Jun 252008

I like connecting people to people. There, I’ve said it. Whether it’s people to God, people to resources, people to churches, people to places, it’s listening people’s question and connecting to what they’re looking for.

In a recent conversation, someone moving into the Irvine area is looking for a church. He’s been checking different churches out, but hasn’t yet found the right one. Ingredients that he’s looking for: a Bible-teaching church, a strong children’s ministry, fellowship with other Christians, a place to serve, and not too loud. A church like Bent Tree Bible Fellowship would be ideal, he said. It’s a kind of healthy church that feels like home (for certain evangelical Christians).

I ran through my mental rolodex and here’s what I came up with (in no particular order). But comparatively few right there in Irvine, surprisingly. There are plenty of great churches in Irvine, granted, but not sure all fit the description above. Perhaps you know some others.

(I think you can leave out that the Bible-teaching churches that are too vocal about the faults and problems of other good evangelical church’s practices…)

I’ve indexed more than a dozen church directories and search engines here — great reference there for anyone looking for a church anywhere.

[update] brand new website just launched by Jon Acuff -> Can I Wear Jeans? at caniwearjeans.blogspot.com for a directory of candid church reviews, cf. read back story from Steve Knight

[update May 2009] also see this list of churches with evening worship services

Jun 232008

I met Daniel Im at the Awaken Conference this past April, and enjoyed a very engaging conversation with this next gen leader. It always excites me when I meet someone with new ideas and isn’t a cookie-cutter person living out a predictable narrative. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t know if he’s bilingual as he ministers in bilingual Montreal, Quebec, (i.e. English and French), but he did start blogging and I want to share a lil’ link love.

Like Daniel, I’m a big fan of StrengthsFinder. (I also like the Birkman Method, but that’s an expensiver tool b/c of labor-intensive consulting fees.)

Daniel shared some good thoughts about his achiever theme in this post titled Competition vs. Achiever. He’s got an achiever strength theme, which I thinks makes it easier to figure out the value he adds to an organization. I got a more unusual mix: ideation, input, strategic, adaptability, woo.

But, here’s my dilemma — I don’t get motivated by competition nor by achievement. In a goal-oriented, accomplishment-celebrated, free-market-economy, make-a-difference kind of a world, I don’t have an easy time discerning my ideal job description, overall end game, nor setting life goals. (contrast with Mark Batterson’s ambitious life goals) I don’t feel bad about this (or, I feel less badly about it, over time), but it is very much a personal dilemma.

Ironic thing is: I’m the oldest of three boys in my family of origin. You could say that I’m the embodiment of more complexities and contradictions than the average bear.

Jun 212008

Spending a Father & Son day, deciding between Redondo or Hermosa or Manhattan beaches. Might get in all 3. Lunch destination is FIVE GUYS in Carson, California. Yes, the best burgers in the country has come to Southern California!

Dropped off wifey at International Printing Museum, her workplace in Carson. She’s got a dream job too. A virtual generator of word art has been the buzz this past week — see www.wordle.net — this pix is my del.icio.us tags:

Rhett Smith gives Kudos to N.T. Wright for Going on The Colbert Report. He might be the 1st theologian on a cable TV news satire show. I’ve never watched Colbert, so don’t know what category he self-identifies with. [direct link to video]

Saw this quote at the masthead of this magazine‘s website — “The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English.” Intriguing. Intellectually intriguing.

The Criterion did have this fascinating article title: Sinners in the Jacuzzi of a Laid-Back God. And, its blogroll had: God of the Machine.

Lifechurch.tv Radio — Lifechurch.tv has an online streaming radio station, in addition to all the other goodies they put online. This radio station automagically plays a mix of Christian contemporary music and praise & worship.

Taking my first vacation of 2008 starting next Friday. Driving up the coast of California to the Bay area. Family will be with me. Maybe see Bruce Reyes-Chow if he’s not on the campaign trail. Thought about staying at Madonna Inn, but since we’re driving thru, didn’t want to spend that much $$ for 1 of their 109 unique themed rooms. Need to keep our budget for foodie excursions at our final destination.

Jun 162008

On those rare occasions I have to talk to a live customer service representative, with almost everything going self-serve or going online, I’ve rarely ever had someone who knew how to spell my name. Here’s the script I have been using as of late:

My name is DJ Chuang — first name is DJ as in “disk jockey”, and last name Chuang, spelled as “Charlie Help Uncle Apple Nickel Google”.

I don’t have the phonetic alphabet down cold, nor the script. So I’m open to suggestions — add a comment.

Reminds me of a story of a real person whose last name was Fu. And when he spelled it out by just pronouncing each letter, some CSRs got offended!

What do you do to spell out your name?

Jun 142008

At the 2008 National Pastors Conference, I made a tough decision because no one else was going to make it for me. I sat in the seminar with Scot McKnight so I could shake his hand afterward, rather than sitting in the seminar titled “The Relationship Between Politics and Christianity” with a panel of Charles Colson, Greg Boyd, and Shane Claiborne facilitated by Krista Tippett. So, I weighed in with blogger solidarity instead of watching rock stars in live action.

Perhaps it’s timely that I mention it now, with American politics ramping up for the November presidential election between Obama and McCain.

panel with three generations
(photo: Colleen Scheck/Speaking of Faith)

I’m delighted to see that the seminar I missed was recorded and produced by the Speaking of Faith crew and made it freely available. Just listened to the edited radio broadcast version and it’s a profoundly insightful conversation of how Christians can translate their biblical faith into different actions and different votes. Such a stark contrast to how a conservative evangelical voice has dominated the portrayal of all evangelical Christians, when (in actuality) there are many complex differences among people who live out their common faith and shared values.

Three Degrees of Separation from Speaking of Faith on Vimeo.

Jun 122008

Took much longer to get the content migrated, but now it’s done. Changed over domain name settings today and the redesigned L2 Foundation website is now live!

3 of the biggest changes are:

  • combining the L2 blog with the L2 website
  • placing all the resource links on one web page
  • entire redesign of the look & feel, as well as the “backend” CMS, now powered by wordpress.org


There’s a few more things to tweak and fine tune. The overall look and feel should be a welcomed sight. I did keep the L2 blog archives over at wordpress.com, and imported all the 2007-2008 blog entries into the L2 website. Not sure how confused Google and other search engines will be with all the permalinks getting messed up.

Thanks to Tim Bednar at Turtle Interactive for the redesign!

Jun 112008

Minorities keep growing– Hispanics are now 15% of the US population and Asian Americans at 5%. A handful of items coincidentally coincided, beginning with this comment in my inbox:

I was thinking the other day about the term “Asian American” and how it might need another word like “East” in front of Asian to truly reflect the perception that people have when they hear the term “Asian American.” Recently I’ve been thinking outside of the box and it just dawned on me how easily we assume or center “Asian” in the East or Far East mainly consisting of China, Korea, and Japan. When U.S. Census bureau includes Indian subcontinent and south Asia under “Asian” many “East” Asian Americans are not used to the concept or a picture of Asians including the Indians.

In my experience, I find that a majority of Americans of East Asian descent don’t even identify with that label, identifying much more often with labels like “Chinese American”, “Korean American”, or “Japanese American.” For instance, this new Korean American Christian Media website launched a few months ago as a “full service social networking community focused on the 1.5 and second generation Korean-Americans.”

Granted, too, I have noticed that a lot of the Asian American conversations tend to revolve around 2nd+ generation Chinese/ Korean/ Japanese. But, I’ve noticed for individuals and groups that do identify with the Asian American label, most seem to be cognizant about including Southeast Asians and South Asians along with East Asians.

2 other emails in my inbox: (1) a church in Chicago wants to bring on staff an Asian-American pastor (or African-American) for their Downtown Chicago congregation. Details of this ministry opportunity at Holy Trinity Church are online. (2) a 2nd generation Korean United Methodist church near Detroit, Michigan, is looking for a Lead Pastor, someone who can meet the UMC criteria and being forward-thinking. See details about this opportunity and contact me when/if you know someone who fits the bill. More ministry job opportunities at ISAAC.

Plus, there’s that “model minority” stereotype that still lingers. The College Board published this report, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straightread/ download full report (PDF). Their press release got titled ‘Model Minority’ Stereotype Obscures Reality of Asian American and Pacific Islander Educational Experience and New York Times noted how Report Takes Aim at ‘Model Minority’ Stereotype of Asian-American Students. It ain’t easy being labeled an Asian American.

If racial stereotypes weren’t such a sensitive matter, maybe this parody news article wouldn’t sting as much– Asian American Pastor Speaks Only English: Chicago native of Korean descent also knows no martial arts. Could we possibly laugh at ourselves and with each other across racial ethnic lines?

Jun 072008

Weekends are typically lower traffic for most websites. This suggests that there’s an awful lot of web surfing and internet use during work / business hours. Some of that may be legitimate research and work-related stuff. Some of it not so much. In an open-source collaborative world, the lines between work and play, business and personal, are blurring. For the next gen, it’s bordering on ridiculous if an employee is told that “you’re not paid to Twitter” or “you’re not paid to blog.” Not all twittering and/or blogging is good for business. But, twitter can be used in a way that better connects a business (or organization) to its audience and potential audience (aka customers, constituents, members). For the record, I don’t blog here during my work hours, and I keep 99% of my twittering during work hours work-related. (I say that because my Mom and my managers read my blog.)

Saturdays are now a new rhythm for me: a mix of home-related errands, father-and-son day, and/or chatting on the phone via free weekend minutes.

Today I’m starting something new I’ll call Saturday surprises. I’ll do a top-of-mind brain-dump of what’s surprised me during this (past) week. Saturday surprises will be a live post, not a post that was created days in advance and made to go live in the future. Caveat: I may not blog every Saturday or only surprises specifically from this week.