Monday, February 27, 2012

First thoughts for my MA thesis.

Emotion is a strong element in our perception of the world. It is difficult to ignore and harder to quantify. One of our strongest and most powerful motivating emotions is shame. Shame is the first emotion mentioned in the Bible, that has Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, they covered themselves out of shame. Wars and conflict and battle all have been fought over honor and shame. Strangely enough in this modern world, we neglect the existence of this most base emotion, and instead we often move blindly through our world motivated to protect our honor and compelled to the beat of its drum to always avoid shame.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Art by Jason Jack Soen-Photo by James Stickings

Monday, February 13, 2012

I wrote a note to a friend today, and thought this would make a good post. Edited for public viewing and expounded upon.

Sometimes we think everything is supposed to happen instantly, work, job, cultural adapation, friends, family, etc, etc, and everying is limited to this thing we call time. Its awful, but something I've learned specficially when Andrew's mom passed away two years ago, that there is a time and place for everything. For us, there was a time of intense grief, and then a time of healing, but that doesn't mean that we still have grief and still need healing, but there are times and places for it all.

Yesterday, I sat church, with my own grief. Grief of time lost. Grief of loss of relationships. Grief of saying goodbye to my aunt and uncle as they move onward to Cyprus. I stood and sat in church as I used to watch my uncle do, and let everything wash over me. When I first watched him, I wondered why, and yesterday, I completely understood.

My collegues in the worship band sang their hearts out. They sang about God being our hope, our fortress, and how much we need him. Yesterday, I desperately felt that need.

And even more so as we sat down, as the men next to me silently wept with me. They too have felt keenly the large hole made by my aunt and uncles absence.

It is  overwhlelming, becuase moving out of an "old" time period into a "new" one, is exhausting. Physcially, mentally, spiritually, but its vital and incredibly necessary.

And so the preacher stood up. Not surprisingly for our little church, she was a woman. Eloquently she spoke passionatly about Jesus' charge for us to humble ourselves as children, and depend upon God.

What struck me most (besides the fact that she had an incredibly well prepped and arrange sermon, even to this jaded sermon listener) was that she talked about the price of the Kingdom.

Those of us who believe in Jesus and believe that His Kindgom is not physical, but spiritual, long to see more people understand what the real Kindgom of Heaven is. Its not pearls from the Carribean lining walls of churches, its not Big Bibles being thumped by passionarte preachers, its not reams of paper devoted to theologies and ideas of what man thinks God might or might not be, and its not even our revered Scriptures that tell us the Story.

It's God living among us. Its God's Spirit showing us what is good and perfecct. Its life here and life to come. Its knowing who Jesus was, is and what He will be. Its understand a God in three persons, yet fully God.

And this Kindgom will increase, but it means we have to decrease and become like little children dependent on God. But at the same time we must understand the price.

Because its far easier to think of the positives and present and future glories, rather than the price. I thought long ago I paid my price. I left my country, my comfort zone, my suburbia, and I came to live here, in Granada, en el Zaidin (my neighborhood). I left my family and friends, and came here. 

Strangely enough, even though I left most of my family, I was given a small bit of it. Peter and Deb and Sam. Together, we learned and grew and cried and prayed and saw the best and the worst of each other. We gave and sang and worshipped and complained and wallowed sometimes too.

But as of last week, that moment is gone. It was a vital and important moment. But it is finished. And for both us and them, this is part of the price, the sacrifice, the sadness that is necessary to see as Jesus prayed, "your kingdom come...."

May the price we pay be so insignifanct, that we forgot it all and see only "His will be done..."

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Last year, I found myself in a new group of friends, triatheletes. They are a werid bunch I tell you. Working out 3-5 times a week for fun and then they go on 100 km bike rides over the weekends. Sheesh.

And I wondered why. So last year, Andrew and I started to take their pictures. There is nothing more educational about a group of people than suddenly whipping out a camera. As they got used to us, we began to learn why they do this.

I'll never forget the sensation of walking amoung the atheletes as they prepped for a half ironman or long distance race in the Sierra Nevada, the mountain that towers over Granada. You could feel the buzz of adreneline, and the excitement was palpable. We stood with Liz and Juli, the trainers of this club that are some of our best friends. Juli usually actively particapates, but this time, he was an organizer of the race, and so he was just an observer and a coach.

As everyone got into the water, and stood there waiting for the minute warning, he got all excited and said, "CAN YOU FEEL IT?" and then he turned to me and said, "wait till you hear the sound, the sound when they leave is intense."

Woosh, woosh, woosh, four hundred people are started a 2 km swim was an intense sound. You could, taste, feel, hear and smell the push of adreneline. Truly Amazing.

And as that race came to an end, you could see how everyone had suffered and was so glad to finish.

And in every race I've watched, the end is the most incredible. Men and women alike suffer to the end, cry, pray, dance, and rejoice as they finish. Sometimes they pick up a son or daughter and run with them in their arms, or the little person runs along side them. The last race I watched was a half marathon, and after Liz left me to find her hubbie, I sat there and sobbed outloud as people finished.

It was intense. I was looking for friends I knew and rejoiced when they crossed the finish line. The crowd of specatators would break into shouts as they saw their dad or sister or brother or mom or whomever cross the line.

Two years ago, Andrew and I, and the rest of the family were spectators as we watched Andrew's mom Cross the Finish Line. She passed away after almost 4 years of fighting breast  cancer.

There are lucid moments I have when I know that the Other Side is real. When the veil is thinner between the worlds and we know that those who have believed, are saved. We know that seperated by time and space, we are never seperated from God's love.

And so, my own journey here continues. Crazily enough, I ran a 5 k over Christmas break. The sensation of having everyone cheer you to the finish line is intense. Sometimes you feel exhausted and unworthy of their encouragement..but you know you must finish. I always wondered why people did races, and now I know. Because doing one is like a shallow reflection of this life, and sometimes we need to remember, we are in a race, and  I hope to finish well. I think Mom would be proud to know that the race goes on, and we look forward to seeing her at the finish line.