A Mother’s Love

It hit me today that my mother loves God more than me.
I mean, I guess I always knew.
But theory and reality are two different, too different.

Something Awesome

I can’t say that everyday is all rainbows and unicorns, tiaras and marshmallows.

But I can say working in a predominantly white church, is kind of… awesome.

Not because of the people, who are indeed awesome.

Not because of the work, which is indeed awesome. sometimes.

Not because of the office, which is indeed fantabulous.

Not because of the budget, location, or any of the gazillion things that are part of working in a church.

But because of the abundance of resources out there that has been written for this specific context. Yeah, sure there are tweaks that have to be made because of size, culture, preferences etc… And then whatever I can’t find, there are so many people there that I have direct and indirect access to that while not acknowledged as leading professionals in the field, are actually really knowledgeable and give great advice and ideas from their own experience. Or not.

Serving in this church I knew would be a different kind of difficult. But something that I never anticipated was that I would be able to tap into an entirely different peer group that has existed throughout my years in ministry but has rarely been relevant.

Admittedly, more often than not when I ask questions the responses are not helpful. Sadly. However, the existence of a peer group, no matter how VR it is has been something that has been ‘saving grace’ for me amidst this seemingly difficult situation. And admittedly, this is not exclusive to predominantly white churches. But relevant to me.

31

One of the ‘dangers’ of having a birthday early in the month is that it doesn’t feel that close until it’s May, and then boom it’s my birthday in a few days. But I spent a good chunk of today alt-tabbing into my calendar and realized, oh shizzle – there’s only one more Thursday til my birthday.

So I take a moment out of my day and ponder.

Is 31 is one of those birthdays that just simply passes by?

I remember someone saying to me that turning 31 was harder than 30. It was like they really hit the 30s, they were no longer barely 30, they were IN their 30s.

Turning 30 was, not really a big deal but I made sure I made it a big deal for myself. Knowing me, knowing who I am, knowing what tendencies I have… I made sure. That I had a bash, I had a trip, I had a present, I pampered me. And I had no regrets. That’s not true, there was an unfortunate day that I spent with an unfortunate person. But even that I suppose I have no regrets. It took me to see people I love.

But can I pass my birthday gently by without a fuss and still be living in contentment knowing… that it’s okay?

I wonder.

And Moey, if you’re reading this, it’s your birthday soon too.

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. -1 Cor 12:27

I’ve thought about it. I’ve preached on it. I’ve sung about it. I’ve meditated on it. I’ve done just about everything I could about this passage. I’ve even lived it. I play the role of a finger, or a toe, or an ear, or a mouth… in various places, various roles. In various walks of life, various responsibilities.

But today, today when my butt hurts like something I don’t want to say, I really feel it deep in my bowels what it means to be a part of the body. Because that one part of my body, that is often over looked, but so important in sitting and in pooping, and when I was a kid, taking my temperature (probably, I have no recollection) and medication at times as well. All of this to say, who knew how important that one part of the body is. Yes, it is for some people, some people are just attracted to that part of the body, but it does absolutely nothing for me.

Besides the point. When my head hurts, I really can’t do much until I take care of that, when my finger hurts, I just deal with it until the pain either goes away or it needs emergency attention. It all depends on the part of the body, the function it has in that particular time. Etc. How I ‘take care of it’ or ‘deal with it’ is different.

Who wudda thunk that my butt is like the sound card of the computer. You don’t realize how important it is until it’s malfunctioning.

So what role do I play in this Christian community that I am currently in. That I am currently called to love and serve. What do I do to make myself what God has called me to be here and now in this place? Am I a hand, an ankle, a knee, a shoulder… I’m mentioning a lot of joints… Is that something? Am I a bridge between x and y? Do I have to be that wherever I go?

Arlington. Twin Cities. Korea.

Over the past few months I’ve come across a few people who have commented that when I (and others) refer to South Korea, Republic of Korea, the country I’m from (or am I… dun dun dun)… I always say Korea, as do most others. And this has been ruminating in my mind for a while… Is it imperialistic of me to say Korea, and presume that everyone knows and understands that when I say Korea it means South Korea? Or do I even specifically mean South Korea? After all, North and South Korea are one people ruled by two drastically different governments. When we are unified, will we be ‘Unified Korea’? Or will we still just be Korea. Does that imply something about North Koreans losing their identity? Gosh this is a whole mess of I don’t know-ness.

I think something I could compare it to is what comes to mind when I say Arlington? For me for some reason it’s always been Arlington, VA. But I have come across many people who talk about Arlington and it’s the Arlington they’re most close to. Arlington, MA. Arlington, TX. Arlington, MI. But for whatever reason Arlington is not always followed by the state one is referring to. I suppose it is the same with other many other towns and cities.

But on the other hand when you say you are from London, people automatically presume you mean London, England and not from London, Ontario in Canada. When you say you are from Paris, people automatically presume you mean Paris, France and not Paris, TX. When you say you are from the Twin Cities, people tend to think of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota, even though my little towns of Texarkana Arkansas and Texarkana Texas are also twin cities, as are Kansas City MO and KS. What does this imply?

I know I’m reading too much into this, but as I start to parse this out as to what it means for society, for the people who live there and for those who are outside, as well as what this means for me… I cannot help but think that there are some inherent things that shape the way we think, the way we talk, the way we… are.

Just like how there is a Korean word for ‘different’ but most of the time people use the word ‘wrong’ in place of ‘different’ and that is how Koreans tend to think. If you think ‘differently’ to me, then you are ‘wrong’ you are ‘incorrect.’

What does it mean when we presume that identity on them (whoever those who live there, are from there, are from the other larger/more widely known/referred to place, and others)? That Korea is South Korea, that Arlington is in Virginia, and that London is in England.

And then I wonder, would this matter to me if I wasn’t a TCK and all messed up inside my head about my cultural identity?

Swelling Heart

I’ve been here all of maybe 5 days. And I know the beginning, while rough, is always good. But I can’t help but just love where I am. Tbh, I had a real… gaurdedness about coming here. Far away from most things I know and love. But it’s growing on me the way that only God can make something move in your heart to love and appreciate the things here. Even the hurt and pain that the congregation has shouldered over the past few months, year, decades… I take them in as a part of my shared responsibility to love and shower God’s love on them. I think I wrote something similar a few years ago when I realized the immensity of the task put before me. What a privilege it is to be able to, what would otherwise be intruding in, but walking with and through the valleys of the shadows of death, and come out the other end victorious. Because it is in God’s plans for us to do so.

My heart breaks and swells, the way a real heart does.

I LOVE IT!