30 May 2006

thoughts on reconciliation

Maybe this isn't the best place to air these thoughts, but I'm going to anyways. As part of my job I was involved in planning and helping facilitate a prayer conference for the Congo (DRC) this past weekend. New City has had immigrants/refugees from the Congo in our congregation for I'm not sure how long now--6 years?

We hosted so that Congolese who are scattered throughout the U.S. could come together as a group to cry out to God for their country, which has pretty much been in a state of chaos--its citizens in danger for their lives from political instability, starvation, civil war, and a myriad of other things. Women and girls have beena abducted and raped (read about it. here and here).

It was an exhausting and in many many ways frustrating several weeks leading up to the conference, and working during it was also not really a picnic. I was too busy to go into the meetings during the conference, but I hope that the fellowship and reunion of countrymen(even though many of the participants had never met)was sweet, and that the Lord heard their united cries for healing and justice.

My quesion about reconciliation is this: I had to twist my own arm to get myself going when it came to this conference. I didn't want to be there, really, and I had a bad attitude.

In spite of this, I was really disappointed and somewhat surprised that more people from our church didn't come for some of the prayer meetings. But like I said, if I hadn't been sort of forced to be involved, I probably would not have been there either.

So why is it so SO hard to love those who are culturally different from us? Why can I love my best friends' kids to pieces but not care in a real way what might be happening to children in the Congo at this very moment...not perfect strangers, but people connected to me through my own church body? Why is it such a battle to put myself in others' shoes? This weekend, I had to repeatedly think: "If I had to flee the U.S. and hunker down in some foreign land--knowing that my relatives and friends were still suffering, my kids not having enough to eat, my friends daughters being brutally raped--that would be awful beyond reckoning."

Lord, open our eyes. We have so much to learn about what it means to be a family, and about what it means to love the way He loves. We need more of Him. That's all there is to it.


i was at a fun gathering yesterday and we were talking movies/tv shows. i think that there should be a forum for recommendations of favorites--movies, shows on dvd, books, new restaurants you've discovered.

here are a few recent films & tv shows that i've enjoyed. maybe i'll do books & restaruants later.

"everything is illuminated"--don't let the cheesy cover design and badly chosen font fool you. this movie is good--strange, quirky, thought provoking and funny. my favorite character is the grandfather, who thinks he's blind and needs a seeing-eye bitch, whose name is sammy davis, jr., jr. she wears a "uniform" so that you know she's "official". take that back. the phrase stuck in my head is how young alex pronounces "sammy davis, jr., jr." with his thickly ukranian accented english.

"pride & prejudice"...upon third viewing, kiera knightly is wrong for elizabeth, but it is still beautiful.

"arrested development"--just watch it. either season, any episode.

"the station agent"-- a plain ole great story.

"the office"--the complete first series, british version. be forewarned, it's a kinda wrong at times, but also very funny. takes an episode or two to get you, but then you're hooked.

22 May 2006

Hmmm. Yeah.

Confession: I have a soft spot for Jack Black. The last scene in High Fidelity when John Cusack is being all cute and pitiful, and Barry (aka Przeboje i podboje) comes out with that soul: "And if you feel...like I feel...sugah...."

Now that's good stuff.

Today I saw this poster for an upcoming film. It looks truly awful, but you can't not smile.

Plot Outline: In order to save an orphanage from closure, a priest (Black) dons a masks and moonlights as a luchador.

What the heck is a luchador?

kid sister

Photographic proof that I have a tiny evil twin.

14 May 2006


Seems like the world is passing by right outside my window today. The leaves are fully shimmering on the trees, which seems strange to me. It makes me think of getting up early to watch the world wake up to the warmth and hearty growth of itself. I think the world takes a deep breath in the morning, as if to say: We made it through another night. Or maybe that’s just me. The world must be awake to itself, all of those crickets and new hatched birds keeping it on its toes through the darkest hour.

Today for some reason I feel missing.

I miss that musty old house in Galle, Sri Lanka. Waking up, making strong black tea and drinking it plain and bitter from one of those big glass mugs, reading Psalms before the rest of the house was stirring, the warm humid air from the fan blowing through the living room. There was a film of salty sea mist covering every surface of the house, making the red painted floor dull with its coating.

We prayed together and read the scriptures as a family of volunteers in a foreign land that, by the time I left, had felt like a home of sorts.

We walked along the coast, talking to children who lingered at the water’s edge, collecting shells, making disturbing discoveries: clothes, shoes, pieces of broken dishes washed on shore. Moments of silence, of mourning.

I miss ten hot, sweet cups of tea every day in the middle of exhausting work, the breezy nights at the fort, the times of meditation at sunset rock. Sunset dog with her happy greetings, rolling around in the long grass belly up as soon as she saw me coming.

I miss the sun coming through the windows of Kalighat, sitting with patients, feeding rice and potatoes. Wringing out long the long green sheets that smelled of disinfectant with other volunteers, carrying baskets of laundry to the roof for the strong mid-morning heat to dry them.

The book I am reading now is called Gilead. Here’s an excerpt:

“A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone.

No doubt that is true. Our dream of life will end as dreams do end, abruptly and completely, when the sun rises, when the light comes. And we will think, All that fear and all that grief about nothing. But that cannot be true. I can’t believe we will forget our sorrows altogether. That would mean forgetting that we had lived, humanly speaking. Sorrow seems to me to be a great part of t he substance of human life.”
Marilynne Robinson

12 May 2006


...from this week

Mental image: God up there, wearing his chef's hat, tossing a wok full of vegetables in the air to the "beef, what's for dinner song" saying a la Emeril Lagasi "Bam!". Oh wait, I'm mistaken…that was Linz.

Quote: Carrie, excitedly, about the box sitting by my desk, "It's a RHOMBUS!"

Chinese Proverb: Do not remove a fly from your neighbor's face with a hatchet.

Red-winged Blackbird

I was walking in Forest Park the other day and was surprised by this unexpected loveliness by one of the ponds. I'll admit I decided to let my romantic side win this time in the war that it constatly wages with my perfectionist/critical realist tendencies, and take it as a sign from God.

He still has some surprises up his big ol sleeves. And I think that is what hope looks like today.

I've grown up reading stories like the one in Exodus 14, but I still need to be reminded of how beautiful it is when we see him working, when we get it.

"Seeing" generally requires actually looking, but when I saw this red-winged blackbird, I most definitely was not looking. I believe I was complaining to him, or maybe just caught up in my own thoughts. And in swooped this creature, waking me up, shaking my jaded heart with a revelation of beauty, my head with the thought, "Well I never."

08 May 2006

"Darkness cannot overcome light"

Diary of a mad white woman:

Enough. I throw my hands in the air, shrug my shoulders in tense hostility, in desperation. I can't believe any of this anymore. Sometimes even my own game is revealed to me as such a deception, a ridiculous farce.

But we play, we strap knives to our bodies and run at one another:I love you! I love you, screaming in anger and with furrowed brows.

I love you, really I do.

This is just me, in my own insane little way, admitting that I'm at a loss, and I just don't get it.

On a completely different note. This is the new music I'm listening to tonight. It just arrived in the mail today in a small brown padded envelope. It is an ache of beauty, I feel like I have heard it already one thousand times on the first go around, and it makes everything seem a little less dark.

Cheers: to those who help me not to feel quite so insane (even though I undoubtedly am), quite so strung out (even though the shifty eyes and volitilty betray it to be true), quite so much like I've been tumbled around in one of those giant, super hot laundry-mat dryers (even though the way I feel is like an absolute loon with some seriously bad hair.)

Tonight, cheers to those ones. And to good old Don.

04 May 2006

Blue Night