Thursday, March 31, 2011

Silent Soul

The way its face crinkled,
And eyes stared at the star-lit sky.
Its eyes are silent,
Like something without a soul.
But they know, it has a soul.
They just can’t find it.
The way its mouth is glued shut
Because its thoughts have run amuck.
Uncontrolled, untold
They leave it be,
Assume it’ll eventually be
And one day they might
Find it, a soul less silent. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Nude Nation

We, (this America)
Have quite some potential
(and benefit to gain) from becoming
a Nude Nation.

Yes, we are the land of the free
The home of the bold.
Jeggings and crocks,
Plaid skirts and tube socks
We are in need of 

Did I mention?
This is the plan to stop obesity
To create a place of conformity
This is the plan to really be free,
Livin’ in this Nude Nation. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Treat All Girls Like Dudes Day

On Facebook I was invited to an event on March 31st called "Treat all Girls Like Dudes Day". The creators of the event don't want guys to use this as a ticket to be assholes to girls, but they do want it to be a day where girls get no special treatment for being girls. They want to see if girls can handle a day where a guy doesn't open the door for her, or let her get out of a speeding ticket because she starts crying, or is really cute. They want girls and guys to be treated the same.

I really like this idea, but their motives are kind of weird. They are angry about the “BS”, meaning, the unfair special treatment. It’s weird because for most of history of western civilization woman have been treated as inferior to men. In my American history class we have been studying the Cold War era where there was a revival of domesticity for woman during the baby-boom era after the two world wars.

Woman in this post-war/ Cold War era were expected and very strongly encouraged to find a good husband, have children and be a professional homemaker. The home was seen as a sacred and safe place for woman to be content in, and the world of work was dangerous, and tough, and therefore restricted to mainly men. Wages and opportunities were less than for men, which forced women to be dependent on men. People did not think it was possible for a woman to have  both a career and have a family. If women were not content in their vocation in the home,they were seen as having something psychologically wrong with them. Their daughters however rebelled in the 60’s and 70’s during the feminist movement. Since then, it is not unusual for women to go to college and pursue careers, as well as a family, or for women not to get married at all.

Feminists challenged the idea that a woman’s only calling is to be a wife and a mother. They challenged the idea that woman are weaker than men, and therefore are unfit for the workplace. They challenged the idea that men are to be in authority over them.

I see some problems with the feminist movement. Abortion and birth control came with a desire to be independent from men. Woman wanted to be like men in that they did not need to take the physical responsibility of their desire for sexual freedom. They wanted to be able to have sex without being married or having children. This desire for sexual immorality has caused the genocide of millions of babies. However, it is also unfair that men have always been sexually free. It was okay for men to have sex with woman, but if a woman was not a virgin, it would be near impossible for her to find a husband, or a job.  If she got pregnant outside of marriage, she would suffer huge consequences while the father of her child would probably have no consequences. This was ridiculous (and unfortunately still happens in many societies). It is equally immoral for men or women to have sex outside of marriage, and it was unfair that only woman bore the consequences. However, murder is not an alternative to bearing the consequences of one’s actions, even if one must bear it alone, but this is unfortunately something the feminist movement spurred.

Feminism also becomes a problem when woman are so obsessed with their careers that they neglect their families, and often times this will result in divorce. People often point to women being outside the home when they see the torn up families in our nation. They blame this on the fact that women have abandoned the home. They forget however, that these children also have a father who is equally responsible to raise his children and keep his family together. Parenting and marital relationships require the efforts of both the husband and the wife. Blaming divorce rates on woman being in the workplace rather than the home is making things much simpler than they are. Both husbands and wives should not let their work become more important than their marital relationship, and raising their children. Feminism may have encouraged women to abandon their homes in many cases, but we can in an equal number of cases blame fathers for abandoning their homes.

Still, pastors will often point to the Titus 2:4-5 where it says that women are to love their husbands and children, and work in the home. I always thought, with disappointment, that this meant that I was biblically required to be a stay-home mother and wife, if I was going to be a godly woman. However, in Proverbs 31;10-31, we see a seeming contradiction to the Titus passage. The virtuous wife in Proverbs works outside the home, buying land and selling and buying merchandise. She is also said to have “strong arms”, meaning she is not weak and frail. She is a hard worker, both in the home and outside of it, and her husband and children praise her and respect her for it.

Culturally, we think that Titus 2 must means that women are meant to be restricted to the home, especially for people who come from the Cold War era. This is not biblical. A virtuous wife is not a weak person, completely dependent on her husband, and working at home cooking and cleaning and tucking the kids into bed every day. She has freedom. She loves her family, and is diligent to them, but there is no where that says that she is only to be in the home. We also have to realize that before the industrial revolution, work was almost always done at home. Titus 2 corresponds perfectly with Proverbs 31 because it is saying that wives are to be hard workers at whatever they do, and to love their families.

Now, in our society, not so much now as in the past, but many people still think that women are supposed to be submissive to men in general. In the past it was always assumed that at work a woman would not be the boss of a man. It was also assumed that women couldn’t speak in church, but men could. These ideas were thought to be biblical and moral.

We learn God’s requirements of a husband-wife relationship in Ephesians 5:22-33. Women are supposed to be submissive and respectful of their husbands, while men are supposed to love their wives as Christ loves his church. Both are supposed to love each other as their own body, because they are one body. Some people may assume that because the wife is submissive, she must be inferior to the man. This is false. A wife has a different role than her husband, but she is still his equal (Gal. 3:28). I have heard several people compare this to the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are three persons, who are equally God; they are one God. Husband and wives are two persons, and they are one. The Son submits to the Father, and the Spirit submits to the Son, but all three persons of the trinity are equally God; they just have different roles. This is similar to the relationship between a husband and a wife. This being said, a wife is submissive to her husband. This does not mean she is submissive to all men, because all men are not her husband.

A wife being submissive to her husband does not mean that she becomes his slave, or that he should not listen to anything she has to say. We cannot take the analogy of the husband being like Christ and the woman like the church to the extent that the husband becomes divine. We also remember that Christ washed his disciples’ feet, and he gave his life for believers. Love is self-sacrifice (John 15:13), so it is necessary for a loving wife and husband to be servants of each other and to want what is best for the other. Also, a wife needs to submit to her husband, but this does not mean that she cannot have discussions with him about his decisions, and this also does not mean that he should not respect her opinions and arguments.

The other area where woman have different roles than men is in the church. Women are not to be elders or pastors. In Titus 1:5-6, Paul tells Titus to appoint an elder who is “above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.” He clearly says that elders in the church are to be husbands, meaning men. Then in 1 Timothy, Paul is warning against false teachers, then he says in 1:12 that women aren’t to be overseers of men. In the next chapter, he gives qualification of overseers. It is clear from the context that he is talking about church leadership. So it is not right for women to be church leaders (elders or pastors), but Paul is not saying that women cannot be leaders of men in general. The reason men are church leaders is because they are also Christ-like figures in the church. They shepard the church like Christ sheparded his disciples. Another aspect to be pointed out is that a man who is not an elder has just as little right to be teaching and leading in church as does a woman. 

So, thanks to Dr. McCllhenny (my history professor) and his wife, Becky, I have rethought my views about what it means to be a godly woman. I can be strong and educated and have a career, as well as be a wife and mother. Of course, my family has to come first before my career, but this principle is the same for whoever my husband will be. Love is self-giving, not selfish. To wrap this up, every day should be a day where guys and girls are treated the same. I don’t like that my friends are calling March 31st a day where girls are treated like guys, because that presupposed that they are supposed to be treated differently. We should love our neighbor as ourselves, regardless of their sex, race, age, etc. All people should be treated equally.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Interview Question

(Inspired by a conversation with Amy Hoeksema)

Where do I see myself in five years?
Well probably sitting on the curb
Across from a gas station
Smoking a cigarette and drinking
Cheap gas sation coffee.

What I meant was
I see myself working for you...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I am the music I listen to.
I am the clothes I wear.
I am the mess in my room.
I am the smell on my pillow case.
I am the lotion I wear.
I am the artificial colour of my hair.
I am the words I write.
I am the chipped nail polish on
    my finger nails.

I am a machine, ticking.
Reacting. I am atoms.
I am chromosomes.
I am horomones.
I am proteins.
I am nerves.
I am a heart.
I am the blood that flows inside
The veins inside this epidermis.

I am my memories.
I am my beliefs.
I am my emotions.
I am my passions.
I am my depression.
I am my current thoughts.
I am my experiences.
I am what I know.
I am who I see in the mirror.

I am who you see me as.
I am your memories of me.
I am your thoughts of me.
I am compared to you.
I am your acceptance of me.
I am a mask that I paint.
I am who I say I am
Who I make myself out to be.
I am "person".
I am a clump of clay.
I am in Him in me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Creepy Things

I’ll let you keep one creepy thing.
It can be something you do for fun,
Like eating a hot dog that you found on the ground,
Or talking in circles, around and round.
Maybe drinking mushroom tea,
And liking it.
Or breeding turtles in your room,
And liking the sound of it.
Or enjoying the flavor of ants in your salt.

Butyou must choose only one thing,
To keep you from being a real creeper.

And you reply,
“Honey, I don’t need those,
I’ll pass by the hot dogs,
And rants, and ants, and all of that.
'Cause honey, I have you.
You are my creepy thing to keep.”

Just a Puzzle Piece

Two weeks ago a group of Providence students went to Jamaica for a short mission trip. You can find the article I wrote with more detials on it at the, which is our school newspaper.

There is a quote in the article from one of the students who went on the trip, named Jeff. He said this:
For me, as I would plan on going into the mission field one day, it opened my eyes to see the unity in diversity of the global body of the church. There was a lot of teaching that I didn’t agree with, but seeing the missionary, Billie McKillop (who is PCA), that he had his differences yet his heart was still set on working with the Jamaican church. This is so vital–to not major the minors especially when trying to support churches down there. It was amazing to see that God’s kingdom is bigger than we think. It’s not exclusive to reformed Christians or to conservative Christians. As imperfect as the diversity is, there still is a unity that transcends all the differences that unites us under Christ. It reminds me of Paul as a missionary writing to different churches of different cultures and dealing with different doctrines but he still calls them ‘saints of God’.When I interviewed him, he was so passionate about this statement. This was something he learned so much about on the trip.

Being a reformed Christian going to a reformed school and a  reformed church, I have a tendency to have little patience with people who have theological differences with me. When I go to my parent's nondenominational church at home, I will be very critical of the sermon. Even when unreformed Christians talk to me about God, I am constantly on the defense.

It's not that having a critical mind is wrong. I know that I need to test what people say against what I know in scripture to be true. At the same, I shouldn't let that criticism go so far that I don't take anything anyone says seriously, unless they are reformed, because there is so much I can learn from my other brothers and sisters in Christ. They know things that I don't know, and I may know things that they don't know, and in this way we can build each other up.

It's so easy to forget the reality of what the church is. The church being one body is not just a metaphor, it is reality. The Spirit of God dwells in every believer and binds us together, so we are one with each other, and one with God. Maybe if I understood this, I wouldn't be so critical of what other people say. Maybe I wouldn't be so damn prideful, thinking that I can learn nothing from less educated people (that are probably much more wise and educated than I think). That is very narrow minded of me, because the church,as Jeff said, really is bigger than I think it is.

This is the struggle of learning. I know so much more than I did at the beginning of my first semester of college. So much that I cannot even remember it all. I am learning, but I forget sometimes that I am not an expert. I forget that other people have studied and read, and I can't get so caught up in my beliefs and my new knowledge that I dismiss what other people have to say. Ignoring other perspectives makes me stupid, and really not as much of a critical thinker as I percieve myself to be. Yet, I cannot just accept what they say either. I struggle to know when to speak, and when to be silent on issues of differing beliefs.

The point is, I can learn from other people much more often than I think. The other point is, the church is vast and diverse, yet it is ONE in Christ! Such an amazing reality, and this reality requires me to listen with discernment but with love.

I am a puzzle piece in this beautiful picture God has created. Just a silly, incoherant piece, but together we make something beautiful.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Patriot

I never thought of myself as a patriot before. I don't like a lot of what America has done, and I don't like a lot of what America stands for. I am not 100% American either, since I have a dual citizenship- Japan and the U.S. I always thought that I would leave America after I graduated college to become a writer somewhere in South America.

However, the other day I was accused of hating America, because I critisized American imperialism. By American imperialism, I mean how America goes into other countries in the name of democracy and the greater good, and they force their American ways (capitalism and democracy) on these countries. Often when America leaves, like in the case of Vietnam, there is more harm done than good. (Oh, and Vietnam is still communist). There is a lot more to American imperialism than Vietman. It started with the unfair treatment toward Native Americans when America was expanding to the west in the name of manifest destiny. This is a topic for another day, however. The point is, I was accused of hating America because I hate some of the things America has done.

As I thought about this later however, I realized how untrue this is. I do love America. I love the freedom I have. This country is my home. It's beautiful. To be patriotic, do I need to be in love with everything my country has done? Of course not. I love the country, meaning the landscape, the cities, the mountains, the ocean, etc. I love the diversity of people and ideas. I love my freedom of speech the most. Although I would love to move to other countries later on in life, it would be absurd to say that I hate America. This is my home.

The person who called me unpatriotic thinks that I should not look at the evils that America has done. She sees America as a force of good in the world, and she only sees the good. I cannot deny the good that America has done. However, I would also be lying to myself to ignore the evils they have done. Patrioticism does not require me to believe in only part of the truth. I can love my country knowing both the good and the evil. Isn't that how love works in this world?

I am patriotic because I enjoy my freedoms in America, and I love the land that God created here. I don't like much of what America does or has done, but I love that I can speak against it without fear. It's as simple as that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Pretty

A magazine clipping on the mirror tells me

That I am the “Girl of the Moment.”
Which moment? This moment?
This blinking of my eyelids
As I stare into my drooping blood shot eyes?
Most of my pants are too tight now
And my face is pallid, and graying under the eyes.
I critique the girl in the mirror.

This girl,
In moments past, was told that flat abs
And protruding collar bones
And provocative dress
And eyes outlined black,
Face powdered to perfection-
This was the way to get noticed
By a boy.

In this moment she has rebelled.
She wears a Led Zeppelin T-shirt and crew sweatpants
No eyeliner, no powder.
She hasn’t worked out in six months
She doesn’t give a shit.
The magazine clipping that is taped to the mirror
That says, “Girl of the Moment”
Comes from a world of dolled up angels,
With beautiful faces, bodies and attire.

But this girl in this moment doesn’t understand
Why if she’s pretty,
Why she tries so hard to be pretty.
Why if a boy is pretty, he is just pretty.
She’d like to be like the flying man
On her Led Zeppelin T-shirt,
Naked and Liberated,
Pure and unmasked. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Conversation With Loyal

One night, I went for a walk because I was angry, and I ran into one of the security guards named Loyal who asked me if I wanted a ride. I said no, and told him I was just walking, but then we began conversing. I forget how the conversation went, as it happened a while ago, but we began talking about his church (All Nations Community Church) and God.

He grew up in the Micronesian islands and he always kind of knew about Christianity, since the islands had been brought the gospel by white missionaries when it was colonized by the British Empire. However, the religion was mixed with the native religions and Christianity to them was more about liturgy than knowing God or anything about him.

He moved me to Hawaii, if I remember correctly, when he was in high school and it was there that he learned about the Christian God. His uncle brought him to a Bible study, and he came in while they were going through a series about Revelation. This is a confusing book to begin with, since he had never read the Bible before, but it’s fascinating what he discovered from it.

Revelation 19 talks about Jesus, the rider on a white horse. Loyal said that in Micronesia they have an ancient legend about a king who came to the Islands on a white horse, dressed all in white, with a tattoo on his thigh saying that he was the greatest king. Revelation 19:16 says, “On his robe and on his thigh, he has a name written, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.” I asked if this legend came about after the British conquest, and he said no. The story had been around for thousands of years, and the chiefs on the islands have traditionally tattooed their thighs to show their greatness and authority.

As he continued to study the Bible, Loyal saw great similarities between his country's belief in a Great Spirit, or the creator, and the God of the Bible described. The island has many gods, but above all the other Gods is the Great Spirit, who created the gods and the universe. However this God is so great that no one can reach out to him. He is transcendent. But as he studied the Bible, he began to realize that if the God of the Bible was the same as the Great Spirit, then he was reachable through Christ.

The All Nations Community Church, which is primarily made up of Micronesians, has a ministry to Native American tribes (including Navajos in Arizona). Loyal said that they also have an understanding of the Great Spirit. I learned about this in my Religion in America class as well, the common religious belief of native Americans is their belief in the Great Spirit.

Romans 1 says that everyone has a knowledge of God in their hearts, and some suppress it or they create a god that is not the true God. This was made even clearer to me from my conversation with Loyal. Even before the Micronesians were “Christianized”, they had a knowledge of the Great Spirit, and they understood that there was something separating them from this God. 

A knowledge like this is not saving knowledge though. Since we are separated from God because of our sin, we must have faith in Jesus who covers our sin to bring us into communion with God. John 17:3 says, “This is eternal life,that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I've been reading Knowing God by J.I. Packer, and he has given me a new perspective on what it means to know God. I suppose some of these things I had heard before, but they had never before sunk in.

Packer compares knowing God to knowing a person of great authority and deserving of respect. Just think of someone you look up to, like a great writer for example. For me, (this may seem strange since many of you know him), I look up to Dr. Gideon Strauss because he introduced me to the possibility of becoming an opinion journalist, he has dedicated his life to fighting for justice and he is extremely smart. (go here for more about him.)

Who ever it is that you personally look up to, you might know much about him, but you probably don't know him. He seems very above you, and you don't hang out with him on the weekends or have heart to heart conversations. No matter how much you may try to get to know this person, ultimately, it is up to him whether or not he opens up to you and allows you to know him. You feel that this person is so high above you intellectually, etc, that there is nothing particularly special about you that he should want to know you or let you know him.

Thinking in terms of this analogy, I was amazed that God, who created me would know me, inside and out, and choose to reveal himself to me. There is nothing great about me that God should find me extremely interesting. He is perfect, pure and sinless, and I am the opposite of that. I am everything that he hates. Though he knows all of my dark thoughts, everything I have done or will do, he still chose me to be his child, servant, wife, sheep (the main analogies in the Bible describing a Christian's relationship with God) and to give me eternal life because to know God is to have eternal life (John 17:3).

Sometimes I think about Jacob and I, how we are together and I wonder why he chose me. He is likable, funny and intelligent-someone I look up to. I wonder what he saw in me, and I think of all my sin and how if he knew everything I think, he probably wouldn't like me as much. However, Jacob is sinful and dark too, so it is more understandable that he could like someone who is also sinful and dark. In terms of this, I think of God who is holy and knows everything about me, yet loves me still. This is mind blowing and so comforting.

Being in Arizona makes me fall in love with the sky again and reminds me of the greatness of God. It's so vast. Every moment God is painting a new master piece with the clouds, and colours of the sun. At night the stars make me feel so tiny. I think of God's sovereignty. I don't even move unless God wills it. God is in control, even to the minutest detail. He upholds all of creation, this globe and everything in it, and the stars, sun, and planets we don't even know exist. A God like that, he must be magnificent, but this is the same God who knows me, and chooses to let me know him.

I began to read this book thinking that I would seek and I would get to know God, but J.I. Packer reminded me that God must reveal himself to me. I cannot know him unless he chooses to open himself to me. And this is salvation, to know God. It depends not on me, but only God. So when I pray, I ask God, "show me your glory" and I cannot forget the greatness of God, or I forget how great it is that God has chosen me to love.

You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?

Today my brother asked me if I thought saying the "F" word is morally wrong. We had watched In Bruges the night before, and that movie says the "F" word probably in every scene. Jacob, Karolina, my brother and I all found the movie hysterical. Maybe my brother felt a bit guilty for laughing at that type of humor. Maybe that's why he asked.

I answered that cussing is only as wrong as you make it. Fuck, damn, shit, etc- these are just words. They have dictionary meanings and then they have the meanings we give them when we use the words as cuss words. In themselves, these words are not wrong.

Galatians 5:20 includes fits of anger in its list of "works of the flesh", or sins which are natural to fallen man. So if one curses in a fit of unrighteous anger, then yes that is wrong. Most of the time people do bark out these words in selfish anger, but really, I say that the anger is wrong, not the words. I could call someone an imbecile out of anger, and that would be just as wrong as calling him a shit head. It's the force that drives the words that is wrong. 

I find that when I say these words, most of the time I am at most, annoyed. I don't use the words to insult people. Most of the time I use the words humorously, around people who also find it humorous. Really, it's connected to the humor in sarcasm. People tend to be jokingly hyperbolic, and they may use a curse word to this effect. If I use the words to insult someone who has angered me, then I am wrong. If I use the word in a derogatory and disrespectful way, then I am wrong. If I use the words around someone who is offended by my use of them, then I am wrong. Christians are called to be peace makers, and to love others. However, I do not believe that Christians are under legalistic list of laws. We walk in the Spirit and are not under the law. We use discernment, wisdom, in making decisions about our words. 

As we make decisions about our words, it is important to be creative. Words are fantastic, and there are so many of them. In my life, I know I am not nearly as creative as I could be with my use of words. As we communicate in colloquial language or artistically, we should try and use words that are interesting. It gets monotonous hearing people use the same few words to describe everything. This is one way in which cursing can be, not wrong, but just annoying. When people use these cuss words as an adjective for everything. The world is much more complex than that- so we should use interesting language to describe this complex place and everything in it. 

But words are words. I concluded to my brother that it is the motivation behind your use of these words that can be morally wrong. As words are powerful, we should be careful and creative with our use of them. I am not offended by casual use of curse words, but when people curse to insult, or out of selfish anger, this is when I find it most offensive and morally wrong. 

In the case of In Bruges, they mostly use the words to be over the top, and therefore funny. Also, "fuck" is not nearly as offensive in Europe as it is in the States, so I have heard. So given American cultural contexts, I am not promoting an excessive use of curse words, since you will offend people in that way. I don't want you to be unnecessarily offensive. I am saying that we shouldn't be prohibited from using the words sometimes, because they are not wrong in themselves.

P.S.- If you have not watched In Bruges and you enjoy dark comedy, watch it as soon as possible!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Your mouth tastes bitter, and you wish you had a toothbrush, but it's in the other room. Too far.
The atmosphere is flooded with the scent of dark roast coffee.
There's brown stains on your shirt and the carpet.
You read to the rhythm of brewing.
The sound like someone is endlessly sucking the last drop of water from a cup with a straw.

Books are everywhere-
Papers and pens carpet your desk bed couch floor.
Thoughts are sailing on John Coltrane's saxophone,
And your eyes are heavy, but endlessly blinking to keep awake.
Blink to the rhythm of jazz.

But the bitter dark roast mud pumps your body with artificial energy
Like the speed of Coltrane's trumpet squared
And your eyes are glued open, but vacant like that of a corpse.
Your fingers are rapidly typing your thoughts
Until you're almost unaware of what you're typing, until you read it over and it sounds rational.
Maybe your mind is split, like a Schizophrenic, 'cause you're tired and vacant but on the other hand you're pumping and focused and unstoppable.

The sun is peeking over the mountains,
And as the vacant side of your mind begins to go into overdrive,
You whip out the rest of your thoughts
And as the sun yawns and stretches, you fall onto the paper piles and books and pens.


He's a lumbering tree.
Autumn's nearly over and his branches are beginning to crack in the cold.
Yet in the ripple of laughter I see signs of youth,
In wrinkles, like rings inside the tree's trunk.
Even the stiff branches, they're still green inside-
A few orange leaves hang on a fiber to the branches.
In breeze, he'll whistle and grin at the sun.

In storm, his old form bends, but it has never moved,
He hums in sorrow, and dripping from the branches,
Tears slide down the quaking leaves to water the earth.
But he'll never move-
He's not the moving kind.

'Cause you know the old tree, cracked and dry,
Will be there as he was when you return from wanderings.
You'll crawl up the trunk and the branches blanket you,
And to humming you nod off, and reminisce.