Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kairos: Done Right, Right Now

My family of three (D, D and I) we believe God speaks to us everyday in the most subtle, sometimes obvious ways.  As we were driving a huge u-haul out of the city of Orlando in August, we were crying our eyes out as we left behind my mother, a family, a loving piece of our hearts.

"Was going to New Jersey to attend seminary worth all this anguish?"  I thought.  With a deep sigh we arrived at that place where sadness is still a burden, but crying is no longer physically possible.  A deep silence filled the cabin.  I imagined what was going through my children's minds, "Mom is crazy," "How could she do this to us?" I was afraid to ask.  But when I was getting ready to doubt, Dysere suddenly broke the silence and said with excitement, "Look! I think God is talking to us."  She pointed to a white van next to us on the highway, the cling wrap advertisement read: "Done right. Right now."  And with the faith it requires, we received those words on a commercial van, as a divine message of affirmation that brought us peace.

The first semester of seminary is almost over.  And I am convinced being here is God's will, at God's perfect time:  Kairos! But that it's God's Kairos does not mean, all is sugar and spice and everything nice.  The sugar and the spice is that God has reunited us with new family and friends. Awesome people. Blessed people.  Words cannot do justice.  Except that sometimes I dive into my "outer body experiences" and look around me and wonder, "Heaven will be something like this.  God's chosen, God's faithful, God's beloved, God's holy, all reunited.  A place of peace were language, race, ethnicity, background, ideology, christology, history, geography or even our christianity cannot divide us, but make us richer.  I am very proud to be amongst those who will be the next generation of the most influential world transforming Christian leaders.  I see it.  I believe it!

All may not seem nice to my mentors and friends who knew me before seminary, when I share how my world view and my christianity has changed in the last four months.  But I warn you,  if God producing change was not nice, then I would have never stopped being an irate atheist.  God brought me to Drew because God wanted me to change, to grow.

On Friday was the last class of the Hebrew Bible (HB) course (Old Testament -OT- in the Christian vernacular).  This class was most challenging and fun!  Fun because I am a huge OT groupie.  Challenging because today I am not! (And my mentors gasp!)

I'm not a fan of the HB, as I used to be a groupie of the OT.  There is a difference.

As a groupie of the OT, it's significance relied only in the ways it affirmed the beliefs of the New Testament, which undermines the text in it's own virtue.  I am now passionate about the Hebrew Bible as the sacred text of a tradition before ours.  A collection of world views; of communities that formed their identity as they wrestled with their idea of God, just as we debate and wrestle with it ourselves. If anything, through their eyes,  my God is becoming bigger.  Major change: I have resolved to refer to it as Hebrew Bible, honoring those voices that still resounded in Jesus' voice and are still resounding today.  Nothing OLD about it!

During this process I got angry at God.  As we explored authorship of the HB texts, historical backgrounds, analyzed Abraham down to his DNA; Oh Abraham!, I started to question:  "Then why preach it?"  "What am I doing here?"  I see myself as a teacher and preacher to the core, now the foundation of my calling was in shambles.  I was angry and God was patient with me.   I was angry about seven years sitting in a pew listening to what now seemed to me a huge joke! I felt cheated! But in the process,  I felt God's gentle and warm affirmation,  that it would all come together in the end.  I am still reconciling, so there is a BIG "Under Construction" sign by the demolished building I had constructed. "And all is well."  I am enjoying not having absolute answers and the new found freedom in asking our sacred text the hard questions; questions we've been taught to shy away from.

This is God's Kairos for my formation as a pastor, preacher, and teacher, because I am not restricted by the unspoken rules within the structure of a church.  I am free to explore, debate, and ponder alongside my Lord, and a community of diverse theologians the Christianity God wants me preach, teach, and explore in a future, I am not concerned with right now.

As for my family, we are happy at Drew.  I have seen my girls become best friends and make friends with other SKs (seminary kids).  Drew is also a training ground for future PKs (pastor's kids).  I have seen them experiment with their faith and I know God is becoming bigger for them as well.

Thank you God, as always in your Kairos all is done right, right now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gifts and Family~ Regalos y Familia

I have been showered with unexpected presents this week. They came to me in the most appropriate time, as I recovered from a bad cold and the freak snowstorm in October that have messed up my mojo. I can honestly tell you that DREW set out to shake and rumble my life in all aspects and has succeeded!  But I will share more details about that later. For now I just want to be thankful!

Thanks Betsy Kutcha for the awesome blinged-out baggie! It is so convenient since 
I no longer use purses unless absolutely necessary! Plus no one else has one of these!
Custom made for me and I feel so special.  Thanks for such a thoughtful detail!
Who's in the picture?  Yes, you guessed it!  New Kids on the Block! 
So precious to go to the mailbox and find 5 young hot men who take me
 back to feeling like a 15 year old all over again! Thank you mamacita Sarah Ro, 
you will never know how awesome was to receive this at a particular special timing.
Gracias a mi nueva mamacita Michelle, de Mexicali Mejico, Ay ay ay,
quien no solamente nos regalo una deliciosa cena, chiles rellenos de camarones y queso, salsa y arroz, sino que tambien me regalo este cuadrito que tiene una lista perfecta de reglas para la familia.

Ciertamente nada tiene que ver esto con los regalos.
Certainly all this is not only about the gifts.

Se trata de la gente detras de cada regalo.
It's about the people behind each gift.

Alguno regalos son palpables, otros no.
Some gifts are palpable, others not so much.

Pero pequeños detalles nos recuerdan que tenemos una familia 
extendida que te mantienen a ti y tu familia en sus pensamientos.
But details like this remind you that you have an 
extended family that keep you and your family in their thoughts.

Tambien me recuerda ser mas detallista y considerada con aquellos a quienes considero familia.
It also reminds me to be more mindful and considerate with those I consider family.

Y con los extraños tambien, especialmente.
And with strangers too, specially.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Strung Together

"I will sing a new song to you, my God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you," --Psalm 144:9

I must start this my first blog (two months!) after arriving in Jersey by saying: "I Love Drew!"  Today is the perfect example why.  Music is everywhere in this place from the chirping squirrels, the sounds of the organ at Chapel, the melody of deep conversations striking in every corner, and today strings being strummed to different melodies, sentiments, with words or without.

My little Dysere joined the school orchestra and chose to play the cello.  After a few incidents that kept us from getting the cello we finally were able to rent it and bring it home today.  The days of the persecution are over.  If you know Dysere you know she can be a persistent bee!  So Dysere's strings are potential melodies she will weave in community with her classmates and we are excited!

Chris Ramirez playing at TOE.  
 Tonight we had the delight to hear play Chris Ramirez and Talley Summerlin at The Other End (TOE) on campus.  What a treat!  Both Chris and Talley are our neighbors, both their wives are completing their PhD at the Theo School and their children play with Dysere.  They are both talented singer-songwriters. I truly enjoyed their music.  Chris' songs are deep and his voice carries the words with intense emotion.  Talley's songs are melodious poetry that  reflect on the daily "little things" and invite us to take action.  Visit his website at or Like him on Facebook. 

Talley playing at TOE.

Video quality is not good, but sounds great!

Finally, on my way back from TOE, I headed to the lounge in my building to microwave some pizza.  There sharing string music,  two beloved friends Efrain Zavala (Arizona) and Michael Howard (Kentucky).  Both also super talented, playing two of my favorite worship songs, Señor Eres Fiel/ Lord You are Good and Eres Mi Respirar/ This is the Air I Breathe.

Efrain and Michael practicing for worship.
Video quality is not good, but sounds great!

It is so nice to see how music strings us together.  Breaking all boundaries men may rise, God makes us one through the language that has not need for words or supernatural knowledge.  Music builds community and make strong families stronger.  God Bless and Peace Out!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Event Plan: Road Trip!

To-Do-List B4 We Go
- Making a Budget Plan- This   requires  discipline to stick with it!

- Print Google Maps
- "Get Cash", said the lady who always pays with debit.
-Pray and Talk to Self until calm.
-Do not loose the To-Do Index Cards!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Follow Our Story

We want to share our journey with you!  
A year ago leaving Orlando was not part of our plans whatsoever.  But in trusting God, We have followed the path He has laid 
before us and; What do you know?
It lead to New Jersey. 
Check here often to read our adventures! 
We trust there will be plenty!