Sunday, October 30, 2005

tea on a moonlit autumn night

As I walked on campus this evening, I noticed the remnants of the sunset had left the sky a glorious hue of blue. I rushed up to my room and sat at my window pondering, as I often do when exposed to such natural marvels ...

What colors would I mix to get that color?

I decided to boil some water and make a cup of the finest black tea from my hometown of Celle, Germany. As my spoon disrupted the contents of the bag, the aroma of tea leaves, vanilla, almond, orange, and a splash of kakao invaded my senses. It was a feeling of when you feel your eyes roll back into your head and you are nothing but the sense of smell. Your ears smell. Your fingers smell. Your tongue smells. Your heart smells. Your mind smells. Visions of running through red and golden leaves in the moonlight. Scarves. Flushed cheeks. Laughter.

and then it came to me ...

I returned to the window.

Pure Prussian Blue.

washing the car vs. crying

Where do you feel free to throw off convention and reveal your suffering soul if not to anyone but yourself?

This evening I roamed the streets in search of a carwash ... ah ha! after a few funky U-turns and illegal crossings of traffic, I slowly pulled into an automated car wash till the sign read STOP.

I plugged my iPod in and cranked up the music till I could barely hear the pounding of high-pressure water hoses scourging the filth off my Beetle. As Late Tuesday and I sang the prayers of my heart, I could feel worry, regret, fear, guilt, and anxiety fall away from my troubled soul.

This is what I do instead of cry. Crying's a waste of time. Go to the carwash and sing ... you get two things done at once then. Your heart is refreshed and your car is clean.

quite pleased with myself

What do you do with a heel of whole grain bread, a banana, and a handful of craisins?

My mind lives for challenges like this.

I opened the refrigerator, taking in my options. I reached for the milk, eggs, and butter. Closing the door with my foot, I deposited my finds on the table next to the slice of bread and then grabbed the cinnamon and nutmeg from the spice shelf. In one bowl, I placed the torn pieces of bread. In another, I whipped up an egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of sugar. I poured the egg mixture over the bread and tossed it all together with slivers of butter, half a sliced banana (the other half lodged cozily in my stomach), and the handful of craisins.

I set the microwave for three minutes, placing the mystery creation inside this modern marvel of speed cooking. As the bowl spinned and the machine whirred, my senses eagerly awaited any sign to validate my brain's claims of tasty delight. After only moments, an aroma filled the kitchen.

sigh. I love it when I'm right.

(What sort of culinary experiments have you had success or failure with?)

Monday, October 24, 2005

not "saw" but "sold"

"Sarah, where are the missionaries?" It was five minutes before church was supposed to begin. I had walked outside to see if I could spot them walking from either the bus or tram stop. Little Sarah, from Kenya, was outside doing the same. One of the mission team girls had been staying with her all week. "If anything happens to January, you're responsible."

"I saw her this morning."

"Well, that doesn't do us any good now, does it? What about the two guys?"

"I saw them this afternoon. It was John's idea."

I then realized that she wasn't saying "saw" ... but "sold."

Me: "Who did you sell them to?"

Sarah: "I don't know. I didn't ask."

Me: "Well, I hope you kept the receipt."

Sarah: "No, I didn't want to have to pay taxes."

Me: "But you wouldn't have. They were tax exempt ... them being with a not-for-profit organization, and all."

Sarah: "oh ... can I sell you later?"

Me: "No, but that's only because I've lived in Germany a number of years. But you should ask your lawyers. There should be some loophole in the law books concerning the selling and trafficking of missionaries, even those who have lived in the country for a certain period of time."

Sarah: "I should have done that before I sold the others."

Me: "And when you talk to them, ask them about slander."

Sarah: "Slander? Why?"

Me: "Here, I'll show you."

At that moment, Comfort, from Ghana, was walking up to the church. We exchanged kisses and I asked her,

"Did you know I'm getting married in May?"

Comfort: "Oh, how nice. It will be our first HIBC wedding."

Me: "Yes, isn't it great news! I just found out about it this afternoon. Sarah told my father about the wedding last night and he confronted me about it this afternoon after the service in Celle."

Sarah: "Oh ... ha ha ... I told him that it was just a dream ... I dreamt that you had told me that."

(a minor detail that my father left out ... all for the sake of a sermon illustration.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

i am not a fascist feminist

I am terribly distressed by the apparent legacy I have left behind me in Savannah. Am I truly remembered as "The Dating Nazi"?!! God forgive me for leading anyone astray unknowingly! God forgive me for boasting in my independence to the point that young girls reject the blessings that marriage offers. God forgive me for my sarcasm mistaken for cynicism. God teach me to be an example of godly womanhood, full of goodness, kind words, graciousness, and encouragement so that I may not be so terribly misunderstood again. I am grieved by my sin ... Father forgive me ... shape and mold me ... be the Lord of my tongue.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

the way i love

There are those out there who are convinced that I don't believe in love ... (where on earth do they get that idea! ) I may not go about it the way that others do ... I like to think that my methods are more like those listed below:

(feel free to add your own)

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"
Emily - age 8

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,"
Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
Karen - age 7

And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry"

These are my own additions:

"Love is when you are sitting in a crowded room and you immediately recognize your friend on the other side."

"Love is when you hear footsteps and you know whose they are."
Christine - age 4 (and twenty)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Crashing Duck

My first memory of a bonfire and hayride is when I was three. We were stationed in Killeen, Texas, and our church was having a fall festival of sorts. The only reason I remember this event is because there is a photograph of me bundled up with the multi-storey blaze on one side and the awaiting wagons of hay on the other. All pictures following that age up until I reached eighteen have either been secretly discarded or burned.

Tonight I decided to engage in this American tradition one more time. I arrived at Elk Creek Baptist Church around 7:30 this evening just in time to roast a couple of marshmallows and find a seat in the hay along with a couple of the college girls. I have been assisting in the college group at this church since I arrived in Kentucky. My valuable input ranges from explaining the historical manipulations of the Roman Catholic Church to the brainwashing of the young female minds to my way of thinking concerning America's flawed dating rituals and traditions. They mainly pretend to listen in rapt attention as I spew forth my stories, but I'm sure they're just endulging me, certain that I must be "verrueckt" (translation: a crazy historian overly zealous in meddling in the anthrolpological courtship habits of particular people groups.) But I appreciated their hugs and cries of how glad they were to see me when I arrived.

So there we sat together rumbling through the dark roads of rural Kentucky. The children in the back were singing various songs of Americana ranging from Take Me Out to the Ball Game ... to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer. Up front, the youth minister was recounting the prank he pulled last year on their former pastor. He and a couple of the seniors had strategically placed multitudes of plastic forks, prongs down, all over his yard. In the front, he placed potted flowers in an old toilet and urinal he had brought, upon which he proudly displayed the pastor's family name. To top it all off, he and the others wrapped the preacher's porch and garage in a wall of seran wrap.

Sigh. It was wonderful. The air whirled around us in the cool, crisp starless night. That's it ... that's one thing what would have made the night better. A clear view of a star-studded Kentucky night sky.

When we returned to the church, the bonfire was still blazing in the empty field. I grabbed one of the college girl's hands and began to run.

The distant blaze of the solitary fire in the darkness called to me. I became a warrior Indian princess. I rushed towards the flame whooping and hollering. All at once my Indian maiden form took flight, and I became a sparrow soaring through the night over the bare trees beneath.

Just as I reached my zenith, the earth's force reached out and struck me out of my flight. Limp, I came spiralling down to the earth, crashing, lying on the ground humbled in my earthbound form.

I turned on my back and gazed up at the sky from whence I had come and asked "why?". I turned on my side and saw the hands that had plucked me from the sky. The trees. They had reached out their arms, taking hold of my ankle and slammed me to the earth, jealous because their roots did not allow them to take flight.

"Christine! Christine! What happened!" the college girls rushed toward me in concern.

I turned on my back in a fit of giggles.

"We saw your shaddow running toward the bonfire and then you were gone!"

Wiping tears of hysterical laughter with one hand, I pointed with the other at the pile of logs that had been invisible to me in the night.

Just call me Crashing Duck.

When I returned to the dorm I told some of the girls who were gathered in the hallway. "Christine, even if you end up marrying a man with the personality of a rock, your children will be the most creative, imaginative creatures on earth!" exclaimed Heather from Iowa.

I can just hear him now ... "Honey, don't encourage them." or maybe it would be the other way around. "Kids, try not to get your mother worked up."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

art and community

ckhnat 2002

"Art is at once exhaustively personal and inescapably social."
Conductor Robert Shaw

Two weeks ago a friend approached me with a proposition: the creation of an artist community among Southern Seminary students. Until now I had been attending festivals and artistic cultural events on my own or with one or two friends. But this proposition brings to light entirely new possibilities. What if together, as artists, we represented the artistic face of Southern Seminary to the community around us?! How much more effective could our witness be together?

But there are other implications. In such a community we could encourage and support each other's artistic endeavors. Musicians, writers, photographers, actors, designers, painters could collaborate together and exhort one another in our individual endeavors to achieve artistic excellence that glorifies God.

David Giardiniere describes artistic community this way:

"We seek out others who share similar experiences and align ourselves with them. It's in our nature to "belong," so we form communities--groups of people that have something in common. As we function within them we develop friendships, enrich our lives, and find a source of personal satisfaction.

"In a sense, every human community on earth can be considered an artistic community. Art is so infused with the human spirit that our lives themselves are a work of art--a living drama carried out over time. Paul describes it as 'a letter from Christ, written not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.' There are times though, when a group of people will come together to create a specific work of art. In these settings, the community is not merely those who perceive and appreciate. The community becomes the instrument of expression that brings a work to life. These are the performers, the craftsmen, composers, screenwriters, technicians, actors--the architects of sound and light over time. Their act of purpose and their collective spirit generate works of power and impact. (The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.) They assemble and embrace creative process to pursue a mutual goal."

"Singing in Unison" in It was Good--Making Art to the Glory of God

Thoughts? Anyone else interested?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

a chapter closed

“For someone like you it’s good to travel now ... but if you’re Christine, it doesn’t matter, because you’ll be doing it for the rest of your life.” ~ c.b.

I am a modern nomad. It is nothing for me to pack up my bags and move on a whim. I have no roots. No ropes tieing me down. The world is my tent. Wherever the Lord is, there my home will be.

The Lord directs my steps in different ways--anywhere from gripping my heart and assuring me this is my destiny or the deliverance of a desire into a reality. Two and a half years ago the Lord gripped my heart by telling me that He had a purpose for me in Savannah, Georgia. Now He has fulfilled a desire by leading me to Louisville, Kentucky, to study His Word at Southern Seminary.

This weekend I removed all of my worldly possessions from Savannah. I have nothing left there but the pieces of my heart that are planted in the hearts of those I have come to love.

Will it be two or three years till I am brought somewhere else? And what was that purpose? Why was I in Savannah? Was I sent there to be transformed into the image of God’s Son? Did I somehow affect someone’s life in a way that I will never know this side of heaven? Did I meet someone while there that I will one day later encounter in a life-changing experience?

God’s ways are wonderful, marvellous, too high for me to comprehend.