In case you didn’t hear about this yet, Chris Brown made an appearance on Dancing With the Stars the other night:
I don’t know what you thought after watching the video but I am reminded of how talented this guy is. I mean, he’s just an absolutely electrifying performer, a force of nature and charisma in a box.
Oh, and his new album was the #1 bestseller this week.
Not too long ago, this guy beat his girlfriend into a bloody pulp. Her name was Rihanna. People said his career, his life, was over.
Look at him now.
This is the kind of success story that’s a little bit tricky. On one hand, everyone deserves a second chance and it’s great that he’s getting it.
But what if Chris Brown wasn’t famous and talented? What if Chris Brown didn’t have video game-caliber dancing chops? Would everyone be so quick to forgive and move on?
People forget that Kobe Bryant was once accused of rape. Multiple championships and all-star game MVPs later, this is rarely a topic of discussion anymore. (Unless you’re amongst a group of haters but that’s another topic for another day.)
Michael Vick was scum of the earth and public enemy number 1 when it was revealed that he was running a canine version of the kumite. After a successful run with the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick is back on track.
When Tiger Woods starts collecting jackets and trophies again, people will gladly remove the Scarlet Letter from his cap and let the Nike Swoosh reign once more.
I am all about redemption and grace. I love seeing forgiveness and renewal take place in the public eye for all to witness and marvel at.
But this Chris Brown story feels a little bit different. It seems to me that his other-worldly talent might have served as a broom to swiftly sweep his dust of violent rage under a large rug of instant success.
Maybe I’m wrong (which happens on occasion) but I am seeing a pattern here and I wonder if we give too much credence to talent.
In our subconscious we may think that talent excuses us from being human, from really dealing with and going through the process of brokenness, from taking the time to heal and mend properly.
Talent only goes so far and for Chris Brown’s sake, I really hope he is dealing with his deep issues of anger. I hope he celebrates the fact that he stands forgiven by God but that the responsibilities and consequences of his actions still linger. And this is to shape him and make him a better man. This goes for all of us and our junk.
As he performs and climbs the charts he cannot forget what he’s been through and what he’s done. That, to me, is not grace and redemption. It’s something completely different and I hope for his sake and those that admire him that he doesn’t get lost in his own hype.
Talent does not trump transgression.
I’m not a life coach or a Tony Robbins type but I do see that part of my role here on this earth may be to help guide and shape young leaders while encouraging older generations with new takes on “old” issues.
One of the key lessons I have picked up in the last 5 years is this whole idea of viewing life in seasons.
Too many times, we feel that the lot we have been given or chosen is a prison (or worse yet, a death) sentence.
This is not true because life is lived in seasons:
That uninspiring job you’re stuck in can change.
The feeling that your life is over now that you have kids is a lie.
The hell that you are going through this moment will pass.
This too shall pass.
Academic probation is not the same thing as lethal injection.
You will find employment.
You will be able to love again. Trust again. Live again.
This is not quite what you pictured but it’s ok because it’s not forever.
You are going home… soon.
Things change. People change. Seasons change.
The Cubs will win the World Series one day….Maybe not. But hope lives. You have the God-given right and ability to choose hope.
Whether you are enduring the harsh cold of winter or anticipating the mild and pleasant sunshine of spring, it is true that your life is lived in seasons.
Endure. Enjoy. Engage.
Last week, I came across this brilliant post over at reddit.com on First World Problems– a phrase I love because I feel it’s a euphemism for “complaints that make us sound like dumb, spoiled brats.”
According to the site:
If it’s a problem you can only have if you have money, we’ll feel bad for you for having the problem, and then feel guilty for having enough money to have the problem.
Let me give you some examples in case you’re against clicking on links:
“My HD TV takes too long to turn on.”
“The 3G connection on my iPad 2 was spotty on the train so I had to pause my Netflix movie for 2 minutes.”
“Ran out of brewed coffee. Had to make myself instant.”
“My iPhone won’t let me upload pictures directly to Facebook right now. So frustrating!”
“I ordered my steak medium rare and this is clearly medium.”
“Google chrome isn’t working so I had to use Safari to check my email.”
“The water pressure in my shower dropped last night so I had to draw myself a bath instead. It was scalding hot. And the jets wouldn’t work.”
I find these to be hilarious but sadly true. I don’t know about you but I am reminded of how incredibly blessed and rich I am, especially in comparison to some of the real problems and hardships that most of the world have to deal with. Of course, most of us get that “First World Problems” are not actually problems at all. So then the question becomes, how do we turn these so-called “issues and problems” into a grander perspective that allows us to see and respond to the needs around us?
I can laugh now but it’s because I have made similar complaints in the past, and will probably continue to moan about other so-called problems that my brothers in Third World areas would roll their eyes at.
What about you? What are some common “First World Problems” that you run into regularly?
By now, you have heard of Rebecca Black and her #1 hit single, “Friday.” If you have not, it means you have been taking your “I’m fasting Youtube for Lent” thing very seriously. Well done, congratulations, and may you be within earshot of God’s audible voice!
I saw her name floating around twitter last week so I decided to check out the youtube clip for myself and I was floored:
I literally did not know what to make of this song/video/artist. Was this all a joke? I wasn’t even trying to be mean when I asked my Twitter and Facebook friends what this was all about.
Turns out that this was an innocent project funded by her mother when she hired Ark Music Factory to give Rebecca a taste of the music biz. A taste of the music business is what she got alright, and after 60 millions views on Youtube and counting, Rebecca Black is now a household name. This, in most cases, would constitute an amazing success story but unfortunately, Rebecca is experiencing the ugliest side of life in the musical limelight.
I must admit that this could very well be the worst song of all time but I don’t know if that necessarily means that she needs to die, as many youtube low-lifers have suggested. She seems like a sweet-enough teen and all she wanted to do was have some fun.
Enough hating. I think Rebecca could use some encouragement, don’t you?
If I was Rebecca’s mentor, what would I say to her? Here are some possible pick-me-ups:
“Rebecca, remember that no matter how good you are at something, there is always someone better. In the same vein, no matter how bad you are, there will always be someone worse than you as well.”
“Becka, there is no such thing as bad publicity.”
“Becky, there’s so much more to you than music. Don’t limit yourself.”
“Bex, there are at the very least three people who love you and that’s all that matters: God, your mom, and Simon Cowell.”
“Yo, B! I haven’t been able to get your song out of my head for the past 72 hours!”
“R.B., it’s Friday. Let’s go kick it. Forget about them losers. By the way, yesterday was Thursday. Tomorrow is Saturday. In case you didn’t know.”
OK, so maybe some of these would be better left unsaid but it’s true that Rebecca could use some more love in her life right now.
In all seriousness: If you were Rebecca Black’s friend or mentor, what would you say to her?
I wanted to share one of my newer songs that I wrote a couple months ago here in Mexico.
It’s a kick in the butt for myself and anyone else that ever thought about making a change, either within themselves or in the world.
And in classic DK fashion, what I am posting is completely raw, unedited and unimpressive. To make matters more interesting, I am singing as softly as I can so as not to wake my son during his nap. Thank you for hearing past the warts.
Hope you like.
Yeah You Do
Hopeless lovers intertwined in
Battles spun in spools of
Nameless faces interspersed through
Proverbial milk cartons
This sinking feeling points you the right way
Yeah you do
You say you got potential
But all you do
Is sit on your assets
Yeah you do
You say you want to change the world (what’s wrong)
But all you do
Is sit on your assets
The silence will utter the same song
History’s on repeat
With the same beat
Feels so good like progress
But what is progress?
There is something about the City that I love. My wife is a secluded beach person, which is super nice, but I’m all about the energy and vitality of a city. This includes the heavy flow of people, cars, and street vendors along with the pollution, constant noise and crazy people. I feel more connected to the world in a city.
On a bit of a side note, my friend here told me of a time when he accidentally came across a gathering of homosexual “little people” in the entrance of a subway station. Seems it was a tweet-up of sorts. Extremely random, extremely city.
We have spent most of our lives in suburbs but more recently had the chance to spend nearly 2 years in Bangkok and currently living in Mexico City for an extended period as well. We have also visited Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and my favorite city of all time, New freakin’ York. I’m picking up a thing or two about city life and thought I’d make a short guide to living in the City… any city.
- Enjoy the Food – almost every major city in the world has some of the best food you’ll ever eat. Hidden gems and local favorites that are as unique and hard to come by as the low-price airfaire you’d hope to find to get there.
- Make Your Presence Known – not in an obnoxious American way but in a respectful, friendly foreigner sort of way. I can’t speak Spanish very well but I routinely say hello (or rather, “buenos dias”) to about 8 people every morning on my way to drop my kid off at school. These are the folks right outside of my apartment as well as the caretaker within my building. In small conversations here and there, I have been able to learn more about life in my city and I do believe that I am establishing trust with each interaction. It’s hard to imagine that these friends and acquaintances of mine wouldn’t stick up for me if anyone ever tried to punk me… not that I wouldn’t be able to defend myself. Ahem…
- Public Transportation is Your Friend – it’s not always the most comfortable or glamorous way to get around but it’s what most of the “normal” people in your city use to get around. It’s also a great way to get a little pulse of the mood or disposition within a city. Something I see every day is just how extremely exhausted the people are from working abnormal (by most standards) hours in order to support their families. It is also not rare to see many downtrodden faces. Pain exists everywhere and you can see this first-hand whenever you choose to board the bus or train.
- Expect Craziness – something that just about every single major city has in common is its share of craziness. There’s the natural chaos and madness of heavy traffic and the daily hustle & bustle, but there’s also a plethora of people suffering from mental illness and/or drug use. We have a guy who hangs out near our apartment who is strung out 90% of the time we see him. He stands directly in front of us sometimes without saying a word but as soon as we greet him, it’s all good. He seems creepy but I have learned he is harmless. I’m embracing the craziness.
- Yes, Leave Your Home Without It – I never carry my credit and debit cards around with me unless I need them for something specific. This is just in case some daring guy chooses to mug me despite my menacing exterior. Along the same lines, I don’t carry too much cash either but if for some reason I need to, I put the dinero in my pocket. As long as the brave mugger doesn’t feel me up, he’ll never know about the cash that’s not in my wallet.
- Figure Out Your Routes Beforehand – Nothing says, “here i am, take advantage of me!” like a dude with a map in hand and a camera around his neck. I try to be very intentional about looking like I know what I’m doing and where I’m going, especially when I’m by myself. This is achieved by figuring out my basic subway routes before I leave the house and walking with a humble swagger. Sounds like an oxy-moronic move? Yes, but it’s possible.
- Take Notice of the World in Front of You – the City gives you access to the hurting and destitute in ways that suburbs cannot. Not to say pain and brokenness do not exist in the suburbs, they’re just more hidden. The opportunities to give and serve are literally staring you in the face as you walk the streets of the cities and there is a profound duality of privilege and burden at play here as we witness the needs of the world at our feet. What will you do when you come face to face with this reality?
Hope you find this helpful as you think about your favorite or current city.
What are some other helpful thoughts you have in regards to city living (or visiting)?
I mentioned on Twitter/Facebook a couple days ago that we ate at Olive Garden for our final meal before departing for Mexico City again. We go to Olive Garden for fine, authentic Italian food much like you would go to PF Chang’s or Panda Express for real Chinese or to Del Taco for hole-in-the-wall style Mexican (thanks Facebook friends for the input).
Nothing brings people together like good food.
I don’t know if you notice it but this is a picture of 2 families– in-laws to be exact–that have come together to share a meal.
I am realizing how rare of a picture this is when placed next to some of the unfortunate realities of life.
Denial of forgiveness
and the list goes on.
Our families are not perfect but in this moment, we celebrate life and we celebrate togetherness.
We celebrate our 2 year old son who brings these two families willingly together– and gives our parents something to coo at and admire when the conversation at the table goes quiet or awkward.
Good food brings people together.
**A clarification on my title for today: this is specifically addressed to the U.S. and A (Borat reference), and even more specifically, to Southern California. In any case, this post is applicable to anybody.**
By the time you read this, I am on a plane back to Mexico City with my family. Our next trip back to the States will be early this fall and I will be a father of 2 at that point. In any case, I realize that there are many things we take for granted when we deem them normal. Most things that we enjoy are not normal. Unless you live in another country for an extended period of time, you will never know this so I thought I’d help some of you out and ask you to take time today to not take these things for granted:
- Speaking in your mother tongue: whether it’s English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Hindi, chances are that you are able to speak your language on a regular basis and get around. This is due to the plethora of ethnic enclaves that exist, especially in Southern California. It felt good to be back and not have to work out every single word in my mind before I speak. My Spanish sucks so it was nice to just let my tongue hang out and marinade in English for a little bit. And that was a weird sentence but I’m gonna keep it.
- In-N-Out: This is a no-brainer. You can talk about 5 Guys and other burger joints all you want but In-N-Out takes the cake. Don’t be a fool. Every time you take a bite out of this patty from heaven, thank the Lord that you can have this any time you want, take a sip of that strawberry shake and pour one for the homies.
- The Staring is Rude cultural rule: This is something that almost none of you think about but it is one of the things I appreciate so incredibly much now in California. Remember when you were a kid, your mom would constantly knock you upside the head and say “hey! it’s not nice to stare! stop it!” That’s good training and makes for a much more pleasant walk around town when you’re older and much more self-conscious as it is. We get stared at every where we go in Mexico City, mostly because we stick out like sore yellow thumbs but also because it’s not considered rude to stare. Appreciate this, people. Please!
- Diversity:Unless you have a copy of Mein Kampf lying around in your house or your wardrobe of choice includes a pointy white hood, this is something that you appreciate as well about Southern California and many other parts of the country. All of our lives are richer because of the intersection of so many different cultures, languages, foods, and lifestyles. I currently live in a very un-international, major city (relatively speaking) and every so often, I get withdrawal symptoms. Which means, I start itching for a puff out of the ol’ bong of fun and fellowship.
- Law Enforcement: This one may feel debatable to some of you since you feel like the Po-Po’s are always out to get you but trust me, you would rather have that than a system that protects just about nobody. Our friends here told us a story one time of a lady who was getting beat by her husband on a regular basis. She was so fed up, she went to the police station to finally report her husband and find some assistance but the cops came to her with this reply: “come back to us when you are dead.” Translation: “you’re still alive, ain’t ya? you’re not our problem… yet.” This type of law “enforcement” is common all around the world. So the next time you get pulled over for speeding, try thanking the man for protecting the streets from dangers such as yourself.
- Nets on Basketball Hoops: My current city is very well-developed and modern but for some reason, it is rare to find courts with nets. I miss the sound of the “swish” on my sweet jump shots but for now, the sound of nothing will suffice.
I hope you found this post hopeful and on our behalf, I hope you have a little more appreciation for these things.
What are some things that YOU try not to take for granted and why?
It’s been a great but short trip back to California. We’ve been driving around everywhere which means that the radio is on non-stop and we’re able to get a feel for what’s on-and-poppin’ nowadays. I’ve been realizing a few trends amongst all the popular and over-played tunes and I think I figured out a formula for success.
Here’s how to get a #1 hit on the radio:
1. Autotune - yup, this is the single most important element and hands down, the most overused. I think there’s a rule now in the industry that requires you to have auto-tune in your record or it simply won’t get played. There’s a little bit of a problem with this, in my opinion, because even terrible singers can suddenly release hits. I can’t help but equate the auto-tune with cheating. They are like really annoying steroids– except their use in this case benefits nobody. T-Pain, this is all your fault.
2. Rihanna sings your hook- remember that kid in your class that would raise their hand for everything? Who wants to be hall monitor? “Oh, ME!” Who wants to erase the chalk board? “Oh, ME!” What is the theory of relativity? “I know!” Who wants to kiss my butt? “Yes, ME!” Well, that person on the radio right now is Rihanna. She’s EVERYWHERE. She has her own songs but she’s also singing everyone’s chorus. OK… maybe it’s just that one Eminem chorus but still, it seems she’s everywhere. Basically, get her on your song and you’ve got yourself a hit.
3. Think of the most simple, redundant thing to say – and make that your chorus. I promise you that 98% of the songs out there would be booed off local open mic nights if they were ever shared in spoken word form. That’s how shallow, redundant and un-artistic a lot of these songs are. Lyrical content counts for very little these days and it’s all about . . .
4. A killer beat – it doesn’t matter what your song is talking about as long as the beat can get people to shake their hips, bob their heads, and make children. After all, that’s what really sells and that’s how the Black Eyed Peas have made a living for the past decade.
I know this is not a comprehensive breakdown so i could use your help. What am I missing?
Thank you for reading my recent wave of blog posts as I try to write every day for a 40 day period.
After a week of so much serious business, I thought it would be appropriate to lighten the mood a little while opening your eyes to a different side of me. You have been warned…
You see, I’m back in California this weekend for a really quick trip with my family– a final visa run before my wife gives birth in Mexico in mid-May — and it seems every time I’m back, people ask me the same exact question: “Did you lose more weight?!?!”
For most of you, such a question would make your day but for a person that’s already skinny, you might as well say: “What is wrong with you? Your skinny body disgusts me! You need to eat more, Skinny Bone Jones!”
My answer for now and forever more is, NO. No I did NOT lose weight, I DO not lose weight… and I do not want green eggs and ham.
Perhaps it’s just the tighter clothes I’m wearing. Maybe you have gained weight. But for the last time, I am not losing weight.
I have weighed the same for the last 10 years. I am a picture of consistency. How can I lose weight every time I’m away from you? I’d be a shriveled corpse.
On our last trip back to California, a Korean lady actually said this to me and my pregnant wife: “Wow! It looks like you need to eat more and your wife is eating everything.” (translated)
WHAT?! Dang it, Korean people. That’s the most creative, one-take, double-whammy insult on a couple I’ve ever heard in my life.
All that to say, I know it’s inevitable. I’m going to get concerned questions again about my weight. I need to brace myself.
But for the rest of you (who read my blog), I want you to look at the photo below and tell me who should be concerned (scroll down):
[WARNING: Partial Nudity]
[Or is it inspiring?]
[I had give it all I got in this one]
[Here you go]
The news reports of the devastation in Japan keep pouring in and continue to flood media outlets and social media platforms of all kinds.
I was reminded this week of how much we need to to share in the Japanese sadness while valuing and honoring life, even as we hear of such mind-numbing numbers, statistics and horror stories.
However, in the midst of such darkness and sorrow, there are beautiful things taking place. Incredible accounts of valor and sacrifice that are as heart-wrenching as they are inspiring. Amazing miracles in a time when nothing good seems to be happening. Tiny sparkles in a sea of sadness.
Did you hear about the four-month old baby who was found virtually unscathed, days after she was snatched from her parents’ grasp by the tsunami?
Or consider the story of the 60 year old man and 70 year old woman, both of whom have separate accounts of how they survived when the rest of their village was swept away completely. The man survived by clinging on to his floating roof top for 2 whole days. (Read about all three accounts here)
Perhaps the most heroic and inspiring occurrence would be that of the 50 workers at a nuclear plant (Fukushima Daiichi) who have chosen to remain (while 800 of their peers had been evacuated), in order to work towards preventing a meltdown and the ensuing massive loss of life that would inevitably follow. They know fully well that this could potentially be a suicide mission yet they are putting their lives on the line for their country. They are choosing this. Real-life heroes in real-time.
There is no greater love than when we lay our lives down for our friends.
Some of us may have heard this before and now we are actually seeing it.
Telling these stories of miracles and sacrifice will not bring the thousands we have lost back to life. This is a fact. But we bring light into darkness when we highlight the moments of intense beauty and selflessness that surface in the face of the most horrible tragedies. We saw it in catastrophes like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., and now we see it in Japan.
Today, I am encouraged because I am reminded that miracles happen every day and there is hope within the madness. Don’t get me wrong. We mourn the immeasurable loss and we validate the immense sorrow with our deepest of sympathies. Let’s do that.
But let’s also recognize beauty when it surfaces and let it sparkle and shine.
What are some other stories of beauty, miracles and sacrifice in Japan you’re seeing in the news feed today? Please post the links below in the comments so that we can all share in these sparkles of light!
**I am on a quest to blog every day (Monday-Friday) for the next 40 days and I am suddenly feeling flooded with things to talk about. This is both a good and bad thing.**
Today, we will talk a little bit about what not to say in the face of catastrophic human tragedy.
The original video has been taken down and she has since deleted her account, but “TamTamPamela” single-handedly managed to cause a YouTube firestorm a couple days ago with her video proclaiming that the earthquake in Japan was God’s way of turning atheists into believers. “God is SO GOOD!” she exclaimed. It was pure religious lunacy and helped further the notion that perhaps some people have a hard time believing in God because His followers are so full of [expletive]. I was pissed and if you saw the video, you were pissed too.
But hold on! There’s more! In a bizarre plot twist, it seems as if TamTamPamela recorded the video on purpose for the purpose of pissing people off. What?!
Apparently, she is a TROLL, a Web 2.0 term to mean someone who posts content on forums and blogs in order to shake things up and rile people up. I can’t believe there is a term for this type of idiocy. Consider me enlightened… and disgusted.
This is a repost of her original video:
and here is her confession of her “Trolling”:
I’m at a loss for words. Of all the things that people could say to elicit a reaction, why would anyone choose this?
Here’s the scary thing: the video may or may not have been a trolling effort but there are many, many, many people out there who believe the very things that TamTamPamela claimed to be satirizing. Yes, people believe that God kills upwards of 10,000 people in partnership with Mother Nature in order to make believers out of atheists and to judge the evil within a country.
That’s not the God I know.
I think what we learn from TamTamPamela (whether she’s a troll, a loon, a person in need of love, or all of the above) is that:
1) These sorts of opinions really do exist and they are unfortunate, destructive and unacceptable.
2) We all have a desire to be noticed at times but the lengths to which we go in order to achieve this is shameful and often times, unbelievably offensive.
3) There are certain things you don’t judge or joke about. You just don’t. A) My momma, B) A disability, C) A tragedy.
4) We all have our blind spots and errors in judgment. Hers just happened to involve 10,000+ dead and the millions who are mourning and trying to make sense of it all.
5) There is grace for idiots and trolls alike.
So while I can cast no stones due to my own mistakes and errors in judgment, I do want to say that this was dumb. Really dumb. Fa’ real.
What do you say?
It shocks me every time I come across racism. I can relate to Madonna when she sings about being “touched for the very first time” granted she is talking about something completely different in the song. I, like a racist-rant virgin, am touched in a very negative way for the first time, every time.
The year is 2011 so one would think that after all that our country (the grand ol’ US and A!) has been through, we’d be a little more educated, a little more understanding and a little less racist. This is not the case. Yes, we are progressive and on the cutting edge but that doesn’t stop one from carrying an iPhone in one hand and still slant-eye gesturing someone with the other. Painfully sad and deeply upsetting to say the least.
Some of my friends and I were shooting some recent stories and examples of racism via twitter this past weekend and right on cue, this video surfaces out of UCLA. Most of you have probably seen it by now but in case you haven’t or you need a refresher, take a look below. May I present to you, Alexandra:
Lucky for you, I am not about to unleash my wrathful thoughts on racism here on this platform. I think enough of that has been done and will continue to be done on the youtube page as well as in private conversations. All I want to do is offer some observations laced with some opinion and hope for a good discussion afterward.
Let me start off by saying I feel sorry for Alexandra. I really do. I think the poor girl was just trying to be funny, amusing, and provocative but everything just came across a bit racist, ignorant, and dumb (and by “a bit” I mean VERY). Her insensitive and inane comments regarding what’s happening in Japan were distasteful to say the least. I wonder what life on campus is/will be like for her, if she’ll even be able to continue her education at UCLA, and if her life will ever be the same. If she indeed is racist, she chose the wrong place to go to school. If you’re allergic to peanuts, do you go work for Planters?
I wouldn’t be surprised if she feels a little bad about this given the overwhelmingly angry response she is getting from the public– including death threats. I just don’t know what else she could have expected though. My man Antoine Dodson said it best: “You are dumb. You are really dumb. Fa’ real!”
The unfortunate thing that happens with things like these is that the conversation quickly becomes an “us against them” thing. In this instance, I suppose it’s “The Angry Asians vs. The Racist Blonds.” I don’t know if that’s necessarily fair nor helpful.
I say this because I love my white folks with all my heart. Some of my favorite people in the world and best friends are white. My favorite foods, actors, musicians, leaders and clothing stores are “white.” As much as I hate to admit it, Brad Pitt is one good looking guy and my wife has every right to comment on that fact– as long as she reminds me she loves me more. I love Conan O’Brien, flannel shirts and cardigans, In N Out, and Blake Griffin (he sorta counts, right?).
What is my point? I am American. My parents may have immigrated from South Korea but “this land belongs to you and me.”
My friendships remind me that one Alexandra does not merit a generalization against an entire race of people.
To Alexandra and those like her: for every Asian you encounter with bad manners and annoying accents, you will meet plenty more who don’t fit your awful picture of who we all are. I think I’m pretty fly for a non-white guy. Please, think before you speak, diversify your friendships, try a little kimchi, and cover up when filming a video that’s about to go viral. By the way, it’s not too late– you can make things right but it will take some time. Hope you’re game.
To my Asian folk, how we respond to things like this will either perpetuate the racism issue or help solve it. We hold incredible responsibility in our hands as well.
Finally, if there are any Asian UCLA students who come across this blog entry, I wonder what it would do to Alexandra’s world if you found out where she lived, not so that you could meet her face with a fist, but rather to invite her out to a lunch conversation? That may sound crazy but I think crazy issues require crazy solutions. I challenge you with this.
What do you guys think? Am I being too calm about this or is what I am saying resonating with some of you?
This is an issue we all have to work together toward resolving, whether your hair is blond or your eyes are small (like mine).
There are no words that adequately describe the tragedy and footage coming out of Japan in the wake of one of earth’s greatest natural disasters. Unbelievable, unspeakable, terrible, and horrifying are some of my best and feeble attempts. Death toll estimates at 10,000 and rising, dreams shattered, homes and cars washed away like driftwood, families separated, and tears upon endless tears to equal the merciless waters that have swept through one of the world’s most provocative nations. Thoughts that have been bouncing in my mind and heart (as well as in some of yours, i’m sure):
- Those are my brothers and sisters that have died and lost loved ones. It doesn’t matter what color, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, or belief system they belong to. We are all family, all of us. We share the same Father.
- If anyone has a satisfactory answer to the age-old question of “how could a loving God allow…?” now would be a good time to show your face and give us the goods. I’m currently stumped.
- A 9.0 earthquake is ridiculous enough. But then came the tsunamis… and then the threat on nuclear plants… and then volcanoes? WTH.
- Is this fire from God to bring judgment upon a sinful nation? If this were true, what is keeping our “great nation” of the United States of America from complete apocalyptic annihilation? Please. We better brace ourselves knowing we are next or we better stop looking at these things as fire from heaven. Believe me, our self-righteousness alone is worthy of hell on earth. This is a wake-up call to all human beings to respond with greater compassion, generosity, and unity.
- After an outpouring of grief, sympathy and compassion, perhaps one of the few things we gain is perspective. How many years of schooling, sacrifice, labor, and wealth have been washed away in the currents of the tsunami? How differently will each survivor live their lives? What is truly important and valuable? Could any amount of money or affluence have prepared Japan for something like this? All the footage tells me no. Mercy.
The thing that gives me the greatest amount of sadness and grief is not in the horror that we see from the videos or the staggering number of lives lost. It is that one life was lost. One mother lost her daughter. This story tears me apart:
In Rikuzentakata, a port city of over 20,000 virtually wiped out by the tsunami, Etsuko Koyama escaped the water rushing through the third floor of her home but lost her grip on her daughter’s hand and has not found her.
“I haven’t given up hope yet,” Koyama told public broadcaster NHK, wiping tears from her eyes. “I saved myself, but I couldn’t save my daughter.” (Source: Yahoo News)
What if this was my son? My wife? My mother? My father? My brother? They would not just be part of a staggering number or statistic.
I share in the Japanese sadness because one life was lost… that was my son, wife, mother, father, brother, sister…
Our team here in Mexico City poured out all of our efforts in the last 6 weeks to this place and it is finally ready for business!
This is our brand new wraps, salads, and coffee Cafe in Coyoacan, one of the best locations where locals and tourists alike gather on the weekends for food and entertainment. We envision this place to be a refuge for artists and lonely hearts everywhere! We hope many lives are changed through this place!
Check out the video tour and then take a look at some of the pictures below.
[note: the video gets cut off at the end because my battery died but i was just about to say that the place is gonna be the bomb!]
What do you think? By the way, the wraps are delicious and our new staff is amazing.
Can’t wait for the first open mic night!
Imagine how a business can provide community by being in the middle of one… it’s happening now!
NOTE: The implied expletive in my title actually says “Bible”
Ever have an argument or heated debate with someone only to have them bust out something that utterly kills your conversation?
For most couples, this comes in the form of a low blow, perhaps something from the past. If you’re a dude, it’s usually something a woman says that is like a punch to the privates. For a lot of people with some sort of faith background, it’s none other than: the Holy Bible.
When somebody says something like, “well it says in Hezekiah 5:4 that eating Chick Fil-A on Sunday is wrong,” it’s rather intimidating and hard to argue with. “Well, if the Bible says so, I guess you’re right! Off to Arbys then…”
But then you think for yourself a little bit and realize a couple things: 1) Chick Fil-A is never open on Sundays, 2) though the name sounds like it belongs, there is no book of Hezekiah in the Bible, 3) this conversation is far from over!
I don’t know if the Bible was ever meant to be used like an atom bomb to effectively end a war of words. If this were true, imagine what would have happened to JESUS himself when SATAN busted out the words of the Bible in the desert:
“You know what, Satan? What you’re saying makes a lot of sense, especially because it’s written in the Torah. I guess I WILL have that piece of rock toast before I take the leap off this here cliff. When I reach the bottom, I’ll meet you there and I’ll bow to you Korean New Years style and you can give me my red envelope full of THE WORLD’s RICHES.”
The Bible is not a conversation ender. It is a starter. It is not your trump card though you may be tempted to use it as such. As “clear” as certain things may seem in the text, there are just too many aspects that require a bit of interpretation. Human interpretation. If you use it to be “right” and prove another “wrong,” the Bible provides you plenty of ammo to argue until Kingdom Come (literally). What a waste of time.
I honestly think the best way to squash an argument is to agree that a lot of what is in debate is a matter of opinion and interpretation. Nobody is 100% right or wrong. It can’t be a black and white issue because very few things in life are. The truth will surface as you live out the words on the side of love.
This is good news for all of us, whether you read the Bible or not. This means that there is room for questions, for doubt, for dialogue and for healthy debates that last into the night. This means that we don’t need to flex our muscles when we’re “certain” and cower when we’re not. This means that we can function like normal human beings and not sound like idiots while attempting to sound wise. This means that we can eat Chick Fil-A on Sunday without feeling guilty, especially because we visited the drive-through at 8 PM on Saturday and refrigerated the bad boy till now. BOOM.
That is what God intended anyhow in Jebidiah 7:10 . Don’t argue with me.
Have you ever thumped or been thumped on?
(please note: this is just for fun. not meant as an attack on “America’s Pastor.” chill and enjoy, please!)
(also note: the mutual unfollow is a true story)
When Rick Warren UN-follows You on Twitter (a TRUE story, an internal monologue):
- Relax, it’s not the end of the world
- Besides, I unfollowed him first right? It’s only fair
- But why would he care that I unfollowed him? He has a bajillion followers
- Yeah, that is a bit odd. I’m actually sort of hurt by this
- I mean, I know he’s only human but isn’t he like #6 behind the 1) Trinity 2) Abraham 3) Mother Teresa 4) King David and 5) Billy Graham in heaven’s power rankings? He’s practically a modern-day apostle and Purpose Driven Life might be canonized in 100 years.
- That’s huge. Way to blow it, brosef. You just got unfollowed by the Lady Gaga of the spiritual leadership twittersphere.
- Still though, he could’ve “turned the other cheek” and offered me his proverbial tunic by way of a twitter shout-out: “hey @dkdanielkim, you are an inspiration!” That would have left burning coals on my head.
- I guess Rick blew it, then.
- Or… he probably doesn’t care, nor does he have the time.
- But he had time to unfollow me back?
**This post is for everybody, whatever your beliefs may be**
I don’t want to add another Rob Bell blog entry into the massive pool that has formed in the last 7 days. So I won’t make it all about him. Instead, I want to point out what I believe is a glaring weakness of those who profess to follow Jesus, in light of the Rob Bell controversy: We Hate Questions.
Nearly 10 years ago, I remember hearing of an incident at a neighboring church that involved a few of my younger friends. Apparently, their youth pastor had caught wind of certain questions that they were asking amongst each other, questions that were deemed heretical and unacceptable to the leadership. The students wondered if a person like Gandhi was really in Hell, especially in light of the great, selfless life he lived. Instead of dealing with these questions and walking his students through them, the youth pastor exercised his executive power and kicked these guys out of the church, never to return again. That’s right, a good ol’-fashioned excommunication of heretics took place in a small Los Angeles suburb that fateful day.
I can’t help but draw parallels here with what is going on with Rob Bell. All he’s done in his promotion of his yet-to-be-released book is raise a few questions regarding the afterlife. Questions I’m sure many of us have asked periodically throughout our spiritual journeys. Questions that may never have clear answers. Questions that have not made the claims that Bell’s biggest critics are saying he did.
We have heard many times that life and leadership is all about asking the right questions, however, we are seeing in Christian circles time and time again that questions are bad. Let me re-phrase: questions that do not have immediate, neat, organized answers are bad. Questions that are outside the FAQ’s of today’s self-professed theological gate-keepers are bad. We oversimplify the complex and understate the simplicity of our core message and duty to love the world around us. The danger that we face today is not that questions of serious doubt exist but that many of our leaders do not know how to deal with them.
The glaring weakness of those who follow Christ is the inability to deal with questions as normal human beings would, which is through conversation and dialogue. Instead, many resort to judgment and default Bible verses, things that often end conversations before they start or explode in arguments. Of course, scripture is the basis for all that we do and say but it also does not mean that we have a free pass from actually thinking about things.
I am so disappointed in many of the nation’s influential leaders and bloggers who have smashed Rob Bell, often using lengthy Scripture-laced essays to show everyone how wrong and heretical Rob Bell’s alleged views are in his new book. I don’t know about you, but this type of thing does very little to impress me and does a whole lot to further prove what many believe Christians are: judgmental, unloving, bible-thumping tools (the bad kind, not hammers and nails).
I agree that questions demand answers but not in the way that many of the “top voices” have deemed appropriate. Public lynching is not the way. Simple excommunication is not the way. Theological piss-matches are not the way.
The irony in all this is that the title of Bell’s new book is Love Wins. I hope he’s right. In fact, I know he’s right. Love has already won. The problem however is that this is not an issue of right or wrong, as much as people are wanting it to be. It’s an issue of who is ready to listen? Who is ready to walk through the very real struggles of faith in the minds of millions the world over?
In a situation like this, theology impresses no one and solves very little. How we deal with the questions in real, time-honoring ways will always have the deeper, lasting impact. Imagine what my young, excommunicated friends would be like today if their questions were honored and validated in love?
Just a few thoughts. How about you? How have others dealt with your questions? How have you dealt with others’ questions? What are the questions you still wrestle with?