Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Theology of Garlic

 Benjamin Chung is there a theology on garlic?
Cindy Tsay uncle Ben, do you mean planting garlic?
Benjamin Chung or just the garlic itself, I would imagine that a theologian sees God in all things. What comes to their minds when they think about garlic?
Cindy Tsay I thought you're an amateur theologian, what do you think about it?
Benjamin Chung in my humble opinion, that God is transcendent in all things. It goes through all things, in all things and is all things, That last statement is guilty of pantheistic feeling. My own theology is that I see God in all things, that garlic, which I see that goodness, is God. This theology is very guilty of pantheism, but I have the same feeling as St Paul when he accuses some who mistaken created beings as the creator itself. I am. But when you look at the goodness of garlic, it is very essence of God itself (or in some seminaries, they like the word, godself.) But for me, garlic is gott, God is garlic.
Cindy Tsay That's interesting...I don't think you'll find your answer on this website; . Many people do believe that nature is god and that god's essence is fully captured and represented in everything. But, I don't think that evangelical Christians view god in that way.
Benjamin Chung hahaha, I am a garlic theologian, and nothing else. wink emoticon
Benjamin Chung Cindy, I am an amateur theologian! Garlic needs more theology! wink emoticon

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Regarding Brother Hansel

Words of wisdom for Brother Hansel Chen who has been called to served a rural church in Northern Ontario:

"When you move to a small community, your kids will grow up healthier, less troubled by Taiwanese culture, and you will learn to appreciate nature as it is intended for us. At first, you will feel like an exile, that you have been rejected by Taiwanese churches in Toronto, so you have to be in a rural community. I have been there, but then it is a,blessing in disguise. I would put it this way, while everyone gives you the congratulations, and all that Christian greetings stuff, I would be sober. If you embraced your community, it will embrace you. If you stayed in doors a lot, and become aloof to all that is around, you, you will have a hard time. Learn that human nature is good, and that God is good, so that you will learn to love and adapt to your own church. Being an ordained reverend means that kirk session no longer has any powers over you, that the presbytery will take charge when things go wrong. Do not abuse your power, as some have done. But rather learn to submit yourself to God and Christ our Lord, how he learnt humility. As it is often said, submit one to another for the sake of Christ.


Learn to grow a garden, raise fine chickens and kids, and join your local farmers market. That way, you will begin to put down deep roots. Toronto is a nice place, but it is not the right place to live, Learn to grow old there, and enjoy the nature as God intended for all of us. Just don't come back. Your people will need you to baptize their babies, sanctify their marriages, and bury their dead. You have a job to do. Toronto has an over supply of reverends, there is no need of you here.

In due time, you will come to realize that it is good to be alive, and that your karma will turn wen you have realize your place in the human community. Good luck to you and your new wife."


This Lady Speaks My Mind


當突如起來的毀滅性災難發生,人的反應常常一開始會是震驚,有一半的頭腦隨後明白發生了甚麼事,但另一半卻處在奇異的恍惚狀態,無法意識到這是真實。一方面清楚理性地面對周遭接二連三的混亂,一方面卻像在夢境當中,這一半的自己抗拒這個真實,否則無以承受
我妹妹開刀前被告知是良性的腫瘤,兩個星期後醫生卻向我們宣布她的癌細胞擴散到肺,肝,腎,腸導致多重器官衰竭,已經無法醫治,我們是否考慮送她住進安寧病房
我當下的反應完全鎮靜,因為我的第一要務是照顧到我的老母親的情緒和健康,我必須盡快讓她能平靜接受這個既定的事實,如果我的眼淚掉下來,我不知道我媽媽還如何支撐得住。當我父親突然過世時,媽媽也從沒在我面前哭過,她怕我擔心。那時候夜裡一點細瑣的聲音都會把我驚醒,跳起來側耳傾聽好久,我怕媽媽是自己一個人偷偷在哭。
所以醫生對我宣告這個噩耗時,我沒崩潰,我只是很平靜地說我知道了,我唯一的希望是妹妹不再受苦,如今她要離開我們,其實並不遺憾,醫生聽到我這話,露出不可置信的表情
我當時的意思是,自從我父親過世,我們母女三人每個禮拜必齊聚一起吃飯和下午茶至少一次,天大的事也要放下來,三人共處。我們三個人一起去清邁旅行,一起去清境農場度假,我們是真的非常努力地讓生活裡充滿了相聚的親密快樂,就算時間倒流,也沒辦法做得再多了。
回想起我妹妹從小到大,打從她出生就是我的心肝寶貝,幼稚園的時候我為了給她爭娃娃車的座位和男生打架打到滿臉是血,她第一天進小學我連自己的課都不上,守在她的窗戶外面怕她害怕,怕她不適應。一直到她高中,每一天每一天我都花好長時間聽她說學校裡各種遭遇,我總是絞盡腦汁想怎麼能解決她生活中的種種不快樂。她第一次得癌症,我瞞著父母親,怕他們擔憂,一直到開刀完,放療完,做化療因為掉頭髮瞞不住。怕病後的她消沉,我的朋友聚會,各種活動,每一次都帶著她。我用盡全力了,我覺得時間就算倒流,我也沒法做得更多。
當初就有朋友警告過我,很多人…尤其是那種習於照顧他人,扛責任的個性的人,反作用力來得慢,有的人甚至在一年以後,開始把緊繃的神經、肩膀上扛的巨大壓力放鬆下來時,突然崩潰掉。在處理完喪事,很多混亂龐雜種種,且終於可以放下對母親的情緒和身體狀況的憂慮,我才感受到這股恐怖的壓倒性黑暗,怎麼可能?你怎麼可能不遺憾?你怎麼可能覺得你做的是夠的?不夠!不夠!不夠!永遠不夠!我怨恨自己,我犯過那麼多錯,我曾有那麼多無知和自大,脾氣急躁,壞毛病一堆,如果時間可以重來,我這個也可以改,那個也可以改,為什麼死的是妹妹而不是我?
我這才發現先前我的理性上明白發生了什麼,明白妹妹已經離去,但事實上我活在一個總覺得是會醒過來的惡夢,這不會是真的,這怎麼會是真的?
那些質疑小燈泡的母親「怎麼能那麼理性」「矯情」「精神不正常」的人,你們的問題不在於你們不瞭解人的心理機制,你們嚴重的問題在於你們對他人的痛苦毫無感覺,也毫無意去理解,你們只要求別人的一言一行永遠要合乎你的期待(而不論你的期待有多無知),只要跟你想的不一樣,你可以完全不顧及別人的感覺理直氣壯地去傷害他,攻擊他,用一把無形的刀刺到他心臟上。反正躲在電腦後用這把無形的刀殺人,就算有人真的因此自殺,也不算殺人罪,你不用負擔刑罰,你甚至感覺不到自己有任何錯,而且你覺得受傷害的人活該。
凡是不符合自己期待的事,凡是跟自己想法不一樣的人,凡是看不順眼,就可以任意攻擊加以傷害,反正我就是對的,被你傷害的人是什麼感覺,老子幹嘛要知道…這個思路有沒有一種熟悉感?對,這就是那些殺害孩童的,在捷運上砍人的人的心理邏輯。你覺得你們很不同嗎?
小燈泡的母親應該對著鏡頭哭得歇斯底里倒在地上,狂喊殺人魔還我的孩子來!應該天天對著鏡頭眼淚鼻涕齊流說孩子走了我也不想活!應該跪在地上跟大眾謝罪,說我的孩子被殺死了但我錯了我對不起大家,我現在支持死刑了,請你們放過我吧!這就是你們想要的?
幸好,幸好小燈泡的母親從來沒有這麼做過,否則兇手就不只是奪走了她的女兒,連同她的教養、她的品格、她人生的信念也一併全剝奪走了。
失去所愛而活下來的我們,逝去者所留給我們的寶物是我們私人無與倫比的貴重財產,無人能奪走,也與其他人無關,小燈泡帶著母親的愛走的,她並沒有真的離開,她對母親的愛以另一種形式仍然留著,這份愛將可以支撐她的母親繼續擁有一個強大而乾淨的靈魂,堅持她的信念活在世上。

https://www.facebook.com/yingshu.cheng/posts/1101980376529167?fref=nf

Friday, April 1, 2016

Christine and Her Chemo


Written to my sister Christine as she decided to go off her chemo. She has stage 4 pancreatic caner since October 2014:

Quitin: a very happy new year to you. When you write this message last night, I was watching a movie online, "The Sum of all fears" so I did not respond to your testimony and your decision to go off chemo therapy. 


Much of what i have learnt the last few years, is that I live every day. That I treat each and every day as if it is my last, and I treasure my time with the work that I do and the time with my family. 


Like I seemingly wasted a few hours yesterday trying to treat a poorly English Immigrant speaker from Haiti, failed to extract a bad tooth. But if you think of it, I have been seeing him since Tues, and each and every day I tried to make it to see him in Dennis , after work, but without much success, that bad tooth failed to loosen up and I spent at least three hours. But we got talking, and I learnt French again. and meanwhile my kids and family were eating late lunch at the nearby Brazillian Grill. But if you check the FB pictures, I made it to the end of the meal and still enjoyed the day. 


The lesson to take away is to enjoy each and every day. I lave learnt this phrase, "Every man dies, but not every man has really lived!" 


And after my awakening to my own sense of responsibility, and to the fact that I have being worshipping false idols (eg Jesus, Yaweh, and the Jew god thing), I have come to realize that much of what I was taught, is an illusion, and not real. We were always told this world is not worthy in comparison to the next world. So we put things off. We wait, and and miss our chances in life, So I learnt to put mom and dad first, failed to tell them the truth, and failed to listen to my wife. Andrew has his own problems to solve, we shold not have decided to bring him to Cape Cod, etc. And year after year, I live in the lie of this Christian Evangelical story about God and Christ our Lord. Now I have come to it, there is no afterlife, I no longer need to worship false gods of Jesus or Jehovah, now I am free, and I no longer have to listen to the false promises of mom and dad. They dont have the money, and they live a poor life though as if they do have the wealth. Their promises, their gesture to help. I saw through all of that, I know they are poor. It is not because they have the lack of cash. No, they are poor because they are poor at heart and they need the assurance of Half witted Jew to tell them how to live here and his false promise that there is a paradise for them after life. So they cling to their possessions, their land their houses. They cling to the idea how to appease an angry Jewish god, that God will be angry if they do as much as to step put of his will. The God they worship is an idol, it is in their imagination, he does not punish people with infertility, or strike them with cancer. He is not real. But they live this poverty stricken life in the midst of plenty. The air theycould have breath in Canada is sweeter, the water they could have drank if healthier that that hell hole in TW. And the time they missed on the grand children, because they failed to come through, and in effect, they were the first ones to push me into this 'exile' to live in a small town away from all known TW civilization. Then they try to kill me a few things, and try to bankrupt me a few times because they have this idea that they need to hanf on to every little piece of properties. I see through all that. Indeed they are poor,. 


But I am rich! I might not be able to get out of this thing alive, and I do not know how much time I have with my love ones, my wife and kids. But I live every day, I breath that free and unrestrained air, and drink the cup that is prepared for me. I am God. I need no other gods to tell me what I should do and run away from. I finally know that I am the captain of my soul and the master of my fate. So I look no further. I am going to plant a few apple trees, and if it be the Lords will, I shall enjoy the fruits there of in a few years. I learn to live each and every day, as if it is my last,. 


So here it comes a full circle, every man dies, not every one has ever lived! How tragic to know this truth. I would encourage you to live each and every day. If if be the Lords will, that you want nothing to do with chemo, do so with the courageous decsion, to live each day as if it is your last, To enjoy that free air to drink the cup God has prepared for you, But not ot live cowardly, to live as if you need to beg someone to add to your days on earth. No, it is the thing we all have to do, and none of us will ever get out alive, even Jesus had to die and be buried and I do believe he rotted in his grave. But that spirit of defiance, that he lived, he lived unto God and the death he dieth, he dieth unto sin. This sin of ignorance, the sin of avarice, to lust for a few more properties and things, and life that were not meant to be. These are the lives I see for Andrew and my parents. I no longer so do. 


How much time will you have? I am not sure, neither is mine. My time here and now is all that I have. I will treasure that daily. And as you Andrew, it is my decision to wait a few years, perhaps ten before we talk again. and as for dad, I will call him time to time, if needed, but remember the days are drawing a close to his days here. If he were in Toronto, and something were to happen, eg a stroke, an accident,, that he dies while he were there, I have already told him as I do so with you, that I will come up and cremate him. I have the experience to help this professor Gu and I shall not hesitate to do so again. and spread his ashes on grandma's grave. I will do so reverently,but I will not commit to a religious ceremony nor to cause more trouble than it should. Returning to the earth is the most sacred thing itself, and need no gods to bless it, nor these pastoral parasites to feed of. So, enjoy the days of thy youth, pray to God often, and tell him that he has been wrong many times! I do so, with each day l live, and each breath I take, in the courageous act to defy this ancient Christian deity, that he too had to die and be buried in the ground, and that we each live thereafter in this light! Holy New Year to you this year! and I will spend some time today to feed chickens and plant a few new apple trees! What a glorious day today is! Cheers, for I have overcome the world!!
JAN 4TH, 2:14AM



"Mrs. Meyer Bought the Farm"

Mrs. Meyer Bought the Farm”

I was to pay another visit yesterday afternoon, after the snow storm. But my car was struck by a piece of falling ice as I took my uncle out to eat. We went over to the Brazilian Grill to celebrate 'the Old Calendar Year' (to Chinese is it the Chinese New Year). Last Thursday, I finally got my haircut at the Off The Top of Orleans, MA. It took four months to get a haircut. But Mrs. Meyer did not wait for me this time, she passed two days before I thought of paying her a visit. As her dentist, I took care of her ailing teeth over a decade. I actually bought some of her favorite chocolate this time and cranberry fudge at the Chocolate Sparrow. But I was too late.

Mrs. Meyer and I used to attend the 11:15 morning service at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Orleans, MA. About five years ago, this service was phased out, most of our parishioners passed, or passing. I am one of the rare parishioners that enjoyed the old rite, the Rite One. We actually could relate to the High Anglo-Catholic services at the Church of the Advent in Boston, MA. I was there during my clinical clerkship at the Mass General. Those services gave me peace and helped me through the most challenging time of my life. Few of people today know what it is like to sit in a service, in high mass with sung Latin. Still Mrs. Meyer passed, she finally bought the farm.

As a small town dentist, I struggled with her ailing teeth. Soft teeth we call it. Everything I did in her mouth eventually fell out due to decays. I suspected that she enjoyed sweets. That was confirmed by her confession, she had a sweet tooth. When she was too weak to stay in her home, she moved in to the 24-hour care at Pleasant Bay Nursing almost a year ago. She could not wear her “full upper” so I was summoned in the late Spring last year. I tried to reline it, but it was too heavy and it did not fit. In the end, I took impressions and made a new one, all the time, she was not able to come into the clinic. So I brought the clinic to her, paid her many house calls. It took another season before I was satisfied with the new denture, meanwhile, I brought her our own fresh cut flowers. Sometimes, I brought along my kids. The new denture made her look wonderful, and after a whole season of mush, she could now chew properly. So I did ask her how she enjoyed her food at the nursing home. “Terrible,” she said. Food has the taste of cardboard, without much taste to it. She then raved about her favorite cranberry stuffing at our Hearth and Kettle. That morning, I went out and ordered her one full Thanksgiving Meal. I thought it would be a great idea since her son cannot come to visit her. He's got too much work in the MidWest. So I brought her “Last Supper.” I continued to visit her, and I became known in that place as the “Happy Dentist.” The nurses would say, “Oh, you are that happy dentist she talks about!”

This one last time, I missed our visit by 4 days. And Mrs. Meyer bought the Farm. Well, I imagine Mrs. Meyer is now free. She is no longer plagued by her soft teeth and ailing health. She is free from the confines of her bed and now soars free above and beyond the skies. For those of us who have not bought the farm, Mrs. Meyer, do once in awhile drop by and say a prayer for those of us who struggle and try to do the right thing while making a living. My profession has been plagued by many problems as this country is in steep trouble. We still have to push five kids through college, and help them to be good and kind people. So that someday when they have “bought the farms,” that their lives would mean something.

Mrs. Elizabeth Meyer, we will all miss you. As a small organic farmer, I think of you when I plant garlic. When my tomatoes come in, I will make an offering to the God of the skies. After all, we all come from “the Farm” and each of us must return to our farms. Rest in peace. We will all miss your wonderful smiles.

"Grow Good Garlic on Cape Cod."


Meet the Expert


Ben Chung, the Garlic, was seeded (born and raised) in Taiwan. Like his fellow garlic, whose ancestors came from Asia and Central Asia, he too came from a long line of good garlic on this little island. His type of garlic is distinct from the Chinese garlic, so when asked whether he is Chinese, he always replies, “Not yet.”

When this “Garlic” was thirteen, he was transplanted to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Following the patterns of garlic migration, he ended up in Toronto, Ontario, before he was re-transplanted in the United States. While he was in the Massachusetts nursery (Harvard School of 'Garlic' Medicine), he met his future garlic mate, Lillian. Together as 'wash-a-shores' to Cape Cod, they became re-transplanted to Orleans, MA in 1997. Within the next few years, they produced five cloves (kids). Now this young garlic family is becoming indigenous to Cape Cod shores, and they begin to cultivate lots of good garlic. In 2008, this Chung garlic family joined Orleans Farmers' Market, and they are identified as “Caroline's Corner.” Caroline is their fourth clove.

Since then, this “Garlic” has decided to focus on garlic as his prophetic calling in life. Starting from 2008, in the year of Our Garlic, he has grown every type of garlic he could get his hands on. He starts out like everyone ordering from organic seed catalogs (Fedco, etc). Then he seeks to grow more garlic, so he bought all the available garlic from Orleans Farmers' Market from a vendor named Clare. This 'garlic sickness' compelled him to even traded some veggies with his customer for his French Rose. His friend Judy Embleton gave him some of her favorite, but this desire was insatiable. This mad man found some in Boston at the Chinatown, then he went to his local super markets, both Shaws and Stop and Shop. He bought everything that was available to him. He asked anyone and everyone. He even asked his mother in Taiwan and his aunt in California to send some. In 2014, his friend Curtis Newcomb went to Gilroy on a sacred garlic pilgrimage and brought home a beautiful bag of Californian garlic and gave him some. At the peak of this madness, he grows more than 50 types of sacred, organic garlic.

This little book is born out of Ben's burning desire to seek garlic as a way of life. It is his wish to imitate garlic, and look like a garlic and to smell like a healthy garlic. His mission and vision is to help everyone to grow something, especially garlic. This little book is designed for small families who want to grow garlic. His desire is that they may find an easier way to grow good strong, healthy, ethical and spiritual garlic. By embracing garlic on Cape Cod soil, small young families may accept good garlic as a way of life and produce more cloves (kids).

In Ben's real life, other than being a garlic, is that he practices as a simple general dentist in Orleans, MA since 1997.