30 June 2006


"Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, but not in God Himself." Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations

1 Peter 1:1-9

"To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Hebrews 11:13-15;32-40

"....All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.

God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them....

...(32)And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.

Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.

They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.

They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—

The world was not worthy of them.

They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

27 June 2006

various non-sequiturs

Chihuly & Chi-harlie? Glass at the gardens is beautiful but somewhat expensive. I went with the fabulous L. It reminded us of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. I believe we said something like, "I'm just waiting for Augustus Gloop to appear and start eating these things."

Nacho Libre is worth seeing even though critics gave it a C+ rating. They must not have seen the "corn in the eye" part.

Cornerstone is in 7 days. I am offically old and will be spending most of my time listening to artists on the "Gallery" stage (foliker/ alternative/singer-songwriter music), as opposed to heaven death metal sweatiness of the Underground stage, or various Encore shows. I'll probably throw a few of those in the mix though, just to keep things interesting.

I can't keep up with everyone and their mother's various multiple xangas, myspaces, blogspots & stlouis blogs and still have a life apart from my laptop.

Yesterday was the most perfect weather God ever made.

My aunt Juli & uncle Robert are adopting a baby girl named Yan from China. I am so happy for them.

My rosemary plant died inexplicably.

I'm still slowly reading Gilead. The truth is, it's like a dessert--like dark chocolate with raspberries that you can't eat fast, but have to savor eversoslowly with coffee. I don't ever want to finish it, because of the fact that every other page I turn down the corner because the language is so striking and seamless and unexpected. The last book I didn't want to come to an end was The Brother's K.

If you took a can opener to my head, the inside would look like this. I can't seem to form articulate thoughts. I feel like I am fermenting.

When I get this antsy, I dive into six different books at the same time and listen to music. Some choice pics lately: Josh Garrels, Rosie Thomas, sigur ros, mark kozelek, don peris and
over the rhine

Reading:Bird By Bird; Six Theories of Justice; Cross Cultural Conflict

19 June 2006

New Orleans & Southern Gospe-tality

This title comes from a billboard we saw on the way down to New Orleans. A group of 14 people from New City and Kirk of the Hills went for one week to help do projects at theh Desire Street Ministry center and "gutter" houses in the neighborhood.

The Desire Street facility is located in the upper 9th ward of New Orleans, an area of land nobody wanted because it was swamp land by the river, so the government built the "Desire projects" there to attempt to rid the city of unsightly poverty and contain it in one area. Those first projects, huge, tall brick buildings that housed 16,000 people, were torn down before the hurricane and rebuilt as smaller 4 apartment structures. During and after Hurricane Katrina, the area surrounding the ministry center was flooded, all of the newly rebuilt projects, and most of the houses and apartments in the neighborhood.

Working in the neighborhood was somewhat eerie. There is virtually nobody around, the streets are too quiet and still, piles of debris from the ruined houses still spilling out into the streets. The homes are in various states of dilapidation and people who have been relocated are not sure if they will return to rebuild what's left of their neighborhoods and homes. It was strange to work in such a desolate place, and we had to put our hope in God's promises for the continuing process of rebuilding and restoration.

We worked with the staff there doing various tasks in the ministry center (which flooded about 5 feet & spring break volunteers cleaned out and already started fixing up); helped roof, insulate & begin drywalling the ministry's children's medical clinic; and gutted houses of people in the neighborhood who are as of yet not able to return.

It was a good trip. Some of the highlights for me were driving in over the 10 mile bayou bridge into Louisiana while the huge orange sun set behind us, getting to know the team, gutting houses, having some good time with Jesus, and walking around the city and along the river on Friday night.

Here are some pictures on Flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelaheirendt/

05 June 2006

Sari Bari

Check this out....my friends in Kolkata, India have started a blog for Sari Bari, the blanket-making business they run employing girls and women who have left (and most times been rescued from) the sex trade. Girls are trafficked by the thousands from the villages of Nepal, rural India and other places and basically sold as indentured slaves. This is an incredible business and ministry, an amazing picture of redemption and healing.

Because of the stigma attached to the work they have been forced to do, these women and girls are outcast from society; they are shunned, humiliated and abused not only by the people who enslave them, but also from corrupt police and higher-ups (who often use them as well, rather than protecting them), and of course the general population.

My friends there, Kristin & Sarah, are lights in a very dark place. If you've seen the movie "Born into Brothels", that is the neighborhood where they live and work. It is hard work. They daily come face to face with intense injustice and evil. When I pray for them, I pray for hope; and when I picture the women they are inviting into the business, and the redemption taking place, I like to think of the imagery in Isaiah 62:1-5:

1 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.

2 The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.

3 You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

4 No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,(Hephzibah means my delight is in her)
and your land Beulah;(Beulah means married)
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.

5 As a young man marries a maiden,
so will your sons marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.

01 June 2006

Shakespeare, thou hast revealed my true self

Last night I went to Shakespeare in the Park. There was the tail end of rrrrraucous afternoon storminess, humid beginning of summer end of spring-ishness in the air, which made the play's mystery and thunder and murderosity and war all the better.

The company was lovely, the eats good, the play and people watching prime. This is my favorite St. Louis thing, in a close tie with a cheeseburger at Blueberry Hill with good friends at an outside table on a nice night. I hope writing this doesn't jinx me or something.

I decided I don't really care if it makes me a total nerd: I am one of those weird people who gets a little too enraptured with beautifully worded metered verse. I jotted these lines on the only available paper in my bag (last month's bank statement) scrawling semi-feverishly with a pen that barely worked. Yes. I know. I don't know why I should find this revelation embarrassing; I've always found nerds sort of endearing.

Here you go:

Julius Caesar: "The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine..."

Mark Antony (I think): "Mischeif, thou art afoot!"