Built for a Time Like this


We are being asked to live with unknown cultural elements and we are uncertain as to how some things will play out. We find some things we have seen this week to be unbelievable. Some of us are homesick, others of us feel exhausted, curious, disillusioned, and engaged all at once. It’s hard sometimes for me to articulate the deep longings that come out as emotional overload and my guess is that I am not alone.

Those of us in international education or those of us who have studied abroad or those of us who have international partners as part of our day to day work are built for a time like this. How do I know?

Cultural Disorientation

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Of Course I'm Political, I Believe in Jesus

Jesus is political. That’s how He died.

In this season of everyone pitching their political beliefs—including my favorite kind of naysaying, Facebook critics—Christians quickly get out of control. In the midst of it all, it’s really easy to lose sight of who is really ruler, Jesus, as Eugene Cho recently pointed out. It’s also easy to lose sight of just how political Jesus is and what that means for us.

Our Opposition Is Everywhere—That’s the Choice We Made

Jesus’ entire identity opposed the worldwide power of Rome.

Why Christians and Politics have a hard time

When your heart and soul belong to a kingdom-oriented system rather than a world-oriented one, things get tough.

Especially around election season.

The early Christians weren’t willing to concede that Caesar was God or even “god-like”. They fed the poor when others wouldn’t. They viewed people as more than “shadow” as was the prevalent worldview fed on by the masses from Grecian philosophers.

In today’s political climate, there’s a lot of demagoguery. People pander to whichever group they’re speaking to and truth becomes hard to separate from fiction.

I’m under no illusions. I don’t equate Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians or Independents as Christian. I expect the lost to behave as lost people. My base of expectation is that “all have sinned” and are fallen. So the notion of “trickle down” tends to sink in the wake of sinfulness. It’s just easier to buy a jet ski than it is to give money to the poor. At the same time, those who are interested in creating systems to capture people tend to believe that people need capturing. And yet the Christian believes in the freedom of personal choice. God allowed us to choose Him even as He pursued us.

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Can a Christian vote for Barack Obama?

I voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election instead of voting for the ticket of McCain and Palin. 

At the time, I did not understand the division and caustic nature of the upcoming 2012 election. My guess is that neither did you. The economic disaster that was 2007-2008 had not yet been thoroughly investigated and the nation had not seen the gridlock of partisan politics to the degree that the early 2010 deficit talks and subsequent supercommittee debacle produced. I was also particularly unprepared for the rather pointed, sometimes hateful, rhetoric that would flow from the more conservative ranks about the President of the United States. Let’s, though, move closer to home.

I have had relatives, Christian co-workers, and social conservatives question my faith, question whether I believe the Bible to be relevant, and question my intellect for the past few years.

When Hate Rules, Our Children Fall

Last week, we passed the 1-year anniversary of the horrific day in Tucson, Arizona. On January 8, 2011, a lone shooter shot U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people. Six died, including 9-year-old Christiana-Taylor Green.

Recently I read the book As Good As She Imagined by Roaxanna Green and Jerry B. Jenkins. It’s a wonderful book that portrays the life of this 9-year-old, Christina-Taylor. My heart mourned for the victims and their families but especially for the Green family. No one wants to lose his or her child.

Green and Jenkins share stories from Christina-Taylor’s short life and I couldn’t help but fall in love with her and her family. It’s reminded me of the importance of community, love of family and how enduring challenges develops the perseverance needed to survive later trials.

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45 Things I Want in a Presidential Candidate

A year from now we will (very possibly) have a new president-elect in the U.S. As a registered voter in California, I will have zero influence in deciding the election. But that doesn’t keep me from having opinions about what kind of candidate I’d like to see succeed in becoming America’s 45th president. If I did happen to live in a state like Iowa, New Hampshire, or one of the other “primary” battlegrounds where my vote might feasibly matter, I would be looking to cast a vote for a presidential candidate who fit the following qualifications. Are there any good candidates out there?

Latter Day Uneasiness

Let me just put it out there and take the wacks for being intolerant; I would be very uneasy having a devout Mormon in the Oval office.

Watching the political wrangling of the pachyderm party and the various missteps of those hopefuls for nomination to lead the nation, it is quite obvious that the “religious affiliation” question is a minefield not to be crossed.

So let me attempt to bravely venture out where one is forbidden to go and explain my queasiness.

Some religions are nutty.

Scientology comes to mind as a loopy scam. 

Some religions are deceptive, cloaking their real ideas and agenda in the guise and language of an already accepted faith.

The Gnostics were pretty good at this as I recall. 

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An Election Prayer

Can I be honest for a moment?  I hate election years. There I said it.  I hate coming home from work to a mailbox full of paper screaming at me in BOLD TYPE: VOTE YES/VOTE NO. Vote for me; Screw them; Everyone else is evil; I am right, no wait I'm left, but I'm correct and you're wrong.  If elected I will save us... from what?

Can I get a "maybe" box on the ballot?  Like a "let's try this and if it doesn't work, we'll rethink it. We'll be mature adults and have your best interest at heart." (I'm sorry I meant special interests...) Nope, we throw millions upon millions of dollars at mailers and shady commercials made by an intern to make people think they can and will fix everything. Millions of dollars that could be invested in, I don't know, ANYTHING else.  What if two people ran for governor -wait for it- together! (shock, gasp).  What if we thought outside of a box with two legitimate parties? In a land that believes in dreaming big, two parties seems really small (and divisive).  When we approach life as so right and wrong, black and white, either/or, I begin to wonder if we can just vote all of that down.

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Alvin Greene: My hero of the day

An unknown guy from South Carolina won the Democratic Primary there.  He basically paid the filing fee, and ran an almost unknown campaign, and by some freakish chance won.  You can read the whole story on Yahoo.

I personally love stories like this.  There is something deep within me that loves when a dude like Alvin Greene wins an election, or upsets the societal expectation.  There is probably a lot that goes into my feeling, but I think a big part of it my slight tendency towards being anti-establishment.  For some reason, I just love when someone who seems to be otherwise an underdog goes up against the big time player and comes out on top.

A bit about Greene:  Unemployed, Military Veteran, Lives with Parents, Ran almost no campaign.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention he has a pending felony charge.  

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Christy's Inauguration Day Interview

Yesterday's Inauguration of President Obama was the most-watched inauguration ceremony ever. I have email from friends all over the world who stayed up into the wee hours to watch a live stream from Washington DC online. At work, we have a standing weekly staff meeting on Tuesdays, but this week everything "IAM" halted at 11 a.m. and we lowered the screen and streamed Hulu's live feed (while listening to a radio broadcast - the stream was very, very delayed! As my friend Alissa twittered, "At one point, Rick Warren was singing the National Anthem and sounded a lot like Aretha Franklin!") Everyone in the world, it seemed, was watching.

On my way in to Manhattan yesterday morning, I was sitting on the Staten Island ferry reading a pre-release of Mako Fujimura's forthcoming book from NavPress, Refractions, (it's excellent, by the way) when I was approached by a band of youths, one of whom was carrying a small video camera. They explained that they were doing a project for school, and asked permission to interview me. I agreed to it, and the interview began.

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