The Halloween Trifecta: Kids, Sugar, and Fear

Let me just get it out here at the start: I don’t celebrate Halloween.Now, let me explain. There are lots of things associated with Halloween that I really like. I like costumes. I like kids. I love candy. But there are other things associated with Halloween that I’m not keen on—things like gigantic, gaudy, blow-up lawn ornaments and freaky movie previews that interrupt my otherwise tranquil TV viewing.Even as a kid I wasn't a fan of Halloween—which says a lot because I’m a big fan of fre … [Read more...]

This Halloween, Read a Scary Story and Embrace Inscrutability

In the Peanuts universe, Linus waits every year for The Great Pumpkin to appear on Halloween. When the avatar of Hallow's Eve fails to materialize, Linus cheerily embarks on another year of expectant waiting. The other characters think he is fanciful at best and a lunatic at worst. Perhaps only those of us who still have our blankies can understand Linus's peculiar faith, but is it possible that he is privy to some knowledge that every other Peanuts character lacks? Even if there is, … [Read more...]

And Now, Some Brief Last-Minute Advice About Dressing Up on Halloween

Maybe your October has been as much of a whirlwind as mine has, and your thoughts about a Halloween costume came to mind a little later than usual. Perhaps you are still wondering how you can pull off a costume for your post-work party tonight or for shuffling the kids to the neighborhood Trunk or Treat. Whatever the case may be, it's Halloween, TOMORROW (or are you reading this on Halloween? In that case TODAY) —and perhaps you still need a costume.Picking the right Halloween costume can be … [Read more...]

Why I Raised My Voice (and Encouraged Other Asian Americans to Do the Same)

I am not, by nature, a rabble-rouser. I’ve been teased and marginalized by others countless times due to my Asian ethnicity (despite the fact that I am a natural-born American citizen), but no matter how much these incidents stung, I would say nothing and keep the memories deep inside. Whether it was due to my own insecurities, a desire to avoid conflict, an inability to articulate an adequate response, a fatalistic perspective that nothing I could say would change anything, in all those moments … [Read more...]

The Burden of Saying Goodbye to a Dog

"The last enemy to be destroyed is death." -1 Corinthians 15:26 We first met Lacey in a pet store in Raleigh, North Carolina. My wife and I had been married about eight months and had decided to take the next step in married-adult responsibility: getting a pet. We quarreled over how big our dog should be. I wanted a larger dog, like a Labrador. She wanted a lap dog, like a poodle. Lacey was a Shetland Sheep dog. She was eight weeks old, black and white with tan on her legs, and she was perfect. … [Read more...]

It’s World Food Day! Do You Know What It Means to Be Hungry?

I've said it, and I'm sure you've said it too: I'm starving. I know that I've never truly been starving; I've been incredibly hungry, but never starving. It's a phrase we use to describe our momentary hunger, not a pervasive state of our daily life. World Food Day gives us an opportunity to consider those who endure harmful, unrelenting hunger—and how we can use our plenty to make a difference for them, both the chronically hungry in our own neighborhoods, and those with even greater physical ne … [Read more...]

Taken for Granted: Why the Church Must Acknowledge Illness

There's an old adage that insists we take our own health for granted until we lose it. For me, that wasn't quite the case. I took my own health for granted until I saw my dad, riddled with cancer, lying on a bed parked in front of the television in his living room; until I saw him struggle to get up and walk to the dinner table on his last Thanksgiving; until I heard him hacking and coughing in the bathroom for what seemed like forever. I took my health for granted until the latter half of 2011, … [Read more...]

Finding the Heart of God in a Bullying Prevention Campaign

Looking back on my growing up years, I’d say the tweens were the worst. Late elementary school and into middle school were marked with plenty of drama. Friendships felt tenuous as girls often bonded over the common enemy of the week. Romantic interests were fleeting at best. Staying steady in this tumultuous environment was impossible. In my immaturity, I grasped at whatever straws of security I could get my hands on. Sadly, those straws included adding my laughter when my circle found someone t … [Read more...]

Should We Be Offended by a Sacrilegious Hamburger?

A Chicago burger joint angered Catholics this month by creating what might be the first ever sacrilegious burger. “The Ghost” is topped with goat shoulder, red wine sauce, and an unconsecrated communion wafer. All of Kuma’s Corner's burgers are made in honor of heavy metal bands: “The Ghost” honors Ghost B.C., a Swedish band whose music and persona mimic the Roman Catholic Church, reversing the imagery to worship Lucifer instead of the Christian God.Despite the Archdiocese of Chicago’s protes … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: From “Yay!” to “Uh..” in Record Time

Russell Moore writes, "It's another week and thus another interview with Pope Francis." Indeed, we are unaccustomed to hearing so very much from the Bishop of Rome, least of all from media sources. Normally we hear lots of words in Italian or Latin uttered from Vatican balconies, homilies and declarations of a head of state and supreme pontiff, and we move on to something else. Not so with Francis. From the moment the white smoke plumed from the sacred chimney, he's been cutting a different … [Read more...]