MLA Basics for a Bible Student at CAJ Using Apple’s Pages

I’m writing this post for a friend who isn’t familiar with MLA format for Bible classes at CAJ, due to the fact that he entered his Junior year in a school where we’ve been practicing MLA since at least middle school, if not earlier.

A template for Pages that has everything of Part One to Four set up. Just open the file and Pages should recognize it as a template.

Part One: Page Setup

First, you need to set up your paper to use A4 so that it doesn’t get fudged up when it’s printed on A4 when your computer’s assuming that it’s printing in US Letter. In Pages, do a (command-shift-p) to bring up this dialog:

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.13.07To keep it in A4, go to System Preferences, Print & Scan, then change the default paper size:

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.17.56That was fun… maybe. Last step for this part: page margins. The MLA standard has rules for margin sizes, with enforcement of the standard depending on the teacher. Might as well play it safe. Bring up the Inspector dialog by either clicking “Inspector” in the toolbar or hitting (command-option-i):

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.22.01Then change the margin settings to 1 inch all over, with half an inch for headers and footers.

Part Two: Name Block and Header

The second part consists of making your paper identifiable by the teacher. This includes your name, teacher’s name, class, and due date. In the header would be your last name and page number of the paper. We can even have Pages set up your date automatically, but I like the control I have manually, so I don’t do that. This is my header:

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.32.37


I have Pages set up to automatically insert page numbers for every page of my paper.

The date standard is (day month year), with the month being spelled out in its entirety, while the date and year are typed out in numbers. Set up the header’s automatic page number insertion like so:

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.41.52


Under the “Insert” menu item, select “Auto Page Numbers.” The following dialog should show up:

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.42.56


Change the settings to account for the MLA standard, with the position being in the header, aligned to the right, then click the big blue “Insert” button.

Part Three: Body

In your paper’s content, the MLA standard wants you to use 12pt Times New Roman. If your paper isn’t already so, change this now. Do the same for the header, as Pages doesn’t adjust the font of your header unless you explicitly tell it to do so.

MLA papers are all double-spaced, meaning that there are huge margins between two lines of text, often so there is space to write notes. Do this in the format bar, where there is a double-arrow line pushing vertically against two parallel lines:

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.49.08


Finally, using the blue sliders in the ruler right below the format bar, move the horizontal bar to the half-inch position—this makes it so that you have a half-inch indentation with each new paragraph.

Part Four: Works Cited

The MLA standard wants you to cite where you get your information on a separate page—which makes sense, as the MLA standard is for academic papers.

Insert a page break, then center the title as “Works Cited.” The indentation style for the works cited page is a bit different—it’s a “hanging indent” where the first line of your citation isn’t indented, while every line after the first is. Do this simply by reversing the sliders from Part Three:

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.55.37


Part Five: Actually Citing the Bible

The most confusing thing about MLA is the citation style, as how you need to cite an article or passage of the Bible changes depending on the context of the article or your paper. For now, let’s stick to citing the Bible.

If you paraphrase a part of the Bible, you don’t need to say the version, only the passage it came from. This, too, is tricky, because you have to

  1. Find the correct abbreviation for the book of the Bible you’re citing
  2. Use periods instead of semicolons for chapter and verse separation

If you’re quoting directly from the Bible and it’s the first time doing so from that version in your paper, you have to cite which version the passage is from in full, which should be italicized. For the second time and onwards, if you’re using the same edition, there is no need to cite the edition, only the book, chapter, and verse(s).

The final product should look something like this:

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 13.00.57That’s it for citing the Bible. Good luck with your paper!


Stream of Consciousness Piece: “Snow”

Preface: in our English class today, we read Emerson’s “Nature.” This is just an exercise that we did that didn’t need to be publicized, but I’m doing it anyway.

It snowed today. Rare in Tokyo. Because of its rarity, the city goes into a seemingly tranquil panic—panicking because it may mess up the orderly life of the city, tranquil because of the beauty of the fluffy snow.

“Take the bus,” says my mother, looking at the snow outside. It is less than an inch thick. The small road leading into our residential area is covered in snow—packed down, threatening to form slippery, potentially life-threatening ice. My father wakes up, takes a look out the window and casually says “there’s no need to take public transportation; just take your bike like usual.” Cautiously, I strap my boots on and test the ground… an inch of snow, it’s nothing. Unlock my bike, and head down the hill in front of our neighbourhood.

The repeated passing of cars’ wheels have melted and pushed aside the snow and now it’s just water. An inch of snow, it’s nothing.

Down to another minor-traffic road and my wheels slip, but I regain balance without my feet contacting the ground. However, a man on his trike falls over. I get off my bike to help him up, yet he says he can take care of himself. Very well, I go on my way.

The rest of the trip was peaceful; the now-slush snow crunching under my tires, the occasional still-snow patch of snow painting my tires white. The melting snow falling off of branches in eraser-sized clumps. 2:30 PM, there is no trace of the snow from this morning.

If God is good and He is all-powerful, why does evil still exist?

I have believed for a while that by writing, I straighten out my thought process. Recently, I’ve been assigned a project in Bible class that involves the post title. So here goes nothing that is possibly everything.

The question “If God is all-powerful and all-good, why is evil allowed to exist in the world?” has been asked countless times throughout history. The question is typically answered so:


a. God is all-powerful but not all-good, allowing evil to occur. 


b. God is all-good but powerless to stop evil. Therefore, He is not all-powerful.

This argument actually seems plausible. Our assurance of God’s all-everything (minus evil 😛 ) is not so assured any more.

Now, there’s an easy counter-argument to the above statements. The account of Noah and his ark show that God cannot tolerate evil—He actually wiped out everything but animals (which are assumed to be sinless) and the “best in His eyes” Noah and his family. After the Flood, God vowed to never destroy the earth in a flood again. That’s when the rainbow was born. Now, that would mean that the nature of water changed to account for the splitting of the visible spectrum, but that’s for another post. What’s important is that God has proven that He can’t stand evil and has the power to wipe it out—although, sadly, it surfaced again soon after the Flood.

Fast forward to Jesus. Jesus came to remove enslavement from sin, yet even the most committed Christians sin. The whole concept of enslavement to sin is still another post, but the point of this is that Jesus didn’t remove man’s sinful nature.

Revelation tells of the coming judgement from God to purge all evil, this time with various things like disease, earthquakes, and fire. Hey, the promise about floods is still kept ;)… am I supposed to be winking?

Alright, so what are we supposed to do in this in-between time? There are humans whose hearts beat for the sole purpose of causing others suffering. It is a natural result of the availability of free choice. Ever since Adam and Eve, free choice has been a factor in every person’s downfall (be it their own choice or another’s). So, if God really wanted to remove all sin, He’d take away man’s ability of free will. Free will, however, also comes with something else: willful worship and love of God. God is completely capable of removing our free will; He’d be left with robots, though, speaking empty words of praise and love with empty, automated acts of service. And unless you’re really messed up in your head, even humans don’t want robot-like love. How much higher would be God’s standards?

The question about the existence of evil and God encompasses so many theological concepts widely and deeply, requiring much more than a simple (is it?) blog post, or even large book, to explain. All I know is that God, who’s been pretty faithful pertaining to His own promises, will eventually purge all evil, but just not yet. It doesn’t help those who are in need and being oppressed by evil, so that’s why Christians are needed in such an in-between period; we are to be God’s agents of prevention of evil and restoration of harmony while spreading His Gospel.

Honestly, the answers seem so simple that I’m lost as to the validity of what I’ve come up with. How easily will a skeptic dismantle my counter-argument, as the whole point of this project is to provide counter-arguments to skeptics?

Who am I? (Part one of a planned four-part post)

The question “Who am I?” is asked every day and we struggle to find the answer every waking hour until our death. What I will be talking about in this is how my life has affected who I am today.

I’ll start off with culture. I’ve lived in two (totally) different countries in my life: Japan and the USA. When I was seven years and four months old, my family moved to Japan. Until then, I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a nice place.

I spent a year in elementary school over there, as well as some time in prep school. My prep school was trilingual: English, Japanese, and Mandarin (primary dialect of China). To be honest, I don’t remember much from there. I do remember that I learned how to tie shoelaces and write cursive (which I have since pretty much forgotten,) as well as attempt to learn some Mandarin. My attempt at learning Mandarin was my first exposure to Chinese writing, which eventually helped me when I went back to Japan. I remember seeing only one kanji: “smoke.” How that is influential, I do not know. It may be that from that age, since I did not actively write kanji that I can only seem to read it today.

I hardly recall primary school. The strongest memory is of how since I and another kid, Sean, were always troublemakers, the teacher made “was I good today?” sheets. At the end of the day, we would get stamps if we were good. Nowadays I get suspension if I’m bad 😛 .

Back to Japan. Because the school systems are different between Japan and the US, I had to go through about 2/3 of first grade again. In Japan, school begins in April, a time that generally implies the beginnings of things, between spring and the sakura that are usually in full bloom then. On the other hand, American schools start in August, for a reason that I do not know exactly. My only guess is that it is agriculture-related.

Anyway, because of the difference in school systems, I graduate 12th grade at age 19. That overlap, however, probably shouldn’t be perceived as a bad thing. When I entered Japanese school, it was the beginning of the second trimester. It was then that the Japanese school started teaching kanji. Because they started at a more beginner level, I could build my foundation of reading kanji. To be noted, also, is that because my mother is Japanese, she as well as my teacher  in prep school, Koji-sensei, was teaching me Japanese. So even though I don’t remember, I was fairly fluent in basic Japanese at a seven-year-old level. My mother spoke of me sometimes ‘translating’ for her at stores even though she was speaking English because I thought she was speaking Japanese (in actuality, I was just repeating.) Sorry. Back on track.

Because I was a transfer student, foreigner, bigger than average for my age (Japanese kids are TINY), and my general lack of cultural understanding, I was bullied. Japan is a very hierarchical society.  Lacking cultural knowlege, I didn’t comply to my senpai‘s (those superior to you only in age) requests/demands that I do something. Their logic because of the culture was that because I was a kouhai (inferior in age) I was supposed to obey everything they said. Not knowing that, my natural response was “Pshh, why should I?” Naturally, not conforming, I was treated like the old Japanese saying: “The nail that sticks out will be pounded down.” I don’t remember the exact flow of things, but things usually ended up being my fault. I was talked down on, and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I would mildly beat up the kids. I did pull a Mike Tyson once, too, albeit not completely.

My life in primary school continued like this until I was in 5th grade. In 5th grade my family decided for me to go to an international school on the outskirts of Tokyo. However, since this international school had the same system as American schools, I had a 4-month gap of idleness. My family and I went to America and had an extended break-ish thing.

I have a mix of American and Japanese culture, and I can transition between either of them at any time. How I am culturally affects my personality, and how I share my faith, and also how I think about my faith. Actually, it affects how I think and behave about everything. My culturural experiences are my foundation for everything in my life.

In that time in America, I rediscovered my original culture in people’s hospitality and openness to many things, and I wasn’t treated worse just because I was younger. I was treated for who I was and what I said, no my age.

My cultures started clashing. And after their clash, they resulted in something beautiful.

I’ll talk about that more in my next part, my personality or temperament.