Four Korean Months in Review

Today marks four months since arriving in Korea! To celebrate, I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve learned in Korea so far.

I Am a Part of My Country

As much as I’m sometimes frustrated by practices, policies, and general social patterns in the United States, it’s still my home country.  It also happens to be one of the most powerful countries in the world. As a citizen of this country with the ability to vote, protest, and be heard I’ve come to realize I have the privilege and responsibility to do so. There are many stories I’ve heard about the US acting in ways I absolutely do not support in countries throughout Asia. As a Christian seeking justice, mercy, and humility I realize these stories must motivate me to advocate to the leaders I can influence.  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

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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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

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

The Church and the Gospel of Naruto

Okay, so I’m going to need you to bear with me for a moment or two as I nerd out. I promise that I feel this is relevant to my main point.

I’m an avid fan of an anime series called Naruto which is about the journey of an ostracized, untalented, persistent, ninja boy named Naruto. I’ve been watching this series since 7th grade, so in a sense I’ve grown alongside this character. The things that have kept my attention for the past eight years are the shifting themes and scope of the series. Initially it appealed to my middle school mind with its cool fight scenes and the youthful humor of its characters. As I’ve matured I feel that this series has as well. Continue reading

Why I’m a Feminist

The thoughts that make up this post have been on my mind for roughly the past year. They grew out of questions, stories, lectures, and events I have encountered while in Seattle. I hesitated to write this post because I felt that a post about semantics would be of little value, and I was not completely settled in my own thoughts well enough to share them. I no longer believe this is simply a conversation about the definition of a word, and I’ve come to a place where my thoughts have been able to settle. Continue reading

Time

I’d like to develop eyes to see and appreciate the awe, tragedy, and power in the mundane. This is why I’ve decided to attempt to write every week about something I’m grateful for, the ways in which God is shaking my little snow globe of a life, or something of that variety. This week I am thankful for time. Time to rest. Time with those I care about. Time to think. Time to be. Continue reading

21 Years of Learning

Today is my 21st birthday and over these past 21 years I’ve learned many things. Some of these things I’ve had to learn in difficult ways, others I’ve gained by listening to those with more life experience than myself. I still have much to learn, but as I grow it’s my hope that I will be able to share wisdom and love as I seek wisdom and love. In the past 21 years I’ve learned that:

It is important to love your body. Loving your body is not only being content with your image and the way God has made you, but it is treating your body with care. Eating well, exercising consistently, sleeping normally, and not putting things into your body that do not belong there are all pieces to loving your body. We are blessed with one body and the way we treat it matters.

Money is not worth as much as people say it is. Money is useful, but not of the greatest value. Wealth is a burden I hope to carry as little as possible.

People matter more than doctrine. I learned this from a Jewish rabbi. He was a little unorthodox and challenged the beliefs of a lot of formal theologians, but the way he treated those who orthodoxy tended to crush and oppress was astonishing. Not only did he convince those he interacted with to adopt his way, but he also caused them to share his teaching throughout their communities. This rabbi has made me willing to stretch the bounds of orthodoxy to include those at the table who wouldn’t otherwise have a place. This rabbi’s name is Jesus.

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Overrated Eugene Cho

I recently finished reading the new book my pastor just wrote called Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but as a die-hard man of steel fan I couldn’t help but give the book a few style points from the get go.

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Now, I must be transparent by saying that: Eugene is one of my pastors at Quest Church; much of my time is invested in working at the café Quest Church started, interning with the youth ministry where Eugene’s children and many other children from Quest attend, and sharing life with members of the Quest community. I was also given a free early copy of the book as part of a group of folks asked to share honest feedback about the book. Needless to say, I care for many who directly and indirectly had a hand in this book, which makes me biased. However, I think this also gives me a unique perspective on this book. To me this book is not just another book about justice or how to be a good Christian written by some “trendy pastor”, this book is a part of Eugene’s story and Eugene’s story is a story that intersects and influences my story every week. I have a small glimpse of the man “behind the mask” (or book cover), and as someone with that perspective I can honestly say that this book is an authentic and consistent continuation of the Christian love and discipleship I encounter in pastor Eugene weekly. Okay okay, enough blubbering about my pastor and my church, you want to know if the book is any good! Continue reading