Sunday, April 29, 2007

Just because you can

I am an animal lover, and also a meat eater who occasionally feels guilty about the slaughtering of animals for consumption.

Then I think, if God hated animal cruelty, why did he make some of these animals so darn edible and in some cases very very very tasty when properly marinated? He would not have created them that way if he wanted us to restrict our diet to the Plant Kingdom only.

But then.

Think about God created plants - tobacco, cocaine, marijuana, just to name a few. No, I have never done drugs, but apparently they are very smokable and snortable.

But we place that particular life style under the 'just because you can doesn't mean you should' category, do we not? Recreational drug use is just one of many tantalizing vices under that category and self control and moderation are important virtues which we should all strive for.

Then shouldn't that principle apply to meat eating as well? Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Why should we limit that principle to just smokable and snortable plants, but not to edible animals?

If you are familiar with the Genesis account, you know that when God created Adam, he allowed him to eat from any "tree of the garden," except for the forbidden fruit. As to animals, he told Adam to name them, not eat them. I don't know about you, but to me, when you name an animal, you are effectively personifying it as a companion. When was the last time you named the hamburger meat before gobbling it up?

You thought I was about to tell another stupid joke about dog meat, didn't you?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Let the countdown begin

July 26th

El Maestro coming to town.

San Nakji can go pound a rolling stone.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Some thoughts on the VT killings

Several people have asked me how I feel about the killings as a Korean.

I find the question quite irritating, because it seems to imply that the shooter's nationality had something to do with his diabolical rampage which claimed the lives of 32 innocent people, and I as a Korean have some insight into the mind of the murderer just because of the Korean ethnicity (not to mention the surname) the killer and I happen to share.

"How come nobody ever asks me about Jeffrey Dahmer and his appetite for human flesh even though he was white like me?" quipped my friend.

Dude, was that the best illustration you could come up with over dinner?

My Korean relatives are asking what it is about American culture that turned a normal looking Korean kid into a murderous killer? I find that question equally absurd as well, but somewhat understandable given America's culture of violence broadcast around the world. Columbine and Virgina Tech do not happen every day, I had to remind them. Besides, by all accounts the kid's troubles started long before he and his family moved to the United States.

But the killer's nationality could not escape my notice, I must admit. Oh no, another Columbine, I thought to myself upon learning of the killing spree while getting ready to go to work. But the initial reaction of mild sadness turned to utter disbelief and shock when the authorities disclosed his Korean nationality. Since then, I have obsessively read every news story I could get my hands on concerning the shooter which would not have been the case had he not been Korean.

So even though I find the questions arising from his ethnicity annoying, I myself cannot simply ignore that fact. It hit too close to home. And perhaps now is the time for Korean Americans to discuss and reflect on their insane drive for and obsession with academic achievement and materialistic success which I believe is just one of many serious cultural issues.

Although this comes as no consolation to the VT community, I was relieved that Cho's "manifesto," as incoherent and deplorable as it was, did not contain racial diatribes. That would have been the last thing the nation needed just a week after the Imus non-sense, and the killer's racial tirade would have added a whole new painful twist to the tragedy which we could do without.

According to my sister's acquaintance with close ties to the Korean Consulate, the Korean government mulled over a statement of apology to the American people, but the United States declined to accept it insisting that the killer's nationality had nothing to do with the tragic massacre. I thought that was a very nice gesture of goodwill from both sides.

Government leaders taking the high road - what a concept.


Last Friday, a truck hit a light pole in front of the office building and ran. A cop came to us and quizzed those who saw the whole thing unfold right in front of their eyes. The driver apparently got off the truck, and even asked for directions before hopping back on the road, which allowed the witnesses a very good look at him.

After the cop left the building, I whispered to the receptionist, "If the officer comes back and looks for a guy named Cho, I'm not here, OK?"

The receptionist is a very polished and prim young woman. But her loud laugh and snort shook the building and stunned everyone in the office. Her face turned beet red as she struggled to compose herself before answering the next phone call.

Never did I imagine this was how my surname would become a household name in America.

God bless America. God bless Virgina Tech. Go Hokies!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

American Christians and Leprosy

By Rob Woodrum

Click to enlarge. You may have to click again after it enlarges if you have a low screen resolution.


My deep condolences to the Virginia Tech community.

Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace
and criticize all fears,
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now's the time for your tears.

- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Homosexuality (Part 2)

Part 1: Corpus Christi and Ted Haggard

I am Not a Homosexual


I don't get it. Why a male would find another male attractive sexually or otherwise is simply beyond me. As a matter of fact, the whole concept of homosexuality did not even enter my consciousness until I moved to this country at the age of 14. Perhaps that was reflective of my sheltered upbringing or the conservative bent in Korean culture, but the idea floored me when I first heard of it. True to form, division by zero in mathematics still makes far more logical sense to this nerd than homosexuality.

When one of my best friends from college came out of the closet, I tried to research into how one becomes homosexual after the initial shock and bewilderment wore off, only to run into more confusion and bewilderment. Suffice to say I have no idea how some become homosexual while others like me find the whole idea beyond the realm of possibility.

If you are looking for insightful takes on homosexuality from here, you are not going to find any because I don't know any better than you. If you are looking for great ideas on how society in general and churches in particular should live with the homosexuals amongst us, you are out of luck.

I find the whole thing repulsive and abhorrent, which probably qualifies me as a full fledged homophobe. As a matter of fact, I am so straight that for the life of me, I cannot see why you women find men attractive. Raise your hand if you see an irony in the previous sentence.

Most importantly, I believe as a Bible believing Christian, homosexuality is a sin. The Bible to me is clear about it, and I really can't find much to disagree in this sermon on the topic of homosexuality.

But here's the thing. Please follow me on this.

Unlike other moral sins that the Bible speaks against, homosexuality is unique in that only "they" indulge in it. I do not ever have to worry about committing this particular sin because it has never been an issue in my life. Only "they" commit the despicable and disgusting acts of homosexuality, which makes it very easy for me to call it a sin.

It is hypocrisy proof. Jesus said, "Judge not, lest you be judged." "Take the log out of your own eye before you see the speck in your brother's eye," he admonished so sternly. Lord, I do not have a log to take out of my eye because I am heterosexual today, heterosexual tomorrow, and heterosexual forever.

May I have a standing ovation?

Add to the mix a teaching from the Bible that God set off an ancient nuclear bomb and incinerated every one of the inhabitants of an entire region because of their rampant homosexuality.

All of the planets have perfectly lined up, ladies and gentlemen. Armed with the combustible combination of divine condemnation and the debilitating social stigma, here come the Christian soldiers marching as to war to judge, condemn, and dehumanize "them" with reckless abandon.

I don't have to look in the mirror when it comes to homosexuality. It does not require self-examination and sacrifice on my part. That is why PMS is next on my culture war agenda, but I have been told that unlike homosexuality, safety in numbers is not on my side. Is that true?

All of the aforementioned religious, sociological, and personal factors make homosexuality a very intriguing choice as the sin to occupy center stage on the Christian moral agenda. Since most people are heterosexuals like me, unable to relate to the sin of homosexuality at least in theory, it is by far, the easiest sin to belittle, denounce and caricature made infinitely easier by the long standing social stigma in almost every culture.

Rumor has it that Dr. James Dobson plans to rename his organization to Focus on the Homos.


But David, just because you can't relate to a particular sin, that does not absolve your responsibility to speak out against it as a Christian. You have not murdered anyone, for example. So should murderers get a pass from you?

I am not talking about the merits of speaking out against homosexuality. I am talking about its prominent placement on the Christian moral agenda eclipsing all other evils. Homosexuality along with abortion (which I will write about) are certainly not the two most dominant topics in the Bible and America is plagued with a lot more moral problems than those two.

Speaking of the Bible, let me briefly touch on a few things which I hope to elaborate on in the future. Given conservative Christians' preoccupation with homosexuality, people unfamiliar with the Bible may think it is replete with homosexual bashing from cover to cover. The sermon which I linked above by my former pastor lists all of the six places in the Bible deemed anti-gay, four of which however are highly interpretive and debatable.

Of the 66 books in the Bible, 2-6 places depending on who you talk to are all we can muster about homosexuality. And enter the very inconvenient fact that Jesus never even mentioned homosexuality, let alone condemning it.

Contrast that with just a quick search through the Bible with the word "poor" which yields 178 results. And they are just the ones which contain the word "poor" exclusive of my favorite verse: "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing," but I can count with just one hand the number of sermons I have heard on caring for the poor in my 20 years in Evangelical Christian churches.

Most conservative Christian pastors seem a bit too paranoid about sounding "liberal."

But once again, I am a Bible believing Christian and regardless of whether God spoke against homosexuality just 2 or 178 times, once is enough for me. God said it, and that settles it.

But still, why is it that nothing galvanizes and sets off conservative Christians like homosexuality does when the Bible does not come close to sharing their preoccupation and near obsession. Shouldn't what God says in the Bible dictate our agenda?

Social stigma reigns supreme, and long relegated to the backdrop is biblical truth.

Coming up - Part 3: Amazing Grace.

Comment Policy

It's very simple. Talk to me, not to other commenters. Talk about this post, not what other commenters have to say.

I wholeheartedly welcome dissenters as well as supporters, and hope to engage you in productive dialog, but I am not hosting a free for all debate forum.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I am "back"

Those of you who had to endure my April Fool's joke should understand my title.

If you are wondering how I wiped out all of my archives to make the joke more believable, read on. No, I did not go through each of my past postings and pull it offline. That would have been an all day project.

* Create another blog with its own URL. In my case, it's

* Copy and paste your real blog's template onto the new fake blog, so as to make it look real.

* Insert the following javascript snippet in the <header> tag of your real blog. Note the URL of my fake blog in the code.

// -->

Many thanks to those who fell for it. You are a good sport. It will happen again. I promise.