Restoration & Starting Over

IMG_7736.JPGWhen we first moved into our apartment, a lovely couple from our new church gave us this beautiful pot of flowers outside our front door. I was so touched and felt especially welcomed by this gift. I genuinely appreciated these flowers and yet in the busyness off unpacking and settling in, I could not for the life of me remember to water these flowers. And so, in the Santa Barbara warmth, this beautiful pot of flowers promptly died after about a week. Sadly, I still kept this pot, full of dead flowers, outside our door for at least a month and a half. For some reason, I held on to this crazy idea that one day I’d take the time to try and rehabilitate them, but I never seemed to get around to it. Then, in mid-September, I was given a packet of wildflower seeds. As soon as I saw the seeds, I knew that I wanted to plant them in the pot outside our front door. And so, a few days later, I finally decided to examine the poor pot of flowers that I had previously neglected for over a month.
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Rust and Moth

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 »

Pieces of Eden

Hawaii is often described as a paradise. It is a place that attracts millions of people each year to revel in its beauty and be lost in its grandeur. After experiencing Hawaii for the first time with my wife, I am inclined to agree with the perception. It was truly a beautiful place. There were a number of times when the landscape, the food, the wildlife took my breath away. Hawaii, for me, was certainly an experience in paradise. Read More »

In the Midst

Scars tell stories. They tell the stories of deep struggle. They show the wounds of hardships and the agony of the fight. Scars tell stories of skirmishes that leave us bloodied, beaten and broken. We see scars as marks of struggle, but when enough time has passed, we forget the hardships that caused them and celebrate the stories they tell. We glorify the outcome, forgetting the struggle that caused them. Let me share with you one of my scars. This particular scar is still an open wound, but I hope that one day, I’ll be able to look back at it knowing that it was worth the pain. Read More »

Losing (and finding) Hope

It has now been one month since my grandma passed away. Even now, I still find it difficult to describe the loss of a loved one. I have not had much experience with death, at least not this close, so most of this is new to me. In many ways it still feels surreal. Her passing was not entirely unexpected, and yet it happened sooner than any of us had anticipated.

You see she had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks already and through various ups and down, we kept careful watch, patiently waiting for even the slightest indication of progress. We clung to these moments as beacons of hope and thought perhaps it was just a matter of time. Sure progress was slow, but I kept believing my grandma would get better. The possibility that she wouldn’t ever make it home had never even crossed my mind.
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The (un)Persecuted Church

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 »

Resistance & Peacemaking

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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Trump’s Wall and Christ’s Curtain

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 »

A Desire to Dialogue

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. 

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Crazy Love

I recently got done reading through Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The book itself was an excellent read because it made me wrestle with the idea that God is so crazy in love with humanity that he was willing to sacrifice His only son for our sakes. Now, that seems like the cheesy Sunday school answer, but hear me out.

Why it is so crazy is because it is hard for us to grasp how much love that God truly showed when Christ died on the cross. I’m sure you have heard the saying “people do crazy things when they are in love.” It is no different with God. God did something that was unprecedented, unexpected, and underserved to provide a way for reconciliation to happen. That reconciliation, provided a way for humanity, who had walked away from God, to find their way back to their creator.Read More »