Jul 27, 2008

Layed Down my Bike

If you ride, its never a question of if but a question of when.

I had my first spill on my bike this past week. I was in the middle of a turn at around 30 mph when I came across some gravel on the road. My rear wheel went out from under me and the next thing I know I am sliding on the asphalt.

I ended up with a bruised ego, bruises on my leg, a tweaked knee, and a road rash on my arm.

I stopped traffic on both sides. People were asking if I needed an ambulance. I was able to get right back up and get going on the bike.

The interesting thing is that I was watching the Laguna Seca Grand Prix race the day before with Kaleb. We saw how the pros crashed by sliding on the asphalt.

As I was sliding across the asphalt, I remember specifically thinking, "Hey, I'm sliding on the asphalt!". I never knew you could do that. And then the next thing I was thinking was, "Oh crap! This is going to hurt!"

After gaining my composure I got back on my bike and road around before going home because I didn't want the crash to scare me.

Had I not been wearing my helmet, this could have been a very dangerous wreck. I have some road scars on my helmet. I hit the ground pretty hard with my helmet and had I not had it on, I probably would have cracked my head. No telling what kind of damage that would have done to my brain. And for sure I would have scraped my face on the asphalt.

Always wear your protective gear. The gloves, boots, and the helmet did just exactly what they were supposed to do. The only thing I didn't have on was my jacket because it was over 100 degrees. Never ever ride without a helmet. It could be the difference between a bruised ego and a cracked skull.

James <><
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Jul 24, 2008

My Dad

My dad is a man of few words. He never says anything unless it absolutely needs to be said. Even now, when I call home and he picks up the phone, he says, "Hey James. You doing well? Here's your mom."

That's just the way it is with my dad

So here we are at his house with my family during our vacation. It was the first full day we were there. We just got done eating and we're all just sitting around the table and out of nowhere my dad says, "James I'll give you a thousand dollars if you lose 50 pounds. I'm serious. A thousand dollars."

And then, Helen - my wife, just starts rolling on the floor laughing!

What is up with that?

I guess I've put on a few pounds since the last time I saw him. I do need to get myself in better shape.

So I've resolved to eat healthier and get myself back in the gym.

I don't know about fifty pounds because that would get me close to my high school weight, but I will be in better shape.

James <><
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Jul 21, 2008

Post-Denominational Denominations...Part 3

We finally put away everything from the vacation and put the suitcases back in the attic.

Let me make my final installment of what I envision for a post-denominational denomination.

First, what we know and understand of denominations has to go out the window. Theologically and in terms of Biblical understanding, I have as much in common with those advocating for gay ordination as I have with those who are Jews and Hindus. We just read and understand our relationship to the Bible in an entirely different way.

At the same time, I have much in common with those who advocate for gay ordination. And I don't mean that we're both human, breathing, living, etc. There are some real and faith practices and praxis we hold in common that distinguishes us from the Baptists, non-denominationalists, congregationalists, etc.

Our common praxis of shared leadership and authority. That is unique to Presbyterians.

Our commitment to women leadership.

Our understanding of elders - teaching and ruling - in the life of the church.

Whether I like it or not, I am presbyterian. I am not a baptist. I am not a congregationalist. I am presbyterian.

And in a post-denominational world, I believe we can have a denomination that is committed to our reformed and presbyterian praxis of our understanding of church, while still allowing for a great divergence of theological commitments.

And I believe this is possible through non-geographic presbyteries.

Presbyteries by its very nature are to be relational. Our presbyteries have become too big. I have been a part of Grace Presbytery for about 13 years and there are still many clergy I do not know. There are over 180 churches in our presbytery. There are thousands upon thousands of elders I do not know personally. And because we do not know one another, the only thing that we can go back to is our rules.

Mutual discipline and accountability can only happen through Godly relationships, not through rule keeping.

Our current Book of Order states that it takes 12 congregations to form a presbytery. Those congregations who affirm gay ordination should be free to form their presbytery based on that commitment.

Those who oppose that stance can form a presbytery based on their commitment to scriptural authority. It just takes 12 congregations.

The practice and praxis of Presbyterians can continue within these non-geographic presbyteries.

We have arbitrarily put congregations in these regional presbyteries.

We can intentionally allow those congregations who cannot in good conscience be a part of a presbytery that supports gay ordination to form their own presbytery.

The primary role of the presbytery would be for mutual accountability - ordination standards, receiving of transferring ministers and elders, etc.

And secondly, the presbyteries purpose is to empower congregations to do their ministries more effectively.

And thirdly, each presbyteries can determine on their own what the other roles of their presbyteries may be. And that would be it.

We do not need these gigantic organizations. Is our current structure helping the local churches to do ministry more effectively now? Is our current organizational giants helping to enlarge the kingdom of God?

We have not had a positive growth year since the 1960s. It is crazy and absurd to keep doing church the same way while at the same time hoping to grow. It's nonsense.

We have to find better ways of doing church.

And I think non-geographic presbyteries is a step in that direction.

Jul 18, 2008

Flying w/a family of 6 - totally different than flying by myself

Typically, 2 hours is more than enough to return the rental car and check in and have plenty of time to get some coffee and relax.

So we show up at the rental car place with 2 hours to go, four kids, and 8 checked bags, 4 purses, 5 backpacks, golf clubs, car seat, and stroller.

We barely make it onto the rental car bus with all the family and bags. Then we barely made it off the bus with all the family and luggage. Then checked in with all the luggage. Then we had to get all the bags x-rayed. And then I had to take the oversized bags - golf bags and car seat to the oversized baggage check in. Then we went through security with all the backpacks, purses, kids, and stroller, then recollect all the stuff we just put through security. Then we had to take all the kids to potty.

And finally, we barely made it onto the plane.

Note to self - flying by myself is totally different than flying with a family of six.

When they say you should show up to the airport at least three hours before your flight, they were thinking about my family.
James <><
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Jul 14, 2008

San Diego Zoo

Helen, Karis, Kaitlin, Kailey, Kaleb, my mom, my dad, my uncle D, his wife, cousin Tim, cousin Hannah, cousin A, her son Sammy, cousin Grace, my sis Grace, niece Madison and Sophie made the two hour drive down to San Diego and have invaded San Diego Zoo.

It's truly an adventure trying to move, coordinate, eat, take potty breaks, etc with all these people. But when else in life are we going to get a chance to travel with so many people again.

The coolest things so far have been the elephants, the panda bears, and my kids found a little birdie that fell out. The little guy couldn't walk and certainly couldn't fly. He almost got trampled by several people. I scooped him up and took it to one of the workers. I hope they can take care of the little guy. It would be wrong to let the little guy die - especially at the zoo.

One of the other things that have been strange to see is the traffic. LA has one of the worst traffic jams around. But the traffic - even during traffic hours - have been extremely light. Most people are either sharing rides or taking public transport because the gas prices are so high here.

The last I heard, they are projecting gas to hit $7 per gallon before this is through.

Kaleb is taking a nap and I think I will too while the rest of the family continues on their tour.

James <><
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Jul 13, 2008

Worship at Sarang Church

The Kim family spent the day worshiping at East Sarang Church. This church began on Easter Sunday 2007 and since then they have gone from 20 members to over 900 in attendance on a Sunday. And it's easy to see why. The worship is hot. The praise is awesome. And the atmosphere is electric.

As soon as Kaleb saw the children's place, he ran to play with the toys and the other kids.

The girls were made to feel welcome as soon as they walked into the children's ministry center.

When Helen and I walked in to the worship area, we were greeted and welcomed.

This church is doing so many things well.

I had the privilege of preaching this morning at this church. It's fun to see God at work and seeing a church who's desire is to impact the community by growing God's Kingdom.

We at Trinity are not too far from this church. God is at work.

I pray that the visitors at our church would say the same things about TPC.

Jul 12, 2008

Adventures of Family Living

Today is the reason why we've all come to Southern California. Today is my dad's 70th birthday party. We have family here from Korea, Texas, New Jersey, Seattle, San Jose, Sacramento, and from all over the Southern California basin. We've all come to celebrate my dad's birthday and also to invade the homes of our relatives. Every single person who owns a home has someone staying with them. We are expecting over 80 at the party tonight.

It's been "fun" trying to live in the same place without killing each other.

For starters, my mom insisted that Grace and my family spend the night in their two bedroom condo! That's six kids and five adults sharing two bathrooms and two rooms! And then more relatives started showing up - an aunt and cousin from Sacramento, an uncle and his wife and two adult children. We moved out of my mom's place to one of my aunt's home.

We've been there for two days now. We are sharing that space with my aunt's family and one more cousin. This is not as bad. We have my family of six, the three in my aunt's family, and one adult cousin. That's only six adults and four children sharing four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The bathrooms have been an adventure because one of the bathroom is in the master bedroom. So in essence, there is one bathroom for the rest of us. It's been good though. No casualties.

It's been fun seeing all the relatives. I haven't seen some of them in over ten years. It's amazing to see how old everyone's become. All my little cousins are now either married or adults. It's crazy.

We have our party tonight.

Tomorrow, I will be preaching at Thanksgiving Church.

And then on Monday and Tuesday, we - like 25 of us - are off to San Diego to Sea World and to the Zoo. Beware San Diego! The Kim clan is coming!

Jul 9, 2008

Vacation reflections - lessons learned from a three-year-old

Today, Helen and the girls went to the Natural History Museum in LA to meet up with some friends from my previous church. I stayed back at my parents place with ny 3 year-old son. Originally, we had planned to go to Knotts Berry Farm today but the plans got changed. Then we were all going to go together but the plans got changed. Then I was going to take him to go see Kung Fu Panda but plans got changed. Instead we ended up hanging with my folks and watching Rattatoulle.

I felt bad for my son because this is his vacation too and because it felt like he got the shaft. But you know what? That boy had a smile on his face the whole day and he played with gusto, ran with passion, and he was perfectly happy and content to do what we did.

All the change of plans was driving me batty. But he was fine. It didn't bother him that things changed cuz he was with his daddy and his grandma and grandpa.

And you know what? That's not such a bad day after all. In fact it was a great day! When was the last time I got to spend the entire day just with my son? When was the last time I got to hang out with my mom and dad all day?

It was a spectacular day.

Thanks for the lessons son.
James <><
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Jul 8, 2008

First days of Vacation

So far so good.

We made it across the country with the kiddos. You should have seen all the people on the plane when Helen and I got on with our four kids, a stroller, and a car seat, with Grace and her two kids, two car seats, a double stroller getting on the plane. I am sure it was quite a sight to behold. We had people quivering in their seats.

But we all made it in one piece.

Thus far we have gone to the beach - we are only five minutes away, eaten at In-N-Out, hung out with the parents, and having a rockin good time.

we are going to visit with some ol' time friends from our previous church who now live in LA tomorrow, and then some of the same for Thursday for Helen and the kids while I go play some golf with my college fraternity brothers.

The weather is awesome, the food is great, friends are a joy, and the family is a blessing. This is a much needed break from the routine.

Thank you God!

James <><

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Jul 3, 2008

Post-denominational Denominations Part 2

Post-denominational denominations...

First, stop. Just for the moment, chuck everything you know about denominations. Let's start with a clean slate.

Second, let's be real about the state of our denominations and call a spade, a spade.

When it comes to our so called connectionalism, about the only thing that binds us is the property clause and the name brand of our denominations. Whether we are presbyterian, methodist, lutheran, baptist, when it really boils down to it, unless we've got the balls to discipline, censure, and defrock one another, about the only things that are binding is the property and the denominational name.

Already within the so called connectional denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), there are people so far from where I am on certain issues that I have far more in common with my baptist brother and the pentecostal non-denominational sister in town than I have with the More Light congregations who have been advocating for the ordination of homosexual, transgendered individuals.

Just what in the world are we talking about when we say connectional? What does that mean?

I think the way out of this denominational dilemma in a post-denominational age is to re-think what it means to be a connectional church.

Although I may agree about homosexuality with my baptist and non-denominational pentecostal brothers and sisters, I am neither a congregationalist or a non-denominationalist. I am to the core presbyterian.

What do I mean by that? Let me give you some examples:
  • I believe wholeheartedly in the sharing of ministry between the teaching elders and the ruling elders.
  • I believe in women's ordination.
  • I believe that the church is best governed and led by a group of spiritual leaders rather than a bishop or a pope.
  • No single church in its isolation is the full manifestation of the body of Christ, but that collectively, we represent the body of Christ.
Although I may disagree with the More Light Congregations and the Covenant Network Congregations, there are huge areas of common concern. Not only the areas listed above, but thing such as:
  • Commitment to Evangelism and Mission
  • Commitment to Social Justice
  • Commitment to mutual participation in the governance of the church
  • Commitment to use both our hearts and our minds in approach to understanding God and our purpose as a church and as human beings.
There are huge areas of common passions. I am just writing off the cuff on my blackberry so I am having a hard time listing all the areas of common concerns. But there are many more that I can't think of right at the moment.

The reality and the dilemma is that I would not be a very good baptist, congregationalist, a methodist, or anything else. My expression of my faith is best articulated through the Presbyterian way of doing and being church.

And I bet this is the same for those brothers and sisters on the more progressive and liberal side of the church too.

The question then becomes, how can we conceive of being a church where these two polarities can not only co-exist but thrive together? Is that even possible?

I happen to believe it is. It will take a huge shift in how we normally think of denominations, but I believe it is possible. Not only do I believe this is possible, but unless we discern some new ways of being a denomination in a post-denominational world, you can kiss PC(USA) goodbye. But I believe there is huge potential to rethinking and discerning what God may be up to in this post-modern, post-Christian, post-denominational age.

More to come on this later.

Thank you for your comments. Let's keep dreaming and discerning about how best we can be a post-denominational denomination.

James <><>www.trinitypresbyterian.us

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Jul 2, 2008

Post-Denominational Denominations...?

The recent actions of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has made it clear that the theological chasm that has existed for the last 30 years between the conservative evangelicals and the liberal progressives is undeniable.

I believe that the commissioners voted to be faithful. But the problem is when you are faithful without knowing to whom you are faithful to, you're going to run into problems. I believe that the commissioners voted to help the church. I don't think there was a single commissioner who wanted to hurt the church. It was just that the presbyterian world has changed so much that people are no longer able to discern who we are called to be faithful to.

Many people were saying things like, "Jesus would..." "If Jesus were here today..." What was interesting is that they would say such things without any scriptural reference. Whoever this Jesus is, it certainly was not the Jesus of Scripture.

And the reality is that nothing conservative evangelicals ever say will change the progressive liberals. And nothing that the progressive liberals say or do will ever change the conservative evangelicals.

How then are we to be a church together?

It's not quite clear in my mind yet, but I think there is something to thinking about a post-denominational denomination.

Is that even possible?

I think so. And the more I think about it, the more I find it intriguing.

What do I mean by post-denominational?

We live in a world where the only ones to whom denominations matter at all are those who are already in our denominations. No one else gives a rip whether someone is Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, PC(USA), PCA, KPCA, etc. To the 2/3 majority of Americans who make up the unchurched, denominations just don't matter.

When a Catholic priest in Boston molests a boy, the 2/3 majority say, "That's why I can't trust you clergy." And if I were to protest, "But I'm not a Catholic. I am a Presbyterian." It wouldn't make one bit of difference. We all represent the "church".

When Ted Haggard has his moral failure, the 2/3 majority say, "You Christians are all hypocrites." And if you were to protest, "But I am a Presbyterian, not a non-denominational Christian," you might as well be saying, "Mumbo, jumbo, jumbo, mumbo." To the 2/3 unchurched, we are all the church.

The only ones who can articulate what the differences between the PC(USA), PCA, the KPCA, the Lutherans, the Evangelical Lutherans, the Methodists, etc. are those who are highly versed in the life of the church. They represent a tiny portion of the US population.

For the most part, what people want to know is, "Is God for real? Can I experience and encounter God at your church? Can God make a difference in my life? Can I make a difference in this world?" And if the answer is yes to these questions, people just don't care what denomination a church is.

That is the reality of the post-denominational world.

And the question I would like to pose is what would a post-denominational denomination look like?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. I will be posting my thoughts on these in the coming days. Thanks.