Morning jam.


Five Great Works of Russian Literature & Theology

Check out some great Russian works you may have missed:

Notes from the House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Long before Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago came Dostoevsky’s Notes from the House of the Dead, a compelling account of the horrific conditions in Siberian labor camps. First published in 1861, this novel, based on Dostoevsky’s own experience as a political prisoner, is a forerunner of his famous novels Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov.

Icons and the Name of God by Sergius Bulgakov

In Orthodox theology both the icon and the name of God transmit divine energies, theophanies, or revelations that imprint God’s image within us. In Icons and the Name of God renowned Orthodox theologian Sergius Bulgakov explains the theology behind the Orthodox veneration of icons and the glorification of the name of God. In the process Bulgakov covers two major controversies — the iconoclastic controversy (sixth to eighth centuries) and the “Name of God” controversy (early twentieth century) — and explains his belief that an icon stops being merely a religious painting and becomes sacred when it is named. This translation of two essays “The Icon and Its Veneration” and “The Name of God” — available in English for the first time — makes Bulgakov’s rich thinking on these key theological concepts available to a wider audience than ever before.

Head over to EerdWord to read about The Meaning of Life by S. L. Frank; The Justification of the Good by Vladimir Solovyov; and God as Love by Johannes Miroslav Oravecz.

For future reference.

—(via c0gnaclilac)


Le Gogh


Le Gogh

Blogging over at http://gentilenextdoor.blogspot.com and being more or less consistent with it. Not saying goodbye to Tumblr just yet but I won’t be here as often anymore :)

Bilbo, soft around the edges, and Gollum looking like the Crypt Keeper. #vscocam #vsco #Hobbit #weekendreads

Bilbo, soft around the edges, and Gollum looking like the Crypt Keeper. #vscocam #vsco #Hobbit #weekendreads

Ann Voskamp

(I don’t think doing your hair is wrong… CLEARLY. But I do think doing hard and holy things is far more important)

Friday Morning Roundup

A few links that caught my attention this week!

Fair Trade blogs:

For the Love of Justice
The Note Passer
Lifestyle: Justice

Poem: "Sacred Geometry" on The Curator 

Film List: 10 Inspiring Movies for Art Lovers 

NPR Music article: An Unlikely Collaboration From Cat Power and Coldplay

The internet is amazing. 

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

— Matthew 6:1-6, ESV

From Zahnd to Schaeffer

I’m more than halfway through my reading of Beauty Will Save the World. At times I find BZ’s writing repetitive but it helps him drive his point home. The exclamation points make me feel his passion and enthusiasm for the Cross :) I can say the book was not what I expected it to be and perhaps rightly so. As I dabble in (fancy words alert!) aesthetics, social justice, and how these tie with my theology and praxis, it’s a good reminder that I should view these through the lens of the cruciform. (By the way, I found this interesting thesis by Jonathan Assink on the intersection of art, faith, and justice).

This learning journey will be long but before I even continue, I have to constantly remind myself that this pursuit must be anchored in Christ.

I also took a peek and read the first chapter of Francis Schaeffer’s A Christian Manifesto. I can already see the similarities between the two in that I think both provide a holistic view of Christianity in (mostly) the United States. I could be wrong by assuming that Schaeffer will eventually promote civil disobedience… but we’ll see how the book develops :)

If you’ve read any of these two books, I would love to hear from you!

Gallup-ing my way to focus

Taking personality tests is one of my favorite distractions and I’ve never paid anything to take them; that is, until the Strengths Finder test.

Kimchi Taco and I got the book and took the test a few weeks ago. Our results confirmed strengths that we’ve noticed in each other, and the generated results also gave us ideas on how to maximize them. The whole point of the SF test is to discover and use what’s already there. The results page from the Gallup Strengths Center website provides ideas for action, which have been extremely helpful in focusing my thoughts. Considering that Kimchi Taco and I plan to work and minister together, understanding our strengths proved highly insightful and practical. I’m certain that this well help us in our teamwork :)

Here are my top 5 strengths starting with the strongest:


 ”People strong in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.”

I’m surprised that Belief (strong, unchanging values) wasn’t one of my strengths. I’d like to think that Connectedness still correlates with my faith and I want to keep growing in this.


"People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them."



"People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions."



"People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information."

Since I was a kid, I’ve had this thing with trivia and collecting information that I perceive would be useful in the future. Also, if I stumble upon something I know someone would be interested in, I share it immediately or save it for later.

I’m relieved to know that my intense desire to master everything I’m interested in is a valid strength. I just had to understand it and realize that my investment with personal learning can and should benefit others. I often wonder what I could do with my tendency to stock up on knowledge or follow rabbit trails of information, often getting lost. My current job as a researcher and my excitement to pursue grad school next year is one clue! And maybe—just maybe—my childhood dream of becoming a teacher could also be a clue to what my future would look like. Teaching involves constantly learning and passing on that knowledge to others. I’m down for that.


"People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations."

Kimchi Taco’s first four strengths are different from mine but we share Empathy as our fifth :) I would call it intuition (that little N in my INFJ-ness…or was it the I?) While this isn’t my strongest, I could see how pronounced this is when I’m in social settings. I think Kimchi Taco’s “Includer” strength complements this.

You can find the brief descriptions for all 34 strengths here.

And take the test here.

If you purchase the Strengths Finder 2.0 book , you will have an access code to take the Clifton (Top 5) Strengths Finder test on the Gallup website. If not, you’ll have to purchase an access code separately. Unfortunately, you can’t take it for free. You can look for similar free tests but I think the one from Gallup is worth the ten bucks.

On my next post, I’ll share some of the action items suggested in my results! Has any of you taken the test too? Let me know in the comments or drop me a line :)

{Wedding Blurbs}

Not gonna lie, I’m excited about the food tasting. Mwahaha

Funny how it takes a while to plan the wedding when it’s only for a day. Spend more time preparing for the marriage, yeah?

New post tomorrow on the Clifton Strengths Finder test!

{Wedding Blurbs}

As much as I find Pinterest helpful in collecting inspiration, I don’t want to treat our wedding like it’s a Pinterest project. Oh God forbid.

I’m thankful for the resort that we’re booking. They have a package that covers practically everything — flowers and decor (for both the ceremony and reception areas), lights and audio equipment, as well as the photo and video documentation. This has taken a huge burden off of our shoulders and we have more breathing room to focus on other important things, such as plans after the wedding. 

Another thing I’m thankful for: my work director, Pastor Ty Silva, agreed to be our officiant! We look up to Kuya Ty and his wife Cina; they’re great role models for leadership, passion, and even romance. We are surrounded by godly couples we can call friends and mentors. They are fully supportive of our relationship and I’m deeply grateful to God for that.

Making joint decisions with Kimchi Taco harmoniously (not just for the wedding) is a gift. 

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