Hello! My Name is Aaron

Hi,

My name is Aaron Ybarra, named after Aaron the brother of Moses,

sent by God to help the prophet when he doubted himself.

He acted as Moses’ mouthpiece before Pharaoh.

As soon as they were out of Egypt however,

Aaron kinda went crazy.

Under pressure from his peers,

he built a golden idol while Moses was away

and claimed that it just kinda happened

when caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

He and Miriam also talked smack on Moses while

he was in the tent with the presence of God.

And died in the wilderness.

My name means “lofty, high, exalted, mountain.”

Fitting now that I am in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina.

In the Bible, there is a lot in a name.

Nothing is lost.

So,

What can we learn from this?

What is my legacy?

I am a helper. I am a spokesperson.

I am also suggestible and can fly off the handle

when not under careful supervision.

I am a leader but also a born follower.

I need a mentor and a guide

to help me be a fully realized me.

So, Jesus empower me to speak,

to evangelize, to help, and come beside.

Guard my tongue and my heart.

Rid my heart of deception.

Let me own my issues.

Cleanse me of all pride.

Keep me pure of influences that would

have me make an ass out of myself.

As the song says,

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above.”

Amen.

 

Friendzone?

Guys, let’s be honest: the friendzone is a lie, an imaginary penalty box of self-loathing, and handy gimmick to get us to buy relationship advice.

It’s natural to develop romantic feeling towards those you are close to. Be honest about that. Honor those feelings. When those feelings pop up and sustain themselves, find a appropriate time and place to relate them. If the feelings are met and reciprocated, then great! Have fun. If the feelings are not reciprocated, you have a choice. If they just want to be friends and you’re okay with that, be friends! If you really struggle with it, maybe take a break, step away. You may want to invest in friendship later on, once the hormones die down.

Now, you may have those feelings but choose to invest in the friendship anyway. If you do this begrudgingly, this is not friendship. It will eat at you inside. This is masochism, not love, and relationships are built on love. It’s in this space that the “friendzone” thrives, because it’s easier to commiserate than to own your stuff and take appropriate action.

So, respect your feelings and those of your friend. Be honest and check in. And in all things, excel in love, in whatever form that love may take.

Your First Love

I have a nasty habit of getting really busy. I can do a billion things, but neglect even ignore those I love and love me. In Revelation 2:4, God reminds us that there are times where we do many good things but forget our first love. Let us return to them now. And let us also return to God, who “while we were still sinners, died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Inclusion Rider

Upon accepting her much-deserved Oscar for Best Actress, Francis McDermott left the Academy with two words: inclusion rider. What is an inclusion rider? The stipulation in an actor or actresses’ contract that requires diversity in the film in which they are part.

Although her call for inclusion specifically targeted women, I am no less affected by it. I am a brown-skinned man who dreams of doing rom-coms. In the past, it was not our place to be the romantic lead. Or any lead other than the villain. But things are changing. There is Aladdin and West Side Story and Black Panther. In short, there is possibility now, and I am grateful. Wherever my journey takes me, I am grateful, because there are a lot of me’s in this world.

My sincerest thanks to all who have the power to make this change and choose to do so. Thank you, Francis McDermott. Party on!

Jonah 4

You may or may not be familiar with the life of Jonah.

Jonah was a prophet way back when. God tells him to go to a place to Ninevah to preach to the people there, that they would stop doing all the bad stuff they were doing and instead do good. Jonah receives his mission and runs away, taking the soonest ship to the furthest town. En route, he hits a storm and, in a moment of conviction, asks the crew to throw him overboard. Not knowing what else to do, they do just that. Jonah is swallowed by the sea creature a la Pinocchio and spends three days in the belly of the beast. At that point, he has a change of heart, asks God for a hand out, and God does just that. The creature spits him out and he high-tails it over to Ninevah to ask them also to turn their lives around. In no short time, they do.

And all ends happily ever after, right? I wish. No. Many retellings of Jonah’s life end there, but his life extends to another chapter. In this chapter, he is sitting on a hill looking over the just-saved city of Ninevah, hoping that God will change His mind and blow it up.¬†“Please, Lord, isn’t this what I thought while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and one who relents from sending disaster. And now, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live,” says the prophet.¬†Despite all that Jonah has been through, he still wants the Ninevites to die and for God to take him with them.

Fortunately, God doesn’t grant Jonah’s request. Instead, he lets Jonah sit in the hot sun for a good, long while until Jonah is about to faint. Then, He grows up a plant to cover Jonah’s head. Jonah loves his plant because the comfort it provides him. God allows him a moment of solace than kills the plant.

Jonah flips out. When God asks him if his anger is justified, Jonah is 1200% sure that it is. At this, God asks a follow-up question, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in the night and perished in the night. But may I not care about the great city of Ninevah, which has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?” With that, God drops the mic and Jonah’s story ends there. We don’t know how he responded. In truth, we don’t need to. This is God’s question to us. We all have plants in our lives, things we put in priority over the people all around us. Are we brave enough to let them go and selfless enough to see the needs of others, even if those needs belong to those we don’t see eye to eye with?

The challenge is simple. God is waiting for the answer. Don’t be a Jonah. Answer the call.

Offensive

I do not understand the love affair amongst some Christians of making the cross offensive. “This will (probably) offend you,” they say. “This may upset the PC people,” they add.

What kind of witness is this? Yes, Paul calls the cross “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:18) to some, and many times it is. There are many who don’t get it, don’t like it, or more likely have had bad experiences with it.

But our goal should never to be to offend, but simply to present the Gospel as it is. The naked Gospel is powerful enough without attaching a bulldozer to is.

Let us witness and truth and in love. May it be Christ and the Holy Spirit that speaks through us, rather than our own selfish ambition.

Chivalrous

Guys, we have to take a long, hard look at chivalry. When it’s true and good, it’s great. But a lot of time it’s demeaning. Unfortunately, Christianity has taken on both the good, the bad, and the ugly now and again.

We cannot feed the homeless while secretly believing they are all economic sponges and violent, drug addicts.

We cannot do missionary work in other countries while building walls between us because we believe they will rape or kill us and steal our jobs.

We cannot open doors for women and buy dinner while seeing them only as fuck-buddies, unable to do the same jobs as good as or better than us.

These things are not compatible. We may say we love everyone, but this love is often cheap. It’s more a love of love rather than a love of others. We must respect everyone. That is how we love. That is how we help. That is how we grow.

When we look at each others as equals, we see that there is in fact a lot of need out there, but we are not only empowered to meet that need but also empowered to empower as well.