Saturday, October 31, 2009

At the end of a distracting week...

Heschel says that life is lived under wide horizons, I love this thought because in it is the reminder that life is full and deep and a journey. I often forget that in the midst of a place like Chicago, I have found that long walks are much needed. This past week has been crazy. It began with writing a paper on the suffering of the Godhead as seen in the crucifixion of Christ. For one of the first times this semester I gave myself to an assignment, and as often happens, did not feel like I did it justice. But that’s not the point; I really enjoyed writing and researching the topic. Since last semester’s Theology of Suffering class I have looked for glimpses of what Dr. Schmutzer discussed in everything I have read. When the time came to finally put some thoughts down on paper I realized how fragmented my thoughts were. The opportunity to study this in addition to other things has led me to consider grad school. That was one of the reasons for the walk, such a thought is a violent irruption into what I had “planned”, and deeper than that, into who I am.

Dad has come to visit for the weekend. It’s good to have him here; I realized how close we became when working together over the summer. We went to Ho Jo this morning for breakfast and I listened to his many ideas of what might come next for him… he always has new plans.

And now, a new week is almost upon us. Silence is sometimes the only healing balm to the wondering soul. As we come before the Fountain of Trembling Silence we may at least know that from Him no secret can be hid, and that the Creator God who sees all is also among us, I love this thought…but still wonder what the implications of this really are. I closed my last paper with this question,

“Perhaps it is enough to say that maybe God is more, or less, responsible for evil than we previously thought. And maybe God is more, or less involved in His creation than we have previously experienced.” Things may not be as straightforward as we think they are. In the midst of a darkness which encompasses and threatens humanity the immanent God of love makes Himself visible, but, in the words of Nouwen, “can we recognize his presence?”

We pray for His peace upon this week, His immanence in our weariness, His joy in our eyes. Have a great week friends.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friends, i hope this update finds you well. it has been far to long since i have written. that must change. now. this might be a little fragmented, but its a start... :)

Since returning from B'desh almost three months ago it seems like life hasn't stopped. I continued working up in the mountains on my folks cabin till it was time to return for my final year at Moody. During the month back home I had Coen and Carolien from Holland visit as well as Charity, Mariah and Andrea from Moody. Being able to spend time with good friends up in the mountains was so refreshing after the somewhat strenuous time in B'desh.

I have missed spending time with family since college and overseas trips began 4 years ago. This summer was a much needed time with them, and i enjoyed the oppertunity to work with Dad again as well as spending quite evenings with both of them apart from distractions like running water or electricity. :)

One of the best parts of this summer was reading. Nouwen's book The Genesee Diary was sometimes all that got me through days in B'desh while Greene's book The End of the Affair is beyond a masterpiece. Below is an excerpt from a review that i wrote on it,

"Although titled “The End of the Affair”, the reader is left with the impression that the eternal, seeking God does not see ends in stories when Maurice says, “O God, You’ve done enough, You’ve robbed me of enough, I’m too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone forever.” Perhaps T.S. Eliot said it best in his “Four Quartets”: “In my end is my beginning.” “The End of the Affair” is not a masterpiece because of the brilliance of its faith but because of the intensity of its doubt, it’s characters filled with uncertainty that the God to whom they pray does, in fact, exist. When we are faced with the damning reality that in our eyes our sins hold so much beauty we are forced once again to ask, what is left for us but grace?"
It is that same question which stuck with me coming back from the Islam on Capital Hill event several weeks ago. in response to 5,000 muslims gathering for Jummah prayer on the lawn of the Capital several of us went in partnership with the South Asian Friendship Center to pass out Jesus Videos and talk with those that would communicate. It was intense and refreshing all at once. It is uncomfortable to see people as they really are, made in the image of God and precious in His sight. No one can understand the image of God who has no fallen in love with the Gospel and seen a person as an eternal being. I went down thinking that what i had learned about honor and shame in the muslim world would help and came back realizing that I did not understand grace as i should.

I can't believe its halfway through the semester. so much has happened and I would love to tell you about it, but i don't think either of us has the in closing these are the books i am reading apart from school:

Facing the Abusing God by Blumenthal
Praying the Psalms by Brueggman
Brighton Rock by Greene

In his book Blumenthal says, "Humanity in its individual and collective existence, is created in God's image, and hence struggles, together with God, to live the depth of that image." what a thought. I have so much I want to write about this, but it will have to wait till another blog post.

I've also decided I want to intentionally write prayers more. I finished one this weekend, its in the style of Brueggman, someone who I am learning to appreciate a lot...

This morning, we pray to the God of furnaces;
we remember the smoke of Sodom and Gomorah,
we remember the sacrificial offering by fire which you saw as right
we remember the heat of the fiery furnace where you met 3 men in the flames.

And, very differently, we remember the ashes of recent years;
we remember the smoke as the towers fell,
we remember the flames as Dresden burned,
we remember the furnaces where six million people were reduced to ash.

Into these manifold ambiguities,
we yield to the depth and fullness of Your being.
Into these irruptions of reality,
we ask for grace to pray in the presence of sufferings.

This morning, we confess that You are the God whose presence filled these many furnaces,
and we submit.
we pray in the name of the risen, wounded Christ. Amen.

and a few pics....

Mariah, Andrea and i in Colorado

in front of one of the decks we built.

mom and i at PPP