Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Discipline (II)

So I memorized a grip of Bible verses, went to bed, woke up with my alarm, ran 3 miles and then wasted 6 hours. I then recovered, read my Bible and started reading poetry, overcoming the temptation to watch Star Wars in the living room. Overall, mediocre.

Thank you, my invisible audience. The day would have otherwise been a complete waste without you.

Now you have an opportunity to become visible. What do you want me to write about? Post a comment and it will heavily influence what I write about. I have many ideas that I'd write for me; however, if I knew it was benefiting or entertaining more people than me, I'd be much more motivated to write.
  • Political ("Why you should vote for Ron Paul" or"Why we shouldn't recycle paper")
  • Reflections on the book of Esther (I read it last night)
  • Poetry discussions (I just read through some Blake)
  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (a book about Objectivism that I'm planning on reading)
  • Personal updates (my musings on medical schools, interviews, and class)
  • Other ideas

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I just watched the Bourne Ultimatum with my family. Of course, the movie was awesome, but it reminded me of a conversation I had with my friend BJ about discipline. We talked about how cool it was that humans can do so much if we put our minds to it. Jason Bourne is a super hero simply because of his training. There are a million other movies/people who are similarly cool. Hitman, Batman Begins, etc.

There are also plenty of real life examples of discipline. There are Jews who memorize the Torah. The entire Torah. Eastern Monks become masters at martial arts. Even people who live in a disciplined setting for a few years have their lives changed. I know people who go into the military as slobs and come out four years later as upstanding and disciplined men.

People use discipline to accomplish great things. In general, though, it does not seem to be a very American attribute. In school, procrastination seems to be the rule. Why do an hour a day when you can do five hours the night before? Likewise in the church, even the most pious churchgoer has difficulty spending even 10 minutes a day reading the Bible. There is no society or authority to enforce discipline.

In Boot Camp, you learn quickly to wake up on time, make your bed, and look sharp by 5AM every morning. Perfection is expected. You get yelled at and mocked if you are less than perfect. They don't ask nicely to wake up early and do PT. You know that waking up that early and exercising is good for you, but you'd never do it on your own (if you are a normal American). They demand you do what you know is best for you.

Sometimes I wish this was true of the church. Not in an obligatory, legalistic manner, but in a voluntary and manly manner. I want to go to a Bible boot camp or join Bible ROTC. I want someone to kick my butt at 5AM and help me do what I am too weak to do by myself. I want to be mocked by my peers when I don't show up. I want to be ridiculed by my leader when I am late. Why? Because I know I am capable of so much more.

Nobody has ever done anything like this to me. It's understandable given draconian enforcements to orthodoxy of the past. However, I think the pendulum has swung way to far on the side of softness. Especially for men.

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self‑discipline."

And this is speaking of external discipline ("chastening" in the KJV):

Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

And added the day after initial writing:

1 Petet 1:13 (KJV) "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"
In writing this, I now realize this is all one big intellectual excuse. If only ______, I would have discipline. I need to gird up my loins and be disciplined. Tomorrow I need to wake up early, exercise and read my Bible. I need to not waste time playing video games our lounging around the house. While it would be great if there was something to help me, I have it in me to do it myself and I need to stop complaining about the state of the world and do what's already in me.

I will post tomorrow and let you know how much a man I am.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A good friend of mine said something like this: "I don't love poetry, but most of the men of history I respect loved poetry. I must assume it is I who am in error." I agreed with him entirely.

So last week I picked up an old book of compiled English poems that my dad had on the shelf and started reading. I was blown away! I actually enjoyed poetry!

Here is a bit of what I've been reading (page numbers for my own reference):

William Wordsworth - "The Daffodils" (643)
He describes the wonder and awe of nature. He described it like a show that God put on just for him.

I will fully admit that I had to Google a Daffodil and have included the image at the left for the benefit of you who may not know.

Thomas Traherne - "Wonder" (497)
This is a wonderful picture of childhood perspective. I read it to my mom and she was convinced it was a poem about heaven instead of childhood. It made me reflect on Jesus' words: Matthew 18:4 (ESV) "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Kid's have some spiritual ability or sense that we don't have (generally); we should learn from them (and enjoy Traherne's poetry).

Rudyard Kipling - "Recessional" (1047), "White Mans Burden" Recessional is very powerful. It reminds the British to remember God. He warns them not to "loose wild tongues that have not Thee in awe" and not to trust in muskets and human power.

"White Man's Burden" deserves a fuller treatment, maybe another blog entry. It was a very interesting perspective, not least because Roosevelt said of it, "rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view."

American Folk Songs - "Casey Jones" (1015) and "John Henry" (1016) The American spirit is strong in these! Casey Jones is about a train engineer who, in order to meet a deadline, redlines his train and dies in a crash: "We're goin' to reach 'Frisco, but we'll all be dead!" and "The switchman know by the engine's moan/That the man at the throttle was Casey Jones." John Henry is about a man who tries to beat a steam machine in driving rails who, in his ambition to win says, "I'll hammer my fool self to death" and "I'll die wid my hammer in my hand." I love the ridiculous ambition. It is so American and I love it! Maybe I identify too much with these two characters.

W.H. Davies - "Leisure" (1065)
A nice rebuke to our American go go go lifestyle. "A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare." I think "leisure" in 1900 omitted video games.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Conversation with a Congolese Scientist

I just had a conversation with a biologist from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He is in the PhD program at UCLA. I was over at my friend Josh Beck's apartment and we had dinner with him. I asked him his perspective on Africa, its problems and his ideas on solutions and decided to email you what he said.

Neville has been working in Congo with the NIH (a US institution) on Monkeypox, an emerging disease with the potential to become as deadly as Smallpox. His advisor in Washington DC and he organized a massive sampling in the villages throughout DRC. In the end, he collected 15000 blood samples by trekking through the Congolese jungles. They are going to be processed in Oregon where they hope to track the mutation of existing diseases and identify new viruses that are emerging in the jungles.

He is one of the top scientists in DRC, which has one of the best educated populations in Africa. He was awarded a scholarship from the NIH to be trained as a PhD at UCLA.

He is critical of aid as it exists today, but believes it is very important nonetheless.

The UN works with whomever the government tells them to work for, and then the clothes or food go to the families and friends of the government workers.

He also talked about how stupidly it is given. Right before he left, he told of visiting a neighboring country and seeing a very expensive piece of diagnostic/science equipment (a flow cytometer) just sitting collecting dust. France had donated it to help in the fight against AIDS, but there were no scientists who knew how to use it. Someone stole it thinking it was a TV, but after being unable to get it to work, he brought it back. The bottom line was if the machine were given to DRC on the other side of the river, it could have actually been used.

His idea is to connect with individual and trustworthy individual Africans who would be faithful in giving aid to those who actually need it. He said when he went out into the villages, that there were naked and hungry people. Most of the aid stays in the cities or goes to greedy politicians. He said he has many trustworthy friends that could be held accountable by being expected to show pictures and stories of children helped and with occasional visits to Africa. I've gotten his email and plan to follow up with that.

There was definitely a Flat-World moment or two. When he was doing his research, he had a Land Rover that was connected with an antenna to a high-speed modem back in the city. He said he once was in a village 1000km away talking via Skype videophone to Washington DC to get advice on how to proceed in the Congolese rain forest.

He mentioned the cost of Internet was rather low, about a cent a minute. To call the US, it was 40 cents a minute.

He believes education is a major part of getting Africa back on its feet. He said he would help as much as he could, but he just didn't have the money to send everyone to school. A student really wanted to go to university, but couldn't afford it. He said the cost of attendance would be less than $1000 per year and that a degree took 3 to 4 years to complete. There are 2 year masters programs, but no PhD programs.

The thing he wants to achieve to build up the scientific world is collaborations between American and African institutions. Surprisingly to me, there are many Congolese scientists. They know all about what a Western Blot would be, but have no money to do them. There are no resources in DRC for researchers or students, so he proposes an exchange program. Americans could go to Africa to study Malaria as it really is, and Africans could come to America to learn how to use equipment and get trained.

I asked him what were some of the things that were different about America's culture that he noticed. The first thing he said was, "You are very hardworking."

The second thing he pointed out and admired was our patriotism. He thought our patriotism was important in our success as a country. He said, "Without patriotism, it is the death of that country." He believes that this is a major problem in African politics: the leaders aren't patriotic and don't want their country to be great. Their patriotism can be bought, so they sell their country.

He believes our biggest failing is in our ignorance of the world. "The world is a village," and we have no idea what is going on in it.

"That is what is lacking in Africa: men of principles". He respects America for its principles, or rather the principles of our founders that exist now only as a residual (He told a proverb of using a jar to store chilies, and then even if they are taken out, the jar will still smell of them forever).

It was a really cool night. I learned so much and got such an improved perspective on the world. I hope to actually collaborate with him and have an impact on Africa instead of just feeling bad.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Sweater and the Gospel

I was invited to a party last Saturday night. In deciding what to wear, I settled on a kitten Christmas sweater. That is, I decided to wear (over a tan collared shirt), a child's medium sweater that had a large white kitten in the middle surrounded by candy canes and gumdrops. Needless to say, I looked ridiculous.

Why I made such a decision is an entirely different conversation, but the fact remains, I wore a kitten sweater to a party that I expected to be very out of place at.

Normally I go to parties, find someone to talk to, and then get into as deep and philosophical a conversation as I can with that person. I'm normally near the edge of the room and it's normally awkward.

With the kitten sweater, I was popular.

For a nerd like me, being popular was a new and exciting experience. I've been respected (or feared) while in FISH, but by no means was I ever popular. That is, I could tell people to do things, but few people would ever want to spend time with me.

Normally, I could never break into a tight circle of conversing people. During the party, things were different. I simply had to approach the edge of a closed circle, someone would point out the lurking kitten at the periphery, and I'd be in. My attire (which everyone complimented) would be the center of conversation for the group for a few minutes.

The things that I said mattered greatly to the group. One person was discussing Messianic Jews. I said something like "Messianic Jews are lots of fun," and the mostly group (most of whom I'm sure had absolutely no idea what either of those words meant), decided I was right. After a few more minutes, the group of agnostics and Catholics literally wanted to go to a Messianic synagogue. If I'd been on my toes, I think I could have actually gotten a few of them to go. I've never had that kind of influence with people. I normally have a hard enough time getting people who are my friends to go to church with me, let alone semi-intoxicated secular strangers at a party.

I've recently started going to parties and doing evangelism. I would talk with someone, shift the conversation to spiritual matters, and share the Gospel as best I could over the music. This time, I was preaching Christ from a position of (what seemed to be) social authority. I was no longer a social beggar, barely holding on to the few minutes of attention I could steal. I didn't beg for a glace at a flyer or signboard (or worse yet, a 8' sign with "REPENT" on it). People wanted to give me their attention.

Learning the language and dynamics of a culture is essential in effective evangelism. Paul in Athens spoke the language of the Greeks, and made a masterful argument for Christ that was relevant to what Greeks valued: Reason. Today in college, we make our decisions based on what our social leaders are doing. For example, tonight there will be more than 5000 people running through UCLA in their underwear. Why? Because a few people with immense social authority did the same thing a few years ago and told their friends. Why are they running in their underwear and not to Christ? Because Christians do not have any social authority.

Perhaps Christians ought to re-learn the language of those around them to win them for Christ. We continue evangelizing with the outdated language of reason to a culture that no longer understands or cares.

Social authority, like money, is not inherently evil. If the analogy between social capital and capital capital holds, then the parable of the unjust steward applies:

Luke 16:8The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

For perhaps the first time, I believe I learned a few words of cool. I intend to continue learning the language and maybe one day, I'll be able to translate the Gospel to so many lost people.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Life, Death and God's Sovereignty

God is good. He's been teaching me a lot about His sovereignty recently. That's always a scary topic, and a good one if you're ever feeling prideful.

My dad randomly ended up in the hospital. At first, we didn't know what it was or even if he would make it through the night.

He was the first person I've ever known who truly looked Death in the face and smiled. In consoling a family member, he said, "What's the worst that could happen? What? Disneyland. That's the worst that could happen. I die and go to heaven."

He literally was happy. The weirdest part was that I was happy too. It wasn't the illegitimate put-a-smile-on-to-hide-the-pain while reciting Romans 8:28. It was intense and true joy, unlike any joy I've felt; I was almost crying tears of joy. Amidst others weeping and mourning, Dad and I were rejoicing together in the sovereignty of God. It was surreal.

I got to watch God use this to reach so many people in so many ways. It was really incredible. Who thought an Arterial Vascular Maleformation could be such a good thing?
1I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

4Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! 5You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.
Psalm 40

What a great God!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I don't understand women.

I think this is generally true of men in general, but I'm beginning to really understand that I don't understand.

I like understanding things. I've spent my academic career in taking really really complicated things and making them stupidly simple. You can do this with water treatment, rain runoff, soil foundations, beams... whatever. You can't do this with women.

As an engineer, it's unbelievably frustrating. As a man, it's incomparably exciting. This privilege of discovering Woman is one that will never end. There is no answer, only a continuing journey to better understand and know the beautiful complication.

Maybe God feels the same way about His Church. I'm sure we don't make much sense most of the time, but He loves us as we are.

All higher knowledge in her presence falls
Degraded, Wisdom in discourse with her
Looses discount'nanc't, and like folly shewes;
Authority and Reason on her waite,

-Milton - Paradise Lost (Book V lines 551-554)
The adventure to understand and know Woman is great; it is a noble quest that demands the best of Man. With so little of manliness left today, it is no wonder why so few undertake it with the courage and dignity that it deserves.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I went home this weekend and heard my old pastor speak. He talked how our culture is shifting from rigorous and linear Greek-style thinking to a more relational and mosaic postmodern thinking. This new culture is one that appreciates stories much more than we used to. His sermon for 11/10 should be posted soon.

I think I agree. I've been corresponding with a Buddhist and this perspective has greatly helped. In general, people no longer want a rational argument so much as a good story. They don't want to think, they want to feel. They don't want doctrines, they want relationships.

Obviously we cannot compromise the integrity of the Gospel, but the things people want now and aren't getting, are the things Jesus focused on. For a long time, perhaps subliminally, I placed an overly high value on rational apologetics. In evangelism, I forgot how Jesus related most of the time with most people.

Jesus has a very different style. He tells ten parables for every straightforward thing He says. The Bible itself has only a tiny little linear section at the end written by one Greek-ey Jew named Paul. The vast majority of the rest is narrative.

Telling stories is a lot easier than making an argument. In retrospect, it seems nonchristians are a lot more willing to hear a story than they are to bear through an argument (there are clearly exceptions, though).

Stories are built into our DNA. We all know a good story and love to hear them. We spend billions of dollars on movies, novels and performing arts. From the Homer to Shakespeare, storytellers have always had a special place in our hearts.

My friend, a screenplay writer, informed me that all movies have the same structure. Aristotle defined the structure a long time ago, and it's just the way stories are told.

I wrote to my friend earlier today about the beautiful sacrifice Abraham (would have) made of his son and I described how great a story it is. I finally realized it: God loves a great story. We are made in His image, and so we love great stories, too. Our love of narrative is in our nature.

So God has written the greatest 5-act play of all.

  • Exposition - Creation and the Fall (Genesis) - God creates Man perfect, but he falls into sin.
  • Rising action - Israel (Old Testament) - God chooses a people to be His, but they fail to live up to His standards again and again
  • Climax - Christ (Gospels) - The Messiah comes, lives, dies and resurrects, defeating death and sin.
  • Falling action - Church Age (Acts and the Epistles) - Those who trust in Jesus live victoriously in life and hope.
  • Dénouement - Armageddon and Eternity (Revelation) - Christ returns to claim His people and judge the sinners.
Here we see another hint of God embedded into our natures. We can know who God is by this cultural universal, this part of ourselves that crosses across all culture. We know God loves good stories.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Great Outdoors

This is procrastination. Just so you know, I've been writing various essays today about how great I am/how great medical schools are and am sick of writing about it. As a release, I'm going to write about something I like.

I like the outdoors. A couple friends and I decided after our poker game (... no comment on this one) that we would go to Anza-Borrego State Park (It's a huge park in the desert east of Temecula). We saddled up in the Expedition at about 2AM Saturday morning and got on the trail at about 3:30AM.

Before we arrived, I got to test out the four-wheel drive before we got to the trailhead. It was amazing; on 35MPH on dark, twisty, sandy trails with no one in sight or sound at 3AM, windows down, with only the sound of the engine and the violent desert wind. It was so much fun.

Anyways, we started hiking at 3:30AM or so, and realized that there was no moon. We lost the trail after about 5 minutes (or rather, we ignored the trail and went where we wanted to go). We hiked for about an hour in very low light, mostly avoiding the choya (sp? It's a very nasty type of cactus that is nicknamed "the jumping cactus" because of it's tendency to 'jump' onto you from trail sides or 'jump' back and stick you a second time after you pull back from getting stuck). We found the jeep trail we were trying to connect to and made camp at the base of a rocky hill (we don't usually use tents in California, so by 'camp' I mean we threw down a tarp and our sleeping bags).

Once on my back, I looked up at the stars and was almost moved to tears. It was glorious. I've never seen stars like there are in the desert. In LA, you can almost count them, but not in the desert. I really felt like I was in the throne room of God; I saw the stars as I had never seen them before. Talk about proof of a Creator.

We were awakened about two hours later by some Boy Scouts who were getting on the trail just after dawn. I walked around and prayed for a bit before waking up my sleepy companions, and we were of. After going over the first hill, we decided the trail was boring and we picked a mountain to conquer. So we started off the trail.

It was a relatively easy hike, but was sometimes challenging to get past all the vegetation (and the CHOYA!). The desert was surprisingly green and even more alive than it usually is. We even saw some Manzaneta, which definitely didn't belong.

We conquered the mountain and decided it was time for lunch. Once we had eaten, we picked the direction that looked like it would take us back to my car, and we started hiking. Another few hours later, we were back at the car. Another fun trail drive later we were on our way back to civilization by about 1PM.

What's the point? I'm not sure. I had a great time. It was a great hike and reminded me how much I really do need to get outside and conquer stuff (like a pile of dirt and rocks, for example; I struck fear into the hearts of other piles of dirt and rocks with the threat of my boots being atop them!). It was a manly 24 hours that was very refreshing. Kind of like a shower is refreshing for cleanliness, dirt and sore muscles are refreshing for manliness. It was long overdue.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ambition + Drive

Today and yesterday I was feeling sick (again). I had a conversation this morning and I complained about the worst part: lack of drive.

My classes are the limit of my thinking. I did not have a 1/2-page margin today filled with business ideas, spiritual revelations and to-do lists. I just listened. I think I learned more than I normally do.

However, I'm working on a project with my church, and I have no ambition to do it. I can think of things to do. Before I would have a pressing drive to do as many as I could as fast as I could, and then to think of new things to do. Today I just drifted, dutifully doing my homework.

I feel subdued. Maybe this is how normal people live all the time. It's like I'm normally awake, looking around in every direction, first at the path in front of me, then thinking about short-cuts and potential cross-country jaunts, afterwards up into the blue sky and distant future, finally taking in the scenery. Then back at the trail. It is a lot easier to do what I did this week: keep your eyes fixed on the trail in front of you and not spend time looking elsewhere.

With this level of ambition as a permanent state, I probably would do what all my peers are going to do: settle into a job and just do what I'm supposed to. I would be something safe and secure, working 8 hours a day and making a good amount of money.

Just three weeks ago I wanted to break out and do something crazy and ambitious, throwing all caution to the wind. This week, I just want to stay comfortable. Today, I am satisfied in doing nothing more than filling out applications and doing my homework. My three-weeks-ago self would be appalled!

Should I fight this feeling of mono-pathy (sort of like a-pathy, but with a single-focused concern)? Should I ever strive to be uncomfortable? Or should I settle down when my body wants to settle down?

I think I'm going to have to opt for the first option. I'll try to do the things I would normally do by nature when I am feeling well. If I don't have ambition, I'll fake it.

I'll just re-read Teddy's admonition (conveniently printed at the top of my blog), hop back into the arena whether I feel like it or not, and get more bloody.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I interviewed at Vanderbilt in Tennessee on Monday and I loved it. Pretty much everything about it was amazing. Here are the best things about Vanderbilt.

1. The students are happy. They are really happy. According the surveys, they are the happiest med students in the country. They have parties, they know each other and they even go line dancing together.

2. Extremely flexible program. Vanderbilt has this emphasis program that allows you to study what you want. I would probably look into Global Health or maybe healthcare administration (they have the #1 business school in this field).

3. Location. The South is amazing. Grits are amazing. Sweet potato pancakes are amazing. Sweet tea is amazing. Southerners are amazing (they talk to you and are friendly; I pulled out a map and it wasn't 3 seconds before someone asked if I needed help). Vanderbilt has about a billion trees, and they actually are changing colors! It is beautiful! Tennessee and Nashville are pretty cool too (though their roads are very poorly designed).

The interview itself went great. I just talked about FISH for an hour while the interviewer laughed and smiled. I felt very confident about it. It was a great first interview. I'll have something to cling to when I get torn apart by questions that actually are tough (beyond just "tell stories about FISH").

I've got another one at UCSF which should be much tougher. UCSF is very highly ranked among medical schools even though it doesn't have much reputation outside the medical community.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I always thought the people at UCLA had a lot in common when it came to beliefs. Last Sunday I started thinking about exactly how much they had in common. It turned out to be a lot.


A new religion has emerged. Like other religions, it has its priests, dogmas, sacraments, and practices. Unlike other religions however, it does not itself claim to be a religion; its adherents simply believe it is the right the Way.

The focus and center of the religion is the self. That is not to say that the practicioners of this religion are necessarily selfish or at least any more selfish than any other parishioner, but rather that the religion is centered on the self. In a sense, the self is holy or set apart. Christians base their religion on what the Bible says. These people base their religion on themselves; the opinions and beliefs within them are, to them, Truth.

The religion has very much in common with Deism and can even be thought of as a variant of it. Because of its similarity, and because of the focus on the self, I have decided to call the religion “Meism,” and its parishioners “meists.”

Meism holds firmly that “truth is relative.” This statement encompasses certain things (particularly morality and theology), but not other things (e.g. scientific truths). This tenet gives them the ability to “doublethink,” that is, to think two contradictory thoughts and hold both to be true.

Meism has a strict moral code “Thou shalt not offend another person in any way.” This certainly includes all forms of violence, but also includes things like insults or proselytizing, as these are thought to offend the psyche of a person. They firmly and sometimes militantly believe that any moral dictate placed on them beyond this is itself a violation of the code.

The Good
Meists believe explicitly they must define their own purpose in life. Nevertheless, in reality they believe that environmentalism, medicine, multiculturalism, and altruism are all part of the Good. Environmentalism and medicine are probably valued because of their eschatology. Multiculturalism serves as a kind of evangelism, and is consistent with their moral maxim. Altruism is valued, though there seems to be no motivation from other doctrines; perhaps it is an emotional inheritance from Christianity.

Meists are physicalists and believe that the only existing thing is matter. They disbelieve in souls, and so strongly reject Dualism. Some Meists bend this doctrine to give God a non-material nature.

Meists do not seriously believe in any supernatural place for themselves. Their hope for themselves is as close to eternal life as they can get with medicine. Many will also try to do something “to be remembered” and so live on through that. The destiny of the race is thus also material, making the preservation of the earth and her species of utmost importance.

Rewards and Punishments
There is no clear sense of cosmic reward or judgement in Meism. In many Meists may believe in what they call “karma,” a sense of good things happening to good people. In many there is also an ill-defined sense of altruism being good, though with no philosophical support or adequate rewards system, it is rarely practiced.

Essentially Deist, Meism holds that a transcendent creator caused the Big Bang but then has remained uninvolved in it. Modernist views of evolutionary development have proceeded.

Meism believes in a powerful, intelligent and transcendent Force as its Deity. It claims that knowledge of God more specific that is not just unknown, but unknowable (i.e. it cannot be known if God is personal, immanent, etc.). Meists do not accept or consider evidence or argument that suggests more could be known of God.

The two things that are holy to Meism are Science and Self. Meists believe science it is set apart and unassailable by profane things. The Self, and specifically beliefs about Meism, are considered Most Holy. They cannot be challenged, even by Science. Challenges to Meism are avoided; Meists will doublethink that the challenge is actually not a challenge (e.g. if someone were to challenge with “Jesus is God” a Meist would reply “That’s true for you”).

Meists treat scientists as priests; their words are held as truth. In non-scientific realms (e.g. environmental policy, abortion legality), their opinions are extremely important, if not all-important.

Self Identification
Meism holds that it is a non-entity, that is, Meism does not believe there is any such thing as Meism. Meists hold that their doctrine is the Truth, and those that disagree with it are ‘close-minded.’

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I'm back. After long abandonment of my poor blog, I have returned!

Perhaps this need for expression is overwhelming as I have not been able to talk (Doctor's orders: Laryngitis). Maybe it's because everyone's doing it. Maybe I've been inspired by someone's example. Maybe it's because I'm procrastinating right now.

Whatever the reason. Here is one post. In the next post, I will briefly reflect what I've learned from a day without talking:

Have you ever not talked for an entire day? I hadn't either before today. It's really hard. Really hard. I bought a mini white board and have been writing notes like "HIS NAME IS JOHN" or "3 item: orange chicken, black pepper chicken, kung Pao."

The main lesson I think God has been attempting to drive into my thick skull is that 1. SLOW DOWN. 2. I should listen more 3. I should talk to God more. 4. Don't waste words.

1. I have been going very fast and doing too much. I need to slow down, and not being able to talk has facilitated that. I can't do everything I planned to do, and I'm liking it. It's very peaceful.

2. Not being able to talk at all forces me to listen to people a lot more.

3. Out of a need to talk with someone, I have been forced to communicate with God, the only one who can actually hear my thoughts. It has been refreshing spending time with God. He always has to do things like that to me.

4. I waste a lot of words. There is so much stupid stuff I think about saying, but the investment of writing it down on a whiteboard really dissuades me from "saying" it. Pro 17:27a "He that hath knowledge spareth his words..." I must have tons of knowledge today! Although I have even resorted to wasting whiteboard words. And probably blog words. So much for knowledge...

Overall, Laryngitis has been a largely positive experience, though not one I'd like to share with my friends.