Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Worshipping Church

Imagine sitting in a filled auditorium with a six thousand person capacity. Now imagine the sound of the flipping pages of hymnals mingled with groans as thousands of college students and faculty prepare to sing “There’s Honey in the Rock My Brother;” or the snickers that flicker here and there as you recognize the prelude to the ensemble’s special music number, “One More Night With the Stinkin’ Frogs.” And then there was the unforgettable three page hymn with notes ranging from the highest to the lowest that you were sure to sing at least two times a semester. I actually had it down to a science and could predict which Sunday we would sing it. Is it possible for a church to hold such high standards of musical talent that they much prefer hearing themselves sing than worship? That is what I wondered as I neared the end of my time at a certain Christian college in Pensacola, Florida.

In contrast, imagine how refreshed I felt returning to my home in Germany as I worshipped with my international brothers and sisters in Christ during Winter and Summer breaks. What a joy it is standing in the midst of representatives of all corners of the earth together worshipping our Holy Father. Were they examples of musical excellence like the Campus Church required? No. But as Buyong from Indonesia pounded on his drum, as Sarah from Kenya plucked away at the bass, as Sholah from Ethiopia sang praise to God, as Phillip and Sarah, both from Germany, worshipped on the guitar and piano, and as Mag from Malaysia raised her sweet voice leading the congregation in glorifying God, one had a true sense of being in the midst of the throne room of the Holy One. As one, the body of Christ would kneel, presenting themselves before the King of kings; their hearts eager to embrace the message God had for them that day. As Scripture was read, the reader would begin by proclaiming, “Hear the Word of the King!” and the congregation would respond to the Word by saying, “Thanks be to the King!” The fellowship among these brothers and sisters is like none other. While so many of their family members are oceans away, this small church understood what it meant to be a member of the family of God. The study of the Scriptures was a vital aspect of church life. It was there that my father expounded on the meat of God’s Word to these believers, revealing truths that they had never been taught before. Many have come to Hannover International Bible Church as mere babes in Christ, but they return to their home countries as leaders of the faith.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

free green tea frap and no "hairy eyeball"

Even though I had three quarters of my tank filled with gas, I rushed over to the Circle K and filled up. Supposedly the latest hurricane in the Gulf is going to shoot the price of gas to a whopping $5 a gallon. Can America possibly handle a reality that Germany has lived with for years?! But anyway, I thought it would be wise to save a few bucks.

On my way back to the seminary I stopped by Starbucks to visit a friend who works there. It wasn't exceptionally busy so I talked to her and some of the other employees there about the "gas scare." But as business picked up I stood to the side. Hmm, while I was there how could I possibly pass up the opportunity to get my new favorite green treat? So I waited ... and waited as everyone went about making drinks for the on-the-way-home-from-work-crowd.

"Oh, Did you want something?"

"Actually, yeah, I'll take a Tall Green Tea Frapaccino." I held my card out but the cashier waved it away. He wouldn't take it!

"Nah, don't worry about it. Sorry you had to wait. It's on the house."

Wow, and I didn't even have to throw the "hairy eyeball" around. (Not that I ever would!)

"What's the 'hairy eyeball'?" you ask.

Well, this has become part of my vocabulary since my dear friend Ginger used it to describe how her friend Susan used it to get her current boyfriend.


You know ... when you flutter your eyelashes!

Ha Ha! I love it!

So Chris and I have been using it to describe flirtatious girls. Once we used the phrase in front of a couple of friends at lunch.

"What's a hairy eyeball?"

"Well, it's kind of hard to explain ..." Somehow it seemed that it needed to be demonstrated. Ha! I knew Chris wouldn't demonstrate it. So I let my eyelashes fly.

Ugh! I felt so dirty afterwards. Bleh! Next time I'll let him demonstrate.

I used to think that I didn't have the ability to flirt. But once I was dared to by a friend who had never seen me dabble in the subtle art of womanly manipulation. I thought back to all the girls I had seen partake in the ritual. I raised one eyebrow, tilted my head, lowered my voice and asked, "How's this?"

By his reaction, I believe I passed the test. But I determined that I would never behave in that way again ... unless it was in EXTREME jest! Which I have been known to do.

Monday, August 29, 2005

"After Ever Happily"

Like the title suggests this isn't your ordinary Fairy Tale. See if you can figure out the story correctly. Were they laughing at the squashed chamberlain or the woodcutters 'ands? Who splashed in the puddles? The King, Queen, and Chamberlain?

"After Ever Happily"
or The Princess and the Woodcutter

And they both lived happily ever after...
The wedding was held in the palace. Laughter
rang to the roof as a loosened rafter
Crashed down and squashed the chamberlain flat--
And how the wedding guests laughed at that!
"You with your horny indelicate hands,
Who drop your haitches and call them 'ands,
Who cannot afford to buy her a dress,
How dare you presume to pinch our princess--
Miserable woodcutter, uncombed, unwashed!"
Were the chamberlains last words (before he was squashed).
"Take her", said the Queen, who had a soft spot
For wood cutters. "He's strong and he's handsome. Why not?"
"What rot", said the King, but he dare not object;
The Queen wore the trousers -- that's as you'd expect.
Said the chamberlain, usually meek and inscrutable,
"A princess and a woodcutter? The match is unsuitable."
Her dog barked its welcome again and again,
As they splashed to the palace through puddles of rain.
And the princess sighed, "Till the end of my life!"
"Darling", said the woodcutter, "Will you be my wife?"
He knew all his days he could love no other
So he nursed her to health with some help from his mother,
And lifted her horribly hurt, from her tumble.
A woodcutter, watching saw the horse stumble.
As she rode through the woods, a princess in her prime
On a dapple-grey horse...Now, to finish my rhyme,
I'll start it properly: Once upon a time--

by Ian Serraillier
From the Oxford Book Of Story Poems

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

a feeble attempt


Bruce and I hung back watching as Chris approached the merchandise table. Bruce had jokingly dared Chris to go up and tell Annie, "If I buy one of these CDs, will you go on a date with me?"

Neither Bruce or Chris had been to an Annie Moses Band concert before. They soon found out that I wasn't lying ... about the good music or about the beautiful Annie.

I never believed he would actually do it. He really did just want one of the CDs.

But Bruce and I had nothing better to do, so we couldn't help making commentary on Chris' "attempt" to woo this lovely, accomplished musician. We watched as he started to talk to the father.

"Good technique. Get in good with Dad before going for his daughter," I whispered to Bruce.

"Oh look, now he's joking with the brother who played the cello. Nice," commented Bruce.

The crowd had died down, and I noticed Annie was keeping one ear on their conversation. Then he said the magic word, "Bosson."

"Did you say your last name was 'Bosson'? Are you from Savannah?!" She seemed so excited to meet the son of the Pastor from New Zealand. She and her family had performed at Southside Baptist Church in Savannah last year.

"Bruce, look! She's talking to him but she's NOT looking him in the eye. She likes him. She's trying to pull herself together till she can get up the courage to talk to him AND look at him at the same time."

Finally, she lifted up her head and was ready to meet his eyes. She had herself under control now. But he wasn't looking at her anymore or even really listening to what she was saying. He was filling out a form to get their Christmas CD later this year. He finished filling it out, handed it to the brother, and waved goodbye.

Bruce and I had our jaws dropped open.

When Chris reached us, we gave him an earfull! "What were you thinking?! You had her. You were in. You were part of the family. You even used the magic word 'Bosson'! Why did you do it?! Was that form really so important?!"

Poor Chris was so confused. While Chris was merely purchasing a new CD, Bruce and I were practically marrying him off.

disclaimer: Before publishing the above post I sought Chris' permission. C.B. says "Ok, just for the record, I did acknowledge her (albeit through the corner of my eye) and yes, I believe words actually came out of my mouth that were directed in her direction. Anyway, I suppose I have nothing to lose. Go ahead. Send it. Maybe some lonesome seminary scavenger can use it as a manual on how NOT to impress a girl. In all seriousness, I got a laugh out of it. As long as this isn't the beginning of an endless line of people querying whether or not i'm the clueless idiot who 'blew his chance.' I mean, come on, if it had been ... "the hottest guy at Seminary" ..., he would have known what to do. But then again, his last name isn't 'Bosson.'"

I don't know. Maybe that's up for debate.

Friday, August 19, 2005

christine with a "ch" like Phantom of the Opera?

About an hour ago I walked into my "The Worshipping Church" class and someone whispered, "That's her" as I walked by to my seat. A fellow from my class was pointing out the only female in his class to a student from the previous class. Such is to be expected though, I suppose, when one decides to go to seminary. There's not going to be an overabundance of women in most of the classes. Although I hear if a guy really wants to meet girls here, he takes a counselling course. Lots of girls to be found there!

The first thing Bruce said when he heard that I was in a class with all guys was, "Christine, you're going to get married!"

Please ... a man falls in love with a girl a few states over and he thinks everyone else should be in love. Isn't that right, Bruce?

As I was leaving the building, John David, the accomplished pianist in the class, walked beside me.

"Is this your first year?"

"mhmm. First semester."

"What's your name again?"


"Is that with a "ch" like Christine in Phantom of the Opera?"

leave it to a church musician to associate my name with a musical ...

Then on the way to my dorm I saw Jennifer from Accounting.

"Christine, Hi! You know every time I see you I want to call you Michelle. I don't know why?"

I don't either. Maybe it's the same reason my softball coach in college called me "Michelle" all season. "Okay, and Michelle, go out to left field!"

I never corrected him. It didn't seem important at the time.