Sunday, November 19, 2006

On Surrender

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

I came to church very burdened and very hurt. I didn't want to be there and I felt I couldn't praise God. As I sat there I was reminded of how Jesus has set me free, in order to live, how he has made me right with God through his death. Then a wise person reminded me of these words of Jesus. I need to give my burden to him, to surrender what is eating away at me to him. He will give me rest. Sometimes you come to a place where there is nothing you can do, nothing you can say that will help, though it may cause further hurt or pain or division. I was reminded that God is in control, that I can give this situation to him and that I don't have to be burdened or weighed down anymore. Ultimately he will bring healing, redemption, reconciliation, true forgiveness, and he will reveal the truth, not the limited one I know, but his truth.
When I praise him for who he is, what he has done, and what he is doing, the worries and concerns and day to day struggles can fall to the side. Christ is the judge, it is not I, and he is the Truth. I can trust my Father, because he knows what is best for his children. Realizing there is nothing I can do with this mess I am a part of, helps me surrender everything in my life to God. There is so much in my life that needs to change and the Holy Spirit will help me, Jesus will teach me, and his burden, which I take to mean the burden to share his good news with others, is light, not like the burden that I took upon myself. May my words not hurt, not cause division or pain, not build walls, not set me in place as judge. May I be silent when I shouldn't speak, may I live what I confess, and may God's message shine through and may he be glorified.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Greek Chorus
by Jo-Ann Badley
[with thanks to Jo-Ann Badley and apologies to the late Dr. Seuss]
I do not wish to study Greek
I do not want to be a Geek.
Would you study in your room?
And there prepare to meet your doom?
Would you study at a table?
Would you, could you, were you able?
Would you study on the train?
There, perchance, to strain your brain?
Would you, could you, on term break?
Do it for the gospel's sake?
I will not do it on term break
Not even for the gospel's sake;
I do not like to memorize:
Those funny letters hurt my eyes.
Not in a train, not with my brain,
Not at a table, though I'm able,
Not in my room to meet my doom:
Not here or there or anywhere...
I do not wish to study Greek
I do not want to be a Geek.
Take Greek this term without apology,
Drop anthro- theo- missiology!
Switch to Greek from other classes
It matters not if no-one passes...
Perhaps for you, but not for me:
Greek isn't practical, you see,
I'd rather learn to fix transmissions
I'm a candidate for missions.
Would you take in the summer?
Six weeks of verbs won't make you dumber
You might like the paradigms:
Repeat those lists five thousand times.
I would not, could not, in the summer
For six whole weeks a real bummer!
I will not study Greek at all
Not in summer, not in fall.
Greek is really for the birds
Greek is really just for nerds
I do not wish to study Greek
I do not want to be a Geek.
You do not like it, so you say
Try it, try it, and you may
Try it and you may, I say:
lego, legeis, and legei...
lego, legeis... now I've got it
Whatever it means, I needn't stop it.
This learning Greek is so much fun
A few more weeks and I'll be done.
Now I'll learn those paradigms,
Repeat vocab a million times.
In the summer, in the fall,
I'll do it any time at all.
I'll swap my Greek for other classes,
I won't mind if no one passes.
I will study in a tree,
Now I know that Greek's for me:
I will do a Ph.D.
I will study on term break;
Greek will be a piece of cake.
I will study on a train,
Let conjugations fill my brain.
I will study at a table;
Learn the aorist since I'm able.
I will study in my room,
Morning, night, and afternoon.
I will study here and there:
I will study anywhere!
I do so love to study Greek:
I really want to be a Geek.

My New Testament Greek professor had this poem read in our class and then emailed it to us. This poem is supposed to have Greek letters for "lego, legeis, legei" but those won't publish in blogger.
I love learning Greek; I just hope I can keep it up long enough for it to remain with me and not disappear as French did after highschool. I hope I can use it in biblical scholarship in an academic setting, but even just learning the original language of the New Testament is a valuable thing. I will get a copy of the Greek New Testament next semester from the Bible Society. The second year of Greek is exegesis. And then there is Hebrew, which I really want to learn too, so I can read the Old Testament in its original language. Not everyone understands my attraction to taking this class or recognizes the value of reading the New Testament in its original language, but it is fascinating to me and it will be essential if I am going to be a biblical scholar in post-graduate studies. Ofcourse I am only starting to learn it, but so far it is going well. Too bad I never took it at Redeemer where I studied English and Religion. My brother took it as an elective.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Withdrawal Symptoms (from Friends)

"I was feeling lazy," she said, moseying up to the sink, rinsing the stale water from the dishes, "so I made spaghetti pie. Remember when Mom used to make that? Of course, I didn't use cottage cheese."

"Sisterly solidarity," she said, laughing a little, lilting-like, with her head, tilting-like, going up to kiss the ceiling, "My spinach has been past the due date for a week now, and I'm still eating it."

"Oh, I started sliding a little today--in the rain," she said, sighing, like golden leaves would sigh if they did, "I think I need new tires. Someone said I should just change my front tires with my back tires. Of course, I wouldn't really know how to do that. And when I changed the back ones, the whole front might just roll away."

"She bought her wedding dress," she said, pausing, thoughtfully, with the dish towel limp in her hand. "She described it to me; but you know how sometimes you just can't see it in your mind--what it is that they're describing? I'll have to see it sometime, though."

"Mm hm," I said, typing furiously.

reed elamef a

the thing was so softly spoken,

i couldn't hear--quite,

couldn't make out--quite,

what it was he was saying, what it was

that he so much wanted me to hear

in the grey room with the phone curled, nestled

and sweaty between my ear and shoulder

and we breathing apart, so tired of the voices and stories that we only whispered things,

soft things,

that couldn't really be heard, or even

proven to exist


She would walk around, stepping lightly from tile to tile. And she knew she stepped only once on each ceramic plate, because she was always looking down. And this didn't have to be a negative thing, necessarily. It was only when one looked down that one could see foundations of people, feet, and the twisting of the earth, how it grew from the depths upwards and exploded in green things, and buds. She knew this. She liked to look at carpet, too. Carpet could be lush, and purple, or it could be worn, and where there had been uniformity, there were now patches of stark fibres, because no one had tread this part. One could tell a lot about a person by her feet, or his carpet. She knew this. Sometimes it her hurt her eyes to look upward too directly. Sometimes the sky was too blue, and the flames were too orange, and she would blink, startled, and look down again.

thursday night at suzanne's apartment

A small grey turtle on a gnarled log.
Spiked coffee.
I feel...
Then, the macadamia nut cookie cometh.
Minks are mean.
Let's go bowling.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Journey of (a metaphorical) 40 Days

In late August I began a rereading of "A Purpose Driven Life". The plan was that I would take the next forty days to read, reflect, and journal the insights I gained and steps I should take. I started off well, reading each section on the appointed day and journaling almost daily. However soon I was writing once a week and then not at all, and finally I wasn't even reading daily. The Forty Days of Purpose stretched into a sixty-five day period that was not entirely purposeful. This time around I learned much and was challenged with ways my life and focus has to change. From the first reading on "it's not about me" (I don't think that insight has fully sunk in yet), I was challenged about purposeful living working out in practical ways of service and obedience.

Sometimes I felt discouraged and doubted I would ever be a world class Christian such as Rick Warren describes or even someone who would share my faith with those who do not know Christ, but I realized that a journey takes time and growth takes time. I am not naturally a servant and I am naturally very self-absorbed so I think it will take some time to grow in these areas. I trust that God will work in me as I work out my faith.

At the same time I was taking an Alpha course and a couple weeks ago spent a wonderful weekend at a Catholic church learning about the Holy Spirit. Our Alpha group combined with another Alpha group and it was wonderful to experience the unity of brothers and sisters in Christ, learning from one another. I am very passionate about ecumenicalism and I love it when different church traditions and denominations can come together in unity, focusing on the essential matters that we have in common. I want to recognize my brothers and sisters in Christ from whatever denomination or tradition.