In God’s kingdom, as with all great gardeners, pruning is caring. Without pruning, my life will become something even I don’t want — an overgrown, prickly bush with no fruit to offer. In this challenging season, I’ve felt pruned and exposed of my misplaced hopes, and I am continuously reminded of a self-important agenda flowing in the undercurrents of my heart, rather than being drawn to relinquishing my own ways in surrender.
Then, a plague on my body, of too much of something no one can name. Mysterious are God’s ways, to send a plague but harden the heart, that we might see some glory.
In contemporary U.S. society, polarization and division are rampant. We have forgotten that we are all neighbors to one another, or in other words, that our destiny is inextricably interwoven. Being a neighbor implies we treat one another with dignity and respect, learning to value and cherish our cultural differences.
I have begun to wonder if those who deliver our eulogies are the storytellers of our lives and if our funerals are the official initiation of our legacies — the beginning of the curation of our lives into symbols by others. Death has been an incessant presence in my mind lately.
The arguments to “re-open” schools and revert to a pre-pandemic world reveal preexisting racist and classist disparities that have only grown starker with distance learning.
I’ve had my fair share of Christians over-spiritualizing my emotional and mental pain. Unbeknownst to me, these negative interactions with other Christians shaped my belief that mental health could only be appropriately addressed by mental health professionals.
추석 resists separation and isolation by grounding us in community. While it may not be in-person gatherings with lots of delicious food, and we may be by ourselves physically, we are deeply connected to each other through the observance of this day. We experience it as we pay respect to our beloved ancestors, the saints who are no longer with us, whether it is due to illness, time, accident, or violence.
Currently, I’m searching for this other Jesus — the brown-skinned Middle Eastern Jesus who was born in the margins, lived in the margins and died in the margins. The Jesus who never accumulated wealth, never owned a home, never pastored at a church, never married, and who worked a blue-collar job his whole life.
We face our fears, anxieties, worries, and try to learn from what they’re telling us.
My father returned to the Philippines because he decided he couldn’t live here. When he left, he told me that he felt he could either be Filipino or human, and that in the United States, the former was incompatible with the latter. That is what colonialism and white supremacy do.
I am reminded that community is found when we take risks and share authentically about our own culture, ethnic heritage, history, and stories. And as we share our stories, others are able to join us in community as well.
So much of the language we have around activism is militaristic, but if our struggle is going to last, it must center the relational ties that have sustained our communities from the very beginning.
These over-the-top acts of neighboring in Seoul, by people who would be strangers in any other context, weren’t driven by any utilitarian or ideological function. They didn’t demand that I somehow prove my belonging first before intruding into my life in ways usually reserved for intimate relationships.
Did my ancestors ever think of Oakland that way: as a place Native Americans once called their own? Perhaps they saw a wooden Indian in front of a cigar store, or a poster for a Wild West show, and somebody explained to them that those were the people who were here first.
Chinese grandmas, like mine, actually do have lighter carbon footprints than the average American. Those in San Francisco Chinatown, for instance, use half as much energy as other city residents. We can learn from their ways, both in their lifestyle and in their care.
Reading the plaques that detailed their stories of reclaiming tribal land and lifeways was both empowering and humbling. The connections between colonization and national parks became increasingly clear.
We share stories to stretch our collective imagination of what being a neighbor looks like in our cities, our nation, our world.
Sometimes, the way power is negotiated in social justice spaces looks like this: those with more societal power need to relinquish power, and those with less seek to gain more. The misconception is that there is a limited amount of power to share, and so it pits groups against one another. This leads to an endless cycle of bitterness and resentment.
Mourning practices are generations-old traditions of solidarity, honoring other family members, carrying out closely-held duties, and caring for our own spiritual wellness. If our instinct is to reject the practices so important to our neighbors, we will leave unaddressed pain to fester, decomposing our interdependence and trust.
This novel coronavirus and the continuing acts of racism don’t mark the first time nor the last time that our facade of flourishing will be disrupted by the reality of creation’s disintegration.
While I hope for the pandemic to end and for less lives to be put in danger, I also hope that the experience of quarantine, which has forcibly and suddenly shrunken our individual and collective freedoms and capacities, can be an opportunity for able-bodied folks to think about how this is, has always been, and will always be the “normal” that people with disabilities must live with.
COVID-19 patients are dying alone. They may die before their family members have had a chance to phone in or visit them. Families are no longer permitted to stay inside the room to watch over them or stay overnight with them, being physically present as they transition out of this life.
The time is now. We cannot be caught sitting on the sidelines. Solidarity statements, while symbolically valuable, ultimately miss the point. The Black struggle is our struggle. Everything we have collectively learned about race and capitalism tells us our struggles are inextricably connected.
The point of a public health crisis is that, like the wound of history, we are forced to pay attention to our bodies and what they feel. Doing so may save our lives as well as those around us.
I am reminded that a world anew, already in motion, is not a one-time transformation, but rather, enacted by living into an ethics that ... is part of an ongoing struggle for liberation, healing, and right relationship across ecosystems and injustices.