Norman Yung

Salvation by Pain

This month we commemorated one year of Covid-19 lock downs. We experienced collective pain and grief over the deaths in Atlanta.And endured even more hardships daily in this season of Lent. In a book I started reading this Lenten season, I came across a reference to The End of Suffering by Scott Cairn where he tells about a monk, dying of cancer, who said, "Paradise is filled with men and women whose cancer saved their lives." This passing allusion stopped me in my tracks. How could cancer…


Burnout and Serving

Everyone is afraid of burnout Everyone is afraid of burnout. We talk a lot about spreading ourselves too thin, about over commitment, about work-life balance. Everyone seems to be concerned about self care… but is it really self care? I’m starting believe that what many are now passing off as “self care” when choosing not serving others or refraining from active participation in community is really a stubborn and perpetual self ignorance masquerading as prudence. We think, “Do less…


Reflections on Life Together in 2020

Indeed, the past year has been one of much loss, grief, and pain. Challenges in identity, community, ministry. Please forgive me getting this out after the year has rolled over. These reflections have been a long time coming. Longer than most of my posts here. I'm sure we'll still be processing for many years to come, but as we're looking forward with hope in 2021, I do believe that this past year has been deeply revelatory and forming for us as a community. Sunday Worship A few weeks ago,…


Advent 2020: We Wait

In this Advent Season, we are reminded that all of creation longs for things to be made right. Everything is not right and longs to be set right. The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Romans that "creation waits with eager longing... to be set free from its bondage to corruption," and we know that this freedom will come when Christ comes again to redeem, not only his people, but the whole world (Romans 8:18-25). This past year has revealed to us how broken we really are. Sin is…


The EmbRACE Study / 03

We're at this again? It's just after Thanksgiving -- and not a "normal" one at that. I must confess that the thought of having to engage in another race study... now... sounds... well... it doesn't fill me with excitement. My finger to the pulse of our church and immediate community is that we're tired of the subject, the outrage that once saturated our social feeds has reduced from a raging fire to a simmer (but I must add, still present nonetheless). But we expected this. When we, the…


Fighting to be Still

Pastor Rob gave us a very good word to consider this past Sunday from Psalm 146 in anticipation of this week and all the anxiety many of us may be experiencing regarding the election. Yes, as citizens and members of society, we are called to "submit our ballots," yet, as believers, we are not called to "submit our hopes." Still I find it difficult to completely detach myself from this contentious election race. I've focused my attention to some books. I've played several games of AmongUs. I've…


So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

Today is Halloween, or as the church has historically recognized, All Hallow's Eve or All Saints' Eve -- the day of preparation before All Saints' Day. The church has had a rich history with death and what it means to those in Christ, but it is lost to many of us today. Since death seems nearer to us in these past months of pandemic, I believe we can draw richly upon the witness and testimony of the church that has lived out its faith through the observance of All Saints' Day. When I first…


The EmbRACE Study / 02

This is our second post in our monthly church-wide study called EmbRACE, a repentance and study on race, society, and culture. You can find the first post here. Revisit our foundational calling. As we start our second study this week, we must not forget the foundation for bearing with one another in love from the first study. We will come back over and over to remember it is Christ who has brought us together. So no matter how different our views may be, we are called to strive to bear…


The EmbRACE Study / 01

It is a repentance This week, our church will be starting a monthly study on racism, systemic injustice, and white supremacy. We've called this study EmbRACE: a repentance and study on race, society, and culture. Now it is first called a repentance because we do not study this as a an external subject; we recognize from the start that talking about race in America requires that we acknowledge, not just to study the problems out there, but also in here -- in ourselves: the narratives we grew…


Cheap Worship

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is well known for coining the term "cheap grace," a fallacy in our faith where we think of grace as "the Church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost!" Alternatively, he urges the Church to pursue costly grace: "Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field... It is the pearl of great price... Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again…