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Showing posts from February, 2010

tsunami

We are waiting for a tsunami to hit Hawaii just after 11:00 am. An earthquake in Chile last night set off a large wave in the Pacific Ocean that is heading our way. I heard the news around 11 pm last night. It is strange to receive news that "something" will happen in about 12 hours. This morning a civil defense siren went off at 6 am, and we received a notice from the hotel telling us to stay above the 3rd floor, stay off the beach, fill our bathtub with water in case the water supply is compromised, and prepare for possible evacuation.

Stores opened early this Saturday morning; water and other essentials are being snapped up. There are long line-ups at some gas stations. All this information comes from the constant television news coverage here in Hawaii. However, when I look out my window, everything seems normal. There are sailboats on the ocean. People are out for their morning run. The garbage truck came by and picked up the trash on the street.
Dean is excited because …

three journeys

I am writing this from my hotel room on the 11th floor, a block from the Pacific Ocean in Honolulu. It is reading week at my university and Dean and I are spending it doing some reading (it is obligatory, I am told) and relaxing with his parents near Waikiki Beach. The trip here on Monday was a bit of an adventure. I have been learning that how the journey happens is not always an indication of success or God's favourable presence in my life.

A week ago, I had two days when I had important appointments to keep. On the first day, I missed my first bus because it was early, then missed another connection, and the whole trip was feeling quite out of control and late. However, I got to my appointment with a few minutes to spare, no problem. The next day, I was nice and early for my first bus, caught my second bus just as it was leaving and every step of the way was a picture of clockwork perfection. I got to my appointment a few minutes early, just like the day before. How was it that …

??? = grace

I was doing some reading on Calvin's concept of predestination today and came across an interesting sentence of his: "The very inequality of [God's] grace proves that it is free." Kind of backwards to how we usually think, isn't it? Most of us would say that the seeming lack of consistency and justice around us leads us to conclude that God is not fair, too much of life is unpredictable and random, and no one can make much sense of it. This volatility makes the concept of God, a God who is supposed to be in charge of the whole thing, unattractive to us, and his grace too much of a loose canon for us to bank on. However, what Calvin is saying is that the very lack of predictability points to the freedom with which God dispenses grace, his divine favour, and ultimately, life and salvation.

Though I don't follow Calvin all the way down the predestination pathway, I do acknowledge that he saw something that I as a child of the enlightenment easily miss. We expect …

format matte:

On Saturday night, my laptop succumbed to a malicious virus. After an hour of trying to identify it, delete it, and in the end, merely hoping that the computer would boot up and recognise who it was, I gave up. The sneaky bug had made its way into the registry and the poor machine didn't even know how to do something as basic as turn on. Fortunately, I had done a back-up a few days ago and all my writing and photos and contacts were safe on an external hard drive. Nevertheless, I felt stupid and helpless and wondered how I had let myself get into this predicament. I am usually very careful what sites I access and what I click on, but even though I tried to say no to all the pop-ups I got hit with after I went to a site I had not been to before, I now know that even clicking on the "No, thank you" button is an acknowledgement of some sort. Sigh.

I went to a computer store to see what they could do for me and they recommended wiping the hard drive clean and starting over. S…

I heart you

I don't really do Valentine's day. One day cannot begin to contain the sum of my complex and still growing affection for Dean. And it would be unfair of me to burden him with expectations that he needs to deliver a momentous gift or gesture on this one day that will push all my love-starved buttons and prove his sensitive manliness. Our relationship is just not based on candy, cards, dinner, and the ability to read each other's minds.

Here are a few quotes I found from people who think along these same lines and say it much better than I could. Enjoy!
I hate being told, “Today, you will be romantic. Today, you will be amazing. Today, you will ‘Get It All Right.’ And tonight, you will arrange for one of the most romantic evenings you two will have this year. Tonight, sex will be on a level with the Hallelujah chorus. Hollywood will have wished they had filmed this day.
Who wants to live under that kind of pressure?
The rule of human nature seems to be this: The harder you push,…

new role

What character are you in the parable of the prodigal son (read it in Luke 15)? I have never really been the "bad boy" who runs away squandering an inheritance and breaking the old man's heart. I will admit that I have been known to whine and complain about always being the faithful and dependable one and never getting a party, but I'm getting over that. However, these past few weeks I have been thinking about the story in a different way. God has been asking me if I would like to play the role of the father.

This means that as a friend and as a spiritual leader, I have to let people walk away if they want to. This means that I have to be willing to give my riches (the things I have worked hard to build in my life) to certain people even though I know they will probably not value them. This means that I spend a lot of time waiting for people to realise they are making bad decisions without pointing it out to them. This means that I don't go chasing people down to …

denied

I got word today that I did not receive a scholarship that I applied for last fall. Not that I was really counting on it, because you toss your application in with hundreds of others and never know how it will turn out. I thought I might have a pretty good shot at it, but it turns out that I never made it past the first round. Disappointing. I guess a tiny part of me had hoped that I would finally see some financial benefit from doing something that I loved - learning and studying. And I thought I was doing it quite well, but I obviously didn't have what they were looking for.

Dean is a very successful businessman and sometimes I feel the inequality between his ability to contribute to our finances and my lack of the same. I know I am smart and talented and creative, but it never seems to translate into income. In fact, all my creative projects seem to cost us money. I have asked God if it would be possible to get paid a living wage for doing what I believe he made me to do: be a c…

slammin'

Here is a piece of slam poetry that was part of my presentation at a theology conference today. It is based on Psalm 127:1-2.

I woke up one day and said, I am going to build a house
I got a hammer and some nails
and a big book from Amazon that promised "do it yourself without fail"
I envisioned something extraordin-ary
marble and glass, cedar and cherry
impressive and functional
smaller than Babel yet bigger than a stable
And I took my first nail and I raised my hammer and I swung with all my might
and this is how I broke my right....thumb

I woke up the next day and said, I am going to build a career
I drew up a plan
go to the best university in the land
study smart, network hard, get straight A's
hire myself out to the highest bidder and one day
hopefully not too far away
build my own business empire
smaller than Rome, of course, but bigger than Bethlehem
And I took my first exam, after a night of cramming which is after all, obligator-y
and this is how I made my first C...minus

I woke up a…