At night, as he sat in the dark listening to the sound of the turtle-dove in the trees, he felt the face of Christ looking intently at him. The clear blue eyes were gentle with compassion; the features were tranquil; it was a face filled with trust. ‘Lord, you will not cast us away any longer,’ he whispered, his eyes fixed upon that face. And then the answer seemed to come to his ears: ‘I will not abandon you.’ Bowing his head he strained his ears for the sound of that voice again; but the only thing he could hear was the singing of the turtle-dove. The darkness was thick and black. Yet the priest felt that for one instant his heart had been purified.
~ Shusaku Endo, Silence (an excerpt from Chapter 6)
In my last piece for this blog, I had very clearly stated that I was moving away from mainstream Christianity and “becoming” a deist. Here, I want to clarify further by what I had written and published a little over 2 months ago:
One sunny Friday back in April of this year, I did not expect to be welcomed again by the Roman Catholic students at UC Berkeley. But that is exactly what happened—not only did I feel welcomed by the group, the ladies tabling that day out on Sproul Plaza were amazed not only by how much knowledge of the Church and its teachings I have committed to memory; but also led to one of the girls (also my former classmate from 3 years prior) to exclaim that it was “a sign that God has appointed you to be here.”
Truer words had never been spoken, because within a matter of weeks, I started going back to Mass more, praying the Holy Rosary and even going to my first Confession.
But just when everything looked like rainbows and butterflies, tragedy struck home when our last male cat, Lennie, was seized by Animal Control authorities and euthanized on June 2, 2018.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.
~ 1 John 4:1‒3 (RSVCE)
It’s painful for me to even consider writing this piece—as I know it may be deemed heretical in the eyes of many of my most devout Protestant and Catholic friends and family alike—but over this past summer, I have been experiencing severe psychological, emotional and spiritual burnout. Although I will add that I have been mentally planning to write such an op-ed as this one for at least a year’s time now.
But just a few months prior, many were expecting me to take a magical leap of faith as I had finally decided to go to my very first Confession in a Roman Catholic setting—despite being raised a Pentecostal Protestant. Of course, if Confession wasn’t intimidating enough, then taking the Eucharist should be even more so. Because if there is one thing Catholics are doctrinally right about, it’s that they earnestly and honestly look at the Host (bread) and wine as more than mere symbols of Christ’s body and blood.
THEY ARE HIS BODY AND BLOOD.
“If when I die, I am still a dictator, I will certainly go down into the oblivion of all dictators. If, on the other hand, I succeed in establishing a truly stable foundation for a democratic government, I will live forever in every home in China.”
~ Former KMT President and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek/蔣中正 (1887‒1975)
Though it’s nearly been a year since Trump and his administration have taken office—for those who know me very personally, including close friends and family, I rarely address Donald Trump as President because I see him as incredibly scandalous and unfit to hold the title, an incompetent strategist, a public liar, etc.—as 2017 dawned, media reports began to immediately flood the mainstream with stories of Trump’s ties to Russia and the mega-Tsarist Putin; the year that I have had to witness #AlternativeFacts and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain trend on Twitter and Facebook; and the year when Confederate flag-toting ignorant hillbillies militaristically marched through Charlottesville and chanted, “Blood and soil” (no need to give any news links to this last one).
On the other side of the ocean, however, we see a remarkably polar opposite movement of dissidents emerge in Taiwan: Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party won the popular vote by nearly 2-1, displacing the Kuomintang (國民黨) once again since 2008. But two years have somehow tragically passed since the first woman has ascended the office of the Presidency of the Republic of China (or should I instead say Republic of Taiwan?)—and surprisingly, if y’all have been keeping score at home will realize an eerie parallel is emerging.
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do….
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…
~ Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, June 4, 1940
Been well over a year since I have taken some time to post anything, but since last year’s elections still upset me even now, I’ve finally decided to roast Trump and his cabinet.
(Inspired by Spoken Word artists on YouTube and people I’ve met here in Berkeley) 🙂
Take a look: Continue reading