Sunday, April 30, 2006

I See Dead People

I was at Dismas this past Friday and got to chat with a bunch of really cool people. One conversation in particular seemed to stick with me the entire night. A little back story.

This past Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I was able to go to Montreal with 17 other people from Tyndale. It was a sweet road trip, albeit a bit short, but very entertaining and fun none the less. While we were there, we went to Mount Real and checked out a view of the city. As we were driving, we passed by this huge cemetery that seemed to go on as far as the eye could see. We were all 'ooh'-ing and 'aah'-ing at the dead people and making comments about some of the fancier headstones and mausoleums.

Now, fast forward to Friday's Dismas. Choo Yee was telling someone about our trip to Montreal and happened to mention the cemetery and all the headstones we saw. This person she was talking to, Don, then said something that has since seemed to take on a life of it's own. He said 'all the headstones don't really interest me. What really fascinates me are the stories each of these headstones have to tell.' As I began to thing about that comment, something seemed to click inside my head. So often when I've driven by or walked through cemeteries, I find myself attracted to the more lavish headstones, rather than the simple ones. I'm not really interested in who's buried there, but more interested in how they look. As I thought about this, I realized that in a really twisted way, I find myself taking the same mindset when I interact with people. So often when I pass by people, I focus on their external appearance and not much else, but totally ignore the fact that each person has a story of importance. I tend to objectify people, whether I know them or not, and treat them as things I can use to bring satisfation unto myself.

In other words, these people I come across are no longer living beings to me, but dead people who I hope to use for my own gain.

As I find myself marinating in this idea, I'm left in a state of disgust and humility. Who am I to say that I am more important than the next person and allow myself to take seat at the head of the table?

Today, I vow to begin the journey of seeing people as they are, and not as who I want them to be. No more moving headstones. No more living cemetaries. I no longer want to see dead people walking, but God's creation whispering His amazing graces for all the world to experience.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Uh... What?

Your results:
You are Catwoman
Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You have had a tough childhood,
you know how to be a thief and exploit others
but you stand up for society's cast-offs.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

How is this friggin' possible? I remember taking a 'Which Homestar Runner Character are you?' and I turned out to be the walking mop called Marzipan. Now I'm catwoman? Kill me now!!!!

Let me explain the thief thing...when I was a kid, I used to be a huge kleptomaniac. In school, everyone kept their bags in one place, and I'd find myself asking to go to the bathroom, and while I was on my way, I'd make a stop to the bags and go through peoples' lunches. If I found something I liked, I'd take it and put it into my lunch. Eventually I got caught because I took a cookie that belonged to the girl who sat next to me. It should've tipped me off when I took a cookie that said 'Amanda' on it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Most Useless Invention

I recently saw a show called 'American Inventor', or at least that's what I think the name of the show was. It's all about people who are trying to invent things. Most of the things were absolutely useless, but there were a few things that were cool. But watching that show made me think of this question:

'If you could un-invent something, what would it be?'

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I made a movie about our trip to India. Download it if you like.


Reflections on India

I remember when I came back from India and began telling people about my experiences, a lot of people told me to begin a journal of my time there. I never had any good experiences with keeping a journal, but maybe doing it online may work better. We'll see. Anyways, some thoughts...

The Trinity of Me, Myself and I
Before we left for India, I got sick with a serious case of the cold. For the whole flight over, I was leaking out my nose, coughing, and feeling absolutely miserable. In hindsight, I think there were preventative measures I could have taken to sidestep this illness. But I distinctly remember thinking to myself "I'm traveling with a medical team. If I ever get sick, I'll be surrounded by people who can fix me." I dunno if there's anything more selfish than that. Because of my stupidity, over the course of the trip, I began seeing people drop like flies from the 'Chen Cooties' (not to be confused with children's cooties. Mine are 1,000 times more potent and are known to cause sudden outbursts of verbal diarrhea and flatulence.) As I began to seriously wrestle with how my mind works, it dawned on me that I am tremendously selfish. I don't think past my own circumstances and often don't realize how my actions will affect those around me. Oh, if only I had a llama to serve as my sidekick, I would have gotten a serious punt from Jorge for being such a selfish ass.

Tyndale -----> India?
Probably one of the biggest lessons I was able to take back from India was a realization that things don't happen by chance, and things are more connected than we think.

On one of the first few days in India, we were given the pleasure of being in the company of a room full of local Indian pastors. They shared their stories from the field, some of which were funny, others were serious. But all of them were absolutely real. We heard stories of miracles, persecution, and people being raised from the dead. One story that I can't seem to get out of my head is one where a pastor was called over to someone's house to pray over the family's sick child. This family had taken their child to every doctor they could think of, witch doctors, western doctors, Indian doctors, and everything in between. But the child's illness showed no signs of improvement. When the pastor arrived at the family's home, he was asked to pray over the child. But before he could begin praying, he was told that if after he prays, but the child dies, they will find the pastor and kill him as well as his family. These experiences are typical of what life is like for pastors in India. With the spiritual climate being this way in India, these pastors are modeling what it means to be faithful to God instead of being whores like many of us are in North America. We run to God when we need something, but if "all is well", we're turning tricks with clients we call greed, apathy and indifference, and all their friends and relatives. But I digress...
Although these pastors are living and experiencing things that many of us would never encounter here in North America, one thing that seemed to be echoed by many of these pastors was a desire to be trained and equipped to be more effective in what God has called them to do. When I heard this, it didn't quite register, but it wasn't until I got back to North America that I realized that perhaps God has positioned me at Tyndale to learn all this theological crap for more than my own personal gain. I remember when I left Detroit to start school in Toronto and the feeling of inadequacy when it came to being on staff with the church for 2 1/2 years. I didn't know what I was doing, and there were people who reminded me that my preaching and teaching sucks. So I figured that if this is where God is leading me, then I better get some help. But in reflecting on my reasoning to go back to school and this encounter with God's people in India, I feel that I've been given this renewed excitement for school because I now know that there's a bigger purpose to what I'm doing than just learning for myself. I'm still wrestling with how this will play itself out and unfold in the next little while, but as I'm feeling both excited and trepidatious for what the future holds, I know that my existence here in this world is for something bigger than me.

And so it Begins...

Cyber space, get ready to be polluted by the mind of Chen. I have no idea if this blog will be a of any consequence to the ways of the world, but thought I’d join the bandwagon and start chucking my thoughts for all the world to see. Blargh.