Peace in the Unending Storms


Pain. Before I knew God, my life was full of it. I’ve realized that even now with God, there is still much of its presence in my life.

Before I knew God, my life was marked with the pain that others inflicted upon it. Abandonment, verbal abuse, disappointment. My dad left when I was 7, we lost contact with him when I was 12 and I haven’t talked to him since. Some of my very best friends who said they cared about me left. Boyfriends said they cared and left; everyone who said they cared left. Most of my friendships lacked respect and true genuine love. My relationship with my mom was never strong, and most of our time was spent throwing hurtful words around. I felt alone. I didn’t really know why I deserved to feel so neglected and disappointed when I had such a big heart. I felt that I didn’t matter, because not many people I cared about seemed to stick around. My mom, however, was the one who had stayed with my brother and I our whole lives despite my dad leaving. Continue reading “Peace in the Unending Storms”

To Curse, To Sing


She thinks, as her fingers tremble around the cigarette and feels Dong-hee’s scrutiny, that in that moment, no one could’ve possibly hated her more than herself.

Dive straight into the lz, fix that blackbox, fatigued in fatigues and passing around pills that’ll do the magic, keep you up and awake for an enemy that never shows – all that’s just talk. No amount of talking can – although there’s a sick fascination with it, yes? That he’ll become a man, finally see what that ruckus is about but becoming a man can’t be this utter bewilderment, can’t be hopping into a trap with fancy promises and all that jazz for Queen and Country, what they don’t tell you is that he’ll feel it after, when the adrenaline subsides from a flood to a roar. Continue reading “To Curse, To Sing”

Turn your Other, Other Cheek


We’ve all heard it before. For some, it’s, “Be the better person.” For others, it’s, “Just let it go.”

All of us, Christian or not, are all too familiar with the famous line: turn the other cheek. In Matthew 5 Jesus says, “You have heard it said, ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”[1]
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The Pain of Privilege


Roughly two years ago, the Occupy Wall Street protest began in Zucotti Park near New York City’s financial district. The movement gained traction nationally by raising unspoken issues of social and economic inequality with the most salient one being wealth distribution in the United States.[1] “We are the 99%” was the familiar cry of protestors as they championed the cause of the “common man” of America while demonizing the 1% for their corporate greed, undue political influence, and flat-out meanness for not playing nice and sharing their wealth.

However, to understand a percentage one needs to know both the numerator and the denominator. Sure, many Occupy protestors may have been part of the 99% in the United States by making less than $370,000 of adjusted gross income per year,[2] but what if the denominator consisted of the entire human race instead of just Americans?
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Advent Candle One


My friends and I listened intently to the last of Rabbi’s words. Rabbi was a great teacher we constantly looked to for wisdom.

“That’s all I got for you today, boys.”

“We’re no longer boys, Rabbi,” said Mishael with a grin.
“Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,” Rabbi said. “But humility comes before honor.”

“Looks like you need some sharpening,” Hananiah joked. “Shall Azariah and I do the honors?”

“Exhort with honor,” I said, giving Hananiah a glaring look. “Rabbi, tell us more.”

“Well, if you insist-”

“Where is God?” asked Mishael with a sudden solemnness. “Where is God, Rabbi?”
“Watch your words, Mishael…” Hananiah said.
Continue reading “Advent Candle One”

Unavoidable Confrontation


Last semester, when my freshmen year was coming to an end, a lot of upperclassmen told me to make the most out of the few weeks that was left – because sophomore year was going to suck. Their number one reason was usually something along the lines of the difficulties of dealing with apartment mates.

Now that I, too, am living in an apartment, I’m starting to see just what they meant.
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Love Pain


Can pain be prevented? Jesus famously states in Matthew 5:38-39: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.[1]” This passage does not directly address pain but to novelist and Christian thinker, Leo Tolstoy, this passage made all the difference.

After his conversion to Christianity, Tolstoy wrote his magnum opus The Kingdom of God is Within You[2]. Named after the passage in Luke 17:28, here Tolstoy outlines his beliefs and interpretations of Jesus Christ’s teachings – Tolstoy believed in a literal interpretation of Jesus’s teachings. What emerges from this text is Tolstoy’s principle of non-violent resistance, one that would famously influence great figures in history, particularly Mohandas Gandhi. Tolstoy strongly believed Jesus forbid any form of violence and rejected any doctrine or interpretation that believed otherwise, including serving one’s country during times of war or even employing violence in self-defense. His view can be summed up as “… oppose evil by every righteous means in our power, but not by evil.[3]”  A righteous man’s response to evil should not be more evil. An eye for an eye certainly does seem fair, but does this not only perpetuate pain and suffering? If all suffering is bad and the greatest amount of suffering is to be prevented, then preventing two men from suffering is preferable to preventing the suffering of only one man. If this is accepted, then if one man causes suffering unto another is it not moral for the wronged man to end the suffering there instead of perpetuating it by retaliation? This is where fairness and morality begin to part.

Suffering and pain are often creations of man, and this is what Tolstoy’s interpretation of Christ led him. When one man wrongs another, the wronged man’s natural response is to retaliate. Why? To achieve fairness. Men cannot tolerate what is unfair. But Jesus Christ was subject to suffering and pain. He was wronged unfairly, accused and punished for a crime He did not commit. What he experienced was not fair under any sense of the word. And yet, He did not attempt to retaliate or even defend Himself. He even went as far as to teach his followers to “turn the other cheek[4]” and “love [their] enemies.[5]” The Gospel message in itself is unfair – man could never do anything to earn his way into heaven and yet a holy and almighty God offered it as a gift out of love and grace. The unfair suffering of Jesus remains at the heart of the Gospel – the punishment for sin is death yet Jesus Christ, a man without sin, died in the place of man. Instead of destroying man for man’s transgressions against God, Jesus endured pain and suffering in order to end it all out of His love for man.
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The New Me


“Even forty years from now, the damn war still haunts me.”

I was a junior in high school, listening to a Vietnam War veteran, Mr. Weissman, talk about his experiences on and off the battlefield. Observing his tone, his posture, his facial expression, I could feel the pain and sorrow behind every memory he spoke of. There was one line he said that stuck in my memory, “I can’t help but to let my past define me”.
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Will You Then Wait for Me?


Dear Diary,


Or, perhaps it would be more appropriate to say “Dear God.”

Dear God,

I’m sitting here trying to think in the Christian perspective of the ways I should proceed to write an article regarding War and Pain. It has become, while it shouldn’t be, a pain to write this topic at hand. While flipping through the Holy Bible, a text that has not been part of my twenty-two years of life, I have come to an agreement with my inner self that it would be hypocritical of me to express my ideas and beliefs as a Christian when I am not one. Therefore, I shall write by what I believe is Pain and its relation to War and shall also use this opportunity to reconcile my beliefs and faith to You, An Unknown God.
Continue reading “Will You Then Wait for Me?”