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Who is a saint and why do they matter? Compass 104

Joseph Yoo uses the power of stories — both ancient and contemporary — to remind us how we are often unexpectedly intertwined with one another and with God. Rev. Joseph Yoo.

Joseph is the the planter of Mosaic Episcopal Church located in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. And he has just released a book called “When the Saints Go Flying In” which shares some stories of celebrated people from Christian history, a few stories that we might recognize from other popular figures, and, ultimately, the ongoing story of God working in the lives of everyday people like us.


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Episode Notes

You find more from Joseph Yoo at his website

Joseph also writes for the Rethink Church website. Some of his popular articles include:

In this episode:

  • (00:00) Introduction
  • (04:00) Who is your favorite saint?
  • (06:30) Why write about saints?
  • (09:31) What makes a person a saint?
  • (11:22) Surprising saints?
  • (14:02) A forgotten saint
  • (21:56) Their stories enlighten our stories
  • (26:21) Planting a church
  • (28:45) Church trauma

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This episode posted on March 8, 2023


Ryan Dunn (00:00):

This is the Compass Podcast where we disrupt the every day with glimpses of the divine. Hello, my name is Ryan Dunn.

Michelle Maldonado (00:07):

And I'm Michelle Maldonado.

Ryan Dunn (00:09):

Michelle, who are we talking to today?

Michelle Maldonado (00:12):

Today we are talking to Reverend Joseph Yoo. Joseph is the planter of Mosaic Episcopal Church located in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and he just released a book called When the Saints Go, flying In, not Marching In, flying In, which share some stories at Celebrate People from Christian History, a few stories that we might recognize from other popular figures, and ultimately the ongoing story of God working in our lives and everyday people like us.

Ryan Dunn (00:45):

Yeah. And Joseph has been on Compass before. Most recently we heard him on our episode about pastors on TikTok. So after this, go back and listen to that. And he writes for our Rethink Church site regularly, back monthly. So he's got a great sense of humor and a knack for disarming through sarcasm, which I think becomes evident in our conversation. So <laugh>, I'd

Michelle Maldonado (01:07):

Say so,

Ryan Dunn (01:08):

Yeah. <Laugh>, he lays it on. Yeah. So let's meet or re-mute. Joseph, you on the Compass Podcast. Joseph, you welcome back to Compass. How goes it with your soul today, man,

Joseph Yoo (01:22):

Today? Little bit apprehensive I don't know how deep you wanna get into this. Yesterday at we got an email from my son's school saying that a student was caught with a gun. Mm-Hmm. and thankfully you know, my this, it's a middle school for here in Caroline, middle school's, fifth and sixth grade. So it's a, one of the fifth or sixth grader that bought a gun. But thankfully, you know he wasn't, he, he had a, he made a threat to a student the day before, brought the gun yesterday, and then in his immaturity, just was handing out bullets to friends. And that's how we found out that he had a gun. Okay. But there was no no lockdown. It was handled quickly, carefully. And I don't my son didn't know anything about it. Or there wasn't a lockdown, so he didn't really know, but it didn't affect him. So this morning we're like, do we send him to school or

Ryan Dunn (02:14):

No? Yeah.

Joseph Yoo (02:15):

Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. But then he really wanted to go and my wife and I figured if there's the safest day of school today would be it, because everyone's on high alert and whatnot. So anytime there's a siren goes off, my heart drops just a little bit.

Ryan Dunn (02:29):


Joseph Yoo (02:30):

Other than that, doing fine.

Ryan Dunn (02:32):

<Laugh>. Okay. <Laugh>,

Michelle Maldonado (02:35):

Other than that,

Ryan Dunn (02:36):

<Laugh> mm-hmm. <Affirmative> yeah. Well, it's tough to pull your attention away from things like that. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know, it's like when part of you is walking someplace else. I get it.

Joseph Yoo (02:45):

Hmm. Yeah. It's, it's, it's a, it's a weird time to be living in. But we won't go into that detail because it might be very divisive that we don't want to get into yet. <Laugh>

Ryan Dunn (02:55):

Haven't they always said it's a weird time to be living in though? Like, so you, you've written this book that that touches on the lives of Saints <laugh> and certainly like <laugh>. Are you that graphic of my transition here, <laugh>, this is pro protest here on the Compass Podcast. This is how we measure it back. That was smooth. That was really smooth <laugh>. Anyways you know, I lost my train of thought. Now coming out of that <laugh>, like I had it all laid out. I'm sorry. Let's talk about saints. Let's just, let's just do it that way. Hey, Joseph, let's talk about Saints <laugh>. So you're like the Saints go flying in is out now. And for you, it kind of came out of a place of, I don't wanna say ignorance, but just like something that you got kind of challenged with that you didn't know a great answer for. And what I picked up early in the book is that somebody had actually asked you like, who your favorite saint was, and you didn't know how to answer it. So now that you've kind of invested some time into it, do you have a favorite saint?

Joseph Yoo (04:04):

Yeah, it was such a, I didn't even know that was a thing. I didn't know people had favorite saints and and apparently a lot of people do. And so currently, you know my favorite one I'm pretty sure it'll change as the season goes, but where I am in my ministry and where our churches I relate to St. Jude a lot because St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. Hmm. and which I always thought was when I learned that I thought was really funny, that St. Jude is also the representation of the Children's Hospital. Yeah. Mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, and it's like, oh, so he's <laugh>, you know, like the children, the sick children are lost causes. Like, what is, what is going on here? But I just like the idea that there is a saint for those who might feel like there they are lost. Cause, but then, you know, the question is, if, if we are children of God, is anyone really a lost cause? Right.

Ryan Dunn (05:05):

Yeah. Well, that's kind of the idea with the Children's Hospital, right? That mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, kind of snatching victory from the jaws of <laugh>.

Joseph Yoo (05:13):

Well, is that I, the, the story of why the, and I, I, I did write this in this book, but so St. Jude is a saying of loss causes because his name is very similar to Judas. They scare it. And so traditionally, no one wants to pray to Judas, in, in, in this, in the, in the sense that they might be afraid that they're playing to the betrayer. They scare it. So the fact that you, you pray to St. Jude means that you're like the desperate of the desperate of a desperate, you know, like, anyone, just please hear me, help me. You know, like, send this message to Jesus, whoever's there. But the founder of, of St. Jude was a struggling actor, and he was having a baby on the way and had really no means to no means to like provide. So he was really stressed out. So one day he said a quick prayer to, on behalf of St. Jude and said, Hey, if, if you get this message to Jesus and, and help me get gigs, I will return the favor. And he I think he was one of the most he was a very successful radio star or something, and kept his end of the bargain and started St. Jude.

Michelle Maldonado (06:23):

That's really cool. I didn't know that. <Laugh>.

Joseph Yoo (06:25):

Yeah. I didn't either.

Michelle Maldonado (06:27):

<Laugh>, it's like, cue the meme, the more you know, right. <Laugh>. so you don't, you, you come out of a faith tradition that doesn't really hold those people from the past in such a high regard, like other faith traditions. So what inspired you about those things to really like, go for it.

Joseph Yoo (06:51):

I, part of it was my whole career has shifted into a new denomination and whatnot, and I was just learning the new ropes of everything, and it was such a silly question, like who's your favorite sing? And I was sitting at the table and everyone had one, and I'm like, you know, I almost felt like pure pressure into finding one. Mm-Hmm. And I, you didn't just wanna

Michelle Maldonado (07:14):

Trump and say, Jesus <laugh>, I should have,

Joseph Yoo (07:19):

But that would've been really funny. Jesus, two people.


But I, I just thought, you know, like, well, why, why? You know, why are, why are these people? I grew up in a tradition where I grew up in a very, I, I grew up in a Methodist church, but it operated as a fairly evangelical church. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And there was this always anti Catholicism thing that was built in, in our faith journey. Like the last Korean church I worked at, even though I was way beyond that, we they gave out tracks to the church members to give to, you know, other people. And for those who don't know, don't know tracks or little pamphlets that tells you to believe in Jesus these tracks were actually cartoons. And this one was specifically this man goes to sleep, he wakes up and he's dead, and he's in hell. And Satan, or the devil is like giving him a tour of hell.


And the guy's like, why am I in hell? I was a good Christian. And the devil goes, no, you were a Catholic. Oh, and oh, geez. And like goes to this, you know, you're, you, you, you gave too much power to Mother Mary. You pray to the saints and whatnot. And the tract ends with the guy waking up think and being relieved that it's a dream. And then he's like, he denounces Catholicism and prays his sinners prayer, and, and he becomes a quote unquote real Christian. So that's the kind of like environment I grew up in. And so I had no idea who these saints were. You know, you would hear things like Saint Patrick, because, you know, March 17th mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, right. Or Saint Francis, because almost everyone knows St. Francis. But that was about it. So the fact that people had different saints and, and reasons why they liked them, and what spoke to them, I was like, well, I wanna, I wanna be able to answer this question confidently next time. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So it so I just started just, you know, searching and just reading about little tidbits on Wikipedia about certain things. I'm like, oh, this is kind of fascinating. And then I would see stories where I could put, use it in the sermon, and then it just kept snowballing after that. Mm-Hmm.

Ryan Dunn (09:16):

<Affirmative>, I, I, I love that part of your research includes Wikipedia, <laugh>.

Joseph Yoo (09:23):

It was predominantly Wikipedia,

Ryan Dunn (09:25):

<Laugh> so vindicated in a way. Like, all right. It's, that's legitimate. I understand. That's wonderful. It, on a note, so you talk about the kind of the venerated saints within your book. I mean, the, the people who like officially have Saint attached to their name, you know, so there's, there's St. David and St. Augustine and, and those folks, but you also talk about other people of, of faith formation within the book. So it just kind of triggers for me a question of, from your perspective, what makes a saint?

Joseph Yoo (10:00):

For me the, if, if I, I, I just, anyone that's really living out their, their faith loudly and boldly is I would consider as a saint with a lowercase, lowercase ace. I s I suppose. Hmm. but you know, like there, we've all people who've mentored us, people who've inspired us, people who've really taught us what it truly means to follow Jesus Christ. Those are, or people who put up with us as, as Sunday school kids you know, like those are truly saints in their own right. You know, like I every time, every once in a while we'll sing this little light of mine for church. And my, my worship leader loves to sing this I guess the second verse and hide it under a bush will. No. And every time I sing that, I can't, I can't stop laughing because I remember it as a nine year old, I would say, hide it under a bush. Hell no, <laugh>. And, and just laughing and, and looking back, I'm like, I'm pretty sure the Sunday school teacher wanted to kill me, but couldn't because I'm the pastor's kid, <laugh>, you know? So like, she is a saint in her own right. So like I just, anyone who really dares to live out their faith in, in a bold and loud and and manner is, I would think is a, is a succinct in my book.

Michelle Maldonado (11:22):

So we, we heard a little bit about some of the findings you made with like, the history of St. Jude and the hospital choosing that name. But are there any other surprising things you discovered during this research that really stick out?

Joseph Yoo (11:36):

Yes. St. Catherine of I don't wanna say bologna, but it's not bologna. <Laugh>, how do we get bologna from our stone, the way we spelled bologna? <Laugh>?

Michelle Maldonado (11:48):

I've always wondered that.

Joseph Yoo (11:49):

Actually, <laugh>. So two, I learned two things about her. She was a very gifted artist and, and like had a lot of prayer written when in times that, you know, not many women were given that that kind of privilege. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But oh, I f I can't think of the exact word. There's sometimes a body doesn't corrupt because they have been blessed by the spirit or something. And incor, incorruptible body, maybe that is it. Mm-Hmm. Anyway, her body is still displayed at, at the church. At her church. Hmm. And if you google Google it, you see this, you, you can see it. And once I saw it, like I had to go and watch like a bunch of Disney movies because it scared the, but Jesus outta there <laugh>. I mean, I still can't, like, like it's such a religion can be so weird at times.


Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, like, like this, this body. I think the legend goes that after they buried her they started smelling roses in where her body was. So they dug her up and she was still, she wasn't Dinka compos, so then they put her on her in her habit and just mm-hmm. <Affirmative> has, she's displayed in her church. And, and, and personally, like I, I'm always afraid of churches at night because like, it's just, it's just creepy. And like, I remember, I remember my last church, it was, there was a lot of woods, so, you know, I, I, on Saturday nights, I'd go at church at night because I knew that the, the custodial staff where they were all gone, so I could run through my sermon without any interruptions. And then I just sit there kind of like gathering my notes, and you hear all these noises, creaking and cracking and just, I'm like, I think I saw something move, you know?


And like, I'm getting really scared. I just couldn't imagine how I would feel if I knew that there was a, a dead party dead, yeah. In front of the window for everyone to see. Like like, I'm like, I'm out. That's, I can't go to the church ever. But that was one of the, I mean, it had nothing to do with anything, but it was just so like, shocking and drawing like I thought they were making it up, but when I Googled it, you know, Google never lies, hopefully <laugh>. So <laugh>. But that was I'm still like, a little bit shook by, by that the, I think they're called incorruptible bodies somehow, some way God doesn't allow them to decay.

Ryan Dunn (14:02):

Was there anybody who you came across that you would really love to have worked in the book, but you just couldn't figure out how, like, just such a cool compelling story that you

Joseph Yoo (14:11):

Oh, man. My, my original nine well, 10 including my son, who's not a real saint but Godiva was one of them. But then I started looking around and apparently Godiva is not an official saint. But the reason I found her so fascinating is that we get to phrase peeping Tom from Godiva story. She her husband was like this ruler and taxed his people very, very heavily. And the people started complaining, and she had such a compassion for them. So she went to, her husband says, you gotta lay off, you gotta, you know, cut down the taxes. Your people are gonna like, they're, they're dying under your rule. And he basically said, Hey, if you walk the streets naked, I will, I will, I will hear your cause. So she ordered all the townspeople to be in their house and, you know, be away from the window while she rode on horseback naked. And apparently a lot of depictions of Godiva is on a horse with her hair covering. But except for, there's this one guy named Tom who happened to take a look. And from that point on, he was a peeping Tom. I don't know how I was gonna work that in <laugh>

Ryan Dunn (15:25):

<Laugh>. Right?

Joseph Yoo (15:26):

Like, looking back, I'm glad that she wasn't the same, because I'm like, well, there was such a fascinating tibit of, of, i, I, I kind of, I really like the way, like, we get the origins of our phrases and whatnot mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So the fact that I discovered that's where we get piping Tom from was a source of joy for me. <Laugh>.

Michelle Maldonado (15:44):

<Laugh>. That is interesting. <Laugh>. and

Joseph Yoo (15:46):

That she represents chocolate.

Michelle Maldonado (15:48):

Yeah, exactly.

Ryan Dunn (15:49):

I, I was wondering what the connection was there mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, but

Michelle Maldonado (15:52):


Ryan Dunn (15:53):

Anything did, like, did you come up, like, was she also a chocolatier or

Joseph Yoo (15:56):

I, I, I I think her boldness and her bravery is what the website said. The, yeah. Chocolate's website. Okay. So yeah. <Laugh>

Michelle Maldonado (16:10):

<Laugh> I don't know how to segue from chocolate to this. I'll just, you know, I'm not gonna get attempt <laugh>. Let's just,

Ryan Dunn (16:19):

<Laugh>, we're just, we're gonna throw out all transitions here. Let's just jump to the next. Yep.

Michelle Maldonado (16:24):

I wanted to ask you about the cover of your book because it's, it's interesting for those who aren't looking at it, it's is really cool. Like blue with I believe that's a, a goose.

Joseph Yoo (16:37):

A goose, a pigeon and a dove. Yes. No, a, a goose, a dove and a sparrow. I'm sorry.

Michelle Maldonado (16:42):

Yeah. Yeah. In that order. So I wanted to ask you like, what are the symbolisms for the, the three different birds and why you chose them?

Joseph Yoo (16:50):

First shout out to Kayla gaba, who's the artist. I met her husband through a TikTok Live. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And he they were going through some stuff with their church and said I need some advice. And I was like, email me. And we've kept in touch ever since. And then found out that he's a great musician and she's an artist. And I was like, Hey, I have an idea for this book. Would you mind doing this anyway? That's also I have a much more crude version of that on my, as a tattoo on my right side of the chest. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And it's here because there's no way that my parents could see it. Like, I'm never, there's no reason for me to be shirtless for my parents <laugh>. I

Ryan Dunn (17:27):

Just define crude

Joseph Yoo (17:30):

Just artwise. It's, it's just a, it's just an outline. That's what I just realized. What, okay. When you said crude so it's not as artistic and pretty, I wish I met first.

Ryan Dunn (17:40):

Where can you go with that? With a pigeon in a <laugh>?

Joseph Yoo (17:44):

So not the topic <laugh>. I, I, my parents have the book I don't know if they've read it. My parents English is still their second language, so I don't know if they're, I think they're just proud to have a book with my name on us mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. But cuz I haven't gotten the phone call yet saying you have a tattoo <laugh> or they're just ignoring it. But the third, the song Three Little Birds came at a time where I was just it was a it was, I, I truly felt it was a message from God in a time that I was experiencing, like, prof the worst professional season of my life. And it just served as a reminder that God was with me. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And, and when that happened, the, the theme, three Little Birds would be appearing everywhere, like, where I could not ignore it.


And you know, like looking back, those were, I truly, fully believe those were just little messages from God saying, you know, reminding me that I'm not alone. On top of that, during this wilderness phase of, of, of my career I discovered that the Celtic symbol of, of the holy Spirit is a goose. Oh. And I just really, really resonated with that because goose are just, you know, like, you see those videos where the ge the mother goose is like chasing after men mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, and people like, they're close to their nest and they just won't re they're relentless and they're chasing and, and, and, you know, the human being is like five times bigger than she is, and she doesn't care. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And she just dozed after me. Like the the Holy Spirit being like that representing that like, really, really spoke to me.


And then I think I even wrote this for an article for, for Ryan on this. But pigeon and a dove scientifically don't have that much difference there, essentially the same animal. And just started really curious that doves are venerated and pigeons are like, ill, you know, like, yeah. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> my friend would call it rats with bird rats with wings, <laugh>. And I can't remember this person's name, but he did a study and he says, the reason why humans hate pigeons so much is they don't stay in their lane. They keep crossing places where we think it's humans only. Mm. And so and just as a scavenger, as a person that continually crosses borders without permission, that spoke to me as this, the whole spirit mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And then just one time in my devotional when I was feeling really low I, I, I opened randomly and came across a passage where she just, aren't you worth more than two sparrows? And so those three those birds with a song, three little birds were mm-hmm. <Affirmative> just a rally cry for me to get through the season and, and enough to get my first tattoo at the age of 39 <laugh>, still scared of my parents.

Ryan Dunn (20:26):

<Laugh>. Well, are you familiar with the lint Madness

Joseph Yoo (20:34):

Phenomenon? I was not until, until you emailed me that, and I've been like looking, I was like, what is this

Ryan Dunn (20:40):

<Laugh>? Yeah. Well, for, for other people who, who want to get clued in every year at lint some they're actually Episcopalians capitalize on kind of the March Madness craze and form a bracket of saints <laugh> who kind of go head-to-head in competition with each other. And really the it's all decided by people voting. So, I mean, it's a fantastic opportunity to just kinda learn about the lives of something, some of these people. And they do a really good job of researching out not just some of the more, I guess, popular or well known saints, but some folks who might feel a little lesser known as well. <Laugh>. It is really cool. So, and then you get to vote for basically your favorite one. <Laugh>. lent madness. <Laugh> lent madness. Lent Yeah. Huh. Yeah. I, and I cross referenced this year's bracket, Joseph with the Saints that you specifically mentioned in the book. The only one that overlaps is David of Wales. And unfortunately, I think he's got a tough bracket because he's going up against Augustine of Hippo, which I think is, you know, kind of like, I don't know, the Duke u n C type. Yeah. yeah. Taking chart. You think Little David stands a chance?

Joseph Yoo (21:56):

No. Cuz the only thing I, the only reason why I used, so I was telling I was telling Ryan earlier that Michelle, that I don't know anything about this things. I used stories to like kind of leverage, tell another story. Mm-Hmm. Mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So the reason why I chose Saint Davis, because he's the patron saint of doves. Oh. And I wanted to include the, i I wanted to include the dove story in my mm-hmm. <Affirmative> in but the reason why he's a dove is one of the I think to be officially canonized by the church as a official saint, you have to have like miracles attributed to you. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, and the, and some of these stories of these saints, like the older they are, like, the more for the backend, the street, they sound like almost mythical, like a Greek mythology.


Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So David Saint David is a, was a very well-known preacher. Everyone loved his, her, her love. He was a great preacher. And one day he was preaching outside and people couldn't see him or hear him, and all of a sudden the ground just rose from the ground, and he was, he, it became a hill. And then when that happened, a dove landed on his shoulder. So that's why he became the patron saint of doves. Mm. But you know, like St. August, most people know Saint August they anymore than they would know Saint David and even so much when they know the mother Monica, who like I think that's Monica. Yeah. Monica, who prayed for, for her son's salvation because he had, he wanted nothing to do with the church and whatnot. And one of my favorite quotes about the church is the tribute to the Saint Augustine. But I don't know if it's PG 13

Ryan Dunn (23:21):

<Laugh>, I,

Joseph Yoo (23:22):

I think Ryan knows who I'm

Ryan Dunn (23:23):

Talking about. Yeah. I have a feeling that we've already mentioned it on this podcast. So go ahead.

Joseph Yoo (23:29):

Oh, the, the church, the church is a whore, but she's also my mother.

Ryan Dunn (23:32):


Joseph Yoo (23:33):

<Affirmative> <laugh>.

Ryan Dunn (23:36):

I feel like somebody else already broke that ground there, so,

Joseph Yoo (23:39):

<Laugh>. Oh my gosh.

Ryan Dunn (23:46):

All right. Awkward segue time. I was just gonna ask, so

Michelle Maldonado (23:50):

How are we transitioning from that

Joseph Yoo (23:52):

<Laugh>? I'm all about awkward. Awkward is my spiritual gift.

Ryan Dunn (23:56):

<Laugh> <laugh> this from the guy who compares the Holy Spirit to a pigeon. Yeah. Yeah.

Joseph Yoo (24:02):

<Laugh>. No, like, seriously, like I, I think I shared the story on, on the book too, but one of my first memorial services, I say to the morning family as we're like wrapping up, I'm like, have a good day. And then I like froze because I, I, I realized what I said to the people that just buried their loved one. And, you know, like, I should have just left it because people excuse it, because, you know, like, it's such a habit. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, but no, not me. I had to add, you know, considering

Ryan Dunn (24:30):


Joseph Yoo (24:33):

Why, why am I like this? So yeah. I'm just a ball of awkwardness. So segue from that now, it's less easier than the other one. I, I assume

Ryan Dunn (24:45):

<Laugh>, I, I'm gonna throw it back at you just to ask what's coming next for you, <laugh> now, what are you working on?

Joseph Yoo (24:52):

Nothing <laugh>. Ah, okay. The only thing I have on my calendars is, is is the, the articles for, for Honestly I was so over it after the book was mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. I, I, I thought it would be fun. That fun lasted about two months, and then the rider block hit. And then I my wife works a night shift as a chaplain in the children's hospital. So when she would go to work, I'd stay up and it was so quiet, you know, my son's sleeping and just me in the house and well, my son in his room. And so that, I thought that would be a great time to use to like type away and whatnot. And it was fun. And then when the writers block hit, I thought, you know, I could, I should have a glass of wine while I'm doing this to loosen up. And next thing you know, I wake up the next morning, I'm like, oh, I was drunk. Let's see what I wrote. Nope, I can't use that. But honestly, right now we we are in a different season of our church plant, so I just wanna make sure that I give full attention to that. And if something comes up or an idea strikes, I might tackle, see where it goes. But as of now, like, I'm done <laugh>, I'm retired, married <laugh>

Ryan Dunn (26:07):

<Laugh>. Well, let's, let's talk about that church plan a little bit. We've got a few more minutes mm-hmm. <Affirmative> tell us, tell us where you're at and what you're doing. You, you planted the church mosaic and in the midst of the pandemic. Right.

Joseph Yoo (26:21):

Well we were very fortunate in, in the sense that pandemic happened before we officially started anything. Like a couple of my colleagues were three, four months in when the pandemic hit. And they had had, they've had a h hard time trying to get that momentum back. So for us, we, we didn't have any, like, we lost a lot of momentum for sure, but we didn't, didn't have, like, it wasn't, it was it was, it worked out for us. But now we hear about a year and a half of meeting in person and we we are just trying to our, our focus really is to create space for people who feel like they don't have a space in the church. But the thing is it would've been, we live in, we live in Houston, and we live in a, a suburb of Houston called Pearland, and it's very, very conservative if evangelical.


And I realized if I had gone the old, like Baptist, non-denominational route, we'd probably be a lot more people in the church, if so to speak mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. but the people that I wanna connect with that who've been either burned or turned off by their church don't wanna come back <laugh>, frankly. So like, I don't blame them. So I, I have a lot of, you know, coffees and lunch with people who, who wanna connect with me. But anytime the idea of the church comes up, like, do you ever wanna swing by? Or, you know, we're doing this with the church, they're like, no, I can't. I'm not ready yet. So I picked the wrong demographic to plan a church for <laugh>, but we are out there and, and and you know, we're not gonna ever force someone to come to church.


I, I I completely, when people, when they, when they see that I'm clergy, they, and they kind of like pause and, and are very self-conscious, like, I understand that we as a church, capital C have done a lot of things for them to feel that way. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So essentially I just want to connect with people and, and get to know their stories. And if they ever feel like they need a community, we are, our doors are always open for them. So that's that's, it's, it's easier said than done because I'm like, man, I wish you could come to church. Cause then I can tell my boss that, you know, I could count you officially and be like, Hey, look, newcomer and whatever. But you know, that's not, if, if that's what if that's what we make church to be, then we, we've lost

Michelle Maldonado (28:45):

Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Yeah. But you're using such an important word, just letting these people take their time because they do have this trauma with the church. The church is so responsible for a lot of trauma and I, I use that word Yeah.

Joseph Yoo (28:58):

Trauma. And I think one of the most fascinating things that I've learned is when they, those, some of these people have started making recco started reconciling with people, and, and they've, they've got, they've been, they've repaired relationships, mend relationships with their parents who were, who caused a lot of trauma, religious trauma too, but they're not ready to do that with the church. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And so I'm like, that, for me, that's an advice that church car was far deeper than, than, than the relationship scars and mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that really sucks. Yeah. but, you know, hopefully you know, we'll find ways to let them know that whenever they're ready, if they're ever, it's not even went, if they're ever wanting to find space in the community, you know, there are churches and, and, and communities that are ready and willing to love them for who they are and help them be the best version of them that they can be. So, yeah.

Ryan Dunn (29:57):

Well, where can they look you up?

Joseph Yoo (30:01):

My website Joseph and yeah, I guess. And mosaic is our church website. Cool.

Ryan Dunn (30:09):

Okay. Well, hey, thanks for sharing stories with us, and thanks for joining

Joseph Yoo (30:14):

Us. Yeah. Thank you for having me. Thank you.

Ryan Dunn (30:17):

All right. We have been disrupted by looking at the lives of the past, so we may discern the divine presence in our present day stories. Thanks for taking the walk with us. The Compass Podcast is brought to you by United Methodist Communications, and if Compass is meaningful for you, then check out another episode. If you like this one, then you definitely want to go back and listen to pastors of TikTok. Of course, Joseph was in that episode as well. Or if history is your thing, then check out the ongoing history of hell that was released in October of 2022. While you're listening, go ahead and leave a rating and or review. That would be so appreciated. Compass comes out every other Wednesday, unless of course we're interrupted by a holiday, which case we'll just hit you in the following week. But we'll be back online in two weeks in this case. So we'll chat at you then. Peace.



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