I am the eldest child of an Asian family, whose parents migrated from Hong Kong to pursue a more prosperous lifestyle. As an Asian kid heading into primary school, I wasn’t well received by my Caucasian classmates, often being bullied and the target of racist Chinese jokes; not only so but I was also the target of some racial prejudice by some of my primary school teachers. This made it quite difficult for me to fit into school and find a sense of belonging; it was quite hard to earn the trust and respect of my peers at the time, especially because I didn’t excel at anything they valued (eg: sports). Eventually I found acceptance through some friends because of my academic intellect, which at the same time attracted “nerd” jokes. But at the least, it gave me a sense of individuality, belonging and acceptance.
I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years since season 2 of Sword Art Online finished airing; fans have been waiting for new animation to be released and we get that in the form of a film this year! I don’t really post anime reviews in general but I feel confident enough to put forward my opinion on the Sword Art Online series as I have read most of its material (including all the main light novels and some of the side story light novels). I’ve decided to split my review into a spoiler free section (to help those who want to make an informed decision about whether to watch this movie or not), and an in-depth section with spoilers to engage those who want to analyse the intricate details behind the movie and the series in general.
About 4 years ago, I posted two articles on my thoughts of dating relationships (part 1 and part 2). They were written 2 years before I actually started dating, and were a reflection of my thoughts and attitudes towards dating at the time. Now that I’m standing at about 2 years into a dating relationship, I wanted to look back and see if my thoughts back then were any different to today. I had forgotten that I had written up more generic thoughts and ideas about the topics, rather than specific ideas I was thinking through at the time. Nevertheless, there are 5 things I’ve learned whilst dating which I feel augment my understanding of dating and marriage from back then. Disclaimer: I am not married, so listen to my experience as you may; as always, discern all things through God’s Word.
So it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and for anyone who used to read my blog regularly (years ago) it would seem as if I’ve disappeared off the face of the planet. I stopped blogging regularly these last couple of years for a few reasons – but most of them can be attributed to my life being busy with full time work, and the rest attributed to my personal struggles in my walk with God. Things haven’t been easy for me these last 4-5 years, and it has troubled me to not have been able to keep in contact with people since the end of my university days. I hope to be able to give a quick summary here to help people get up to speed with my life.
It’s been a great deal of time since I last blogged, and on one hand it’s felt easy to just drop the habit completely; but on the other hand I still feel compelled to share some encouragement with the people around me who might read this. Much has happened in the year and a bit since I last blogged or posted an article. I have done much reflection and I think perhaps it is time to share what I’ve experienced over the last period of time I’ve been silent.
“And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1:21
When I reflect on the struggles and difficult times in my life, I often come back to the story of Job, and in particular the statement he makes that God is one who gives and takes away. I often see the story of Job and one who at the beginning lost everything except his life, spends many chapters wrestling with his friends about how to make sense of what has happened, and at the end after conversing with God he receives much more from God than what he had originally. And I realised that though I turn to this book in the Bible to find comfort when God has taken away things in my life, I should also be considering the things that God has given me too; we subtly miss the fact that God gives Job many things at the start before he took them away (well, I subtly missed that point).
Recently a number of friends have been telling me about how they found it unhelpful to be pressured into becoming a leader for certain ministries in their respective churches or other Christian organizations and circles. It was hearing about these attitudes being passed around by Christians which made me reflect on the nature of Christian leadership in our culture, and how at times it seems to be steadily deviating from the picture of the leadership that the Bible paints. Note that I am in particular talking about my experiences in my home city; and they may not necessarily reflect the Christian culture in other parts of the world.
I suppose my previous post gave a quick overview of some of the major areas of my life at the moment. However I did notice that I didn’t say much on how the idea of “patience” has been impacting my life. As I have already alluded to in my previous post, things have been a lot more of a struggle in my life, and whilst I have been anxious in many areas where there has been struggles, I feel compelled and reminded by God’s Word to wait upon him and be patient.
I guess I haven’t really blogged in a while, so I apologise in advance if my writing is incoherent or has grammatical errors. I suppose the simplest way to summarise the last year and a half (and not just the time since I last posted, which was in February), would be the word “patience“. Patience is something I struggled with in the various circumstances that God placed me in over the last year and a half. Patience is something I learnt a fair bit about from my experiences with different settings and people. And patience is something I still continually strive for as I try to make sense of God’s plan for my life.
The “silver bullet” is a term we assign to a “one-size-fits-all” strategy for the things we do in our lives. Typically, we lump similar tasks and actions together and we train ourselves to treat them all like the same thing – to do them with the same approach, method, or mentality and hope to reap the same rewards from each of those tasks. The main benefit we see from living our lives with a “silver bullet” mentality is that it allows us to get more things done in life. We can be more efficient in saving time, energy and money (all valuable resources) by recycling our methods and strategies for multiple things. As a simple example, parents can feed their two children two different dishes for lunch, or they could adopt a “silver bullet” mentality and cook the same thing for both their children. We hear our parents complain about this all the time, that it’s much less time consuming to cook one thing (but make twice the amount) than to cook two different things; not to mention that it may be cheaper to cook in bulk rather than in small quantities. But what does the Bible have to say about this sort of mentality, and how are Christians meant to use or not use this “one size fits all” strategy?
One of my focuses this year has been Christian discipleship. It was something I became a bit more familiar with towards the final years of university; and it’s funny thinking back to when I was in first and second year, where the idea of sitting down with one person and having deep conversations about life, God and the Bible seemed very uncomfortable. In third and fourth year, I started to see the value and importance of building those sorts of “intimate” relationships with Christians and non-Christians and the way it impacts our growth as Christians, and those investigating Christianity. This year I have tried to embrace it as much as I could, as part of the way I would undergo ministry in the long run; there were still so many things to experiment with in making one to one discipleship more effective. And then of course there was also a need to see how I might be able to fit one to one discipleship into my full time work routine (I’d like to order the words the other way, and have work revolve around ministry, but time-wise it still seems apparent that I spend more time doing full-time work than ministry).