Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Story About the Blessings of Social Media

Over the past few years, I’ve heard people complain quite often that social media—especially Facebook and Twitter—is destructive to relationships as well as the individual. Whereas I can see how this can be true in some instances, I do think the criticisms have gotten the lion’s share of the attention. In my experience, the discussion has drowned out some very positive things about social media. Personally, I think social media has some great benefits, so much so that I’d even call them blessings.

Sometime in the past year, I was having a conversation with a high school student named Jason*. He shared with me that he doesn’t like it how sometimes social media gets a bad rap. He said that if it hadn’t been for social media, he would not have the social skills that he has today.

Jason went on to explain that prior to social media, he had a lot of difficulty navigating the social landscape. He even confessed that he had significant bouts Continue reading

everything is beautiful*

My daughter drew this a while ago, but it’s by far my favorite drawing. I like that she depicts herself as flying. Really captures her personality. Peyton told me the girl standing on the ground is mommy, and that she’s wearing purple because that’s mommy’s favorite color.

Every morning when I see this picture on the fridge as I leave for work, it reminds me to try to look for beauty in everything. I hope she & Brandon never lose that sense of wonder; I hope it only deepens in me.

Minority Births a Threat to National Identity?

Brandon at birth.

Today, on the Time website, Christopher J. Ferguson published an article titled “What You Need to Know About the New Census Numbers on Hispanic Births.” Here are some of my initial thoughts.

First, I find this development to be an extremely beautiful one. It is wonderful to see America becoming more diverse. This article, however, is terribly troubling and telling.

First, it’s titled “What You Need to Know About the New Census Numbers on Hispanic Births.” Who exactly is he referring to when he says you? I have my hunch.

Then the subtitle reads, “The data has gotten attention because of fears that it threatens our national identity, but it signals a blending of culture more than anything else.” I can tell you that for Hispanic and other minority US CITIZENS, this does not feel like a threat. But besides that, it is not a threat but an evolution of our national identity. And finally, why does this author feel the need at all to assuage any of these supposed fears? Why does he feel this need to calm people down by calling it a “blending” rather than a threat? This subtitle and article marginalizes a massive segment of the US population, and it shows a gross ignorance that is inexcusable for a psychology and criminology professor at Texas A&M International University.

Finally, this article makes me wonder, why do some in the majority population feel so threatened by this development? Could it be they finally realize that the country is in fact still profoundly racist and that reality has concrete implications for minorities?

What is most ironic is that the author who penned this article is probably oblivious to how his words come across to minorities. At least to me, that’s the only thing that explains how this article even saw the light of day.

NOTE: I am not saying this author is being deliberately racist; but, his language does betray a racial ignorance that is symptomatic of a country that is racist from its individuals all the way through its structures and rhetoric.

Politics, Sympathies & the Christian

Our human sympathies are just as subject to the manipulation of Satan and people as any of our other faculties. That such sympathies can almost never be seen in an ill light makes them incredibly dangerous. A lack of discernment regarding judgments where they play a significant role can lead to catastrophic results. I have also seen sympathy used as a rhetorical guise to cover over the most selfish, sinister, misguided, & ill-conceived causes. Consider Jesus’s words when he rebukes Peter. “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Peter’s desire for a kingdom and leader that fit his paradigm was set on derailing Jesus’s redemptive plan for humanity. This core motive glistened with a sheen of human sympathy (i.e. his desire to protect Jesus from harm) that it almost passes as heroism. In reality, it was a well disguised torpedo from Satan.

To summarize, as one Christian author once wrote, “Never let your human sympathies cloud your vision of God.” Love radically, but never love without wisdom. I believe this is important advice as Christians navigate the current political landscape.

Three Enraging Racist Encounters in American Evangelicalism

I’m currently reading through some books in preparation for Sunday’s sermon. At the moment, I’m working through The Next Evangelicalism by Soong-Chan Rah. In it I came across these three accounts of racism in the context of American evangelicalism. That so many evangelicals consider racism a personal rather than a systemic, structural problem shows a massive failure in understanding and contextualization.

Account 1

“The following story from an Asian American blogger reveals the harmful aspects of the creation of ‘the other’:

I am sitting in a service at my home church in Missouri. During an announcement for a new outreach to international students, a non-Aisan woman dressed in a kimono (traditional Japanese dress) stepped up to the mike. She was an elder’s wife. She feigned an accent, in which she spoke in halting English. The congregation roared with laughter. There were two Asians in the church that day. One was me. The other was my unchurched friend. He turned to me and said, “This is bullish__.” He got up, turned around (we were sitting in the front row) and walked past the crowd of 800 laughing and guffawing faces.

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