Sometimes I feel that watching the news everyday is making me feel like we live in the worst country in the world. It sometimes seems that way when we hear about the COVID-19 pandemic, presidential elections, social distress, police defunding, Antifa, BLM, Confederate flags, and the list just goes on.
But, seriously, it’s not all that bad right? There is a reason why so many people from so many countries still choose to fight their way to immigrate to the USA, either legally or illegally. And there is a reason.
Firstly, not any country in the entire world is perfect. Every country will have it’s flaws. The United States is no different. But racial intolerance is common worldwide, it’s not just in the USA. Good luck finding work in France if you are a Muslim, good luck trying to buy property in Japan if you are a foreigner, good luck trying to buy a cell phone in Korea.
That’s right you heard me…. a phone. If you are a foreigner living in Korea, you may go the first three months or more without being legally able to buy a cellphone. Plus, your rates are going to be JACKED. You see in the United States, we may not think too much about phone and internet. It is something that all people can get, no questions asked. In Korea though, my experience was a headache. It took me about 5 months to actually have a legal phone and plan. It was even really hard for me to get a prepaid plan. And it took me about 3 months in order for me to get cable TV and internet. And I had to accept that my rates are going to be much more expensive than anyone else. In the USA, regardless of being black, or white, or Asian, or any nationality, any skin color, regardless of visa status, you can freely get a phone, internet, and cable tv. We take for granted those simple things that we have so easily in the USA, that is for all people no matter what.
The USA, is a melting pot, the most diverse country in the world. We have people living in the USA with different nationalities, difference race, multiple genders (good luck finding that in Japan or Korea), multilingual, and multi-cultured. It’s a very unique place. And for the most part all those differences, whether we agree on someone’s culture, sexual orientation, or lifestyle, do their best to get along. But it’s going to take time, you cannot expect that everyone is going to agree with your point of view, you can’t force people to think the way you think. You have to take time, listen, communicate, and work together, and tolerate. The USA is not perfect, we got to work on a lot of things out there. But it’s going to get there, eventually, by the grace of God.
However, there is one thing I’d like to see happen in the USA that I miss so dang much while living in South Korea, and I think USA companies can totally benefit from it, and balance some portions of the economy.
Delivery. I would love to see all companies, and restaurants using home delivery services. I know we have amazon… and you can do uber delivery, or grub hub, but it’s not the same, because we have to pay extra to use those services, and those services are a third person service. I want my McDonalds to be delivered to my home by a hired McDonalds delivery driver, you know like pizza. What I miss most about Korea, was being able to get anything, anywhere, anytime in Korea. Does not matter what it is… pizza, pasta, fried chicken, computer chip, fishing lures, books, clothing, whatever it is… literally, without any extra charge.
I ordered a freaking dominoes pizza from inside a baseball stadium. I ordered fried chicken, beverages, and a dessert when I was relaxing at a giant park and the dude found me. I ordered aquarium fish at 3:00am and got it that morning. The USA could work on that… that would be cool…
But seriously, the media really wants to picture the USA looking like we are better off in a zombie apocalypse. It really ain’t too bad in the USA. I’m not trying to patriotic or whatever, nor am I trying to be cynical, just trying to look at other aspects rather than the doom and gloom that we keep hearing from conservative and liberals. Sure, we don’t have all the right answers and it isn’t perfect, but at least I can always count on having a phone, internet, and tv. A luxury to get in other countries but given equally in the USA.
This little comic about Jesus feeding the 5,000 makes me laugh because I wonder what Jesus would think about us when He returns to earth. How baffled would Christ be when He finds out how fragile we have become.
To me, this comic highlights how passive, how frail, how weak we have become in our society because of our depravity to nutrition, and our connection to God.
Deprived of Nutrition
Do you know what that Bible has to say about food allergies? I’m serious, does anyone know? I can’t recall anything in the Bible that says anything about food allergies. Is it possible that food allergies were just unheard of or so rare back then? It can be… I mean the way we eat and the amount of good and bad options we have has certainly changed since the Bible was written.
We have probably consumed more process food than they did in the Bible. And I have an assumption that due to our change in diet, eating processed food, and other food items that may lack the proper nutrition may give way to more food allergies. Our physical bodies have become so weak that some of us can’t even eat peanuts anymore. Healthy options are becoming harder to get, because let’s face it… processed food is much easier to prepare than preparing a healthy home cooked meal. The demands put on families and the demands of society have changed how we eat and take care of ourselves.
Take and Eat and Do This in Remembrance of Me
That is what Jesus says we should do in the Lord’s Supper right? If Jesus came back and gave all of us the Lord’s Supper, He would have to be forced to have us all sign a waiver before participating. This comic that we saw in the beginning of the blog shows how the people just don’t see Jesus. They don’t see what a miracle is about to happen or that they just don’t care that a miracle is happening before their eyes, and they are only consumed by themselves, and their frailty.
How much of Jesus do we miss in our lives because we miss seeing Him being present in our lives? Have we forgotten that Jesus is holding us as we trudge through the demands of society and the demands of the family? Have we been consuming that easy, processed food, aka. the easy answers to life’s problems, because of how fast we are too move in this ever-changing world? Hmm… maybe there is a reason why God told the Israelites to wander for forty years before entering Canaan…
Do your best not to miss out on life and the life that God gives us day in and day out. Never ignore the little bits of grace that God provides for you to get through your day. Remember Jesus is just saying, take and eat, be fulfilled, be healed, be restored. Never forget that even though our world is demanding, and that our diet has changed, we must live. Living is about eating well, eating nutritious, and taking the time to pause and see the blessing you have in your life.
I never thought that a child’s pockets can be so dang deep. It’s like one of those little clown cars and like twenty clowns somehow pop out of it. My son can pack a ton of stuff into his pockets. I have no idea why he does it, it will just be ballooning out. Last Sunday, as we were head to get lunch, he pulled out 20 letters of the alphabet out of one pocket… I have no idea where the other 6 letters are, but I’m sure they are hidden in some other pocket.
For the last couple of weeks in church, we have been studying about he kingdom of heaven parables that Jesus tells his disciples, and other people. The kingdom of heaven is like the field of wheats and weeds, or the kingdom of heaven is about seeds fallen on the rocky road, thorn bushes, or good soil, the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, the kingdom of heaven is like a tiny mustard seed, or the kingdom of heaven is like yeast. I got one more…
The kingdom of heaven is like my son’s pockets…
Even though it is small, it can be deep, and contain a whole lot of “gifts.”
The sheer amount to what my son’s pockets can hold are otherworldly! Those pockets are so small, yet it can be an endless quarry of unimaginable gifts! How many hot wheel cars can he fit in those pockets? Like the kingdom of heaven being the size of a mustard seed will become the largest tree in the garden. And the kingdom of heaven has all those wonderful gifts for us to use and take for us to use to help other people see the light of Christ that has never grown dim!
You never know what you will find, it’s a mystery and surprise.
I have found lost debit cards in my son’s pocket, my car keys, and cash? Where the heck did he find cash? I know I don’t have any! Found crayon’s and markers, even various fruits, and food, like cookies, crackers, and chips. Whenever, I dig through those pockets I never know what I am going to find, but it will be shocking, nonetheless. The kingdom of heaven is like that. God is always finding ways to surprise us and give us unexpected joys that we never thought we’d see. Never underestimate God, and never expect something from Him. God will give you something that will give you shock and awe!
What is inside the child’s pocket is so precious to them.
Have you ever tried to take something out of your child’s pockets? Well, it’s always well protected. Don’t try to take anything out because you will feel the fury and rage of a 2-year-old because whatever is in those pockets are incredibly precious. Even though it might just be a piece of wrapping paper, or liquid hand sanitizer, or a half-eaten animal cracker… those are precious to the holder of that pocket. Just like the kingdom of heaven is absolutely precious. To other people, faith, mercy, forgiveness, compassion may seem small and insignificant, and possibly childish , but to God those things matter the most than trying to climb the social or economic ladder, or being the most popular, or being the most wealthy, or having the most cool stuff. The kingdom of heaven values different things than what the world values.
Look for little bits of similes in your world that give you insight about how important and how precious the kingdom of heaven really is. Heaven is not just something up the4re, but it’s down here among us, taking its form and presence as something so precious and a child’s pockets.
Ya’ll know that story right? I want to talk about the story of the Wizard of Oz to use it as a metaphor about how we pray to God.
When was the last time you watched the movie “The Wizard of Oz?” I think the last time I watched the movie was in college, listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Apparently, all my friends were convinced that the music of Pink Floyd synchronizes with the story of the Wizard of Oz…. I dunno man… I guess under the right…. Conditions… Pink Floyd and the Wizard of Oz go together? I’m not much of a Pink Floyd fan… never cared about that style of music, just always made me feel bored… I was more entertained watching them get their mind blown, then watching the movie itself. But this blog isn’t about being a music critic! It’s about comparing the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man to how we pray and ask for things to God.
Let me make two things clear before talking about using the Wizard of Oz as a metaphor for our communication of God concerning our needs and desires.
Firstly, God is always listening to your prayers. No matter what, God is always inviting you to pray and ask. Afterall, Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 7:7-8, “For everyone who asks shall receive.” Never feel too shy or embarrassed when you come to God in prayer. He loves to hear your voice.
Secondly, You are made wonderful in the eyes of God, there is nothing wrong with you, because God has given you all that you need to live a full, exciting, fulfilling life. It is just that sometimes we need God to guide us and dig deep within ourselves in introspective reflection on who we are.
The Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man all are pursing going to see the Wizard of OZ because they want to ask the Wizard something they need/desire. The Scarecrow wants a brain, the Lion wants courage, and the Tin Man wants a heart. But what we find out in the movie is that as they journey on the yellow brick road, all three of those characters have the opportunity to learn that they already have all those things within them. A good example is when the Tin Man steps on a bug and cries over his mistake, showing his tenderness in the process. The Lion found ways to practice courage when it is needed. And the Scarecrow is able to solve their problems with logic and reasoning. The point is that they all have those gifts within them but just never realized it.
Maybe they were too overwhelmed by their failures that they feel that they don’t have a brain, courage, or a heart. But we know that you can only get those things with practice. So now think about what and how we pray to God and how God may respond to you.
It you prayed to God to give you courage, and if courage is only gained and realized when you put it into practice, then wouldn’t it be fitting for God to give you opportunities to practice courage? God wants us to be recognize His majesty but also for us to be self-empowered. We have always been told that God answers all our prayers, which I think is very true, but sometimes we expect God to answer a different way. Maybe we feel just like the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man and think that like a magic potion we will be given those things and suddenly our lives will change forever at an instant.
But the whole point in which God put us in earth is about us becoming, it’s about growth. For example as much as I would love both of my kids just to skip the terrible twos and skip being fussy, and just have them skip to the age that they get to college, and be independent instantly… it’s not going to happen, it will take at least 13 years for my oldest, and 16 years for my youngest to have a shot at independence. It’s the long haul, and throughout those long years they will learn, they will experience, they will grow, and find out that they are special and that it is God who has already given them the ability to move mountains, only if they are %100 believing and use everything that they are given to it’s fullest potential.
Think about what we pray to God and how we pray and let go of what your expectations are. God answers them, but he answers them in a way in which He gives us the opportunity to get to where we need to get going. If you pray for money, God isn’t just going to give you a ton of money, but God is going to set up the opportunities for you to get money. Give you a chance to write a good resume, get the proper educations for a job, apply for the job, get the job, and the job gives you money. Don’t look at God to be a magician, but look at God to be your Almighty, All-knowing Guide. If you are praying for patience, guess what, God will give you opportunities to practice patience. If you are like me and praying God for you to e a good parent…. Well I realize that God’s not going to zap me to be a better father, but that God has surely given me ample opportunities to be a better father by putting me in situations that forces me to make a good decision for my family and children. Each day I pray for this, God just throws me a certain situation in which I must be the best dad I can be. Some of the times I look like a pro, other times, I make the wrong decision. But life is long, and God is working on each and every one of us to be a better person than yesterday.
It is summer and last week we had a heat wave! It was dry and humid at the same time…. How is that possible? Well the sun scorched the earth, all the grass is dying… holding on to hope for rain, and the minute you go out there… forget about it man, your physical body can’t take it, and it breaks you mentally as well! It is just so melty…
Last week I took a half day off and went fishing early morning until about noon. And it was one of the most disappointing and frustrating day of fishing I have ever had in a long time. I caught one fish… which was fine… it was a good one, 2 pounder, which I should be happy about that, but I could not enjoy it, because, I had issue that day… Everything I tried to plan, just did not work out. First place I tried to fish, the water was flooded…. Weird, because I didn’t notice any rain… but it was flooded, and it looked like chocolate milk… I gutted it out trying o fish it…. Not a bite for 3 hours… tried everywhere on that body of water… decided I need to abandon it. Drove to a creek… too many people fishing… don’t feel like fishing a pressured and crowded place…. Next I tried a river… current was pushing too fast, and the water looked like someone after a bad night at taco bell… fished it… lost two lures… so far… not good… so I went to the fourth place…. A lake… lookin good! Clear water, saw bait fish, not many people fishing it… this could work. Never been to this area, so not sure if there are bass, but most likely there are… hiked and found some spots that have the potential for big predatory fish. I caught one fish… but in the process I lost about 6 hooks, 5 lures, and my bag of tackle fell in the water… nice… I have never lost that many hooks or lures before in my life in one fishing outing. I was getting hung up on people’s lines, wedged in rocks, hooks caught on sunken trees… it’s an expensive disaster. All the time this was happening, I could not keep the sun out of my face, as sweat rolled down my face, my glasses kept fogging up… just dying in the heat.
It’s like anything I tried to plan, just did not work out. I caught a fish, which is usually my goal… but I hate losing hooks, and lures… some of those lures have sentimental value, of big fish I caught with them… but they are gone… Every had those days, that just plain make you feel rotten? I hate those days, that when you wake up, you feel all chipper and happy, then slowly the day just gets worse and worse, one thing after another, just making you feel frustrated and disappointed.
So what do we do… I went home… all frustrated and mad, but it was seeing Ben, and him giving me a hug that made my crappy day, feel a little better. Sometimes all we need to someone to tell you that you are awesome.
So this message is for the people who may not have a frustrating day, but it’s nice to make a gesture of giving someone a call, and just telling them they are awesome. It can be random, doesn’t have to have any reason at all. Just like I will tell my wife, that I love her, and she might look at me and say, “what did you do?” Or “why did you say that?” And I said “I love you because of no reason, just because I want to say that.” There never has to be a reason to tell someone that they are awesome.
Words of encouragement and kindness can turn a day around.
There are a lot of thing I miss about living in South Korea, however, one of those things I do not miss is driving. Driving in South Korea can be a total nightmare, for two reasons…
Reason 1: A ton of cars
You want to know how to drive well, go to South Korea. You have to have your head on a swivel and having fast than lightning reflexes! Even when you’re not driving and just walking on the streets, you have be react quickly, because even if you are on the sidewalk, you can get hit by a car… yes… it has happened to me twice..
There are so many cars in Korea, even the sidewalks are car filled! The traffic can get so crazy, getting from point A to point B is an adventure. However, driving in Korea, made me realize that I can drive anywhere in the United States, easily… Washington DC.. that’s nothing, driving a 15 passenger van in NYC, I got this. Driving in South Korea is all about survival.
The amount of cars on the road… and sidewalk, make a 20 minute trip take about 2 hours. My wife called one of the major expressways in South Korea, “the parking lot.” Yeah, I don’t miss “the parking lot” one bit!
Driving in Korea is like living in the Old West. All those traffic rules and traffic lights… are merely suggestions. You can go through a red light if it is safe enough… ever done that in the United States? Not accidently going through red light, I mean, consciously decide to go through a red light. It happens man… and if you stop at a red light the car behind you might lose their effing mind because you aren’t blowing through that red light. You gotta be tough to be able to drive in South Korea… can’t be a wimp!
Reason 2: Bribing and Car Crashes
Ever got into a car accident the day before your wedding day and you weren’t driving your car. I can check that off my list! Yay, that happens. Also, have you been bribed after the accident? Once, again, check it off my list!
Eunkyung and I were getting married, we were accompanied by my best friend and my sister to do some last minute errands and pick ups fort he wedding. At one location, we had a valet park our car and then a few moments later, the valet comes to us and tells us that our car has been in an accident. Apparently the valet parked our car, was still sitting in it, and then a white Mercedes Benz T-bones our car. The driver of the car realized the mistake she done and proceeded to bribe us constantly. We called the police and they talked to her first, and then they talked to us and told us that she wants to give us money, would that be ok? I thought bribing was against the law, and the police said, yeah it is, but you can ask for any money right? Then the insurance agents came to look at the car and talk to her and then talk to us and said that she wanted to give us money, do we accept? Again…. I thought bribing was bad? According to the insurance agents and police confirmed yeah it’s against the law, but it’s ok if we want the money…
Then we find out she’s not insured and that she was driving her boyfriends car out of anger and decided to take that anger on her boyfriend onto our parked car. Wow…
Don’t get me wrong, living in Korea has more positives than negatives, but certainly =driving I Korea is something I will not miss. Next week I will share something awesome in Korea that you cannot do anywhere in the USA, something I miss.
I thought that I’d share something about the past, in order to give us a sense of relief about the present. Sometimes the present can look so bleak, scary, and just plain unsettling. We are forced to go back in our memories to find a sort of relief and enjoyment, just so it helps us feel relief during our present moment and gives us something to laugh about. I encourage all of you to do the same thing when the day just seems down and gloomy. Find a fun memory and tell it to someone!
Before I begin this blog, subjects I will cover will be 1) Removal of the Confederate Flag, 2) Removal of Confederate Statues and other Monuments, 3) CHAZ and 4) St. Louis Couple with Guns (I am supporting the couple). If you don’t want to hear the opinions, you can stop reading, it’s not trying to be political, just trying to find answers. This was my disclaimer.
There is way too much “Us versus Them” mentality. I want people to know, it is ok to think differently and passionately on these issues, but just get along with one another, and share what you think and also, respect other people’s voice, and there is no room to attack a person just because it is their opinion. Always look before you leap! The purpose of this blog is to find a reason to understand all this stuff that is going on in the United States.
1) Removal of the Confederate Flag
Happy upcoming Fourth of July everyone! I hope that all can celebrate responsibly and safely! Remember the 4th of July as a symbol of revolution! (Which I think we need to define is, in my opinion different from rebellion) It’s interesting to think about the fourth of July in all that is going on in the United States so far. So far… we have had COVID-19, which is still on-going and catching steam once again as cases rise at an alarming rate! Then there was the Police Brutality issue and protesting across the United States, and now we have people asking to take down confederate statues and the confederate flag and symbol and now the possibility of taking down Mount Rushmore? Umm… ok… so… let me think about this…
Here is the thing, it doesn’t make sense to me, why hold on to such a flag. Especially if you live in the northern half of the United States. We fought the Confederates and we beat them in a war. Who else keeps symbols of people you have defeated in a war? Like, should we hold a Taliban flag, or an ISIS Flag? I don’t get it. And it’s doesn’t make sense that it is a symbol of heritage…. Because I thought the confederate flag’s heritage was born out of rebellion and was first produced for the civil war because they supported slavery. Southern heritage/pride was born before that flag ever existed, like you are still southern even without the flag. Raise your state flag, right? Like to celebrate my Korean heritage I have a South Korean flag… it’s not like I’m carrying the North Korean flag, even if they are Korean like me. That’s what I would do, because for the south, people wanted to protect state rights, so raise your state flag…. I dunno… there are other alternatives I can see, that doesn’t make people feel bad….
2) Removal of Confederate Statues and other Monuments
Also, I think the revolution versus is different from civil war rebellion… The south rebelled… they weren’t looking for a revolution… Rebellion is about being hostile and an opposition of the current state, and a revolution seeks a change. The South were against the United States of America, the America in which our founding father’s created… a free and equal nation for all men and women. A Nation that our founding fathers, said, that all have the right to prosperity and happiness, that was there thought… and yeah… I know, some of those guys owned slaves…. But times begin to change, when people start to realize that being a slave is contrary to the ideology of Constitution. The ideology of the building blocks of the United States of America are not reflected on slavery and domination.
Anyways… moving on… taking down statues… ehhh… I get it why people want to rip down those statues of confederate people, again, I never understood why they were built and why we need to remember the losers of our history. We should remember heroes, and I believe heroes are people who were victorious, or were leaders who accomplished a task, Umm.. Confederates lost man… Don’t know why they were put up, but it doesn’t matter to me whether they are there or not either. I just don’t understand why we have statues of them, because they were our enemies right? I mean we fought a war against them. Like, should we put statues of Mao or Che Guevara because of history? Heck no man! Or put statues of terrorist groups like AntiFa? I hope not…
But there is an undefined line here about “statues.” And the question we must ask is… were these statues built for museum and education purposes, or were they built because we admire that person. First of all, I don’t understand why we would have to put up a statue to admire a person… I mean I admire a lot of people, but there is no way I’d want to make a statue to have them be worshipped…
At the same time, they have been up, they were built, what can you do about it now… And how far will this go? I mean… what is the checklist of which statues are ok, and which ones aren’t. I was a bit shocked at Mount Rushmore concept. Or even the thought of other monuments being ripped down. Are we to get rid of all of our history? I mean, since the some of our founding fathers have slaves does that mean we have to get rid of the Constitution? Or if they feel country music is not sensitive enough, we have to get rid of it? Please don't do that man... How far is this going to go?
I like the idea of a revolution, if it has a plan…. For example, what happened in Seattle… umm… it didn’t seem like they had a plan…. And I don’t think they were looking for a revolution, which is about making a change. They were looking for rebellion, which is standing opposed to something else, similar to the Confederates participation in the Civil War. I’m all for revolution if it gives us the answers. I am up for a revolution if it allows all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, skin color, sexual orientation, gender, and occupation, to pursue a life of happiness, and that happiness does not infringe on the rights of other people.
4) St. Louis Couple with Guns
I don’t know how to move on to the next subject… so here it is… In St. Louis, a man and his wife are photographed and filmed holding guns at protesters in front of their home. And people are up in arms… First off, come on people! Really? You are upset at a couple holding a gun in front of their home? Doesn’t he have the right to protect his family? What about the iconic picture of Malcolm X holding a AK-47 to protect his family against the Nation of Islam? This should be of no shock man… They were doing everything lawful in my opinion. I would do the exact same thing if I see a bunch of people holding signs and marching around my house… oh wait… that did happen, they were holding confederate flags and burning a cross, and we did what e had to do under the law to do what was necessary to protect each other.
What is my point in all this rambling… think before you make a judgement. Think about it before you do it. Just because something is upsetting to you, is it necessary to take it all down, or some of it down, or can you progress beyond that. Also, think about what we see portrayed in the news today… think before you judge, and the 4th of July is coming… it is a time of celebration, but also a time to remember that this great country is built on the premise of creating a nation in which ANYONE, can pursue the right to seek happiness that will not infringe or hinder other people’s pursuit of happiness.
I’d like to see people come together in the United States. I don’t think people need to agree with one another, but I am worried that there isn’t enough dialogue between people and opposing sides. I’m not asking for people to agree with one another, but I am asking people to look before you leap. Don’t make a snap judgement until you hear not just facts, but opinions. And there is no need to force your agenda on other people. I feel that if we can hear other people’s feelings it will help create sympathy and compassion that seems to be lost during this time in the USA. By having compassion towards one another I feel that we can be better decision makers in the future.
I am an environmentalist. Not like, an environmentalist that goes around saying, “Save the trees man…” Not like that kind of environmentalist (I have nothing against those people). Hmm.. maybe a better word it is I am a conservationist. I do care about our world a lot. I find peace and enjoyment being outdoors, enjoying the beauty of nature. So I guess it is natural for me to love fishing, I like to practice, catch and release, especially if it is a big fish. I do that in hopes that some kid, maybe my kid might hook into it, and hopefully learn to enjoy the outdoors.
Wherever I go to fish, I love just seeing the beauty of nature. Seeing the fish jump, the colorful, birds, the bees buzzing, and the occasional deer that scampers off. I enjoy the sight of it all, and I think it is really important that we enjoy what God has created for us. All this nature is for us to enjoy and be in we of His majestic glory! I think it is our responsibility is to take care of it, so that future generations can enjoy it as well.
What I cannot stand is people who trash our parks and recreational areas. It really bothers the hell out of me. I wonder if it is really that hard to pick up your own trash before leaving?! I mean, that’s the least you can do. I mean there are a ton of trash cans nearby that you can dump your stuff at. Or if you know you will have trash with you, just carry a trash bag, it fits in your pocket perfectly well. The worst for me is seeing fishing trash just littering the shorelines. I will see empty Styrofoam cups that used to hold worms, or plastic packages of artificial baits, or fishing line that’s just thrown on the ground.
What can I do? Well first, I don’t leave my trash laying around. But what I will do is pick up as much other people’s trash as much as possible. It seems like an endless and pointless task. There will always be more trash to pick up and even the trash I pick up today, I know Ill find more next week. So why do I keep on doing it?
I do it because I imagine that if I don’t do it, the trash is just going to pile up and we can no longer enjoy nature. I do it because I imagine a lot of people doing the same thing I am doing. That they are picking up other people’s trash. Even though there may be a lot of people littering, I do believe that there are also some people who are making the extra effort to be themselves clean and clean up after others. That makes me feel good.
Every small effort in life does matter and could go a long way. Not just in taking care of nature, but in other things such as random acts of kindness. It may seem small and effortless, but it can have an impact on other’s lives and also you never know who you meet that just needs a smile, or a simple, “How are you?” You may never know how much it may mean to another person to just listen to them. Think about every positive reaction can cause a ripple effect. Like a pebble that falls into he water, that ripple just keeps going and going and going. The small gestures to you do to other people, can be infectious and may cause another person to do a random act of effortless kindness, and then the next and the next, so that not only will our world be cleaner, but happier.
I’m not a cat person… but if watching two hours of kittens on YouTube makes my kids quiet for that time… I’m all for it. I spent one day, about 2 hours just watching kittens grow from day 1 to day 68. What did I learn? Nothing! And it was awesome. For 2 hours, my brain wasn’t thinking, stressing, or pondering, it was numb… the pure definition of mindless. For 2 hours, my kids did not fight, did not fuss, did not say a word, it was total peace. The kids just mesmerized at the kittens from day 1 to 68.
Sometimes that is what you need in life. Just a moment in which there is nothing. Your mind goes blank, all those worries, all those cares just goes away for that moment. As a parent, that was the moment I needed. I am so thankful to God that for 2 hours the kids just behaved, and did not fight, no yelling, nobody getting ouchies… just…. Awesome.
Which is also another thing about kids… why in the world do kids behave so dang well in public, but are hooligans at home? I don’t know if anyone ever had that problem. Like, whenever we go to church, or at a friend’s house, or Walmart, or the grocery store, the kids are just calm, cool, patient, and polite. But when they are at home, it’s like they have entered the octagon at the most hyped up UFC fight. I might be exaggerating a bit…
But they are totally different in public. Maybe it’s because they are more shy in public than at home? But there are some days in which I wish that was flipped…. You know? Let them just run a much in Walmart and at the mall, then at home, they just sit there are draw or read or something. I dunno, it’s a catch 22 right? If they misbehave in public, then I’ll feel embarrassed and wished the other way around.
Kids are kids, they are like little punk rockers and their world is a little mosh pit. But last week, for 2 hours, just watching kittens on YouTube was awesome, and well needed. There is a time in which we just need those moments of nothingness and peace.
Always takes me back to the Bible passage in 1 Kings 19:11-13. Elijah is running for his life. He has angered a bunch of people who worshipped Baal, and He is instructed by God to stand on the mountain because God is going to “pass by.” While Elijah hid in the mountain, he heard a great and powerful wind, that broke apart rocks, then he felt an earthquake, and then he saw fire, but Elijah knew God was not in the fire, earthquake or wind. It only what followed all these marvelous and powerful events, was a gentle whisper. Elijah knew, in that subtle, gentle, quiet whisper was God “passing by.” He took notice, covered his face and stood at the entrance of the cave of the mountain. Then God spoke.
There is always so much to worry about, there is always a ton of work to be done, there is always something waiting around the corner that gives us that feeling of dread. There is just so much noise, distractions, and violence that we see happening before us. Best thing we need in our life is that moment of stillness, that moment of nothingness, even for just a moment. Because in that moment after the winds, earthquakes, and fire, comes a whisper, and it is the voice of God telling us, “What are you doing here?”
It is in that moment God is calling out to us, asking us, “Where is your mind going? Just for one moment be still and wait. Don’t fuss and worry about what is going on out there, but be on this mountain with me, just for this moment. You need this, and I am there with you. Now… let’s just watch these kittens for two hours everyone.” Thank you, God, for giving us these moments of peace for us. A time in which my little UFC fighters can find rest in you, through this kitty video. Thank you, God, for letting me not think about anything for that moment, and giving my mind some rest. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. But these workers need rest too and you give us that in which we gladly accept. Find your peace, because in your time of rest, God will speak gentle words of guidance.
Hard to tell that whether the issues of the coronavirus pandemic, and the changes that protestors are asking for are making things in the USA better or worse. I truly have no idea what that answer is.
I read that the city council in Minneapolis are considering disbanding the police department and in other major cities in the United States they considering defunding the police. Some “politician” said that 911 calls and asking for police assistance is for people of privilege, and I would argue the contrary. I have used 911 countless of times in my life, when I was a child and even a younger adult, and I was taking food stamps and needing help from government assistance programs. I was in no way close to be affluent or high society, or a place of privilege because of my race or economic status, or place where I lived. And I needed police to help me with people who were violent. Sure, I also had my share of bad policing, and I’d get upset for about a week, but then I’d regain my faith in humanity.
I guess the point I am trying to make is, I needed the police at times in my life. When my house was being shot at by nazi and kkk groups, the police was there to give us comfort and some helped picked up the broken glass and in the rebuilding process. When my parents were receiving death threats, police were there, doing there job. Of course we ran into police misconduct, such as getting a ticket for $900.00 for… ummm… well… we really have no idea… Or police mistaking someone in my family for the wrong person. Or being unlawfully detained as well. That happens, again, 90 percent of the people in the world are good and well 10 percent has issues, regardless of your skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or occupation.
Is disbanding the police department a solution? Does that mean that city will have ZERO law enforcement? I’m not too sure what is going on? Defunding the police? Does that money go… well where? I dunno, initially I found all this very terrifying… I mean I immediately thought I need to get a gun now, since the police won’t be there to protect me from people who want to kill me. Defunding the police, or disbanding the police sounds like the beginning of one of those post apocalyptic Hollywood movies. But instead of being fearful, I’d like to dig deep into this idea of how we solve the issue of police brutality and whether the protesters are demanding too much and whether our leaders are just giving people what they want rather than what they need…
So, I got a college buddy that lives in Camden, New Jersey. About 3 years ago, when I first came to Ward Ave. Presbyterian Church, I knew at the time he was living in Philadelphia. I called him, and he told me that he is now living in Camden, New Jersey. Which made me worry because I know Camden was notorious for being a crime ridden city. I asked, “What are you doing over there?!” His responses shocked me the most, “I moved here because it’s safer…” WHHHAAATTT???? He said that Camden disbanded the police 3 years before he moved there and the crime rate dropped. It’s not perfectly safe, but he said it felt safer than a bigger city.
So…. I thought I’d call him again… just too see if Camden still is doing well and also what does a “police” free city look like. To my shock, Camden has not gotten any worse. Also, too my shock… umm.. there are police in Camden. Soooo… what happened? Apparently, Camden disbanded the current police, then put different regulations and brought in a new police department… some of the police officers were able to come back to work. So…. Did everything work? Maybe…. Policing got better, communities feel safer, and more importantly, police are working actively with communities and schools. Just so you know, I have to protect is anonymity because he is a current officer in Camden, New Jersey. and also, he was a police officer in Philly and asked to be transferred to Camden, for his family’s safety. According to his testimony, violent crime is the lowest they have seen in a long time, but they did see an uptick on homicides compared to last year, but wasn’t anything like 2010, poverty is still an issue, but they want to work with community leaders and civic management companies to see if they can find a solution.
But I asked him, would defunding and disbanding the police work in bigger cities, like Minnesota or New York, any other metropolitan area. He kinda laughed at this, because one, he doesn’t know too much about the Minneapolis police department. Camden had to disband it’s police department in 2013 because of corruption issues, not necessarily because of police brutality. Also, he said it depends on how they disband the police and bring in a new type of policing. Also Camden has far less people than Minneapolis, so who know how people are going to react?
Every city is different, every situation is unique, and police departments have diverse situations they have to encounter. What is the answer for people demanding police defunding or police dismantling? Nobody really knows. As protests rage on, and more stories of police misconduct happening over media being highlighted in snippets of pictures or videos or even through twitter tweets… more and more people will want to express a high demand of action without thinking about possible consequences.
So…. CAN WE PLEASE JUST GET THE STORIES OF GOOD STUFF COMING FROM POLICE AND PROTESTORS WORKING TOGETHER TO SHOW THIS COUNTRY THEY ARE AMERICANS REGARDLESS OF BEING A COP OR PROTESTER! PLEASE GIVE US SOMETHING GOOD!!!
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).