Monday, November 27, 2006


Well, now that we are past Thanksgiving, it is officially winter here in Davis. 4 years ago, if you had asked me if I preferred hot weather or cold, I wouldv'e said hot every time, hands down. But after 4 years of going through the seasons in Davis, I have come to appreciate bundling up, wearing a ski cap, and sitting down with a warm cup of peppermint tea or peppermint mocha. The crisp air makes me feel alive.

One thing that I find to be odd about Davis is seen in the picture above: crows. Every year, during the winter months, thousands and thousands of the things congregate in Davis. They fill every tree, and are constantly whirling around in the sky, making loud cackling noises. If they wanted to take us all out Birds-style, they could. That's all for now - see you soon.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


One 2-hour rainy drive later, I am back in Davis. Thanksgiving this year was a blessing - we grubbed down at my parents' place with 20 members of my extended family. I talked with my cousin who's now a freshman at UCSC, I hung out with my cousin who is now a freshman at Irvington High School, and I went on a bunch of bike rides with my dad on gorgeous, sunny days. I'm crazy blessed.

It was also a good time to see a bunch of people from the past - I saw my junior high saxophone teacher at Chipotle, and Monica and I grabbed a cup of coffee at Bay Street Coffee with Nick, the trombone player from Minus Vince (I used to sleep over at his house from seventh to ninth grade, watching MST3K and drinking mocha Frappuchinos.)

I've been reading in the book of Philippians recently: what has struck me so deeply is Paul's heart of thankfulness, even in the midst of great suffering and personal discouragement. The faith of his friends, the strength of commitment to Christ brought him hope when he was afflicted. I think I can relate - the gift of men and women of God who pray for me, encourage me, and challenge me with their lives of radical discipleship and selfless love is second only to the love of Jesus on my "greatest gifts that GOD has hooked it up with" list. I have so much to be thankful for - I pray GOD would give me a heart of thankfulness, a heart that overflows into the loving relationships that mean so much to me.

I'm writing a paper on Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Church - I'll tell you about it. See you soon.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-5)

Sunday, November 05, 2006


This past week, it came to light that Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and Senior Pastor of New Life Church of Colorado Springs, CO had engaged in immoral and illicit behavior. (read here) He initially denied the charges, but in a letter that was read to his congregation, he said this:
"I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach. Through the years, I’ve sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them." (full text here)
An article, commenting on Ted Haggard's fall, cut to the heart of why we see this kind of gross failure:
"I have come to believe that there is a deeper person in many of us who is not unlike an assassin ... This deeper person... can be the source of attitudes and behaviors we normally stand against in our conscious being. But it seeks to destroy us and masses energies that—unrestrained—tempt us to do the very things we 'believe against.' ... there is something within that, left unguarded, will go on the rampage."
This past tuesday, I dressed up as Hugh Laurie from the TV show, "House." It's a show that I find to be very well-conceived and clever, but on a deeper level I relate to a doctor who can heal everybody but himself. He is a genius, to be sure, but his wounds run so deep that it's no secret that he's a man who lives with great pain; some forced upon him, and the rest which he has heaped upon himself.

In his book The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen talks about what it means to be a minister. One of his ideas is this: as ministers of the Gospel, we are all wounded by sin; we must be honest and aware of the depths of our sinfulness and depravitiy. When we forget this reality, it is then that pride becomes justifiable, even logical - we cannot see past our own giftedness to see that we are dying on the inside. In response to the article I quoted above, one reader left this comment: "The church doesn’t value character, it values personality, just like the rest of society." I think that personality is so alluring because it is a means by which we can hide our faults, and make ourselves likeable. Character isn't apparent to the naked eye, and so we often gloss it over in favor of putting on a mask that makes it appear as though we have no problems, no sins. And if we wear that mask for long enough, I think that we start to believe it. This is greatest lie we could ever believe.

But this is not where it ends: the end of Nouwen's idea is that though we be aware of sinfulness, we must not be overwhelmed by it. Rather than falling into endless despair, we must lead others, in the midst of our brokenness, into the eternal, everlasting hope of GOD.

Jesus, who sees the depths of my heart and loves me the same - you are my only hope. Remind me every day. See you soon.
"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:21-25)

"Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." (Luke 12:1b-2)