Persuasion vs. Presence.

February 28, 2015 — 1 Comment


If your friend is going through some horrible pain right now at the hands of another person, it’s not our job to explain this within the box of our theology. That’s a harsh thing to do. Jesus never did this: he only wept when he heard of Lazarus, he wept over Jerusalem, he stayed at the homes of lepers and demoniacs, he fed the hungry multitudes.

More than our persuasion, our friends need our presence. This is what God did when He became one of us, and this is how we embody love — by mourning when others mourn, by giving space to grieve, and by allowing joy to find its place at the right time.

– J.S. from What The Church Won’t Talk About


Dreams of a Friend.

February 27, 2015 — 2 Comments


Support your friend’s dreams. If they fail, you still supported them. If they succeed, you always believed in them. Otherwise, even when they succeed, it won’t feel like a victory that can be shared with you. And if they fail, they’ll feel like they disappointed you most. Support dreams, because there’s already so little passion in the world and so few of us go for the life we always wanted.

— J.S.



Today I’m unusually bitter and sad about people, and I’m so very tired and cynical over everything, including myself.

May I be honest here? People are people and sometimes people will drive you insane, and some days I just want to pack up and take the next spaceship off the planet.

I know I’m not supposed to say any of this because Christian bloggers and pastors are so inspirational and full of “never-give-up” pep. We love our slogans and re-tweetable one-liners. I want to be part of the cute punchy Instagrams with the sugary Christianese quotes. But days like today, I just want to give up on everyone. At times being positive makes me feel downright sick. I want to flip a table and go to sleep for a month and I look at my Bible and laugh.

People can be so maddeningly frustrating, and I know this because I disappoint myself too. We can be in the trenches with someone for months and months, pouring out grace and absorbing all the hurt and sharing life to the bottom, but that person might do what they want anyway. I know that no one owes me anything and this isn’t about “listening to me.” I promise I’m not trying to pull pity here. It just hurts to see a person that you invested in so completely lose it and drop off the face of the earth.

I usually hear from people when they’re desperately in need. Once they’re fine, they’re gone. I never get to see the other side when it’s better; I only see the worst of times, and it takes a toll. I’ve probably answered nearly a thousand questions through blog and email, but I think I’ve heard back three times. Again, that’s not to say “Oh poor me.” There are bigger concerns in the world. But I wish I had more reason to hope, more reason to stay. It’s so selfish, but I wonder why I keep doing this.

I’m learning that faithfulness is more important than fruitfulness, because even when there are no results and rewards, I’m still meant to run this race. Yet I’m also learning that most of the race will be hard work, in silence, amidst people who often don’t care, with little evidence that we’re making a difference and many failed heartbreaks of seeing others walk away. I’m learning this can be a cruel, thoughtless, heartless world, and to be a fleeting flash of light is so much better, and so rare. I’m learning again and again to trust God for what I cannot see, because He’s the only one who heals hearts to glory. I’m learning to encourage others along the way, because so many never get to hear that they’re doing all right, and I want to be the one voice in the crowd that actually breathes life, even when it’s for a second and forgotten.

— J.S.


ohhappydave asked a question:

Do you already have a post regarding the triune being of God? I’m discipling someone who really has a lot of questions about God and there are some that I don’t have an answer to yet. A lot, actually. Thanks! :D

Hey there my friend, this is a hugely difficult question that has challenged scholars for thousands of years, so I’m not sure I’ll be cracking the code on that one. Here is a very short video I did about the Trinity just recently.

The major thing is that God would have to be triune in order to make sense.  While it’s true that biblically you can’t “prove” the Trinity, here are a few things to consider.

Continue Reading…

I Wrote Some Books.

February 25, 2015 — 6 Comments

Paperbacks


I wrote some books. They’re in paperback and ebook.

If you’ve been blessed by them, please consider leaving a review on Amazon!

- What The Church Won’t Talk About

- The Christianese Dating Culture

- Cutting If Off: Breaking Porn Addiction

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.


ChurchPlants hanging by a thread 2-5-15


This is an excerpt from my book What The Church Won’t Talk About on the online mag ChurchPlants.com!

It’s called “An Open Letter to the Christian Who Has Left Church and Is Hanging on By a Thread.

My book is here. Be blessed, dear friends!

— J.S.


You can really do the thing. You can really achieve the dream and pursue your goal and make progress and find recovery.

But it has to start with one thing.

It has to begin with letting go of the old things.

There’s an ancient Greek word, ouketi, which means, “No longer.” The word is often used as, “I’m no longer who I was before.” It’s a sweeping decision to move forward into something new. It starts with knowing you cannot live as you were.

A focused person naturally turns down the volume on distractions. When you have a goal, you find out what’s most important. Priorities are prioritized; the things that don’t matter get dimmer and less attractive; there is intentional movement.

A big vision always begins with a singular, passionate, pin-point accuracy that requires closing the door behind you. Nothing good was ever achieved by looking forward and backward at the same time.

The problem is that we try to have the best of everything. We have our hands stretched between the old and the new. We’re scared of discipline or we despise self-control, because we think it infringes upon our “freedom.” We hate change; we drift to complacency, laziness, easiness, the path of least resistance. We cling to that draining relationship or unrestricted internet usage or that crowd of so-called friends or our unwillingness for accountability and messy community. The irony, perhaps, is that in wanting everything, we end up with even less than what we had.

We are limited finite beings and we do not have endless resources. There is only so much room in our souls. If you really want to do the thing, it requires cutting off a few things. I know that no one wants to hear about it, because it sounds like I’m telling you what to do. I get that. I hate it too. We naturally push back against authority. We’re individualistic creatures who want total autonomy — but autonomy is a process of depositing your choices in the right places in a consecutive momentum, so that later, you will have the unhindered ability to live the life you actually wanted. It’s like learning the notes on a keyboard, at first clumsy and restricted, but later being able to play the most beautiful of compositions and even making your own. We invest our first choices in the soil so that we may bloom for better choices in the sun.

Continue Reading…

atenleaguecanvas asked:

Hey Pastor Park! I want to thank-you for the grace you show in your answers. I really appreciate your example of presenting your views in a gentle and humble manner. I also have a question, I struggle with reconciling God, as he is depicted in the Old Testament, with how he is depicted in the New Testament. Did He really order the deaths of men, women, and children belong to nations that opposed Israel? I know He is ultimately just, but I keep getting hung up on this.

Hey dear friend, I appreciate your very kind words.

This is a really tough question that has disturbed me when I was an atheist and disturbs me even more as a Christian. It will always be a point of tension that might not be entirely resolved until our time on earth is done. I’d like to graciously present several different views about the wars in the Old Testament, from most brutal to most reasonable, and then let you decide. I’ll tell you what I personally believe in the end.

Please note: I’m not soft about the Bible. It does say a few hard things that I’m going to question all the way to Heaven. Jesus said hard things too. I don’t want to accommodate Scripture to fit a Westernized, watered down, sugarcoated, therapeutic pick-me-up. But I also don’t want to capitulate to my own Easternized, patriarchal, wrathful, vengeful picture of God. I believe the Bible has way more nuance than that. I know we won’t all see eye to eye on this either, and that’s totally okay. I truly welcome disagreement and I want to know where I’m wrong.

So here are some views to consider.

Continue Reading…


The entire storyline of the Bible in two and a half minutes. And a different way to see the Gospel.

Subscribe to my channel here.
Be blessed and love y’all!

– J.S.

[Thank you to Steven Hause of pudgyproductions]



How is God three in one? Why does the Christian faith need a Trinitarian God? Does any analogy really work?
An explanation of this unexplainable doctrine in less than three minutes. And a unique way to see the Trinity. I got really excited about this one.

Subscribe to my channel here. Love y’all!

— J.S.


[Thank you to Steven Hause of pudgyproductions]


 


This is a two-parter I wrote for XXXChurch about the “secret” to unlocking addiction. The secret is something you knew all along: the first crucial step to recovery.

Part One is here. Part Two is here.

Here’s an excerpt:

When we talk about addiction, we usually narrow it down to one of two categories, which we can examine in one question:

Is addiction a disease or is it a choice?

In most conservative circles, addiction is viewed on a moral axis of increasingly bad decisions, as if we only need to stop being so stubborn and just choose our way out, while in most liberal circles, addiction is viewed as a biological propensity of wiring, as if we cannot help ourselves.

Of course, these binary categories presume we can tag one another with simple labels, but in reality, addiction doesn’t work that way. It’s a complex mess of factors that requires our attention in every direction. It’s an unpredictable monster that refuses to yield to our generalizations, and as long as it remains in a box, so will we. Addiction is complicated because we are complicated.

Keep reading here and here.

– J.S.

JS Park XChurch


I’m super excited to be a part of the blogging contributor team for XXXChurch!

For all my posts, check here.

If you don’t know, XXXChurch is led by Craig Gross, who has led the frontlines on awareness for porn addiction and founded X3Watch, the leading accountability software.  He also nationally debates former porn-actor Ron Jeremy about the dangers of porn.

Craig and I made contact after I shared my book on quitting porn, which he found highly practical and different than the current resources on the market.  I was a bit star-struck since I consider Craig’s books to be one of the primary helps in quitting my own porn addiction (I’ve been sober for over three years!). I’m looking forward to teaming up with him!

My first blog post for XXXChurch is here!

— J.S.



A trailer for my book, What The Church Won’t Talk About.

Get it on Amazon for only 9.79!

[Subscribe to my YouTube channel here!]
[Thank you to Steven Hause of pudgyproductions!]

– J.S.


image

This is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my new book on dating and relationships, called The Christianese Dating Culture. This was my personal favorite chapter to write, about the difficult, gritty reality of relationships.


We have a propensity for over-romanticism in our hyper-sentimental culture, and when reality meets expectations, we get disillusioned and jump ship. I’ve seen it happen all the time: in marriages, in parenting, in careers, in church. A poor estimation of the daily grit of life will always cause us to check out and quit too early.

This is a prevalent pattern in a world of five-minute ramen and eight minute abs – we run out at the first sign of trouble. It gets easier to do this each time, until we’re jumping from one half-committed island to another.

There’s a depth to all these things, a kind of marathon endurance that pushes past the emotional spark of grandeur. When the fun of beginning is over, then there’s an actual finish-line ahead of us.

My fiancé and I probably look cute in pictures (her much more than me), and maybe our story would give you a false idea that it was “love at first sight” and it somehow fell into place. We’ve been together six years, and I still have a crush on her like it was the first week. Yet most of our six years was effort upon grace upon sacrifice. At the three-year mark, we had broken up for six months because we were sure it was over. We found our way around again, painfully, through many brutally honest conversations, and this is the shape of everyday love.

Nothing is wrong with high standards or even high expectations. It’s just that these will only tell half the story. It’s an incomplete picture that we expect to complete the picture in our heads. Real life involves a lot of sweaty armpits, standing around in line, sending texts with embarrassing typos, coughing really weird at the wrong moment, pulling out wedgies when no one notices, and the constant waiting for the next best thing to happen.


My dear friend: The honeymoon has to end.

The start is the easy part.

We begin things well. It’s hard to finish strong.

It’s good to get excited, but excitement must give way to a deeper, truer pulse.

If you can persevere past the naïve burst of beginning —

We can expand our wonderful first memories into a beautifully woven story.


Relationships are a lot more embarrassing and gritty than we would like to admit. When I hear a glamorous story about how a couple fell into each other’s arms, I’m absolutely sure that’s not how it happened.

No one wants to talk about the regretful text messages or the immature arguments or the tactless yelling over the art of arguing. The first fart. The long stream of farts from then on forever. Crusty-eyed drool face. The pre-makeup face. Cry-face. Yawn-face. The obnoxious hyper-moments when you apparently lose control of your civilized body and do puppet shows and movie impressions.

Soon you’ll encounter all the crustiness of a real person.

Eventually, everyone “falls out of like.” You’ll be in the direct space of all a person’s grossness, including your own. As Tim Keller says, “Finally, you have nowhere to run.”

When the romanticized feelings go: where do we go from there?


Purchase my book on Amazon here for less than nine dollars, the e-book for only four. Be blessed, dear friends! — J.S.

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Disclaimer: To protect my family and myself, I am not using names and I’m purposefully obscuring certain details. I cannot confirm them privately, either. These are well-known people in Christian circles who I still believe are doing helpful things, despite the terror behind closed doors.  I must be careful here, because 1) they would absolutely crucify me if they saw this post, and 2) they could also deny having ever met me, despite email correspondences and recorded conversations.  But I have to speak up.

I want to tell you about my most horrifying church experience ever, because it began so ordinary and subtle, and I want to protect you from the nightmare I eventually woke up to.

I know there must be so many more terrible experiences at church and mine is not nearly the worst, yet I hope you’ll know that not every horror story about church happens in a cult of backwood druids sacrificing goats to chanting.  It can happen in the most mundane sort of atmosphere with a slowly tightening chokehold, until it’s too late.

Years ago, I befriended the lead pastor of a church ministry that was doing amazing things in the community and we first became friends over the phone. The pastor explained that every church in America was doing it wrong.  This really appealed to my discontent about the church culture, and our phone calls were filled with tons of encouragement and positive affirmation over my “gifts, talent, treasures, insights, and abilities given by God.”  Whenever I spoke bad about my own church, the lead pastor agreed as loudly as possible.

In the first few months, he offered me a position at his ministry, but I was obligated to my current church.  However, I was still able to visit.  I was completely seduced by the way he and his team did ministry.  Their preaching was fun, their services were boisterous, their praise team was incredible, and they knew every single family by name.  They were well-respected by the community and they were funded completely by other churches and individuals from all over the world.  All the while, they were saying, “We do it better than the other guys” and their website sold tons of church curriculum.  I even bought some.

Continue Reading…

My mom and dad came to this country separately over thirty years ago and met in New York City, where they were married; my dad came to the U.S. with sixty dollars in his single pair of pants, and my mom couldn’t speak a word of English.  My dad was a Vietnam War Veteran, 2nd Lieutenant in the R.O.K. Army on the side of the U.S., and the only escaped prisoner of war from the Tet Offensive in 1969.  He’s also a licensed veterinarian and a Grand Master of Tae Kwon Do, a ninth degree black belt, the 54th 9th degree in the world.

Before my parents divorced when I was fourteen, my mom owned a laundromat and a grocery store next door to each other and would run back and forth between them to serve customers; sometimes she took old clothes that people left behind because we were too poor to afford any. My dad owned a martial arts dojo and mopped the entire floor every morning, then taught four classes in the evenings almost all in Korean.  Between the two of them, they worked almost 200 hours per week and slept maybe three hours per night.

One summer, someone spraypainted a swastika on the front wall of the dojo. My dad painted over it, but on those hot humid days, we could still see that Nazi symbol like an angry pulsing scar.

We got a message on our answering machine — maybe the same Nazi artists — who spent a good ten minutes making fun of my dad’s accent. I remember seeing my dad listen to it several times, staring quietly out a window. When he noticed me, he turned it off and said, “Just boys playing a joke.” The voices were from grown men.

When we visited with friends, we felt the invisible walls of cliques and class between us.  We were aliens from another world, just a foreign prop in the hero-story of the Westerner.  I was the token Asian.  When I visit churches, I still am.  Christians feel proud to know me because I meet their diversity quota; my other friends are proud to know me because they can make Asian jokes and explain, “Don’t worry, I have an Asian friend.”

In elementary school, when I first made friends and came over, I would immediately take off my shoes and bow to their parents.  I remember freaking out the first time I saw a fork.  I asked for two sticks to eat my food, and they said, “No, you can stab your food now.”  I still slightly bow to people as a reflex, and I still don’t get forks.

When I meet native Koreans from my own country, they call me kyopo, which is a slang term for misplaced native.  They make fun of my heavy American accent when I try to speak Korean.  They’re surprised I’m taller than them and say, “It must be hormones in the McDonald’s.”  They think I’m arrogant because I watch American TV shows and I have a blog written entirely in English.

I live in two worlds. I do not fully embody either, yet belong to both.

Continue Reading…

About a year ago, I donated half my salary to charity to fight human trafficking.  I had saved for the entire year to make one check for $10,000.

I don’t say this to brag, at all.

I say this because I’m a selfish person.  I love comfort, my shiny things, the safety of a new gadget and adding things to my wish list.  I am naturally lazy and indulgent and self-absorbed.

But I also believe in a God who humbled Himself to become one of us.  I believe in a God who paid an infinite price to set us free.  I believe in a God who wrote Himself into the story of humanity to enter our struggle, to lead us into life, and to ultimately exchange our brokenness for grace.

Because I believe in a God who has this sort of heart —

I am compelled to have the same heart for others.

The selflessness of God utterly melted my selfishness to pieces.  His grace tenderized my conceited heart.  I gave my life away because God did the same for me.

Continue Reading…



I was going through followers the other day and noticed some blogs that were “last updated 6 months ago” or longer. There were a lot of these.

Maybe they got bored or distracted or busy — but my guess is they probably didn’t get the huge number of likes and follows and reblogs they were expecting, and just gave up.

Please don’t do that. There are very few things we do consistently in this life. We’re quick to jump from island to island of halfway commitment. Taking a break is totally okay: but I exhort you to persist in sharing your one unique voice with the world community.

If you’re about to jump ship: please do NOT bail on your blog. Do what you must — take a sabbath, go on hiatus, commune with nature, restore relationships, try new things — but come back and tell us about it.

It doesn’t matter if you only have a few readers. You’re not doing it for that. And even if you were, those few people who follow you might really be encouraged by what you have to say. You might be the only one saying it.

But more than that: your blog is a captured snapshot of your one fleeting transitory life, like the dust mote suspended in a sunbeam that shimmers for a spectacular moment in time. It is beauty wrapped in expression, and you are putting something into the world that no one else can. God made you for it.

So keep sharing. Keep making art. Keep writing music. Keep taking pictures. Keep encouraging others. In some small way: you are healing your part of the universe. You are needed more than you know. You are making a bigger impact than you think.

— J.S.



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If you ever met me, you would think I was an extrovert — I preach, I lead praise, I talk to everyone, I talk too much, and you can hear me laughing from across the street — but I am a full-blooded introvert.

If it were up to me, I’d rather be in my boxers all day eating Godiva while browsing food photo blogs and bothering my dog and cracking up at YouTube videos of Whose Line Is It Anyway and leaving dry ironic comments all over Facebook while reading the latest theory on how Sherlock survived the second season finale. 

I intensely guard my personal space and my private life.  It takes a herculean effort to step outside my comfort zone and interact with messy, fleshy, real live human beings.

Here’s how you handle us.

Continue Reading…

Ever prayed more for someone just because they’re hot?

Come on, I’ve done that too. Let’s not act like we’re above judging looks here. We give more cred to someone based on their defined jawline and bigger bra size than their less tangible patience and hospitality and compassion.

A very fleshy part of our human nature presumes that good-looking people are also just good, or that less good-looking people don’t really count somehow.

In church it’s easy to ask for prayer requests from the well-off, well-dressed, clean-cut, easily approachable mid-twenties demographic. Not the weird cat lady off the street, not the dude with the one rotten tooth who talks up a storm, not the pale socially awkward kid who says dorky things.

Most Christian books have the same problem: they’re geared to that same easygoing group of believers who attend the same megachurch in a crimeless suburban gated neighborhood with the sparkling 2.5 kids and Hollywood acceptable appearance, but they have nothing to say for the sick struggling screwed-up former addict who can’t find a job because he just “looks wrong.”

Wired into all our unaware brains is the deception that appearance means more than it should: but if I could give you a pair of X-ray goggles, you’ll see a bunch of skeletons with the same hopes, dreams, ambitions, anxieties, and worries that everyone else has too.

That seventeen year old pimply kid who loves Call of Duty is the same bag of meat and bones as the athletic football captain with the perfect hair; that girl who everyone hates because of her so-called overweight body could just as easily have been the same girl with the slightly higher cheekbones who runs the gang of cheerleaders. You can honk your car horn at the punk teenager on his skateboard crossing the street, but wave at the old lady on her walker: when both are just people who run deeper than what you see.

Take a Spiritual X-Ray and we all have the same vacuum of eternity within our souls with the same desperate longing inside. You and I could do way better than our visual addiction to all things sight, and instead see by vision.

Continue Reading…

Edit: December 21st, 2014
– My new book on quitting porn addiction is here! In paperback on sale for only $5.69 and e-book for 2.99 on Amazon! It contains this entire series of posts plus brand new info, fully updated and fleshed out, with specific steps to quit.

An ongoing discussion about victory over sexual addiction.

My podcast series “Cutting It Off” — here.

Why Do I Use Porn? Why Can’t I Stop? Here.

Every question submitted about porn on this blog, here.

**Updated: May 2013

For the podcast episode based on this post, click here.

The science behind porn addiction will not surprise you.  It can be easily mocked as apocalyptic research with an old-fashioned bias, but excuses to use porn are also biased by the hand down your pants. Objective evidence of pornography’s effects has one goal: to show how much porn screws up your brain. For some that will be enough to quit.

Obviously, something serious is happening in the neurology of a person who will not stop using porn.  Constant exposure to graphic, unreal, out-of-bounds sex doesn’t just go in one hand and out the other (bad pun). Like the heroin addict or the gambler or the alcoholic, several key things are happening.

Much of the following research is borrowed and not my own. Please keep in mind that the term “addiction” is a serious term and might or might not apply to you, but it’s worth investigating. I don’t mean to over-dramatize here or make a big show of scientific language, but porn use does have a particular undeniable effect on the brain.

Sources include Craig Gross’ Pure Eyes, Eyes of Integrity, and Dirty Little Secret, and William Struther’s Wired For Intimacy. I’ve read and re-read these important resources and highly recommend them to you.  There is also Michael Leahy’s Porn Nation, Mike Wilkerson’s Redemption, Tim Chester’s Closing The Window, and David Powlison’s tiny booklet Slaying The Dragon. Where possible, I’ve tried to research articles and current news behind pornography and the porn industry. And of course, there is personal experience with addiction plus countless hours spent with young and old porn addicts.

The Addict’s Path:

Continue Reading…


Prayers for the 90 abducted and the hundreds of thousands who are affected by the ongoing atrocities.

— J.S.

Image from Reuters


Cutting It Off paperback


My book on quitting porn is now in paperback for only $5.99 on Amazon! It’s also been endorsed by Craig Gross of X3Church, where I’m now a contributing blogger.

It’s a short little book on my fifteen year porn addiction and how you can quit permanently, for good.

Be blessed and love y’all!

– J.S.


http://www.amazon.com/Cutting-Off-Breaking-Porn-Addiction/dp/1505350891

Sharing, Everything.

February 20, 2015 — Leave a comment


The other night in bed, I read to my wife the opening preface from my upcoming book. She was very tired so I thought she would fall asleep. At the end, she was wide awake. We talked about the book for a while. We were excited that it could bless many others. We were worried about who might criticize it. We dreamed up new ideas. But mostly, we shared and shared.

I’ve never been able to do that before. It was awesome.

— J.S.



The moment we begin to see a certain group as a “charity case” or a “working project,” then we lose sight of the fact that they’re just people too, like you and me. We’re not the savior and they’re not some secondary character to fulfill our hero-narrative. I’m not saying that this is your motive, but we too easily slip into main character syndrome and treat others like the props in our catharsis.

When I first began looking into gay rights and the abortion debate, that was my problem: I was treating it as an issue instead of seeing the people inside the issues. I had to address the entire person as a whole, not by their “problem.” Sure, I wanted to know what was offensive and what was acceptable; I wanted to know how God’s grace actively applied to each distinct context. But by seeing their problem as a problem, I was inadvertently calling attention to their “disadvantage” as a pseudo-savior instead of entering their world as equals.

In Asia, there’s currently a growing boom of cross-dressing and transgender individuals. When I last visited (in the Philippines last year), I really just tried my best to see this person as a holistic life, who had to go home and pay bills and resolve conflicts and make it through rush hour and endure insults and visit the doctor and find God. My priority as a Christian is to see the heart, because this is where love is most crucial — it is not to change someone’s behavior or opinions or appearance. I can bring grace, truth, and conversation, and God will show up, like He always does.

– J.S. from this post


wherethecherryblossomsdance asked a question:

After reading your latest post, I have to agree with you. However, what about those who constantly read through these sorts of things and their faith wavers horribly? I know this is my case some days, and there are some arguments that my non believing friends bring up, along with comments in these posts that really shake my faith and I realize that I don’t know or have all the answers. What do you think about this?

Hey dear friend, I believe you’re referring to this post.

To be truthful, I think it’s a good thing to have your faith shaken sometimes. I mean really, really beat up. Many of us are scared of being scared, but that’s part of life. We can’t protect ourselves from all the terrifying things. If we avoid every scraped knee, we’ll eventually be too weak when the harder things happen. So I need a faith that has questioned itself to near oblivion.

I was a psych major, and one thing I learned is that when our worldview is challenged, we experience an utter disorientation in the brain. It can even cause nausea, depression, anxiety, and hostile anger. But if you know this is coming and you can work past the emotions, you can rationally approach both sides of the argument without it threatening you.

Continue Reading…


You’re in the middle of your motion, so it’s hard to see where you are. But so long as you’ve been taking one heavy step forward after another, no matter how awkward your stumbling, then this is worth celebrating. Every moment you’ve done right is a miracle in itself.

We believe in a God who knew we couldn’t ever reach perfection, so perfection came to us. If you feel like you’ve failed today, the very reason Jesus came was to take on your failures, your ego, your pride, your pain, your sorrows, your sin. And He’ll keep working on you until glory. Everything good in you is God in you: and anything bad in you, He’s working on that.

– J.S. from What The Church Won’t Talk About


newsfromabove asked a question:

Hello pastor Park! Thank you very much for answering so many people’s questions. You’re a wonderful presence here on Tumblr. My question, since we’re both skeptic Christians (I used to be a strong atheist), is how do you know the Bible is God’s Word? Tough one maybe. Have a great weekend!

Hey dear friend, I love this question.

There are really two ways to answer. The first is “hard apologetics,” where I just throw facts at you until you have an empirical basis for Scripture being a divinely inspired text. We do need this to intellectually satisfy us. The second is “soft apologetics,” in which the entire storyline of the Bible effectively speaks to our human condition. We need this to existentially fulfill us.

The thing is, even if I lay down a jaw-dropping defense of faith, it won’t be enough to alleviate all our doubts. I could present a 98% ironclad case that Scripture is God-breathed and that the historical claims of the Resurrection were real, but that last 2% will require that tricky, itchy, uncomfortable phenomenon called faith.

People like you and me, who are naturally skeptical and need objective, observable evidence will always struggle with this. But that’s also a good thing. Our doubts will prompt us into investigating as deep as we can possibly go. Doubt is not a sin, at all. It’s troubling, but it has also instilled a great deal of vigilance to question everything I believe until I have a faith that works.

Continue Reading…

Tell Him Everything.

February 17, 2015 — 8 Comments


Maybe no one mentioned
that seasons of doubt,
suffering, and detachment
are regular valleys in a believer’s life.

Those are also the exact times
we go to God and tell Him everything.
To even say, “I don’t feel you right now, God.”
You can tell Him that.

Most of us think we’ve failed God
when we don’t feel Him, when it’s actually
that feeling of His absence that
can either push you to Him or from Him.
He’d much rather it be to Him.

– J.S.

[From this post]


championpayne asked a question:

Hi! I was wondering what your input would be on this post. It bothered me a bit and I want to defend these scriptures, but I’m not sure how. The scriptures are, Psalm 137:9, 1 Timothy 2:12, Deuteronomy 22:28, Exodus 21:7, Leviticus 25:44, Numbers 25:4, Jeremiah 48:10 and Ezekiel 9:5. Thanks!

Hey dear friend, for easy reference, all the verses are listed here.

One thing I learned in seminary was that without context, there is no content.

These verses by themselves look absurd, and in fact, I will wrestle with a lot of the Bible until my time on earth is done. At the same time, many of these problematic verses have adequate explanations behind them when you can dive into the history and background.

This is really an issue of trust. If I approach the Bible with my modern Westernized preconceived bias, I will naturally find things to hate about the Bible, no matter how much they’re explained to me. If I trust that the God of the Bible is good, loving, and compassionate, then I will naturally find a logical rationale, even as I admit that some verses are harder to understand than others. I could argue both for and against these verses if I really wanted to. It’s a matter of choosing to trust Him, or not. If I don’t, I won’t. If I do, there’s a plethora of insight and wisdom that will jump out of Scripture. It all depends on who I believe that God is first.

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