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Economics of the Obedience: Incentives are not the Gospel May 10, 2013

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Here is a video excerpt from Freakanomics that is an illustration of our relationship with God. We want incentives and in that, we think we are creating intimacy through obedience but rather it doesn’t the opposite. It creates a transactional dynamic that keeps us very far from God. Incentives are a poor way of gaining obedience. It creates a sinful heart.

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Entering In and Coming Out March 26, 2013

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Today was a monumental day as the Supreme Court has met together to weigh the issue of same-sex marriage. In the fray, there has been a variety of voices, some of it is motley while others are thoughtful and engaged.But there is little doubt that one can stay neutral as the bearings of the issue take shape. But there has been some that I have found to be helpful in their measured voices as well as their stance on such an important issue that will have implications of a generation of church leaders.

I found this “Open Letter to the Church from a Lesbian” that was a call to the church to weigh in on our stance inside the walls of the church. I found a great counter voice by Voddie Bauchum called “Gay is not the New Black” and a great article on Tim Keller’s recent talk at Ethics and Public Policy Center. I particularly liked Dr. Keller’s reference to  Jonathan Rauch’s Advocate article, “Majority Report“; where Rauch makes a call to the larger Gay Movement to create space for unconvinced opponents to openly reason together.

As with all issues, it is not simply a doctrine for us to espouse but to know that what we stand for will ultimately affect people, especially children who are currently are part of families of same sex couples, for friends of those who love their gay friends and family members, and for those in ministry where they need to navigate a landmine of emotions and histories of such sensitive hurts. It is my hope that we traverse with a boldness to the truth of the gospel as it confronts us with our rebellion towards God as well as comfort us with beauty of receiving grace when we repent.

I pray for wisdom and reconciliation on both sides and meet at foot of the cross where mercy and sacrifice is laid before us. Especially during this season of Lent, where we find our homecoming availed because of the death and life of Christ.

Doing the Wrong Thing December 22, 2012

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“You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If however, you want to look at stars, you will find that darkness is required. The stars neither require it nor demand it.” —Annie Dillard

When faced with the unspeakable tragedies like that of Sandy Hook Elementary, we are struck with a variety of voices and it is the ones who strike deepest for me are those posed by those who are directly and deeply affected. Then there are those who are on the periphery who are deeply impacted with great empathy and reach out to a suffering community. Then there the cacophony of voices who seem so removed they use the occasion to either inspire or bring a decline in thoughtful discussion who God is in the midst of tragedy.

What we think and believe about God really matters. Because in what we think and believe about God will give us a framework of how we confront such profound and difficult questions. It affects us all. No single person is immune to it. (more…)

42st August 20, 2012

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42st

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 18, 2010

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here is a quote that has resonated while I was in social ministry. It still moves me today what could be possible for the church.

“In deep disappointment, I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church; I love her sacred walls. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson, and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But oh! how we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and fear of being non-conformists.”

Living Faith Community Church Coffeehouse w/ Jinny Kim (Saturday, December 19th) December 9, 2009

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We are excited for our church’s youth group for our first coffeehouse featuring recording artist Jinny Kim. I will give a short message reflecting on Christmas and the wonder, the perplexity, and the hope in the arrival of this little child Jesus. The LFCC youth group will perform as well special guest Kimberly Mendoza (she is an amazing aspiring star) and musical prodigy Adam Sue.

Details are above, I hope you can come and invite friends!

Shakespeare on Mercy June 23, 2009

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stumbled upon this on a friend’s facebook wall

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

-Portia
“The Merchant of Venice”

Chinese New Year Mourning January 27, 2009

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how i miss these days

how i miss these days

 

It is the year of the ox and as I walked the streets of Chinatown, I watched the cleaning crew sweep up the multi-colored confetti. I watched tourist swarm around corners with their guides pointing at destinations yet to have been arrived. I walked and there is such a feeling of loss of this tradition in New York City. When I grew up, we were able to celebrate with fire crackers. for the most part, this section of the world was ours. my family and those other chinese people who shared something with each other. i remember watching with excitement as the dragon danced closer to me and I would hold my ears as the firecrackers exploded just inches from my feet. feeling exhilarated from being so close to danger. being engulfed in the sea of red collateral firecrackers. 

now, chinatown is so different. there are still dragon dances but mostly by non-Chinese youth. the firecrackers are replaces by these air pumped confetti makers, there are just as many people from Ohio as there are Chinese people, the restaurants are now filled with more people wanting General Tso’s instead of jelly fish. 

Chinatown was formed as an ethnic ghetto but when I was a child, it was a haven for me. To being able to have place where i am not “the other.” it was a place where i was reminded that i wasn’t alone. that when i saw other kids, we understood something. there was something about those unhurried Sunday’s when i entered this world. a world that i barely recognize anymore.

a response to “how to stump an anti-abortionist with one question.” January 22, 2009

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ba_abortion3211

I came across this entry by one of my most visited blogs “unreasonable faith” and it really required me to respond on his newest entry called “how to stump an anti-abortionist with one question.” I thought it is unfortunate that for so many of us, we want to have the question that stumps instead of engage the conversation. We want to be winners of arguments instead of moving towards really engaging each other and mutually growing together. I think this is the fault of both sides…leaving both of us isolated and preaching to the converted. Here is my response that I posted:

 

thank you for pointing this out and in some reflection I think that the question you pose is so reasonable and affords us as a community to think through. I think that the language in the abortion debate has been unfortunate in its divisiveness. Words like murder and killing mutes the conversation to pervasive silences. I do think we have a long way for us to transform the conversation to look at the value of life include those who are unborn. what troubles me is that the women’s choice movement is not about choice but about one choice–abortion. I think that in reality it curtails choice because of the burden of having a child in our country is tremendous and instead of reframing the conversation on how can we as a society provide options for women and families to bring a child to term. I think that life in essence is filled with incredible value and we should wrestle together on this issue. But to just try to get people in these video situations to get a laugh or to point out a fallacy as an ends is narrow and mean spirited. I think that we have to take it further and think about this issue. One question in response is “how would feel if your mother had an abortion of you?” I think we often don’t think of the possibilities of an unborn is and when we ponder on this question it makes us pause that each of us have a life to be worth living and life is a miracle. Life is what God has provided for us to unveil the splendors of His creation, of our invitation to fellowship with Him and with one another. To move us from self centered worship to worship the one that prevails over the brokenness that is evident…but not without the promise of hope. Of redemption.

Lastly, I do think that as an evangelical community need to examine our true commitment to sanctity of all life. Including those who are being massacred around the world. For us to engage with issues of poverty, AIDS, and war. We often focus so much of our rhetoric around abortion but not committing ourselves to a larger pursuit of bringing value to life.

I do want to thank you for your words and your blog, it has encouraged me and made me (re)think my faith and what I believe.

Rick Warren’s Prayer January 21, 2009

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rickwarren
Yes, I have my issues with the big man but I have to say that his prayer at the inaugural was awesome…and to end it with the Lord’s Prayer just clinched it. Thank you brother Rick Warren: 
Almighty God — our Father. Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story. The Scripture tells us, ‘Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.’ And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.
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