Monday, November 22, 2010

KeQi


OH there's so much I want to write about! I've been holding off on some subjects because I didn't feel wise enough, but thankfully I'm realizing that I'll never be wise enough.
I'd rather just take a stab at it; hopefully I'll hit at something worthwhile. Although it will sure to be like stabbing a rhinoceros with a toothpick. hehehe. God WHERE did you get my mind? It's so wacky.

This past Sunday I went to the Chinese fellowship after church. The Chinese church meets at 11:00 and has homemade lunch afterwards. This is really typical of Chinese churches; it's a great time of fellowship and delicious fan (rice... food). I've always kind of wanted to go to the service, but was intimidated and knew that my Chinese wasn't good enough to understand everything.


BUT through another friend who teaches English to a few Chinese tai tai's (older married ladies), and also learns Chinese from them, I was invited to the lunch. So I went!

:)

It was so good to be in that culture again. *sigh* SO good. And the Pastor Rachel (yes, the pastor of the church is a woman.. that's cool, too) came over and welcomed me and found me a place to sit (very Chinese). We talked in Chinese, and she said that I was very good (which was very ke qi (kind, polite... also has the connotations of being flattering, but this is positive, not negative in this culture).

I of course denied this, partly because I knew it wasn't true, and partly because I knew what to do when given a compliment. Which is so refreshing; in English, sometimes it's keqi not to accept, sometimes it's keqi to accept them.

Then I had rice and hong dou tang (red bean soup--hadn't had that in AGES!) and cha ye dan (boiled eggs soaked in tea. marvelous) and glass noodles... delicious.
And I chatted with a few ai yi's (aunties; what you respectfully call any older woman. Rachel mu shi (pastor) introduced ME as ai yi to a middle-schooler! yikes). I understood and pieced together more than I thought I would, and did the smile-and-nod routine the rest of the time. They had moved from China, and thought that Americans were friendly, greeting people on the street, and also that the air/weather was very nice here. But they would also like to go back to China. They had been Christians there... I had tried to tell them about Jesus in Beijing but forgot how to say the title of a book.
Anyhow, one ai yi wanted to invite me to her house and cook for me, so we exchanged phone numbers. And I got to write my Chinese name a few times! To people that could read it! One person said it was very beautiful; I love my Chinese name. It means 'rhyming poetry,' and has old romantic and musical connotations. (shi yun)

connotations

This actually brings me to what I wanted to blog about regarding the whole experience: truth.


In the culture in which I grew up, truth is delicately wrapped in circumstance and connotation.


In the West, truth is black and white, and if the dress looks awful you should let the person know. If a store is out of tuna, there will be a sign about it.


In the East, truth is found in guan xi (relationship--but that word is pathetically lacking. guan xi is one of the driving forces of the culture. Think of connections). Truth is an art, not a dividing line.

Indirect answers are given because the truth is, the truth is complicated. Many details are needed for complete understanding, for a round full truth.

If the dress looks awful, they may say nothing or compliment you on it because the truth is, this relationship is important, and matters more than what you're wearing.

If a store is out of something they will not tell you, even if you ask for it several times (this happened several times in Taiwan).
Because the truth is... we will have it eventually, this is a reliable store and we want you to come back. (Although sometimes the only 'real' truth is--we want you to come back! :) )

Of course, this is the truth that they want to project. But I think it's rather pompous to think that what we think of as 'truth' in the West is absolute, and not also the truth that we want to project.

Now--there is absolute truth. You get into dire straights if you apply this to theology. The Bible offends and challenges every culture. That's why we need EVERY culture and tribe to be redeemed and come together for the richest, fullest TRUTH of the gospel.


While the Western church loves those verses about freedom and honesty, the call to leave worldly riches and die to self is preached, if at all, with lumps in the throat.

The Eastern church glories in dying to self and sacrifice to the point of idolatry while the message of grace and lavish love is meagerly expressed.


Obviously, all of these observations are just that; and I'm trading in gross generalizations here. I had to add that part because I'm Asian. :> do you understand?


Oh I think I am just scratching the rhino now. Maybe I should try again on this later.

But to summarize-- JESUS is the TRUTH.


He's the truth behind the Western black-and-white, clear (sometimes garish) statements. e.g. "I am the bread of life... you must eat my flesh and drink my blood."

Couldn't you have COUCHED that or something, Jesus?!

He's ALSO the truth behind the guan xi and keqi of Eastern culture, in the way that he lived out truth in love and tightly wove the truth of the kingdom in layers of stories.
God draws near, God waits to be sought after. God rises up shouting and breathes in the wind.


Just a LAST thought:

What if the gospel had spread SOUTHEAST instead of NORTHWEST? I know it did spread SE to a certain extent, but it has generally spread up to Europe, West to the Americas, then West to Asia and West/South to Africa, and now the world is awaiting the final movement West, back to jerusalem.

But... if it had spread East to Asia and South to Africa--what would current Christian culture be like?



hmmm.

Monday, November 8, 2010

In-Between Land





Aaah I haven't blogged in forever! There have been even more hundreds of thoughts swirling around in me lately, but I think that the sheer vastness of topics has hindered writing.
Also, I'm realizing more and more that I don't know anything about anything... which is an exciting place to be. I trust myself more here.

But all this does not contribute to blog posts, and I've also been aching to write. Well, enough about me. Let's talk about...


In "The Magician's Nephew (C. S. Lewis)," there is an intriguing land with many pools. Each pool, or puddle, leads to a different world, and characters travel time and space through wearing rings and slipping into these pools.

I don't remember if the land had a name, but I like Jack Johnson's album title: "In Between Dreams." Let's call it the "In-Between Land." I've always felt an affinity for the characters in this place, and can picture the look of it.
If it were music, it would be Peruvian wooden flutes and pipes, with low cello and bass sliding scales... and maybe an accordian. A bland wind blows half-heartedly through eerie space, just enough to chill you into picking a destination. Grey and gray and dirty browns stain the mossy floor, and the sky blankly keeps the seasons secret.

It's been years since I've read the actual book, so I forget how Lewis described it.

In-between worlds. In-between time. No-man's land. transition. pause.

Translation?



Between the motion and the act falls the shadow (T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men".).

Airplane rides. Not the ones for vacation but the ones that are the finality of months of labeling boxes and smelling packing tape and quietly observing a life shrinking, by degrees, into __________.
First the books then the less-used clothing then the extra bedding then the cookware (leaving a remnant), then the crafts then the toys then the boxes of superfluity that no one knew existed, then more clothes, then giving away furniture, then the night on a mat and the mad dash for the last items on your bed stand that were almost forgotten because they were so close...

Then the eery time when you brush your teeth in airports for morning, night, and morning.

You glide over "In-Between Land" and fall as the plane's nose gently dips into another pool. Then you continue falling in freeze frame. Living in the pause. It takes time to fully materialize. Does that make any sense?

The whole thing is quite fascinating.

I've spent a good amount of life in the "In-Between Land." I've been told that TCKs disconnect six months before a move. My lease is up in 5 and I'm already saying goodbye to parts of my apartment. I'm already there and can hear the delicately painful music. In a minimal way, of course. I didn't even think that I'd mention it when blogging, but there you go.

I have the sand of nations in my soul... please don't wash it away...

Typically one day a year I ache for every place I've lived and visited and loved--where I just miss EVERYTHING. I've experienced it to a lesser degree each year, but I desperately hope it won't go away. It's not this awful thing; on the contrary, I think it's healthy. It feels like remembering who I am. And an honest grieving that I can't ever go back.

But God is ushering me forward--instead of "The Magician's Nephew," the present and future feels like "The Voyage of the Dawn-Treader", which is probably my favorite. Although it's SO hard to choose.

News - Narnia Dawn_Treader Michael_Apted.jpg

Instead of passively watching worlds emerge and fade, God is weaving me through all kinds of waters, visiting distant islands and having marvelous adventures. Instead of "In-Between Land" there is a constant Presence upon which I ride; singing under mighty wings and tasting sweet water.

He's been the only one who's always been there, and I know that He is faithful. He's been my rings that slipped me in between worlds. And we've had lots of conversations in "In-Between Land", God and I. Lots of whispers and tears and screams.

Maybe I wouldn't have longed for Him as much otherwise.
Thanks, Jesus. Ni mei tian yao wo, mei tian xiang wo, mei tian ai wo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

flower in the rain


I don't really have thoughts congealed enough to shape tonight. But read this--

"Again [the Shepherd] smiled, but only remarked quietly that the important thing about altars was that they made possibilities of apparent impossibilities, and that it was nice that on this occasion it had brought her peace and not a great struggle.

She noticed that he looked at her keenly and rather strangely as he spoke, and though there was a beautiful gentleness in the look, there was also something else which she had seen before, but still did not understand. She thought it held a mixture of two things, not exactly pity—no, that was the wrong word, but a look of wonderful compassion together with unflinching determination.

When she realized that, she thought of some words which one of the Shepherd’s servants had spoken down in the Valley of Humiliation before ever the Shepherd had called her to the High Places. He had said, “Love is beautiful, but it is also terrible—terrible in its determination to allow nothing blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved.” "

Hind's Feet on High Places (Hannah Hurnard) p. 163



for all the things that don't resolve
that sink below the memories
for all the things we lost along the way

for all the things that used to shine
but cried themselves to rust
I pray I pray I pray

~~~~~~~~~~
oh I know that there are holes
and scars too deep to mention
but
you bring beauty again

and it's alright
if all is dead tonight cause
you raise the dead in the morning.


carve my heart into your art
no matter how I scream about it
make it so that I can hold the rain

hold my sorrow in your eyes
that wept when mary cried
just show me how to live another day

~~~~~~~~~~
I know that there are holes
and scars too deep to mention
but
you bring beauty again
and it's alright if all is dead tonight
cause you raise the dead in the morning.

darkness and sighing will flee away
death's swallowed up by life today
darkness and sighing will flee away
death's swallowed up by life today


~me. A few months too early, as usual. It's always weird when you write something and then God teaches you what it means--or puts it to good use--later.

it's a song (of course it is).



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

batter my heart


I can feel the deep, deep deep love of Jesus calling out my name, I'll never be the same

I've been marked by heaven forever and ever
I've been marked by heaven forever.


HOLY SONNETS--John Donne

XIV.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.

Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;

Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Read this in high school. Loved it. And also loved the other piece by Donne (no man is an island...the bell tolls for thee... that one) --he totally had Connectedness for his top strength. :)


There's violence in love. When we sing, "He is jealous for me," just how far do we suppose that jealousy goes? God likes having us around--God came down for us--God wars for us--God died for us?


I get annoyed when people say things like, "God does not need anything or anybody. He is sufficient in Himself."
Yes, that logically theologically makes sense. He is GOD after all.

BUT the way that comes across is completely false--it's like a wife saying to her husband, "I don't need you. I'm fine by myself."
Yes, that's true. Even though it may not seem like it, humans can keep going even if something horribly awful happens, like the death of a spouse.

Yet we still say to each other, "I need you, I would die without you." That NEEDING is part of love, the binding.

Set me as a seal upon your heart, for love is as strong as death. (song of songs)


Infinitely more so, God doesn't need us to exist. But He loves us, He longs to gather us under his wing. God longs.
He needs us like a lover needs his beloved.

ruthless, audacious, unbelievable...

I'm reading Jeremiah and finished other prophetic books recently, and what struck me is the emotionality of God. He HATES what his beloved people are doing, it GRIEVES him, he sent this and that and YET THEY HAVE NOT TURNED!!
Again and again... he will STILL have compassion on them, they STILL turn away, but he will NOT abandon them, he will still relent and have COMPASSION, and love the harlot they've become, and there will be a BRANCH and a priest and a king....

May we never, ever, ever in all of our study of God, reduce this wild love to a remote God who doesn't let himself need anybody like a hermit. It's not like that.


Too often the technical (God is all-sufficient) has clouded an understanding of love. Our God is not a God far off.


What response is too radical to such love?

Moving into scary territory now. "Batter my heart, O three-Person'd God." "I tear my heart, I rip it open", "Arms wide open, heart exposed," "I want to KNOW Christ...and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings," "I've been crucified with Christ--it is not I who live, but Christ in me."

AAHH!! Last time I check, it HURTS to rip your heart open!!!!! to be crucified.

You'd have to be insanely in love.


Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

poked stars


if vision is the only validation then most of my life isn't real (black&gold)


Sometime when there's a full moon, or at least a very sizable sliver, you should try very hard to imagine this:


Stars are just pinpricks into REALITY-- glittering eternity. The moon is our best peek because a thumb poked through the black canvas, revealing what's really out there.


Of course, if I really believed that the stars were holes, then they couldn't sing, and I love that the stars sing (read Job. or just look at them).
But it bends my mind just enough to remember that there's such a deeper, firmer, MORE bodily reality than we can comprehend.


sing to me of the song of the stars
of your galaxies dancing and laughing and laughing again
when it feels like my dreams are so far
sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again

so i lay my head back down
and i lift my hands and pray
to be only yours,
i pray
to be only yours

i know now you're my

only


hope

Saturday, August 14, 2010

typhoons


One of my favorite songs is "How He Loves" (John Mark MacMillian). It's incredible, simple, powerful and all about love--enough said. It begins: "He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy..."

Such vivid imagery. But I didn't really have a schema for it, having never experienced a hurricane. Until i realized---wait, wait--a hurricane is a typhoon.

They mean the same thing--a hurricane is a huge blustery storm in the west, and a typhoon is a huge blustery storm in the east. Of course they have to have totally different names; why would you simplify English?
Oh, and btw, why do people drive on different sides of the road? We've only had cars since the 20th century, after all. I actually saw a car with the steering wheel on the right side yesterday--it was so weird! Like Singapore. When we'd visit the US I would always embarrass myself and get into the wrong side... way before I had my driver's license.

ANYway-- there is a whole typhoon season in Taiwan.

The sky would get darkly moody, rain would turn to downpour and street signs would rip away and crash along the streets. Think "Wizard of Oz" cyclone without flying houses. One night as we were going to bed, a typhoon was brewing and my parents were worried about my bed being against a window.

I, being the level headed, non-emotional child I was, immediately pictured me huddling in a corner as a tree branch shattered the window and sucked out the bed into a black whirlwind. Which was very exciting; I was quite looking forward to it.
We ended up just moving my bed a foot away from the window so no dust or rubble would seep in. *sigh*

Once my Dad was late teaching at a church and had to walk back during a fierce typhoon--we prayed that a small tree wouldn't knock him out. He made it home safely, having huddled in an alley and made short dashes between secure shelters.

The weather was just dire enough to stir up excitement and cause somewhat sizable damage, much like many tiny earthquakes that happened regularly. Of course, there have been horrific typhoons with death tolls and fallen buildings... thankfully we didn't experience one like that.

We used to take post-typhoon walks to survey the damage, and especially around a university campus that was the only 'park' close by. We'd navigate around signs, broken glass, and huge fallen foliage.

Although Singapore was too sheltered geographically to endure typhoons, would have wonderfully violent thunderstorms almost daily. It was most dramatic on the beach, when the waves would kick up and palm trees doubled over like heartbroken lovers.

Now I have a picture. God's love like a typhoon wind, buckling trees under the weight of sheer glory.

It's real.

Monday, August 2, 2010

airport imaginings



This is kind of a long-standing tradition with my sister; we're each writing a sentence (or impassioned paragraph) to create a stunningly brilliant short story! kai shi ba!
bonus points for pp who can tell which narrator is which sister.

Once there was graceful young porpoise who loved to swim among the swaying seaweed off the coast of Tasmania.

This porpoise was very delusional, for she believed she was a mermaid and swam around humming tunes about princes and lobsters and fish named Flounder.

In her quest for a prince, she stumbled upon a family reunion of merpeople who were welcoming back a constantly singing redhead who promptly slapped her for trying to steal her story.

The spiteful princess Ariel continued to harass the poor porpoise until she was well outside of the barriers of the kingdom. Overwhelmed as her blissful ignorance was shattered, the poor dear aimlessly swam deeper and deeper into the unknown depths of the uncharted seas........

Suddenly her snout scraped against coral, and, smarting, our heroine Blenfulsy realized that she was entangled in the Great Barrier Reef. As she collected herself, a band of clownfish solemnly assembled.

Taking one look at her, they uniformly shook their heads and, in unison, grimly informed her that she needed to get her act together. After helping her dislodge herself from the coral, they gave her pointers on embracing the beauty of the porpoise, the true essence of her species. The first thing to changed had to be her name. Instead of the common mermaid name of Blenfulsy, she would now be called Seastar... a coveted name among porpoises.

Blenfulsy blinked. Could she really take on another name? She started to hyperventilate, her whiskers annoyingly getting sucked up into her nostrils. Yes, she could. And she would! "Thank you, my little friends. I will gladly take up your name for me." The newly christened Seastar thanked the kind but grim little clowns, and twirled upward.

Though Seastar now understood that her standards for a man must change, she still wished to find the prince of her dreams. However, why stop at porpoises? Why not a killer whale, or a shark, or even a whale? She had heard there are plenty of fish in the sea and she set out to test the theory.

Seastar now traveled west, set on Italy and dark-eyed Italian killer whales with smoking eyes and accents. She practiced "Ciao!" and "T'Amo" with newly found chuzpah. But just as she was passing South Africa, she heard the most dreadful noise--

She looked over to see a fellow porpoise belting his heart out to the languid tones of Celine Dion. She scrunched up her nose in disgust and began swimming off as fast as she could.

"neear, faar, whereEEEEEEEEVVEEER you are, I beliiieeeeve that our hearts wiiill (BREATH) go ooooooooooOOOOOOOOOooooonnnnn....."
Seastar swam faster, wincing.

Suddenly the porpoise stopped and said, "Wait, I hear you, who are you?" Surprised by the odd wording, Seastar turned around to discover that the porpoise was actually blind! Having not quite let go of her previous fantasy she said in her sweetest mermaid voice, "My name is Blenfulsy!" To her joy he replied "Oohh I've never met a mermaid before! It really is a pleasure!"

"The pleasure's all mine!" she chirruped. "I'm just on my way to a European cruise. I hear that Grecian beaches are just deLIGHTful." The porpoise sang out jubilantly, "Hallelujah!! I was just heading that way myself! Please allow me to accompany you, beautiful mermaid. My name, by the way, is Gus."

So they set out together! Everyday Seastar would tell Gus magnificent stories about the glamor of being a mermaid and the burdens of the beauty and fame that accompanied her race. He would drink in every word with an a awe and reverence that never failed to boost her confidence level even if it all was a lie. Until, one day, Gus confessed

"I'm not really a singer." Seastar gasped. Gus whimpered. "I never was! I always wanted to be, but everyone told me I was awful. that's why I was wandering around alone in the ocean. I was trying to practice." Seastar comforted him, "Well, I've gotten so tonedeaf since listening to you, I think that everything else sounds worse! You can always sing for me, Gus."
Gus, tears still bubbling, slowly turned toward her--

"I'm also not blind Blenfulsy, or whatever your real name is. I was only wearing these glasses to gain inspiration for my rocker image. But now, after spending so much time with you, I am convinced that you are far more beautiful and glamorous than any mermaid that ever lived."

Seastar sighed in delight. "Reeeally?" "Would you like me to sing it to you?" Gus offered. "No, no, I believe you dearest," Seastar hastily replied. "Let's just elope to New Zealand. My name is Seastar, by the way."

"Charmed," said Gus gallantly.


the END

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a very not-deep post. about time.


It's a blogging day. ;0)

This post is going to be entirely girly and not well-thought out, very not-deep and rather silly. Are you ready for this?

SHOOOOOOOPPING!
I've never been that much of a shopper. 98% of my clothes up until the age of... 17? 19? have been given to me or occasionally from a thrift store. Which actually has always been fun. We'd get huge garbage bags of clothes from various sources which my sister and I would voraciously rip into with all the joy and wild desire of Christmas.

At one point I needed a black skirt, really wanted one, and knew exACTly what kind I wanted. So I asked God for it and sure enough, in a garbage bag a few months later, there was the very skirt. Two similar ones, in fact.

Whatever desire I possessed for shopping was further destroyed when I, for the first and last time, shopped on Black Friday. For 10 hours. In a city were there are beautiful beaches. Oh the insanity!!
It was fun to hang out with friends, but I gained no love for lines or florescent lights. They give me migraines.

BUT very occasionally, if you can kind of afford it (or if you've already blown your budget and figure, 'what's another $20 or $30 bucks? no good, people. no good), shopping is fun. I went to Plato's Closet and got a pretty dress and necklace and earrings and chatted with other shoppers.

It's fun... clothing stores are kind of like modern day harems where women congregate and do girly things and chat about all things girly. Without the whole concubine thing.

Advice about color and style is readily given and received, and women lament the size of their feet or thighs in sympathetic (and also lying) company.
All this has made me realize that your frame of mind is critical when shopping. If you're having a crappy day, don't you cross the threshold of a store and think that trying on skinny jeans is gonna make it better. ARE you insane??

You need to go in like a queen, on the search for that lucky piece of clothing that will reveal just how gorgeous that body of yours really is. um... but not too much.
That's my shopping philosophy, anyway.

Women are so interesting when they're in herds. :)
Like at Wisdom, it is a rare bird that can buy a slice of apple pie without saying she shouldn't, asking if she should, and saying that at least half if is for her husband. I've become quite an expert on womankind from 30 to 90 from working there... it's pretty fascinating, endearing, and just sometimes a little bit scary.
Now I'm not one to be down on women. Not at all! They're a wonderful breed, and have many lovely qualities.
But I can empathize with the men who are scared off by a group of them. The noise that emanates remarkably resembles hyenas.


I just hope that as I grow older:

~My wrinkles will be laugh, not crying or frown, lines.

~I will be filled with grace, patience, and compliments for the people serving me. I get so many little compliments from middle-aged women. It's kind of sweet. I think they think I'm 18.
I vacillate from looking 18 at Wisdom to (hopefully) looking 25 or 26 when I teach. The transformation? Lipstick, a skirt, and sometimes heels. And eyeshadow.

~If I'm going to get a dessert, I'm not going to apologize for it.

~I'll wear pretty things and cool jewelry.

~I will exercise. And eat good food that includes, but is NOT limited to, salads.

~I will have amazing things to talk about and only stay the most beautiful things about my family and kids and husband.

~I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER get botox.

Tigers


I've always liked tigers. Partly because I am one (born in the year of the tiger, according to Chinese traditions. There's a 12 year cycle: my sister's a monkey, brother's a dragon (
very auspicious), Mom's a dog and Dad's a snake. We're a very interesting family!

My mom even had a dream about a tiger right before I was born, and I've always felt connected to the beautiful tiger.

However, little girl tigers did not always get the respect we deserve. There's a strong cultural bias (less so now) against girl tigers where I grew up, because supposedly they are headstrong, independent and hard to marry off. We even have a picture of baby me next to an orphanage in Singapore specifically for girls abandoned in the year of the tiger.
However, the Chinese zodiac animals held more cultural sway in Taiwan. For instance, my mother had literally the last bed in the hospital when she delivered my brother the dragon--everyone wanted to have a baby boy in that year.

See the blurb below:
The Gate of Hope
(taken from hyacinthus's blog: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=227971)

At this small gate of the former Convent of Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), many babies were abandoned in baskets to be picked by the Sisters of the Convent. This was the origin of the Home for Abandoned Babies.

For over 100 years, the orphanage was home to children from poor or broken families as well as unwanted babies. The orphanage took in many Chinese baby girls born in the year of tiger - "tiger girls" - because of the strong superstitious belief then, that they would bring bad luck to their families.

In 1988, the Mother Superior noted that this practice was stopped as there was a marked change in this superstitious belief.



Last edited by hyacinthus; August 26th, 2005 at 05:34 PM.

Sad, no? Now the building that this door is connected to (Chijmes) is a national heritage site, a gorgeous chapel that hosts everything from musicals to revival services. It was a little out of the way of where we lived in Singapore (as if anything was ever THAT far away!), but I went there a handful of times.

I've had, and am having, to sift through what to take and leave from all the different cultures in which I've lived. I don't want to hold on to negative beliefs, but also want to recognize how they've affected me. Also, I strongly believe that God redeems cultures.

SO I like that the tiger has incredible strength, but has no desire to show off. She's very protective of those she loves, and nurtures her cubs. She's also a deadly dangerous hunter. Knows how to relax. Lazily graceful, powerfully beautiful.

Good traits. I'm ok being a tiger. Still not my favorite animal, but a very good one. :) Nice job, God. And aren't tiger cubs absolutely adorable? I can't wait to cuddle one in heaven. Yes, I do believe there'll be animals in heaven.

Friday, June 25, 2010

all this beauty


there's so much beauty still on this tattered earth.

isn't that incredible?


purify my heart so that I never have to look away....

I've sung that. to Jesus. But maybe I don't mean it in the same way as the seraphim and the elders... maybe I mean that as I LIVE and enjoy life, purify my heart so that I never look away... wherever I look.

Whether shopping or baking or traveling or crying or talking or whatever... I'm looking into Jesus' eyes.

....~....~....

I've met revivalists who have never gazed at the moon. And artists who don't know why the F they're creating.

....~....~....



LOVE THIS VERSE:

For the earth will be filled with the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
~Habakkuk 2:14


It's the knowledge of the glory of God that's GOING to cover the earth.

His Glory is already there.

The earth is the LORD'S and everything in it, the earth and all who live in it. And the Spirit was hovering over the waters.



Imagine knowing the glory of God... and then discovering that He had knit your culture and tribe and tongue together from the beginning. Imagine seeing Love tenderly brush out the snarls that the devil tried to twist in. For God is not a God who abandons.



for God so loved the world

... do we? i've almost been trained to hate it.
whoops. how did that slip in?




Let's stop fragmenting and start reclaiming holy ground.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

make something good


They are gorgeous and smell like new creation.

Plumerias are everywhere in Singapore, white and purple and sweet pink.

Not surprisingly, remembering their fragrance reminded me of a song--


I wanted to make something sweet
The blood inside the maple tree
The sunlight trapped inside the wood
Make something good


I wanted to make something strong
An organ pipe in a cathedral
That stays in tune through a thousand blooms
Make something good

It's gonna take a long, long time
But we're gonna make something so fine

(Laura Veirs, "Make Something Good")


Being creators is weighty... but its heaviness pulls us up high.

We get to create as God creates. We get to be in the ministry of reconciliation, raise the dead with God.


The forever process of becoming holy as He's holy is treacherously unfair
until

we (lifted up on the shoulders of creating, of other brave creators) see that there are just so many more cool things we get to do if we're holy.
We won't get in the way as much anymore. Pride won't push us away from God. We'll get to stay close and actually pick up an instrument and join the orchestra. Sing with the morning stars, shout for joy with the angels, heal the nations...

It's like we've jumped completely into the ocean of God's love, and after hours of stubbornly smacking our faces into waves, we can ride them. Life's a lot easier when we've just accepted that we're dead and Christ lives in us instead.

We get to pour ourselves out as God pours in.


Love will fall to the earth like a crashing wave
(Toby Mac, "City On Our Knees")
--and we'll be part of it!



I'm very very very much not there yet. But God's kingdom is breaking into the gates of hell all over the earth and heaven just smells so sweet.


The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (KJV)


Holiness gives us the eyes to see heaven, smell it, absolutely bathe in it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

a little thought

I had a thought yesterday as I was walking...


well, first of all I had just finished reading "Out of the Silent Planet," and one phrase stuck out--
the main character, Ransom, said that if he would be killed on the way back to earth it would be because

"life was waiting outside... waiting at any moment to break in, and that, if it killed them, it would kill them by excess of its vitality (146, Lewis)."


death swallowed up by LIFE.

Maybe that's what really happens when we die: the remaining deadness in us, the ashes left of God's refining fire, will be consumed by life.

But the thought! :)

When we're jealous or envious of people we constrict ourselves and our world, even cursing it.


But when we can admire someone we open up ourselves and enable us to love and accept them--and I think we can become what we admire.

If we're big enough to affirm someone, we become what we liked in them.