Photo by Roe Utena

Photo by Roe Utena

By Eun Joo Angela Ryo

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.  –Dr. Seuss

Authenticity.  What comes to your mind when you hear the word?  It takes me back to when I was in eighth grade.  The first week of my eighth grade year, my counselor called me to her office and told me that I was missing one class.  After looking at my schedule and checking available classes, she sentenced me to death.  Well, not literally, but she might have well had.  She told me that the only class available for the open slot in my schedule was theater.  “Theater?  As in going up on the stage and acting?”  “Yes,” she responded.  I started to cry and through my tears I protested (as much as a shy 13-year old could):  “Please, I can’t…I’ll fail…I can’t…act.”  She simply smiled and said “You will be fine.”  Right.

The next day, I was drafted to the dreaded acting class.  Completely frozen in fear, I stepped out onto the stage with the rest of my classmates who seemed to be excited as chipmunks.  As I stood on the stage and looked out at the empty auditorium, something squirmed in me.  I was expecting fear, but it was the feeling of freedom that surprised me out of my skin.  Or rather, I should say, into my skin. Remember the transformation of Elsa in the Disney movie Frozen when she finally decides to “let it go”?  Had I known the song and if my life was a musical, I would have bellowed out that song right then and there:  “It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through, no right, no wrong, no rules for me… I’m free!”  Something opened wide inside of me, and I quickly realized that I was born to act.

Since that glorious moment of self-discovery in eighth grade, I tried my best to live a life that truly reflected who I was on the inside.  Finding myself and living it out hasn’t always been as easy nor glorious as I had once thought.  Rather, many times over the years, I was paralyzed by fear and pinned down by judgments both others and I would place upon myself.  I was afraid that in living out my life freely as the person which I thought God had fearfully and wonderfully created me to be, I would disappoint others and fall into sin. It was easier to pursue after perfection rather than my true self; it was easier to believe that a good child of God only needed to pray and read the Bible in order to attain to God’s holiness.

However, the more I struggled to be my authentic self, it dawned on me that it was really the other way around: A true child of God lived out her prayers and let the Bible read her.  With that came the realization that my holiness is not measured by how “perfect” I am but how much I am aware of the “image of God” that has been imprinted in me and recognizing that image in others.  God has made me unique and without mistake; I’ve come to realize that discovering that image is a courageous and holy pursuit.  I think Elsa said it best when she sang, “Let it go, let it go; And I’ll rise like the break of dawn; Let it go, let it go; That perfect girl is gone!”  Indeed, instead of a perfect girl, I would take a flawed woman whose inside matches her outside any day.

Eun Joo Angela Ryo immigrated to America from Korea when she was nine. Having graduated with an MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, she currently works as a full-time certified ESL teacher for undocumented unaccompanied minors at a non-profit organization under the auspices of the Office of Refuge and Resettlement.  Angela has completed the pastoral ordination process in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is currently seeking her first call for ordination. 

In Praise of Women

Photo by Rama V

Photo by Rama V

By Diana Gee

For the life of me, I cannot stomach watching shows like The Real Housewives of Some North-American City. I find them odious and glorifying the worst in human relationships. Jealousy, envy, pride, and gluttony all mashed together in artificially constructed female fraternity. Please pass the trashcan. Other shows do marginally better in depicting
“real” women’s lives. But if I pay attention, I do not often find stories of strong female characters relating well to other strong female characters.

I am also hard-pressed to find examples of female friendships in the bible that is not somehow connected by a father, husband, or son. Continue Reading »

Made as a Woman

Woman's Silhouette in WindowBy Ann Chen

A well-known female preacher recently wrote some reflections about the treatment of women around the world, and recounted her own experience facing discrimination as a woman in ministry. As I enter a season of transition from being overseas to stepping into full-time ministry in the States, I’ve been recounting my own journey as a woman navigating a call into ministry.

I don’t think I’ve faced the type of overt discrimination I’ve heard others go through: women who were told that they had no place in the church except in the nursery, others who were hit back with 1 Corinthians 14:34 if they expressed any opinions, even others who were told that a desire to go into ministry was actually sinful and of the devil. Continue Reading »

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And So I Wait

Photo by Mike Behnken

Photo by Mike Behnken

(In her previous post, Tina shared her inner ache to serve in Christian ministry again, even as a mom with a baby girl only just turned one.  A continuation of her reflections…)

By Tina Teng-Henson

I do not shape my life or direct my steps. I do not even know if I will have a tomorrow, honestly. Continue Reading »

Photo by Kasia

Photo by Kasia

By Melanie Mar Chow

How do we know Jesus loves us?  Not just the ways the Bible tells us how much the Father loves us, how Jesus sacrificed his life for us as an act of love, or how we love because Jesus first loved us.

I have been considering this more and realize that people need to know about the powerful love of God in more tangible ways.  As a campus minister, I am reminded by the honest cries of youth.  Continue Reading »


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