On Marrying the Wrong Person

I recently read this NYT opinion piece written by Alain de Botton. He writes about how marrying the “wrong person” is inevitable, and goes on to say:

“We mustn’t abandon him or her, only the founding Romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning. Continue reading

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The Sixth Love Language

…and the most potent of all. For those unfamiliar, The Five Love Languages began as a book by Gary Chapman, based around the idea that a big part of communicating love in our relationships means doing so in one another’s respective “languages,” whether physical touch, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, or gifts.

At least, those are the five he names. Continue reading

Weekly Quotation Roundup

It’s Sunday night, it’s the end of Holy Week, I’m sick of studying. All great reasons to start something which I hope will keep me on my blog even when I don’t have time to develop the list of actual entries I want to write– a weekly roundup of thought-provoking, funny, or interesting snippets from my “real life” and my just as real online life. Here goes!

One:

Christianity is not just an optimistic pile of stories, but a power that emerges. (Pastor Um, Citylife Easter sermon)

Two, on the death of Christ, from a random sermon I found online which also quotes Tim Keller: Continue reading

On Love and Liking

From our church bulletin today.

(It’s amazing to me how voraciously and omniverously our pastors read, to be able to dig up these random sources that most of us have never heard of, and be able to quote them for whatever topic is being addressed in a particular week)

“The simple fact of the matter is that trying to be perfectly likable is incompatible with loving relationships. Sooner or later, for example, you’re going to find yourself in a hideous screaming fight, and you’ll hear coming out of your mouth things that you yourself don’t like at all, things that shatter your self image as a fair, kind, cool, attractive, in control, funny, likable person.

Something realer than likability has come out in you, and suddenly you’re having an actual life. Suddenly there’s a real choice to be made: Do I love this person? And for the other person: Does this person love me?

There is no such thing as a person whose real self you like every particle of. This is why a world of liking is ultimately a lie. But there is such a thing as a person whose real self you love every particle of.”

Jonathan Franzen, paragraphs and emphasis added

And as a corollary to that, albeit we appreciate it for mere snatches on this side of heaven, there is such a thing as every particle of your real self being loved. This is very uncomfortable in our meritocratic culture, but this is the love of Christ.

Also said, and slightly paraphrased from today’s sermon: God bears all of you, God hopes in you [even when you give him every reason not to], God believes the best for you, God endures all of you. God never fails.

Skipping Lecture, Skipping Church

I stopped going to class during the first week of class.

I was surprised at the extent to which this fazed some of my friends and classmates. I’m still kind of surprised, in retrospect, because now over 75% of my class no longer goes to lecture on any sort of regular basis, and the professors have a hard time even enforcing “required” sessions because everyone has realized how much more time-efficient it is to study on your own, especially if using active recall software like Anki or Firecracker.

I gravitated toward other hardcore skippers, and we worked well in parallel and became fast friends. It got to the point where I found myself annoyed whenever I had to go to a lecture or listen to it at “1x,” without the 1.5x, 2x, or 2.5x speed-up option we had for video-captured lectures. Why am I wasting my time, I’d think. This is unbelievably inefficient.

It was only a matter of time before the distaste for lecture-style learning extended to church as well.

Continue reading

Poverty as Slavery(?), Development as Freedom

This article published in the Atlantic today resonated with what I was (and didn’t finish) reading this summer.

“When we [make financial life easier for the poor], we liberate some bandwidth,” Shafir says. Policymakers tend to evaluate the success of financial programs aimed at the poor by measuring how they do financially. “The interesting thing about this perspective is that it says if I make your financial life easier, if I give you more bandwidth, what I really ought to look at is how you’re doing in your life. You might be doing better parenting. You might be adhering to your medication better.”

…and, contradicted with what I experienced from talking to people in Mexico.

Continue reading

Ta-Nehisi Coates Sums Up My Experience in Mexico

As usual, incisive and miraculously concise:

You are the cultural conqueror. You wield the biggest guns. Somewhere in your home there is button which could erase civilization. And then you come to this place and find yourself disarmed. You see that it has its own culture, its own ages and venerable traditions, that the people do not tremble before you. And then you understand that there is not just intelligent life in outer space, but life so graceful that it shames you into silence.

From “English is a Dialect with an Army,” The Atlantic. Continue reading