Is sorry puppy always supposed to be sorry?

This blog post discusses the phenomena of feeling the need to constantly apologize for one’s existence. It’s when “repentance” goes overboard.

Scenario I:”You always say, ‘I’m sorry.'”

I had only been talking to him for a couple hours and he was already psychoanalyzing me. Despite the brevity of exposure, his insight into my character was uncanny. After he made that statement I tried semi-successfully weeding out those two words from my vocabulary. Since then I have continued to make an effort to stop apologizing incessantly. Continue reading →

The Conundrum of Approval

“If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing.”- Margaret Thatcher.

approvedChapel with David Choi

In Chapel at Moody, we had a quest speaker, David Choi, from the church of the Beloved. One point in his sermon stuck out to me. He said, “We’re all trying to find security… We’re trying desperately to find validation in our identities.” He shared all the masks that he had worn throughout his life. Growing up as a Korean, he struggled academically to please his father. He always got A’s, but it was never good enough. Then he moved to a boarding school in the Midwest where everyone was smarter than him, so he tried to be the athletic and funny class clown. Then he went to Wheaton where everyone was a spiritual leader and president of their respective Bible Clubs, so he led a youth group. Then he went to seminary in Boston where he again wanted to fit in and show off. It was a never ending game of charades. Continue reading →

Walking in the Shoes of the Other

bEmpathy. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I am blessed and cursed with empathy. It’s one of my top 5 strengths based on multiple personality tests. Empathy is a curse for me because I readily understand the feelings of other people but I have almost no ability to express those feelings. This drives my wife crazy and creates much agony for me. I am finding some relief however through writing books. Some have asked me why I don’t understand the views of the Korean missionaries and criticize them so much. Well, I only criticize after knowing how they feel and figuring out what I believe will help them. For 24 years I walked in the shoes of Korean missionaries. Then I started walking in the shoes of former members.

Today I would like to share with you the most impressive example of empathy I’ve yet come across. If I am blessed with empathy, then my new friend Timothy Kurek is doubly blessed. Timothy Kurek is the author of The Cross in the Closet. Recently he did a TedTalk. Please listen to his story of empathy as it is highly applicable to our UBF situation. Can you walk in the shoes of a former member?

Continue reading →

Why would anyone ever want to be a Christian?

q(This is the reflection I wrote at the Midwest Summer Bible Conference 2015)

Luke 9: 25

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”

Desmond Tutu once said: “The church is meant to be a failing community”

“Follow me” are the most repeated words that Jesus ever said. It’s worth noting that Jesus’ most repeated command was not an imperative to a specific action (pray 5 times a day or recite a mantra) but an invitation to a relationship, “Follow me” means “come to me.” In this article my purpose is to answer the question: why would anyone ever want to be a Christian?

Continue reading →


eaToday is Independence Day here in the USA. It seems to be the most somber 4th of July I can remember. Quite a few people are exhausted from the culture war that was just concluded by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision. For me, the 4th of July holds special significance, and will always invoke great celebration for me! July 4th marks my personal day of independence from UBF. Here are some thoughts to mark the day I felt like a mighty eagle soaring above the mountains.

Continue reading →

Are UBF people and UBF churches humble?

PrideHumilityDo you belong to a proud or a humble church? Are you a proud or a humble person? How can we really tell if we are proud or humble? We might excuse our pride, since pride is a subtle and deceptive sin which surely inflicts us all in varying degrees. But excuses or not, God will hold us accountable and we will reap the fruit of either our pride or our humility. Continue reading →

Memorial Day 2015

m1Memorial Day in the United States is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives defending freedom. It is a day of somber remembrance and gratitude. For me, Memorial Day has come to have new meaning. After leaving ubf, I remembered former members discussing the suicides of ubf members. I decided to do my own research, especially about the suicide at Chicago ubf in 2005. I found L-Train reports and discovered that indeed, the former members were correct. There was a suicide in 2005. So I decided to dedicate Memorial Day with an additional meaning–a day of remembering those who chose suicide in the midst of their problems and the burdens placed on them by the ubf lifestyle.

Continue reading →

FOLLOW ME Means Repent, Deny Yourself, Lose Your Life and Make Disciples

“What did Jesus really mean when He said, ‘Follow Me?’” This is the title of a small pamphlet by David Platt that a friend showed me. I eagerly read it, since “follow me” is repeated at least 17 times by Jesus in the four gospels in the NIV, and implied countless more times. You might not realize it but “Follow me” is the most frequent command Jesus gave. (Incidentally, Jesus did not say even once, “worship me.”)

This pamphlet has three parts:

Part I. The great invitation (Mt 4:19; Mk 1:17).

Part II. The great cost (Lk 9:23).

Part III. The great change (Mt 28:19).

Continue reading →

When Right is Bad and Wrong is Good

rightwrong_0Constantly constipated. When I did what was “right” and played “by the book” I was rigid, inflexible, easily irritated, determined to “fix up sinners,” and rather condescending toward others (who are not like me!). Basically, I was constantly constipated. This lasted for about a quarter of a century from 1980 when I became a Christian to the mid 2000s. Then I began doing things “wrong” and began “breaking all the rules.” But very strangely and surprisingly, when I did what was “wrong,” I became happy, far more welcoming of others, and most of all my soul and spirit feels free, like an eagle soaring in the sky (Isa 40:31).

Continue reading →

The Value of Acceptance

aWe just want to be accepted. This is often the cry of humanity. And far too often the response (directly or indirectly) of the Christian church is: You are not accepted. Or more often: You must change in order to be acceptable. What do I want most as a former leader at ubf? I want to be accepted. I want to be known and accepted for who I am, not as some Shepherd X caricature, or as some sinner who needs to change into some preconceived ideal image. I don’t want to be known as some agent of Satan or as someone defined only by ubf. I want to be me. As Ben rightly stated in his recent article about my books, ubf will always be a part of my life story. Wherever I go I accept that ubf training formed much of who I am.

Continue reading →