Archive for June 2010

Christian Legal Society v. Martinez   Leave a comment

The US Supreme Court recently decided on a freedom of religion/discrimination case. I’m currently working on a legal note for my law school class, but I will try to provide some analysis of this decision by 4th of July weekend. All in all, the dissenting votes of Justices Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Chief Justice Roberts could not overcome a disappointing decision by the majority. At the very least, it creates additional legal costs to Christian Legal Society to plead their case. At worst, this is a huge blow to the First Amendment freedom of religion, and to orthodox Christianity.

Posted June 28, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Encountering the Glory of God   Leave a comment

Throughout Scripture, when people encounter the greatness of God, they all come to the same reaction. Yet, based on my reactions or the reactions of most of the world, that reaction might not be what most expect it to be. For most of us, when we see something wondrous or spectacular (say, a magic trick or fireworks), we go “ooh” and “ahh.” We are amazed; we are captivated; we are drawn to it. And that is often my experience when I encounter the God of the Bible. Oh, wow… He did THAT? And He is like THIS? And He purchased me HOW? COOL!

Yet, that is completely different from how people in the Bible react when they encounter the glory of God. Here’s just a couple of examples to think about:

When [Jesus] had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” (Luke 5:4-11)

(I have a small aside here: When Jesus had to feed thousands on only a few fish, I’m wondering why the disciples couldn’t remember this event. Why wouldn’t they just say, “Jesus, there’s a mud puddle. Do you want me to cover it with a net, and you can catch another million fish?” Just a thought.)

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this had touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” (Isaiah 6:1-7)

… “cool” just might not be the appropriate response. The God who can command thousands of fish to jump into a net which they had evaded all day, and the God who was huge and had angels with six wings worshiping Him… people didn’t see this God and say, “Wow, that’s a neat trick” or “Wow, his robe is really big.” They put two and two together and realized that THIS GOD was the very God who would judge the sins of the world… and they went, “Uh oh. I am toast.” As we cultivate a proper understanding of our God, we should come to have more and more moments that go beyond “Cool! Thanks Jesus for the magic trick.” We should progress past that in our theology and get to a point where we can understand that the God who is “cool” is also the God who hates sin and will punish sin for all of eternity. And but for the grace of God go I…

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All pictures were taken by Harrison L. Kwock, and I have used them without his permission. If you don’t tell him, then I won’t tell him either. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted June 22, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Who’s Going To Take Responsibility For My Kids?   Leave a comment

I saw a really interesting video on Tim Challies’ blog this morning. Take a look for yourself:

As I saw this video and heard that the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not put regulations on the amount of marketing geared towards children, I thought… Aren’t parents supposed to control their kids? Aren’t parents supposed to regulate what they watch? If kids get diabetes, wasn’t it the responsibility of the parents to make sure that they eat properly? If children get desensitized to violence, wasn’t it the responsibility of the parents to make sure that they know that death is real and it has grave ramifications? If kids are shallow and materialistic… doesn’t this fall on the parents?

There are two qualifications to what I’m writing. First, this isn’t a right-wing, Republican post. It might sound close to it, but it’s really not. Second, I don’t have kids… so I want to tread carefully on those who read this and do have kids. I know it’s easier raising kids in my head than it is to raise kids in the real world.

This morning, I was reading Ephesians 6, and then I saw that video. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” It reminded me of Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I might be wrong in this (please let me know your thoughts on this), but I think a lot of this is attributable to the fact that our culture has a skewed view of love. Our culture does not understand a love that says “no” or says “you’re wrong” or says “you should not do this.”

In our culture, it is unloving to tell a guy spending his time wasted on drugs that such a path will lead to prison, addiction and death. “Who are you to tell him what to do? Let the man live his own life… he’ll figure out what’s right for him.” Really?!?! It’s more loving to let a guy kill himself through drugs than to provoke him and challenge him to reconsider the ramifications of his decisions?

In our culture, it’s unloving to tell your kids that they can’t have something they want. “I want them to have all the things I didn’t have.” “They really want it, so how can I say no?” I recently heard a story of a woman who lets home-schools her child and hers him (probably about 10 years old) choose the classes he wants to take. He doesn’t take math because he doesn’t want to. Really, mom?!?! That’s love?

How warped is it when our culture has fallen into an understanding of love that goes away from what is best for others to what is most comfortable to ourselves. “Well, that drug addict friend wouldn’t really want me to tell him to stop. He wouldn’t like me judging him.” Of course not! He’s on drugs! He’s addicted! The fact is, you should’ve stopped him before he got addicted, but now that he is… its going to be hard for you and inconvenience you. “Well, my kid really likes to eat ice cream for breakfast.” Of course he does! He’s five! Heck, I’m nearly 25, and I still wouldn’t mind eating ice cream for breakfast. But I’ve learned over the course of my life that ice cream is not a healthy breakfast option. Did I learn that lesson well? Heck no! I fought against it. I snuck in morning ice cream whenever I could, and I got punished for it. (BTW… it was sooo worth it.) But I eventually learned. It would’ve been easier for my mom to let me have that ice cream. But, then, would she have really been loving me?

Most of my posts are random rants that I write in a stream-0f-consciousness mode. This one, even more so… What are your thoughts on the responsibility of parents over their kids? Do we need government intervention? Do we need parental intervention? Should we let the kids choose for themselves?

Posted June 15, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Your god Does Not Exist   2 comments

We don’t do this with any other relationship that we have. We never say, “My friend Bobby is 6’4″ and weighs 200 lbs, and he’s a freak-athlete basketball player” when Bobby is really 5’6″, 110 lbs, and can barely handle the weight of a basketball. It’s ridiculous to think that you can define someone else to be what you want them to be irrespective of who they really are.

You can’t say that the Michael Jordan you know is humble and cares about not offending others because the real Michael Jordan was the cockiest basketball player ever (although he did back it up) and he has had a post-basketball career filled with cocky moves such as his new look which boldly states, “I don’t care if the last guy wearing this mustache killed 6 million people. I get to wear it because I’m Michael Jordan and I do what I want!”

You cannot say that the Kevin Garnett you know is mild-mannered and stoic because the real Kevin Garnett is a chest-pounding, primal rage screaming, anger-exuding, every-minuscule-thing celebrating ball of emotion.

And, my final NBA example (come on, it’s NBA finals time)… you can’t say that your Sasha Vujacic is a universally loved figure on the basketball court because, well… check out some of these videos: Dragic v., Davis v., Cavaliers v., Melo v., Bynum v.

(Also, here’s a short knock on people believing soccer is more sport than theater.)

All that goes to say… you can’t define who someone else is irrespective of who they truly are. We define others by what they really are. Yet, the hypocrisy of many of our relationships with God is that we try to define who He is by what we want Him to be. “My god is a god of love.” “My god is a god is a god of wrath that will punish people for their individual sins with natural disasters and plagues.” “My god is…”

The thing is… we can’t define who God is by what we think He is or what we want Him to be. We have to go to God to know who God is. That should be obvious; that should be a given; yet that is so often overlooked, especially in the circles of people who profess to be Christians.

Your god does not exist because your god is a figment of your imagination.

So, what does God say about Himself? What do we know about Him from the revelation of Him and from our experience with Him?

“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindess for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”–Exodus 34:6-7

So, is God a God of love and mercy? Yes. But, is God a God who is wrathful and just? Yup.

God is not exclusively a loving God… to the point that He won’t punish and to the point that He won’t damn. And God is not exclusively a just God to the point that He isn’t gracious and patient and loving.

So, when you want to define who God is… go to God and ask Him. Find out who He is in His holy Scriptures. Because the God, as He reveals Himself, is greater than what we could ever imagine or fathom.

Your god is a figment of your imagination. You cannot say… I don’t care what the truth about Tiger Woods is… my Tiger is kind and faithful. We do this with no one else except for God… and it’s an accepted practice.

Posted June 14, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Complaining: Our Heart’s Rebellious Cry Against God’s Sovereignty   Leave a comment

Over the past couple of days, I’ve given some thought to the sovereignty of God in my life and in our lives. I made a road trip throughout the south this weekend, making stops at Memphis and Little Rock on my way to Dallas to make it to a friend’s wedding. (Congrats Monica and Jonathan, though y’all prolly somewhere in Hong Kong right about now.)

During my trip, aside from attending my friend’s wedding, there were two things I wanted to get done. First, I wanted to study. I’m currently in summer school, and my course load is a lot tougher than I had anticipated. Second, I wanted to visit The Village Church to hear Matt Chandler preach live. If you have never heard Chandler, I’ve linked some excerpts here and here. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do much of either. I left my power cord at home, so I had to buy a power cord for $100. Ouch! And, yet, I didn’t get much studying done. Then, I woke up late on Sunday morning, so I couldn’t make it to The Village Church.

Instead, I went with my old roommate to the church he was attending in Dallas, Grace Bible Church. (Supposedly, this is only one of many churches in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area named as such.) There, the pastor preached a powerful sermon, of which one line stood out to me most poignantly: “If we know that God is in control, why do we complain like the rest of the world?”

That line clearly pointed out what was stirring in my heart in small, but clear, ways. It brought me to think of the sovereignty of God, and my sin in complaining against His sovereign working in my daily activities. I know that God is sovereign even over my forgetfulness in not packing my charger, yet I complain. I know that God is sovereign in my inability to wake up Sunday morning so that I couldn’t hear Chandler, yet I complain. My heart even whined when my flight was delayed by an hour in Houston.

Yet, what reason do I have to complain? What reason do I have in shaking the fist of my heart at God for not doing things according to my plans or, at least, doing things in a way that would inconvenience me a little less?

This morning, I was reminded of the goodness of God’s sovereignty. I was reminded that though we might see certain things as bad when we go through them, God never fails to show us His goodness when we look back in hindsight.

I was reminded of Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

It is the sovereignty of God that uses those bad situations, those complaint-worthy situations, in our lives to humble us and to draw us to Him. It was His purpose to use that to call us, as is explained in Romans 8:29-30, and it is His purpose to continue using those complaint-worthy (but not justified) situations to humble us and to draw us closer to Him.

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A short response to Peter Hahn: For those of you who read this blog through my Facebook account, I first want to say thank you for reading. I’m humbled that anyone besides Mike Ling actually reads this blog. Second, I want to say that when I “like” my own posts, I’m not “liking” what I write, but I’m “liking” the fact that others like it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Again, to all of you who read… thanks for reading, and please post comments to say “hi.”

Posted June 7, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

John Wooden: I’m Not Afraid to Die   Leave a comment

The following is a poem about death and love by John Wooden (the words may not all be correct; I tried my best to try to get exactly what he said):

Once I was afraid of dying
Terrified at ever lying
Petrified at leaving family home, and friend
Loss of innocence from my dear ones brought a melancholy tear once
And a dreadful, dreadful feeling on when life ends.
But those days are ย long behind me
Fear of leaving does not bind me
And departure does not hold a single care.
Peace has comfort as I ponder
A reunion in the yonder
With my dearest one who is waiting for me there.

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The thing that will get me about Coach is that there will be others who will go on to win 10 championships. Heck, Phil Jackson has won 10 NBA Championships. But the thing that separate Coach from so many others if his focus on relationships. He truly loved his players. He was a man of genuine love and enduring love. And we get a glimpse into what kind of coach he was by the relationship he had to his dearest Nell, even 25 years after her death. Coach is once again united with her and, together, they will for all of eternity find joy and pleasure and peace before their greatest love… their Lord. Coach, you will be missed, and I hope your life lessons will not soon be forgotten.

Posted June 5, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

In Memory of John Robert Wooden (1910-2010)   1 comment

John R. Wooden, member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (for Purdue) and a coach (for UCLA), went to the hospital on Thursday for the final time. Today, at the age of 99, Wooden passed away. And, though I have cried over his death, I will not dwell on mourning that death. And I will not just celebrate his basketball career (even though Wooden won 10 NCAA Championships in 12 years). Instead, I want to focus on some aspects of his life that have blessed my soul beyond winning championships for my beloved UCLA Bruins.

Wooden was a man of faith who sought out opportunities to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and live in a manner that would bring Him utmost glory.

The thing that made Wooden different from other basketball coaches today is that his life did not revolve around basketball. He loved basketball, but he did not stay up during all hours of the night worrying about basketball strategy and match-ups. Some of you might argue that he did this because he coached during an era when being a college basketball coach was not as demanding… but I disagree. Wooden, if he was a coach today, might not have won as many championships or recruited as many superstar players. However, he would not have sacrificed those things that he always put ahead of basketball. Wooden even tried to instill such a mindset to other coaches and to his players. He once said, “I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is one that places faith in the hands of the Savior.”

Wooden, while he was evangelistic, was able to do so in a humble and gentle manner. Even players such as Lou Alcindor who eventually became a Muslim and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabaar have a strong admiration for Wooden, despite their obvious differences in religious views. And that is precisely because Wooden, although firm in his faith, was a man who was gentle and humble. I am reminded of Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Wooden exemplified such a lifestyle. Although he is widely regarded as the greatest coach in college basketball and arguably the greatest coach in the history of sports, Wooden was a man who spoke softly and kindly. He never used that fame for his own personal gains, but only used to further the cause of the gospel and of UCLA.

I remember meeting Wooden once in my life. I was doing security for him during a UCLA Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. I was able to stand right next to him (as he was sitting because he was about 95 years old at this point). It was a ceremony that celebrated, among other athletes, Ed O’Bannon (part of the 1995 NCAA Championship), but the true celebrity was Coach Wooden. There were dozens of UCLA Hall of Fame members there, but they were all in line for an opportunity to speak with Wooden, and I was there to make sure that they didn’t bum-rush him. Just being within a couple of feet with him, his humility and his kindness was clearly evident in not only his availability to meet people, but in the gracious way he spoke with them.

Wooden was a man who wanted his faith to be apparent to others. He was never shy about his faith, and he said, “If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.” Amen, Coach Wooden. He has been honored and revered in this world, but his treasure has always been tied in with his reward in heaven.

Wooden was a faithful family man who showed enduring love for his wife and his two children.

Wooden married his high school sweetheart, Nell, and they were married for 53 years until Nell passed away in 1985 from cancer. He was so devoted to his wife that, even after her death, he monthly writes a love letter and puts it under her pillow in bed… he wrote around 300 letters to her. It’s an amazing testament to see a man who understands the exclusivity of marriage–a man who was always faithful to his wife and devoted to her. It’s so rare to see a man who is so publicly adored who does not eventually succumb to adultery. Wooden, however, was able to remain devoted because he viewed his marriage through the lens of the gospel.

One of my favorite Wooden stories is the struggle he went through with UCLA when they were trying to honor him by naming the court at Pauley Pavillion after him. He didn’t want it to be just called “John R. Wooden Court” but wanted his wife’s name on there, too. UCLA did not want to do that, but eventually relented. They would call it “John and Nell Wooden Court” but he wasn’t satisfied with that. He wanted her name first… and he eventually got his way. What an awesome example of a man who sought to honor his wife.

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Thank you very much, Coach Wooden, for the way you lived, and for the faith you’ve exemplified in approaching death.

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The following is Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success.” It’s pretty insightful, and hopefully you’re blessed by the wisdom of it.

If you can’t see it, which you probably cant… here’s the link: http://ffbsccn.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/john_wooden_pyramid.jpg

Posted June 4, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized