Author's details

Name: Joseph
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Joseph Yoo: Looking for Guest Posts — September 17, 2014
  2. Joseph Yoo: Non-Negotiables Part II — September 16, 2014
  3. Joseph Yoo: Speaking of God (Guest Post) — September 15, 2014
  4. Joseph Yoo: Overrated (and My Moms) — September 9, 2014
  5. Joseph Yoo: Imagine Ride — September 8, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Joseph Yoo: So. Is God a Republican or a Democrat? — 2 comments
  2. Joseph Yoo: That’s Enough! — 2 comments
  3. Joseph Yoo: He Is Out of His Mind — 1 comment
  4. Joseph Yoo: Non-Negotiables — 1 comment
  5. Joseph Yoo: Non-Negotiables Part II — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Sep 17 2014

Joseph Yoo: Looking for Guest Posts

Original post at


If you want to share your thoughts on this blog, please leave a comment with your contact info. Don’t worry, I won’t allow that comment to go public (all comments on this blog have to be approved by me before they go live).

The reason why I reached out to a bunch of my former students to get them to share their thoughts and insights was born out of a pure self-serving and lazy place. I just wanted to keep this blog updated regularly.

But it’s been real neat to read the posts from my former students. It’ll be cool if they (or you) want to continue to be a contributor. I have no qualms of changing the URL from into something more inclusive and give Grantland a run for its money. (Ha!)

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Please keep it faith-related (which is generic enough, right?)
  • Please don’t write a novel.
  • Please be appropriate (and I laugh at myself because I’m one of the most inappropriate persons around). What I mean is — don’t be hateful. Don’t be crass or offensive for the sake of being crass or offensive. Don’t write for the sake of trolling. Or don’t single someone out in a shameful way. We’ll discuss things in detail if you’re interested.
  • Please follow through. If you say you’re gonna do it, please do it.
  • AND — know that I have the final say if the post goes live or not (and have the right to edit)

I hope those aren’t too limiting.

So, leave a comment if you’re interested and we’ll talk.

As always, thanks for reading!

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Sep 16 2014

Joseph Yoo: Non-Negotiables Part II

Original post at

Recently, I posted a blogpost about my Non-Negotiables when it comes to my faith and beliefs. I wrote it for my blog and didn’t really censor myself (not that I said anything bad) but it was picked up by Ministry Matters (for which I’m grateful).

I wrote that for me; to explain what I believe — what will never (though, never say never…?) change in my theology. It wasn’t about what others should believe and how their non-negotiables should be my non-negotiables. I wasn’t forcing anything onto others. It was just a “here’s what I believe” post.

I find it funny how a few folks were unsettled about what I believe.
They wanted to know if I subscribed to a certain atonement theory.
Or what about the resurrection? (I’m sorry I didn’t bring that up — to me it’s such an obvious that I didn’t even think twice. Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity.)

Who cares what I — someone you never met — believes in? I’d understand that you’d be concerned if I was trying to force you to believe what I believe. I wasn’t. I was just laying out what I believe for the sake of updating my blog.

But what I really need to do is to stop feeding into my ego by reading comments left on Ministry Matters or checking the traffic on my blog.
It does nothing but fills my big head with more air. I don’t need any more air, I need substance.

But there’s a desire to fix how someone thinks about you; or fix the way they interpreted what you wrote. Of course that’ll never happen. You respond to a comment, they’ll respond and you’ll have to respond to their response and you start going down this rabbit trail of responses.

In the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I love talking about what people believe. Love navigating through one another’s non-negotiables. Love talking about why our beliefs may differ on certain points. I love conversations like that. But the sad thing is, those conversations are far and few between because somehow it seemingly always devolve into “you need to believe what I believe in to be a good Christian” and “I’m right, you’re wrong.”
Recently, I had a conversation about Ferguson and Darren Wilson and that conversation ended with me being chided to “keep an open mind.”
What they really meant to say was, “You need to think like I do.” (Just a quick recap of that convo: All I was saying, even if Wilson had a broken eye socket — at the time was still unconfirmed– he’s still alive to let it heal. I couldn’t — and can’t — bring myself to think that Wilson did absolutely nothing wrong. Why I bother even getting in these conversations is beyond me…)

Which led me to write this post for Ministry Matters, inspired by a sermon that my District Superintendent gave at our church.

We all want to be in the right and want everyone to think like us — but we’re less invested in being righteous. Because being right is more ego-pleasing and easier than being righteous.

Anyway, if my non-negotiables were unsatisfying to your tastes, I apologize. #sorrynotsorry

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Sep 15 2014

Joseph Yoo: Speaking of God (Guest Post)

Original post at

(This is a guest post from another former youth student. They wanted to remain anonymous. He was a great kid and has grown up to be a great person. She's bright, deep, insightful, smart, and on top of all that, has a wicked sense of humor. It seems like he is on the path on becoming a pastor and the Church would benefit from such a leader.)

Psalm 131:
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like a weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.

“Where are you from?” is a very complicated question for me.
My dad called me “Original Texan”; my grandpa called me a “Dallas Cowboy.” But I attended elementary school in South Korea. Every year on the first day of class, teachers did a student demographics survey. Teachers would ask, “If you were born in this providence, raise your hands.” And a few raised their hands in response. After the teachers named all the providences, they would notice a missing hand. “Someone is not paying attention here. Who did not raise their hand?” Then, all eyes turned to my reluctantly-raised hand. Teachers interrogated me, “Where YOU from?”
Then, my family moved back to the States, to a small town in New Jersey. It was a homecoming, I thought. But when I first stepped into class, they noticed my skin color – which sadly is still considered foreign in this country – and my name and my accent. They asked, “Where are you from?” I replied, “Texas.” Then, they asked again, “No, no. Where YOU from?”
After some years, I transferred to a school in Virginia. They asked, and I replied, “New Jersey.” They responded, “No, no. Where YOU from?”
Then, I moved to Georgia to attend college. They asked, and I answered, “Virginia.” They responded, “No, no. Where YOU from?”
“Where am I from? Where is my home?” I believe what is described in Psalm 131 is where my “home” is. In this place, I don’t have to be anyone; I don’t have to do anything. Here, I am just a little child, one of many members of “home.” Here, I am a clueless kid, who does not know much. I am also a weaned child, who does not necessarily have to be with its mother. I have been given the freedom. It is up to me whether to stay home or not. But I still remember the feeling of being fully dependent on my mother’s milk, still desire the feeling of being “home.” So I choose to stay and my soul is like a weaned child with its mother.
Here, I find contentment, security, and trust.
Here, I am calm and quiet.
Here, I am loved.
Here, I am “home.”

I am from here and this place is indeed special to me. I was raised here; I was fed here; I was disciplined here. This place shaped my life styles and principles. I cheer for this place, and I cry for this place. I want to live for this place, and I want to die for this place.

Here, I am no longer a stranger and an alien, but I am a citizen with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-20). If you strip this place away from me, I will be an orphan without foundation, without identity, without refuge, and without hope.
I am from this perichoretic community, the house in which the Triune God dwells.

My trust is in here.
My hope is in God forever.

And I pray the prayer of David: that “I could live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple (Psalm 27:4).”

So let me ask you today a question that you probably have never been asked before, “Where are you from?”
“No, no. Where YOU from?”


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Sep 09 2014

Joseph Yoo: Overrated (and My Moms)

Original post at

I finished reading Eugene Cho’s book, Overrated over the weekend.
It’s a tribal thing, but I always want to support fellow Asians, particularly Koreans. It’s why I need to watch The Walking Dead. It’s why I have a copy of Better Luck Tomorrow on DVD. It’s why Jim Lee continues to be my favorite comic artist (it didn’t hurt that I discovered his drawings as a teenager with raging hormones). It’s why I sat through the stupid movie Lucy. It’s why I went and purchased Snowpiercer (awesome movie, btw). It’s why I used to root adamantly for Jeremy Lin (and will continue to root for him when he is no longer on part of the Evil Empire known as the Lakers).
Basically, there was no way I wasn’t going to buy his book.
I’ve also had few small-talk conversations with him here and there.
And when I was in Seattle, I went to his church and spent an hour or so talking to their youth pastor and getting a tour of Quest Church and Quest Cafe. They’re doing great things through the grace of God.

I liked the book. I’d recommend it. It was a fast and easy read. Some of it struck a nerve. I am more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world.
But him being a Korean-American, there were many things that I could relate to his story and his experience.

He went through a season where he had to find another job and ended up working as a custodian for Barnes and Nobles. That part I cannot personally relate to. But when we moved to America, my dad had no church and no job. My father in-law, when they moved to America had no church and no job. I think he may have worked at a dry cleaners to help support his family.

But there’s one story that really got me.
Eugene’s mother was visiting him and he got up early in the morning to head out to work. He was trying to sneak out because his mother was already up praying (another thing I can relate to — both my parents and parents in-law rising early in the morning to pray) and also because he didn’t want to tell her that he was working as a custodian to help make ends meet (Eugene and his wife had just welcomed their second child).

But she saw him about to leave and asked him, “Where are you going?”
Eugene decided to stop withholding the information about his employment and told her that he was a custodian and was heading out to work.
She looked at him and walked towards him. He didn’t know what she was going to do. He talked about the many times his mom had physically disciplined him (another relatable anecdote) and thought maybe she was going to raise her hands again. But she walked right past him, and went to the closet to grab her coat and said (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.”

I had to pause a little bit after I read that. Because in that story I saw both my mom and my mother in-law — both who have sacrificed so much for their children and continues to do so and will continue to do so.
My mom and mom in-law have shown us what it means to live a sacrificial life — to give and give and then give a little more.
If either of them saw any of their children in the situation that Eugene found himself in, they, too, will look at us and say, “Let’s go together. I will help you.”

Their love for their children knows no depth or boundaries. Because of them, we are able to have a grasp of how great God’s love for us is. And, because they have so faithfully modeled it for us, we know what a sacrificial life can look like and have no excuse to not emulate such a life.

I’m thankful for the role models I have in my mom and mom in-law.


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Sep 08 2014

Joseph Yoo: Imagine Ride

Original post at

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Andy Mattick and Mark Witman and the great thing that they are doing to raise awareness for Imagine No Malaria.

They are biking 570 miles throughout our North District in the California-Pacific Annual Conference in about a week with the goal to raise $25,000 to save 25oo lives.

Their story and commitment to Imagine No Malaria is awe inspiring. Their sacrifice and generosity is contagious.

Andy came to our church and preached. And he killed it. That’s after biking a 120 miles the day before and 40 miles to get to our church.

I hope you’ll check out their website ( and check in on their progress, catch up on their story and why they’re doing this. I also hope that you feel compelled to help them reach their goal of saving 2500 lives.

Andy & Mark, you guys are awesome!

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Sep 03 2014

Joseph Yoo: Non-Negotiables

Original post at

I’ve come a long way in my faith and my beliefs since high school.
I was heavily influenced by the conservative, immigrant fundamental-esque beliefs.

I no longer think I’m there any more. I hesitate to use the words “evolve” or “progress” because that’s denoting that those beliefs are not quite — well — “evolved.” And that’s not fair to those who firmly stand in their beliefs — many of whom are dear people to me.

But there is a stark difference from who I was 10 years ago (entering seminary) and who I am today — for better or worse.

And I feel the constant need to grow; to explore; to question; to discern; to prove; to research; to debunk; to embrace; to learn; to test etc, when it comes to God and my faith.

Of course, this can lead me to sway with the wind; or embrace whatever the theological flavor of the month may be for that season.

So I had to lay out some non-negotiables when it comes to my faith and beliefs.

  • Jesus is the Son of God
  • Jesus died for my sin
  • Jesus gives us a fuller, better picture of who God is and reveals God’s heart to us
  • I believe Scripture to be an integral part of my faith. I believe that the Bible is God-breathed and God inspired. I strongly disagree with people who reject scripture because they feel that it is not relevant; it’s an anthology of human writings; and so forth.
  • Prayer is a vital part of faith.

There are more, but those are just a few of the bigger things.
I started thinking of these things because of conversations with folks I had in Seattle. During that week, I also finished reading Revival by Adam Hamilton where he writes

The evangelical gospel without the social gospel becomes spiritual narcissism; the social gospel without the evangelical gospel fails to address the root problem of the human condition and leaves us without the power to be transformed and renewed by Christ (pg 117).

I was reminded of how much we try to make it an “either/or” game. If you’re an evangelist, you’re not going to be concerned about social justice. If you’re all for social justice, you’re more an advocate than a believer. Of course that’s a general statement.
But it’s funny how many times I’ve been asked, “How can you think that way?” as if I’m supposed to subscribe to one line of thought (and many argue that I should).

I realize that my world views are still changing and growing. And personally, I find it hard to hold onto the same beliefs I’ve had since I was 16 when everything else about me has changed since 16. The core of my beliefs will always remain the same(my non-negotiables) but I enjoy being challenged with new thoughts whether I agree with them or not, because it forces me to think about why I do agree with them or why I cannot agree.
I’m not the smartest person in the room. I don’t think I’ll ever be. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I’d be more concerned if I was the smartest person in the room. But, God gave me a brain and I — for the most part — enjoy using it.


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