On Christ, Anxiety, and Waiting (in Academia)

More than most of us are willing to admit, the life of an academic and scientist consists of much waiting.

Some do this better than others; I am not, by nature, one of them.

Many times I have been weighted down by the anxiety of waiting: for graduate school acceptance letters, for getting a grant for my research, and for graduate research fellowship funding, etc.

It is now the season of waiting to hearing from graduate schools (the tail end of that), fellowship applications, job search for new graduates, etc. It is lent, too, though I am not of the Catholic tradition.

The following is probably the most personal post I have attempted. I will share how the Holy Spirit ministers to me through the Bible in hopes that it would help minister to you in such seasons. Especially for those of you whom Jesus has called to be a missionary in the scientific fields–the prevalence of Christians in these fields could probably qualify them as unreached people groups! (Perhaps with the exception of physics and mathematics by reputation? But I have no stats, and it is neither here or there.)

These are not trite statements, but came both from seasons of waiting that turned out to be “successful” and “unsuccessful.” Amazing that the Spirit gave me the same comfort prior to both. Humbling too, that He has to do this repeatedly for me [chuckle]. I am the “chief of sinners” and still learning this, repeatedly.

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Fun Fact: God loves us so much that He made us just in time for the weekend!

On Sabbath and Work: Gen 1:26 to 2:1 

I used to think that since God created on Day 1-6, then rested on Day 7, I am to work and then rest also. For many years, I followed this empty-refill pattern: poured myself out in my work, then recovered on Sabbath day.

When I  re-study Genesis, I was very surprised to see that

       God had set different work-patterns for mankind than for Himself!!
       God loves us so much, he made us just in time to enjoy the first Sabbath.

As loving parents preparing a home for their soon-to-be-born child, He prepared the Earth for us. Then He created us so we can first rest in (first day after the creation of human kind is… SABBATH!) and enjoy Him—which prepared us for the work He had ahead for us.

We are to first rest and fill ourselves with God’s love, grace, blessings, and motivation for work, enjoyed the fruits of His/our labour. This empowers us to empty ourselves for work in following 6 days.

Fill your “gas-tank” before emptying it. 

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Reinforcement vs Punishment: From Animal Training to Theology (Full Post)

Ever felt “positively punished” when your dog-trainer or psychologist inundate you with these lingo? Reinforcement and punishment are important components of social interactions. They are most often discussed in context of those wielding authority and their subjects (e.g., in childrearing and animal training); occasionally to interactions between equals. However, these concepts speak even to unexpected territories such as the intellectual and spiritual pursuit of theology.

I apologise for the lack of citations. I have been a pet trainer for a dozen years, and I am afraid I won’t be able to accurate cite where I first learnt what at this point!

Definitions

First, let’s tackle them in bite-size pieces.

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“Christianity is a crutch for the weak”?

Mouse-Over the [ref]’s will show the references.

“Christianity is a crutch for the weak.”

Is it not possible that one could be deceived into thinking that one is not weak?
A crutch is to help the crippled, the sick.
Is it not possible that one could be deceived into thinking that one is not sick?

The Bible considers all human beings sick and weak by default. Sounds harsh, no? [ref]

To illustrate this simply:
“Do you think you are perfect?”
“Have you always been perfect?”

Whichever causes you to answer “no” would be your sickness. [ref]
If you search your heart, and honestly say “yes,” your sickness is pride. [ref]

The bible calls imperfection “sin,” the big bad taboo word.
The most straight forward translation is “missing the mark,” hence, imperfection. [ref]

Try this, “Can you be perfect if you want to be?”
If to be “healthy”/”not crippled” is to be perfect, you might just need a doctor. [ref]

Who says to be “healthy”/”not crippled” = to be perfect?

.
Jesus Christ did. [ref]

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