Thursday, April 28, 2005

Satan as a Concept

Another book I read recently is called Glimpses of the Devil, by M. Scott Peck. Although there was not a lot of study material per se, it was a very interesting account of two supposed cases of demon possession. The purpose of the book is to convince the reader of at least the possibility of such supernatural concepts — demons, possession, the existence of the devil.

The accounts are quite gripping, especially early on in the book — I could hardly put the book down — but in the end I found myself less than thoroughly convinced.

The book brought to mind C.S. Lewis' concept of good and evil (bear in mind that I am paraphrasing; it has been a while since I read Lewis' works). He argues that there is no such thing as "evil" in and of itself — evil is simply a spoiling or negating of that which is good. It is similar to the concept of heat and cold; technically, there is no such thing as "cold", it is only the absence of heat.

I remember my grade-school teacher trying to explain why vacuum cleaner doesn't "suck," and getting very confused by her explanation. Now I realize that in the same way, a "vacuum" occupying an amount of volume is not an actual "thing," it is the absence of a "thing."

These could all be semantics, or a shifting of your reference point. I think the concept of the devil as a thinking, active being is difficult for me to accept. All personality is a facet of the goodness of God; if Satan is totally devoid of goodness, does it have a personality?

God Will Make a Way

I just finished the book God Will Make a Way, by Cloud and Townsend. It was a pretty quick read, I think mostly because by now I am quite familiar with most of the concepts and perspectives they bring forth. The premise of the book is to encourage the reader that when there are obstacles in our lives, there is hope because God makes a way. This book does a lot of exploring with regards to what those ways could be, over a large breadth of topics. Here are some of the points that really jumped out at me:

  • See pain as normal. As long as we keep fighting this truth, we will lose. We can continue to fight this truth and oppose God; or we can accept this truth and have room to grow.
  • Sometimes blaming can be confused with assessment, though they are quite different. Reality apportions real responsibilities to people. Refusing to recognize these responsibilities in other people for fear of the evils of "blaming" will only make true forgiveness more difficult when it is needed. The need for forgiveness itself will be difficult to recognize without investing energy into assessment.
  • When we are engaged in life, life becomes timeless. When we are disengaged however, time drags on.
  • Like nature, our situations have seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall. Each has its responsibilities and its roles — a time for resting, harvesting, preparing, discarding, etc.


Roy & Tu's wedding

Well if this were a game this would be a good time to hit "save." A lot has happened in the past month or so, so here goes.

Roy and Tu got married! This is the same building in which Dave and Nancy got married last year, up in Orange County. Same crazy church lady too. I mean, just kidding; she was very nice.

Roy in the traditional Chinese wedding attire (I'm guessing)

Directly after the ceremony there was a short cake and punch reception in the courtyard outside. The invitational reception was later, actually about five hours later, so I killed some time hanging with Claire and Colin. Actually I napped; big surprise. No Halo this time...

Roderick, Kathy

Not sure exactly what Kathy's doing here. Roderick doesn't seem to mind.

Claire, Ben, Colin

Claire, Ben, Colin and I had fun passing the time away before the meal with some mind games and laser pointer pranks. When the food did come, it was incredible — ten courses! The fish eyeball was a little too much, though.

Between Ben stirring things up and Kathy's ear-piercing laughter and everybody's full stomachs, ours was certainly the loudest table at the reception. Good times.

Castles Made of Sand

The next weekend Zak and I went up to LA for a date with Nancy and Erica. We made a sand castle on a beach in Santa Monica. Zak had actually been on a blind date with Erica before, and it was just coincidence that they were setup again this time.

Later that night we ate at a restaurant called Moonshadows, where we happened to see Carl Lewis. Truth be told I never would have recognized him, were it not for Zak's keen eye. Zak asked our waiter quietly whether Carl Lewis was in the restaurant and he said, "Of course, of course" and then he went on to describe all the things that Mr. Lewis eats in order to get enough protein in his diet. The only one I remember was "sturgeon." Probably because I like the sound of that word.

Bai Yun? No, Gao Gao? I forget

On Wednesday the 20th Jill came to visit! There are more pictures here but you may not want to see them since Jill may deem them "unacceptable."

I took her to the world famous San Diego Zoo where we got to see, among other things, the (in)famous pandas Bai Yun and Gao Gao. We were lucky enough to see them at their most rambunctious. Here is the female — at the time she was tearing into this bamboo quite vigorously.

The other panda (male)

The male panda was smaller, interestingly enough. He didn't seem as active either, but probably he was just trying to stay mellow while the lady of the house was on the rampage. The lady panda, I mean.


Did you know that peacocks can fly? That's just one thing I learned from a kind gentleman working there who sounded like he was from Australia. I guess every day around 5pm this one gets down from his perch in the tree to air out his feathers.

Peacocks are pretty freaky looking from the back, I noticed. The stalks that support their feathers kind of give me the creeps.

The Coronado bridge

The next day I took Jill to Coronado. Although we checked out the beach, we failed to notice this amazing hidden message. I guess I'll have to go back and check it out sometime.

World Famous San Diego Airport Bench

We managed to spend a few days together without killing each other! I'm quite impressed.

In other news — I finally got a new phone. I decided on a camera phone since its resolution almost matches my current dinosaur of digital camera, sheesh. Unfortunately it's not able to bend around enough to take a picture of itself. I'm not that impressed with the quality though.

Russ got a camera phone too, actually. This photo was taken by his phone at Rei do Gado, a Brazillian BBQ place downtown, where Carlos and I helped him celebrate his birthday. That place is a celebration of MEAT! Highly recommended.

This is a photo taken by my phone. Not spectacular. This quality seems especially poor in low-light conditions. In my amateur opinion.

I'm so excited; DivX is renting out a theater for Episode III, woohoo! I know, I know, Lucas has gone mad — I don't care. I have enough nostalgia stored up to make up for the 3D show, the live action television show, and another trilogy on top of that.

Okay, now to update my other blog...