October 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
There were way too many rabbits running down their holes just now, and I can’t remember which to follow down any more in this light.
I said, this is crazy, I shouldn’t be writing to you, and I’ve never thought I would. But here I am.
Our conversation took a certain turn, and I cried telling you how much we need it, being with my people/our people. And why did I cry? It moved me at the moment; we long for home so much when it’s just unreasonable that we can’t have it our way. I’m also reminded of how I wonder whether such longing is inherently at odds with the global and others-oriented nature of the gospel saved Church, the Bride. Is it the LORD’s doing that we become increasingly comfortable with accepting “diversity” as strength? Yet we’re no more apt when it comes to speaking about who we are/who we are not than pre-Obama. Are we living in the Bay at the beginning of this century and millenia experiencing merely an acute symptom of our human nature to seek the familiarity, comfort, conformity and even homogeneity? Is that part of my personal homesickness for Koreans? People of color? My peoples? But the longing doesn’t necessarily go away even after I experience the beauty and goodness of supposedly godly unity that’s apart from any other common denominator besides Jesus. Even in the best of scenarios about the agape community, the LORD calls me/us to love those who aren’t lovable, outsiders, foreigners, those without means to acclimate or adjust or assimilate. And there I always want to go. Where the struggle is against the incessant machine of the empires, always trying to assimilate me, always telling me I need to adjust my expectations, always stopping my grief because that’s not so fun or marketable.
So where is my homesickness placed? Where do I have my home and be one with the Church too? Oh where oh where are my peoples?
Sigh. How do I go back now that I’ve said all this?
You told me it’d be easier to have heard from God to whom you’re called, even if you wouldn’t like it. I think I have. It’s the freaking local church. And I’m not always in favor. I still worry that the ones I love won’t stay, that the ones I shall love cannot come. And all who may never hear of my God in the authentic way my church family presents will, well, never set a foot in the door in the first place. I’m supposed to be OK with that I think. He hears our cries though, no?
What does it mean that the King of all the rulers of the earth has come, is coming? What does that mean for me the Korean and American with the precise social location of Bay Area & Angeles half-breed, educated in ethnic studies, third world struggles and liberation theology, churched dipped in Bethel/IHOP/white evangelical flavors? I read the Revelation of Jesus Christ by John of Patmos from two ish thousand years ago and believe it has to be good news. Even as my being wastes away, its the only hope I got. It’s the only hope I got. The day of vengeance of our God, after a year of His favor. But the day is surely coming. All eyes will see Him and all tribes of the earth will wail on His account. That moment maybe I sure won’t distinguish between my people and yours. We shall be one people. The old shall pass away. The new come. Just as the Son and the Father are one. The fire and the rose are one.
April 6, 2017 Comments Off on A Black Man’s Lament, A Church’s Reply
The more I reflect on the terms and conditions of “empire”, the more my lamentation has found focus and clarity. Such clarity brings me no joy, but it does elucidate my faith in a way that brings me a sense of place. My anger and sadness have at long last found a place in the arc of the story of God, the story of God’s people, and the story of my people — Black people — in America.
by Michael Kim-Eubanks #resist #repent #Lent
February 23, 2017 § Leave a comment
Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Far be it from you! Shall not the Judge of the earth do what is just?
Listening to the latest NPR politics podcast about the White House press conference, I, for the first time in my life, begin feeling pity for the sad and whiny man Trump who sounds like he just needs some love because the big kids won’t let him play with them. And I know, it sounds so condescending, but really, who amongst us mortals don’t struggle with that? Insecurity? A deep desire to be accepted and celebrated? But I digress.
What dawns on me as I keep listening and my heart swells up with a profound compulsion to start praying for this man’s transformation is intercession, an act of speaking to and negotiating with God on behalf of those who cannot, in the well-known Genesis story of Abraham. He essentially asks God how He can destroy a small number of good people, even if just five, along with a giant ass city full of terrible greed and human rights violation. The truth is, if I were God, I would gladly destroy the sorry group of cruel, money-driven, patriarchal, sexist and xenophobic (hmmm sound familiar?) people in a heartbeat. Why? Because I’m just! There are suffering children crying out to me, and it’s not my nature to let sin continue killing my creation. And for those of us who feel the wrath of God–seething in the secret place with a prophetic spirit and an image of His cup of vengeance overflowing–that resonates. We pray for the coming of the Day of the Lord, that dreadful day, when He will hold us accountable for the blood of our brothers and sisters. I wonder if this isn’t how God feels most of the time; when He consults Abraham on what He means to do, He’s ready to rain down sulfur on cities for our collective sin against humanity.
Fascinating that Abraham does something we have not cared to do so far. He does what Jesus does in a sense: pleading, on behalf of people, the vast majority of us who least deserve it. But I bet Abraham isn’t thinking about the loss of righteous lives by our religious standard. I bet he’s thinking about his nephew Lot, his family. And today, as I listen to the cries from our President wanting to be liked by the media, his supporters, GOP establishment, I too am thinking about my nephew Ezra, born today. I’m thinking about colleagues who need some kind of hope that they won’t be deported. I’m thinking about “the five” who will be swept away by the hellfire that Amos and Ezekiel must have called for at the sight of current U.S. economic activities. What happens to the good people when justice arrives? How will I respond to the burning swords of God drawn to bring chaos and dismantling and to doom atone for our wrongdoings? Would I pray for the repentance and forgiveness and mercy on these despicable habitants of cities? All for the sake of those who’ll suffer even more, however many?
I know there’s a difference between calling for an end to unjust systems and condemning a whole of people groups and nations for their sins. But conviction hits strangely today. I ask the Lord to relent from exacting His retribution from this administration, not because He’s OK with all its unrighteousness, but precisely because His mercy trumps judgment. May the Judge of the earth turn from His fierce anger for the sake of the five.
February 10, 2017 § Leave a comment
Coming from an evangelical yet left-leaning in ideology (kind of) Christian campus fellowship, I’ve heard many teachings and led group studies on the book of Mark that some may label social gospel.
One such story is of a demon-possessed man and Jesus’ interaction in Mark 5:1-20.
The ultimate “in front of the text” question that really bothers me about this story is the quickness and almost a self-congratulatory way we point out the townspeople’s offense. Jesus heals the demoniac at the expense of their livelihood, about two thousand pigs drowned in the sea, highlighting a choice he presents the people–rejoicing at the restoration of an oppressed man in their midst, or despairing the drastic loss of economic gains. Ultimately, the people choose to place their pigs above freedom for a real person, a terrible sin we’re eager to recognize alongside Mark. This is contrary to the will of God, we point fingers at these greedy people.
But I am agitated because it’s not ever that easy when we have to make such choices. No one wants to speak of the way we are doing exactly the same in today’s context. Why aren’t we just as outraged about the silence on DAPL by our Christian leaders when the situation may be interpreted as our pigs? We’re placing “American jobs” above Native sovereignty, yet there’s no repentance there.
What is the point of Bible study if it remains a nice moral story without transformation? What kind of gospel are we reading?
January 26, 2017 § Leave a comment
I’ve heard it said, Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Matt 22:21, NRSV). And many tell me that this means we should honor the new President and wish his well-being as Christians who honor God and God-given authority.
I offer another reading this morning.
What if the things of the emperor at the time Jesus spoke and the things of the emperor now look different? What if those things are no longer blind and passive obedience of a subject, without agency, bound to a particular individual in power at the moment? What if they now mean a social experiment called democracy practiced and tried (with many failures) for the past 200 plus years which only works reasonably when ordinary people hold their representatives accountable to policies that reflect some human decency and serve the good of the people themselves?
I will give the things that are the emperor’s to the emperor today. I will call, march, listen, speak out, read, write, debate and tweet to remind President Trump for whom he works. I will give to the system of this country what is due, civil disobedience–not gonna argue here whether the system itself is “Christian” or not; the Scripture is clear that I’m a sojourner on this earth anyway and my allegiance free from human political structures. It’s the responsibility of every participant in democracy. It’s what the founders of the constitution says. It’s the proper rendering to the emperor who is here to stay for now until the Lord decides otherwise. I give President Trump my resistance.
I will also pray for him (Oh I definitely pray for him, I pray for him more than any other president I’ve prayed for, and that’s including the Obama administration). I will pray that the Spirit of the living God slays the hell out of that man and radically saves him and turns his heart inside out; that truly is a miracle only God can do. And you know what? Those two things, fighting his policies tooth and nail to pursue a more perfect union on this earth for the time being and honoring him with prayers that put all my hopes in the coming Kingdom of God are perfectly complementary.
Is Jesus genius or what
November 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
Lord God, what do I do when I feel so immobile? It’s not that I don’t want to feel or that I don’t want to process. It’s not even about wanting to stay steady emotionally. What I want is to think rightly, my thoughts grounded in truth. Sure, if such sobriety comes at the cost of heart feeling stuck at a mourning stage one, so be it. But I do want out. I want my wailing to come out because I think there’s more afterwards. I think that if I get all of my mourning out your healing & strategy can come more quickly. I believe so your word says there’s a season for everything. When we finish crying over the pain, your kindness must come in a greater & more effective healing measure. Then I would be more competent in doing the work at hand, no? Did I get it wrong here? Is everything happening simultaneous? Does the work encompass staying in the place of wailing? But I don’t like it!!! I don’t enjoy the fire shut up in my bone. Who likes this stuff?! Isn’t this why the prophets continually complained to you? About the terrible state they find themselves in for being chosen by you? Is that not a cost of being called? Because if so then I must make peace with exactly what I’ve asked for. I only remind you to keep comforting me.
Yes, comfort me Lord God. I am unsure about what I exactly mourn at this point. They’re so tangled; there’s a gut-pulling, heart-wrenching, overpowering and soul-crushing weight of love. Yes, love. Tender to the bone, flesh, raw, bloody messy love for humanity. We are terrible. O my God we so deserve all your punishments of old covenant, every bit of wrath you declare through the prophets for over the crooked, adulterous, cruel and callous ways. Yet it’s your cry that Israel would turn to you. It’s your tortured heart of love towards your people that we turn and be forgiven. I feel a little bit of it. I am constantly given away to anger–‘Burn us all up! Yeah! Let riots take the streets and people see the fullness of what we’ve brought upon ourselves. Blood for blood, eye for eye, life for life.’ I am exasperated with this world. Tis love that walks the fine line between judgment and mercy. And I feel like a crazy person. This is your heart. I know you’re kind enough to share with me. But it’s also killing me God. I don’t know how to pray. I don’t know if I can cry or kick or scream or utter coherent sentences. I need your Spirit.
There’s sorrow mingled in there. I guess love really covers the entire human emotional spectrum. I feel something like jealousy; I feel something like shame; I feel stuff I normally don’t touch when strictly thinking about myself. But they’re all in there, this tangled ball of dense intense feelings, what can only be described as wailing. I feel it in my gut: the deep deep deep wailing. I can’t tell whether it’s mine at all. I think they come from other people and even past generations, people I have not known but somehow been awakened to intercede on behalf of the Spirit in this moment–all because I’m saying I open myself to your leading. So you show me stuff I never would have access to see in the natural. Why? Though it all sounds like crazy talk, what I’ve come to believe is that your hand is in it and I must search for you. Holy Spirit light and guide the way, for I shall be utterly lost without you in this dark journey into the belly of the beast. I won’t be able to find my way out if you don’t take my hand. I remember our moment like three retreats ago. You asked me what I wanted. And I answered that I wanted to go to the deepest place on the earth: the depth of the ocean where no light penetrates the weight the pressure the depth of the water all around. But I wouldn’t be afraid to go with you. If you are with me I won’t be afraid. So here I am.
So here I am, in the belly of the beast, the depth of the ocean where light has not entered, no feet have treaded, where sight and vision fail. Here I am. You’ve brought me. Is this not where you were Jesus? For three days & three nights in the tomb? Between life & death, between heaven & hell? Where Jonah stayed for three days & three nights? This is where you’ve led me. Thank you for your faithful hands have been with me the whole time. I am not left abandoned.
Lord God I stand in the gap and plead mercy. This stiff-necked people, this unruly and rebellious and deplorable people, my people. You’re certainly in the right to judge us, punish us, bring all kinds of calamity upon us. You are right, vengeance belongs to you. Just as Mama said there shall be a day of judgment for all the blood we’ve shed all the wrongs we’ve brought all the terrible terrible things our hands have committed that we cannot run from. O I believe in your righteous judgment Father. And I pray that it comes quickly and swiftly, without mercy or relenting. Yet I stand and pray that you, in your great compassion & kindness, lead your people to turn from our wickedness and repent. Lord I pray that the white supremacy grossly mistaken as evangelicalism, religiosity of the US churches married to the spirit of this empire be broken. Break the ties. Break the neck. Break the yoke and deception and pride of this demonic force in Jesus name. Set people blinded by history free. May your kindness bring us to repentance. I put my trust and hope in you, all you, nothing else. Don’t put me to shame Lord. I believe that you are who you say you are. And I am just a human. Even if I spoke every mystery and saw the future accurately and declared doom to the nations, you’re still the Judge. You’re still the Savior. You’re still God. And thank God that you’re good.
October 26, 2016 § Leave a comment
What you want, a house or a car
40 acres and a mule, a piano a guitar
Anything, see my name is Lucy, I’m your dog
Motherfucker you can live at the mall
I can see the evil, I can tell it I know when it’s illegal
I don’t think about it, I deposit every other zero
Thinkin’ of my partner put the candy, paint it on the regal
Diggin’ in my pocket ain’t a profit, big enough to feed you
Everyday my logic, get another dollar just to keep you
In the presence of your chico ah!
I don’t talk about it, be about it, everyday I see cool
If I got it then you know you got it, Heaven, I can reach you
Pet dog, pet dog, pet dog, my dog that’s all
Pick back and chat I shut the back for y’all
I rap, I’m black, on track and rest assured
My rights, my wrongs are right till I’m right with God
When you know, we been hurt, been down before, nigga
When my pride was low, lookin’ at the world like, “where do we go, nigga?”
And we hate Popo, wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga
I’m at the preacher’s door
My knees gettin’ weak and my gun might blow but we gon’ be alright
Nigga, we gon’ be alright
Nigga, we gon’ be alright
We gon’ be alright
Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright
Nigga, we gon’ be alright
Huh? We gon’ be alright
Nigga, we gon’ be alright
Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright