Sep 302004

Here I am with wired up with free WiFi at this hotel near Vail, Colorado, where I’ll be until Sunday. Part of a weekend business trip, one of the tougher parts of one of my jobs :) I’m not going to comment to much about what’s happening here, other than to refer to the sponsoring organization’s website, and the distinguished mix of people who are gathered here. Noteworthy that they used blogging in conjunction with their pre-event communication.

My business trip part of it was that I helped coordinate the convening of 3 couples from the Bay area, and perhaps this will become an event that can gather a growing number of high net-worth Asian American Christians in the coming years, and provide a safe place for them to discern how God can use them together for Kingdom impact. Believe you me, not an easy topic to breach, but when they come together, the proof is in the pudding, and the experience priceless.

Generous like a Wofford

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Sep 272004

Our family watched the season premiere of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and boy was it a tear-jerker! The Woffords and their community were an amazing testimony of generosity, love, and spirituality, and the designer team alluded to their tremendous stories. Even tho’ the Dad worked like crazy to make ends meet, and being recently widowed with 8 kids(!), he still exuded a sense of joy and peace, as did the whole family. Their home church, North Coach Calvary Chapel, got a few minutes of spotlight, along with their surrounding community.

Bloggers had scooped the story back in June-July, when the rebuild actually happened: Extremely touching, Local Makeover, homemade video of the reveal, phooning at the site

And to think, they used to live in the amount of space that we now live in, yet we only have 3 people. And, when the Woffords heard of a basketball team needing a place to stay, they still offered their tiny home to 3 basketball players to have a place to stay! Overflowing overstuffed generosity or what?

When the Frontier boys basketball team traveled to a tournament in San Diego last December, the Falcon players stayed in the houses of area residents. Coach Gary Domzalski was impressed by a widower named Brian Wofford, who, despite having nine children in a three-bedroom ranch, welcomed three players into his home at the last minute. Domzalski wasn’t the only one impressed by Wofford’s generosity. His neighbors in Encinitas, Calif., nominated him for ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover, and he received a refurbished new home during a program that airs Sunday night.

Plus, these side notes: Home makeover not as free as it seems, North County Family Receives Reality-Show Home Makeover, ‘Extreme Makeover’ Features Encinitas Family, Community Welcomes Home Wofford Family, Encinitas family goes from bunk beds to breathing room .

becoming a leader

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Sep 262004

Gave a talk tonight at Triangle Youth Fellowship (TYF) to about 100 Asian American high schoolers, about how following Jesus = Becoming a Leader. Forgot to mention it to y’all before I went, partly b/c I was busy making preparations for it, as I had just under a week to get it ready. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done public speaking / preaching / teaching. I made it more interactive, and had very good attentiveness in the first half of the room; the back half of the room, not so much. I hope to post an MP3 audio of the talk online, so you can see how rusty I am :)

[updated: my talk "Following Jesus = Becoming a Leader" is online.]

Sep 202004

Will you take up this invitation from Scott Tong? Whether you’re engaged or apathetic about politics, he’d like to hear from you! Please email me at [email protected] to participate!

Scott wrote: “I’m the Washington, DC reporter for a public radio program called “Pacific Time,” which airs weekly on NPR stations. I’m doing a piece on Asian Christians and election 2004 — what issues motivate them, if any? “Minority” issues like immigration? “Christian” social issues like abortion? Or something different, like foreign affairs?

Ideally I’d find a group in the area willing to watch the 9/30 presidential debate with me. I’d interview them during and afterwards. Thanks!”

Scott Tong
KQED’s “Pacific Time”

loaded words

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Sep 182004

Surfing the web for an hour or so has awakened some thoughts in me, provoking me to blog, instead of migrating my website content into wiki, a slow manual process. So my website will have to wait. The latest update I’ve found about Emergent comes from a report by Jason Clark, “Where is Emergent going?” Great intel’, good insider commentary, and 2 thoughts were aroused:

(1) the progress that Emergent desires to acknowledge and celebrate is not stated in terms of numbers and metrix, so while there is progress, how much progress is there, actually? I think numbers would be helpful, not in the megachurch headcounting sense, but to help all of us see the same thing. While one perspective might be jubilant at 2 more women speakers at a general session, for example, another perspective might be sorely disappointed and frustrated at only 2 women speakers at a general session; and both are talking about 2 women. [full disclosure: I do attend Brian's church]

(2) The blogosphere is largely misread, and thus, misunderstood. For those who “live online” (cf. jenlemen), we read blogs as formative thoughts and ideas and feelings in the category of just thinking out loud, spouting off tentative exploratory opinions, speaking freely and unedited and raw, sometimes with exaggeration and hyperbole. It is a text-based medium, and tone and intention and nuances are sometimes difficult to convey, and often not meant to be conveyed. That’s the beauty and the curse of it. As the reader-response thing goes, those of us bloggers who read blogs give one another the liberty to spout and rant and rave, and not take those words so seriously nor personally. The weight of “responsibility” is shifting away from the author and toward the reader, if you will. Let the reader beware! The context is a free form rant, and if the blogger (author) wants to convey a more serious tone and send out a more definitive manifesto level message, that can be done through word choice and disclaimers.

Having been a pastor for a handful of years myself, and still in conversation with many of them, (it seems to me that) pastors have been taught or put themselves into a mold, where they have to weigh their words more carefully and cautiously. Pastors do not have the freedom to speak freely as bloggers tend to do, because their words often have broader impact upon a wide range of people in their congregation and community, certainly when spoken from behind the pulpit, as well as in everyday life. Knowing that their words will impact different people differently, and there are those who are hypersensitive to certain ideas and feelings, pastors often speak in an edited and diplomatic manner, trying to navigate all of that morass. So I’ve do often hear that conversations and concerns have to be addressed privately and personally, behind closed doors, rather than in a public space. And Bible verses are quoted and/or exegeted to reinforce this concept.

The world is changing, and the Emergent conversationalists are privy to a large part of this. And the change is happening over the blogosphere, in part, and divergent semantics of word usage. Not just theologically, but corporately as well. Take the word racist, for instance. Recent thoughts perculating are simply exploratory, thinking out loud, and are not to be read as “negative criticism”, like: is the emerging church racist? (akingdomspace), is the emerging church racist? (urbanonramps), is the emerging church intentionally racist? (mosaiclife), and even radicalcongruency. If dialogue can’t happen around loaded words, how can those topics ever be breached and de-heated?

surgery called off

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Sep 112004

Thanks for those of you who expressed concern about my scheduled foot surgery yesterday. It was called off when I visited with the doctors, scissors and knives on the counter next to us, as he looked at my foot, and saw improvement in the “growth” and offered a kinder and gentler solution to my problem. So I’m using a piece of Mediplast pad, filled with 40% salicylic acid, daily for the next 2 weeks, and then another doctor’s visit to make an assessment. No photos of my foot here (I know homelessguy blogged a photo of his foot). And my friend Judy was still kind enough to bring over dinner, after I fully disclosed that surgery was called off.

After writing my entry yesterday, I recalled another personal incident that I coulda shared about, but someone’s gotta draw the line somewhere about personal disclosure. I’ve drawn it fairly wide, and I’m told, wider than most Asians would. You would not believe what kind of personal life stuff I’d recently surfed onto via the addictive Blogspot “next blog” button. I won’t mention what it is, but I’ll only make a veiled allusion to it. And when they go that length of disclosure, it sorta makes one wonder if it’s embellished or fabricated.

foot surgery today

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Sep 102004

How much more personal can blogging get, you might ask?

This afternoon I’ll be going under the knife for a minor foot surgery. I noticed an “abnormal appearance of tissue under the hallux of the right foot” a few weeks ago.

In conversation with the doctor, he described that growth as some result of trauma to the foot. I scanned the recesses of my memory, and recalled an incident when I stepped on a piece of Lego (from the Alpha Team collection) that had a round pointy thing that poked into my foot maybe 6 months or so ago. And apparently, that did create notable trauma at that time, my hopping around on one foot screaming ouchy-ouchy, and has now turned into this growth that’s become more annoying and bothersome.

The official diagnosis is “poro keratosis” and the doctor’s recommendation was surgical removal rather than acidic burn, the other alternative for its removal. I’ll be under local anaesthesia and am told that I’ll be able to drive home afterward. Should take a week or two to recouperate. This may mean more blogging, or more sedation, will see and let you know.

Sep 092004

I’ve now accumulated 6 Gmail invites and would be happy to give some away to those who can write interesting comments to this entry. They’re no longer worth the upwards of $250 as I’d seen them get bid up for on eBay a few months ago, but they’re still by invitation only. So write up something engaging or witty, and I’ll give you an invite. :) [my decision to give or not to give a Gmail invite is completely at my discretion]