How Can the Gods Meet Us Face to Face?


It would be easy for someone to gauge how much I’ve enjoyed a book by examining its pages. My favorite books are filthy with brackets and underlines, cluttered with exclamation points and question marks jotted into the margins. I’ve drawn hearts next to bleak and beautiful passages of Hemingway, double underlined paragraphs of Tolstoy’s prose and in bursts of frenzied emotion, furiously scribbled commentary into the margins of the editorial section of The Daily Cal. When I began reading Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, I expected much of the same; a few moments of discovery, an “Aha!” here and there and, if it’s really good, something that might alter the way I see the world. But after finishing Book One of the two-book novel, I realized I hadn’t scribbled a single line. Passages of this story spoke such truth that I had squirmed, tried to turn away and ultimately forgot to breathe as my pen sat idly beside me. It felt as if Lewis had written the story solely for me and to underline those passages would be to acknowledge my union with the jealous and prideful narrator, to recognize the wicked nature that we share. The task of examining my life in such a way was more difficult than writing “No, you’re wrong!” on a copy of the newspaper before throwing it away. But obviously Lewis didn’t write it only for me and I think it will make you squirm a little too. The writer and Christian apologist G.K. Chesterson wrote, “Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity”1 and Till We Have Faces is this sort of necessary fiction that doesn’t only alter our perspective but has the power to call into question who we are and what we live for.
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To Egypt


It’s 2:04 A.M. The sky has darkened long ago, leaving only the pale wash of moonlight. Yet, rather than climbing up to my bunk bed and settling down for a night’s rest, I’m sitting in front of a blank Word document, attempting to write an article for To an Unknown God. Vague ideas drift into my mind, flit half-formed through my nerves, sparking effervescently—flashes of brightness, of perhaps-brilliance, of potential that is never fulfilled. My fingers remain still on the keyboard.

It’s 2:31 A.M. I want to write an article about Moses, one of my favorite Bible characters, but all I’ve written is a paragraph about how I’m not writing. With an impatient sigh, I flip to Exodus and reread the familiar words detailing how Moses came to be drawn out of the river by the Pharaoh’s daughter. It was truly God’s providence that allowed him to be saved from the Pharaoh’s decree that all Hebrew male infants be drowned. I recall the dramatic scene of the basket bearing Moses, buffeted by dangerous waves and snapping jaws, from Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt. While not wholly accurate, this movie encouraged me to read the Bible for myself as I eagerly pored over every word in Exodus at ten years old. How I came to Moses is, perhaps, God’s providence as well.
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Paper Romance


“Yeah you can write me a love letter
but there’s nothing to say
don’t want to take a chance on your paper romance anyway.”
– Groove Armada, Paper Romance

She wondered what she was playing at as she finished her letter to her pen pal.

It was nice to have a pen pal, her acquaintances had said when she had mentioned it in passing, and her friends had agreed that it would be nice to exchange thoughts with someone not of this school, and a scholarship kid at that. Only her few closest friends knew her ex-crush in person, and none of them knew that she was writing to him with the quill-and-paper set they had gifted to her for Christmas.

Everyone knew bits of the secret but only she possessed the whole picture.

She skirted a dangerous line – confidences had to be divulged delicately and even more so on paper, because she did not know how much of the confidence was wanted; how insightful he’d find her inane rambling; what mood he’d be in when he received it. No wonder people stuck to social media, in which they did not have to worry about crafting words around an audience. Such little things compounded with the big things – did he think of her frankness as endearing or overbearing, her praise warm or sycophantic? In the first correspondence she had brushed their past history under the writing-table, scratching I have yet to meet someone on whom I can develop a silly crush, like I did with you. (She hoped that she sounded surer of her guardedness than she felt).
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How do I love thee? Let me count the costs


“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Popularized by economist Milton Friedman, the phrase asserts that even when something appears to be free, there is always a cost, hidden or distributed, to an individual and/or society as a whole. There is always a cost to something, an opportunity cost if you will, to every action: the time spent, resources allocated, and the opportunity to do something else. This means our day-to-day, action-by-action activities and habits have a certain cost associated with them, with the implication that things can be quantitatively measured and compared to each other.

Everyone has a clear sense of priorities. One weighs the significance and relative importance of each of his obligations and tasks at the specific moment wherefrom he bases the decisions that he makes. For instance, a student often chooses to play video games rather than study – implying that at the particular moment, the joy and pleasure gained from playing video games outweighed the benefits he may gain from his studies. His decision to play videogames has an opportunity cost in the form of the time he loses to study for his classes.

The greatest cost one can offer is his life. Continue reading “How do I love thee? Let me count the costs”

The Risk of Love


As I began to write another entry in my journal, my pencil greeted me with a sharp splintering sound followed by a satisfying snap. The snap quickly became unsatisfying. It was a good pencil.
“How can I praise Bil’tiy Yadua Elhiym now?” I thought aloud.
“Shut up, boy!”
I flinched at the harsh voice. I waited for the familiar laughter to come and embrace silence as my comrade, but the swish of the tent flap announced otherwise.
“What you muttering about now, boy?” said Crater Man.
“My pencil broke,” I said. “May I borrow your knife to sharpen it?”
“So that you can slit my throat?” roared Crater Man. “Hasn’t your pitiful deity demanded enough blood?”
Crater Man began to kick and spit at me. My skin eventually grew hard to his blows after many nights of abuse. “You shall love your enemies,” Bil’tiy Yadua Elhiym told me in my dream the night I was captured. My hatred for my captors lingered, but I feared Bil’tiy Yadua Elhiym; he imbued a kind of power I never felt before. But tonight, not even he will stop me.
“Forgive me, Bil’tiy Yadua Elhiym,” I whispered.
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Why I Love the Cross


Why it’s good news that the good news doesn’t depend on us.

I love the cross. I love the cross because it’s good news. I love that it’s good news. Good news isn’t very common these days. Good news nowadays tends to be trite, naïve, and cute. Cute, but nothing solid to stand on. Nothing steadfast to hope in. Nothing to anchor our souls in. Cute news can make us smile, but it can’t bear us up. It can encourage us, however momentarily, but the emotional lift fades as soon as we shift our attention.

Good news needs to be steadfast, solid, unshakeable. In other words, it needs to be good news precisely in that it’s not about us – about what we’ve done, what we can do, or what we should do. We won’t find good news in the human race – not in a race so nervous, so unsteadied, ever unsure of the certainty of tomorrow. God knows how we can be so finicky. So fickle. So anxious and terrorized just a moment after we thought we found peace. But that’s why I love the cross. It speaks a better word than anything about us. It tells the story of a God who came as a man named Jesus – nailed to a crucifix, buried, and resurrected to save. It tells of the Gospel: the good news.
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Dear Future Wife,


You may be wondering why I am writing to you in this journal. Well, it’s just that the theme is love, and I couldn’t resist.

I don’t know who you are and where you are yet. I trust in God’s will and timing, though I long to meet you so much. I cannot talk to you yet, but this shall suffice. My Sister in Christ, know that I love you and I am praying for you. I cannot wait for the day someday when I will be able to woo you off your feet. There are so many things I would like to do with you. I can already envision birthdays, Valentine’s Days, Christmases, spontaneous excursions, and the mundane moments of life that become special because I’m with you.

Even more than that, I want to worship my God and my Savior, Jesus Christ, with you. I want to pray with you, study God’s Word with you, do ministry with you, counsel other couples with you, raise kids with you, and simply be together.
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The Love of a Christian, the Love of a Non-Christian


In the current culture of live and let live, discussion of personal convictions as right or wrong has been discouraged for being politically incorrect, perhaps even offensive. However, the idea that the Son of God came to Earth incarnate, died bearing our sins, and rose again, defeating death cannot be at the same time true and untrue to even the staunchest relativist. As whether or not this is true has dire consequences to many lives, the most loving act a Christian can do is to convince his non-Christian friend of his need for Christ, and the most loving act a non-Christian friend can do is to convince his Christian friend to drop his untrue faith.

If Christianity is true, then sin is real, and the whole world is guilty. It would mean that the only way to be made innocent would be by putting faith and hope in Christ. It would also mean that those who have not been saved will receive their due justice. Considering that of the world’s population, 33.39%1 are considered Christian, the 66.61% remaining will miss out on a freely available salvation to gift them eternal life.
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No Fear In Love


Maybe it’s because the Chinese American church taught me to be humble and unassuming. Maybe it’s because I was also taught to always put others before me, because God calls us to have a “servant heart.” Or maybe it’s because my best friends in middle school one day decided to phase me out of the group (which in those days meant everything), placing in the back of my head a poisonous fear that everyone I knew or met from then on would one day get tired of me.

Whatever it was, it haunted me. It told me that any sort of attention I brought to myself was prideful and sinful. It told me, You’re not that special. You’re just another quiet, Asian American girl, and sure you’re nice, but most people would rather be around others who are cooler, prettier, and more outgoing than you.

But I dealt with it. Since God wants me to love others while being humble and denying myself, that means I should think of myself less. And whatever it was, it convinced me that thinking of myself less meant thinking less of myself. It made me believe that what I had to say was not as valuable as what others had to say, so I rarely spoke up. It made me assume that people had a negative impression of me before I even met them, and that I wasn’t the type of person people were interested in getting to know or hang out with. It’s fine to not think you’re special. That’s just being humble.
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No Clearer Picture


The Bible offers the clearest, no-questions-asked, definition of true love.

There was once a single mother in her fifties caring for a daughter in her twenties. Mom didn’t expect the mental disability her daughter was born with. Mom didn’t expect the complications that left her alone raising a child in a woman’s body.

One day, Mom became engaged. She would protest, claiming she was old and ugly, but he called her beautiful. The wrinkles on her face were as dimples in his eyes. At the wedding he produced a second ring. This one was for the daughter – a promise that she would be taken care of despite her needs, that she was loved when she seemed unlovable. Upon hearing this, the girl dropped the flowers in her arms while running and embraced him, exclaiming uncontrollably, “I love you!”

In one simple ceremony the groom redeemed a radiant bride and adopted an orphaned child.
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