Archive for September 2010

The Best and the Worst in Men: How An Advocate For Suffering Women Serves Time in Prison For Raping a Woman   Leave a comment

Recently, I watched an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary. If you don’t know what those are, ESPN is in the process of producing 30 documentaries for 30 compelling stories over the past 30 years. The one I watched was “One Night in Vegas” which was directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood. The documentary followed the unique relationship between Tupac Amaru Shakur and Michael Gerard Tyson until the relationship abruptly ended after Tyson’s boxing match against Bruce Seldon. Tupac, on his way to a nightclub in Las Vegas, was shot four times and died five days later. I have always been a big fan of Tupac’s rap music (despite the excess of explicit language and imagery), and I found the documentary to be really interesting.

Interestingly, the thing that stuck me the most was the antithetical nature of two of his quotes in the documentary.

Tupac was a poet–an extremely talented one with great insights on society and the gang-culture in which he was immersed. In the song “Keep Ya Head Up,” Tupac had some lines that were sensitive to the needs and struggles of women. Here are some of his brilliant lines:

You know what makes me unhappy, what’s that?
When brothers make babies and leave a young mother to be a pappy.
And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman,
I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women, time to heal our women, be real to our women.
And if we don’t, we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies that make the babies.
And since a man can’t make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one.
So will the real men get up. I know you’re fed up, ladies, but keep ya head up.

Tupac, who released “Keep Ya Head Up” on October 28, 1993, was shortly thereafter, on November 18, 1993,  charged with raping a young woman. In his defense, Tupac said, “It’s not a crime for me to be with any girl I wanna be with. It’s a crime for that girl to turn that into a rape charge.Tupac was found guilty of one count of sexual abuse; he served four months in prison and five years of probation.

So, how does a guy go from advocating for the struggling woman one month to raping and sodomozing a woman the next month? Is Tupac merely a sex-crazed man out to rape every beautiful woman out there? Or is he a soul sensitive to the needs and struggles of the women around him? He’s both. And that’s what stood out to me–frankly, that’s what scared me. He’s both, and so am I… and so are you. At our best, mankind has shown a wonderful sense of compassion and empathy. However, at our worst, mankind is also capable of some of the world’s most sinister deeds.

And what struck me throughout the documentary was the numerous times that people referred to ‘Pac as a loose cannon and as highly combustible. Translated, it meant that he lacked discipline and self-control. I was reminded of the words in 1 Timothy 4:7: “[Discipline] yourself for the purpose of godliness.” The perseverance of the Christian is not merely about getting to a place where you want to love God and you want to do good. Since we have the Holy Spirit within us, He will always draw our hearts toward those things. However, we have our own sinful and selfish desires which compete, at time and oftentimes, with the godly desires implanted by the Spirit. Therefore, apart from discipline and self-control, we are always swaying back and forth from being an advocate to suffering women to being an agent of women’s suffering. We sway back and forth between love and compassion, and rape and abuse.

The Christian needs to marked by more than emotions for Jesus. He needs to have such affections toward Jesus that he is willing to control his life and discipline himself so that he would not be tempted to stray or have occasion to stumble. Here are some words from the greatest book of wisdom ever–Proverbs.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (12:1)

“A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.” (15:5)

“He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.” (15:32)

“Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” (19:18)

“Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” (25:28)

So, the moral goes: Love the Lord your God with all your heart by loving Him enough to discipline your life in order to never stray from Him.

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

O, That We Would Preach the Word   Leave a comment

“Here is a problem, here are these widows of the Grecians, and they are not only widows but they are in need and in need of food. It was a social problem, perhaps partly a political problem, but certainly a very acute and urgent social problem. Surely the business of the Christian Church, and the leaders particularly, is to deal with this crying need: Why go on preaching when people are starving and in need and are suffering? That was the great temptation that came to the Church immediately; but the Apostles under the leading and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the teaching they had already received, and the commission they had had from their Master, saw the danger and they said, ‘It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables’. This is wrong. We shall be failing in our commission if we do this. We are here to preach this Word, this is the first thing, ‘We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word.’

“Now there the priorities are laid down once and for ever. This is the primary task of the Church, the primary task of the leaders of the Church, the people who are set in this position of authority; and we must not allow anything to deflect us from this, however good the cause, however great the need. This is surely the direct answer to much of the false thinking and reasoning concerning these matters at the present time.”–Martin Lloyd-Jones

Lloyd-Jones wrote this book in 1972, and the concern he foresaw in the church has only grown since that time. And, to be honest, it makes sense. Christians are to care for others. Jesus commands that we love our neighbors as ourselves. And when we see our neighbors in the world, we see all sorts of problems and our hearts yearn to help.

5 American soldiers died last week in Afghanistan. We mourn for those soldiers who have lost their lives fighting a seemingly endless war in Afghanistan. It pains us to see our soldiers coming back in body bags, so we join protests to end war and stop violence.
A Mexican shootout kills 35 drug suspects. We not only see the problems drugs create in the lives of those we love, we see the bloodshed in places such as Mexico, where druglords own the land and reign with an iron fist. We ask Congress to create safer borders, and we establish rehabilitation centers locally.
A typhoon kills 3 in South Korea. It seems as if weather conditions are getting more and more severe, so we champion the cause to end global warming.

Aside from these, there are plenty of other issues that grip our hearts: abortion, domestic abuse, orphaned children, poverty, victims of rape, brutal deaths of animals, and many others. And I believe that all of these causes have validity and they must be combatted. But we, the church, are not called primarily to champion these causes. We are called to champion the cause of “prayer and the ministry of the Word” because underlying all of these problems and issues is the foundational problem of the world–every single individual in this world has sinned. Those sins will either be dealt with on the cross through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ or they will be dealt with by each individual through eternal punishment by God. In light of that perspective, all other causes pale in comparison. So, while I commend lots of churches for their commitment to social issues, I pray that churches that are founded on helping victims of any sort of the world’s woes would be done away with. Instead, that they would be replaced by a church that faithfully preaches the Word of God and, as a result, a church that lives out the Word of God by caring for the orphans, the abused, the environment, and the poor. I pray that nothing would take the spotlight away from the gospel of Jesus Christ, but that these serious problems in the world would only point more clearly to our need for Jesus Christ. Christians should not look to the victims of war and say, “We need to end war.” Christians should look to the victims of war and say, “We need to make sure that people know Jesus Christ because only a heart changed by a genuine relationship with Jesus can overcome hate in the hearts.” Champion the cause of the gospel, my brothers and sisters.

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