Friday, May 27, 2005

Of Strange Lands & Felines

I'm sorry. I've tried to not be one of those people that talks about their pets on their blog, but I thought maybe these pictures were appropriate. Meet Edwina. She will be receiving her pet passport soon and travelling to Germany courtesy of the seat in front of me and a couple of sedatives. She has begun her language studies and currently tries her paw at Bird. She is also considering changing her name to Brigitte. (p.s. when you go to the "bird" link, click on bi-lingual. this is what dwini sounds like when she stares out the window, too)

what was that?


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Richard and the Winter Wind

this is an audio post - click to play

Richard is in third grade. His parents are from China, but he grew up in Alabama. He speaks perfect Chinese, which makes that little 'bama accent even cuter.

Richard's assignment was to come up with a story to go with the piece he was practicing this week: "Winter Wind." This is his story. He hadn't written it out, and I wasn't prompting him. You'll catch words like "mayor" and "meeting." :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I am Jack's Melted Face

I've got the worst headache, and I'm tired, and I have to get up early in the morning to teach, but I just have to write. I've been putting it off.

I've been reading 1 Samuel this week. Faithful Hannah feverishly prays for a son, and her gift-child at age twelve recognizes the voice of God more clearly than Eli, the high priest of Israel does. Then Eli's evil priest-sons are killed violently in battle because they asked for sacrificed meat to be roasted instead of boiled. And Eli falls off a rock and breaks his neck when he hears the news. Granted, he didn't fall off a rock when he first learned of their meat-roasting habits, so he kinda had it coming.

In the same battle that Eli's sons are killed, the ark of the covenant is captured by the Philistines. God's people mourn because they think His presence has been taken from them. The Philistines think they're hot stuff for having the ark until the rats and the tumors start popping up. I personally picture Arnold Schwarzeneggar as a rogue Philistine telling some young innocent, "Eet's naht a ... ok, eet ees a TU-mah." They end up sending the ark to four of the five Philistinian cities as a test to see if cancer-carrying vermin continue to pour out. By the time the ark nears the fifth city, the people are outside waving their hands and wailing to be spared of the ark--please don't send us this God.

The concept of the ark of the covenant has always fascinated me. God had his people build him a gold box for a house. The movie Raiders of the Lost Ark gave me nightmares in eighth grade. All the melting of faces and stuff--ew. (Hmm, Kevin talked about melting faces this week, too...) And then I read about the return of the ark to one of the towns on the outskirts of the promised land. As kind of an afterthought the author explains God's judgment. The ark returneth verily and greatly unto the people of Israel. There was much rejoicing and ... oh yeah, He melted the faces off 70 men who looked inside it, too.

And sitting on my front porch, I nearly choked on my coffee--half because I didn't remember the melting faces actually being in there, and half because I would've been one of the ones to look. It's not in the holy museum. It's just in this guy's house. I'm a chosen one. He's my God, why wouldn't he want me to look? Okay, so he told me us not to look, but surely he didn't mean me right now in this situation. I can already hear the excuses. I mean, just look at how many times I typed the first person pronoun in this paragraph! It's all about me. I think about me. And italics. I think about italics, too.

NPR's All Things Considered had a special report today about the scientists who discovered a persistent low-frequency hum in the mid-70's. Two non-Ivy league astronomers won the Nobel Prize for discovering the 15-million-year-old residual sound of the Big Bang. It was science's first physical evidence for all of life coming into existence in a single moment. Interestingly, they also cite it as evidence for all of life eventually ending apocalyptically in a moment. They interviewed one of those astronomers who had this to say about their conclusion: "When you've eliminated all the probable possibilities, then you must conclude that the least possible is the most probable."

Can't you just imagine the power that must have unleashed in that moment when the dark void first heard the words "Let there be ..." Couldn't the universe have replied with a primal birthing scream that was so powerful we could still hear it today? Wouldn't that have been the birth of sound itself? Systems of harmonics yawning and flexing their newly-found muscles?

A God that overwhelming--a God that ancient--asking His people to build him a little ark. All of a Big Bang God in a box. That'd be enough to melt anyone's face off.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


What does your alone time with God look like when it happens? I don't want to know about what you've read unless you've applied it--no theology or 'isms. Don't tell me about what you want it to look like. I don't want C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton or anyone else with cool initials and fantastic writing skills. I want you. Give me a flawed, real peek into your relationship with Him. I'm struggling right now, and I'd appreciate your input, and I'm too tired for image-maintenance.

Tuesday, May 10, 1:45 pm
Thanks for your transparency. I easily replace getting to know God with doing stuff for God.

If my roommate Amy were to water the plants, mow the yard (even sweeping after edging), take out the trash, vacuum, dust, make our beds, clean the cat litter, and make my dinner--that would seem wonderful and healthy to both of us. But if she were to do all these things and go through that same day without speaking to me, I would be hurt and not care a lick about the lawn or litter. I don't want to treat God like that.

It takes a lot for me to just sit and be still. When Amy and I watch movies, I always have something in my hands to do (It drives her crazy). What must it be like to need Him like I need air? What must it take for me to get to that point of trusting Him like I trust this computer chair?

Right now, He feels a little bit like a suitor that I'm not sure is cut out for me. So I don't always return his calls, and when we do hang out, I make sure I do all the talking--the relationship is easier to control that way. When he asks a hard question, I have a witty retort and casually turn the subject to the latest on itunes or that project I hear he's into in China. At the end of the date, I'm sure to thank him for the coffee so he can't say I'm an ingrate, and I give him a vague promise of doing it again sometime. I smile to friends when asked about him later and remark, "Yeah, he's a nice guy . . . I'm just not sure about that China-thing, though."