Beautifully Mundane

The awe of living in a foreign country has started to fade gradually. This is because no one lives in awe. We simply visit, tour, glimpse, and dream of awe. Our homes exist in the mundane where it is beautifully simple, mysteriously repetitive, and gloriously messy. Korea has started to become my home, which means my eyes have started to adjust and a routine has started to form. Continue reading

22 Years of Learning

A couple years ago on my birthday I decided to share the things I felt I had learned that year. Now it’s becoming a bit of a tradition to have a post sitting in my Drafts folder all year where I can jot down things I’m learning, and on my birthday share it with all of you. You can find last year’s post here if you’d like to check it out. Here is this year’s post! Continue reading

Korea is Kool

Quite a bit has happened in the past two weeks. I’ll try to share the abridged version in an effort to remain coherent and hold your attention.

I left Seattle on August 19th for Akron, Pennsylvania where I met up with roughly 80 other young adults from around the world who will also be spending their year volunteering with Mennonite Central Committee. Continue reading

The Beginning of a Korean Adventure

With my departure date for South Korea quickly approaching I have loaded my schedule with as many coffee dates and evening outings as an introvert a sane human can reasonably (and maybe even a little unreasonably) fit into a two-week span. In the midst of this bittersweet transition from being in Seattle to setting my gaze fully on the approaching year God has begun to teach me things, which in theory I knew, but in reality I understand very little about. Mainly I’m learning about the importance and value of relationships.

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To Know Love and Pain

WordPress tells me it’s been about two months since I’ve posted anything. I was trying to blog once per week, but I realized I don’t consistently feel like I have enough well-organized and creative thoughts to write every single week. There are several partially composed posts sitting in my Drafts folder, which never reached completion because every time I sat down to write it would turn into word vomit. This happens periodically when I fall too deep into the rabbit hole of introspection. Hopefully these words contain some sense of coherence and usefulness.

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The Land of the Morning Calm

Until 108 BC, northern Korea and Manchuria were controlled by Gojoseon. In contemporaneous Chinese records, [the name of this region] was written as , which is pronounced in modern Korean as Joseon. An early attempt to translate these characters into English gave rise to the expression “The Land of the Morning Calm” for Korea, which parallels the expression “The Land of the Rising Sun” for Japan. While the wording is fanciful, the essence of the translation is valid; however, this interpretation is not often used in the Korean language, and is more familiar to Koreans as a back-translation from English.” – Wikipedia

 In the past week I’ve: watched my first Korean movie, become acquainted with another person who will be serving with MCC in South Korea, sent emails and letters to my friends and family formally sharing the details of my assignment, and submitted documents for a visa in the Republic of Korea. My year in Korea just became much more tangible, and with it I realize what that entails. Continue reading

10 Tips To Succeed at Being a Person

I’ve been a person for a handful of years now and I feel like I’ve generally had a bit of success at figuring it out. Like Kid President tells us, “being a person is hard sometimes”, so I thought I’d share a few of the things that I have found to be helpful ways of succeeding at being a person. It ought to be noted that I’ve only had a brief twenty-something years of trying to figure this out, so take these tips with a grain (or ten) of salt. Continue reading

Who We Are And Who We Hear

This past year I have been learning a great deal about identity, what it means to be white and male, and what it means to be a Christian in a world infected with chaos and prejudiced hostility. I imagine living in Korea for a year will also teach me a number of things about ethnic identity. However, I presently have a lot that I’ve yet to grasp.

The church I am currently a part of in Seattle has a class they off annually called Faith and Race. This past Sunday was the first of the three sessions. It began by having our standard three services with a sermon by Dr. Brian Bantum titled “Are We Blind, Too?”, which was about why there is a gap in who sees and who does not see in regards to the racial rifts in our society. Following the services Dr.Bantum kicked off the Faith and Race class by speaking briefly, and then we discussed questions in small groups. This gathering was followed by some smaller breakout sessions on various sub-topics. There were two primary things I took away from last Sunday. Continue reading

Austin Moves to Korea!

The conclusion of this post is that I will be moving to Chuncheon, South Korea in August for a year of volunteer service with the Korean Anabaptist Center. However, the timeline leading to this decision begins several months ago, so I will start there.

Until the end of last Summer I was set on attending seminary in Seattle for the next four years in pursuit of a Master of Divinity degree. I had applied for financial aid, enrolled in classes, and even purchased textbooks for my first quarter. But three weeks before classes started I began to question this decision. I realized I was no longer certain I wanted to be a pastor or teach theology in the traditional sense, which was the reason I wanted to go to seminary to begin with. After weeks of talking with just about every mentor, professor, pastor, and friend whose voice I value, I made my decision. I met with the associate dean of the seminary three days before orientation and officially withdrew. Continue reading

Muslim Lives Matter

As I sat on the warm hard floor I looked to my left at the end table in the corner of the room filled with books and knickknacks. One of the items sitting in view was a thick book with intentionally elegant designs across its red cover. “Apa itu?” (what is that?) I asked my host with the sparse Indonesian I knew. He stared at the book for a moment before gently lifting it from its position on top of the array of miscellaneous items. Thumbing through it briefly, he looked at me and slowly said with great enunciation, “Quran”. He read some of the Arabic text to me, which he likely could not comprehend, before returning the book to its place.

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