First of all, I want to apologize for being MIA the past six weeks. Long story short, the past six weeks have been filled with my wife and I receiving and accepting a call to ministry at a church in Southern California. That means we both had to end our jobs in Oakland, pack everything that we own (which was more than we anticipated), say heartfelt goodbyes to friends and loved ones, drive 500 hundred miles to Goleta, CA, unpack everything that we own (which we have yet to finish) and start work in a new church community. Needless to say, we have been absolutely swamped the past few weeks. Moving has a tendency to take over your life, so my wife and I have not had a lot of time to process things, let alone sit and write a blog post. Read More »
It seems inevitable that every Christmas there is some outrage about people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” This “war on Christmas” has been happening for as long as I remember. Keeping Christ in Christmas seems to be the mantra of Christians during the months of November and December. This must be modern persecution right? Absolutely not. Read More »
Ok. Take a deep breath. (Perhaps this is more a reminder for myself than for you, the reader, but I encourage you to do so nonetheless). It has now been a week since Donald Trump was elected to become the next president of the United States and as the flood of immediate reactions has simmered down, I find that I am finally in a place to express a few thoughts that have been stewing in my mind over the past week – not just in response to the election, but even more importantly in response to people’s reactions.
Now, before I begin, let me just say that politics has never been my favorite topic. I always disliked how worked up I would get or how divisive it felt having to choose sides on issues when the options at hand rarely accounted for nuance and personal experience. And yet, somehow, I let myself get sucked in this time. I think I justified it at first by reminding myself that I needed to be informed and wanted to engage in social issues and that I had a responsibility to take my vote seriously, etc. And yes, those are all good things, but now that the election is over, I realized that despite my best efforts, I was unable to make it through this election season unscathed by the drama, the overgeneralized opinions and the continued polarization that has increased division in this country.
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In many respects, this blog post has been on my mind for months. There has been many things said by both Presidential candidates that reflect poorly upon not only Americans, but Christians as well. I believe that Donald Trump’s plan to build a U.S./Mexico border wall is inherently opposed to his claims of being an Evangelical Christian. My assertion is this; it is impossible to be a follower of Christ and support the separation of the very people we are called to love as ourselves. Advocating for a wall to be built and praising God with the same tongue are mutually exclusive. Read More »
I grew up privileged. There, I said it. Even though I have a mixed background from both my mom and dad’s side of the family, I grew up with a fair complexion. I passed as white my entire life. It has not been until recently that I have realized how deep that privilege is engrained into my identity. What I mean is that the color of my skin has never been the cause for the cops to pull me over. The color of my eyes and type of hair I have never caused a store owner to watch me suspiciously while I shop. I have never been told to go back to where I came from and I have never been told that I am less American than others. My privilege has allowed me to avoid much of the hatred slung at people of color, women, immigrants, etc. In her last post, my wife spoke of the need to continue the conversation about race. This is my effort to wrestle with my own privilege and bring awareness to the way people of color are treated in the United States. Read More »
I must be honest. I have been hesitant to write this post for many reasons. First of all, I am neither black nor white. So I was wary of entering into a conversation where my perspective and understanding of people’s experiences is rather limited. However, I came to realize that while the #blacklivesmatter movement has been the focal point of racial tension in the U.S. to day, the responsibility of learning how to better navigate race relations is on all of us. We (society as a whole) cannot reduce to simply a black issue or a police issue. It is a societal issue. And we must each take individual responsibility for how we shape the society and culture around us.
Every year, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics play each other in what is known as “the Bay Bridge Series.” This series brings with it local bragging rights as well as great trash talking between both fan bases. I had the privilege of going to the last game of the series with three good friends. Two of these friends happened to be Giants fans, and I noticed something about the way we talked all throughout the game that made me think about how baseball seems to be more civilized than our political parties.
Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “Bully Pulpit” to describe how influential the White House could be in advocating a sociopolitical agenda. When he coined the term, however, the phrase “bully” had a different meaning than it does today. To call it a Bully Pulpit meant that it was a good platform to project an agenda. Remember the term “bully for you”? During the time of Roosevelt, it would have meant “good for you.” All that to say, when Theodore Roosevelt called the White House a “Bully Pulpit,” he meant it to be a positive thing to further ideas and agendas in American society. Read More »
In the past month or so, I have had the amazing opportunity to attend a couple of different lectures. One was on Violence in the Old Testament (a topic which I have often had trouble with) and the other on Using Privilege & Power for Justice. Both of these events triggered a side of me that I haven’t seen much of in the four years since I graduated from college. This surprised me for a couple of reasons. Not only is it hard for me to believe that it really has been four years since I graduated, but I was surprised by how fired up these lectures got me. I mean, really fired up. Sure, those who know me know that I love nerding out on a variety of topics (especially religion/theology in conjunction with social justice), but I feel like these two events triggered something else that I am still trying to process. Perhaps the best way to describe what I am feeling a is deep desire to dialogue.
Lately, I’ve been feeling rather unsettled – or perhaps anxious is a better word for it. It’s like I haven’t been able to breathe deeply. In fact, there are moments when I catch myself unknowingly holding my breath, like I’ve forgotten how to breathe, just for a moment. It’s as if I’m anticipating something, but uncertain of what it is or if it’s good or bad or both. All I know is that I can feel change coming, or perhaps it’s already happening, and it terrifies me. It’s like when you’re standing on a beach near the shore with your feet sunk in the sand, waiting for the next wave to come and crash around your ankles, but you see the wave coming from a distance and it seems to be growing, and for a split second you consider running away because this wave looks like it’s going to be a lot bigger than the last one. So here I am, caught in that split second, holding my breath, anticipating the next wave of change and uncertainty to come crashing over me.
Part of me just wants to run away and hide. But another part of me knows that I must stay.
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