Tuesday, August 30, 2005

spam spam spam

No, its not a Monty Python skit. Unfortunately spammers have found my blog. I have no clue how that guy found out I need a "male enlargement treatment"... ahem.....but if I want that information made public on my blog I'LL post it, thankyou. Anyway, folks, I guess I need to resort to that annoying speedbump where you have to duplicate the fun house mirror letters in order to post a comment. I know... but heck, what significant thing were you going to do with those 10 seconds it takes to log in? Its a fallen world, even in blogger land powered by Google and Microsoft. sigh.....

Monday, August 29, 2005


When I was a child, I did not know that it was too soon after World War II that my father married my mother, Nellie Kim Yuen Ching. When my father took her home to meet his parents in Cabot, Arkansas (just north of Little Rock), my grandmother looked at my mother, then at my father and said "We sent you over there to kill them, not marry them." After I was born, the first grandchild, my Grandmother warmed up. When I was two, she used to put me on her lap as my granfather drove around downtown Little Rock and have me yell out the car window "HEY JIGABOO!" to the Black people.

I'm what we call "Chonky", half Chinese, half Honky.
I was called "Chinky-loo" on the playgrounds in elementary school. My father was transferred to Taiwan in the early 60's and I was a half-breed there too. The Chinese kids saw me as "White", the white kids saw me as "Chinese". It was just wierd to both of them that I brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch in a brown sack and not rice in a rectangular tin box.

By the time I got to high school we were far enough removed from the War that only the reddest of the rednecks would make fun of me. Then Cheech and Chong put out their first album and Bruce Lee became popular. For once in my life, I was actually racially cool. For the last 35 years I've not experienced anything like my childhood. Here in Arizona people ask me if I'm Mexican sometimes, or Indian (casino Indian, not tech support Indian...). Some guess Chinese. It is no big deal, but there always seemed to be a part of me that was like some old pictures and souveniers of a nearly forgotten time and place pushed far under the bed in a shoebox. You know its there, you even know what's in it, but you only think of it at odd times, and you never take it out to look at it or show anyone.

I became Orthodox and learned about all the great Saints of the Middle East, Russia, the Balkans, and even America, but even they were Russian or Aleut. I was a stranger of race once again. Then I saw an icon of the Saints of the Boxer Rebellion. Chinese Orthodox Christians, martyrs. One of my kids bought it for me for last Christmas. And it drew me in.

So tonight at the supper table my wife says, "Its time to cut your beard." She has seen me looking at the icon of the saints of the Boxer Rebellion. At 53, I'm Chinese. I'm white bread American. I'm Orthodox. And I'm home.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Tree of Life

Eden lost. The Tree lies asleep, a lace of twigs against the darkening ice gray sky. Where is the Man and the Woman to whom it was to give life? Why is it naked like the Man once was? Why does the earth devour its fallen, umber rotting leaves?

Its limbs twist and reach to heaven, to earth, to no where. In the fullness of time, it will find Heaven and Earth, The Man, nailed to its branches. He opens the sky, He brings the Light.
He is the Leaf fallen yet incorrupt, neither is He devoured by the earth. And in the naked glory of His suffering the Tree awakes and once again gives life, Eden is restored, and Man is given the Fruit of Life.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Winter's Day

Boston, November 2004, Holy Cross.
I realize that I am approaching the winter of my life. My father in law has brought a sense of mortality to our household. We watch him plunge inexorably into the abyss of his disease. He will eventually be speechless and helpless, a 190 pound infant. He will die in the same state he was born in, absolute dependence on someone who might love him enough to care for him.

There is a cold beauty to death. It is the blessed curse, the end of life spent in the bleakness of corruption and struggle, futility and the stark, chilling cursedness of the consequences of human sin. It is also the leaving behind of beauty, the still-green signs of life and warmth and resurrection, of love. Its curse is that it confirms the solitariness we brought into the world through the breaking of our communion with God. Its blessing is that it ends the inexorable plunge into the abyss of corruption and defeat and loneliness. The winter never quite destroys all life, sin never quite destroys the image of God.

Yes, sin separates, its winter is a cold and lonely place. We sit in the snow, yet among the trees, in the cold and yet in the sun, alone, yet loved, waiting for this mortal seed to bear the fruit of eternal spring.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Unexpected Beauty

I was washing my drywall tools in the far corner of a client's back yard and saw the bush with these one inch round yellow berries split open exposing their brilliant ruby seeds. Such a small occurrence in the grand scheme of all creation, so easily missed. In a couple days the seeds are fallen and rotting black, the berries split and brown. Just goes to show that if we don't pay attention we'll often miss the best stuff God has to offer. (click on the image to enlarge it... I know...you probably already knew that, but I just learned that trick a few days ago.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Full Moon

Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, Scottsdale, AZ
(I just figured out: click on the picture and it gets bigger! Wow... ain't technology cool?)