My daughter is a huge fan of YouTube. I don’t know why, but she is. So now I’m helping her with her own show. We call it the Family Show. Today, Audrey announces her candidacy for president. I wrote the piece and she help with some of the joke ideas.
I’ve been sitting on this essay for a while. There’s a juggling routine that requires precision or the balls come tumbling and everyone you know unfriends you.
Let’s be provocative for a moment. When exactly is the right time to teach my daughter to be racist?
I have a confession to make. I’m a bad father. I’m allowing my daughter to think she lives in a world where race doesn’t matter. Where she is just another kid in the sea of other kids.
From the beginning, my daughter was born in Korea to Korean teenagers. My wife and I were privileged to be selected by her parents and grandparents to allow a Chinese father and Caucasian mother to raise their child in America.
My daughter then was thrown into Chinese family gatherings on my side and the more traditional white American gatherings on my wife’s side. But I chickened out. I made to attempt to differentiate between the two families. So this Thanksgiving we’re spending the afternoon with the white family and the evening with the Chinese family. All my daughter knows is she’s having dinner with her mother’s family and then her dad’s. In other words, two turkey dinners.
Here’s where things get tricky. My daughter soon makes friends with the girl who lives next door. The family next door just moved to our neighborhood from Peru. Every day after school, my daughter asks, “Can I go next door and play?” I say yes, but then I remain silent. As she walks in, I think “They’re different from you.” When it gets dark, I walk next door and catch my daughter and her friend dressed as Disney Princesses.
Then the fateful day, new neighbors move into the house of our Peruvian friends. They have three daughters, all white and the oldest quickly becomes my daughter’s best friend. Out comes the My Little Ponies toys for hours of amusement. Then the endless hours, watching Inside Out and Despicable Me. Now they’re coordinating their Halloween costumes for yet another Frozen Halloween. In the back of my mind, I keep thinking should I tell her about the Caucasian atrocities from long ago. Can she really trust these people?
What about school? Every day I drop her off and most of the students there are white. Sure there are a lot of Asian, Hispanic, African, and Persian-American kids, but it’s mostly white. Every day, I wonder if I should warn her. Will she understand that “mostly white” is the foreshadowing of something more sinister as she grows older? Should I continue to let her believe that her friends are simply individuals with names and that the difference in skin color is no different than hair color? How much longer do I keep the secret from her?
What if I die before I tell her the truth about race in America? If I died tomorrow, my daughter would naively walk the streets of America believing she is just as good and has the same value of her white, Hispanic, Persian, Asian and African-American friends.
What if one day, my adult daughter confronts her aging father and demands to know what her dad kept the race secret from her?
“Dad, why didn’t you tell me I couldn’t reach my full potential in life because of institutional racism,” she says as she drops me off at the old age home.
“Why didn’t you tell me I’m earning 20% less than my male co-workers and for the same kind of work,” she screams at me just before she pulls the plug on my life support.
For now, I will remain the coward and keep the race thing a secret. For now, I will let her believe she can be whatever she wants to be, even though she’s not white or male.
As with all lies though, you can’t hide the truth forever. So, when do I teach my kid to be racist?
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“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
I’m almost certain the Kim Davis is sitting at home right now feeding off this verse. Ms. Davis has decided that she stands for God’s law by denying marriage certificates to gay couples. I’m certain she feels persecuted, insulted and falsely charged by the world because she refuses to follow the laws of the United States and follow God’s law in its place.
One wonders, though, that while she is defending God’s definition of marriage from homosexuals, is she defending God’s definition of marriage from other forms of Biblical aberrations. I’m pretty sure Ms. Davis has issued marriage licenses to the divorced (Matthew 5:27-30) or Christians marrying non-Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14).
I’m sure she’s also issued a license to couples, who have no reason to be married. What about pregnant teenagers or horny grandpa and his teenage bride. She sure would do the world a favor and refuse an abuser from marrying his emotionally manipulated wife. But no, just gay couples.
I digress. Let’s return to the original verse. The blessing of the persecuted is the reward of heaven. Sounds real good doesn’t it. The problem is Ms. Davis has fallen into the trap of focusing on one verse as her personal treasure and disregarding the other verses around it. This is what we call in the world of Biblical interpretation as “Context.”
Matthew 5:11-12 is a part of the Beatitudes, which opens the famous Sermon on the Mount. Jesus describes the attitudes that Christ’s followers must take into their hearts to be a true follower. These are the attitudes: poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, shows mercy, pure in heart, peacemakers and the persecuted.
Let’s highlight a few attitudes: poor in spirit, meek, shows mercy and peacemaker. Now let’s take a look at the picture:
I sense a disconnect here. The Christian PR Team has decided that inciting controversy and denying the legal rights of the gay community is the best image of Christ the world needs to see.
What Evangelicals today fail to understand that our true calling as believers is the Christ-like life. We are living examples of Christ walking the earth today. Non-believers will know who Christ is by our example. The problem is our example is not that of Christ. More on this topic in the future.
Living like Christ is hard. No, it’s impossible. But it is by His Spirit that we can do it. When it comes to the laws of the land, you can not legislate Christ-likeness.
What Evangelicals today don’t understand is what real persecution looks like. Real persecution is having your reputation destroyed because you dared befriend a gay person; because you defended a gay person from being beaten by thugs; because you considered the life of a homosexual as more important than your own.
It happened again this past weekend. My wonderful wife informed me that yet another person thinks I am a horrible a-hole. That brings the number up to 42 (btw one of my favorite numbers and you nerds know why). That’s right I’m currently hated by 42 people and it has nothing to do with politics. That number is much higher.
I used to care a lot that people didn’t like me. That ended after countless numbers of private meetings by well intentioned third parties. As the middle child, I was the reconciler and the mediator. Now I’m just the tired.
In the grand scheme, 42 is a pretty low number. It’s less than .05% of people I know. Most people who know me will tell you that I’m usually a nice person or that I’m a very quiet person. Which brings me to the subject of being an introvert.
As an intorvert, I have a incredibly small number of close friends…my wife being the closest. It’s a challenge for introverts to make friends and worse, nurture close friendships. That’s me in a nutshell. I was recently at a party with our local improv community. To me, being at that party was a huge victory, because I never go to parties and when I do I rarely talk to people. I was at the party for about 90 minutes (personal record) and talked to 5 people–two of whom I barely knew.
What was a huge victory for me, can also come across as a huge failure. Why? I was there only 90 minutes and only talked to 5 people. Again, after 5 hours of poundering what should have been a personal victory, I stopped caring and claimed my victory.
So, why do 42 people hate me? Believe it or not, they all have a lot of things in common.
People Who Hate Me Have Something to Prove
I have a neighbor who believes she is the moral authority of the neighborhood. Word got out that I used to be a pastor and things turned ugly when I wouldn’t go along with her abrasive-style of legalism. Every so often one of my neighbors will tell me what this person is saying about me. As an introvert, I’ll just sit there and take it.
I’ve worked for two managers in a Christian workplace, who hated me with a passion. For one manager I began to impress on of our Executive Vice Presidents and this become a point of jealousy. The other hated me because during planning meetings, I would express my opinions which often did not fall in line with hers. I may sound a little petty at this point, but there was a day with the first manager came to me after 8 years and made amends with me. A lot of truth and crying came out of that encounter.
Both managers felt that I was given responsibilities that I did not deserve and let it be known to everyone in the office. As the introvert, I just sat there and took it.
People Who Hate Me Are Disappointed When I’m Not There For Them
I’m a very empathetic person. If you talked to me, I’ll listen to your story and I’ll feel the emotions that you’re feeling. Empathy. The problem is I’m not a trained therapist or licensed counselor. On top of that, I have my own sh!t to deal with.
I’ve had a few roomates in my life that were going through a lot of personal stuff. As a good roommate, I would listen and listen and listen. For those of you who are empathic people, you know where this is going. When a depressed person talks to you, you become depressed. It takes a while to snap out of it. There’s also this overwhelming sense of hopelessness, because you have no idea how to cure a chronically depressed person. And nice I live with this person, I felt like their 24/7 counselor. Emotionally, I’m drained. As an introvert, my only course of action is avoidance, which leads to perceived betrayal, which then leads to suffering (nerds, you like that?).
Let’s go back to my neighbor. I move in with my beautiful wife and my new infant daughter. Happy and ready to start a family. After about six months, word gets to me that my neighbor hates me because I won’t mentor her two teenage sons. Selfishly, I chose to devote my time and energy on raising my wonderful daughter–the joy of my life.
On Being Passive Agressive
If I was ever to be accused of fanning the flames of those who hate me, that would be my Passive-Agressive tendancies. Yes. Guilty. I’m passive agressive because I avoid conflict like the plague. It’s the only fun I have and the only way I can get back at people. Yes, I’m a bad person.
One day at work, I just about had it with this particular manager. I asked for and was granted an emergency vacation and I took my wife and dog to Lake Tahoe to compete in the World Series of Poker. When I got back, I found out that said manager was on administrative leave and about to be fired. That was one was of the happiest days of my life. Not only was a lot of stress and unnecessary fighting behind me but I found out I wasn’t the only person being tortured.
Yes, I’m a bad person. Soon after this manager’s departutre, I realized my experience with these two managers had taken its toll on me personally. My spirit was broken and my desire to give 100% to a job I loved was gone.
Years later, I was finally put out of my misery when the company had to layoff staff and I was let go “without cake.” As an intorvert, I wish I had stood up for myself more.
Coming to Grips that I’m Not Mr. Popular
As an introvert, new peope I meet often have one of two reactions to me:
“I’m a really nice person.” When we meet, I’m cordial. We have a little small talk. We have something in common and we friend each other on Facebook.
“I’m not a really nice person.” When we meet, I’m cold. We don’t say much. They block me on Facebook.
Under what circumstances will you meet “nice Alan” versus “not nice Alan”? I wish I could tell you answer. I want to believe it’s the position of the moon. Shoot, I want blame it on you. I’m an introvert and that’s my reality.
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I hate to start a blog this way, but I will. God has laid it on my heart to figure out what has gone wrong with Evangelical Christianity. Believe it or not, I am a proud Evangelical Christian. I love God. I accepted Jesus into my heart and I love the church.
I’ve been meaning to write about my experience as a Christian and God has finally told me to start writing. My problem is I have a lot to write about and I just don’t know where to start. This is the starting point. When I write about Christianity, I’ll give you a little taste of what has burdened my heart.
God, Jesus, the Bible and the Church is not being portrayed very well in the media and popular culture. We are reviled. We are hated. We are misunderstood and we are no longer a source of wisdom in the world. Remember when the Gospel once meant “Good News?” Remember when Jesus was once considered a savior to the lost.
I know what you’re thinking right now. As Christians, why should we care how the world sees us. “Consider it pure joy…when you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). To Christians, it is a badge of honor to be persecuted, made fun of and mocked.
This is wrong. We are being persecuted, ridiculed and mocked for the wrong reasons. We should be persecuted because we love a God that died for us and forgave us our sins. Instead, we’re being persecuted because we have appointed ourselves as the moral authority to the world. We are mocked because we see ourselves as God’s moral police around the world.
We are ridiculed because instead of coming alongside the hurt, the sick and the weak, our only interaction with non-Christians is to pray the pain away, pray the sadness away and pray the gay away. Instead, we’re called to invest time and love in the lost and the sick.
We are losing the PR battle with the world because we stand up on our high horses and tell the world what they are doing wrong: gay marriage, abortion, AIDS, etc. The problem is that we are so focused on telling the world that they need to accept Jesus as savior, instead of showing how Jesus has transformed our lives.
As an early believer, I thought my purpose in life was to stand up for God. Correct the false teachings of the world and establish the church as the moral authority in the United States and the world. Today I’ve come to the realization that God wants me to be a walking example of Jesus Christ and let him handle the rest.
More to come…
A Message For Both Sides: Today is one of those days where half my friends on Facebook will dislike the other half of my friends on Facebook. That saddens me.
I have great friends who are gay. I treasure our friendship and wish nothing but good things for you and success in the future. As a Christian, I believe you were created by God as I have been and regardless of what my fellow believers tell you, you have access to God’s Unconditional Love, Sacrifice and Blessings as I do.
To my fellow believers, remember that we can not control the course of history. That’s God’s job. We are fortunate to live in a country that values our beliefs. Did you know there are countries out there that will literally cut off your head because you are a Christian or you are gay? Is there no common ground?
We can become spoiled living in a world of religious freedom, compared to the world that Christ actually lived in 2,000 years ago. Sure, we can bunker in, protect the last vestiges of Christianity left in America and shield ourselves from perversion. Or we can take the high road and act as Christ would if he were to walk the earth today. There was a time when the poor and the sick was our responsibility. A time when we loved our neighbor (sinner and saint/gay and straight) as ourselves. A time when we were servants, washing the feet of our even those we considered our enemies.
Faith, hope and love? The greatest of these is Love. Let’s stop being clanging cymbals to a lost world.
To those who wish to argue, show me in the Bible where legislating God’s Moral Will takes precedence over loving our neighbor and I’ll happily engage you in conversation.
Covering E3 for KTSTfmAnaheim.com. I may not be a huge gamer but I do love Star Wars and Battlefront is going to be awesome.
If you dig deep enough, you people can find racism in any Tweet.
— mypalal (@mypalal) June 25, 2015