My way.

I’m gonna do it my f- way.

Because I have to live with the f- consequences.

And I’m stupid enough that I need to experience the difficulties of my f- decisions, twice or thrice, before I f- learn.

Don’t give me the holy advice. It’s all c- to me. S-. Can I say that?

When it comes to something personal.

But then how do I live with the two sides of myself. Just beat it huh. Like Paul said, I beat myself to stay in the race. S-, my mom is right. F- I hate it when she’s right.

Forever Thankful

I’ve come to a realization recently. I’ve settled in Michigan better than I have anywhere else in the world. Well maybe excluding childhood years when you don’t really know how to settle but you don’t even know you’re supposed to settle/resettle/unsettle. (And I think a big part of that is that when I came here, I decided to settle. I was here to stay. To live. To take root. I bought a substantial dining set, I got involved, I loved, I lived, I laughed. And that let me let life and let live and let go… Anyhoo)

The past two+ years that I have been in Michigan have been the best in my life. And that’s the way it should be. Each year the best of your life until now. Until now. Until now. I’ve made amazing friends. I’ve met amazing people. I’ve gone to amazing restaurants, and had amazing experiences. It’s been an all-round-amazing-time.

That’s not to say that I’ve not had the downs. The downs have been FREAKIN’ down. It’s been really hard. Dealing with H and then S. And even being diagnosed with a disease that plagues my body, and thus my soul.

But I am so grateful for the past two years of my life, for the laughs.

It’s not been a totally not-lonely journey. It’s definitely been lonely at times. When I spent days by myself. When I was sick and didn’t want to tell anyone. I wanted the world to know and take care of me but didn’t quite know how to get the word out there except on social media. But what does that do, it’s like a bunch of thumbs up to a starving child in Africa. Thumbs up ain’t getting me nowhere. But someone did come out and take care of me. Gave me food, gave me strength, gave me courage.

I am so grateful to B, C, C, C, E, F, J, J, J, J, K, K, M, M, M, R, S, S, S, S. Regardless of how it ended. And probably a few, or maybe many many more.

And most of all I’m so thankful that God sent me here to meet these people who are now my intercessors.

I don’t know how I’m going to deal with leaving this behind. How I’ll keep in touch with all of my beloveds. The way life is, we move on. And though right now I don’t really want to… when it’s time, it’s time.

I did not fall in love with a Man the way my family had hoped. But I did fall in love with Michigan.

Celebrate

A couple months ago, my last remaining grandparent went to be with the Lord. Even though we all knew it was coming, relatively soon, it was still a surprise. The funeral was a beautiful service held at a place called the Sky Chapel, where with the way the light hits the glass and the angles of the beams, it really looks like someone could be lifted up to heaven from the earth. When my family all met together the day before the funeral, I expected my mother to need a lot of support but she said that she was okay, and that although she was sad, she was happy that grandma went to be with the Lord. Believing things on face value, I took that as that. But during and after the funeral I was able to witness her saying goodbye to her mother for the last time, a scene that I will never forget and breaks my heart whenever I think of it. But where I really saw what God intended for us, for humans, not only to celebrate the life of those who have passed but to celebrate our presence together and our physical and mental capacity to be able to serve God.

I’m still trying to marry the disconnects. Some will be connected, others will remain forever in limbo. And while that’s frustrating, I know it’s OK.

Sunday Worship Experience 1

Throughout the next few weeks, months, and maybe even years, God knows, I want to keep a record of the churches that I visit and take a few notes of what I noticed, what I left an impression, things that I have reflected on about the worship service. This is the rare opportunity I have, that many pastors wish they could have, to worship in different places and spaces and truly worship. Among, and maybe even anonymously. There’s something beautiful about having a community you belong to and God has entrusted to you to be their shepherd. And there’s something powerful about going to a conference and worshiping among 100, maybe even 1000 other pastors. But then there’s something about being anonymous. There’s also something about experiencing worship in different spaces, different churches, traditions, etc. So! Without further ado~

Today I worshiped at First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Not at one of their three main worship services, 8, 9:30, or 11. But at the 7:07pm service geared towards campus folk. Or the otherwise nontraditional folk? Not sure of its entire ethos but it seems that it’s the people who don’t really have a desire to be in church on Sunday morning in its rigid structure. Such as the 8am service which is filled with congregants who have been at the church for decades and receive communion weekly.

Anyways, I will be honest and say one of the reasons I went to this worship was because I did not quite get up in time for the service I intended to go to at Brightmoor. Side note: make sure I am in bed earlier than I have been with Sunday responsibilities because no-responsibilities means I am a lazy nelly and often will not make it to Sunday morning service. Anyways  quick search for Sunday evening services did not help me find other churches closer. But I am glad I went. It is a service I have been meaning to go to and it opened up a small world of churches that I hadn’t really thought about going to. I.e. friends’ churches.

So now to the worship service, it was pretty casual… While the musician was certainly talented, there was not a lot of other talent to back it up. However it still worked fine. I think a big part of it had to do with the fact that half the congregation was familiar with the songs and could push it onward, as well as the accompaniment. Also it was impressive to me that even the not talented was used as more than capable people. In other words, the soloist did not have the most beautiful voice, but seriously her heart in her willingness to serve was beautiful. And that covered a multitude of ‘errors’. And just like Martin Tel, the musician explained some of the songs and how we would sing it, the background etc, right in the middle of service, and that was totally cool too.

My favorite thing was honestly when my friend Rev. Lal welcomed us all to remember our baptism by slowly pouring a full pitcher of water from a clear pitcher into a clear bowl; the whole darn pitcher, while he was talking. I was always slightly bugged by the fact that we never fully emptied out the jug during communion, and other times when we pour things out of a jug/pitcher, whatever. And then later towards the end as he invited us to share the peace of Christ, the way he explained it and then dunked his hand into the water so naturally but loudly, was awesome. I realize these are aesthetic things but it really appealed to me.

The atmosphere was very casual, and while there was a definite order to things, and in fact it was printed out on the bulletin, it did not feel rigid or too structured. Just that people knew where it was going next. And even the interruption of the flow by the two people who had long-a announcements about something, it did not feel entirely unnatural. Yet there was no liturgist or leader, just people that came up and did their thing. But SOME flow was kept in that Lal was a consistent presence, beginning, middle, and end.

One thing that I think could have enhanced the experience was some order in the communion. As in how we went up and took communion. Once again, an aesthetical thing but something I noticed. It didn’t really ‘hurt’ since this was what, 20-30 people but if it was much more than that, I can see how it would have been greatly advantageous to have a flow to how communion was taken – into the middle then out the outer aisles, or something like that.

Renée preached straight from memory as opposed to any kind of notes or script. And maybe that only works for this kind of congregation or this kind of sermon. Or maybe just a particular person? Dunno.
Modernize story with a personal twist, retell story, 반전 of what we think, challenge to 반전 our thinking.

So anyways, I’m thinking about making this worship my regular Sunday nights? We’ll see.

So some commitments I have decided to make today for my ‘sabbatical’

1. On Saturday nights, home before 10:30pm and bed before midnight. Sleep before 1am.
2. Sunday morning worship is a must.
3. I will write these reports with each worship service.

Chapter 4

If my life were a series of chapters, today would be the start of chapter 4. Or maybe the end of chapter 3. 

Chapter 1: 1984-2003
Chapter 2: 2003-2009
Chapter 3: 2009-2014
Chapter 4: 2014-?

Whatever the case I close this chapter. Some characters move forward, some characters stay behind. Some characters will be reintroduced in future chapters. And then there are some that straggle for a bit before they disappear into the abyss, having completed its role in the main character’s life.

Just like in any book, you never really know who the characters that stay with the main character until the end is until the end. So God, author of my book, of my life, help me to be open to your movement and your pen stroke. 

Genera Assembly / Seminary

GA is a bit like seminary.

Most people know what’s going on. 

And those who don’t, keep quiet.

Then there are the few who need to say everything they think.

Thank God for twitter. It gets out but doesn’t always disrupt flow.

What if we tweeted our response to classes? I wonder what that would look like. 

  1. Instead of reflecting in 300 words, just 144 characters.

30

I’m 30.

Shit.

 

And all I can think about is: what an idiot he is.