Outward change through inward effort

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. -John 1:12-13 

Dear members and friends,

Being a Daoist, one thing that has been true to me is that there is no such thing as an absolute standard by which to measure life and the world. Often, when we learn things and matters, we take them from books and words of people that are products of human minds. As a Daoist, I was encouraged to look into nature and learn lessons about what it is and how it is without human projections and prejudices. Indeed, nature nurtures all in its own way and in its own time. In nature, an elephant is not necessarily more important than an ant due to its size. In its own way, nature includes all beings as they are without a system of values and prejudices.  

One reflection of mine during this unprecedented challenging time has been observing that we humans seem to have a strong tendency to divide and analyze things and matters according to a system of values that were created and taught by the society where we were raised. There is one fundamental problem with any value in any given human society: it is created by its own members, and thus true to its own members. Therefore, no one group or one society could claim the absolute standard of measure that should be applied to all other societies. The truth has been and still is that all humans are unique beings, and thus think and process things and matters differently. Sadly, there is no fast way to resolve all our problems. The sure way is to listen to each other with patience, and understand each other with empathy. This will take a long time and persistent effort, but eventually will result in a peaceful resolution.  

I am hearing many shouts of people regarding safety, health concerns, anti-racism and social justice. Yet, one truth to making a real change in life is that knowing must become living; not by any outward act, but by an inward effort. This teaching of Jesus comes to my heart very strongly, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee