Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007 and the New Year

On Monday, December 17 my Grandma passed away. She had been ill for some time, after being diagnosed with mouth cancer about three years ago. She had gone through surgeries, radiation and a case of shingles, and hadn't been able to swallow food all that time. My Grandpa tirelessly nursed her and fed her through a tube in her small intestine three times a day for a couple of hours each feeding. For the last week and a half of her life she was in the hospital and could no longer breathe on her own and didn't talk. My Grandma was a strong person who was cheerful and loving. I admired her for her lack of complaint and perseverence through adversity. In the end, she wanted to go home and I know she is now in a place without suffering or illness.

The funeral was on Saturday and the Christmas season was a time of grief as well as a time of celebration of my grandmother's life. She was in her 87th year and had a full life. She and my Grandpa had been married 58 years. They met in the Netherlands at the beginning of WWII and were separated most of the war, writing eachother letters through the occupation of Holland. They immigrated to Canada after marrying and had five children, four sons and a daughter. My Grandma was a champion Scrabble player, a good cook, and a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She often laughed and had a warm smile. I know my Grandpa will find it hard to go on now his life companion is gone. I will miss her, but I am glad she is with Jesus and no longer suffering.

As another year approaches, I am taking stock of my life. I am not sure what this new year will bring. I am making some resolutions, including posting more often on this blog. Lately I have been more negative, and I want to renew my hope, faith, and love.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Believer Baptism

On Sunday September 9, 2007 in my own backyard, surrounded by family, some of my friends, and many of the people from my fellowship, I was baptized as a believer. Although I had been baptized as an infant in the CRC, I felt this was a step that I wanted to take. Here is the testimony I had prepared (I didn't end up saying it as eloquently or in full):
Today is a very important day for me, and I am glad you all could be here. God has done amazing things in my life, and brought healing and strength to me. Most of all, I am grateful for what this baptism means that I am buried with Christ, with death to all the old ways, and raised to new life in him. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit, for he is the true comforter and guide in following Christ. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father who loves me so much. In the past six months I have been very ill, but God never abandoned me or let me go. What I had feared came upon me, but now I can already see that all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose. I know God has a purpose for my life, and in him I am a champion. I know Christ has the power to heal all my wounds and to also present me to God faultless, not because I am faultless, but because when he looks at me, he looks at me through Christ, the Lamb without spot or blemish. Jesus Christ is my Saviour and Redeemer and Lord and I will follow him all my life, but it is he that took hold of me and will not let me go. For this I give all praise and glory to God. While I am not a new believer, having previously professed my faith, I am being made new today.
When Pastor Bob Warriner, pastor of Flamborough Christian Fellowship, baptized me in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he said that I was being made alive, alluding to Jesus' words "Lazarus Come Forth" to speak of my resurrection. I felt a deep sense of peace and assurance that this was a new beginning, though not the beginning of my walk with God, or of his call on my life. After all God chose me from before the creation of the world to be his child. I am very grateful for what baptism means; adoption, redemption, renewal, seal of hope and promise. Most important is what God is doing in baptism, but another important part is your own commitment to following Christ. Right now I don't know much about my direction, but I do know I will follow the Holy Spirit's leading and walk with Christ wherever that may lead.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another post about Owen

I may strike you as an excessively gushy aunt, but my nephew is so cute and adorable. There is an even cuter picture too, of him holding the chicks in his lap that can be found, like all cute pictures of this beautiful child, on my sister's blog. That is Karen Langelaar, married to the wonderful Clint Langelaar, father of Owen, this miracle baby. Among Owen's habits are jumping in his jolly-jumper, getting new teeth, sitting up, flailing his arms in excitement, and dumping his toys on the floor. He now knows how to use a sippy cup, which means I can baby-sit him when I go there at the end of September, beginning of October.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Favourite or Meaningful Bible passages

I have amassed quite a collection of meaningful Bible passages. I very much miss the Bible I lost in the hospital (some confused patient walked off with it, but left the cover for me). Most of all I miss the scraps of paper with passages given to me in ministry sessions. So in celebration of my Heavenly Father, this being Father's day, I thought I would list some of my favourite passages from his love letter to me. It would be nice if I could have links in this, so you could follow them to my favourite passages, but I am not that blog savvy.

Romans 8 the whole chapter, especially "All things work out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose" and "Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ"
Ezekiel 16:8 "Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, "Live!"
That particular passage was given to me twice, once by Ace Clark when he visited for supper and gave out comic books and once by one of my pastors who I really admired and still do.
Psalm 139
I read this passage when we were studying Frankenstein in Professor Bowen's class. Since then it has come to mean a lot more.
Psalm 18
See my previous post.
Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd. I read a book while in the hospital about this psalm. It was written by a shepherd from Africa and I never will forget what this book taught me. Later I saw a beautiful liturgical dance to this psalm and after the service I let this song wash over me like cool cleansing water.
Psalm 91
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This is a psalm my Dad would read to me.
Psalm 11
Karen my older sister gave me this one when I first got ill at sixteen.
Psalm 103
I included this passage in my testimony at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church over a year ago. My Oma was there as was my friend Mary-Ann and my parents.
Isaiah 43:1-7
My friend Jerri Batterink gave me this passage in a card when I was hospitalized at seventeen.
Ephesians 1:3-14, 15-22
My current pastor gave me this one (15-22) in a card, after I left his church for greener pastures (read shorter services, familiar worship style, comfort zone, timed sermons, wonderful, very dignified, people).
Ephesians 6:10-18
I always am in desperate need of the armour of God.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. This is practically my theme verse from the past decade.
Joshua 1:9
Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: For the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
These words to Joshua resound in my spirit. I got a name card with this verse on it, shortly before entering the hospital (for the first time in nine years or so.) Later I got a journal with this verse on it at the Elim Women's Conference.
Lamentations 3:27-33
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust- there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to the one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
My mentor and hero from South Africa showed me this passage.
Matthew 6:25-34
My parents' wedding text, the meaningfulness of my name, the name of this blog all have to do with this passage. I would be a white lily of the valley if I ever was a flower.
Jeremiah 30:17 "For I will restore health to you and I will heal your wounds says the Lord."
My Aunt Reta sent me this one. That's a promise God is keeping.
Others: John 15 (I once preached a sermon on this to a congregation of one), Matthew 5:1-ll (the Beatitudes, I learned more about this at the Elim Women's Conference on my first weekend pass this past hospitalization. A woman named Eve spoke). Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 6:20, all of 1 John especially 1:12.

How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!

I also love any passage about unity, spiritual gifts, and the body of Christ. The high priestly prayer of Jesus before the cross is very meaningful.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Psalm 18

Psalm 18 NIV
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn [a] of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave [b] coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded. [c]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies ,
great bolts of lightning and routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, O LORD,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not done evil by turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop [d] ;
with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the LORD, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind;
I poured them out like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations;
people I did not know are subject to me.
44 As soon as they hear me, they obey me;
foreigners cringe before me.
45 They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.
46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
48 who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from violent men you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD;
I will sing praises to your name.
50 He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.
Psalm 18:2 Horn here symbolizes strength.
Psalm 18:5 Hebrew Sheol
Psalm 18:13 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint (see also 2 Samuel 22:14 most Hebrew manuscripts resounded, / amid hailstones and bolts of lightning
Psalm 18:29 Or can run through a barricade

This psalm that David wrote is so meaningful to me. I've been reading a lot in the psalms throughout my recent illness and a wise person told me to meditate on this psalm. David's enemies might have been more concrete, but I definitely have a real enemy going about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. In God I find my strength and refuge. I love the part about God drawing David up from deep waters, because sometimes I really feel like I am drowning, and I also appreciate the imagery of God broadening the path for his feet. I now have strength to fight and to stand firm while God fights for me. I am improving day by day, but I don't want to lose the urgency that draws me to God and to Jesus David's descendent and my Lord. Now I am coming into a more spacious place and Jesus is my shepherd who watches over me. God has provided for all my needs and I can't get over how much he loves me. I hope I never forget all he has done for me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Exciting News

I found out today that I will be discharged after an extra long weekend, lasting until Tuesday evening. Only one more sleep at the hospital!I will be discharged on Wednesday the 23rd, following a family meeting.
The long weekend I will be spending with my adorable nephew, currently in New Jersey, as well as my beautiful sister, also presently in New Jersey, and I will be visiting other relations on Monday and Tuesday.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

So I was a little premature, not by much

I've been doing more time, at a different hospital. Rather than analyze this whole situation, I praise God that he is doing the work!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Update on My Life

My beautiful, graceful, gracious Mom is celebrating her birthday today. As she becomes a year older and embarks on the time of year when she is older and wiser than my Dad, I wish her a happy birthday. May blessings overflow in her life.

I am living at home and moving all the things out of my apartment tomorrow. Saying good-bye to the apartment is somewhat saddening, but I will be on the look-out for a more suitable living situation with other people, which will be better for my mental health.

I've been working on Greek and as of Tuesday finally caught up with the rest of the class. I am still doing well in the class, but lack further energy right now to study much this weekend and push on to the end, the day after Easter Monday when I have my exam. Maybe Saturday, and Monday I'll manage to get some work done...

I did get accepted to Calvin Seminary to the Masters of Theological Studies program. However since I was in the hospital when all the applications for scholarships and financial aid needed to be completed, I am not able to go. Also right now, I am sensing a new direction and that God has shut that door.

My Mom has given me an assignment to write down my testimony for the Burning Bush, a Flamborough Christian Fellowship publication. Other than that I need to be looking for meaningful employment, although I do have casual flexible summer work starting in mid April back at Connon Nurseries.

On Monday I will celebrate my grandpa's birthday with him and my grandma. Easter weekend I look forward to celebrating my Oma's 85th birthday with the extended family. I will be coming in my own car, but my sister Linda will be driving! I am very blessed.

I call this time in my life a time of rest. I've been taking many walks and doing a lot of talking with the unfortunate walking companions, cooking supper or making a salad for the family meal, and I just started a crocheting project for my friend Mary-Ann's wedding in October. When I try to do too many things, I feel overwhelmed. But rest is very good.

When I look at what God accomplished through one hospitalization, as far as healing and restoration and destroying fear and hopelessness, I am in awe of him.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hope in the Hospital

I have been in the hospital since February 16, 2007 following another episode of confused thoughts. It had been a long time and felt a lot different somehow. I am actually very thankful I returned to the hospital as I have been experiencing much healing, facing many old fears, and realizing God is greater than any mental illness. My fellow patients have taught me much and I would love to write some of my experiences and what I have learned through interactions with other patients. I recently met someone who has lived with schizophrenia for most of his adult life, speaks in schools to educate about mental illness, and as an artist dreams of painting a canvas worthy of hanging in heaven. As he spoke about his life, a full and varied one, and his deep faith, I felt a quickening in my spirit, an assurance that despite illness, life with God continues.
I haven't relinquished fully my desire for a medication-free future, but it is no longer connected to any time-table. It is no longer a pressing goal or requirement for contentment in life, although I confess to being very happy to be off my most hated drug. I have a good doctor at the hospital and God has also been at work. I still seek healing and restoration and I feel I am healed in an important sense. Despite emotional turmoil and pain, I feel an underlying peace. I sense that many are praying for me.
Some things left behind in the journey include my desire for an academic career as a professor and my plans to attend Calvin Seminary in the fall. I also have danced in my hospital room and left John Calvin in the sixteenth century. I look forward to a lively conversation about predestination in heaven with him, but it is no longer a pressing topic for debate on earth. Maybe some day I will actually read his Institutes, but maybe not. I'd rather not be a formal theologian, and I realize being a professor may not be a calling which would give me real fulfillment or satisfaction. My passion for the Scriptures remains and I will be attempting to complete my Greek course. However I am feeling a tug towards Bible translation rather than a masters degree in Theological Studies.
Right now I am trying not to race on ahead of God, but to stay here in this moment, to slowly reenter my life. I'll be staying with my parents for a time and searching for a job and new living situation. My contract for my clerical office job was to expire mid-March, so I won't be returning to that job. Ofcourse I have no idea what may happen in the remainder of my life, but I'll be patient to see how it unfolds. My ambitions may return in some altered form and my dreams remain, and God's amazing faithfulness and abundant grace continues.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Procrastination and Me

The beauty (and horror) of procrastination lies in the fact that an onerous task or project, if delayed long enough, will no longer be possible to complete, at least with any reasonable hope of success. With rationalization and excuses as my close companions, I continually deferred the work necessary to prepare for graduate school to some later time. While I achieved an A+ in my first course in introductory Greek, I give myself a D for my lacklustre efforts in planning school for next year. As a student, I generally succeeded in the battle against procrastination, at least in the realm of academics. But as I consider my poor performance in this area, I am gaining new insight into myself.
Why is it that I have always had an easier time accepting Jesus' words "Without me you can do nothing", than appropriating Paul's assertion "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"? Why is it I can be relatively content in repetitive, mind-numbing work, and fear any venture into the unknown? Can it be I really did not want to succeed in my efforts at planning and applications, and really I wanted to try and ultimately fail, proving to myself that this endeavour was not for me? Because I am afraid, afraid of the unknown, afraid of failure, afraid that I don't have what it takes. I am afraid of being far from home, afraid of illness, of debt, and ultimate futility. I am afraid that I can't even succeed at what God is calling me to in my life, whatever that may be.
At one point in my life, I began to narrow the area where I demanded competency and excellence from myself. Many things I haven't even attempted to do. My mother was frustrated at my attempts to prove that I could not sew a button onto my pants. But I see this as a picture of the many skills I have decided I can't master. My area where I demanded mastery, competence, and excellence was the realm of academic achievement, but other endeavours, for example, in the realm of friendships and social life, I accepted, even expected, failure. In all honesty, I can understand the servant in the parable who buried his talent in the ground.
I need to find out what God is calling me to do with the gifts and interests he has given to me, my area of service and my specific vocation (which may or may not be connected to a specific career). I need to realize that I can do whatever God has called me to, the "all things" Paul speaks of, and I can succeed at many other life skills as well. I need to replace my fears with faith and confidence in Christ who strengthens me, and I need to work hard at any true vision God gives me for my life. I need to realize the true failure is not trying, is burying the gold talent deep in the ground, of living a life of safe and shallow selfishness. And with all this emphasis on doing, maybe I need to balance that with a realization of being, my identity in Christ as a child of God, who I am created and redeemed to be.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Meeting My Nephew Owen

Here is a picture of me with my nephew Owen who I met for the first time last week. I just took it from my sister's blog where there are more pictures of this adorable child with his many doting relatives, but I wanted something on my blog to commemorate the joy of meeting Owen. Owen is the little son of my sister Karen and brother-in-law Clint, a definite answer to prayer. He was born on October 17, 2006, so he is nearly three months old. The first time I held Owen, he screamed in protest and I couldn't calm him, but later I got to hold him when he was content and smiling. He has the sweetest smile, so big and all gums. I especially liked to see him smile at my sister and calm right down in her arms. He is happiest after his feeding and unhappiest when he is tired or when held or passed in a way he doesn't like. Owen is now on his way to Ottawa on the train with his parents and then will be returning to Saskatchewan Tuesday on a four hour flight that will first go to Calgary. Prayers for the flight home would be appreciated as Owen generally needs a car seat or a bed to sleep and doesn't sleep in people's arms very often. The time with Owen was too brief and I hope I can visit Saskatchewan sometime before he starts walking. It was so good to see Karen and Clint again, but seeing Owen was extra special.

Monday, January 08, 2007

My Education in Hindsight

My friend laughed at me recently when I told her that while I had appreciated the book she had lent to me and been moved to tears numerous times and had recognized the profundity of the truths so clearly laid out, I had resisted the way they were quoting Scriptures without references to original context. I explained that there were several steps to take before applying the passage to women in the church today, since the passage was using feminine imagery to speak of the nation of Israel. "Yes, she said, "But what is said of Israel applies to the church today and so to women in the church." I insisted that the original context and these steps in between should be acknowledged by the authors, as responsible biblical interpretation. I could make the leap, I knew the original context and the steps in between (moving from Israel to the church to women today) but what about other readers? I still think this is a valid point, although it would have interrupted the flow of the argument quite a bit and diminished the beauty of the book. But I got to thinking that along with the knowledge I gleaned from my professors, I also picked up quite a few prejudices. Some of them may be more like convictions, but others are definite prejudices. I picked them up because I respect my professors and their opinions. From my upper level seminar course in Christian worship, taught by a long-time Doctor in Music, I picked up a complete aversion and disgust with the name for God Jehovah. He explained that this was an ignorant translation from the Hebrew name YHWH (written ofcourse in Hebrew characters without vowels). This name was not even pronounced by the Jews, it was so sacred and holy. So this name was badly phonetically mangled with vowels placed in and became the name Jehovah. Now any song, whether contemporary or an old version of a hymn, that uses the name Jehovah, sets my teeth on edge, even if I like the other words or messages in the song.
A short list of some other prejudices (or perhaps convictions, as some may be valid) some gleaned from my Church History classes and others from my Philosophy of Religion course include:
1) A firm belief that the national anthem should not be sung in a church service unless it follows the benediction, hence technically not being in the service.
2) A belief Canada's, the United State's, and/or Israel's flag should not be in a church sanctuary. A grudging permission for the nations of the world's flags to be all displayed.
3) A sense of anger at the sight of Canada's flag drapped over the cross, all but obscuring the religious symbol. A vague feeling these symbols should not mix.
4) A belief that baptism should only happen once. I have since let this one go a little. Most in my immediate family have been rebaptized. When pressured by a pastor as a young adult, I refused on the principle that my baptism as an infant was equally valid, I had professed my faith already, and no other baptism was needed.
5) A sense that worship, if not completely orderly, should at least be dignified. I guess I wouldn't get along with King David too well.

I recognize that most of these are minor things, not worth getting upset over and really it would be better to not let these things annoy me, particularly if it hinders my unity with other brothers and sisters in Christ. None of them are things I would nail on a church door to demand reformation. What is important is a heart of worship, to worship in spirit and in truth, and this can be done in a sanctuary with a flag of Canada or the US in it as well as in a church bare of national symbols.

One belief, held by some of my professors, that women should not be ordained, I never did pick up. Some may call it rebellion, which is probably one of the reasons I said as a young girl that I would some day like to be a pastor (an ordained one). (This was not then possible in my denomination, hence its attraction.) Now I think a lot of it is simply respect for some women who I know through personal connections or by books or magazines I've read or speakers I've heard, who personally feel a call to pastoral or preaching ministry. Anne Graham Lotz at a conference I recently attended something like that if people have a problem with a women (in preaching or pastoral role or spiritual leadership role), then they need to take it up with Jesus, because he called them. At university I did a paper on the difficult passage in II Timothy, often cited as evidence of a universal prohibitation against women teaching or having authority over a man in the church. At the time I concluded that I hadn't found compelling evidence in the sources I had come across that the passage could be responsibly interpreted in a way to support my rather faint belief that some women are called to spiritual authority in a church along with men, though all Christians are called to both submission to the spiritual authorities God has placed over them and to mutual submission as believers. In my mind, the spiritual headship of a husband, clearly taught in the Bible, was distinct from the relationship of men and women in the church; that is simply because a person was male he was not qualified to command and control a woman in the church; he needed to be in a position of authority himself and that authority should never be exercised in a domineering way regardless of anyone's gender. My friend recently wrote a paper on the same topic, and found different, more scholarly and convincing sources, and came to the conclusion that this could be responsibly and faithfully argued.

I also lost some prejudices, most notably my sense of outrage at the apostle Paul who I was convinced was a sexist apostle, rather full of himself even. I based this on three passages in particular that angered me. I guess they angered me more because of how they have been used and interpreted by others. My Church History and History of Eastern Orthodoxy courses took away a lot of my prejudices, opened my eyes to the beauty of other traditions and the wisdom of the Church Fathers, and instilled in me a passion for ecumenicalism and unity among brothers and sisters in Christ from all traditions and varieties holding to the essential creeds we share. Thanks to my church history professor, I started distrusting the NIV slightly, though I have always enjoyed its beautiful cadences and clear translation, and have since decided that in some cases the translators were hindered by evangelical or male prejudice that coloured their translation. In fact any translation must necessarily be an interpretation as well, because often the ambiguity that may be in the Greek cannot remain in the English translation.