Call + Response

A freshman I met recently is promoting this movie. I think we should all make a point to see it, especially since all proceeds from ticket sales go to support organizations like International Justice Mission and Not For Sale. There are showings all over the bay area.


Don't get me started on

... romantic relationships. I've stumbled upon a new passion. Actually it's not really a new passion but a latent passion that has been stirred recently. All of a sudden I found myself ranting, raving, and railing about this blog post that has been roaming around some of the students. The title of the piece is, "Is He/She... The Right One." Already my eyeballs are starting to take an elliptical course.

When I first came across it a few months ago, I remember scanning the article and thinking... meh. I could understand how it was encouraging to the person who was copying it onto her blog, given where she was at so I didn't really say much about it.

I took a closer look at it when some women told me they were reading and discussing it. I lost some self control and I could not stop myself from ranting about the ridiculousness of the article. It's pretty long, and I have many objections but my main complaint is that the post is extremely naive about marriage. I googled the original post because I kept thinking to myself, this was written by an unmarried woman. I was right. Anyone who has been married long enough has concluded that the idea of "the right one" being portrayed in this post is completely unrealistic.

I believe the author misquotes scripture and does extremely poor interpretation. Most of the scripture quoted is taken out of context and only used to support her own ideas. If you're looking for actual evidence of her points in scripture, it's fairly thin.

If I could sum up this post and my objection, it would be that it's teaching women to look for unbroken people as mates. Broken people looking for perfect matches... err... right.

What's the point of spending time looking for a Mr. Right that will fit our laundry list of qualities? First of all, he doesn't exist. Second of all, if you found him, he's probably hiding something. Third of all, it doesn't guarantee a happy marriage. Happiness is not really the point of marriage anyway. It really bugs me that the post encourages you to find someone without brokenness.

What also bugs me is how the post is really unfair to men. It sets up absurd standards for a mate. There are only two logical conclusions from reading the post: you won't be getting married because he doesn't exist or you think you've found him only to be disappointed.

I wish people spent more time considering their own brokenness and what they were doing to become a better partner rather than wanting someone else to be awesome for them. What about having just one qualification. Instead of finding Mr. Right, what about finding the man that's committed to working out and working on the brokenness inherent in the relationship. Enter with eyes wide open about the ways you will fail each other. Enter with much grace.

Instead of looking for Mr. Right, how about looking for Mr. Let's try to work on our brokenness and maybe in 20-30 years we'll start getting some things right.


When you hear the word duty

... does it make you laugh like a little kid? I do, and then I like to say it over and over again. The Duty Free aspect of the international terminal at the airport also cracks me up.

I've been musing about duty and obligation as of late. For a long time they held the same meaning... a negative one... practically a four letter word. In seeking freedom from the rigidity of "have to," I was a champion of "want to." As some friends will testify, one of my favorite questions was "Well, what do you want?" I gladly adopted a therapy prof's motto: don't should on yourself today.

I wanted to be free of duty/obligation and not do anything if my heart wasn't in it. And I preached this rhetoric to those around me. It seemed that so many people were taking action only half-heartedly or grudgingly and there was no desire behind anything.

I reminded myself that Scripture talks about duty, and that it's portrayed positively and even as godly. I began to separate duty from obligation. I don't know if it's semantics, but I think obligation is doing something because you think you should even though you don't really want to or feel like it. I think duty, on the other hand, is sticking to a commitment because you care about the people it affects. Duty reminds me of those who are in the army and believe they are fighting for a greater good. It's not about what each individual wants, but it's about what's best for the country and its people. Duty is related to integrity, and it reflects willing selflessness.

I resonate with this definition of duty as a Chinese American woman. Often I am pulled to serve my family even if it is inconvenient, and I can tell when I'm doing something out of obligation or duty. Mostly it's reflected in my heart, and I remind myself that there's a greater good that I'm serving even if I don't feel a personal gain.

I don't think I have these ideas fully thought out yet so I don' t know if I totally made sense. I think the word obligation also exists in the Bible too. Ah... the joys of late night blogging.


Unity on campus

We're in the throes of Welcome Week right now, aka crack for extroverts. It's been so much fun meeting freshmen and watching them wobble on their bikes. I even wrote a poem for them.

o freshman, o freshman
scared and wide-eyed
o freshman, o freshman
watch out, don't collide!

On Monday night the evangelical groups on campus hosted an event called "The Worship Experience." It's pretty much as it sounds - worship, testimony, mini-sermon.

From what I can tell, our students really loved it. I keep hearing students say, it's so cool to get together with the other fellowship, we should do stuff like that more often. Whenever I hear them say that, internally I reply - I don't.

I think it's great that we have this event at the beginning of the school year to try to help new students not feel overwhelmed about all the Christian groups and to demonstrate we support each other in our ministries. It's our attempt to diminish the feelings of competitiveness as we're all wanting a large group of students to join our fellowship. I like that.

I don't wish for more all-fellowship events because I think it promotes the insular, in-reaching nature of Christian community. Holy huddle, kumbaya, and all the other ways we alienate ourselves from the world. Planning these all-fellowship events takes up resources. Since we're all so busy, we have to be selective about what we choose to do. Once we take away time for sleeping, eating, schooling, working, and other priorities, our free time is so limited. I would rather be focused on outreach in witness or justice than just hanging out with other Christians. I believe we simply don't spend enough time in God's purposes for the campus.

My irreverent thoughts for the day.


I heart tall, dark, and handsome

... and lately I've developed a new celebrity crush slash admiration slash mild obsession. I've never been one to jump on the hot celebrity bandwagon. When I was in elementary school and the group formerly known as New Kids on the Block were all the rage, I didn't have a favorite Kid. While all my friends had paraphernalia such as sleeping bags, binder, pillow cases, etc. etc. I was... meh.

However I've always been drawn to the tall, dark, and handsome (didn't I get lucky in marriage!?). My last such interest was Hugh Jackman aka Wolverine. Not only was the tall, dark, and handsome thing attractive, but I loved the whole fighting inner demons thing. Not that I want that in real life (too complicated), but there's something so fascinating about watching a man wrestling to tame his internal and external being.

Lately I've moved on to Christian Bale!! Dark Knight was the summer blockbuster hit and I absolutely loved it. I never felt so much for a superhero before, and I actually felt depressed-ish for a couple hours afterwards. I kept telling Bryan, it's so sad! I feel so bad for Batman! I ate up all the can't pursue your true love for the sake of saving humanity and on top of that you have to be an outlaw bit.

Christian Bale is hands down the best Batman. After reading more about him on wikipedia, I learned he's one of those actors dedicated to the craft and doesn't really care about the glam and glitz of Hollywood celebrity. He shuns the public and requests privacy from the paparazzi. Unheard of!

I also heart Netflix and for the first time I rented a movie because Netflix thought I might like it. I hightly recommend "The Prestige." First of all, it stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. Two tall, dark, and handsome men brooding at each other in competitiveness that will drive them to destroy each other. There were multiple twists in the plot, and I didn't see the very last one coming.

Christian Bale movies are lining up in my Netflix que. Next: The Machinist. He lost 60 pounds to accurately portray his character. That's dedication!


I heart pop psychology

While driving around town with the husband...

Do people like kissing because it's reminiscent of breastfeeding?

O, the human psyche and its endless possibilities.


I hate being

... stuck in Jr. High. I realized I was being very lame about Facebook. Somehow I began equating the adding of friends to some sort of popularity how cool is the pegpie meter. Whenever I met somebody new, the first thing I did when I got home was to see if they were on Facebook. Admit it, all of you, that you do the same thing (note to self: ponder and perhaps blog about the stalkerish nature of FB and human nature in general).

If I found them, I wouldn't add them. Instead, I would wait for them to add me. Somehow their initiation affirmed that I was cool or interesting enough and therefore worthy of FB friendship. If they didn't, I'd feel slight pangs of teenage devastation. Yes, I recognize that slight devastation is an oxymoron.

While accepting various requests of friendship, I realized that most people add friends without thinking too deeply about it. I bet Tim Tran (whoever you are) didn't have to think twice about his request. Even I love using the People You May Know feature and don't care if I haven't talked to so and so's friend for years. I've added people "just because." Making new friends on FB has nothing to do with my "cool" factor.

I need to take after Bryan's example. My husband wants to be to Facebook what Tila Tequila was to MySpace. He is a fiend when it comes to adding new friends, er... acquaintances, er... visual recognition but never held a conversation. He never thinks twice about who he's adding. I'm taking notes and implementing said mindset. No human left behind.


The rest of your life

We're getting ready for Welcome Week at UCD. It's really more like Welcome Month for our on-campus freshmen bible study leaders. They'll be making the big push to get connected to people in the dorms. Sleep, eat, breathe, and live the dorms. Extrovert's dream come true or introvert's worst nightmare.

There are all these welcome events and inevitably we'll be running down the list of "Where are you from?" and "What's your major?" And inevitably I'll come across a college student who's trying to make the right decision about their major so they don't ruin the rest of their lives... or so they say.

Some years ago I had a really interesting conversation with my aunt, who has a more American perspective on life than my parents - she immigrated as a teen. We were talking about the pressures my dad was giving me about going to grad school and doing something "useful" because everyone knows you can't feed yourself with degrees in English and History.

My aunt pointed out that my generation had very different opportunities than her immigrant peers. Back then, she said, the only options open to Chinese Americans were engineers, doctors, lawyers, or businessmen... and engineers. The time is different, new career paths are open, and success is not limited to the aforementioned careers. I ate it up and I continue to encourage students that it is okay to try an out of the box major like, heaven forbid, Sociology.

Our culture has also shifted in that our majors no longer relate to our careers. Back then, most people had specific majors that directed their job options. They found a job and more or less stayed in the job with the same company until retirement. Nowadays I find that most people aren't doing things related to their degrees, even engineers and economics majors. On top of that, people in our generation change jobs or careers every 3-5 years. If you've been at a job for 10 years, you're considered a veteran.

I have some favorite mantras I like to tell students, and this is probably one of them. Another one goes something like, "Don't should on yourself." I'll try to remind myself to elaborate on this in the future.


Why don't we

...celebrate wedding anniversaries in community? I know most couples will do something together, except when you get somewhere around year 14 and you have children and one day you wake up realizing both of you missed your anniversary. I know couples also celebrate their 50th with a big bash.

Today is our 4 year anniversary. Friends who have known me for awhile are usually astonished at how fast the time has gone. Others ask us when we're having kids. Actually, that question hasn't stopped since we first got married. It's the married couple's equivalent of "what's your major?"

As we looked towards today, I told Bryan that next year we should throw ourselves a party and invite our friends to celebrate our anniversary. If we have parties to celebrate the individual every year (birthdays), why shouldn't we celebrate the couple more often? We celebrate many lesser things - at the end of every October, Erma's foster mom from SPCA throws a puppy birthday party for her and her daughters. For marriage celebrations, Year 0 to Year 50 seems like a rather large gap.

I think it would be a great encouragement to us as a couple and to our friends as well. Also, I noticed that people tend to be more willing to gather for key events such as birthdays. I don't mind having another reason to bring friends together, especially given our busy lives. Look for an evite coming near you in a year!