Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Community Art Project: Exodus 4

 1 But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The LORD never appeared to you’?”
 2 Then the LORD asked him, “What is that in your hand?”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Faithful Doubters Book Ideas

Our small group just had the primary elections for books to study this semester.  These are the finalists.  All three are available in Kindle editions.

Ron recommended this book from his former professor:

Amy recommended this book from one of her favorite writers:

I recommended this book ... one of my favorites, and I'd like to reread it:

Lent Trash Walk

What: Every day during Lent, take a walk around your neighborhood and pick up trash as you go.

How: The basics are pretty obvious, but here are a few tips.
  • Bring a plastic grocery bag.  (Paper can rip too easily.)
  • If your neighborhood has a lot of trash like mine, it can be overwhelming.  Don’t try to pick up every single piece of trash.  Just pick one up every so often and enjoy the walk.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t see a difference from day to day.  People will toss out new trash.  But probably by the end of Lent, there will be less trash around than when you started.
  • Try not to stress out about the details.  Just enjoy being outside and moving.
  • As much as possible, try not to let people see you picking up trash.  Go at a less busy time.  If someone is walking toward you, just pass up that piece and go on to the next one.  This is a way to make sure we’re not doing this to look good.
  • Walk the same path every day - unless your neighborhood is mostly trash-free. 
  • Make it spiritual.  Try gentle bits of prayer as you go: “God clean up the trash in my heart ...  God clean us spiritually ... Give us a greater sense of responsibility for our world ...  God, where is there emotional trash in me?  ...  God, thank you for these beautiful trees ...”
  • Wash your hands when you’re done.

Why: Walking and picking up trash may not seem very spiritual or Christian, but there are actually lots of good benefits.
  • Our neighborhoods get a little cleaner and more beautiful.
  • Trash goes into the trash or recycle bins instead of polluting our ground and water.
  • Exposure to sun and nature is a natural mood booster.
  • Quiet time is always good for the soul.
  • Exercise is good for the body, mind, and soul.  John Wesley said, “Most people’s prayer lives would be improved by a 20 minute walk every day.”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Goodbye Letter 001: Claire (South Africa)

This is the first in a series of goodbye letters from people who are moving away and leaving KNU International English Church.  I hope this will be a good way for people to end in a spirit of appreciation and for our church to understand the impact we are having.  This is all inspired by Michael Palmer's post: The Beauty in Goodbye.
Our first installment comes from Claire of South Africa.  We baptized Claire in the fall of 2011.  Without further ado, here's Claire's goodbye.

     Getting ready to leave Korea after a year of teaching here has turned into a difficult thing for me.  I will be gone at the start of March, and it's hard to believe my year is at an end.
     When I arrived last year, I was looking forward to a year of being away from all the things that made me unhappy in South Africa.  Especially a home that had changed into something I hardly recognized over the last few years because of addictions, co-dependencies and lack of acceptance of each other.  My home used to be the place I wanted to be when things went wrong, but it had become the one place I desperately wanted to get away from.
     I was quick to learn though that your problems don't change just because you change where you are.  I remember a conversation I had with a new friend I had made at KNU International English Church in Cheonan.  After telling him my story, he told me that a year might not be as long as I wanted it to be.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Lint of our Lives

     This Season of Lent has me thinking about lint.  As in that cottony stuff you find when you stick your finger in your belly button.  As in the contents of those little dust-bunnies that blow around wooden and tiled floors.  As in the stuff between your toes after you take off your socks.
    What is all of that stuff?  Have you ever noticed that your belly button lint is the same color as whatever T-shirt you were wearing?  Maybe not, but I notice stuff like that.
    Lint is essentially tiny bits of our clothes that wears off and leaves behind a trace of its existence.  Our belly buttons and clothes simply collect those tiny nano-bits into a mass we can see. 
    Life is like that.  We leave tiny bits of ourselves everywhere we go.  We leave bits of our presence in our wake everywhere we walk.  A smile.  A little love.  A little hope. 
    But sometimes our life-lint is not so good.  A put down.  Gossip.  Greed.  Bitterness.  A shove.  A feeling of superiority and its corresponding impression of inferiority. 
    We can’t usually see our life-lint, but it’s there.  And every now and then, it gets collected in someone’s belly button, and we can see it clearly.
    Lent is about lint.  Lent is about taking time to be aware of the lint we are leaving behind - both good and bad.   “Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).  May God reform us this Lenten season so that our life-lint and life-fragrance may be more like Christ.

Burning Bush

I walk barefoot across the earth
On holy ground with every step.
I warm my hands
At the blazing furnace of azaleas.
I bask and tan my skin
Before the noonday sun of golden bells.
I shiver under the snowy glory 
Of cherry blossom flurries.
Potted pansies shine as stars
In the grey concrete skies.
Bleeding roses stir my blood
Upward as they upward climb.
Magnolias tenderly woo my heart
Unfolding beauty like young lovers.
All the world a burning bush
Whispering the fiery call to worship.

(I wrote this Sunday as Exodus 3 was read in the worship service.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Korea Tip 127: An Out for Privates

“Could you teach my child English?”
Any native English speaking teacher in Korea for more than a month has likely heard this multiple times, from multiple people, in multiple locations (buses and bathrooms, subways and stairwells).
Some are glad to comply for the extra cash.  However, others feel stuck in a prickly trap.  Private English tutoring - although very common - is still illegal for foreigners, and it’s grounds for deporting if you get busted.  Besides that many teachers simply don’t want the extra work commitment.
But there just seems to be no good way to respond.  Often those asking the question are bosses, coworkers, friends, or church members - people to whom we feel a measure of social obligation.  We seemed to be forced with a choice of making a social faux pas or else taking on a tutoring job that we really don’t want.
Let me suggest an alternative.  Connect with a native speaker who can do privates legally and willingly.  Usually, this is either a Korean-American or someone married to a Korean. 
For my part, Sarah and I will now be referring people to our friend and church member David Hill, who holds an F5-visa (영주권) which permits him to teach privates along with his Korean wife Hong Young-Ju under the banner of Oxford (영어전문과외).  Check out their website at:  To make an appointment call (010-4761-9202). 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Am Who I Am (Exodus 3)

This sermon is by our Worship Pastor SuJin Shin.

As we’ve heard from Josh last week, Moses could be saved from death thanks to Shiphrah and Puah who were so weak but resisted the system, the powerful king.

Moses was a special baby, so his mom kept him hidden for three months. But his mom eventually couldn’t hide him anymore, so she got a basket and put her baby in the basket. Then, she  laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. He was found there by Pharaoh’s daughter. At that time, the baby’s sister was following him and approached the princess when the princess found him.
And she suggests that the princess finds a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby and the princess said ‘Yes’ because she found that he’s Hebrew. So the baby’s sister took her mom to the princess and the princess asked the mom to feed the baby for pay. The baby’s mom took him back home, and fed him. Wow!!! What a great story it is!! Isn’t it? This is an amazing drama. And later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. And she named him ‘Moses’ which means “I lifted him out of the water.”

Community Art Project: Exodus 3

 1 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”

 4 When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
   “Here I am!” Moses replied.
 5 “Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6 I am the God of your father ... "

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday Liturgy 2012

Here is our 2012 Ash Wednesday liturgy - with the homily by Logan Kruck.

Intro: Music only of the first verse of the first song.

Opening Prayer:   Let us pray.
    Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and repentant hearts, that we, fully sorry for our sins and acknowledging our brokenness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full cleansing and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Song: “Give Thanks"

Explanation of Lent and Ash Wednesday:
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It is a somber day of reflection on what needs to change in our lives if we are to be fully Christians. It was not always the way we know it today. Ashes marked on the forehead of worshippers were not given to everyone, but only to the public penitents who were brought before the church. Much like Hester Prynne bearing her scarlet letter, these open and notorious sinners were marked publicly with the sign of their disgrace.
As time went on, others began to show their humility and their affection for the penitents by asking that they, too, be marked as sinners. Finally, the number of penitents grew so large that the imposition of ashes was extended to the whole congregation in services similar to those that are observed in many Christian churches on Ash Wednesday.
We who will bear the ashes upon our foreheads stand with those whose sins may be more public, but not, according to the Scriptures, more grievous to the heart of God. And so we make our confessions …

Community Art Project: Exodus 2

This was our Ash Wednesday text and art.  We missed having these in the worship service, but I want to share them here.

 Exodus 2
23 Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. 24 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.

I did not know that petulance would smolder into searing loss, nor that flames of
     earthly sorrow rampage beyond the flesh and torch the soul.
I did not know that soul-fire can condense all human anguish into one consuming
     cry for You, Lord. Only You.
I did not know, but God knew.

And in His presence, peace and hope and comfort wrap me, hold me in divine
     embrace. On wings of music, healing light - More than delivered from,
     delivered to.
I did not know! But God knew.

This one was too large to scan as one file.  Hopefully, you can still get the idea.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

24/7 Lent Podcasts

Lent starts today with Ash Wednesday.  Our church will finish with 10 days of 24/7 prayer leading up to Easter. 
This will be our fifth trip through 24/7 Prayer.  Every time it has been a time of spiritual renewal, community bonding, and creative outflow.  If you're part of our church, this is a must-participate event.  Don't miss out.  If you're part of another church, gather some people to start your own week of 24/7 prayer.
Last go-round, our prayer spaces filled up so quickly that some people didn't find a time to pray that would work for their schedule.  This season, we are expanding 24/7 to 24/10.  To prepare us for that, I encourage you to follow the 24/7 prayer videos guiding us to walk more closely with Jesus.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

MAUS - Review

I didn't know they gave out Pulitzer Prizes for comic books.  Apparently, neither did the Pulitzer people.  In 1992, they awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Award to Art Spiegelman for MAUS, a graphic novel (AKA grown-ups comic book).
With poignancy, simplicity, and gravitas, Spiegelman depicts his father's journey through the Polish ghettos, Auschwitz, and immigration to the USA.  The first person narratives are brutal and painful, but the pain is equally present in Spiegelman's panning back and forth between history and the actual interview process with his father. 
Their father-son relationship is deeply strained, and this honest retelling brings knowing smiles and nods from all grown-up children who still struggle with their parents.  Spiegleman pulls the curtain a little further as he sketches his own depression, ambivalence toward his success, and writer's block.  He even includes a scene where he is getting help from his therapist. 
On one hand, MAUS is so extremely simple that I wonder why it should deserve such high honors.  On the other hand, its real value is its  simplicity and authenticity in dealing with such difficult subjects.
This is my first exposure to the graphic novel genre, and it seems that I've started at the top.  (Thanks for the loan, B.)  The Josh rating: JJJJJ.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Exodus 1 - Ironically, Powerfully Weak

Exodus 1

1 These are the names of the sons of Israel (that is, Jacob) who moved to Egypt with their father, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, 4 Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 In all, Jacob had seventy descendants in Egypt, including Joseph, who was already there.
6 In time, Joseph and all of his brothers died, ending that entire generation. 7 But their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so greatly that they became extremely powerful and filled the land. 8 Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. 9 He said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. 10 We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.”
11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king. 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became. 13 So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. 14 They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands.
 15 Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: 16 “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.
 18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. “Why have you done this?” he demanded. “Why have you allowed the boys to live?”
 19 “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,” the midwives replied. “They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.”
 20 So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
 22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.”

    Two women.  Two women against a King.  Two little slave women against the King of the most powerful nation in the world.  And yet they win.  They, the weaker ones, prove to hold the true power. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Community Art Project: Exodus 1

Throughout Lent, we are inviting our extended church community to do art (of any kind) based on the Sunday texts.  Our first text is Exodus 1 for this coming Sunday (pre-Lent, since Lent actually begins on Ash Wednesday).  Each week we will put the community-crafted art on the PowerPoint for a period of silent reflection on that day's text.
Here are some of the art pieces we have so far.  (For the sake of freedom of expression, we are withholding the names of the artists.)

Here's a nice overview piece with a summary of the chapter embedded.

Monday, February 13, 2012

In the Heat of the Night - #75 Greatest American Movie

Sidney Poitier soars again in In the Heat of the Night.  A murder of a prominent businessman in the deep south leads the police to round up anyone who looks suspicious.  Their first victim is a northern black man at the train station.  He is assumed guilty and arrested without being allowed to speak a word.  When the police chief interrogates him, he discovers that the accused "negro" is not only innocent but is also a hot-shot homicide detective from Philadelphia. 
Poitier stays on to help solve the case, somewhat unwillingly at first, and then stubbornly and defiantly later.  His presence and obvious investigative superiority are unsettling for this small racist town.  He is continually called "boy" even as he proves his intelligence and acumen again and again.  Finally, of course, he solves the case and wins the reluctant respect of the chief.
This film was both political commentary (exposing the foolish and derogatory attitudes of racism) and motivational piece (encouraging equality and merit based work and social environments).  As such, it was extremely effective.
The Josh rating is easy on this one.  It was good through and through: JJJJJ.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Finding Forgiveness - Genesis 45:1-15

             Today, we are concluding our study of Genesis with a quick look at one of the final chapters.  We aren’t going to spend a lot of time on it because our Bangladesh team is back.  We want to have plenty of time to hear their stories, too.
             Before we read the text, you need to remember some important background info.
  • Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him into slavery in Egypt.
  • God blessed Joseph with the power to interpret dreams and helped Joseph rise to a position of leadership second only to the King.
  • A famine devestated the whole Middle Eastern region, and the only food anywhere was the food that Joseph helped Egypt save.
  • Joseph’s brothers traveled to Egypt to buy food for their families, where they met Joseph.  But of course, they didn't recognize him in his role of Egyptian royalty.
  • Joseph struggles to forgive them and put them through a series of tests to see if they have truly changed.  Our text begins after the final test.

Genesis 45:1-15
1 Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 2 Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.
 3 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 4 “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. 5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6 This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.  8 So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.
 9 “Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! 10 You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. 11 I will take care of you there, for there are still five years of famine ahead of us. Otherwise you, your household, and all your animals will starve.’”
 12 Then Joseph added, “Look! You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that I really am Joseph! 13 Go tell my father of my honored position here in Egypt. Describe for him everything you have seen, and then bring my father here quickly.” 14 Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. 15 Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him.

             Joseph’s story is one of the classic forgiveness texts in the Bible.  Joseph actually seems to struggle quite a bit in the process of forgiving his brothers.  His struggles and his eventual forgiveness show us three common barriers to forgiveness and the keys to forgiveness. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Aimee Mullins - Absolutely Amazing

Aimee Mullins was born without her fibulae (1 of two bones in both legs).  She has harnessed engineers, scientists, artists, and fashion designers to create better prosthetic legs - some possibly even superior to flesh-and-bone legs.
Check out her website here, and watch her tell her stories below.

Here is her original TED video, where she discusses her career as a paraolympic athlete with prosthetic legs modeled after the hind legs of cheetahs.   This was the talk that totally changed her life in the direction you will see in the next videos.

Here she discusses how her life moved into a radically new direction because of the first video above.

Here, she discusses how to let adversity propel you beyond your former status quo.

Also, be sure to listen to her Moth podcast.  (Scroll down to Moth Radio Hour 404.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Korea Tip 126: Expats and Life Abroad Series

Michael Palmer has put together a beautiful little series of posts about living abroad (mostly in Korea).  I highly recommend reading all five articles - plus the bonus.

1. Living Between the Times - Jason Veach - (a comparison of adapting to the varying time practices of the Swiss and the Spanish)
2. A Letter to Pre-Korea Me - Stacey Siebritz - (wise and witty bits of advice on living in Korea)
3. How Kimchi Changed My Life - Jolie Lee - (how living in Korea has increased her appreciation for the USA and for Korea)
4. The Beauty in Good-bye - Michael Palmer (a poignant piece about appreciating this painful but ever-present event)
5. Know Thyself - Yours Truly (how culture shock reveals our own junk)

And a bonus from Stacey's blog: What No One Tells You About Leaving South Korea.

Read, learn, and enjoy.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - Review

This was a groundbreaking, extremely controversial movie.  When it came out in 1967, interracial marriage was still illegal in 13 states of the USA.
Sidney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy put forth stellar performances as a family wrestles with the implications of a quickly impending interracial marriage.  The story line is a bit cramped - with the parents having to make a decision of support for or against in a single night.  However, the overall story, acting, and writing are simply outstanding.  The two best parts of the movie are the internal struggles of Spencer Tracy and the father-son struggle of Sidney Poitier and his on-screen dad.
Spencer Tracy is a renowned liberal newspaper publisher - a bleeding heart, white liberal, who has supported racial reconciliation with abandon.  However, when his own daughter wants to marry a black man, he faces the secret depths of his own heart.  He discovers that deep prejudice can hide in the best of us.
Sidney Poitier's parents - who also conveniently arrive for dinner - also struggle with the shock of their son's love for a white woman.  However, one of the best lines in the movie comes in the father-son argument.  Finally, Sidney Poitier shouts one of the best movie lines in history: "You think of yourself as a colored man.  I think of myself as a man."
As someone who lives in Korea and sees many Korean families struggle with the potential marriages of their children to non-Koreans, this film still rings true.   This movie is also a wonderful demonstration of the power of art to contribute to positive change.
This is a must see.  One of the best movies I have seen in a very, very long time.  It's a shame that it fell from grace on the AFI top 100 list.  It was in their 1997 list, but not the 2007 one.  The Josh rating: hands down - JJJJJ.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My 2012 Superbowl Commercial List

#5. Doritos Dog  (Yeah, I know he topped the list for some, but it was a little slow.)

#4. Toyota Camry's Reinventions  (Gotta give it to them for extreme creativity.)

#3. Chevy's Graduation Gift  (My mom actually did something like this once.)

#2. Chevy's End-of-the-World (Best single line and best runner up.)

#1. OIKOS (Absolutely made me burst out laughing.)

My Eel

Anxiety wraps my heart
like an electric eel
with a million tentacles
tiny and splintering
burrowing every crevice
charged with pulses of fear.

I root them out
like a gardener hunting
like a surgeon digging
Hoes, claws, gloved hands
Merely pop them off
     at the root
Scalpals, radiation, chemo
Merely shrink the size

Hope fills the void
Peace pulls its moving van
     to my curb
Only to find
The old eelly occupant
     has returned.

---- For the sake of those who might not know, this was written on a bad day, and I don't always feel like this.  I post here for the sake of those who know exactly how this feels and need the hope that mutual understanding brings. ----

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (#26 Greatest American Movie of All Time) - Review

We scored a free copy of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the 1939 Frank Capra classic staring a very young Jimmy Stewart.  This film has been called one of the greatest whistleblower films in American history.
Due to the sudden death of a sitting senator, the state's corrupt governor appoints political novice Jefferson Smith to fill the role - expecting that he can be easily manipulated.  Smith stumbles into disrupting a plan for graft, and his lonely, innocent patriotism faces the Goliath of a well-oiled system of corruption and intimidation.
Smith's idol and senior senator from his state demonstrates the bargain that many politicians make.  Compromise your values for the sake of political productivity.  He finally admits to Smith that he has cooperated with corruption for the sake of the greater good.  Smith holds to his ideals and reminds us that some things are too sacred for compromise. 
Apparently, this movie was intended to highlight the reality of corruption in Washington, and it garnered quite a bit of criticism in the process.  Unfortunately, its naive characters and simple dialog sound overwhelmingly cheesy to 21st century ears. 
Some classics stand the test of time in terms of entertainment and maintaining interest.  We often found ourselves drifting away into conversation or out of the room for snacks or not particularly caring when the kids came chattering into the room.  Unfortunately, however meaningful this Mr. Smith was in its own time, and however important its message is for our time, its weak plot and dialog leave it a little lost in our time.
Sadly, the Josh rating is less than it could be: JJJ.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dangerous Dreams - Genesis 37

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.
  In this poem, Langston Hughes portrays dreams as essential to a good and satisfying life.  But what happens when the dream itself is disruptive?  What happens when dreams collide?  What happens when the dream seems so impossible that it causes more pain than hope?
    Langston Hughes understood something of the pain of dreams since he wrote as an African American in the beginning of the 20th century in New York.  Langston Hughes would have resonated with the Joseph story.
    Last week Matt talked about God’s promise to Abraham to give him a son.  God worked a miracle, and Abraham’s wife Sarah gave birth to Isaac.  Isaac had two sons – Jacob and Esau.  After Jacob got himself two wives and two concubines, he had collected 10 sons, by three different women, but none with Rachel – his first love. 
Finally, when it seemed like all hope was lost for Rachel, she became pregnant and gave birth to Joseph.  Joseph became the golden boy, the child of his most loved wife, the child of his old age.  Let’s read the story in Genesis 37.

 1 So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner.  2 This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe.  4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
 5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. 6 “Listen to this dream,” he said. 7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Good to Me" by Craig Musseau

We just discovered this song, and I think we're going to use it during Lent.  I love how it honestly admits our need for repentance and healing but also celebrates God's grace and hope.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Korea Tip 125: AppleCare Stores

Korea is not very mac-friendly, but it's getting better.  Just a few years ago most Korean websites were basically inaccessible to Safari or even Firefox.  However, with the increasing popularity of Apple products - especially Ipads and Iphones - that is changing.
One of the big problems, though, is getting reliable service for Apple products.  Until recently, you had to journey to Seoul to use your Applecare warranty.  However, Apple Service Centers are slowly moving southward and popping up in some other big cities. 
If you live in Cheonan, where I'm based, the easiest store to reach is Neptune (also known as All-In-One-Tech), which is in the AK Plaza at Suwon Station.  That is just about an hour from Cheonan via the subway.  Follow the signs within the station complex to AK Plaza.  Then keep taking the escalators upward to the 3rd or 4th floor - look for all the appliances and home-ware.  Neptune is a very sleek glass-enclosed store.
I recently brought in my MacBook because the powercord port was damaged.  The Neptune service technician, who might actually be the owner, took my mac apart and fixed the problem in about 10 minutes - no waiting in line.  To top off the positive experience, he also speaks pretty fair English.
To see the latest list of all AppleCare Service Providers in Korea, click here.