Happy Tuesday, Internets


Yep, that’s me. Happy Tuesday, everyone.

How Reddit Has Helped Me Become A Stronger Christian


A Brief History Of Reddit In My Life

Besides checking my email and using Twitter and Facebook I would say that I don’t have a whole lot of browsing habits when it comes to how I consume information and entertain myself on the Internet. The fact that I am a type of web surfing gypsy traveling from one random website or app to another doesn’t really surprise me much considering that I have never consistently watched a tv show or subscribed to a magazine or newspaper. Maybe it stems from my deep-rooted fear of commitment and any type of structure in my life (which I’ve obviously been dealing with more and more the past few years).

But, somehow despite all this I have somehow developed one of my first habits/addictions when it comes to perusing the Internet. This addiction is Reddit and believe me, I never saw it coming.

Reddit, at least to me, is an awesome community that prides itself on finding the best of the web on a daily (and most of the time hourly) basis. The entire site is one big and super-active online social experiement that has been built up into one of the most visited and most influential places on the entire internet. I know that sounds like a big statement, but it’s true. If you need proof just read the story about how one random post on Reddit quicly turned into Stephen Colbert staging a full-fledged rally in Washington D.C. and over $100,000 being donated to his favorite charity. Yeah, I was pretty impressed, too.

Of course, even when the Reddit community is busy pulling off large-scale, national events they’re still the best source on the web for the most up-to-date, hilarious, shocking and interesting news on the web. That’s what Reddit was built for, it’s their bread and butter and it always will be. This constant flow of interesting news is the main reason why I first started making it a habit to check out Reddit via an app called Reddit Is Fun on my Android phone — multiple times a day. When Stephanie got an Android for Christmas last year she started checking Reddit all of the time, too which sometimes results in both of us browsing it in bed, in complete silence before we crash for the night. Yeah, it’s that’s good.

Reddit And Atheism Go Together Like Peanut Butter And Jelly

Just like with any healthy relationship, Reddit and I have our fair share of ups and downs. Although more times than not I feel like Reddit is a good-hearted community that pulls off some really amazing stuff, the one thing that I could do without is all of the Christian bashing that goes on over there all the time.

Personally, I’m not new to being around non-Christians — a lot of my friends, family and co-workers belong to that way of thinking, but the fact that Redditors can and often take it to a ridiculous level makes me question myself on why I continue to visit the community as much as I do. If you want an example of what I’m talking about you can take a quick browse over their incredibly active Atheism section. You’ll quickly see that nearly every, single post is against Christianity although Atheism is clearly defined as “someone who denies the existence of god”, not as being anti-Christian. Why they choose to focus on Christianity probably has to do with the fact that it’s the major religion in the United States, but it still doesn’t make much sense.

Should Christians Even Read Reddit?

As a Christian I need to constantly analyze where I’m spending my time and sometimes I feel like I should cut Reddit out of my life completely. Even though that might seem a little much considering that Reddit is just another app on my phone that helps me kill time, it was an important thing for me to recognize and has resulted in me spending a lot of time thinking and praying about how I should react to what I see posted on there.

One powerful thing that I’ve realized is that even though it’s a constant struggle to see the types of things that get posted on Reddit, I’m willing to deal with them and it’s actually a healthy way for me to face the more common objections to Christianity. By seeing what most Atheists cling to as their main objections to Christianity it allows me to question my own faith, which then results in me digging more into the Bible and talking with other Christians about it.

Most of the time this leads me to an answer that is aligned with my Christian beliefs, which is great since I’m then armed with something new when speaking to others about my faith. It’s not an easy process and it takes some dedication, but it’s one that I think works for me.

So in other words, being exposed to the anti-Christians on Reddit has actually made me a stronger Christian. Pretty interesting, huh?

Note: initially this was going to be a post about how it was nice to see a video posted by Christian musicians on the front page of Reddit (for a good reason), but I ended going in a different direction. I think this works, too so it’s all good. See the video below.

A Walk With the Family in Golden Gate Park

Today after we got back from church Stephanie and I witnessed a miracle, it was actually sunny outside (it’s been really, really rainy lately). To celebrate we decided that we would pull ourselves away from our wide array of screens for a couple of hours and go take advantage of the fact that we live about 50 feet away from one of the best parks in the entire world. That park, for all of you who don’t know, is Golden Gate Park and it’s kinda like the bomb.

We were excited to go snag some of the sun so we hurried up and got ready, grabbed Frank and headed out for a two hour stroll. Of course, when you head out for a walk in San Francisco you almost always end up seeing something you weren’t necessarily expecting. I guess that’s one of the perks of living here. Here are a couple of things that we didn’t really expect to see during our walk — enjoy.

The first thing that caught our attention was a huge crowd of all different types of people who were playing drums, dancing and singing together. It was nothing like we had ever seen before, kinda like a freestyle mashup of all different types of people who all happened to be hanging out at the same place at the same time. I even saw a couple of guys rockin’ a didgeridoo, which was pretty sweet.

The group was made up of black people, white people, Asian people, homeless people, little kids, hippies, hipsters and who knows who else. Even though they were all as different as could be, somehow it all just worked. This is something that I’ve noticed a lot since living in San Francisco — people can be as weird as they want and as long as they’re being themselves it all seems to work out.

As we walked through the crowd we had to stop and take it all in for a few minutes. During those few minutes I saw a young couple get yelled at by a homeless guy, an older man with a white beard scream like crazy to the beat of the drums and a younger hippie woman dance in non-stop circles. I also saw several guys with maracas.

There was a mother and daughter who were having fun, too. The little girl was dancing around and playing the drums. It was super cute.

After we left the drumming extravaganza we thought that we couldn’t top it. That is, until we walked up to the roller skating rink. Yes, there’s a roller skating rink in Golden Gate Park. We both really enjoyed the guy with the streamers.

Of course, we had to stop and snap a shot of the family. Awww, how cute. :)

Our walks are always awesome and they’re one of the few times when Stephanie and I can unplug from everything and actually talk to each other about some of the things that have been on our minds, which is super important for old, married couples like us. We both like to stay busy during the week, but making time for hanging out together is super important and something that we always need to make a priority. To be honest, I’m not always happy to be pulled away from my laptop, but when Stephanie does it I’m always thankful afterward. What an awesome wife, huh?

Our Congo presentation and why we need the Congo more than the Congo needs us

A couple of weeks ago Stephanie and I joined Gary, Anthony and Joan in a presentation about our mission trip to the Congo. It was on a Thursday night and everyone who was interested in hearing about our trip were invited to come out and listen to some of our stories. The presentation was a way for us to share some of the amazing experiences we had while over in the Congo as well as a way to cloose the loop on the entire trip from a church-wide perspective.

What I mean by closing the loop is that by inviting everyone out and allowing them to hear and see what we did while we were in the Congo it lets them get a better feel for why we went, what we did while we were there and how it has affected us. This is a very important thing to do as the church body gives a lot of money each year to support both short and long-term mission trips, so it’s good for them to see where the money goes and how it gets spent. It also brings back a strong sense of being part of a church community that is doing some incredible things (like going to the Congo) in the name of God, which is also very important.

Before the presentation all of us decided that we wanted to tell our story of the Congo in a way that was beyond just listing out our goals for the trip and how we checked each one off of one by one. Instead of talking about how we helped out the people of the Congo with this and that we decided to put more of a focus on the realtionships we built why we were there and how we’ve realized that we need the Congo (and these relationships) much more than the Congo needs us. Each of us chose someone who we had built a strong connection with while being over in the Congo, which ended up being a pretty easy decision for all of us. We felt like by focusing on these relationships we built as opposed to the things that we did everyone would get a much better sense of what truly impacted us while being in the Congo.

Stephanie quickly chose Sarah, who became an amazing friend of ours during the trip. Sarah has one of the most amazing stories of survival that I’ve ever heard and despite the fact that she has been educated in the United States and could get a job with pretty much anyone she wanted, she still chooses to make her home in the Congo where she is making an incredible impact. She’s super awesome and she has a pet monkey. Like I said, awesome.

Sarah gets ready to translate Gary’s sermon to over 2,000 pastors. No pressure.

Sarah strikes a pose in her house

When it was my turn to present I talked about two guys who made a big impact on my trip, Texa and Zubusu. Texa and Zubusu are some of the most loyal and hard-working guys I have ever met. They both live and have families in Kinshasa, but they always seem to be traveling throughout the Congo helping out the church in any way that they can. Texa was our main contact while we were in Kinshasa at the beginning and end of our trip, which meant that he was there to pick us up when we first arrived in the Congo (I was never so happy to see him) and he also made sure that everything went smooth on our way out. Like I said many, many times while being over there — Texa is my homeboy.

Texa poses with his kids and Zubusu’s wife and kids

Zubusu, my other Congolese homeboy, is one of the best dressed guys I’ve ever met and as Gary puts it so perfectly, “is a beautiful man”. Wherever the president of the church was, that’s where Zubusu was, too. Like me, Zubusu has a serious passion for taking photos and video which meant that he was always running around getting great footage of all the people and places he saw each day. If he wasn’t holding a camera he was usually translating Lingala for us and doing other things that helped make us all feel as comfortable as possible. Like Gary said, Zubusu’s a beautiful man.

Zubusu and Gary at the pastor’s conference before the opening service

After the presentations we showed a video that I was asked to put together as a way to highlight some of what we did during the trip. The fact that I was forced to have something ready to show finally motivated me to edit up some of the hours and hours of video we recorded while being there. It wasn’t easy to squeeze 3 weeks of a trip into 3 minutes of video, but I think that it will give you a good sense of what life is like in the Congo and will also show you some of the experiences we were able to have while we were there. You can view the video below or over here.

As you can see, we definitely need the Congo a lot more than the Congo needs us.