Another Post About Jeremy Lin, But Not Really

I don’t know if white people get like this (or even other minorities, for that matter), but I know many of us Asians do.

The other night, we went to a burger establishment to get some good burgers. (At least I thought they were good…)
In the restaurant were four Asian boys (I know for sure, 3 of them were Korean). And they were loud, rambunctious and annoying. I wanted to walk over there, smack all 4 of them across the back of their heads and say, “Be respectful and think about how your parents would feel if they saw you.”
They were apparently doing the burger challenge (eat a 24oz burger) at the restaurant. They were loud, rambunctious and annoying (yes, it’s worth repeating).

It was obvious that people around us were thoroughly annoyed.
They finished their challenge, got their picture taken, and walked out… leaving all their trash behind.

I couldn’t help feel somewhat responsible for the whole situation. It wouldn’t have felt wrong in any sense, if I got up and apologized on behalf of those boys.

I can’t be the only one who feels like that, right?
When we’re in a restaurant, and two Asian people are talking so loudly, and I mean LOUDLY in their native tongue, I can’t help but talk quieter to balance out their loudness.

When the V-Tech shootings happen, South Korean President Roh apologized three separate times for the actions of Cho, because Cho was South Korean. And believe me, a lot of us Koreans felt apologetic to the country.

It’s also why we all get excited when someone makes it big, like Jeremy Lin.
Or Hee Jun from American Idol. Or why many of us Koreans root for Manchester United because Park Ji Sung is on the team.

 

Now. I want to finish this thought. But something crazy just went down here at Starbucks.
Someone was sitting in the big table (handicap table) reading the paper with his wallet and phone on the table. This kid just went up, grabbed the things on the table and tried to run off. The man tried to stop him, but fell out of his chair from the force of the kid trying to run away. Someone else got up to chase the kid. The sheriffs are now pulling in (the fastest I’ve seen our sheriff department respond) And I don’t know if the guy was caught.

Man. We gotta be careful with all of our stuff. I admit, I’m pretty careless with my stuff at Starbucks.

I totally lost my train of thought.

Please be mindful of your belongings in public.

Warm Bodied Based Ministry

We, as churches, need to really find ways not to employ the Warm Bodied Based Ministry. That’s when there’s a need for a position to be filled (whether paid or by a unpaid servant) and we just put whoever’s nearby to take that leadership role. That person might be the most ill-equipped person, but they have the most important qualification- they are present.

Only because my experiences in ministry have been deeply tied to the Korean churches, I know that Korean churches do this more often than not.
Let’s take someone that I know very, very well.
She is a very gifted person. Called into serving God, no one can doubt that. She has been a very faithful and effective youth worker in the previous ministries that we have served.

But here’s the thing. As much as we both love children, her gifts simply do not lie in that area of ministry. And she doesn’t mind me saying that. She doesn’t have the passion (nor the calling) to serve God in that capacity.
But in the previous Korean churches that we have served, it was funny (okay, more frustrating than funny) to see the church leadership try to force her into children’s ministry. Not because of her gifts. Not because of her calling. But mainly because she was there because of who she was married to.

Presence is not the best of qualification for serving the church.
It’s a good quality to have. But if we’re only plugging people into service simply because they’re there, the church is not going to move forward.
Sure, sometimes we’ll get lucky and discover that the person is the perfect fit for that ministry- both the unpaid servant and the ministry thrive in service. But, let’s be honest. That doesn’t happen as often as we hope.

I also think it shines upon our impatience and laziness. Or, actually, our desperation. When looking for a candidate in any job (whether paid or volunteer) and we select someone because of our laziness, impatience and/or desperation, chances are high that things may end badly.

I know how desperate we can get when we need a children’s pastor and it’s been months since we’ve sent out word into communities of our need. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I was in that situation. But, I don’t think putting in a warm body to fill that hole is the best solution. Sure, we can say that it’s a temporary fix. But because we have someone serving in that capacity, our desperation sort of wanes out and we sort of feel that we can go longer without the permanent solution. Chances are, in this scenario, the warm body burns out, the ministry becomes idle or both.

We need to be more proactive in being a gift/talent based leadership, where we try our best, as a church, to plug people into ministry based on their gifts and talents. That takes lot more work and coordination, but ain’t it worth it?
This is also requires us to be active in recruiting. That means, less relying on announcements from the pulpit – “we need Sunday school teachers, if you’re interested, don’t mind all the stories you hear about how crazy those kids are, go talk to so-and-so, because he will be happy for anyone to be Sunday school teachers”-, less relying on sign-up sheets (if you want to be a Sunday school teacher, there’ll be a sign up sheet next to the coffee and donuts. Just leave your name and number and someone will get back to you), and, instead, be bold and courageous to actually approach someone and invite them to serve in the ministry – “you know, I was praying for a Sunday school teacher, and I feel like you might be a great fit for this ministry because, first and foremost, the kids absolutely respect you and they loved that one time you spoke on Sunday morning about your faith.” The worst thing that could happen is they say no. And often times they do. But also, a lot of times, they come back and say something like, “I don’t know why I can’t shake off our last conversation… I think I’m interested…”

Of course (and as always) this is so much more easier said than done.
But I know that when we incorporate a warm-body based ministry, the potential of our church and ministry becomes vastly limited.

There are people out there that are a perfect fit for ministry.
Sometimes, we just got to go look for them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Challenging the Youth

A while back, I attended a youth event/retreat/conference.
Before I continue, I feel like I have to (always) give a little disclaimer. I know that what I write  often comes off as attacking/negative/critical. I try not to be both in my life outside of this blog and on this blog. But there are things that rile me up, agitate me, annoy me, etc. and I’m glad I have this venue to sort of share why. So I apologize if I’m come off as negative and judgmental. Feel free to call me out on it.

So, we’re at worship. The speaker comes on and starts giving a message about Jesus feeding the 5000.
He invited two kids to volunteer and come up to the stage. When two kids were decided upon, he handed them each one of those long french breads. And he said, “Jesus used two loaves of bread.” He then instructed the two kids to wail on each other with the french bread loaf until one of them breaks. Hilarity ensued as the two kids were beating each other.
Then, he said, “And Jesus used pieces of fish.” He then asked two different kids to volunteer and step up to the stage. He handed the two chosen ones a can of sardines each and had them see who can eat the sardines the fastest.

He then continued saying:
So Jesus fed people with bread and fish. When you leave this place, I want you to remember the awesome bread fight that we just witnessed. And then I want you to remember the funny and gross sardine eating contest. Years from now, when you look back to this event, I want you to remember how it made us laugh. I want you to remember how fun it was. And then you’ll remember Jesus feeding people. This is the time when we usually pray to end worship. But I’m not going to pray for you, because every action we do is a prayer. Everything we did tonight was a prayer. I’ll see you guys tomorrow. Good night.

I walked away… annoyed. About nothing in particular and about everything. To this day, I don’t have a specific reason of why I was (am) so annoyed. I’m sure that he reached a lot of those young kids. I’m sure that kids had a great experience and are looking forward to the event later this year.

Maybe it’s because of my background. My experiences with retreats have always been, for a lack of a better word, intense.

Or maybe it’s because I felt like we were trying to have these kids’ faith experience solely relying on experience and emotions (remember how you felt…).

Or maybe it was because of the absolute lack of explanation of a wonderful and teachable story of Jesus feeding people.

Or maybe it’s simply because I’m a hater.

Or, all of the above.

But. I think we parents and adults would flip out if that’s how kids were taught in school.
What if the teachers said, “Remember how exciting multiplication is? Remember how you felt about this problem when you look back on today during test time. I’ll see you tomorrow in class.”

Mostly, I think my beef with whole situation is, how we shy away from challenging the youth of our church. Hell, how we as pastors shy away from challenging anyone, for that matter.

I know school is intense. I know kids are overloaded with information and hormones. I know kids desperately need rest. I know kids need time to be kids.
But here’s what gets me. Over the years, both my colleagues and myself have heard things like this when it comes to church and youth:
“These kids need room to play and be kids.”
“No, no Bible study. Ever. They’re so overworked the last thing they want to do at church is open another book.”
“We just want them to come to church and not be bored.”

I totally, totally get that. At the same time, I know that Bible study and nothing but Bible study doesn’t really work either. Youth need games. Laughter. Fun. And so do the youth leaders.

But, are we to build a youth ministry based solely on games, laughter and fun?
You have all these secular institutions challenging kids to make a difference, challenges that kids have responded to.

There’s something out there called The Do Something Awards, where youth are challenged to do something that changes their world. And these kids that end up on TV, they did some amazing, amazing things. (And yea, maybe money is a motivating factor).
There are other places out there that challenge kids to make a difference in their communities. Schools have kids serve in various ways (often times through mandatory community service hours for graduation/club).
But these non-faith organizations are pushing kids to be active in loving their neighbor and the world.

Yet, when they come to church (where faith leads to action… where we’ll called to love our neighbors), we want them to do nothing but laugh, play games, and have fun. Oh, but once a year, we go do a mission project.

Aren’t we doing young people of the church a disservice by not challenging/pushing them to be and do more?

I’ve had someone share with me that a parent once came to her and said, “Yea, yea Bible study, is all that necessary? You should do more of those crazy, wild games! My kids want way more of that and much less of the all the other church stuff. They got Sunday mornings for that.”

What are we to do with that? I would’ve had to bite my tongue so hard that it would bleed to not say something snarky back.

Do churches see the role of the youth pastor as a court jester? Sure, the church would never say that… but what about through their actions and expectations?
Do they see us as someone who dances on command and makes everyone laugh?
To be honest, some youth pastors love to take that role and nothing more.

Oh… but we’re called to be so much more than entertainers…

I see how the youth all over the country and world rise up to challenges.
All throughout scripture, there are stories of how young people responded to God’s Words.

The youth of the United Methodist Church can set the whole denomination on fire.
But I believe that their potential is related to how they’re being challenged by the church.
If they come to church solely to be entertained, you may have the funnest and funniest youth kids in the world… and nothing more.

United Methodist Churches, please do not be afraid to challenge your youth to go deeper in their faith. Don’t stop doing crazy, whacky, “youth” things, because they are essential in youth ministry. But our youth were created for a bigger purpose than to be entertained. They can do so much more… they deserve so much more.

But we as a church may never see the potential and the power of what the youth can do/accomplish/change in God’s grace and name, if we never gently, gracefully and lovingly challenge/push/nudge them to do/be more.

A Chink in the Armor – You Lin Some, Dim Sum You Lose

Jeremy LinI’m not the best person to really write about this…

My formative childhood years were spent in Columbia, South Carolina. When I was in elementary school, I was the only one of my kind in my classes. And kids made it known that I was different. I grew up wanting nothing more than big, blue eyes and blonde hair.
Subtle racism has followed me all my life. As a teenager, a grown man came up to me and asked if I could see okay compared to everyone else and walked away. It took me a second to realize he was referring to my eyes.
I’ve played the “Where are you from?” game with many folks because saying “I’m from the States” isn’t a satisfactory answer enough.

I’ve been called Gook. Chink. Jap.
I’ve had people leave messages on our answering machine with “ching chao chang ting chong” because our answering machine message was in Korean.
I’ve been told to go back to my country. Learn English (annoying enough, sometimes by people who I speak English better than).
I’ve had people, whom I don’t know, how much they hate Chinese and Commies.

And because of this, I went through a long period of my teenage life holding a grudge against white folks. I went through this intense Korean-pride stage where everything Korean was much preferred to anything American. I’ve been a bit racist myself. And as much as that phase is long gone from me, some remnants of that phase still remains.
I’m less tolerant of racial remarks made by white folks because they were the cause of most of my pain being an Asian growing up. I’m quick to call out insensitivity regarding race from white people, but snicker when it’s made by other ethnicities.

I’ve used the “I don’t speak English” card  to get out of so many things, so many times, it’s embarrassing.

With the rise of Jeremy Lin, I think there’s a bit of pride rising within all Asian-Americans. Jeremy Lin isn’t a Yao Ming who was brought from China. Jeremy Lin is from the States. He’s one of us, children of Immigrants. As much as I dislike the New York Knicks franchise, I want Jeremy Lin to succeed. I watch every hi-light. Try to catch all his games.

But with all the joy that comes with Jeremy Lin, also comes the painful memories of the past that many of us Asian Americans had to grow up with. And even though the stupid stereotypical and racist remarks have been a few, it’s enough to tarnish the overwhelming joy of Lin succeeding in the NBA.

Here are a few examples that I’m sure by now I’m beating a dead horse:
Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports:
Here’s another:

And another:
Here’s what I think was an awful mistake more than malicious intent which eventually led to the person losing his job. Yet not reprimand has been handed to Mr. Whitlock from Fox Sports, which I view as a bigger offense than ESPN’s mistake. “Chink in the armor” is a fair  sport’s cliche. It’s overused. It was just an oversight, I believe, that using that cliche with Jeremy Lin wasn’t going to be a great idea. Jason, on the other hand, was intentional and not even remotely funny. (Sadly, yes, if it was funny, I wouldn’t have been as annoyed.)
Outside of the Lin-sanity, here are some other examples:
A barista of Starbucks in GA decided to write this where the customers name goes for 2 Korean customers:
Or this from Papa Johns:
Or this from Chic-Fil-A of UC Irvine:
Or the horrible portrayal of an Asian-American in CBS’ 2 Broke Girls.
 

This is the time where I wish I was eloquent and a good writer to express my point.
But I’m not.

I can’t help feel a bit annoyed and/or angry when people can tweet or say ignorant stuff, and laugh it off. Then give a half-baked apology blaming everyone else, like your mom or Richard Pryor, but yourself (a la Mr. Whitlock).
And, no, it’s not really okay to point to a random Asian and start calling him Jeremy Lin.

As an SNL skit pointed out, we can’t use all the stereotypes of Asians to describe Lin-sanity and think that it’s funny and okay. (http://www.hulu.com/watch/331272/saturday-night-live-cold-opening-linsanity-postgame)

The good thing is, I guess, is that people are becoming more aware of racial insensitivity and as Bill Plaschke wrote, Jeremy Lin is holding a mirror up to America. 

But There’s no need to get angry. Or find ways to get even. 

The grace in all this… is that God made us to be different and unique. And those differences need to be celebrated. (I think that Jeremy Lin should be celebrated as a good point guard for the Knicks, and at the same time, for being Asian-American.)
But with differences brings fear.
If we let it, fear can be much louder and overpower love.
And if we retaliate, much like Ms. Hyun did with her awful, inexcusable, malicious, ignorant and racist tweets, we cause a further rift and maybe even confirm fears (or stereotypes).

No, instead, we know that love drives out fear.
So to truly bring reconciliation and education, we need to do it with love and grace for only love has the power to conquer all fear, ignorance

Preaching the Gospel

Sermon Mount Jesus Mormon

Sermon Mount Jesus Mormon (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)

Professionally and occupationally, preaching is the biggest part of our job description. It’s the one thing where everyone gets to see what we do. Sometimes, people think it’s the only thing we do. We’ve all been asked this question in one form or another: “Soooo… what do you do rest of the week?”

For that reason alone, I get annoyed when pastors don’t put effort into their sermon. A sermon requires more planning and deserves more thought than putting it together 3 hours before services starts on Sunday morning.
Not that this should ever be our motivation, but because it’s the one thing people expect us to do week in and week out, I would hope to do my best in preaching on Sunday morning. That’s a slippery slope – to think about meeting people’s expectation – but, it’s also a reminder that the people (and God) deserve more than the preacher winging it on Sunday mornings.

And it’s obvious when we haven’t put thought and effort into our sermon.
It’s obvious when you show up at a corporate meeting and know that the person leading the meeting didn’t prepare adequately.
It’s obvious when your teacher shows up and didn’t prepare for the day’s lesson.
We walk away from these scenarios thinking, “man, what a waste of time.”

And I know that when we don’t put effort into our sermons, people will walk away thinking, “Man, what a waste of time.”
Or worse, if we do it enough, we will have conditioned people to check out during the time we stand in front of the pulpit, if they continue to come.

I’m not saying that we need to hit homeruns with every sermon. As bad as this may sound, it’s rather hard to hit a homerun every time you step up to the plate (pulpit) on Sunday morning. There are hundred of factors that can “hinder” the sermon, despite all the prayer and effort and study we have put into it.
Sometimes…
-the vibe of the congregation is just weird on Sunday morning.
-the week was too damn long and your mind is still trying to catch up.
-you woke up sick.
-the opening story didn’t connect the way you wanted it to.
-someone dropped a bombshell of a news right before service starts. (why do people do that…?)
-nerves hit you.
-you just realized that your zipper is down.
-your joke, which you thought was hilarious, barely got a chuckle.

Sometimes, the church wasn’t ready to hear that message or you weren’t ready to preach that kind of message.
And sometimes, despite all that we put in, for us, we simply walk away feeling, “Man… I could’ve done so much better…” without any outside factors going wrong.

But, for me, it’s different when I walk away hearing a sermon and thinking, “man, that had some potential. I wonder what happened” versus, “what the hell was that?” It becomes blatantly obvious, at least for me, when the preacher is struggling because s/he did not put thought, effort, prayer, study, time into the sermon.

And we’re given such an opportunity with preaching. We can be prophets. We can be poets. We can be both. We’re story tellers. We can weave God’s narrative with the heartbeat of the church. We can be dialogue starters. Question askers. We can gracefully point out how we may be missing the point and offer ways to make things right. We’re truth tellers. We can hold up mirrors in front of our listeners to show them how everything about them is so perfect and God-intended and to lovingly show them how God desire more from us and what we may need to change…
The sermon is a powerful, powerful form of communication. It’s more than a job description. And it deserves time, effort, study and prayer before it gets crafted and while it gets written and prepared for delivery.

So, it’s a huge pet peeve of mine when some preachers choose to treat it lightly and make me feel like the sermon was an afterthought of the entire worship service.

But outside professionally and occupationally, the sermon turns out to be a small part of our calling, as disciples of Christ.
This is something I wrestle with all the time:
What point is it to preach about a certain aspect of Christian life, but yet not willing to do what I preach?
Because if we continue to not practice what we preach, how can we start expecting others to follow through on our preaching? And what’s worse is that we often get upset at people for being dense and not doing what we said from the pulpit.
We can’t take the responsibility of preaching lightly, but we can’t think that our preaching is big (and good) enough to be our only contribution to the Kingdom of God.

Our calling as a pastor goes beyond just preaching. Our calling involves living out the messages that God has placed in our hearts. (Thank God that we don’t have to do some crazy stuff Ezekiel had to do to “illustrate” God’s message…)
The words that we preach needs to be followed by actions, not just from the listeners, but (more importantly) from ourselves.
I’ve heard many preachers say that they’re really preaching to themselves the sermon speaks to them most. I’ve said that statement and also believe it too.
So, since that’s the case, we should be the first in line to live out the very things we preach.

I love the quote (and love to quote) St. Francis of Assisi’s “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words when necessary.” But, it’s time that I stop reciting that quote, and start living that quote.

So here’s to us preachers being living, walking and talking sermons.

Just Respect Everyone Around You…

I was reading an article by Bill Simmons on Grantland, and in the All-Linsanity Mailbag, Simmons drop a bit of knowledge from a reliable source of his saying that Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t even acknowledge Jeremy Lin or addressed him by name when Lin first joined the New York Knickerbockers.

Oh. I bet Mike knows Jeremy’s name now and acknowledges his presence on the team. After all, Jeremy Lin single handedly saved D’Antoni’s job.
I mean, I guess you can’t blame D’Antoni for thinking that Lin wouldn’t stay on the team much longer… or that D’Antoni himself wouldn’t be on the team much longer. But still… as my wife once quoted, “Be careful whose toes you step on today because they might be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.”

But, in reality, it’s rather easy to dismiss people that we don’t think we’ll need in our lives, or someone who is on a “lower level” than us.
Someone once told me that you see the true character of a person when you see how they treat someone they don’t need in their life.
And I agree with that sentiment. People aren’t supposed to be pawns in our lives. And no one’s better than anyone. As Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” Or from a song, “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.”

We also shouldn’t treat people good today for the sole reason that we may need to kiss their ass tomorrow. That’s still using them as pawns in our lives.
But we should treat people with respect simply because we are all human beings.

And just because someone is the “least of these” doesn’t mean they should be ignored or stepped on. Jesus had special words of how the “least of these” should be treated…

Linsanity Effect

Believe yet? #Linsanity

So this morning at 7am, I decided to stop by my favorite Starbucks to pick up a grande americano with a little bit of steamed soy milk before I head into the office. Starbucks was fairly empty except for these four old white guys sitting around the big (handicap) table. As I’m walking towards the store, the four gentlemen stop their conversation and all four look at me through the window, one pointing at me.

Now. Let me just say, as a minority, it’s never a good, good feeling when a group of white folks stop what they’re doing and start staring at you. It’s even worse when one is pointing at you, because you know they’re looking at you.

So, I’m going through all the thoughts in my head of why these four old white guys are pointing and staring at me:
Nope. They don’t go to my church.
Are they from Hawaii? (I’m wearing my University of Hawaii sweater)
Wait. Do they go to church? No, I don’t think so….
Oh no… it’s going to be some stupid, borderline racist crap… I sure hope not..

I walk through the door, and one of them says, “Great game last night, Jeremy Lin.”
Dammit. I knew it.
I looked at them and said, “That’s a bit racist” as loud as I could so that the few people in the store could hear. And of course, it was accompanied by my warm and friendly smile.

Their comment didn’t bother me at all. In all honesty, I kinda was laughing. I got this crap when Yao Ming first entered the league, too.

The guys awkwardly laughed off my comment.
Later, one of the guys passed by me as I was waiting for my drink on the way to the restroom and he just gave me a friendly smile and a wink as if to say, “We were kidding.”
No hard feelings, at all. They’re old. Different era. Different generation. It could’ve been worse. I mean, they could’ve called me various things, like Charlie or whatever.

As I was leaving, I said, “You gentlemen have a great rest of the day.” And they all four, in unison said, “Thanks, you too.”
And now, I have a funny story to tell about how racist white folks are. I’m totally kidding.

I can’t help get excited about Jeremy Lin.
Of course, he makes it harder for ALL Asian kids now.
Harvard. NBA starting point guard. The pressure amongst Asian students have become greater.

He’s a far better story than Tim Tebow, in my opinion.
If you take away Tebow’s hype, what do you have really? A QB with below average stats. Lin is an actual proven baller. He has his stats to back it up, and now an NBA record.

I’m surprised that the evangelical Christians haven’t jumped on the Lin bandwagon as much as they did Tebow’s. Lin is a strong Christian, even thought (thinking?) about being a pastor. There could be various reasons of why Linsanity isn’t as widespread as Tebowmania.
1) NFL is much bigger than NBA.
2) Tebow is a ruggedly handsome dude.
3) Lin doesn’t name drop God as much as Tebow…
4)…or… I’m dumb. I haven’t been reading around as much, and maybe Linsanity has gotten as exciting and big as Tebowmania.

Either way, I have to admit that I’m more excited about Jeremy Lin than Tebow.
Years ago, my friend and I had this conversation about how we just want a decent Asian American NBA player, someone who’s not over 7 ft tall. Someone who can dribble, shoot, drive, etc.

And as much as I ragged on Tebow during the season, I think he’s a helluva guy and am sort of glad that Tebow and Lin get attention for their faith as much as their game.

Anyway, heads up for all of us Asian males. Get ready for the Lin comparisons.

…oh… and I should stay away from pick up games a little longer, because there’s going to be nothing but disappointment from failing to meet expectations now that Linsanity is all around us.

I’m Hungry…

I don’t like to admit how nervous and anxious the whole ordination process made me.
But today, I had a hard time focusing on anything and everything.
I came into the office and realized I just couldn’t sit still and accomplish anything.
So, I snuck out to go to Starbucks.
Sat there. Answered some emails. Tried my best to do my devotions and not think about anything regarding United Methodist Church.

I sat there marveling how a phone call was dictating my whole morning and all my emotions.
I found out someone from church (who I just adore) was in the hospital, so I strolled over to the hospital to see how he was doing. But he was sleeping, so I stayed and talked to his daughter for a short while.

Time. Couldn’t. Go. Any. Slower.

I decided to go home. It was about lunch time. I should be hungry, but food was the furthest thing from my mind.
I came home. Mindlessly sat on the couch, playing some odd game on my iPad, not knowing what to do or what to think.
I was avoiding facebook for some reason, and realized how limited my Internet options were without facebook.
Exchanged some texts with Dae.
Anything to keep the time passing.

Then the phone rang.
On the other end was someone from the BOOM. (Board of Ordained Ministry)

He said that I had passed.
I responded with something like, “FINALLY!”

When it finally sank in that everything was said and done, all I could think of was how hungry I was.

The Wife and I went out for a celebratory lunch. I felt relieved. And grateful for all those people who gave me words of encouragement and support along the way.

The funny thing is, since I found out my papers passed to this morning, I’ve thought of everything I would do if I didn’t pass again this year.
My personal journal entries had all sorts of ideas and dreams of what my next step would/could be.
Never once did I talk, think or write about what would happen if I passed.
So, when I found out I did pass, I really didn’t know what to say or how to feel. All I knew was that I was starved.

It’s been a long road and journey, so much so that this ending seems a bit anti-climatic. But I’d prefer it to be that way.

So begins a new journey.

I’m glad to have this chapter of my life come to an end.

… but man… the commissioning service is on 6/16, otherwise known as our anniversary in the Yoo Household… I don’t think I can skip out on the evening services to celebrate 6 years of marriage with my awesome wife, though a quiet celebratory dinner would be much, much preferable.

Having our anniversary constantly be near the time of Annual Conference does suck…

Draft Day

One of my childhood dreams were like many of boys: to be a professional athlete.
I’m sad to admit how much sports consumes my life. I love it. I’m obsessed with it. I get too emotionally attached to my teams and favorite players. I don’t think it’s healthy. But it’s fun.

I like watching the first round of the NFL draft, as the kids are decked out in their custom-tailored suits and awkwardly smiling at the cameras when they’re not drafted when they thought they’d be. Even cooler when kids who are a guaranteed first-round pick skips the draft altogether and hang out doing something else, like fishing. 

I think today is the closest I’ll ever get to somewhat know what it feels like being a prospective player.

Some time today, I’ll receive a call from someone on the BOOM (Board of Ordained Ministry) to let me know if I passed my ordination interviews, much like how a draftee will get a call from the head coach or general manager of a team to let him know that he’s been drafted by the team.

Sure. There’s a huge difference between the two scenarios, I know.

However, there’s a lot of queasiness, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of ‘what if…’, a lot of butterflies, a lot of expecting the worst and planning like wise… which I’m sure crosses the minds of those who are in the draft.

Okay. Perhaps, comparing myself to first rounders is a bit of a far stretched. Maybe it’s more like someone who’s going to go in the 6th or 7th round of the draft. If they don’t get drafted, their options are limited: try to be a undrafted free agent or pursue a different calling in life.

Either way, the butterflies can consume you.

So here’s to today.
Whatever the outcome may be, may I still be humble and grateful to the God who loves me and has called me.

February 5, 2011

This was my entry in my journal on February 5, 2011, the day I found out that I didn’t pass my ordination interviews with the BOOM (Board of Ordained Ministry):

Set backs. Disappointments. They’re part of life. And growing.
To think I’d be exempt from set backs is a bit ridiculous.
I bombed my interviews. Another year of all this.
But. There is no reason to be angry or bitter. That won’t do anything. Won’t change anything. I just have to trust in God.
There are reasons why.
God is still saying, “not yet.” Why? … I’m sure as I grow, I’ll learn.

I’m handling everything with much grace as I possibly can. I need to. People around me are upset. I appreciate that. But I don’t want to join in their frustrations. Because, ultimately, in the end, it was me that didn’t do what needed to be done.
While I’m certain that I don’t have ADHD, I can work on showing that I can focus, that I know how to behave and next time I’ll take a breath here and there.

It stings. But, it’s another growing point. I just need to go from this place with my eyes and hearts fixed and focused on Christ.

Yea, I’m annoyed as hell that some people passed and not me. But, I have to stop asking “why not me?” and just focus on my gifts and focus on God’s plan for me and what God is doing through me. 

Guess it just wasn’t meant to be this year.
So. Here we go again.
I’m done fretting over it.
I’m affirmed of God’s call by God’s presence in my life and the presence of other people.

So, gonna dust my shoulders off, and press on towards.

…next year…