Monday, August 10, 2015

On Rapture

 I was taught “Rapture”, this crap as a child. I saw this movie and had this impact on me as a child. Imminent second coming was also in Bunyan, esp. his book the Pilgrim's Progress. I no longer hold this to be true.

This idea was used to scare as many as possible, even came up as a hint in the Great Divorce of CS Lewis (if you take 'fear' as a factor of something dangerous coming to one of the conversations ).

I think St Paul has a great imagination, in the similar tradition to the Essenes, when they were losers to the Kittims (Romans), they came up with great imagination how their God will take care of their situation. Fact of the history is that we no longer have this courage to say so. Christianity, esp Evangelical Christianity has been so ossified, that we are stiffs. And stiffs cannot look into the eye of truth, and change. We all know that there is no such a thing as rapture. It had never happened. No one save the Jews of Warsaw ghetto, and no one will. Their god failed them. And Jesus supposedly said my god my god, WHY have you forsaken me. I think after he died of this traumatic death, his friends and family could not accept why their god failed them, and in the due course of time, they came up with the best revenge, that god will take care of the Jews (that betrayed him), and the heathens that occupied their land. In their wildest dream they saw all of these enemies dead in various horrible ways, and god will damn them forever and ever. It is beyond dashing their babies on stones and splash their brains and such.

Rapture is an illusion, a bad dream when the psych of these abused, defeated losers could not face the facts that Romans were the proper rulers of their world, and to submit to such, is the will of God. Perhaps they need to come to terms with this and change their diets and ways of life and live a courageous life. That is the meaning of the rapture, that there is no god that will save the Jews and for that matter us. That we seek the divine image in all of us, that we are God and God makers, and such should have the courage to be. That is may save us all, and it be the will of God that we all perish in the next round of massive extinction, we face it with courage, and grace of God, that is, with the best humanity in all of God. Not some crazy extractions that will come for all of us, at the end, will not.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Story of Caroline's Corner: A Theological Response


The Story of “Caroline's Corner”


This is a very small story.

It is a story of my family as we work together to build a stronger cohesive family.

We are “Caroline's Corner,” and we are made up of 8 team members: five children, two parents and an uncle. We have been quite at home at the Orleans Farmers' Market since 2008.

It started when I held my youngest child at our Cape Cod Hospital on a cold wintry day. An idea came to me, that I wanted to spend more time with my own children. One of the main reason is because I used to waste my time on other projects. Besides working as a general dentist, I used to spend my time and energy on service to God and my religion. I gave my time and money to the services of the Church, and I even served one time as a board member at the Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. I dreamed of becoming a theologian, unlocking the secrets of theology and translate my own Bible in a way that might impact my own Asian community. Then I suffered a falling out with this fundamentalist bible college. This Evangelical culture is very business-like and greedy. It does not care about people or this world since they have another one coming. This bible college president was very authoritarian. By the time I figured this out, I had spent lots of my own money travelling to Three Hills, and donated a significant amount of my cash. When I finally came to terms with this, it is as if I had stolen time and money from my own family. As I sat there near my wife at the hospital on that cold cold day, I had a great idea. Repenting from my foolishness in my former religious zeal, I needed to focus on my own family, maybe I should do something crazy. Maybe I should join our local farmers' market, and grow some vegetables with my children.

I decided to call this family venture “Caroline's Corner” as Caroline is my 4th child. At the time, we had no clue where this would take us. We were no farmers, and certainly the least qualified. For starters, we do not really have the land to grow anything. We have a mixed-use house with a dental office. Most of the land is covered by a very large parking lot. We did have a tiny garden in the front of the parking lot, and a small number of hens and quails in the backyard. It is close enough to what you today would call “urban farming” or “Backyard Homestead.” We were not prepared at all. Worst of all, I did not even know where the farmers' market was. So, you can see that is a huge problem. But I was so determined, so I found a way. First, I had to recruited my kids. At that time, my kids were: Ashley, 10 years old, Sean, 9 years old, Christian, 6 years old, and two young girls, Caroline at 2 and Hannah was just born.

I first enticed them by showing them the money! I told them we are going to make big bucks!!(lol). Bob my friend offered to rota-till more land as we got rid of our lawn. My wife Lillian became my adviser, and as a true liberal, she had been an avid collector of organic seed catalogs and seeds. We had the children put down their own money to make raised beds, and shortly three 4' x 8' raised beds were made, and we had our start!


The first day of our market was chaotic. Our small sign got blown over by the wind. We did not know anyone. I had this very uneasy feeling that I was in the wrong place, and perhaps I should not have come at all. We have only mints and garlic chives to sell, and with no takers! In the following week, we doubled our efforts with a few dozen eggs, and added quail eggs. So the Caroline's Corner came to be. I had to make a sturdier farm stand; one that required a bit of work to put together (with the help of all three kids), and added a good size chalk board. Caroline would occasionally join us with our little baby Hannah. I had posted Caroline's little black and white picture on the sign. From then on, it seemed like every thing was going well. We were dreaming of making lots of money! (another laugh). As you know, it turns out this thing does not make George Washington. The income when you tallied it up pays meagerly for our efforts. But friends of God, this is not about money. It is about my family and how I would rather spend my time with them then doing anything else. That year, we were so ill-prepared, but we managed to have sold our little amount of organic vegetables: potatoes, summer squash, tomatoes, garlic, interlaced with my wife's cut flowers.

Each year, this little 'Caroline's Corner' grows a bit bigger, like my kids. Our front lawn had been taken over by a large patch of strawberries. One year. someone gave me some 'Hungarian Ox Hearts' tomatoes plants. So I planted them, which they grew and produced a large amount of tomatoes. My wife later deciphered them as 'Early Girl' because their sizes were about tennis balls, not the softball. My late organic farmer fellow Julie Winslow helped to till more land, and we planted even more garlic. By this time, we had already grown Russian Red, German White, FireBall, Hungarian Purple, and most all, our famous Chinese Pink. I pride myself in bringing to the market during late May, or early Summer, the ½ -¼ pound size of Chinese Pink. No one grew those and we were able to supply them. On the fourth of July, we sold 'Patriotic Potatoes.' The idea was that we were to pull our potatoes in early July, in three colors (Pontiac Red, All-blue potatoes, and Yukon Gold or Russet). They were neatly bundled in a 1 pound bag and sold for 5 dollars (expensive, folks!). They are small, but very delicious, and since no one wants to sell their potatoes at such a suicidal way, we did. The customers responded by saying, “Thank you.” During the tainted egg scare of summer 2010, many customers came for the first time to our market, which by then had grown into some 30 vendors and doubled its size. Many customers came to us and thanked us for doing what we did. Our eggs are both spiritual and good, and very safe.

Looking back, I could have sat in that hospital chair, holding my youngest child, and fret about my religion. Instead, I choose my family and my community. It is not I hate my work (quite the contrary, I enjoy being a dentist in a small town), or I need to feel important. It is that we all need to make our world a better place. Farmers' market brings the freshest produce to their customers, and we add to it, our pride and dignity in our local farming. We build a better community, and bring families together at their meal time. As my religion told me to bring forth the word of life, and so it may sustain us in this world. Our little farmers do just that. My religion taught we are all sojourners on this land. For a little time, we tarry and live and pitch our tents on this land. We should treat both the land and the animals with care and dignity. At the end, this small farm stand, Caroline's Corner, does make money, the type of money that stores not only in the bank, but in our hearts and brought my family together. I wish for all farmers out there, to know that your efforts are well worth it, that you have helped and shaped the world we live in. To them I say, “Thank you!”





An Update on my Ever Evolving Theological Reflection

here is an interesting note of my own deconversion, dialoging with Becky Beam: Becky, I think my problem with Evangelical Christianity is not the people, but its internal cohesive and closed teaching. At times, it lacks integrity. But what bothers me most is the lack of touch with reality, especially when the reality of life hits. My own deconversion occurs slowly after I began my university training. I took two courses, one in Biblical Hebrew, and the one that afftects me the most is 'Early Christian Writings'. At that time, I did not realize it, but now I see the hand of the Lord in it. Heberew allows me to read Genesis text without having someone to interpret for me, which I rehearse over the years, reading Psalms and Isaiah and Genesis texts. In this class I came into contact with Documentary hypothesis. And the Early Chrsitian Writings taught the redaction technique and other tools which eventually allows me to see that biblcal authors were human beings trying to answer a bunch of difficult questions, including why this Yaweh failed to come to rescue his people and the exile of Israelites, and that many letters in the New Testament have questionable authorship. But I did not stop being a Christian. I live my life as if there is an Evangelical God. When I was in school, I constantly prepare for the day that I will head for the seminary and become a biblical scholar, possbily to retranslate bible passages into Chinese. In that time, I came to know a few liberal scholars, but they are good people, and having a tremendouos emotional traumatic experience at the local CMA church, I went back to mainline denomination churches, I still toe the line, reading my bible and AW Tozer. My study at Harvard began my deconversion in a realistic way as I came into contact with scholarships of the last century, and the study of Syriac Christianity and contrasting it with Roman Christianity allows me to see tht what we cherish as doctrines are not the firm ground we stood on. eg, the concept of the original sin (Augustinian concept), and trinity as a doctrine is quite different in their faith.This has not touched my inerrancy of the scripture though. I came to also see the inconsistency of Christian behaviours, particularly in the greed of the Evangelical Christianity (CMA churches, and my own folks). I was always told that we ought to look to Jesus and not men, and men will always fail. That is what kept me sane since I firmly believed in the new life - conversion theory fed to me by my EV friends and churches. But I do not see that life changing event real nr permanent. It was at the excitement of the moment and slwly but surely people are the same before and after that life changing event, if they were terrible folks before their conversion, they remian terrible afterwards. If they were nice folks, they remain the same. There is little that seems to transcend their humanity. But I still held on. I did not change because of what I saw in the churches. Then life events brought me to a place I do not want to do. When I met my wife, I was certain this is the one that God sent. I was told that I need to look for money and more. Both wife and I came from similar Presbyterian background, our grand parents went to the same Taiwanese semianry in the 1800s, and knew each other, and she has no qualms about me dropping dentistry and study theology. My folks pullthe god thing and the 5th commandment, and began their oppression. I dropped every theololgical research found work. Indeed I have been working since. I began the doubt that my relationship with God is real, or helpful. That God is nto there when I call, and that we ought to fed for ourselves. I more I read the bible, Kierkegaard, and others, the mroe I realize that truth is a subjective event. That is, what we were taught as objective truth in the Evangelical circle, is not true at all. Truth must be experienced, and courage is what we need to do so. After the marriage, I held on to what was left of my Evangelical Christianity, when I had time, I spent hours translating biblcal passages of Isaiah and Psalms, using Latin and Syriac, plus LXX as my guide. I still had the most reverence for God and Christ our Lord, and the last part iof my journey began when Tim MacKensie visited my and Ohlhuaser asked me to join the board. That was the last coffin nail. I saw that not only Christians claim of moral superiority is not real, but they deceived themselves and mixing capitalism with their faith, wanting to aimlessly expand their earthly empire. Indeed PBI is such a head quarter, and their offcie building began to take shape and look like Willo Creek. All throughout that experience, I stubbornly held onto the last straw that God is there, that he answers prayers, and called for patience. But I began to see that this inconsistency that is ever so common in the Christian communities is actually the norm. Human beings are going to behave what they are, after centuries of evolutionary changes. Germans (like Ohlhauser) are trained to be precised, mechanistic and absolute. That is what their environment make them into this. Americans are always going to have a bit of capitalism in their religion, because this is the free market economy. And while faith can cover some of this inconsistency, but it cannot change people. Predators are the same before and after the conversion event, Pedpphiles continues to damage kids before and after their conversions. Power hunger church leaders are the same before and after their conversion event. At this point I began to read Spong, Geering and Ehrman of God. They helped to dismantle my last faith in a person God. That God is a tribal God made for the defeated Jews in exile. That God is not there. and he is silent. That God died on the cross,rotted in the common graves with theives. That God has nothing to do with human suffering. Our prayers are in vain, and we asked in silence. After coming to terms with possiblities that Scriptures are human products, and out dated, and homophobis and misogynic, etc, I began to treat scriptures with this new light. Saw this allows me to appreciate Jesus of God, that he was a human, that he had human father (s), and that he died in the hate of his Roman occupiers with the blessings of his kinsmen. He was betrayed, much like I was betrayed by my Evangelical faith and its people. I choose life, I choose my family and I return my faith to the earth. I am still a Christian, for that is what I am, and that is my name. I no longer trust in the afterlife, or prayers, or liturgies. I trust the solid ground, 'this terresterial ball the earth'. As Geering taught me in his series of lectures, that if I were ever to lose my faith, I would put my faith in the world, afterall, the world is greater than I, and I may add, this is the earth that nourishes me before I was born and shall continue to do so, after long I was gone. Hope this proviode some reading, incae you often wonder why this radical views about God and Christ our Lord, the Jesus who becomes a God. Jesus is God, for me.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Own Obituary

following this lady:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/07/21/mary-stocks-obituary_n_7841198.html

Ben Chung, a slob, born messy, ends messy, and us the kids have lots to clean up after him,. In his late years, he particularly collected things from eBay, patients and the gift house. He would stop by the road and see whether the thing would fit into his trunk and collect that on occasions. As a dentist and a theologian, he thinks about God all the time, especially when he was pulling out a bad tooth, and Novocaine failed to work. On good days he thinks about God and on a bad rainy day, he thinks about God too, only in a bad way. He delights in jesus whom he worships, as a bastard, and fancies Our Lady, whom he adores as cute, he often says he should have gone to seminary. Instead, he traded his theological education for 5 lovely and ill mannered kids, and a good looking wife, His wife is cute from day one, although his friends disagreed with him at the time,. The asked him, which one, that one he said, really?? They replied, but he answered them, her eyes, she is cute with beautiful eyes. On that they agreed, He will be sorely missed by his dysfunctional greenhouse, which he named "The Eagle" which toppled three times since he erected it with the help of his most unwilling children. At the time of his death, it is totally weeded. Functional, he says, but it will take an enormous amount of time to weed all the lambs quarters and other things we do not recognize. After he dragged us kids through a car wash, and 8 years of farmers market, we almost reported him for violating child labour laws, but by the time we got to it, he fled, So, have a laugh at the pearly gate, and Saint Paul, his most beloved misogynist, and his Jesus whom he thought was dead and buried and tossed into a common grave. His ashes will be spread upon his favorite tomato "Black Cheery" and his mess will now finally be cleaned up once and for all,. All his digital cameras will be auctioned on eBay, and as a gesture of friendliness, two dollars will be donated toToronto's NewLife Gospel Church of which he finally made peace after his unwilling and most ungodly death.
Here was the actual words by Mary Stocks family:
Pat Stocks, 94, passed away peacefully at her home in bed July 1, 2015. It is believed it was caused from carrying her oxygen tank up the long flight of stairs to her bedroom that made her heart give out.
She left behind a hell of a lot of stuff to her daughter and sons who have no idea what to do with it. So if you're looking for 2 extremely large TV's from the 90s, a large ceramic stork (we think) umbrella/cane stand, a toaster oven (slightly used) or even a 2001 Oldsmobile with a spoiler (she loved putting the pedal to the metal), with only 71,000 kilometers and 1,000 tools that we aren't sure what they're used for. You should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch. Tomorrow would be fine.
This is not an ad for a pawn shop, but an obituary for a great Woman, Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother born on May 12, 1921 in Toronto, the daughter of the late Pop (Alexander C.) and Granny (Annie Nigh) Morris. She leaves behind a very dysfunctional family that she was very proud of. Pat was world-renowned for her lack of patience, not holding back her opinion and a knack for telling it like it is. She always told you the truth even if it wasn't what you wanted to hear. It was the school of hard knocks and yes we were told many times how she had to walk for miles in a blizzard to get to school, so suck it up.
With that said she was genuine to a fault, a pussy cat at heart (or lion) and yet she sugar coated nothing. Her extensive vocabulary was more than highly proficient at knowing more curse words than most people learned in a lifetime. She liked four letter words as much as she loved her rock garden and trust us she LOVED to weed that garden with us as her helpers, when child labour was legal or so we were told. These words of encouragement, wisdom, and sometimes comfort, kept us in line, taught us the "school of hard knocks" and gave us something to pass down to our children.
Everyone always knew where you stood with her. She liked you or she didn't, it was black or white. As her children we are still trying to figure out which one it was for us (we know she loved us).
She was a master cook in the kitchen. She believed in overcooking everything until it chewed like rubber so you would never get sick because all germs would be nuked. Freezing germs also worked, so by Friday our school sandwiches were hard and chewy, but totally germ free. All four of us learned to use a napkin. You would pretend to cough, spit the food into it and thus was born the Stocks diet. If anyone would like a copy of her homemade gravy, we would suggest you don't.
She will be sorely missed and survived by her brother George Morris, children: Shauna (Stocks) Perreault, Paul/Sandy (Debbie) Stocks and Kirk Stocks, son-in-law Ian Milnes and son from another mother, John McCleery, grandchildren: Lesley (Sean), Lindsay (Lucas), Ashley (James), David (Tia), Brett, Erin (Brian), Sean, Alex, Courtney and Taylor and great-grandchildren: Connor, Emily, Ainsley, Tyler and Jack. She was preceded in death by her loving husband Paul (Moo) Stocks and eldest daughter Shelley (Stocks) Milnes and beloved pets Tag, Tag, Tag and Tag. All whom loved her dearly and will never forget her tenacity, wit, charm, grace (when pertinent) and undying love and caring for them.
Please give generously to covenanthousetoronto.ca "in memory". A private family 'Celebration of Life' will be held, in lieu of a service, due to her friends not being able to attend, because they decided to beat her to the Pearly Gates. Please note her change of address to her new place of residence, St John's York Mills Anglican Church, 19 Don Ridge Drive, 12 doors away from Shelley's place.