Friday, March 31, 2006

From Blue-Eyed Stranger

"But I will defend kissing. Fiercely. I will also defend fierce kissing."

The picture that goes with this is umm... I don't know, it makes me smile.It also makes me think of my roommate Katie... but that is story that probably has nothing to do with what you are imagining it does.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Having Gone to a Talk to get Extra Credit for Class...

I have always been a sucker for extra credit. There is always that lurking hope that if I do extra credit now, then I have the ability and licence to slack off later. My overacheiver fights my lazier side and I do the extra work so that I can feel better about my general procrastinations. Anyway, this chance was too good to pass up as I could write one paper and turn it in to two different teachers and get extra credit in both classes. And, I had read a book by this guy and actually enjoyed it. Anyway, here follows my take on the talk.

I am in a room with many many people. The sound of clapping is even and strong like the echoes of a steady hail in the metal gymnasium from high school. People stand at the edges of the room filled to the full extent of the fire code. Every seat is full, except one I see up near the front next to a lady who must be saving it for someone. But although these people are far more exciting than the long list of people being recognized for their participation in this symposium, they are not the focus of the evening. No, we are discussing the world's population and resources and collapse.

The speaker, Dr. Jared Diamond, sits at the edge of the stage. His introducer claims Dr. Diamond's fame and acheivements, which I don't doubt. But I wonder if this smiling bearded man, who is still yet a man, can really be worth so much as the seemingly incredible fee and enormous hype. If we ever get to hear him, perhaps I will have a chance to decide. Is this man's mind so truly brilliant? I read a book by him, and it was good. It addressed the broad picture of the world which was fascinating. But he is yet a man. His record is that of a man. He has been blessed by God, certainly, with intellect, intelligence, and witty journal and book titles. Since he has published so many it is good that they are witty. His work "will stand for at least thirty years" the introducer says. Great, I say. But is thirty years enough? I want to have an impact that affects hundreds of years from now, even eternity. I don't care if they remember my name so much as my God is instilled in their hearts and they learn His love. I want to fellowship with them in eternity. I wonder if Dr. Diamond will be "forever".

He begins well, connecting to his audience with fluid speech, uncluttered with fillers like "umm" and "uhh". His brown suit fits his academic persona. He speaks of collapse. It began as a love for the romantic mysteries of failed civilizations. He, along with humanity, is captured by the stories of grand peoples of the past and their clouded demise. We are a species of storytellers and storylovers.

With the collapse there is paired the hope of some success stories and both have lessons to teach the growing global world. Human impact on the world's environment, continuous global climate change, enemies, friends, and internal social framework all play integral parts in the courses of nations. These will be the reasons a civilization collapses. Determining which one was the actual cause could be difficult, nearly impossible, but that doesn't mean that there are not still lessons to be learned.
Dr. Diamond goes through a series of peoples: some failures, some successes. Easter Island was deforested which led to starvation, war, and cannibalism. The island has ironic name for such a death. Easter is a time of rebirth and resurrection. Japan and the Takegawa Era properly cared for their environment and balanced their use and production and have survived without collapse. Environment has importance in the survival of nations.

The world's population is still expanding. Many elites and even the United States are isolated from several of the world's largest problems. A country's collapse in the global world today would not be an isolated event, it would affect the world, especially if it were a large and powerful country. Dr. Diamond has hope however, despite the facts that there are more and more people and more and more destructive technologies, there is the hope that we can learn from past societies and from societies around the world today. We can learn to avoid collapse. Education is the solution. It reminds me of the push for public schools in American history and how for so many, for so long, education was seen as the solution for morality. If people only learned what was nice and what wasn't nice they would do good. But not only is that not enough, it doesn't even work.

Dr. Diamond brings up the Core Values of consumerism and isolationism and how they won't work in our global society. He brought up the fact that we need to invest ourselves in countries for long term. It brought to mind work in Iraq. Then he mentioned Iraq. That country haunts me like a strange smell: alluring, terrifying, beautiful, captivating, and so many other things.

In answering questions, he is smooth, tactful, vague, the essential patriotic with the message to vote. It is all very nice, even pleasant to everyone. And yet, one wonders if there isn't something grander in the world than a simple striving to save the planet. What are we saving the planet for? It is no surprise to me that the world will end someday, but it is not my intention to destroy the planet for my own diabolical plans. Instead, there should be something more, a purpose hidden somewhere in all that agenda.

And then he ends, far too early, far to short, having skimmed the surface of subjects that must be far deeper and far more interesting than the superficial overview in his presentation. What was that for? Why come for a slight taste and overview when there is so much more grander and deeper in his mind that was left untouched? I wish he had spoken more fully or deeper or more somehow. I am left with the frustration of having been told something I felt I knew already but that there still resides something more that I don't know, which he didn't talk about, but could have. Ahh, the grief of lost potential.

His talk was too short. His talk was too superficial. I have not yet decided if the above text will actually be the text I turn in to my teachers. However, I did get to see some of my friends, and yes, I will get extra credit.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Be Counted Worthy

Lately I have been thinking about worth. As humans we see worth in a completely different way than God does. As Americans we see worth as something different than the way most of the world does. Americans want the most gain for as little work as possible, even if that gain is not absolutely needed. And anything that requires a lot of work can obviously be done without—because, after all, who wants to do the work?

But God was willing to die for a rebellious and sinful world. We were not “worth” the price. His value far outweighs the value of the people he died to save, you and me.

But through his death he gave us the power “to life a life worthy of the calling you received.” (Eph 4:1) How is this done? “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

When we approach things in life how do we decide if something is “worth” the effort? Is our value system intrinsically flawed? We want and expect results that match our effort and we want them close after that effort. But really most of life doesn’t work this way, and I am convinced that God’s kingdom doesn’t work this way either. He does things in a sort of upside-down and backwards way than we most often expect. He picks the younger son. He spends time with the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years as the high-level official’s daughter died. He eats with the poor and the rich, and allowing the prostitute to wipe his feet with her hair during a dinner with a prominent Pharisee. He picked his disciples, not from the elite scholars, as was the custom for rabbis, but from the working classes, men who fished and collected taxes and sweated for their food.

Are we willing to work for those results we cannot see? What if we don’t even know if they exist? Are we willing to work and put effort into something that we cannot readily see the worth? Do we base our worth on visible results? (“Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living.” Job 28:13)

God bases our worth on what he was willing to pay for us—which is a lot, his son’s life. We too should base our worth on that same thing. Are we willing to trust God for the worth of the work he asks us to do here on earth even if we can’t see the results of our labor? Even if others question the worth of our labor? We ought to trust him even at the cost of our reputation among others. We ought to trust him even when we can’t see the effect of long hours or even years of work and prayer. Maybe here on earth we won’t see the fruit. But there is always heaven.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Happy Break!

Hello! :) Smile! It is Spring Break!

Isn't that shallow of us?

We will smile because of something so regular (and yes a blessing) like Spring Break, but we live every day of
our lives, so often not smiling even though our lover died for us. And then, even then, we don't have to live in
grief, because HE rose from the dead and conquered all that holds us in bondage.

As I read about so many of our sisters in bondage in countries all over the world, and even here in this country,
I am cut to the core. This is a bondage to fear, to grief, to lonlieness. Their concerns are the same as ours:
family, guys, money, self-image; except they have no hope of victory.

And here we are, with victory assured and we do not smile and share that victory with others.

Please pray for joy among the believers, both men and women, and pray that God will do great things among
the hearts of women and men overseas. God's heart yearns for them.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

So I realize it has been a while...

I realized that it has been a long time since I actually wrote anything for this blog. My business has been hard but so much fun. So, an update for anyone keeping track: I went to Nashville this past weekend and met an amazing group of people. They were people who made me feel young and inexperienced which was humbling, but at the same time so awesome because I feel like I can learn a lot from them. They have incredible patience and kind and generous hearts. They know the difficulties and that God is the only real reward. I was so blessed and encouraged and I have so enjoyed telling people what I learned while I was over there. I even had a chance to talk to some Christians on the airplanes and one guy named Trevor who works with the Gideons was a great blessing. For those of you that pray... I would appreciate prayer concerning the timing of things and that we could find some other women who have a heart to teach and love on women and kids. I do not want to be alone, but I will go alone if that is what God has for me. He has promised not to leave me desolate. In truth I am never alone.

The people of Kurdistan have grown on my heart since I first heard some people speak about the teaching work going on there in November. The teachers at the schools I would teach at are young single women who have not been taught in the way they are being taught to do now. There are lots of kids there and the school will only continue to grow as it adds a grade each year. I am so excited to have a hand in whatever God wants me to do and feel so blessed that I will get to have a part in the beginning of this rising nation. These kids will make all the difference in their country.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Singled Out for Good

Stolen from Deborah's blog's link to skycowbooks? Anyway, this is an awesome article for single women or anyone else I suppose. I agree with a lot of her points.

check it out!