Reclaiming Joy

I have noticed a recurring theme in my life that was only recently brought to light by a question asked by my mom when I was back home from college for a couple weeks this summer. I had only been back for a couple days but my mind had already began struggling with all that I was able to avoid while preoccupied with a full-time job and enjoying life in a college town absent of the college students that tend to overwhelm it. The myriad of problems that were upon me as I was entering perhaps one of the most crucial times of my life were only magnified now that I had the time and the isolation to dwell upon those dilemmas I had set to simmer on the back-burner all summer.

Book Club Boredom

Scripture really gets lost in the weeds sometimes. I remember reading the Bible as young kid and not understanding a bit of it and wondering why we had so many copies of this dumb fiction book. But now, I read the same passages and literally get goosebumps and have my heart tingle over the joy I feel. This definitely happened with Acts 3 today. 

Learning from Locals

When in Osaka, I did not know how to react to the bikes. They were everywhere. I had never seen so many bikes in a city. On top of the congestion, there was no pattern to the bike movements. They were everywhere, on both sides of the sidewalk. So I had to fight my way and listen for the faint “ding-ding”. There were many dirty looks given to me during those seven days.

True Community

When I went home for the first time in over 8 months for a couple weeks this summer I had the opportunity to meet with several different close friends and mentors in various coffee shops, restaurants, and even a woodland hike to catch up with all that has been going on with life. Due to the fact that I attend school about 2700 miles from my hometown, communication with those who were a significant part of my life is often sporadic with great gaps of time between each conversation. 

Craving Holiness

I think the main issue I encountered in my reading of the Old Testament was largely a result of the narrow lens with which I viewed it. In almost every chapter I immediately focused my attention on the commandments, the rules, and the unnecessarily detailed explanations for sacrifices. In my ignorance, the Old Testament became a rule-book speckled with some exciting stories surely written-in to try and hold the rabbi's attention. The thematic statement of the Old Testament soon began to reflect for me what I feel many people outside of the church tend to think of Christianity: a religion ruled by an oppressive and angry God who demands perfection through compliance with a list of equally oppressive rules.

Humble Child, Gracious Father.

When my dad prays or talks about God, there is a certain quietness about him, a stillness I don't think I have ever truly experienced. When he prays, I picture the people throughout the Bible that fell to their faces when they encountered God. There is just a complete submissiveness and humility he conveys when he is talking to God. I remember several times growing up, and even when I'm home on break, when the Channita family is gathered around the dinner table and he would pray for the food. It was a prayer I had heard probably hundreds of times and behind closed eyelids, my eyes would roll in my spiritual smugness and prideful piety. It was just another prayer to me. But I firmly believe it was never, and will never be, just another prayer for my dad.

Finite Hands in an Infinite Calling

I think I am obsessed with the idea of what's coming up next. I definitely view life as a succession of goals. I think of it as either semesters, or years, or stages of life like going to school or getting married. Now this probably is not radically different from you. I think we all, in at least one way or another, view life as steps. This partly by design. God created time, an item He has always existed without, just for us to live and breath in. No matter how much we want to twist time, we are engrained with it. 

Quick to Remember, Slow to Forget

We, as humans, possess great memories. Some better than others, but still, we are able to remember what we want. If you are like me, I have the impeccable ability to remember other’s faults. I admit it is not my most fabulous trait. The trait becomes useful when I want to remind friends of how bad they are or how much better I am. This character flaw in me is something people have always dealt with, even in the emergence of the Church. 

A Trinitarian Identity

When people tell others to "find their identity in Christ," it seems, at least to me, to be devoid of a correct Trinitarian theology. Is Jesus, the second member of the Triune God, the ONLY person we have identity in? If so, that is heretical according to the formulations of Christian tradition about their so called Triune God. And dare I say, is it not a very weak understanding of identity for Christians?