Reflection Exercise

Time required: About 1 hr. (Feel free to take more time if you need or additional sessions.)

Pre-reflection: Take a few minutes to sleep your computer, silence phones (vibrations off), log off chat, facebook, emails. Find a quiet place. Ask people not to interrupt you for this time. Take some deep breathes. Center yourself. If there are things that you need to do, you can visualize them, and put them down. Try not to carry them. Tell yourself that you will pick them up later. You can pray and give your tasks to Jesus to hold on to for that hour. You can meditate on a psalm to help focus yourself. Psalms 1 and 23 are some suggestions.

Reflection: Meditate on two types questions which can be summarized as presence and absence. Continue reading Reflection Exercise

Fundraising as Spiritual Formation

I have heard fundraising described this way: “It is a whirlwind that comes through your life that picks up all the junk. You can’t hide from what it picks up.” I have found that description to be unexpectedly accurate. In the past three years of staff, I have found fundraising to be just that. It makes sin and my own shortcomings ever so apparent. It takes money, value, shame, self-worth, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, fear of rejection, and fear of failure and forces me to confront them. And it pushes me again and again into asking, “Is this really where God has called and led me?” Over the years, it has gotten easier, like working out makes certain activities lighter. But it is still emotionally draining and mentally taxing when I keep thinking about my budget and my deficit.

Through this process, however, God has used it to shape me. Continue reading Fundraising as Spiritual Formation

Some Thoughts on the Trayvon Martin Case

I’ve been thinking about the Trayvon Martin case. I was traveling two weekends ago and didn’t have access to internet and the news, so I found out by looking at TV screens in the airport and learned that Zimmerman was acquitted of all his charges. I was really surprised. He killed a man. How does he get away with it? And because of the “not guilty” verdict, does that really make him “not guilty?” The unanswered question for me at that point was how could he kill a man, and for some reason, legally, get no punishments.

In response, people have argued that the prosecution didn’t make a strong enough case. People said that the jurors weren’t impartial. I heard on the radio and read in the news that the “system” worked, that it didn’t work, that it was an issue of race, that it wasn’t an issue of race, that it was a black/white divide, that Zimmerman doesn’t even look white, or what about the other colors and how should they respond, how do Christians respond, how do we as a country respond, what happens to all the other injustices that don’t get coverage, white privilege, justifications for profiling, damaging effects of profiling, and the topics go on and on.

In all the voices, two threads came together for me the past couple of days. Continue reading Some Thoughts on the Trayvon Martin Case

Life without the iPhone

Day 0 (5.26.13)

  • It’s something I already thought through about a month ago. At that point, I thought about all the different things I have to give up and I decided that there’s nothing really that I would be missing out on. Everything I can do on the iPhone, I can do on my computer. The only thing is convenience.

Day 1 (5.27.13)

  • It’s nice knowing that my phone only receives texts and calls. I don’t have to put any special restrictions not to check email or other stuff. I don’t feel bad that “I’m not taking full advantage of the functions of the phone.” My phone now is just something through which people can reach me.
  • It didn’t take long for me to figure out how to operate the dumb phone. There is part of me that is relearning the technology. But as I’ve thought through already, this inconvenience is nothing compared to peace of mind I can get through having a limited device.
  • I am much more willing to call someone rather than text because texting is so cumbersome.
  • I am also feeling like there is some kind of comparison that goes on. People are judged by what kind of phone they have. I feel just a little of that.

Continue reading Life without the iPhone

An Unusual Request

Two weeks ago, I went into the Verizon store at Harvard Square, and I asked a sales person to help me downgrade to a dumb phone. I had an iPhone 5 at the time, and I asked if I could trade it in for a flip phone. The sales person told me to buy a used phone and said that if I sold my iPhone, I could easily make $500+. After presenting what seemed to her a compelling case, I insisted that I do the trade in, and to do it then and there. She explained to me again, as if I didn’t understand the first time. I repeated my decision. Looking frustrated, she handed me off to another sales person. I repeated to him what I wanted, and he said, “You know, this is an unusual request. But you’re the boss. So we’ll do what you want.”

Why did I get rid of my iPhone 5? I have been a loyal iPhone user since 2009. The iPhone was the first and only smartphone I’ve owned. I really like the iPhone. So what happened? In very condensed form, there were two reasons: 1) to simplify my life; 2) in seeking sexual integrity, to block access to internet pornography. I will focus only on reason 2 in this post, and I hope to explain in more depth how I got here. To visualize my thoughts, below is a diagram.decision diagram Continue reading An Unusual Request

My Reflection on Easter

2013 marks my sixth Easter as a Christian. It is significant because this is not where I expected to be. Working with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is not what I had in mind when a freshman at Harvard. But as I look back over the past six years, without a doubt, my decision to follow Jesus was the most significant turning point. I did not do it because it was vogue. In fact, historically, it has never been so. I did not do it because I was coerced, for genuine faith cannot be forced. And I did not do it to fit in, because what happened was quite the opposite.

It was never easy for me. I faced opposition from my family. I feared rejection from my friends who weren’t Christian. My decision was seriously challenged as I encountered a number of faith crises along the way. I was a geology major so I had to wrestle with the Bible, creation, earth history, and evolution. I got entangled in a Christian cult that manipulated me and taught me inaccurate and potentially damaging theology. I struggled to understand how Christianity interacted with other religions, especially Buddhism and Islam. And as I interacted with my same-sex attraction and explored my sexual identity, I was puzzled, troubled, and intrigued with what Scripture had to say about it. All the while, I wondered, “Was I captive to the brainwashing of a false institution?”
Continue reading My Reflection on Easter

BILLUE reunited


Here we are in front of Henry Clay’s house. I found the opportunity to visit Billy in the end of December last year. It was wonderful to see him. We spent a good amount of time goofing off and making jokes at each other. We also spent a good amount of time revisiting old memories from our college days. We are in pretty different life stages now, but at the same time it feels like we never graduated from college. The only thing missing is a new music video!

One thing that I’m really thankful for this visit was the opportunity to rekindle my Latin. On the first day there, Billy was grading exams, which left me with ample time to relax, but it also gave me time to review my Latin. Now having returned home, I am still continuing with it. I’ve been trying to read the Bible in Latin, which is less stressful because I have the English translation at hand. This gives me an opportunity to build up my vocabulary and solidify my grammar. And if any questions come up, I can always ask Billy.