Oh my gosh, so many of you caaaaame! So many of you came to our Open House, beloved friends and family in Christ. I think our whole team could agree that we were blessed by your support and presence tonight. And those aren’t just words. Trust.
(I was going to end that paragraph^ at “Trust” to sound cool and concise, but I just must go on in expressing my joy in having seen and hugged all of you.) The Lord has blessed me incredibly in the powerful sense of community and relationship I possess in you guys. I don’t think you really realize or appreciate it until you spend time away from it. To have relationships in which you find yourself eager to share about anointed experiences, and in which your beloved are willing to hear – that’s a big big deal.
Tonight, I am basking in the abundance of “home” in my life. For me, friends, home is where I find intimacy, and God is allowing these spheres of intimacy to constantly sprout new branches more deeply and in new people. And so, as I finish sippin’ on my mango flavored milk tea (ANDREW JOPSON, THANK YOU <3), I reflect on what a blessing it is to be given the capacity for intimacy, for relationship. If I were hungry, hurting, or broken, intimacy would be the last thing on my mind. Yet here I am, basking in it. So thanks be to God.
I’m currently allowing God to speak the truths and great intentions he has for my life through a process of intake and reflection. Summaries of things I’ve internalized in the past three weeks: that every man is but a product of his surroundings; society manipulates systems to feed the rich and further exploit the poor; and everything is about money. (Maybe these are obvious.)
How has the Spirit led me to process this information? When I say that every man is but a product of his surroundings, I mean that I’m here – 20 years young, halfway through my undergraduate career, emotionally and physically healthy, spiritually filled, lacking essentially nothing – and the 20 year old “prostitute” walks the track as we speak, justifying her fatherlessness, beatings, and dehumanizing labels of “whore” by completely embracing “prostitute” as all she’s worth, because we were simply born into environments that molded our lives into these forms. I’m still left perplexed by this arbitrary and heavily skewed allocation of privilege between her and myself. And I’ve come to the point in my faith where I can truly sit and just receive God’s abounding grace without trying to earn it. But when I sit here, my cup overflowing, inches away from her cup, left empty and dry, I am honestly lost in making sense of it.
But what if his grace isn’t arbitrary? What if he was intentional in his heavy distribution of privilege, opportunity, options… to me? What if Israel was God’s chosen nation for reasons deeper than “just because,” but possibly because it would bless, teach, reveal more of the glory and love of God to the nations? By the Spirit, I’ve partly reconciled my confusion by deciding that I must and hereby take ownership of this privilege and grace. It’s not enough to simply receive when there is purpose and commission behind what I am given. I seriously thank the Lord that he’s teaching me this now, that my next two years of schooling will be anointed and purpose-filled. Dude, exciting.
When I say that society has manipulated systems to feed the rich and further exploit the poor, I mean that I’m an overweight man sitting on top of an iceberg, whose stubby white tip hides the boulder submerged and suffocating beneath the surface. What I mean by that is, that almost everything about my privileged lifestyle feeds on the exploitation of other people’s labor. And as I learn about this corruption, I want no part in it, but it’s impossible to leave and expect to survive. I want someone to fix it, but something’s stuck – ideology. For the longest time, I didn’t know how to pray for society because I didn’t know enough about it to ask for the right things. But now it’s my prayer: Lord, shift the ideologies of my generation to ones that honor your heart for your people, that future leaders would lead our people to a state of justice.
God is good in reminding me to never stop interceding for both the leaders and the broken. I want to take this heart of intercession back to Berkeley with me, so Holy Spirit, it’s my prayer that you give me your heart which intercedes over us (because I’m easily distracted and prone to lose passion).
Finally, I have come to the rather obvious conclusion that everything is about money. People crush each other to climb the corporate ladder, they exploit each other, they kill each other… whether it’s out of greed or a simple will to survive, everybody wants the moneys. Because money is something you earn, right? Because once you have it, you’re the owner. With ownership comes responsibility – responsibility to sustain yourself in such an unstable world. How taxing and suffocating is that? I don’t want to spend my life investing in, loving, slaving over, and fooling myself into thinking that I own what God could easily give and take away. Even before “making my own money,” I want to surrender and say that it was never mine. I believe it’ll save me many white hairs, and I believe in his provision.
Sunday, our teams spent the whole day together, learning about economic discipleship from Gary. It was a blessing indeed. The day before that, we had our block party on a cute little chunk of E 16th street. Dancing in the street with a bunch of mothers, grandmothers, little girls, and Sara Fong (whom we’ve discovered will become extremely happy as long as she gets to dance to fun music) was so freeing and fun! The community is alive here, and it’s great.
Another thing: the men in our team have taken a liking to creating beats out of weird noises they can make. That + Sara’s (new) obsession with dancing led us to a Saturday night prayer meeting, during which we found ourselves standing in a circle in our living room, motioning out and making rhythmic noises such as barks, claps, shrieks, and “OHH” on repeat. Bhavna got it on tape, and watching it play back was a semi-awkward experience for me, just cause we’re so weird. But God bless us all.
I’ve embarrassingly talked wayyy too much in this here post. Until next time, friends!
-Shela Jeong, 7/11/11