These recaps are basically monthly Scrum standups (for those familiar with Agile methodologies).

March brought with it plenty of new responsibilities - every Monday night was spent at Parent Trust on Rainier Ave for a birthing class and every Thursday night at church preparing for our annual Praise Night, which takes place next Friday (April 12). Those activities meant there wasn’t much time to go to the gym. I also experienced some renewed knee pain, which set me back some more and kept me out of physical activities for almost 2 weeks.

On code

I did Code for the Kingdom at the beginning of the month and got a chance to reconnect with some old coworkers from FB and Amazon, make some new friends, and stay up late coding, something I haven’t done for a few years (last time was probably the TUNE mobile game hackathon). I stayed up until 6am the first night, but hit a point of diminishing returns where anything I tried to do was buggy. I got pretty demoralized and went home to sleep in my own bed. I woke up and spent about an hour fixing the bugs that I had introduced. I presented at the end and tied for first in the only other project that fit into the “existing project” category, but it meant I got some money. I slept for 11 hours that next night and still took several days to catch up to my sleep.

I streamed some programming. I’m hoping to keep streaming. Some of the impetus is to try to evolve as communication mediums evolve; some of it is because I want to try to build a platform to see if I can do it. I also just think it’s fun and something my work style may be geared towards; I think it would make the most sense if I started actually working on something open source, so I could stream that work.

On books

I finished reading God and the Transgender Debate. Honestly, the book was just okay. It wasn’t too long. A lot of it seemed to overlap with Is God Anti-Gay?, a book I read a few years ago by Sam Allberry. I thought there was some pretty valuable defining of terms and some cultural background for how we have arrived at this point in time and culture. The book defined sex as being male or female per our biological anatomy and gender as being the cultural expressions/experience of being male or female. Gender dysphoria is the feeling or sensation that one’s sex and gender do not match, and being transgender is the more active living out of one’s gender dysphoria, be it through hormone injections or gender reassignment surgery.

Other than that, there was exactly what you’d expect to find in a Christian book on the topic:

Love does not mean unconditionally accepting and encouraging someone’s worldview or actions - it is very necessarily possible to love a person without loving every thing that they believe. We live in a sinful, fallen world, and gender dysphoria is just one result of that. The experience of it is not sinful, but whether we embrace/entertain it. We’re all broken - albeit in different ways - and so the cost to follow Jesus may also look different, but it requires all of who we are, no matter who we are. The homosexual sacrifices everything, just as the heterosexual. Someone who is transgender sacrifices everything, just as someone who is not transgender. Jesus makes it possible to have life to the fullest.

There were some interesting points around use of pronouns (should you call someone their preferred pronoun?) and bathroom laws, and there were a few places where I was surprised that the author took a stance more geared towards acceptance/love rather than trying to “stand up for the truth.” I was also surprised that the author had to tell parents not to disown their kids or kick them out of the house (I thought that should have been pretty obvious, but apparently not?).

Part of why I picked the book up was because I saw in the summary that it would talk about how to talk to kids about sex/gender. But it didn’t feel like anything was particularly new. The chapter was a microcosm for the book itself, hitting the same points - God created us in a particular way, with a particular design. Because of sin, sometimes our own passions or desires will contradict what God had designed for us. So even though we may feel gender dysphoria or same-sex attraction or the desire to look at pornography or hit our enemies doesn’t mean that we should. But beyond the content of our response - the way we respond (are we doing so in assurance of love?) will also make a big difference with our children. As Jesus did perfectly, we must do what we can to be full of both grace and truth.

I haven’t picked up another book yet. In the Bible, I’ve been going through the minor prophets - I’m at Zephaniah right now, so I’ve nearly gotten past the prophets and into the New Testament.

On parenting

I learned a lot more about birthing from 4 (now 6) weeks of birthing classes. More than I wanted to know.

Suzi was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so she’s had to watch her diet pretty closely and check her blood sugar multiple times a day, which was pretty rough at first, but she’s been doing well lately and has taken the adjustments with grace.

We’ve been thinking about parenting a lot too. Parenting in a silo seems pretty difficult; parenting amongst other parents seems like an order more difficult. We sort of joke with our friends in Asia about how strangers always think their babies are cold (and consequently, that they must not be very caring or conscientious parents), but realistically, getting remarks like that on a constant basis would certainly wear on me. I have little interest in receiving any sort of comparison or judgmentalism.

Furthermore, it seems to me that children are so different from one another that there’s no great monolithic strategy for parenting. From reading the first few chapters of Shepherding a Child’s Heart, I do agree that what parents ought to strive for is not their children’s adherence to their opinions or preference, or their children’s unhindered will to do whatever they want. What Christian parents ought to be most concerned for is their children’s posture towards God. That may mean that my daughter may not be amazing in the ways that I would want her to be, or perhaps amazing at all - but I am firstmost concerned with her having a right understanding of God (and consequently herself).

I do, though, realize that there are a handful of things that really matter to me about having a kid, probably a lot of which comes from my own parents’ parenting. I want our daughter to be a hard worker, self-controlled, empathetic, humble (not needing to call attention to herself). I don’t want her to be snobbish or arrogant or to get by in anything without exerting effort. I care considerably less about how fast of a runner she is… but I still care that she’d have the mental and physical stamina/composure to finish the race. I know Suzi has a whole different set of values that matter to her. I think you hope that your kid will take the best parts of you and your spouse, but… who knows what she will take from us and what she will bring herself. I’d hope to parent at my best, but I’m sure sleeplessness and fatigue and anxiety changes you… you never parent at your theoretical best. It’s like physics.

… Who knows what this will be like. I’m painfully intimately aware of my own foibles and flaws, as I’m sure my parents were aware of my own. I’m sure I’ll be aware of what my daughter is good at and what she’s bad at.. But I hope I’ll be a father whose worst days - and best days - are covered by the grace of a perfect Father.

On faith

I had dinner with a friend from the midwest who I hadn’t seen in five years, since my wedding. He had grown up in the Christian faith and left it during college. He said that some of his friends and family hadn’t received it well and didn’t really treat him the same anymore. He also talked about the faith required for Christianity and the endlessly high standard of work required to please God.

I get that, at the end of the day, it’s faith, but I think every other worldview requires a similar level or class of faith. Everything has logic holes and inconsistencies. I think Christianity is just as viable as anything else… in fact, I think it’s the most complete worldview, all things considered. But of course I would say that. I didn’t tell my friend any of that though. I didn’t want to have an argument about it, and I didn’t think it would be compelling. We believe what we want to believe, not because we looked at all of the data and made the objective decision.

I mostly just said that I thought it sucked that his path away from faith seemed pretty normal among other people I had gone to church with over the years, who spend time around Christianity, even calling themselves Christians, and walk away because they don’t see anything to it. I think it sucks because I look at the same thing and I can see everything through it, just as CS Lewis said that “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” I see the mystery of the incarnation and resurrection and an undying hope and an unshakable kingdom with an upside-down order. I see community committed to one another, existential relief, deeper purpose than myself, redemption of personal value outside of myself, and a set of seemingly opposed qualities perfectly held together in God. I found out that everything I had longed for so vigorously (a home, a family, a perfect day, a perfect love story) was actually true.

Everything else

At work, we did some personality/team building thing called Insights Discovery, apparently based off of Carl Jung’s work on personas. It was actually pretty helpful for me in terms of being able to put a finger on what I feel sometimes and why I respond the way I do.

My longest run was just under 8.5 miles on the SLU -> Ballard -> Myrtle Edwards Park -> Belltown loop, but was thwarted by knee pain. I had to stop after 5, managed to run for 2 more before stopping again, then finished. The frustrating thing was that I was stopping feeling pretty good from a cardiovascular standpoint.

We went to some of our friends’ Chinese wedding. There was a big hot pot dinner one Sunday night with a lot of people. Played tennis with a bunch of others from church at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island.

That was about it

That was about it. I’m more than two weeks late in getting this post out. I tried a slightly different format this month in delving into some of my thought processes.