The Rabbit Hole Revisited

In a previous post, I wrote about Jesus going down the rabbit hole. He goes further than we would ever go if we were to try and save ourselves and further than we could ever imagine him going. The hole he goes down is the void of humanity’s fallen existence.Jesus alone could go the way he did as God’s Son—alone. There was no way in the world his first disciples could have pursued him down that hole the night of his passion unto death for our sins. Nor could we have borne his burden with him. … [Read more...]

Cosmic Mystery and Purpose

One of the values of the Japanese people I prize most is their sense of wonder in the face of nature. As one who spends most of my days in the Pacific Northwest, I find quite striking people’s love for the beauty and grandeur of the creation. Such love is by no means lacking in the Japanese psyche. Shrines involving nature, gardens—including garden temples, and the art of flower arrangement, among other things, reveal the Japanese preoccupation with the vast mystery of nature. Such fascination wa … [Read more...]

Uncommon Common People

We all know the politicians and philosophers and powerful warriors shape a society. So, too, do the common people. The hard working farmers, artisans, government employees, school teachers, taxi drivers and train conductors, among others in societies like Japan, make a society run smoothly. I thought about this as we rode from famous historical site to site in ancient capitals by trains and taxis.Take for example the train conductor who apologized to the passengers for being late for two … [Read more...]

How Sorry Are We?

Last night, I arrived in Japan with members of my immediate family. My wife, who is a Japanese national, and I lived here years ago. That does not make me an expert of Japanese culture, but I am an interested observer. We have also lived in England as well as the States. I was reminded of something soon after the plane landed in Tokyo. Japanese often display great humility in their greetings and various social formalities. Take, for example, the words “I’m sorry.” In Japanese culture, I have foun … [Read more...]

Jesus and the Rabbit Hole

“In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 1993, 2-3)In Alice in Wonderland, curiosity gets the better of Alice. She pursues a talking rabbit … [Read more...]

Morality and Profit

Central to Confucianism is the conflict involving morality and profit. In The Analects, Confucius states, “The gentleman is versed in what is moral. The small man is versed in what is profitable.” (IV.16; D. C. Lau translation, Simon & Brown 2012 edition) Morality—regard for the well-being of others in society—should serve as the guide for one’s various pursuits. Profit through labor is not bad, but the means through which one gains profit and the aim of such profit is of the utmost importanc … [Read more...]

The Gentrified Church—Paved with Good Intentions?

Perhaps you have studied gentrification. For those who are not aware of the term, it entails developing lower income urban areas into places where the middle class and wealthier people (gentry) live. The north side of Portland, Oregon (known as North Portland) is experiencing a lot of gentrification. New buildings, including condos, bistros and shops, are going up. Young white entrepreneurs are moving in, including church planters. Should we call this progress? The answer to this question … [Read more...]