Friday, June 27, 2008

Spicy Food

My friend from Taiwan just told me about a neat little way the chinese (ethnic chinese - not just the PRC comrades) have of describing how spicy they want their food.

Note: This is for people who WANT spicy food. None of these is equivalent to "mild".

They use 3 words in 3 different arrangements:
La (spicy)
Bu (not)
Pa (worry/ fear)

In levels of increasing heat then...
1) Bu pa la = not worried if it's spicy
2) La bu pa = spicy does not worry me
3) Pa bu la = I am worried that it might not be spicy.

Isn't that fun?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Many, many people (though still not enough) are loathe to deprive any person of life. There are good reasons - not the least of which is the irreversibility of so doing. But that alone is not something we always fear. We have no problem parting with our money for food though the transaction (as soon as we have eaten) is clearly not reversible. There is more to a LIFE than that! This is so eloquently expressed by Tolkien via the sage and humble wizard Gandalf:

Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.

Wiser than all the wise, God himself is the giver of life. God Himself seems to aver cutting off the lives of even very evil people. (ref. "only the good die young".) Since we do not know his ways, and since we should surely respect his ordinance, it is right to be suitably fearful of making such a verdict on any fellow man.

Now let's turn to liberty. Surely it is similar to life itself. With it one is able to work good or evil. Our nation's founding fathers were not the first to agree that it is granted by God. Then they carefully noted that it is inalienable. But is it?

Once again God seems to allow plenty of people to use liberty to the most self-centered of ends. Some just frittering away their efforts and some as bad as Iago - even Lucifer became Satan using his own free will.

But these considerations are pretty heavy archetypes. What about work? - you know - a job.

I trade about 40 hours a week of my liberty to my employer - making my choices based on the good of the company. Don't I?

A supreme sinking feeling comes over me. If I am really doing this am I not also ceding my very life to him in 40 hour chunks? ... for money??


The bromide "If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life" hides the substantial answer to the heavy challenge above. I will not make choices "for the company" that are NOT choices that I would consider wicked, evil or in any way bad. And further, in working at the company, as part of a corporation (notably the same root as corpus - used to describe the Church - the body of Christ) I can, and hopefully do, improve the lot of mankind, perfect nature and do what gives glory to God.

It is true that there is sweat of the brow involved. And true that some decisions while not evil are clearly not motivated directly by my personal advancement. But in these, I believe, lie the "small things" of humility that we are supposed to grow in if we are to be ready for the kingdom of heaven. And, as God is good, there are usually commensurate small rewards to draw us on - pecuniary of course, satisfaction also and importantly growth in many facets of being a person. a.m.d.g.