fight poverty 1 – an introduction

I’m writing a short series entitled, Fight Poverty, this week.  Here’s  Part II:  A Broken World and Part III: A Vision for Compassion and Redistribution.

These past couple years and especially recent months, my wife, Minhee and I have been challenged and convicted to do our part to stand against the injustices of poverty around the world.  As I share this short series, we’ll reveal a small glimpse of our conviction and the vision that we have to work with fellow humans to eradicate extreme poverty around the world.  We aspire to do a beta-launch of the non-profit in Spring 2008 and utilize our sabbatical during Summer 2008 to engage more deeply in this vision.  

It’s a crazy vision and idea.  Crazy enough that couple of the folks that I’ve shared this vision to expressed temptation to let go of everything in order to join in.   Continue reading “fight poverty 1 – an introduction”

an unexpected tumor

Update 10/30:  Received word last night that the surgery was completed and the tumor removed.  Craig is recovering.  However, there’s possibility of some very difficult news. Unfortunately, what was initially diagnosed as a benign tumor is likely cancerous – 80% probability according to the pathologist.  The complete diagnosis and pathology report will be released in 3 days. 

I have chosen to move the updates on Craig’s situation to the Quest Church community blog.  Because this blog receives its fair share of visitors and subscribers from all over, I prefer not to take the focus away from surrounding Craig and Betty with care and prayer.  Some comments were posted re: the authenticity or reality of prayer [and God] and while I’m a supporter of open dialogue, I’d rather not use this occassion or blog entry to pursue that.  Instead, I’d prefer to direct people to this blog entry, Does Your Prayer Work, which was written by one of the commenters on his blog, I believe, in response to this blog entry.  Feel free to engage there and be nice blokes.

And yes, I still invite you to join us in prayer for Craig and Betty.

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I heard some not so good news about a congregant at church yesterday.  After hearing the news after the 2nd service, I called and went to visit Craig and Betty at their home to pray with them. Continue reading “an unexpected tumor”

racism sucks

Racism sucks.  Most of us can agree on that.  The bad news is that many of us are racists.  We just are.  I fear that I may be a racist on some level or another.  It’ll help our conversation dramatically if we can all start from the presumption that we’re all racists in some way.  This way, we don’t have to all be so defensive.  And if we aren’t, we can all agree that we’re all racialized…meaning, we can’t help but see the world and others via the lens of race.

I know that dialogue isn’t sufficient in itself but conversation and knowledge can become foundations to action.  If you’re in the Seattle area, join us for our church’s 4th annual Faith and Race Depth Class.  Register HERE.  I can assure you that you’ll be disappointed by the class but that’s ok.  It’s still good a good discussion to have…

For five weeks in October and November [5 consecutive Mondays beginning Oct. 22] we will be hosting our fourth annual faith and race conference. We hope to learn more about racism in America, deepen our understanding of what it means to call ourselves a “multiethnic church,” and continue the dialog that began in 2003. We will be working through a reader using excerpts from the articles and books below as well as video clips from the Color of Fear documentary. The format will be both small group discussions and lectures led/taught by members of Quest. The charge is $10 to cover the cost of materials. 

By now, many of you have heard about the situation known as Jena 6.  But how many of you have heard about the rape and beating of Megan Williams on September 7, 2007?  Seriously, how many of you knew about this? Continue reading “racism sucks”

it’s snowing…

Yes, it is snowing – but not in Seattle.  I’ve been at Calgary, Canada for couple days to speak at a pastors’ retreat and more specfically, at Canmore and Banff.  Refreshing, we had some light snow here today.  After couple presentations, my responsibilities are done and will be back in Seattle later today.

I had a free afternoon today and took a drive out with couple other folks to Banff National Park Continue reading “it’s snowing…”

[korean christian] hostages in afghanistan

Update [August 30] All remaining hostages are now freed!  On the 43rd day of the Korean Christian relief workers hostage situation, the captivity has finally come to an end [but exchange of verbal drama will now ensue].  The remaining 7 hostages were released today.

Taliban militants in Afghanistan released seven hostages Thursday evening in two batches of four and three.

A Taliban negotiator Mullah Bashir told The Korea Times over the telephone that the release of the group of four _ two men and two women _ had been confirmed, while confirmation of the freeing of the other three had been delayed due to the long distance they had to travel. However, he said they were handed over to officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). [read full article]

Now, another long drama of words and worldviews will ensue.  Korean officials also agreed to order all Christian missionaries out of Aghanistan by this Friday as well.  As a Christian pastor, I have incredibly conflicted feelings over this matter but will post more on this later. 

Even in the recent days, I’ve read much criticism of both the [Korean] Christians Missions on their purported recklessness on this relief aid trip [which I sought to debunk in earlier posts] as well as the Korean government for caving into the demands of the Taliban.  Will there be escalating political ramifications?  Will the Taliban be empowered to further their tactics in similar manners? 

These questions are legitimate questions but I’m frustrated by the continual references to the 23 Korean Christian Relief group as the perpetrators in this entire ordeal.  They are NOT the perpetrators.   When have they stopped being the victims of a grave human rights violation?  While they had an agenda [simply by their faith in Jesus], they went to Afghanistan to help the people of Afghanistan.  The church that commissioned them had invested significant funds to help build a hospital and other elements of infrastructure. 

Let’s not forget the real perpetrators in this ordeal – the Taliban.  They’ve managed to get the Korean officials to agree to withdrawing their remaining quasi-troops, order all current Korean missionaries out of the country, agree to halt all future Christian involvement, and I’m certain that they’ve walked away with loads of cash.  What will the Taliban agree to?  What will they pay for the brutal murders of Pastor Bae Hyung Kyu and Shim Sung Min?  How is the global community holding them accountable?

Again, my prayer is that something like this doesn’t discourage people all around the world – regardless of their religious views- to pursue a desire to DO GOOD and help fellow humanity.  It is my prayer that this doesn’t discourage Christian missionaries around the world to pursue their convictions in both communicating and demonstrating the gospel and grace of Christ. 

There is much to be learned here so may we learn together.  For now, I’m so thankful that the remaining hostages are all freed now.  While I was hopeful and prayerful, I had my doubts so this outcome is amazing and an answer to many prayers lifted up by the larger Church.   Soon, they’ll all be back home to enjoy their loved ones [and the barrage of media and public overdose and scrutiny].

My condolensces to the parents, wife, children, and other family members of Pastor Bae Hyung Kyu and Shim Sung Min.  May these two not be forgotten…

Continue reading “[korean christian] hostages in afghanistan”

mother teresa’s “crisis of faith”

Just returned from a several day speaking engagement to New York/New Jersey.  Will post some notes later on the trip.  Long non-stop flight back so took the time to read the article in Time Magazine entitled, Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith.

There may be some or many that may be disturbed and/or discouraged by the article.  In some sense, I felt “sad” for Mother Teresa for the “crisis” she was going through but simultaneously convicted by the life she pursued in FAITH despite the lack of perfect convergence of all things spiritual.  I look forward to reading the book [Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light] when it is released later.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta, and — except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated. Continue reading “mother teresa’s “crisis of faith””