Thursday, January 12, 2006
The Anh "DANG...you're going to New Orleans?" Interview Part 2
10. You mentioned Pastor (Tim) Keller, a well-respected Presbyterianpastor in NY, as one of your heroes, could you briefly describe whohe is and why exactly do you consider him a "hero"?
Tim Keller is the senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NewYork City that has a vision of building a great city through the gospel movement that "brings about personal conversion, community formation, social justice and cultural renewal in New York andthroughout the world." For me, heroes are people who can identify a need, make a plan, organize resources, and take action. Tim Keller has an amazing ability to speak truth and cast a vision for thekingdom of God that inspires and challenges all to think more deeply about how to live out faith.
11. Pastor Keller's church (Redeemer) is known for it's diversity. What have you learned at that church that has helped you in dealingwith diverse people, especially living in NY? What advice and encouragement would you give to a church that isn't necessarily diverse racially or social-economically? And why do you it's important to be diverse?--dan… this isn't a question I necessary agree with. redeemer isn'tactually a diverse church at all… it's made up of mainly Asians andCaucasians, highly educated, mostly middle class and upper class,young adults. It's basically known for its great teaching, mainly Tim Keller. They have a church planting model that is great and highly encourage people to take part in the local churches and communities. So although I still listen to his sermons and follow what is happening at redeemer, I actually go to a local church and serve there. What I realize with going to the local church is how much more connected you are with the body of believers and how that keeps you accountable for how you live out faith. With a smaller community, you can make so much more impact as a whole than being in a huge community that is disconnected with each other.
12. Recently you have made it known that you have quit your job in NYand will be going to New Orleans to help in the "recovery" process. Could you briefly explain what you will be doing there and what you plan to accomplish?
Just to clarify, although I have quit my job, I am not actually moving out of NYC and moving to New Orleans just yet. I am actually just taking an extended time to do some relief work in New Orleans and hopefully return to NYC when my time in New Orleans is finished. I will be going down to New Orleans with some friends to continue the relief effort to restore a sense of hope to the community there in NewOrleans by working with some relief organizations(www.commongroundrelief.org) and churches and helping families rebuild their homes. part of my return to new orleans is doing research for a project exploring how design and technology can be applied in ways to create awareness of social issues among groups which hopefully will then generate activism for social justice.
13. How did you know that God was calling you to New Orleans? How do your parents feel about the decision?
In all honesty, I'm still a bit baffled about how all this have come about. I think God has just provided the best circumstances for me to do this in terms of being able take a break from my jobs and do some off site freelance work and concentrate on doing some relief work and doing research for another project and being able to come back whenever. Sometimes, I think you just have to take a leap of faith and see where you land. as God has richly blessed me with amazing experiences in my profession thus far, it seems like a good time to take a break in the midst of transition to give back what I've learned and practiced and apply it to a cause that is worthwhile. Since I took the leap, it has been surprising how things just fall into place in terms of people, especially my employers and my parents, being incredibly supportive and encouraging. All in all, I think being there taught be the importance of presence in the midst of disaster that restores hope to those who may have given up hope-- which is the very essence of what Christianity is about. If we can live our lives giving hope to others, it will bless them, bless us, and bless the Lord. There's a quote from CS Lewis that I particularly like in terms of embracing the moment for God's glory:" happy work is best done by the man who takes his long term plan somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment "as to the Lord."it's only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. the present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received."
14. I get the impression that you see your life as some kind of "journey" and New Orleans being one of the destination. In your life,what directs you in your journey and how do you know you're going in the right direction?
I do see life as a sort of journey and New Orleans is actually more of a tangent than not. I'm a bit of a Calvinist in believing the God has predestined our journeys and paths. And so I guess what has been important for me is to just continue to walk on in faith and trust in the Lord. And the hard thing is sometimes it's hard to walk on in faith and trust in the Lord. But all of that is part of the journeyand part of growing in faith. In the end, I guess the journey is more important than the destination.
15. How can we pray for you?
Please pray for restoration and healing for the people in New Orleans and all other disaster stricken areas here and abroad.Please pray for all the volunteers who come down for good health and good spirits.Please pray that wisdom and grace and love be evident to those we interact with. 1 peter 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thingin which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.