Not too sure how to lump all these categories, but here it is and a theological response to all the stuff that has been going around.
Living in the 2020-2021 is like walking on egg shells. You say something, do something that someone doesn’t like, you will be “cancelled.” What that means is that your life will be in a whole mess of trouble. People are out to find something in the past they don’t like, and they will ask to get you fired, removed from any kind of leadership or influence role. To me, this stuff is a bit frightening. Even if the actions may be justified, there are better ways in handling differences of opinion, politics, social interactions, and “way of life.” It is feeling like trying to find the enemy around us, whoever that may be. In the late 1600’s it was women during the Salem Witch trials, in the 1940’s, in Nazi Germany it was Jewish people, Homosexuals, people suspect in either category, and people who do not fit the model of being “German,” and in the 1940s and 1950s it was Communism or anyone accused of being a Communist. These are the small samples I can pick up in the top of my head, but the point is that a lot of innocent people suffered, were beaten, and killed under accusations. And in 2020-2021, it’s well… basically anyone…
Regardless of the person being the “good side” or “bad side.” We rarely get any sort of reconciliation. All you see is a short TikTok video, or Instagram post about how horrible a person is, and suddenly that individual’s life is done. I am not advocating bad behavior, but as a Christian I do advocate reconciliation. I think when someone is misbehaving, we need to respond with pressure (yes), but also understanding and listening. This world is huge and it is unreasonable to think that everything is going to agree with you and stand by your side. We have to do better at handling differences of people. Instead of thinking, “We Are the World” mentality and to assume that everyone should accept everyone, I think we need to understand why hate, social unrest, and abhorring behavior exists in people. We live ins sinful world, and we all have had days which we wish we could take back. Healing takes time, and canceling an individual show our lack of patience to seek reconciliation.
I may not agree with someone’s point of view, but at least I will find way to co-exist as much as possible. We aren’t going to be friends, but we aren’t going to be attacking one another when the opportunity happens.
Just imagine if there was Instagram and smart phones when Jesus flipped the tables at the synagogue and whipped people, screaming and yelling. He wouldn’t be able to continue his ministry to the cross, or have a last supper with the disciples, hence cancelling the sacrament of the Holy Communion. We would never understand the meaning of the blood and body of Christ that is given to us all. Jesus would be rendered voiceless and cancelled.
Lately, 2021 has seen its residues from 2020. On the rise is the attacks on Asian living in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Asians have been attached to the COVID-19 disease. Asian stores being vandalized, robbed. Asian grandmothers being beaten in the streets of Los Angeles and New York City and other major cities. I feel horrified to hear such a thing, knowing that my wife is coming home late from school every day, and wondering about her safety, thinking whether she will run into a hatemonger. But it is the reality I have to live, not for this time, but all the time. It’s not like this has been the only time myself, or my family have come face to face with racism. It happens, but to think that our silence is us being the “model minority” it’s not. Because we don’t say anything about it, or is outspoken about it, does not mean we are silent. We are like a prize fighter, taking the hit on the chin, and getting back up. We live our life with actions. To show my children the example of resilience. Our resilience is our voice. We will not be living afraid of others, but we will show people that we can be better than the hate that wants us to leave or feel downtrodden. Now every situation of racism towards Asian is different, so I will not generalize the acts of racism for a group of people. We handle our business in our own way. I can only speak for myself and my wife’s experiences. I am not living afraid, because there is nothing I fear. My father and mother were children of the Korean War. They grinded through the struggles of Post War trauma. They immigrated to the USA, only to find racist attacks. But they taught me about resilience and telling me, this is America, you can do anything you can to live well by any means necessary, you have the opportunity that no one else in the world has just because you are an American. My wife’s family survived the Korean War. Her father was a combat veteran in the Vietnam War. My wife was a child during the military coup in the 1980’s, having to walk to school several miles through Molotov cocktail bombs and tear gas. You think we are going to be shut down because someone calls us a bad name? Come on man! This is America, we are Americans, and we have thick skin, and the blood in us boils with toughness. My voice is my action, and I choose with my actions to love people, all people, as God is my help. I choose not to “cancel” anyone because I know that God’s judgement is stronger than our Instagram or Twitter post. Every situation will have it’s correct response, but remember every situation we face will be unique and the strategy needed to deal with confrontation will depend on situations.
Use your voice when it is necessary, use your actions when it is needed. Don’t go looking for trouble just to find trouble. Don’t be silent either! You cannot defeat sinful behavior with arrogance. And healing can only come through reconciliation.
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).