aint the way it’s supposed to be – engaging the virginia tech tragedy [ii]

[updated] i felt real uneasy and stirred when i first heard that the shooter was potentially a young asian male. it’s as if all of a sudden this became personal. when i first saw the profile of Cho Seung-hui which shall now be an infamous image i swallowed hard. that image has haunted me for several days now. i didn’t want it to be an asian face on my lcd screen. in all honesty i really did not want it to be an asian behind all this chaos. i didn’t want to be associated with this man because of my ethnic heritage. so it turns out he’s korean. there is slight relief in that. “asian” is such generic term we use but it does grant us some solidarity as a marginalized group. strength in numbers i suppose but there is still an us and them. i say this because it illustrates how disengaged i can be when events involve “other” people especially of a different ethnicity. how much does that really affect me?
i may not have much empathy. i can be indifferent.

with this tragedy things are a bit different for me and for the asian american community as a whole. for the first time there is an association/identification with a great american tragedy. for most, every day of our lives we’ve wrestled with how “others” look at us and understand us. in the past day i walked around with my head bowed further down in shame. when a non-asian looks at me i wonder what do they think of me now? do they make the association with me and this killer?

race shouldn’t really matter. in essence this is an issue about the tragedy of sin and fallen man. this affects us as asian americans whether we acknowledge it or not. there’s been a firehose of reporting and blogging that it causes us to want to say enough already. i don’t want to give any more undeserved glory to this man. a friend had pointed out to me that though there is no conclusive evidence yet for mental illness it is worth considering as a contributor to this young 23 y.o. man’s behavior. obviously he was angry about something. regardless, these tragic events should draw us to engage the darkness in our lives and in our world all the more. one would think we’d have learned from lessons past.

yes. mental illness, disease, falleness is all color blind.
the bottomline is, we’re blind.

i’ve murdered a thousand upon thousands.
my friend steve had written this response that was so poignant:

Asians just don’t go around shooting people. Asians just don’t do that kind of stuff. That’s what I said to my roommate yesterday. He himself being Korean, nodded in agreement. But is being a mass murderer a function of race? If anything, I’m a mass murderer ten times over because I commit murder when I have hatred in my heart.”You’ve heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.’” Matthew 5:21“I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other.” Scene from Remember the Titans

strengthen us now Lord. lift up those who mourn. give hope to those who cannot see right now. remind us in times when we are tested that you are the living God, the resurrected Lord.

this just aint the way it’s supposed to be. no it’s not.
we can turn to God and see in his Son that we’re just a marred image of what we’re supposed to be. we can also see that hope exists in what he has done that we celebrated a only couple of weeks ago. he will restore us. we grieve and we hope. that does not mean put on a happy face. grieve for the brokeness that is in all of us. and then hope.

i love how keller puts it:

Listen to how Dostoevsky puts it in Brothers Karamazov: “I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, of the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they’ve shed; and it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify what has happened.”That is strong and that last sentence is particularly strong…but if the resurrection is true, it’s absolutely right. Amen.

pray. just pray. be still and know that he is God.

thoughtful reflections:
an article from new american media
a firestorm of a dialogue


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[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.

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