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 TO THINK ABOUT!!!
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).