Crunchatize Me.

I just ate not one, but two of the best bowls of cereal I’ve ever had.  And you know why they were so milk-slurping, sigh-of-relief loosing good?  Nostalgia.

Back when I was a wee little lad who dumped bowls of cereal into the toilet when I either didn’t like the cereal or didn’t want to finish it, cereal was always a bit of a hit or miss.  I knew what Rice Krispies Treats were like, but I was in for the most unpleasant surprise of my life when I decided to opt for the Rice Krispies cereal.  Expecting bits of puffed rice swathed in the most delectable of marshmallow cremes, I was met with individual, non-glazed, bits of rice that strayed so far from sweet that they were almost counted savory.  It was a mortifying experience after I ate my first spoonful, only to realize I had an entire box of this nightmare-inducing breakfast option left.  Ever since that first experience of Rice Krispies, the appetite for the cereal has eluded me.

Living in my household, any food that was colored (read: anything that was American) was denied me due to the artificial food colorings in the food.  This being the case, rare was the occasion when the Captain would visit my pantry.  It was always a party when the Captain was around.  Before a healthy infatuation with the physique of Captain America à la Chris Evans, it was Cap’n Crunch who stole my heart. Whether it was the sweet taste of Original Crunch, or the festively-colored Oops! All Berries, the Cap’n greeted my palate with a pleasant crunch (although I personally favored my cereal a bit soggier than crunchy, but not to the point of dissolving) and a bright blend of berries and buttery breakfast fare.

Today’s bowl of cereal brought all of that childhood cheer back into my life.  Rarely one to eat breakfast nowadays,  I remembered the joy and anticipation that came with hearing Cap’n Crunch tinkle into a glass bowl, gallon of milk ready on the side.  Something about the chill of the milk in tandem with the crunch and flavor of the cereal produced a shiver of recognition back to a time when life was simpler; Saturday morning cartoons were still a thing, and breakfast was a daily routine, since thirteen, a chubby fellow on the scene (sorry Biggie).  Anyhow, as I tipped the bowl into my mouth to finish off the colorfully specked remains of udder water, I happily reminisced on youth, and how nice it is that we’ve never quite left it behind us, even when we think we have.


Hay Fever.

The lonely flowers roar between the trees,

as snowfall graces withered golden leaves.

Some clouds of white in royal sky do yawn

upon the song of dusk’s dear friend, the dawn.

The blades bend forth with every silent breath;

from green to grey – a gradual passing death.

A wind, a gust, a gale, a squall, a storm

does rob the land of all that might feel warm.

So, small pebbles arise with time to show

that nature guards itself against its foes.

And mountains gaze into the forest land,

content to know that they shall always stand.

The sun awakes from linear slumber now

to shine upon the ocean’s wavy brow.

The swell and fall of endless love between

the ocean and its heart, the shore, is seen.

As stars guffaw beyond the atmosphere,

the planets rotate freely without fear.

But comets fly around and try to feel

the gravity of their lifelong ordeal.



Not I, but Christ.

Something that has been weighing on me lately is the notion of who is in AACF, as well as the slightly discouraging talk of people looking for other fellowships.  I’m going to take a moment and be honest – numbers don’t matter to me, but people I’ve grown to expect to stay deciding to leave does hurt me.  I’m glad that God has taken the opportunity to lead me to dust off my keyboard and actually embed some thoughts into digital paper on this thought because I can be forthcoming and genuine about the burden that’s on my heart; I should also really get back into writing, and I figure a journal entry would be the best way to lubricate the rusted fluidity.

But I digress; returning to the topic of membership in AACF, as well as the fear of people leaving AACF for other fellowships, I believe that the anxiety has been slowly finding roots in my mind, and the attitude bears some alarming signs for how I’ve developed in my faith in recent times.  I think the core of this mindset is best approached through two questions: why do I feel hurt when people choose to go to other fellowships, and what does being a member of AACF mean?

The first question is a question regarding who I am jealous for, and how involved I am with the membership of others in AACF.  The honest answer to why I feel hurt when other people opt for another campus ministry is I feel like I’ve done something wrong.  I feel torn between not representing Christ well enough and just being a miserable, wretched person – both of which can be true, but might not be the precise reasons why people search elsewhere for fellowship.  I wonder about the thoughts going through the heads of others and attempt to make efforts to reconcile with them, thinking that a change in my own character is enough to sway their opinion of AACF as a fellowship.  I look around at the brothers and sisters and stand amazed that they seem to not notice the departure of some members, and that bewilderment turns into scrutiny of our own individual characters.  I feel hurt because sometimes budding friendships get cut off by virtue of not sharing a fellowship any longer, and it’s a shame because when did going to another fellowship mean that we don’t worship the same God? When did it mean that I couldn’t even be friends with them?  Once these two accusations come in mind, the gravity of the situation is magnified, and my own faults are shown properly to me; not only do I believe that I have failed to express Christ’s life in my own life, but also I have lost sight of what it means to be a member of the fellowship.

Being a member of the fellowship does not mean that the members are the only ones who know Christ.  We’re all broken people, coming together in fellowship that we might know, to a greater depth, our perfect Savior, Jesus Christ.  Being a member of AACF does not mean that my friend pool is limited to those in AACF; it merely gives me a close community with which to share my experiences of Christ.  However, it need not be the only community in which I may share Christ because Christ’s sacrifice has adopted me into a family with numbers exceeding imagination – a family that I will never know to completion over the course of my entire life.  Being a member of AACF does not mean that I have to have a certain personality, social standing, or otherwise.  It does mean that I have the privilege of knowing many other believers, all at different points in their walks, and understand the characteristics of God through their various stories.   Being a member of AACF is not a binding contract nor is it a matter of allegiance; being a member of AACF just means that God has placed me in this fellowship to meet with these brothers and sisters at this appointed time akin to what Acts 17:26 says.

What is missing, what has been changed, and what has been dishonored is the truth that God is the one who is sovereign over all things.  I feel hurt when other people go to other fellowships because I take it personally; had I half of Phinehas’s jealousy for the Lord and His people, I would see that they are not departing from the faith, but finding other believers to fellowship with and adding to the family that we are all a part of.  My jealousy is a personal jealousy, not a divine jealousy, and my endgame has departed from wanting to see more souls enter God’s kingdom to being a personal validation of worth through a statistical insignificance (in God’s time).  I have not been a member of AACF seeking Christ to be exalted; I have been a proud human seeking recognition by way of membership numbers.  For this, I repent.  I have lost sight of Christ and His glory.  I have misunderstood His will in leading people away from AACF.  I have forgotten His mercy to me and to countless around me, in AACF or otherwise.  In the end, Christ is who we need to express in our day-to-day lives, irreverent of who is watching or who’s approval is garnered.  We are not seeking the praise of man, as I have been, but looking ahead to the day we humbly kneel before God and join Him in His kingdom, singing His praises.  If I am properly representing Christ to the best of my ability and people are pushed away from the fellowship, praise the Lord.  If I am living out the life that He lived and desires for me to live and people are encouraged to join AACF more, praise the Lord.  My only desire is that I may die, and that Christ might live in me, in every part of my ministry and service, bringing glory unto Himself.  For in the end, He alone is worthy, and my greatest boast shall not be in the weakness of my flesh, but in the overcoming, conquering, victorious work that He has wrought in my life.  May we continue pursuing Christ magnified in our lives, and may we see ourselves gradually become transformed into mirrors of Himself.


On Biographies.

As children, we were always familiar with fairy tales and fantastical tales of gargantuan ventures.  From Jack and the Giant Bean Stalk to Cinderella, the aspect of magic captured our hearts with possibilities of greater possibilities and worlds apart from our own that seemed familiar enough to relate to, but just distant enough to engender awe and rapt attention.  The interaction between characters, the internal striving of the protagonist – it was all rather enthralling, and we stepped into those worlds bright-eyed, eagerly absorbing the new adventures that people before us had encountered, waiting as our own adventures began.

Speaking personally, my tryst with fantasy novels and adventure stories has long ended, laying slain by the wayside.  Its murderer is reality, and the effect of becoming enamored of what the present, tangible world has in store for me.  Clashing swords no longer ignite excitement quite like tragedies inflame the soul, and the latter does wonders to make one feel like a true participant in the misery of the world.  The things that preoccupy me, my peers, and my generation are the things that I have become attached to, and the appetite for frivolous compositions found in whimsical narratives no longer exists.  This is not to say that those stories have become irrelevant all over the world; I am, after all, just speaking for myself.

So if yesterday’s narratives of princes and rescues are now replaced by stories of anguish and modern trauma, what kind of reading material shall I seek? The news, perhaps, with all its photography and subtly masked bias?  Non-fictive fiction, which details the lives of people walking the sidewalks of modernity? Or perhaps I might subscribe to the notion of cinema becoming the modern novel, and live my life vicariously through onscreen adaptations of modern living.

All of the above are accurate, but my opinion as of late is that they are not the best answer.  It’s true that the news is jarringly realistic, as it is (supposed to be) a presentation of the actual events unfolding around the world.  Non-fictive fiction, like The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, is fascinating because of its inherent proximity to life as it truly is.  Movies are brilliant because it removes the necessity to even imagine what characters look like, and it places you right in the thick of things.  However, I would say that as of now, the aforementioned “best answer” is biographies.  I have recently picked up “Heavier Than Heaven” by Charles R. Cross, and it chronicles the life of Kurt Cobain.  Now, although I haven’t listened to much Nirvana (which some people might find offensive), the story of Cobain’s life coupled with the Cross’s writing style have made the experience of reading the story comparable to hearing Cobain dictate a third-person view of his own life.  This sentiment also applies to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s autobiography (I think?) entitled “I am Zlatan.”

What sets biographies apart from the three previously mentioned genres is that biographies (and autobiographies) are about people who lived out this story of life until their own individual ends.  Excluding author bias (which is excluding quite a bit in some cases), this is the chronicling of someone who has finished their race, and the re-telling of things that they encountered all along the way.  Because biographies are centered on people, the emotional encounters and mental travails are all, one way or another, familiar to us in our own daily lives. We may never reach their level of fame or reputation – though this should not discourage us from trying. However, at their core, they were also participants in this eternal pool of humanity, and their stories flow alongside stories of other people, people who may very well be going through the same circumstances in a different class.  These narratives become enveloping in their reality, and I believe that they have replaced fairy tales and fantasy novels for me at this point in life.  Anyhow, enough with writing – it’s time to learn about someone else’s life and experience what they might have experienced.  The stories are seemingly endless in their complexity, but truly infinite in their contribution to a greater understanding of humans and the people around us.



It is again the time to change,

to fly and leave this humble plane.

This lumpy body’s soft comfort

shall be exchanged for winged fame.

Attached below a branch’s shade,

the merry fellow curls halfway.

His head and limbs are useless now

and his old skin he does betray.

Once free of skin, he winds up tight,

he holds in close his inmost thoughts.

A shell around him slowly forms

that will bestow some polka dots.

And so he waits, and waits, and waits.

A pair of wings instead of feet!

But soon he finds, within that shell,

his metamorphosis complete.


Del Playa.

This may be a dangerous post to write, but perhaps those are the posts actually worth writing.


The above link is something that is being shared by friends and schoolmates of mine as of late, both past and present.  By all means, I encourage whoever reads this to go and sign the petition; it is a call to action to stop the making of a film that seems to bear a vague relationship with the May 23rd tragedy that occurred at UCSB due to the film being insensitive to the tragedy.  I have not watched the trailer, nor have I done any research on the film itself and what it is actually about.  For all I know, it could be an unfortunate misreading of a low-quality film’s premise because of the emotionally charged location and plot.  What the people sharing this have said about the film is that it glorifies the shooter, that this is what he would have wanted, and that the making of this film is profiteering from a tragedy that affected thousands of students – all fair sentiments to be shared.

However, two things give me pause about this sudden deluge of protests against the film: the disintegrating clarity of rights and the limitation of human sympathy.  I’ll start with the more unsavory of the two so as not to leave my readers with a bitter taste in their mouths.  The notion of rights being infringed upon here is evident when we take a step back from it emotionally: the freedom of speech.  It is possible to claim that the film is infringing on public order, in which case someone who is vehemently against the production of the film might take Berger Bros. Entertainment to court.  However, at the core of it, what is being called for is the prevention of some people, however misguided in the context and plot they chose, from expressing a story that they want to convey.  Now, this statement comes not with support of their actions, but in defense of an idea; the more passionate among us might challenge this claim by asking, “Well, why don’t I make a movie glorifying the terrorists who flew the planes into the Twin Towers?,” to which I respond, “Because you have the decency not to.”

The interesting thing about having freedom is that it can be abused.  Just yesterday, in fact, we had Bible study and went over 1 Peter 2:16, which says “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (ESV). While not all of my readers may be believers, this notion itself still can apply; it’s about how to use the freedom we’ve been given.  As a believer, that freedom is the freedom to operate within God’s will because the freedom is not a freedom to act on my own, but a freedom from sin.  In the same way, the freedom of speech that we have all been given according to law is a freedom that can be used to encourage and a freedom that can be used to disparage.  How we choose to use our freedom is based on our individual sense of respect for one another and the imagination of how other people would respond should we choose to say one thing or another – which brings me to the limitation of sympathy.

It hurts my heart thinking about the incident, and even the poem written soon after the shooting could not fully encapsulate the fear, sadness, and disillusionment that followed after.  Nevertheless, this depth of sorrow only extends to the realm of my own personal experience, for no other tragic shooting that has happened across the nation brings me to a yearly remembrance of the tragedy each year with a deep personal sadness.  There are certainly people who feel the anguish of tragedies that occur across the nation, much less across the globe, and yet fewer still are those who consistently remember global tragedies with a deep personal investment.  In many ways, the tragedies of Sandy Hook elementary, or many other shootings, are only remembered when something similar has happened.  Our compassion only remembers with repetition; that is to say, we only recall tragedies when similar situations occur, and it compiles into a vast amount of temporary grief.  Perhaps it’s that we haven’t learned anything from these tragedies which brings them back in different manifestations time after time, or perhaps it’s just that for all of our ability to commiserate, we prioritize our sympathies based on our own personal experience.  People who rarely share these types of posts have been seen sharing this one, and why this one? Why not share about any of the atrocities occurring around the world?

Our hearts are far too small to help one another; our brokenness is illuminated by tragedies, and we are loathe to gaze on it, believing that we have progressed.  We believe that our world is getting safer, that people are learning to love one another more.  And yet, look at the darkness that is filling our world.  We are so overcome with grief that we have forgotten to love out of the grief; we seek justice too soon, we dry our tears with our fists.  For those of us who believe, it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves lest anyone should boast.  We have been loved from the depths of grief.  God is not pleased that we bear sin’s shackles, but His great response to that sadness is sacrifice, and with sacrifice, a love that sets us free.

I do not support this movie.  I do not support the glorification of perpetrators of tragedy.  This is my opinion.  But, I do not want this single case to arouse my sympathies; I want my sympathies to extend around the world that exists within the boundaries of “all nations.”  Because if I am upset at this case but not the circumstances of people being killed on the other side of this planet, I am involved in too small a vision.  The only effect that will bear any useful fruit from this opinion is to be loving towards all around me, that they might share a similar view of the world – perhaps even the view of the world from the eyes of one who believes in a God who loves perfectly.  It may sound naive, perhaps, to believe that the desires of people to profit from tragedy, to commit enormities, to discourage those around them can all be changed by loving more.  And yet I know how I have been changed by the love of my Saviour, and so I believe.