Brief Bio

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Quezon City, Metro-Manila, Philippines
I am a runner, pastor, sociologist, teacher, and missionary. After living in Chicago for 6 years, I discerned a call to go to Manila, Philippines to live and work among the urban poor, and combine my passions for ministry, running, and the oppressed. After serving in the Philippines in 2012 and 2013, I returned to the United States for two years to finish my dissertation, get ordained, spend time with my family, and work at a neighborhood center in Kansas City. Since then, I have been working in the Philippines with Companion With the Poor as a missionary. Each day I look forward to how God will direct my steps as I live into His work of restoring a broken world.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Journey of Communication

I have been on a constant journey to learn the art of communicating over my lifetime. This is a journey that all of us take, at least beginning from the time we take our first breath.

This seems to be more and more important today, in an age of so many forms of communication. From billboards and marketing to smart phones and Skype to Facebook and E-mail, I feel as if I am daily learning the art of communicating my thoughts (or how I would communicate if I had the access to various forms of communication - i.e. billboards, magazines, newspapers, etc.).

The blog is another place that I have been learning about over the last few years. In some ways it is such an unexplored place of communication for me. But in other ways, it is a unique space that Facebook, E-mail, cell phones, and face to face communication don't offer. A place where I can say things more freely without feeling the pressure of how I am perceived.

In that way it may even be a closer representation of who I am than texting or Facebook. Though at the end of the day I believe who I am is Paul. A complete self. Whole. Not different from Facebook to texts to blogs to an actual real life human being. People may see us from different angles through all of these mediums of communication, but at the end of the day, we are one person.

All that said, and the reason I say all this in the first place, is that I came across the following quote today and wanted to share it. The weight of it is quite heavy. Thus I feel like it needs a more serious medium to communicate it. While I could text it to a friend or group of friends, or even post it on my Facebook wall, I feel it belongs here, on my blog.

"The favorite devise of the devil, ancient and modern, is to force a human being into a more or less artificial class, accuse the class of unnamed and unnameable sin, and then damn any individual in the alleged class, however innocent he [or she] may be." - W.E.B. Du Bois

I have done this and seen it in others with my work with "the homeless" in the United States, the "slum dwellers" in the Philippines, India, and Thailand, and even the "rich" in America and around the world. I have found that when we get to know people for who they are, human beings, they each have a unique personality and incredible stories. I do think there are times, as one of my mentors argues, when we need to try and understand corporate, cultural, economic, religious, and geographical "personalities" in order to better understand the sociological factors that influence people from the outside in addition to the psychological factors affecting them from the inside. But to use this as a way to accuse and damn people wrongly is both wrong and unnecessary.

I ask forgiveness from God and everyone reading this for the times that I have put people in a box, or what Du Bois calls an "artificial class", and have "accused (these) class(es) of unnamed and unnameable sin" and "damn(ed) (these) individual(s)", "however innocent he [or she] may be." Admittedly I have done this with the "rich" as much as the "poor." And with my actions and thoughts as much as my words.

Ah, the journey of communication.

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