All the World's a Classroom

Why iRead: A Reader’s Apology

Why iRead: A Reader’s Apology

As if this entry needs to be written. But I feel particularly inspired by the newly publicized collaborative book blog that I started with some special people. So here goes:

1. I like being taken to another world. It’s a form of escapism.

2. I like exploring the inside of someone’s head. Reading a book is like traversing through the maze that is the author’s mind and thought process. I find it fascinating to discover how people think.

3. I love the smell of new books.

4. I love buying books. So I have to read them too.

5. The voice of a book is gentler than any speaker, at least in my opinion. It always speaks at my pace.

6. Books don’t complain when I don’t get it the first time around, or second, or third…

7. Books are free from theatrics , which can sometimes be distracting when trying to learn in a lecture format. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter whether the author is uncharismatic. He/she has a second voice in writing.

8. I’m more open to ideas presented in a written format. If I didn’t have major problems in the first chapter, I’m willing to give it a fair hearing.

9. The way thoughts from multiple books form a (sometimes cacophonous) symphony in my mind is quite amusing.

10.  The fact that I’m always a different person by the time I get to the back cover than when I first start a book. Books change my life, everyday.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

How sea animals navigate through the wide expanse of the ocean is an awesome mystery. In the blue vastness of the deep, they find invisible pathways to food and safe habitats.

One of the fascinating stories from the Blue Planet BBC documentary series
is one on Ridley sea turtles. The segment starts with a scene of the changing phases of the moon, whose both daily and monthly cycles influence the dynamics of the sea. For Ridley sea turtles, the moon serves as some kind of natural clock that is synchronized with their biological cycles.

Ridley sea turtles, now included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) endangered species list, practice a mass nesting method, also called an arribada. On a few nights each year, about a quarter of the world’s population of Ridley sea turtles come to a specific beach in the pacific coast of Costa Rica to lay their eggs. Brought in by the high tides, up to 400,000 female sea turtles would come within a few nights, laying 40 million eggs.

These are not random nights. They would come when the moon is either in its first or last quarter, between the new and full moon (or between full and new moon), and there’s a very good reason why. When the moon is neither full nor new, the tides are the weakest, and thus the water will not wash away the sand that covers the freshly laid eggs, subjecting them to vultures that come at dawn, trying to feed on washed off eggs. It’s a risk mitigation plan.

These sea turtles, while they’re not laying eggs, travel through the ocean during the year to search for food hundreds of miles away from this beach. But each year, in accordance with sea turtles’ tradition, they come back in packs and lay their eggs again, starting a new generation of sea turtles.

Watching them, my mind just kept asking the questions, Who tells them to go to Costa Rica? Who teaches them to go when the moon is not the strongest? As a believer, there is only One Master who can get the credit of coordinating this life system. But even knowing that answer doesn’t make this story any less baffling.

Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve? Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth? Job 39:1-2

Getting to Know You

Getting to Know You

It is a strange experience when you realize that you don’t really know someone who has been around in your life for a while. Somehow, familiarity substitutes for intimacy. Because the person is around, you don’t feel the need to get to know him/her well or to spend effort to understand his/her psyche. The name is familiar, your friends are friends with the same person, and so you kind of just know him/her through the network and not have a genuine personal connection with the said person.

This happens to me recently (or at least, this one particular case is recent). I’m realizing that I have been familiar with someone for a long time, but largely ignorant about his personality, work, preferences, and everything pertaining to his personhood. In fact, I think some of my conceptions of him are simply misguided. His name is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead.

I’ve seen glimpses of the Holy Spirit’s work; I’ve experienced His presence. But if someone were to ask me to describe who the Holy Spirit is, I wouldn’t know what to say. As a follow up to GYC, which was all about the Holy Spirit, I started reading The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit by R. A. Torrey (free on Amazon Kindle), and it has been very eye opening.

The author first introduces the Holy Spirit, much like introducing a friend, by simply stating a simple fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an inanimate power, who has a will, reason, emotions, and all the attributes of a Divine Being. Just this point alone changes the way one relates to the Holy Spirit.

It is of the highest importance from the standpoint of worship that we decide whether the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, worthy to receive our adoration, our faith, our love, and our entire surrender to Himself, or whether it is simply an influence emanating from God or a power or an illumination that God imparts to us. If the Holy Spirit is a person, and a Divine Person, and we do not know Him as such, then we are robbing a Divine Being of the worship and the faith and the love and the surrender to Himself which are His due.

In the past, I think my conception of the Holy Spirit has been somewhere between an inanimate power and a Person. Of course theoretically I would say the Holy Spirit is a Person, but experientially, I don’t really understand what that means. For most times, I probably don’t even think He’s around!

If we think of the Holy Spirit as so many do as merely a power or influence, our constant thought will be, “How can I get more of the Holy Spirit,” but if we think of Him in the Biblical way as a Divine Person, our thought will rather be, “How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?”

Ever since GYC, regarding the Holy Spirit, I found myself asking the question, “Who are You, Lord?”

So I’ve embarked on a personal journey to get to know the Holy Spirit better. I think I’ve missed out a lot in my relationship with God due to my ignorance of the Holy Spirit and what He can do in my life, and as the quote says, I’ve robbed Him of the worship, adoration, and love that is due to Him.

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