Christian Praxis

What it means to be a Christian, you might ask? What is its Praxis (a process where an idea is reflected, embodied, and realized in concrete actions)?

Like many Christians and perhaps non-Christians, I have been asking that question all the days of my Christian life. Going to church, reading His Word, serving in a ministry, being a good person, fighting for people’s rights, obeying the authorities, following Christ, avoiding sin, etc.

And yet, if you analyze those answers carefully, you might think that those answers are very functional – those answers cover only certain areas of life while life is, of course, greater than the sum of those parts.

Because it turns out, that perhaps when is doing all of those pious things above, he/she might not be a Christian. Probably he/she is just being moral and that’s it. Probably he/she is doing what’s expected of a social construct and that’s it. Probably he/she is just pleasing his/her own hunches and yet hunches itself might be wrong.

So, is there any definitive statement what a Christian ought to be?

For this question, I have to turn in to the linguistic and theological brilliance of C.S. Lewis, whose book God in the Dock I am currently reading. The book is filled with a lot of his essays on various topics, and included within also a set of Q&A from many believers and unbelievers of his time. Verbatim:

QUESTIONER: Will you please say how you would define a practicing Christian? Are there any other varieties?

LEWIS: Certainly there are a great many other varieties. It depends, of course, on what you mean by ‘practicing Christian’. IF you mean one who has practiced Christianity in every respect at every moment of his life, then there is only One on record – Christ Himself. In that sense, there are no practicing Christians, but only Christians who, in varying degrees, try to practice it and fail in varying degrees and then start again. A perfect practice of Christianity would, of course, consist in a perfect imitation of the life of Christ – I mean, in so far as it was applicable in one’s own particular circumstances. Not in an idiotic sense – it doesn’t mean that every Christian should grow a beard, or be a bachelor, or become a traveling preacher. It means that every single act and feeling, every experience, whether pleasant or unpleasant, must be referred to God. It means looking at everything as something that comes from Him, and always looking to Him and asking His will first, and saying: ‘How would He wish me to deal with this?

The bolded section above was my own emphasis. I would like to stress how Lewis negates the usual absolute binary (practicing Christian / non-practicing Christian). He used the term ‘degrees’ which really captures the relative world we live in. He accommodates the sinful condition we live in and by that fact, we can’t truly live a perfect Christian life as Christ lived. The Christian life is concrete and not effortless.

Furthermore, it also stresses the relational aspect of a Christian’s life. As Christians, we are not to resort solely to our frail humanity, but to resort to our relation to Him, constantly asking, beckoning, confirming, clarifying, while at the same time live in complete obedience to His will.

It is a life full of struggle. It is a life of cross-bearing. It is a life of sacrifice.

To close this whole blog, I think it is safe for me to put Christian Praxis as:

To live as Christlike as possible, as Christ would in your condition. 


Learning & Unlearning

 ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’

– Mahatma Gandhi

Lifelong Learner. That’s one of the values oft-treasured today. A natural affinity towards learning which of course will come very handy for students and laymen alike. Since the constant state of learning will keep mind afresh and helps one adapt to any environment.

But learning forever might not be all that handy. Sometimes you have to unlearn too. Not everything you’ve learned will be of effective practical usage. Some are just there in your brain as trivia. Cool indeed to know, but if it can’t improve one’s life, what good does it do? Some stuff you’ve learned might also be wrong and time will prove it. Why keep useless baggage in your brain?

You need to unlearn it, then. However, you can’t just delete the information right away from your brain using a delete button! We are not computers who can erase such things easily. The process of unlearning / deletion of such information comes naturally. Like old memories, the more we think of new experiences or memories, the more will those old memories or contents fade away. Our neurons will naturally select the relevant memories from time to time and help us learn new contents in a very efficient way. It’s a bit like Darwin’s Natural Selection but in a neuronal way.

Remember, our brain’s neurons have a very good level of plasticity – it can bend its performance and information according to our need. What we need to do is simply to constantly and practically assess our living in a more introspective and retroactive way that our brain will naturally follow suit and constantly be in this state of positive flux of progressive consciousness – leading to a continual higher state of mind.

Our neuron systems are organic, not synthetic. Organics grow and adapt; synthetics neither grow nor adapt – they are just there as the program limits it. Organics always have more potential than synthetics.

Our brains are always on. It can never be turned off. It’s just whether we optimize it fully or just use it sparingly, leaving ourselves to the mercy of our basic impulses.

Sapere Aude!


Omniscient comes from Latin word “Omni” which means all and “scient” which means know. In short, Omniscient means the ability to know ALL things in the world, be it in the past, present, or future. It’s one of the known attributes of God in Christianity and by proxy, also other religions in the world.

What I’m going to introduce now is a term called “Omnipathy”. It’s not a term that is included in world’s best dictionaries. It’s actually a term coined by myself or perhaps somebody else in the world. It’s a portmanteau of “Omni” (all) and “pathy” (feeling). It’s like Telepathy – but on a universal scale: The ability to feel every emotion that is felt by every single being in the world. The ability to feel all feelings felt by mankind. The ability to bask in the basic spectrum of emotion such as Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, Fear, and Surprise (and also the derivatives of those).

This is a firm belief of mine – that my God is that Omnipath. The being that is closest to our heart’s crevasses. Not our parents. Not our friends. Not our spouse. Not our colleagues. But God alone. Whenever we feel down like our soul is falling apart, He can feel as if He’s ourselves. Whenever we are elated with boundless joy due to a cherished experience, be it victory or love, He can feel the excitement as well. It can perhaps be conjectured that He is also able to feel the emotion on an unprecedented scale, greater than the volumes of our heart. That is the kind of God whom I believe and worship.

It’s true that His existence can neither be proved nor be disproved. The whole concept of existence itself can scarcely contain His being. It’s whether you believe Him or not. It’s the final deal.

My concluding thought and remark, is that to have that Omnipath around us, to know that we are never alone in what we feel or think, to know that everything will be vindicated in the end, even the smallest things we feel or think or do, is one of the reasons why I chose to believe in Him.

The LORD is my Shepherd. I shall not want.


Book Bites – Brothers Karamazov I


This is my first post with title “Book Bites” where I take sections or quotes from books I read which I think to be worthy of posterity. Sections which contains some wisdom of life or some truth of this world. Food for thought, you know.

I happen to read Brothers Karamazov recently and to be honest, I am deeply in love with it!! I really like the way by which Dostoevsky weave a great narration of human nature through characters which are very original. And he managed to do it through the lens of Russia which as I saw, (in this work and other works) is a very bleak and cold environment. It is certainly is not a good picture of what a good society should be. And yet, through that bleak landscape, many good literatures concerning humanity at its best is told in a very honest and touching way. Name the authors: Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gorky, Pushkin, Turgenev, Gogol, etc. They managed to put a foothold on this world’s literature. Such an accomplishments which perhaps can only be attained by Russians – lending to their unique background.

Anyway, back to the story. I haven’t completed the book – it is voluminous and each chapter really requires a great deal of afterthought in order to extract full meaning from it. But nonetheless I enjoy reading it.

One of the characters which enthralls me is one named Elder Zosima. He is an old monk who happens to live in a nearby monastery where the protagonist, Alyosha spend most of his novice training. Elder Zosima is Alyosha’s mentor and a lot of exchanges between those two seems to be the author’s main message. Elder Zosima embodies that Christian character which people championed in many books but fails to show it in a complete character. He has that godly love, prophetic portents, patience, apostolic offices (particularly the healing), and the like. He is simply a character you can never forget – both from his deeds and his tenets.

In this post, I want to quote some of his teachings which in my opinion really contains some divine universal truth everybody can live with. So I think I should share it. Here are his words:

Above all, avoid lying, especially lying to yourself. Keep watching out for your lies, watch for them every hour, every minute. Also avoid disgust, both for others and for yourself: whatever strikes you as disgusting within yourself is cleansed by the mere fact that you notice it. Avoid fear too, although fear is really only a consequence of lies. Never be afraid of your petty selfishness when you try to achieve love, and don’t be too alarmed if you act badly on occasion. I’m sorry I cannot tell you anything more reassuring. A true act of love, unlike imaginary love, is hard and forbidding. Imaginary love yearns for an immediate heroic act that is achieved quickly and seen by everyone. People may actually reach a point where they are willing to sacrifice their lives, as long as the ordeal doesn’t last too long, is quickly over—just like on the stage, with the public watching and admiring. A true act of love, on the other hand, requires hard work and patience, and, for some, it is a whole way of life. But I predict that at the very moment when you see despairingly that, despite all your efforts, you have not only failed to come closer to your goal but, indeed, seem even farther from it than ever—at that very moment, you will have achieved your goal and will recognize the miraculous power of our Lord, who has always loved you and has secretly guided you all along.

– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Brothers Karamazov, Book 2 Chapter 4.

I need to underline when he said about lying. It really is true. People do lie and when they lie, it’s they themselves whom they lie with the most, not others. Posterity at the expense of identity

I also need to underline when he said about acts of love. He said that most people only dream about instantaneous, Imaginary Love which usually involve sacrificial and heroic acts. Those are good indeed and none should mock it. But those acts are usually impelled by moments. It’s just not as concrete as True Love.

True Love, as I see it reigns more on truthful and patient performance of good deeds over large duration of time. It is persevering. It doesn’t take much posterity. It is there even in the minor actions seen by few (or perhaps even none). It is more of a way of life. It gives you a peace by which no other things in the world can give. It builds up joy which can be shared by all. This love also inherently more selfless – even to the point of death. You can see this kind of love from your parents who consistently love you since your birth, whom you at that time does not even know what love is – only self. You can never repay them.

In a tantamount way, that True Love is even further exemplified in divine perfection from the love of our God. He died for you on that cruel cross. Even when at that time, all you’re after is only yourself. What can be more than that? He loves you even before your birth!! After things in this world pass away His love will still be extant. By now He’s patiently knocking in the door of your heart. Read I Corinthians 13.

I hope that helps you to live more within consistent True  Love regardless of your creed. Love is universal.

So that was what I mean by book bites. Since I am still reading this great book – stay tuned for more book bites!!!

Sapere Aude!!

Imperfection and Beauty

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen, Anthem

That opening quote is from a (recently deceased) legendary singer-songwriter-artist-poet-novelist Leonard Cohen from Canada. He passed away on 7 November 2016. This artist deserves its place as one of the centennial persons of the 20th century.

Everything has cracks. There’s no such thing as perfect in this world. There’s always defects when we look for it. Everything in this world is transitory – worn by time.

If for instance, we see a wall blocking the sun, it is through those cracks that the light burst through and illuminate us. It is through imperfections that we learn to appreciate beauty in every form of existence, living or not. Beauty need limitations for it to be manifested.

In saying this, I do not mean that we shouldn’t strive for perfection. We should always try our best. It’s about pushing our boundaries to new heights! Just always note that we humans are finite beings. There’s always limitations here and there. That is our solace.

Also, when we see something imperfect; God wants us not to judge but to perceive deeper, perceiving aspects of beauty hidden under those imperfections.

Grace exist only within the scope of failures.

Sapere Aude!

The Self-Deception of Faith

Faith means that you put complete trust in somebody or someone. This is very much applicable in religion, where you put your faith to God you’re worshiping.

There are set of things to do which will demonstrate your faith to any particular religion. Since I’m a Christian, these would be my share of examples of those chores within my religion(in no particular order) :

  • Having daily Quiet Time
  • Reading and Doing Bible Regularly
  • Being baptized
  • Born-Again
  • Attend weekly Sunday Service
  • Attend prayer meetings
  • Pay tithes regularly
  • Being a member in a local church
  • Serving in a community, be it as a church member or in any social context
  • Attend gospel rally or revivals
  • Celebrate particular religious time, such as Christmas, Easter, Lent or any Saint’s Feasts
  • etc.

Of course, every denomination varies in their practices and the list above is by no means exhaustive. You can add or subtract items in the list above. Certainly, if you are from different creed you will have another item. But my point is that every religion has their share of rituals or things to be crossed-off. You might not have to do all those things, but if you really ignore it, do you really experience the religion?

If you try to put those things in language of logic, those chores would be your Premises and the Conclusion would be that you are a Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu/(nameyourreligionhere)

But if you try to think a bit more critical, do you think that by doing those things will certify that you are a true believer of a particular religion? It might be so, but that also means that it might not be so, right? Nobody knows for sure.

There’s just a fine line between faith and self-deception. A person might flawlessly finish all his/her to-do-list within a religion, and that will show to others that they’re a true adherent of their believer. The person might believe so, too. But, does that make the person a true believer in God’s eye?

It’s like two sides of a coin. He/she might deceive himself, thinking that he/she is a true believer, but can still focus on the religion without par, which won’t make the person a hypocrite. He/she can be an earnest believer too who does not deceive himself and does all the chore gladly, with the same fruits like the one who is deceiving himself/herself. Maybe there’s no such thing as the duality of Faith/Works. If you don’t have one, it can be said that you don’t have the other one too.

All in all, nobody knows for sure. Thankfully, God knows our heart better than ourselves. Our faith does not depend on how well we know ourselves, but on how much God had revealed Himself to us. There’s no use for us mingling too much with our doubt. Trust God. The time will come when He reveals it to us whether our faith is fake or not. Until then, practice your faith fervently. You don’t know how the seeds you’ve sown and shown will influence others.

Sapere Aude!


Have you ever tried cleaning your room, after weeks or months of abandonment? I assume you did, more than once. Piles of dust here and there. It’s just not seemly and right! Not to mention that it may pose a health problem to some people.

When you clean the dust, no matter how infinitesimally small or microscopic they are, you can’t simply destroy or obliterate it. The best you can do to is to vacuum or scoop the dust to a tray and dispose the contents somewhere proper. The best you can do is to remove them.

Try another illustration. I happen to be a schoolteacher and in some occasions, there’s always one or two disruptive students who compromise my classroom when I am teaching. Same principle applies. I can’t just kill the student nonchalantly. That would be a crime! The best I can do is to just remove the student away for a while, and let the class sterilize itself.

How desperate is then, my effort to apply the same principle to my own sin or guilt!!! Moving it to something away from me and let it depose themselves in their degradation. All as a way for me clear my conscience and gain some peace of mind. But no no no no, I can’t!! It’s in my soul!! It’s tower-stacked in the depths of my being and no force known in this world can really move it away.

Some have tried to put it to animals, and sacrificing it as an offering to God, as a form of propitiation. It is a logical step, but then it’s just a symbol. How is it that us humans who can’t bear our own sins then try to delegate it to a lower creature?

That is why I chose to believe in Jesus. He is a God who is willing to bear my sins and my sufferings on that cruel cross. This world was made through Him, and thus only through Him I can understand the world properly. He changed my heart of stone, which was saturated with sin into a heart of flesh, ready to be filled with wonders of His grace. He is the pioneer of my salvation and also the perfecter of my being, until later my presence is worthy of His abode in New Jerusalem.

You may ask then, why He, who is a God would do this?  This despicable act which no man can ever conceive of?

Because He loves me.

Because He loves you.

Because He loves the world.