11. Homosexuality: Revisited

Edit 1: 9th November, 2:50pm

The last time I made a post on this topic, a lot of fury sparked up. Fair enough, that was well over 2 years ago. I haven’t given the topic too much thought since that time, nor have I been diligently studying the views held by both sides (for and against – state vs church). Nevertheless I have held back long enough since Mid Year Conference; one seminar gave me probably enough to conclude and leave this topic behind once and for all.

 

For starters let’s lay down the ground assumptions that Christians oppose the notion of homosexuality and gay marriages, because the Bible opposes that notion. The reason for this is because the Bible has authority and strong influence in our views and morals. Those who accept and support homosexuality and gay marriages and just those who want it; whether it’s because they want it for themselves because they are gays, whether because they think it’s fair for it to be accepted, or for some other reason which I’m sure holds some credibility.

 

Christians believe it’s a sin to be caught up in homosexuality and to pervert marriage by tainting with “sexual immorality”, something we would simply say is sexually “wrong”. Without going down the path of figuring out the sciences behind homosexual lusts, whether it’s genetic, whether it’s controllable or not by us, is not something we can find out I believe. But it is important. If people choose to be gay then we don’t have a problem. You choose to do the “wrong” thing, that’s your fault which you are entirely responsible for. However, if you have no controllable about the orientation then there’s all the fuss to be made. If you’re “forced” to be gay, then it’s like you’re being forced into sin even if you don’t want to. There’s no freedom in trying to choose the right thing because you can’t. And subsequently you suffer from a “sin” which you had no control over, which you can’t be expected to take responsibility for. If you had no control over your sexual orientation then things start to look unfair. Is God doing it to say: “Sorry, mate, but you don’t stand a chance because of it; my kingdom can’t be for you.”

 

Predestination is a topic I don’t want to deal with right now, and there is no need to. Regardless of which case homosexuality falls into, whether we have control over it or not, we should at least define it and see if it is unique in such a way that gives it a chance to be unfair. I guess I would loosely define homosexuality as having sexual lust for a person of the same gender. Our speaker at MYC this year was a gay. I don’t know if he was one when he spoke to us, but if he hadn’t said anything to us,  would never have thought he had a past such as the one he told us. He told us that a similar thing to homosexuality is simply normal lust: that is, sexual lust for someone of the opposite gender. Relatively speaking then, we who have the “correct” sexual orientation would then be no better than someone who was gay. We both would have sexual lust, it’s just that the targets are different. Nevertheless, lust is lust whoever it is directed at.

 

The conclusion I reached last time was that homosexuality should not be regarded as such a "”huge controversial” problem. Sin is sin, it takes many forms; homosexuality is one of them, which is similar to normal sexual lust; both are still considered as sinful in God’s eyes. It is no more serious than being a serial killer and no less than being a liar. It’s relative. Why it does appear to be a big problem is because the media does a lot to make it a pressing topic. It’s on the news often, in the newspapers, seen on ads around the neighbourhood. I’m not saying it’s explicitly obvious but it’s there enough times to make you stop and think about it. In fact I’m writing this now because it was just on the news again. If the media were not giving so much attention to this topic, nobody would be making a huge fuss about legalizing gay marriages and such.

 

I’m not against gay marriage, nor am I for it. Ask me where I stand and I will say I’m against it; against it in my mind, against it in my thoughts and values. I am not going to be “against” it in a way to prevent gay marriages from being legalized. I have no authority to align myself with such a thought. The church has no power to prevent it either. If the governments wants to make it okay to have gay marriages then so be it. The church, as much as anyone in world, and about any topic, should only be able to suggest and recommend the “right” thing to do, according to God’s word. It shouldn’t have the power to force people away from them. Everyone has free choice yes; the choice to do the “right” thing and the choice to do the “wrong” thing. But I suppose Christian morals are only suggestible by us too, we cannot impose them by force.

 

But one thing for certain is: a lot of people do “feel” that homosexuality is “right” for weak reasons, there isn’t much to justify the notion. Ask yourself why you think homosexuality is fair/”right” if you are in support of it. Is it because you are one yourself and you want to make yourself right by supporting the view (similar to supporting “Asians” because you are one)? Is it because a lot of people are gay, or in support of gays such that it should be right? Is it something else? The bottom question is: “Is my reason sufficient to justify homosexuality? We Christians say homosexuality is not right, and we use the Bible as our tool of justification. Yes, it would be fair to say that our support is only reasonable if everyone accepted the Bible was true and that it has authority. But it still stands to question whether or not there is a justifiable reason to support homosexuality. Because if you don’t have one (or if there isn’t one) then you are not in a position to Christian view. A lot more detail would need to go into this topic too, which I won’t go into now (not that I think I could do it thoroughly at the moment). Just because a lot of people are in support of something, doesn’t mean it’s right. You see a lot of Christians believing in God, why don’t you too? Same reason for why some people don’t support homosexuality, whether they are Christian or not. But that only answers the question on “numbers”. Is there is one that sounds legit please tell me.

 

What is getting me worked up about the topic is that the media calls its “discrimination” when not everyone is in full support of it. I feel it is a very arrogant and misguided tone, to call us Christians as “discriminating” because we aren’t allowing “freedom” in choice. Well, you’re wrong. We don’t care what anyone does. Sure, we can tell the world what we believe the right thing to do is, but like I said we can’t force that notion onto anyone else. If others accept it, good. If others don’t, that’s also fine. But I do hope that such a remark is directed only at those who are actually trying to ban the notion; I don’t believe anyone is trying that to a great success. You might as well say something like “anyone who doesn’t support incest is being discriminative”. If enough people supported such a vile act then would there be a similar movement to make such an act “legal”? Surely it’s not unfair if both parties consent right? But why doesn’t it feel right? Because it is morally wrong! Simple as that. But that’s out view, that’s our opinion. We can only say what we think is right; we can’t force anyone to submit to our thoughts. The only way for a person to figure out what is right or wrong from this position is to experience the consequences of venturing into something God does not approve. Then they can decide whether they want to support it or not.

 

In summary, homosexuality is a problem but it goes on the same level as murder, deceit, greed, other follies we see in the world today. To support a view you must have sound reasoning that can provide justification; numbers is not one of them as shown by counter example. I hope this closes the book on the topic of homosexuality and hopefully anything that is questioned about this post can be attributed to a more generalized topic.

 

Reply 1: Akai Hanabi

Nowhere in the New Testament does it repeat the quote you mentioned, which appears in Leviticus (3rd book of the Bible). The only references in the New Testament are to “sexual immorality”, which today Christians would place homosexuality under.

 

I agree with you on the lines that my definition of homosexuality is rather narrow and over simplified. This does not mean that my conclusion is “flawed” (in that everything is relatively flawed anyhow), but that there would be less sound reasoning to back my conclusion up because my foundation for discussion is not strong. However, to add these “romantic feelings” into the discussion does not improve my definition any more.

 

I’m not quite familiar with the exact definition of romance; if you have time to elaborate please help clarify the meaning. The way I see it is that adding romance just brings to light the two types of love associated with most relationships. The first part as I’ve said already would be lust; this involves all feelings/thoughts relating to the physically sexual part of the relationship. Whereas the other part would be like selfless, unrequited love; I would associate this with romance. This is the type of love you would have with your parents, with your friends, and even with lovers when there is no physical attraction for that moment. Is that romance, I wonder? Because if this love is common between all people, between all sorts of relationships, it would be fair to eliminate it from discussion since it doesn’t make homosexuality any different from other sorts of relationships. That is why I only considered lust.

 

Some Christians are discriminating, yes. Sadly they voice their opinion in a much “unloving” way. Not everyone does it right and for all Christians to be viewed stereotypically because of one person’s arrogance is of course quite detrimental to our integrity as a church, and as followers of Christ. Have I blogged up something on this? I might do it at a later time.

 

Last time I did say something about homosexuality being genetic or whatever. Whatever the exact scientific cause is doesn’t matter. Generally speaking, in such a case we would say that homosexuality is out of our control. And once again, there’s the unfair element which I was talking about above. Because we have no control over something that causes us to sin, can it be attributed to us and can we be punished and held responsible for something we had no control over? But if this is so, it certainly is no different from other problems. Junkies have psychological problems which are induced by a bad childhood/upbringing. The parents might have been junkies, or family life was violence-ridden or something else that would’ve scarred the child to become a junkie at a later age. In all such cases the junkie had no control over the things that eventually caused him to be the way he was. Can he be attributed to his own demise, though he had no hand in it? Whatever the answer is (re: predestination), this is a problem no different from homosexuality. There is 1) a lack of control; 2) sin.

 

And thank you for pointing out the specific type of discrimination that gays face. I think it slipped my mind completely when I first typed it. Yes, if in workplaces they are being denied jobs and rights because of their orientation, that is discrimination. It would follow to some extent the same patterns exhibited by criminals trying to re-enter the workforce after rehabilitation. Sin scars, whatever sin it is. But it should leave a mark such that there is no second chance for them. Everyone deserves a second chance. And nobody should be held back because of their sin in the world.

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09. The Inevitability of Change

In my very first Christian “article”, I was going through the idea of consistency (click here) and our human desires to remain the same, or trying to remain the same. However, such a concept is merely an ideal because inevitably, we all change, through factors of our own, or other factors that we have no control over. For instance, realizing that you are falling behind in class and deciding to put more time into studies is a change you bring about yourself; whereas you have puberty which brings about changes that you have no influence over.

 

So here we again wonder: “Is change a good thing? Or is it better to remain the same?” We went through a bit of the pros and cons in the previous article. If they are good changes then we invite them, if they are bad changes then obviously we don’t want them. But to be able to tell whether a change is good or bad is something of utmost mystery and most likely varies from person to person. Take maturity for example; we no longer watch those kiddie shows on ABC from like more than 12 years back. Is that a good or bad change? On one hand you could say: “It’s good because I’m growing up and I want to grow up.” Or you could say: “No it’s bad because I want to stay young forever.” But regardless of whether you think it’s good or bad, you won’t want to go back right? Back to watching ABC? That is no longer the person that we are. We have all changed.

 

Now let’s look at something more ambiguous, and perhaps something more personal and applicable. As I’ve posted at the beginning of this year, the transition into university most definitely brings about change because somehow the rest of your life opens up in front of you. But for the time being we seem to be faced with two choices: take the hard path, get bogged down into studies and invest in a prosperous future; or take the easy path, have a social and fun life, getting into as many parties and socials as possible, oblivious to when we may have to put in the hard yards for the future. Or to sum it in two words (sort of): studies, or friends?

 

When we become faced with a dilemma and we can’t choose the “right” thing to do, what then? Isn’t this why change is bad in general? We’re afraid that by choosing one thing over another (changing from one thing to another), we might forego something even though we gain something. Of course what would be ideal is having a win-win situation: you gain something without giving up something else. But unfortunately the world isn’t like that. Funny how the famous quote from Full Metal Alchemist: “People cannot gain anything without sacrificing something of equal value in return” holds true. However, when we speak of “value”, we usually try to apply that in making changes. Which is more important, studies or friends? Perhaps in other contexts our values help shape our decisions but this isn’t always the case either. Some things become too hard to choose.

 

What can we do then? When we don’t know what to do? When things may seem right and wrong at the same time? Does anyone have the answer? Surely there is someone who does: God. What we as Christians are gifted with is the grace of God and His unquestionable intelligence.

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

 

If we approach God in faith and with our concerns, He will be the one to give us the answer. Of course don’t ever try to “think” about what God’s answer might be (e.g. “Yeah God would probably want me to choose friends, etc”); if you did then why bother asking? It is through approaching God without a solution that He gives us one. The solution may not be a quick fix (as some would hope) but we can know for sure that we will not be doing the wrong thing if we act according to what God wants.

 

Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of change. There is no need to consider whether change is good or bad, because after all, we’ve seen that change is inevitable. And though we might be scared of what may happen after change, as long as we act out of faith and remember to pray to God, He will surely keep us from steering down the wrong track. Consistency is a virtue, but in a world of inevitable change, we need to learn to fight and respond to it; and that is something our Lord and Saviour can help us in.

 

 

 

But before I end this article, I would like to address something to anyone who is not a Christian and is reading this. Firstly, thank you for your patience and your willingness to read through all of this. And secondly my question to you is: “Is it good or bad to change into being a Christian?” I do know from past discussions with other friends that parents can be a strong influence in keeping their children from becoming Christian. And the children don’t want to upset the parents through a conversion; that is very understandable. All I can ask is: ‘”Why are you afraid to change?” And you could give me the answer from above; that something bad will happen after the change. But will there be something good as well? What will the “benefits” be of becoming a Christian?

 

As I’ve said before we can always bring our requests to God and leave our problems in His hands when there is nothing that we can do. And surely for any problem that we don’t have an answer for, God surely does. In fearing change, we forego the opportunities of “improving” our situation in life; and I believe that in our search for satisfaction in life, through changing, doesn’t stand a chance unless we have Jesus in our life. But that will have to be left for another time.

 

Do not be afraid to change. If it is something that’s important to us then go for it; go for it out of faith in God, that whatever problems might arise from the change will be minimised or even resolved. Change is never a bad thing if we make sure we keep the right mindset.

07. Money, Sex, Fame

I don’t remember where I’ve heard it from, but it does appear that the world runs on those three things: money, sex and fame. They are the fundamental goals that most people seem to want to strive for in life; thinking that the “fullness” of life is measured by how much we have of each of those three things. I wonder as a Christian why pursuing these things are bad. I had known that pursuing them were bad; but of course everyone does need a legitimate reason that’s more “because God told you so…” So, right now, I’ll try to deal with these three things and see where I get to.

 

Money

 

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. – 1 Timothy 6:10

 

I won’t deny it, I too seek money. I picked Actuarial Studies hoping to eventually become an Actuarist, and earn some good money to make my life easier. And even right now, I want to tutor, for the same reason: earn some money so I can less dependent on my parents and be able to buy the things I want.

 

And let’s face it, money is a fundamental part of this world. As the saying goes, money does make the world go round. Without it we won’t be able to deal with everyday transactions for food and stuff. We need it now to pay for the house, the water and electricity bills, the Internet, for our mobile phones; a lot of the things we have depend on money.

 

But what is more is that our needs also depend on money; or should I say “wants”? Are there things that we truly “need”? Or can we do without them. Thinking back to a young age, have you ever “needed” something but your parents wouldn’t buy it for you because they didn’t see it as a serious “need”? Did you manage to survive through without the thing that your parents didn’t buy for you? Because if you did, then it does mean that you didn’t need it; and surely if you think back now it isn’t something that you need right now, yeah?

 

Recently I found myself spending less and less money; I heard other people say they need to spend like over $100 a week, on what I don’t know; but I don’t seem to have anything to spend my money on, other than food and the occasional outing with friends. It is interesting how my parents have managed to pose the thought set onto me that if I don’t have much of a need for it, don’t buy it.

 

It tends to make sense; money does lead to greed. The more you have of something, the more you want of it. I find this particularly interesting with the Internet for me. I was stuck with dodgy dial-up like back in year 6; upgraded that to 256K broadband for a while, then upgrade to 20mb/s with a dodgy 2GB download limit and now I’m sitting on a 20GB download limit. And now I see that we keep wanting to improve on something that we already have; but is there a need to have more of it?

 

For whatever we pursue, if we pursue it too far, it will take control of us. Give a kid 20GB of Internet and he’ll sit in front of the computer downloading things all day long; give him more and he’ll have no life. I don’t know how to use up my 20GB at the moment, but surely I’ll figure something out; but I wouldn’t be thinking of it if I had stayed on my dodgy 2GB limit before.

 

Having said that, I don’t mean that we shouldn’t pursue any sort of worldly possession. Of course we need stuff; otherwise we wouldn’t be able to exist within society. But I think for Christians that we need to learn to control ourselves and not become corrupted by a lust for money. Pursuing money is alright, but only if you pursue to an extent which doesn’t jeopardise Christian values of greed; when you feel the slight tinge of greed, you know you should take a step back and say to yourself: “I don’t need this, therefore I won’t give it to myself.”

 

Sex

 

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. – 1 Corinthians 6:18

 

One of the most obvious things that drives our world today is sex; we see it on the news, through celebrities and in advertisements. Sex is everywhere because of its appeal to us. And of course sex is a fundamental part of our lives; God made it to be the greatest expression of love between a man and a woman; but today, everyone is misusing sex in a way they feel is right. Why? Because as I said, it “feels” right.

 

Part of us find justification in the things we do through “feelings”. There’s no harm in having pre-marital sex yeah? (just as an example) Because it “feels” right. Of course it feels right, if it didn’t no-one would want to have sex. But perhaps I’m taking this too far; sex is indeed an extreme thing; hardly applicable for teens and young adults. What does seem dominant in our age group is the whole "boyfriend/girlfriend thing; the whole dating thing, the pre-sex things which of course lead to sex.

 

Again I’m not saying that having a boyfriend/girlfriend is bad. Similarly to money, it is not wrong to have it, but it depends on the way you pursue it. If you pursue a person for sex, well clearly that’s wrong; you’re “loving” someone for the wrong reason. And don’t laugh at that, I’ve read the MX on the train, and I can’t believe how many things that are “overheard” are related to boys/girls chasing their partner for the purpose of sex.

 

Take another step back from that; I know some people who are “lovesick”, who desperately desire to have a partner. In fact that was me a while back; I was glad it didn’t take me anywhere bad, but the possibility of those “consequences” are apparent if people are pursuing to find someone for that reason too. Why do we want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend? It is really vital that we have one by next week? And for what reason? Is it because everyone else has one? Because we feel “lonely”?

 

If you are in this category ask yourself the question: “Do I want someone for the sex factor of the relationship? The whole holding hands thing, the kissing, cuddling, all those intimate activities; is that what we desire? Because frankly, all these things do point to sex, not immediately, but that’s where they point to.

 

What I’ve learned recently is that, what we need is not a  boyfriend/girlfriend; rathermore, we just want a friend, simple as that. Of course by friend, it can (and should) be someone of the opposite gender, for reasons I won’t cover here. But isn’t what we really need, simply the “friendship” factor in relationships. Why would you go out with someone you don’t want to be friends with? Did you notice the word “friend” in boyfriend/girlfriend. A married couple is meant to best friends; if you can’t start off with that in a dating relationship then you have no sustaining relationship.

 

Everyone knows the feeling of holding someone’s hand that’s not the hand you had first held, yes? Not me personally, but I understand the feeling. And surely the feeling of having sex with someone different to your first time is clearly much worse. That is the ultimate consequence, the ultimate shame and fear that people can feel when they pursue sex in the wrong way. What we desire throughout our lives is friendship based on God’s love, not sexual love.

 

Fame

 

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this taxcollector. – Luke 18:11

 

I left fame till last for a reason, because it is sort of linked to the other two. Again with the celebrities, politicians, whoever; everyone pursues fame to get their names out there which in turn earns them the big money they want. So money is clearly linked into this. But with fame comes responsibility; people get to know us, people watch what we do in everyday lives, and people will criticize us. That is why if a celebrity makes a fuss in public, it is more noticeable than some grandma in the fruit market chucking a tantrum.

 

And so we have certain celebrities who create awareness of sexual appeal, to take a stereotypical example, let’s use Britney Spears; videos of sexy dancing, her style of clothing, you get the idea. And that’s where the sex factor comes in again. But she doesn’t care right? As long as she has her fans. her millions of dollars, she could care less if little 12-year-old girls follow her example and become sl*ts.

 

But where is the downfall in pursuing fame? Is there someone that can destroy your life? Probably; if there is so much media attention, you will face up to a lot of criticism as a celebrity; and you may end up being hated for that matter. But if you keep playing the right cards you’ should be fine, right?

 

Some celebrities don’t want to have crazy famous lifestyles; it becomes too hardworking to maintain that popularity; to make sure you make all the right moves all the time, the lack of privacy, and the lack of time to spend time with loved ones. Imagine yourself swarmed by a lot of “fans” everyday; unable to get away from the crowd, when all you went to do is go out with your friends to see a movie, without being hassled for autographs or phone numbers and stuff? Hard yes?

 

Again, pursue fame in the right way; not a way to attract attention for money, or through sex. Attract attention for the right causes, because of what you believe in; what your values are. But don’t pursue fame for its own sake; as in don’t do things that match your values because fame will come with it. In pursuing fame you become reliant on the attention of other people. If they like what you do; hey you’ve just got a huge fan club with a lot of laughs and all; but none of those “fans” are truly your friends right? Once you stuff up, they leave you, and  if you can’t find a way to attract more people, then you’ve just created this huge void within yourself; all because you relied on other people who were won through fame.

 

Perhaps you should not pursue fame at all, for any reason. But if it does come, well it comes; just as when you do employed work, money comes as a reward. Let fame be a reward, not a motive in the things that we all do. After all, it is stupid to in truth have 500+ “friends” on Facebook, do you even know half of them, have you even met them before?

 

But to sum it all up; pursuing fame, sex, money; it all stems from one thing: selfishness. By being selfish you place yourself first before other people. You chase money and push away anyone who stands in your way; you take advantage of people in order to have sex; you push away your close friends so that you can meet 100 more which you’ll probably never see again, or stay by your side in times of trouble. Selfishness is the underlying motive that makes us want to pursue these things.

 

But God provides all; trust in Him faithfully and he’ll keep you with enough money to survive, He’ll give you the relationships that you need to be sustained; but most importantly, He’ll keep you away from the temptations of this world. A God who provides everything; what more should we pursue in this world apart from God?

Mid-Sem Break

Ah at last, the mid-sem break. Even if it is only a mere week I’ve realised that a lot can be achieved and certainly the upcoming week will be a time to really make further plans about the rest of this semester, and other stuff. My first five weeks have been interesting; getting into the routine of lectures and tutorials wasn’t all too hard; and of course combining that with my church life only gave me a small problem so far.

 

I find that it is rather easy to skip classes, and also somewhat beneficial. I would’ve never thought that jigging class should be something that can be safely done but for some people it can; and most it is especially when the lecture is not helpful at all. And now our so-called “fixed timetable” is in fact rather flexible. Mixing and matching lectures is fairly fun and I’ve found that it’s sort of made a couple of my days easier.By killing off my Mondays, so I end at 6pm instead, I can leave uni on Tuesday at 12pm and go have lunch with my parents in Eastwood, a fair trade.

 

But enough of the whole timetable thing. Obviously the significant thing that’s on everyone’s mind is exams. And surely everyone has gone through at least a class test at this stage. I’ve been through a few number of maths quizzes now. They aren’t big but there were many of them; four now. And to hell if I don’t get close to 100% for all of them, I’d be really shocked if I can’t maintain a HD average for my course haha! We have a mix of online tests and class tests, all are fairly short and hence all are worth little in total. Even if a test is worth like 1% it’s still worth trying to get 100% in it since they’re all add up eventually.

 

But one thing has been troubling me for this week especially. Don’t know why I suddenly had this huge emotional drop, very strange indeed. But now thinking back to something Vanessa said on her blog a while back, I would never have thought that friends do come and leave, just as she said. One of the reasons why I’m not making such a huge effort to make new friends was that I wanted to hold onto my old friends strongly. Why wouldn’t I? Isn’t that the point of being friends? You stay as friends? If you were to ditch your old friends for new ones every time you had to make a new transition into another living environment, then don’t you suck as a friend because you discard them for others? Are people that “selfish” then, that we would jettison our old friends because they become “useless”?

 

Fair enough, ever since uni started, staying in touch with a lot of people from high school has been hard. I know some of my group have gone to places where we might never see them again, or at least not see them much. And so what then? Do we just take them out of our lives because they’re no longer reachable? Is that how shallow friendship is? For sure with the aid of the Internet these days especially, staying in touch with friends, being connected with them, is a much simpler task. And yet why don’t we for some of our friends? Why would we show favour for someone we’ve just met, over someone else you’ve known and hung out with for 6 years? Is it because it’s easier to talk to them? (ie. face to face as opposed to being physically separated from your former friends?)

 

In any respect I still wonder why there’s this desire to “make new friends”. Yeah it’s all good to make new friends but does it come at the cost of your other friends? Surely it really does suck to be left behind by your other friends because they made new ones. It’s like everyone turns their own way and it’s a mere “good-bye” that’s it. Stay as friends for 6 years and then become mere classmates after that. What would be the point in being friends if the friendship didn’t last? If you don’t maintain it you can’t expect it to still be there.

 

And so the source of my mood swings for this week would have to be based on that troubling fact. I know in particular that there is one person who I’ve felt has betrayed me in the way I have just described. And it hurts to think that you can depend on someone and yet they simply end up lying to you. As harsh as it is to say, that person is somewhat a hypocrite in trying to encourage a growing friendship and yet on multiple occasions have lied to you and then simply stopped staying in contact with you DESPITE what they said. In a situation like that I’d call it “destroying hopes”. And surely no-one likes having their hopes destroyed, it’s not nice. And it bugs me to think that the person in question can live with doing that to me. Oh but I suppose that as long as you have some friends, it’s okay to ditch others right? It’s not like you lost anything important because there’s lots of it. Is that the feeling we get when we want to push someone away? Intentionally or not?

 

So for this week I do wonder if that person knows they hurt me, whether they even remember it. Or whether they’re too caught up in their “new friends” that they find it justifiable to f*** up someone else. It hurts I’ll tell you that. It hurts to lose hope in someone you thought you could depend on. And yet I wouldn’t hate that person or wish them a bad future. And yet what am I left with? “What am I left with?” indeed…

01. Consistency

 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

 

Somehow it does appear to be true that we as humans do not like change. Of course we might not respond negatively to it – if change is for the better – but nonetheless we will cringe a bit when it comes to change. For me in particular I worry a bit about my transition into university; a change in lifestyle, in education, and the people around me. I cringe at the fact I am going to enter a new world that I’m unfamiliar with. But of course I’ll slowly learn to adapt to this change, everyone does; it’s just that initial few steps that seem scary.

 

Sometimes the changes we see are in the people around us. Maybe they start to act differently, or at the least in a way you don’t expect. And of course if it’s a good change you won’t mind and you’ll learn to get used to it. But if it’s a bad change you cringe at it and you get disappointed that someone has changed for the worse. But unlike the scenario I described above, there are other thins that change a bit more frequently. Particularly with people, we get annoyed at trying to adjust to how a person acts and sometimes for me it gets frustrating. For example if a friend were talking to you one day but ignored you another, then talked to you again, and so forth, won’t it get frustrating to guess how the person will act towards you next time you meet?

 

None of us like change in general. Although we will argue in favour of “good” changes and invite them more so than bad changes. But perhaps one of the things we might think is that “God is changing” when something bad happens, that doesn’t usually happen. Like for example a one-off bad incident that really leaves you going: “God, why?” Or perhaps we are faced with that friend situation in the last paragraph, where God is treating you “nicely” for a moment and then “horribly” the next and it just keeps alternating. Sometimes can feel like that, the “rollercoaster”effect. And we look at God and somehow cringe at Him because He’s being “inconsistent” with us. We don’t like change and we certainly don’t want to see God change in a way so that we have a negative view of Him.

 

But Hebrews 13 reminds us that Jesus and God are consistent throughout. He never changes, never. And because of that we don’t need to worry about God being “inconsistent” with us because He’s treating us the same every single day. So if God isn’t the one changing, then why do we feel like He is? Perhaps it’s not God changing, but instead it is us who are changing. Perhaps we are the ones acting “inconsistent” with God. Perhaps we change our attitude from God and expect a little more than usual and because of that, the normal things that God offers everyday are no longer satisfactory to us.

 

So if this is the case then certainly we need to change our attitude. Sometimes it’s best to just sit quietly and reflect on the past; to just remember what God has done for us in our daily lives and how we’ve felt about them. And then of course it’s also good to question yourself as to what will satisfy will and what actually seems “fair” to God. And perhaps what we can also do is to make sure we act consistently to the people around us,at least in a positive way. So it’s not like continue ignoring the people you don’t already talk to; but to be consistently friendly to closer people by staying in consistent touch with them. It’s always reassuring to know that you expect someone to stay in touch with you and so you’ll have something to look forward to at times.

 

And I guess form personally I would need to review everyone around me and just work out who I’ve kind of neglected over the last few months. I guess I’m not too aware of who I’ve forgotten probably because I myself feel like the neglected one by some people around me and that’s probably what got me thinking about this “consistency” topic. But I guess overall it’s good to try and be consistent like our God; consistently serving Him faithfully is one thing we find hard to do because of our natural sinful behaviour but that’s all part of the challenge of life, isn’t it?

Net Cafe and Karaoke

Well today  marks the beginning of another clump of action in my life, which I guess I am glad for. Today our group went out to the city for gaming at a net cafe and also karaoke,: 3 hours and 2 hours respectively. Though it does seem we did little, it took a lot of time to do.

 

Okay without much delay let’s jump into behind-the-scenes on the train in the morning. Can’t believe Kelvin wanted to drag us all to the city at 10am, which means I have to wake up early, but I guess I have no regrets for net cafe, it was fun today. Anyway one thing nobody saw on the train was this incident: I was on the train and there was this Asian chick perhaps in her early 20’s sitting in front of me (the important thing was that I could see where she was sitting really). Anyway a few stations later 4 Curries got on, 3 men and 1 woman. One guy sat next to the afore mentioned Asian chick, another sat in the same row on the other side, another in front of the first guy and  another not too far. Anyway the Asian chick decided to take a nap on the train and the Curry’s saw this as an opportunity for some major perversion. Particularly for the Curry guy sitting next to the Asian chick, they all kept looking at here once a while, just looking up and down her in that sick way that made me feel like shouting “F*** off you f***ing Curry perverts!” which they clearly were. Seriously, you hate to stick to stereotypes but an educated guess can conclude that a number of Currys are sick f***s who can’t be trusted, which is a shame in this world that there iss o much distrust. The Currys got off at Redfern while the Asian chick stayed on. Was my guess about them wrong?

 

Now for some gaming commentary. I have headings this time so please feel free to skip if you don’t want to read about it.

 

DotA

First of before I start, we decided to go back to that stupid City Hunter place because there arguably do have the better computers in the vicinity. But this time I decided to up my resolve and make sure we didn’t go over time. And luckily today we didn’t encounter any such problem. We only played one match of Dota, and then many other things.

 

Mode: All Pick/Easy Mode

 

Sentinel

Me (captain): Invoker
Charlie: Viper
Chris: Clockwerk Goblin

 

Scourge

Kelvin (captain): Admiral
Nick: Ursa Warrior
Joseph: Shadow Feind

 

To begin, let me introduce my “captain” thing. I suppose for DotA or any sort of team game, all players end up looking up towards their strongest player, one with more experience and who should play better on the whole. It would therefore be the captain’s responsibility to look after their teammates and make decisions that involve a team effort. In the case of DotA this would include team ganking and team pushing as well as lane management and scouting.

 

Okay, well let’s no worry too much about team line up at the moment. I was farming against Joseph in middle lane. Now I’m only a novice Invoker player at the moment so I used this opportunity to practice; still need a bit more work though. I failed to kill Joseph at any point in the early game but Joseph also managed to hold his own ground most of the time. His Shadow Raze was fairly accurate, not that I was afraid because he only kept it at lvl 1, a mere 75 damage which I can recover in a few seconds. But due to Joseph’s novice play he failed to farm well and obviously he let me work up my income and exp.

 

Meanwhile over in top lane was Chris against Nick. Now let me stress that when you have equally skilled players playing against each other, “Ursa > Clockwerk”. In fact most of the time “Ursa > a lot of things” so it was particularly surprising to find that Chris as Clockwerk scores First Blood against Nick as Ursa. In fact not only then but Chris scored maybe two more kills on Nick after that. I never had a chance to see how it happened though, although I do suspect that Nick only died because of a failed attempt to kill.

 

And finally in bottom lane Charlie took on Kelvin and I actually found it impressive that Charlie didn’t die early against Kelvin. But thisis fair. Although Admiral is a fiesty hero, Viper has such annoying dps (damage per second) that it should also annoy a lot of heroes. But I suppose neither player actually plays offensively so it’s fair to understand that neither of them died till a bit later, after Chris’ 2-3 kills haha!

 

Anyway I wasn’t much of the lead player for a long part of the game because let’s face it, Invoker isn’t one of those “kill on their own” heroes. If it ever came down to a 3v3 showdown then of course my help would net some of the kills. But until then I stayed passive and just moved around farming and harassing whenever I got the chance.

 

Chris and Charlie started working together without me saying and the two of them kept exchanging blows with Kelvin, Joseph and Nick. Chris started dying occasionally, Charlie got up to killing spree while everyone else had their share of deaths. I guess I could’ve prevented Chris from dying if I had been there rather than on the other side of the map happily jungling. Charlie lived because of several unsuccessful attempts by Kelvin to kill him. In my eyes in was kind of funny; both players deserved to fail: Charlie in his escaping and Kelvin in his chasing. First off Charlie was clearly farming in dangerous territory. As a general hint, crossing the river in the middle without knowing where your opponents are is extremely dangerous and asking to get ganked. So as expected along comes Kelvin to deliver the kill. Unfortunately he fails to finish Charlie off on account of being unable to chase him down, which can happen but shouldn’t be likely. One factor of this may have been because Charlie was going for Sange & Yasha, which as a rule is off limits to any hero that has an orb skill, it’s just stupid. But somehow it served to help Charlie from dying out of misjudgement several times, wow.

 

As the game progressed on further I actually died once because I was roaming too freely and tried to kill at the wrong time; bad judgement on my behalf about Invoker’s strength. Although actually I could’ve killed Kelvin, I was running away for like 10 seconds while my two lava spawns were hitting him. I just missed out after I died and Kelvin got away on a sliver of health; he would’ve died ages ago had I made the resolve to get a kill and die, rather than simply run for it. This happened several times more where Kelvin got away on a sliver of health. I always kept playing to stay alive, rather than try for a kill really, it’s my conservative play I guess which I use for heroes that I’m not too confident with.

 

But on Invoker’s play style, I find that he’s rather versatile if you’re willing to put in the finger work. For example: Quas offers 0.75 hp regeneration per level per instance. So early on if you were farming and were on middle health, you could toggle all three instances to Quas for health regeneration. Wex is 1% IMS (increased move speed) and 2% IAS (increased attack speed) per level per instance. What I’m interested here is the move speed bonus. A number of times when I was running away after seeing that I’m losing a fight, I’d quickly toggle my three instances to Wex and start running and you find the bonus is rather helpful, I escaped easily many times just by bothering to toggle to “escape mode”. Finally Exort is 3 damage per level per instance and is the primary setting most players have, more damage is better on the offensive play. But of course to fully utilize Invoker you should be willing to toggle between the other two skills whenever you deem necessary. And that’s a general overview of how to use Invoker and how I’m learning to play him as.

 

Eventually my hard farming paid off in the form of massive items, again though just testing item builds and seeing which items would suit Invoker. Eventually I started picking up the pace and ended up having the largest score at 9-1, a fair score considering I’m not the “carrier” hero in the team. But now we go onto line up. Invoker is a great support hero so that’s why I realized I couldn’t kill anyone with say 4-5 hits, it’d take a bit more. But Kelvin’s heor is a carrier, Nick’s Ursa is considered a tank more-so but sometimes a carrier if the item build is right. And of Joseph’s Shadow Fiend is a deadly hero as well. Team-wise, they had the advantage. But whatever, without much detail needed we eventually won and that was the match.

 

 

Starcraft

After playing DotA we moved onto one match of StarCraft. More of us were novice at this game, compared to the numbers in DotA, but okay we’re still willing to play. I’m not sure how professionally we played because there seemed to be a lack of action for a long part of the game.All I can say is that I am nowhere near good enough at this game; still have time before StarCraft II comes out I guess.

 

The teams were me (Protoss), Charlie (Terran) and Joseph (Zerg). The other team was Nick (Zerg), Kelvin (Protoss), Chris (Terran). Wasn’t really watching Charlie, but I did notice that Joseph just massed zerglings, which I think is not recommended in a single 1v1 match but in a team game it’s kind of okay. I’ve watched a number of games so I thought I’d just go and rush Dark Templars. But I guess that’s not as effective against Nick, since he had so many overlords patrolling his base. Kelvin made a fool of himself when he built his pylons together in a clump. After I had reached Dark Templars the game fell apart for me and I forgot to continue teching to cruisers. Whatever, I don’t even know the tech tree and I was lucky to have guessed right for dark templars.

 

Nick made the first attack and ransacked Joseph’s base which had no defense against Nick’s mutalisks. Good job to Joseph for never considering an air assault. But after a while Charlie’s came in and cleaned up that messed and then we moved in to finish off Nick’s base which kind of spelt “good game” for their team. Something happened to Kelvin already and he in capacitated. So all was left was Chris. But yeah we didn’t bother to play that far, we knew it was over.

 

 

Unreal Tournament

With about 1 and a half hours left before we were due, we started playing Unreal Tournament (2004 edition). I think we found a balanced game for everyone to play because we were all roughly at the same skill level so the game was very even and kept us all at even lengths with each other. There were many hilarious kills during the game; I remember many times when I’d nuke Kelvin without him noticing and other times when he did the same. Of course most hilarious I remember was in the second game where I rounded a corner just as Kelvin came in the opposite direction. We both met at point blank and I fired my flak cannon into him…”what the?!” totally unpredictable haha!

 

I won the first game: 25 kills while 2ndplace was Nick at 20 kills. In the second game Nick won but I came oh so close at 24 kills. In fact I had 10 seconds to hunt my final kill but Nick got there faster. So damn close haha! Afterwards we played a few rounds of capture the flag, 3v3 is sort of good arrangements yeah? The first round it was like Me, Charlie and Nick versus Kelvin, Nick and Joseph. We won that one 3-1. But the game was hectic nonetheless. Chris was very accurate in sniping and kept us from pushing. And then you’d have Joseph somehow sneaking from the side and taking our flag; he’s a fairly good player I’ll have to admit. Kelvin took it in himself to defend the flag but that didn’t suit him well so he resumed an offensive stance.

 

Second game, Nick and Chris switched sides and we won that 2-1 with a timeout. The map was a cool Chinese versus Japanese landscape, with two large castles of the Chinese and the Japanese. There was one point in this match where both teams had each other’s flags. It was me and Joseph and both of us went into hiding and it was up to our teammates to find the flag bearer; that took a good 5 minutes nearly but eventually Joseph was found and our flag returned so I immediately scored for our team.

 

In the last match we didn’t play to the end because time was out but yeah roughly the same thing happened and the score was at 1-1. Net cafe was rather fun this time round and luckily thanks to my care, we didn’t go overtime and have that stupid , selfish jerk try to charge us for going overtime by like one minute.

 

 

Lunchtime

Humph, I’ll keep this short but I had some rather pathetic ramen in Market City; far out that place was a rip off. A small bowl of ramen was $8.50 and it didn’t taste anything special. Now the place back in Hornsby, Tokyo Ramen, they charge you like $2 extra at about $10.50 for a bowl of quality ramen with great soup and nearly twice the the size of what I had today. Perhaps there is no better place for ramen than Hornsby. There’s still one other place I’m meant to try but I can’t remember where but then again, chances are they’re still no match for Hornsby. Everyone else had Chinese food while Kelvin went for unhealthy fish and chips; unhealthy far out, I guess it’s okay to have them say once a month but unhealthy food stacks up if you eat a variety of them.

 

 

Karaoke

Went to K Squared for karaoke; I heard it was a good place through advice from uni friends at church. I guess they’re right if your aim is Chinese music. It kept everyone very happy for the two hours we spent there. And for the first time I was clueless at what they were singing and all, but that’s probably the same view they have when I sing Jap music. Speaking of which there was barely any Japanese music that I knew there. After much assessment I realized they were outdated by 8 years which is so not cool. I know some music from that many years back but nowadays I’m into what’s recent. I think I’m good for most music from 2006 onwards. So for this afternoon I didn’t get much of my share in songs, by that I had wanted more Jap songs to sing; only had 1 that I suppose I was sort of willing to sing, there were a few others I knew but they\re so old and overdone there’s no point in singing them anymore.

 

K Squared is an okay place I guess, $12 for 2 hours and a drink isn’t bad. Although I had kind of wished they had songbooks for us to look at, rather than a digital interface; which I have to admit is the smarter thing to do because it’s easy to update but then it’s harder to see all your choices on a computer screen than on a piece of paper I reckon; well actually my English tutor Carol taught me that. Besides, I had so much trouble reading the Japanese names of artists that I just gave up; probably too old anyway.

 

They had a poor karaoke system; wasn’t even like SingStar where you get scored. Basically, it was just them slapping together an instrumental track onto the video clip and then adding rather shotty lyrics on screen because they were timed so poorly. The video clips were very poor quality; wink wink I know where they get them from duh. There was no scoring, just sing along to the video clip for fun. Ha!I could do that too if I bothered to properly learn to add karaoke subtitles to a video clip, and if I had the time to make them. Oh well; it’s a shame.

 

I was confined to mostly English songs, just the ones my friends picked. Even chucked in a High School Musical song for the sake of it; just pretend they’re Disney music and it’s all fine. I picked “Breaking Free” and was surprised as we entered the room initially to find a Mandarin version of the song playing in the background. I downloaded that song now; it’s weird.

 

Just to name one other song I wanted to do, it was that “Piece of Me” song by Britney Spears, it’s strangely addicting in my opinion, most of her songs are. But in particular for this one, I got attached to it because comedian duo Hamish & Andy did their own versions of the song; they had to create like 30+ seconds of the song using only their mouths, so all the beats and the bass rhythm, everything, it was hilarious so that’s why I like the song now.

 

Tim was trying to cheat the place by playing a Wong Lee Hung medley at the very end of our 2 hours. It lasts 12 minutes long so in a  way we could actually get an additional 12 minutes in the room. But we sort of mistimed it and when we were 30 seconds into the song one of the staff came into tell us to go out. And we tried to say: “Umm…after this song…” He gave us a dirty look and Tim reckoned that he realized we were doing that 12-minute song. So out of guilt we left a minute later haha!

 

But yeah overall it was a long and fun-filled day; something to clear our boredom which was good. Tomorrow is next gen ‘09 and I’ll be away for 5 days. That just means a huge blog post to follow after camp haha! See you all later!

二人の絆 “Futari no Kizuna” (The Bond Between Us)

These last two months have brought about changes in most of  our lives. We find ourselves out of school; out of our daily routine for 13 years and now we are idle. Some of us go on to do part time work (others maybe full time) but during these weeks on being unoccupied with anything, we take note that our relationships grow weaker because we are no longer connected through school and maybe other such places of routine.

 

Nevertheless I’ve felt rather distant from people I once thought I was close to and it makes me wonder what we can actually do with so much free time on our hands. Perhaps most of the time we have depended on having conversations with other people as a way to maintain that relationship; and this is perhaps the best way to keep in contact because it was all we could do. But nowadays we can do so much more. Why converse with letters and numbers when you can talk to them face to face; or instead of playing a game over the Internet, actually go out and do physical activities?

 

We find ourselves more able to spend time with one another and we ought to; our probable only point of contact was through school, and now with that  gone we don’t even have an opportunity to meet in person unless we make ourselves a chance. We know we can do so much more now and we can feel it. However, when all we can muster is mere words to communicate such a feeling of closeness and freedom, we already make a heavy mistake.

 

One of the things I thought was essential in a relationship was consistency. You talk to your friend several times a day at school, you do the same the next day at school; and you keep repeating that process for weeks, even months and years to come. That’s being a good consistent friend. But now without school and whatever, we need to rebuild a new level of consistency, a routine of keeping up with friends on a regular basis. And here is the hard part. As Vanessa pointed out in her comment to my previous post, sometimes we are unaware of what we are capable of doing. We have this new freedom and yet we haven’t tried to exercise it to the limit. We either hold back and give little time to our friends, or we try to give too much and we end up faltering under pressure.

 

But at the minimum communication is always a good start, no matter what form, and then it’s simply building it up from there to a comfortable level for both or more people. What I found upsetting was people promising me things which they later retraced; and this would be appear to be the case of “empty words”. It is always a fear that you might end up trying to give too much away and upsetting yourself and others when you fail to meet your own expectations. But the other side of things is giving too little, making it seem as if you don’t care about the other person; what would seem to be a negatively contrasted act against what you used to do at school.

 

And this would lead on to the topic of words. Actions do speak louder than words. Sometimes we may find contradictions against this saying but for times like this, actions are louder because now we have the freedom to perform them. Surely none of us are still pathetic to point of still being stuck at home yeah? There has to be at least one time where you can actually go out and do something physical with friends, there are no excuses. And it’s only after seeing what our new patterns of routines with friends are, that we begin to reassess the intimacy of our relationships. Am I are a closer friend with this person now? Or have I seemed to grown more distant from them? These are questions we begin to ask ourselves since our environment has changed.

 

Of course we can’t expect to see out friends as often as would be at school; but I suppose this is probably best left to everyone’s own opinion as to what is “frequent contact” for them. But mind you, do not rule out words. Sure, words can be mere words which have nothing on actions. In fact most of the time our relationships are determined by the actions that have taken place, rather than words that are exchanged. A mistake we sometimes make is communicating our feelings through words. Feelings cannot be transformed into words because they are unlike. But sometimes we get the message because we know how the other is feeling. In a sense we sort of “see their heart”. But of course we can’t do that all the time, we are human after all and it is not our ability to see how people feel, even through words; that’s God’s ability. This is what I mean by words, merely conversing our feelings. You cannot judge the intimacy of a relationship just through words; the more time you spend with each other, the stronger your friendship is; that is the underlining basis. One example is that, we are not children of God because God felt that he should or that He loves us. We are children of God because He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, an action.

 

Having said that it is apparent that actions is what builds a relationship but the “feeling” or the  “words” are needed to give direction. If you feel particularly close to someone, using words conduct conversation can sometimes seem shallow; it seems better to act according to how you feel. At least this way you don’t send mixed feelings and confusion to the other person. But again, talking in itself is an action isn’t it? And so therefore words can also be an action but only if used in the right way. A fruitful conversation is a good one because you actually have direction in it and it achieves something, such as you learn something about someone; maybe their views on a particular topic, something like that. Words can be an effective tool, but if it’s merely mindless conversation about gibberish and all, you haven’t really gotten anywhere and from that, a relationship does not strengthen.

 

And another thing. As I mentioned earlier sometimes we aren’t aware of what we are cap[able of and likewise we may not know what our friends are capable of. One can always guess, or make an educated guess but perhaps one mistake that I can personally relate is expecting too much from other people. I guess you really do need to get to know someone well before you can take a shot at guessing what they are capable of. It’s a complicated issue but ultimately everyone needs to give in a little to be satisfied and as long as everyone is happy at the end of the day, that’s all you need.

 

So all in all, remember to let your actions be the things that maintain relationships, not your mindless words. Remember to give and give consistently; it’s up to you and your friends to work out what is suitable. And remember never to promise things you can’t keep, no-one likes having their hopes destroyed. I suppose personally there are a few things I’d need to pick up on for the people around me but it’ll take time to realize what I need to do.

 

Hope everyone has a safe holiday still. Keep holding onto your friends, no matter how tightly.