New music!

I just uploaded a few songs from last night’s concert on my Facebook and MySpace.

Check out “Let Love Be Right,” “A Moment,” “Who,” and “Undone,” and let me know what you think!

UPDATE (Feb. 23): Just added “Monster.”

Some personal thoughts on Rep. Gutierrez's immigration bill

The following is cross-posted from God’s Politics and Faith and Immigration.

The room was hot and stifling and overcrowded, but the excitement was palpable as people gathered to witness the introduction of a new comprehensive immigration reform bill. I barely managed to squeeze in, edging through the throng of people who spilled into the hallways. And just in time.

A few moments later, a parade of Members of Congress filed in to cheers of “Yes, we can!” and “Sí, se puede!” from the immigrant families and members of clergy gathered behind the podium. And a few minutes later, flanked by members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Black Caucus, Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Progressive Caucus, Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity (CIR ASAP) Act of 2009.

In my involvement with Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, I’ve heard many stories of the fallout of a broken immigration system: families separated, seemingly endless waiting periods for legal immigration, undocumented immigrants afraid to report a crime for fear of being detained and deported. This is not what it looks like to love our neighbors or to care for the strangers among us.

As the son of naturalized American citizens, I’ve benefited from the rights and freedoms that my parents earned for me with years of their lives. I played no part in the process of their naturalization, but I’ve been able to appreciate and enjoy the blessings. And so I feel the added weight of responsibility that comes with privilege: knowing that any blessing that is bestowed is for the purpose that others may be blessed, and remembering that God will hold us accountable for what we do with what we have received (Luke 12:48).

In response to the introduction of CIR ASAP, CCIR issued a press release, including statements of support from national and local Christian leaders for the principles guiding the bill. While there remain many hurdles before comprehensive immigration reform is finally passed, for me this bill marks one more encouraging step in the journey toward fulfilling our biblical mandates to love our neighbors as ourselves and to care for the stranger among us.

Let’s hope we see the destination in 2010.

I like to fix things

I like to fix things.

For a number of years, it seemed as though every girl I fell for was in need of fixing: some guy had been careless with her heart, or she was dealing with issues from her childhood, or she’d never been in a relationship that was healthy. And then I realized that I was equally broken, jaded, reluctant to trust and to love, unwilling to hope too much for good things, since they came too rarely, if at all.

And then in general, I have a proclivity for fixing things: objects, situations, conflicts, systems. I wanted (still do, actually …) to make the world better—how grand, some might say! How foolish, others might retort! But I’ve come to see this as the situation that faces us in life. What we see before us is the world as it is: oftentimes wonderful, beautiful and delightfully engaging, but also tragically and undeniably broken and imperfect.

As Christians, we understand these cracks to be the cause of sin, of selfishness, and of not choosing God or his ways and values. We see the brokenness in ourselves; we recognize what lies inside each one of us is somewhat and somehow less than we would like it to be.

But as Christians, we also understand that the world as it is, is not the world as it once was.

Nor is it the world as it should be.

And it is certainly not the world as it will be.

This isn’t to say that everything that we have and see today is ruined. There are a great many things that are broken and spoiled and corrupted. There are things everyday that we see and read and experience that break our hearts.

But, despite all of this, I hope. As one of my favorite writers and presidents (guess who …) says,

Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight.

Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.

He may have couched his words in less explicitly spiritual terms, but as a Christian, I know he hopes in the same things that I do.

We can take hope because God is good, and because Jesus Christ came, died, and rose again, redeeming humanity and creation from sin and death, and restoring us into the possibility of right relationship with God. We can take hope because Jesus says, “The kingdom is near.” God is working out his purposes on earth—through us, his people. He will fix the brokenness. And because of that, we can look at life through his eyes and with his perspective.

In all the ugliness, we can see the potential for restoration and beauty. In all the despair, we can see the still-gleaming hope that never fades. Because we hope in something concrete, something that will be, and will come to pass.

Thanks be to God.

New song: "Embrace"

Just posted a new song, “Embrace,” up on Facebook and MySpace. It’s a little different stylistically to what I normally do, so let me know what you think!

Here are the lyrics:

Your love is on the air, your love is on trial;
it hardly seems fair–maybe we’re in denial.
There’s always hope, there’s always you;
we walk the tightrope between what we say and what we do.

But I’m caught up in your furious love again.

And I could never grasp the measure of your grace,
and I could never ask for more than all you already gave.
I’ll take off my mask, for I’m safe in your embrace.

And I’m caught up in your furious love.

Oh, for the lost and broken-hearted,
oh, for the weak and frail,
for all of us who haven’t started
and think we’re bound to fail …

Would you embrace us?

You're a star

Close your eyes, take my hand;
no need for words–I understand:
you let him in, he let you down,
and you shattered when you hit the ground.

When all you ever got from love was hurt,
won’t you let me show you what you’re really worth?
I can see you building up your walls again;
won’t you let me hold you close, my friend?

Coz you, you’re a star;
yeah, I see all that you really are.
And somehow I think we’ll go far;
somehow I think we’ll go far.

To turn the page and start anew,
to trust and hope again is the hardest thing to do.
To let the past fall away
and breathe in a brand new day.

When all you ever got from love was hurt,
won’t you let me show you what you’re really worth?
I can see you building up your walls again;
won’t you let me hold you close, my friend?

Coz you, you’re a star;
yeah, I see all that you really are.
And somehow I think we’ll go far;
somehow I think we’ll go far.

And the tears fall coz it feels like you’ve lost it all …

But you, you’re a star;
oh I see all that you really are.
And somehow I think we’ll go far;
somehow I think we’ll go far;
somehow I know we’ll go far.

— Justin Fung, “You’re a Star,” July 23, 2009