So back in September, (or it could have been in late August, I forget) I heard this sermon on tape on the way to church. At the beginning of the sermon, the preacher asked, "what is your number one desire of the heart right now?"
What is my number one desire of the heart, right at this moment?
Recently, I stumbled upon a website called "A Human Right". It begins with the following screen:
"If you can read this you are very lucky."
On the website, they say that "Our vision is to connect all people by creating and stewarding a freely available decentralized global system of communication." Basically, they want to do something about the fact that five billion people do not have access to the internet; to that end, their latest initiative is to try and "buy a satellite and grant internet access to millions."
It's a simple enough concept. Access to information is a basic human right; the Internet is the single greatest hub of information. Put the two together: give access to the Internet to billions, using satellite technology.
As much as I admire the spirit of this enterprise, I fear they are misguided, on two fronts. One is the issue of language, and the other is that of technical feasibility.
A world where teleportation is a reality. A ubiquitous reality.
Much like the way we click a link and are taken instantly to another location on the World Wide Web, imagine a world where we scan a code at the bus stop to be taken straight to the destination.
Or imagine, if you will, a device: a device which, much like when we type in a universal resource locator into the address bar of a webbrowser, we are taken instantly to the page on the World Wide Web, when we input the precise location into the device, we are taken straight to the destination.
A world where logistics is a yesterday's problem. A Star-Trek post-scarcity meritocracy where people long live and prosper in perfect harmony.
So far, we have been looking at the Gospel through the 'lens' of different stories in the Bible that each shed light on a particular aspect or truth about it. The story of the bronze snake illustrated for us the idea of "looking to Jesus for salvation" ; the blood of the slain lamb on the doorposts on the night of the Passover introduced the idea of sacrfice, how we can be saved from a certain death by having someone else die in our place. And the story about Naaman and his leprosy? That story told us that the truth (and truth of the Gospel, in particular) can be and often is something quite different from what we expect.
In all this, we need to remember what the Gospel is really all about. What, or who, is the Gospel all about? It's all about Jesus. Remember: about the bronze snake, Jesus said: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
Today we see the story of Naaman the Leper. We are told that Naaman was a commander of the army of the king of Syria, and a very powerful one at that. Now, picture yourself in Naaman's shoes for a moment. This man has almost all that he could ever wish for: power, in the form of his faithful soldiers under him; recognition and fame, as he was a great commander who brought many victories to Syria; wealth, because he clearly had more money than he could spend, as the commander of the army of a powerful nation; and a loving wife. Except, of course, he lacked one thing: he was a leper.
Perhaps the ordering is back to front here: we saw in the last episode how God used the bronze snake to bring salvation to the Israelites in the desert. That story takes place after today's story: the story of how God brought Israel out of Egypt.
The first thing you learn when you start boxing is the jab. This versatile punch is characterised by its speed of deployment. Many kinds of jabs exist, from the fake jab to the set-up jab, and it's not an exaggeration to say that almost all combo moves in boxing starts off with a jab. As ubiquitous and important it is, it is also true that it is actually extremely difficult to pull off a jab properly.
I lead a small group bible study at church. The group members are mostly new to the Christian faith, and basically they have no idea what the Gospel is. Recently, I started a thematic series on Gospel Typologies: how the Old Testament has many stories that fore-shadow the substitutionary death and the triumphant resurrection of Jesus. Although the group is led entirely in Korean, I thought I'd put the lessons in writing here.
The bronze snake in the middle of the desert. So here's the deal. The nation of Israel were in bondage of brutal slavery under Egypt for some 400 years. You see all the Pyramids of Egypt? Yeah: Israelites were forced to build many of them. The Egyptians were harsh masters, even going as far as killing new-born Hebrew boys because they feared the Hebrews were outbreeding them. But anyway, God rescues the Hebrews from the Egyptians, by raising up a leader: Moses.
I lead a small group at the Banseok Army Barrack Church. One of the privates in the group is a 20-year-old Kangkyu Choi, who is a budding novelist. He recently wrote a short-story for a writing competition, and with his permission, I'm posting a summary of the short story here, translated to English. I wish him all the very best.
So, if you have been following my tweets, you'll have noticed that I've been boxing for some year and a half now. It's been a regular fixture in my weekday; just drop by the gym after work on the way home, for a cheeky hour to hour-and-a-half session. Over the next week or so, I thought I would jot down my musings (and also some fun videos!).
Today I came across an article called “Why Arabic is Terrific”, and it was so informative and fun that I thought I would write a response article, on Mandarin Chinese. In homage to the original article (and judging from the Twitter traffic, lots of other people seem to dig it too) I am going to follow its structure, point by point.
In Part 1, I started talking about “exclusivity” and how people seem to find themselves strangely attracted to all things “limited” and “off-limits”. I’m no psychologist, but I read that Abraham Maslow included “the desire to belong” as one of the Hierarchy of Needs.
There are many reasons why Facebook became the runaway success that it did, but during the earliest stages, I believe the utilization of exclusivity and drawing on basic human need to belong played a major part. In that respect at least, the Winklevoss brothers were on the money (with their plans to leverage the “Harvard” and “Ivy League” brand in their new social website), and you could say Zuckerberg did well to take note of that.
So in part 1, I started talking a little about the rise of the super wifi. Today, I want to talk about the possible implications. To do this, we first need to take stock of the current state of affairs.
Today, I want to write on a subject that has been on the back of my mind for the last half-year.
Rewind back to 2007. That is when I first discover TEDtalks. And of the many riveting talks, one by Negroponte (then the head of MIT Media lab) leaves a particularly strong impression on me. It is on his "One Laptop per Child" project. With an ambitious goal of giving a $100 dollar laptop (specially designed for this purpose) to every child in the developing world. What impresses me at the time, is the fact that these laptops are able to form a "wireless mesh network" using their wifi antenna. That is the first time I hear of the term "mesh network". A quick research on the Internet tells me that "mesh networking is a type of ad-hoc network where each node must not only capture and disseminate its own data, but also serve as a relay for other nodes." The mesh networking capability of the OLPC laptops are also wireless (mobile ad-hoc networks, or MANET), but the essential idea is the same.
Fast-forward to September 2010. Many tech blogs and sites cover the imminent passing of the "super wifi law" by the FCC. In short, it is the decision by the Federal Communications Commission of the United States of America to free the white spaces (UHF TV band) for unlicensed data.
Part 1를 쓴지 벌써 4개월이 넘는 시간이 흘렀다. 올해 3월 “Always Produce” 하겠다는 다짐으로 시작한 Blog上 글쓰기도 시작한 지 한 달이 채 안되 이렇게 긴 hiatus를 맞은 것이다. 정말 부끄럽다. 하지만, better late than never라고 하지 않았는가. 한 번 넘어진 것 보다는 다시 일어섰다는 게 더 중요하다고 믿고 싶다.
Add SNS sharing options at the touch of a button? Win.
So in addition to my regular tweets, Facebook updates, and scribbles on Catch Notes, I've decided to start posting regularly here. The idea is that on this blog, I would try and process the musings and thoughts I've accumulated over time and type them up into a more coherent essay format.