Sunday, June 24, 2007

Training for Justice

"Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)

Part of my job requirement is to do 65 hours of training in domestic violence and sexual assault training. We've had former police officers, lawyers and specialists share about all aspects of this issue --and all the evidence points to the fact that perpetrators are 95% men.

As the only male in this training, it has been uncomfortable to see the plain truth of our rampant "gender violence" culturally and globally. But as a Christian, I'm also to reflect on this general issue of justice based on my understanding of Scripture and theological tradition. (More on the specific issue of gender violence later)

1. Scripture: I think we have enough devotionals on how much God loves us and wants to be our friend. Many passages have been coming to mind as I sit through training that are focused on seeking justice, and I think it's high time to have a devotional book on that area!

2. Theological tradition: while things are changing for Evangelicals, there still exists a woeful split between social justice and spirituality, the sacred/secular that remains to be mended. I sit in training thinking that the Evangelical church overall has given up much of the thinking and action towards seeking justice to secular liberals, the courts, and government. The average Christian's ability to think through justice issues tend to be simplistic (like legislation against gay marriage, etc) or perverse applications of "love your enemy." Even with my Christian college and seminary education, social justice has been on the periphery of all that training, something extra.

I hope to see that training in justice becomes integral to what it means to follow Jesus.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sick Sabbath

You know that you're supposed to take it easy after awhile, but there's a part of you that thinks that you can handle it--and you're almost proud of how strong you've held up the past few weeks.
With vacation-family-marathon-work-training all wrapped up for the past few weeks that also jammed my weekends, my body finally forced a Sabbath day today, as last night I had what felt like a rock in my throat and started feeling feverish.

So all day I just slept, read and played some DVD favorites/chatted online. I actually slept a lot more than I've done in awhile. It's a good early lesson that bivocational ministry can easily overwhelm me if I'm not careful. It's almost like too much of a good thing when you're doing things you feel passionate about. But it's good to remember that the Kingdom of God is not up to my efforts, like a man who scatters seed on the ground: "Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how" (Mark 4:27).

Or as I'm reading the Psalms of Ascents with the guys: "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain" (Psalm 127:1).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rock N Roll!

OK, so it's almost two weeks since I ran the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon, but it's worth an entry. Here are some of the personal stats in case you were interested:

Finish time: 4:31:48--my PR!
Interval running: 5:1 until mile 13, 8:1 after
Weirdest thing: women Elvis impersonators
Best parts: running through Balboa Park(on the 163!) and the Gaslamp Quarter
Saddest thing: seeing a woman runner collapsed at mile 25
Best thing for an Asian runner: getting free sandals at the finish.
Best "team mate": my brother, who knows the roads! I got dropped off/picked up close by.

I often marvel at how I continue to distance run despite the punishment you inflict on your body at these events. But there's something physically tangible about learning patience and perseverance while you're in the race. It's said that the last bit of a marathon is often more a mental game than physical, and it's true for me because once you let any negativity creep in, you're going to stop. I had to keep saying at the end.."just keep looking for that next mile!"

"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize.." Phil. 3:13-14.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sabbath Prayer in Arizona

I did finish the San Diego Rock 'N' Roll Marathon last Sunday, but I wanted to post about our weekend before in Sedona, Arizona. Even though I only worked 7 days, it was still nice to get away from LA and get a change of scenery. I was intent on making it a real sabbath for the two of us, without the crazy planning and running around to all the sights we typically do--just enjoying the natural beauty and the lovely beauty I'm married :P.

Also, the picture of the trail was part of the trail running I did in the surrounding red rock country early in the morning. I had a revelation that this sort of running was a form of prayer: enjoying God's creation and interacting with it in a whole different way than just walking. I remembered praying that I would see some native javelinas, a sort of wild pig/boar, and God in his humor had me stumble upon them on the way back, though I realized I was led off the main trail to see them (is that God's way of leading??). Prayer running in nature...that's a powerful way I connect to God.