the room based on looks. There’s a lot of people that might have awesome stories and lives, but we’ll never know a single thing about them because we have marginalized their existences on the basis of physical attraction. Based on these personal thoughts and experiences, I decided to write this post to kind of imagine what it’s like to be a pretty girl and in general, how tough it probably is.

As this was my most recent original post (and largely a thought exercise), there’s not much to add.

Dismantle Repair

Though I didn’t organize this anthology of posts in any specific order, I think it’s appropriate that this one is the final one listed. In this post, I discuss my journey to law school, with all its highs and lows. Just as important as sharing my story was, it was also important for me to share the lesson I learned in not taking things for granted. If we assume the “next thing” in life will just come to us, we’ll fall flat on our faces. When I assumed that I’d get into law school right after college (after all, I got into college pretty easily from high school, and I tested into my high school relatively easily as well), that’s when my life became a downward spiral. Because this was a two year journey with many peaks and valleys, and lessons learned, there was naturally many people who helped me along the way, so this post was another way for me to thank such people.

Since then, I’ve had plenty of time to think about school and imagine what the next stage of life holds for me. The more I have thought about it, the more I’m convinced that my arduous, but rewarding, journey to this point happened for a reason. Just as I shouldn’t have assumed getting into grad school would happen with a simple snap of my fingers, I can’t take anything for granted once I start school. If the arduous journey to get to this point never happened, I can only imagine how badly I’d squander everything in school and beyond. Thankfully, things turned out the way they did and for that, I’m a much stronger person now than I was at the beginning of this journey. That said, I know there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of books to be read hahaha.

On an unrelated, but a fitting and closing note, here’s my favorite band performing their song “Anthology”.

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