Home > General, Random thoughts > A little bit about me…(very open and informal)

A little bit about me…(very open and informal)

I think of myself as a somewhat odd sort of Christian, and I am definitely still a work in progress. I have always been somewhat rebellious at heart, and for much of my life, that showed in my lack of respect for my parents and for authority in general. Not that I got into huge trouble with the law or anything like that (I cared a little too much about myself for that), but I always questioned everything people told me. I still do, even when it comes to my solid church pastor, but especially when that person is hit-or-miss. This usually led to teachers not liking me at first, though some came around eventually.

I am also a strange Korean-American. Honestly, I feel neither Korean nor American, and I don’t necessarily mean that in a “my citizenship is in heaven” sort of way (though there is certainly that, especially when it comes to morals). My mother tried persistently to get me to be a friendly, respectful Asian boy, but I never quite mastered the art of bowing 90 degrees to elders and stuff like that. Maybe it was pride, but I think most of all, it was my intense hatred for fakeness. Unless there is some specific reason to refrain, I like being as real as possible—while avoiding rudeness if possible. This sometimes leads me to trouble, and I’m sure if I ever become a pastor or something, people are going to hate some of the things I say and flame me.

I also don’t feel fully American in that I don’t really care about the “American dream” of stability, white picket fences, and material things. I don’t care for small talk much at all, and while I am generally pretty adept in social situations, I could literally live in a cave by myself for years and be perfectly fine. I don’t mind being around people, especially my close friends, but I also don’t mind being alone for the most part. Of course, that has changed since I’ve gotten married and it’s difficult to imagine a life apart from my wife for any significant amount of time (short periods of time are OK haha)…but yea, that’s who I am naturally.

While no one is completely impervious to social pressures, I really think I am on the extreme of not caring what people think—unless maybe their opinion actually matters to me (and even then, it will give me pause and make me think, not necessarily drive me). I don’t go along with the crowd, but I also don’t try to go against it deliberately like some people who want to feel unique and different. You know the type: the ones who hate everything mainstream and look down on the rest of society for being sheep and blah blah blah.

One example would be where I was a youth group teacher years ago at a church retreat, and the guest speaker was telling the group to come up to the front if we would like to re-dedicate ourselves to Christ and pledge to study His word fervently from now on. To me, it sounded like a lot, and I honestly wasn’t in a good spiritual place at the time (and yes, not all teachers/leaders are, sadly), so I stayed seated. I prayed that the desire would grow in me, but I noticed that literally 99% of the group went up there—kids and teachers alike. The only stragglers were some of the newcomers and me. One of the kids who knew me was shocked and had a look of concern on his face. He later asked me, “Why didn’t you go up?” I answered, “Because I wasn’t honestly ready for that kind of commitment.” I would have followed up with, “Are you??” but I left it alone because he was young and idealistic.

Perhaps I may have hurt some people’s trust in me at that point, but I really can’t fake it. I’m told I need to smile more, but I’m thinking, “Isn’t smiling for when I’m actually happy about something in particular?” Sometimes, I actually think I’m smiling, but when I check the mirror, I still have the same “con man” face on. I have poor control over my facial muscles, apparently. You should have been there for the first couple of wedding photo sessions. It wasn’t pretty. (I eventually learned that in order to make a normal smiling face, I need to conjure up something completely different in my mind.) I really need to become more approachable to people.

I am also a natural procrastinator—though I’ve matured in this area a great deal (still need to improve more)—and have a hard time caring about what’s coming up in the future. This is why it’s so humorous to me when atheists accuse me of being a Christian for that warm assurance of eternal life when I die. Really, you think I’m already thinking about death? I’m not even thinking more than a week ahead at a time (except maybe financially). Death is the furthest thing on my mind. Even though nothing is certain, I just assume I have a long way to go. I actually know what it means to want to follow God regardless of heaven or hell, as hard as it is to believe.

It’s also funny to me when they say that Christians can’t think for themselves or they are pressured into it. If anything, if I feel pressured into something, I recoil and go the other way. I’ve thought a lot about spiritual matters, and I have no hesitation in tackling difficult issues or picking arguments with others or myself. (I do give up arguing when I see the other person is completely tuned out to reason, though.) Cognitive dissonance is something I do not avoid, even if I have to grow another gray hair in the process.

You really think I’m a Christian because it’s pleasant and comforting? Atheists are so “brave” to face the “truth”? There have been a few times where I came to a “logical” decision where I thought, “Wow, there really must not be a God!” The feeling I experienced in those times was not despair, but rather this distorted, wide-eyed, sick-happy sense of “I CAN LIVE HOWEVER I WANT??!” It was the “freedom” that atheists often refer to, but I know what it was deep down—even at the time, I knew. It wasn’t freedom, but rather it was the thrill of open rebellion. It was the selfish desire of mine to not be accountable to anyone or anything. Don’t tell me I’m a Christian because I’m fearful. Almost everything in life that is hard is right, and quite frankly, atheists are the ones taking the easy way out.

Well actually, atheism is a sort of “freedom” in the same way that a dog escaping from his loving owner’s house is freedom. He can wander the woods without a leash, eat all the worms and poop he wants, but in the end, it spells doom for him.

The thing is, whenever I would come to the conclusion that there might in fact be no God, my pesky logic would kick in. It would say, “Wait, wait, wait a second cowboy…what about this? And what about that?” Then, I would be forced to face reality again. My flirtation with atheism would be over, and truthfully, it wouldn’t necessarily feel all that great at the time.

This is the part where I could easily get prideful, but I promise I won’t. I’ve already made my peace with God about it. For some reason or another, I was born with a very logical brain (if it is fully engaged, that is…I can easily tune out with things I’m disinterested in). Even when my brain was completely crusty and rusty from inactivity for years, I scored very high on things like the LSAT, and I’ve always had  a knack for things like math. In law school, my problem was lack of interest, not an inability to argue. Logic is not always directly correlated with intelligence, in my opinion. I’ve met some mediocre academics, for instance, who are extremely sensible and just “make sense.” Then there are brilliant students who seem to miss even the obvious, like their minds are too busy in formulas and theorems rather than the real world. Many university professors are like this, actually, as their view naturally becomes very narrowly focused.

I’ve often bemoaned going to law school since I didn’t become a lawyer but still got saddled with the debt. But more and more I’m realizing that God had a purpose for even my detours. Among some other things, I’ve learned two very valuable truths: 1) It is possible to make convincing arguments for any side (though deep down inside, we can detect which is true if we are not too far gone); and 2) right and wrong are often decided on a hair’s breath of difference. Let me explain that latter point.

The way law school goes is that the case books are filled with cases, often paired up with other cases that are almost identical. Case A and Case B are pretty much 95% the same, but A will return a “guilty” verdict while B returns a “not guilty” verdict. It’s your job as a law student to figure out why—what were the subtle differences that changed the outcome?

It’s a lot like that in theology as well; atheism vs. theism. On the whole, people are very bad at seeing subtleties. A lot of times, they also just don’t want to; it’s willful blindness. Instead, they are caught up in catchy arguments, parroting them without seeing where their flaws are. Atheists are often more eloquent, so people hear them and think they “sound better.” Christian theologians may be saying what is more correct, but because they don’t present it with a sharp, biting wit, they sound inferior sometimes. We have to continually train ourselves to see through all that mess without getting caught up in emotion and distractions.

One curious thing I notice about myself as I grow in the faith is that I feel I am appearing dumber and dumber to the world. I can sense I have this seemingly vacant look to people, when really it’s a strong serenity and contentment that God has given me. I am seriously thankful for my life—my wife, family, friends, home, pets, and most of all, having my eyes fully opened. I say things with such excitement and eagerness sometimes—usually only when I’m talking about theology—that I bet even my friends think I’m a little cuckoo and simple-minded. I have to tone it down sometimes or else I’ll lose their interest in the dialogue. Honestly, I can’t blame atheists for thinking we’re dumber. When you develop this child-like faith and joy, it’s only natural to seem less intelligent than the cynical, mocking atheist scholar on YouTube. If you really want people to think you’re smart, be cynical.

I have questioned God and the Bible so many times, and every single time, I have been shown that God is 100% trustworthy. When that happens a few times (or in my case of extreme stubbornness, about 200), you start to develop a lot of trust. When people ask, “But why is that wrong?” or “How do we know it’s true?”, nowadays I honestly just want to blurt out, “Because God said so, and that should be enough!” But of course, that doesn’t work with other people, so I have to put on the mask of doubt and find some reasonable answers to share. Plus, it helps reinforce it in my own mind, just in case my faith wavers at some point in the future. Intellectual certainty is nice to have, even though it does take a backseat to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

I really don’t understand what the point of this post was, or why I felt led to write it, but hopefully it has a purpose. Let’s learn to see through the fog and develop sound thinking, Christians and skeptics alike!

  1. May 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Sounds a lot like my background and upbringing, I find this very edifying =) Keep up the good work for Christ

    • May 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

      I appreciate your comment, Linus! We all have different paths to becoming who we are. I’m sure God has big plans for you brother.

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