Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ninth Entry

8) What makes faith so important?

Faith is not somthing you can take out of your life completely. What defines faith? Faith is what you trust, what you believe in, and what you hold on to be true. Observe people around us. Looking at every choice they make, looking at their life style, where is an area where faith does not come into picture? It just maybe that faith is not just a part of your life, but your life itself.
Faith is important because it shapes your life style. How you eat, how you live, why you eat and why you live. As for me, everything I do relates up to God because I have faith in him. Some cultures have different faiths than others, for example, the Sawi people believed in different things than Don Richardson's beliefs. Faith may become a major factor in distinguishing differences between people, or a mutual wall between cultures. Faith is somthing that you practice everyday. This is why accepting new faith if hard. Because you have lived your life beliving in something, it is hard to change the belief system completely and in a quick second. I believe that in order to believe in one faith completely, you have to let go of other beliefs. Especially in Christianity, where killing, stealing or idolizing is prohibited, how would anyone follow through christian beliefs without letting go of secular practices? As hard as a complete transformation is, it is more beautiful and radient once it is through the stage of complete metamorphosis. Why do we need to change? And to what extent do we need to change ? The answer to these questions will also depend on your faith. This is why what type of faith you have is crucial, because it determines your understanding and perspective of seeing everything. Faith is an apspect which will guide you in life, shape your identity, and ultimately determine what will become of you after you are dead. How we live out life will be the reflection of faith that you have.
Live or die. As for me, i would rather have no faith than have belief in somthing other than christianity. But as for the world? Live, or die?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Eighth entry

13. Choose a representative passage from this novel that holds particular significance to you. Type it in and comment on its significance.

“Missionary,” He was asking, “why are you here?”
“Lord Jesus, it is for you we stand here, immersed not in water but in Sawi humanity. This is our baptism into the work you anticipated for us before creation. Keep us faithful. Empower us with your spirit. May your will be done among these people as it is in heaven. And if any good comes to them through us, the honor is yours!”
And he replied, “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall garrison your hearts and minds through Christ.”

For the first time in reading this book, I envied Don Richardson. This particular passage was striking. I think this was the turning point of my realization stage of God’s presence in the book. “Why are you here, missionary?” If God were to ask me that same question that he asked Don Richardson, would I be able to say with confidence, that I am here for him and his glory?
I cannot began to describe my heart-it is strangely difficult to make out the exact words that I am feeling. Yes, I would like to answer that I am here for his glory and for his will to be done. Yes, I wish I could say that everything that I’ve done in my life, every single choice, every decision and every action was for him. But the truth is that God knows better than I do, that it is not exactly the case. The answer that I would probably give would be, “Lord, there were so many things to do. I was so busy all the time. I forgot.” Irony in this is that the purpose of being “busy” is defected at this point. Why are we busy with school, homework, projects, and tests? Why do we want to go into a good college and get a good job? As a Christian, I’ve always told myself that I wanted to do all those things because I want to be able to fulfill what God wants me to do later in my life without obstacles. But what I often don’t see is that I am not in control of the work, but that the work is in control of me. There is a line from the Christmas carol that one of the characters says: “It seemed natural at first, but it started becoming passionate, fierce and consuming…and it is for somebody else.” The truth is that sometimes, the motivation for success is either forgotten, or becomes something else. I stress out from school and work, just from all the burdens in life yet my excuse for stressing myself is, “I’m doing it for God.” I wonder, as I write this entry, do I really want this for God or for myself?
I want the peace of God. As selfish as it might sound, I want a guaranteed peace that passes all understanding, which shall garrison heart and mind through Christ. Peace is what I really need from the burden of the world. I take granted of what God has given me as a gift- just having my father up in heaven. He will take care of me. He will listen. I have no doubt of that. But what I need to figure out is not to forget that I need to go to him for peace. I need to keep in mind that I cannot handle everything, and that is what I struggle with the most. “I can do it. I’ll just spend hours and hours doing it and it’ll all come together and I’ll be perfectly fine. I’ll be able to do everything…” So far, this didn’t work for me. What I’m thankful about is that God revealed to me what I really needed through reading the encounter of Don Richardson and Christ. I’ll try a new way, and through that way, I’ll be able to say, God I stand for you and your glory. I no longer will have to be jealous of the peace that Don Richardson received from God.

Seventh Entry

12. What reflections and connections can you make with this novel?

I see myself in the Sawi people. True, I am not a big supporter of cannibalism, nor do I go hunting for human heads. But the fact that the Sawi people are humans makes the ultimate connection between us. Jealously, anger, revenge, thirst, hunger, relationship, and sin. Do we not have those same kind of emotions, civilized or uncivilized?I was quick to judge. Cannibals, headhunters; how sinful is that? But I was able to see that they still got angry, they still thirsted for relationships, and they too, searched for the reason to live. Final Destination: to discover the genuine purpose of life, this is what we have in connection.The Sawi believe in evil spirits. They have a culture of death, a culture symbolic for skull. Compares to the culture that we have today, however, the Sawi are not that different. They just have a different way of approaching sin from us. The fact is that current society puts toy guns and swords in the market for children, and play survival for sport. Skull, and gun, what difference is there but a different approach? This is why the Sawi’s transformation is so radical and fascinating, because it travels from the very end to the other end. Despair and fear is no longer a big part of them because they obtain something to hold on to, and something to place comfort in. I find beauty in the Sawi’s acceptance to transforming and find comfort in realizing that God really does love everyone unconditionally.I was humbled through reading the Peace Child. I realized that I am in no position to be judgmental, or to be skeptical about any culture. Although culture does not have a boundary to stop changing, that does not mean that we have to shun the culture into a shame. Sawi or no Sawi, people are similar in many ways because they all make mistakes, because they all have sin. God created us in his image; people CAN try to be more like Christ and through that, with a same goal, we then reach equilibrium.

Sixth entry

5. What should society do for “uncivilized cultures” like the Sawi?

What is the true definition of “uncivilized cultures?” Can it be defined within the boundaries of common sense? What is moral or defected? The truth is that EVERYTHING must come into question, in the process of determining the genuine definition of “uncivilized cultures.”One of the benefits of being a Christian is that you have the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will guide you so that you would have the ability to determine right from wrong. The fact is that humans cannot decide if a culture is truly pure. Sure, universal truth and common sense of a “civilized culture” would help determining…but the question is, “is YOUR culture the only right way to define a way of living?” Even if you did know what is truly “right”, would you have the “right” to teach the other cultures how to live? Surely, to the Sawi their culture is their faith and their world. This fact is not an excuse for the treacherous culture to be accepted, but it is a fact that needs to be taken into consideration. What right do we have to change any culture, what right do we not have? Here is a Controversial question to the questions listed above, “Should any culture stop striving themselves in becoming something more right or Godly?” What I see as a constant struggle is that the word “culture” gives definition of everything. Some would say, “Cannibalism and head hunting should be left alone because it is a big part of the Sawi culture. But some might argue back, “Should culture stand between moral judgments?”Justice without Condemnation. What is the boundary between the two? DO we ever find out whether something should be transformed to what extent? It all comes back to the prompt above: What should society do for “uncivilized cultures like the Sawi?” For Christians, and as for me, I could give a simple answer and say “well, pray to God and do what he tells you to do.” But as for the world? But as for the world.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fifth Post

6. What does Jesus want us to do for the Sawi?

The Sawi people were people who hunted heads and ate human meat, who valued treachery as their highest ethics. They were cannibals, people without the same sense of moral judgment that most people of today’s civilized society contain. It is difficult to recognize them as God’s creation at times, yet the inevitable fact is that they still are the beloveds of God, just as much as we are. Not just Sawi, but in general, what does Jesus want us to do for these group of people?When Jesus came to Earth 2008 years ago, he belonged neither with the riches nor power. It is recorded in the bible, that Jesus was born in a stable, where the pigs and horses ate their meals. What is important to understand is that Jesus simply came as one of “Us.” Us, in this case symbolizes sinners, someone of least importance to a being like God. The connection we can make here is that Jesus approached us within our culture and comfort zone. Yes, risking and adventuring is a big part of the cross that we need to take as we live throughout our lives however, first communication is done with a different type of a “risk”. The same “risk” signifies lowering yourself and your guards to approach people like Sawi in their manner, simply so that they would understand what you have to communicate to them more easily. This concept does not mean that you need to change your values or intentions; just simple approach like Jesus made to us when he came as a man from a virgin mother. Christ commands us to go and spread the word of Gospel. The way in which you spread the word of God is what is in a sense, the first step in opening a close mind to see what God has in plan for them. What Jesus really wants us to do is to penetrate the sin within groups like the Sawi. Penetrate the sin, bless the heart, and place healing; not pierce the cultural aspects.

Fourth entry

3. What should we do when we are confronted with other cultures?

Everyone in this world has some form of a culture. Whether cannibalism or civilized society, a culture is different within different environments and distinct within people’s natural status.I first moved to America when I was in fourth grade. American culture was something different. I could almost say that I would not be the same person writing this entry, had I not experienced American culture. No one would walk after 6 pm, most all stores would close before 10 pm, car would be a “must-have-item”, and everything was so far away. Korea was not like that, and I had no understanding of the cultural concept of American civilization before encountering it myself. I could say that it’s almost natural to be ignorant of other cultures- like the Sawi people were of Don Richardson and the missionaries.When two different cultures collide, the influence it has from one to another is inevitable. Both cultures will be affected; they will both become something different. Like how I was influenced to become someone different, someone as a part of American and Korean culture, each culture will share their pros and cons with another. Every culture has its uniqueness, and the hardest part, or the easiest part would be accepting the difference. Culture can signify someone’s way of living, environment, traditions or even their life itself. The fine line between preserving culture and influencing it is a constant debate between not just for missionaries, but for everyone a part of this world. What determines the ethics for that fine line would depend on the transformation of a group to another. ‘Embrace’ is the right word to use in this sense, when a question like, “What should we do when we are confronted with other cultures?” is asked. A warm welcome and a friendly smile. That would be the beginning of a new transformation.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Third entry

8. What do mission organizations do for these people?

The true definition of a “missionary” comes into question. According to, a missionary is defined as, “a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.” As a missionary, I believe that Don Richardson is not a destroyer. My perspective is that he is a culturally well educated man who reached out for a culture- a culture without a sense of moral judgment. Whether the “morality” of their world is correct is a different question, but if their world’s “morality” were to be placed in our society today, would it still be acceptable? The purpose of missionaries and missionary organizations is to inform and educate the needy. Yes, it may be argued that some cultures do not need education but only to preserve what they value. But the question is value of what?Don Richardson states that the world is not small enough anymore. He’s belief is that it was best for him to have reached the Sawi culture first, for example, because others in the world would have reached them in time to come, but not necessarily with the same positive influence. It is without a doubt that whoever would come into the Sawi culture would have changed the people into their standards. What type of people would the Sawi people have changed to if someone other than Richardson reached them first? Merchants, farmers, tourists-people with different visions and goals would have shaped Sawi into what themselves were. Christian theology on the other hand, is based on love, patience, and forgiveness. Missionary’s job is to give hope and help people to see something that they do not realize. What that factor is depends on the conscience of the missionaries. It is crucial that the missionaries carry out not their needs to change the cultural aspects of the needy, but to inform them about God’s love and their life’s purpose. Informing people of the morals and commonsense does not necessarily mean that all of their cultural aspects would be touched. It just may mean that their hearts would be touched. So when God asks, "Missionary, Why are you here?" what would be your ultimate answer?