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Tonight, as I left Fred Meyer with my groceries, heading to my 2003 Civic, I was approached by a man who told me that he and his friend just ran out of gas and he wanted to know if I could spare a quarter. I told him that I was sorry, but I didn’t have anything, and he said he could tell that if I did, I would have given him something. I did have something, but obviously did not help him. I’m sure his last statement was a ploy to make me feel guilty.
Now, I know this is a scam of some sort, and I wish he had asked for what he really wanted, but I can’t help but feel as if I should do more. I’m not sure that handouts are the way to go, but as I sit in my relative affluence, I wonder if I am not condemning myself with my lack of action. It is not that I never give out money, but I don’t on a regular basis. In the past, on occasion, I would alternately give out gift certificates to McDonald’s, theorizing that then at least, I knew it was going for food and not drugs or alcohol.
And I know that it is only by the grace of God that I am not homeless myself. The situation I was born into, the parents I have, the opportunities I’ve been given: all have shaped me and put me where I am today. Every night, I go to bed in a warm apartment, on a soft bed. Every day, I wake up, have a warm shower, and have a huge selection of clothing to choose from. I never wonder where my next meal is coming from. I have a good car that works and gets me where I need to go.
And James 1:27 reads, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” I think the concept applies to those who are in great need. I know there are also the verses that say if you don’t work, you don’t eat, but let’s face it: in our economy right now, there are more people than there are jobs, and that is a fact you can’t ignore. Homelessness is on the rise, and what is the Church doing? What am I doing? Is it our place to judge if the receiver is worthy of our giving, or is it merely our place to give and trust God to make the distinctions? Christ didn’t only heal and help the “worthy.” This is a hard topic for me to wrestle with, but I feel it should be something we think a bit more about. It’s easy to ignore when it doesn’t directly touch us…
What are your thoughts?
“The one thing a husband wants to know is that he is enough. That his masculinity, the way he provides for the family, the security he gives is enough. The one thing a wife wants to know is that she is not ‘too much.’ That she can be as beautiful and as powerful and as unique as God has called her without overpowering the relationship. That her husband is enough to handle her becoming everything she can become.” ~Scammed from Jon Acuff, which he heard from a counselor once.
Amazing. I appreciate that statement so much because I find it to be perfectly true. At least for myself. Not that I am a wife, but how I feel as a woman in relation to men and in consideration of any future relationship I might have.
I am due for dancing. If I can get enough work done, I think I will go tomorrow night. And I think I will go to the lesson, even though I don’t need it: mostly because the cost is included and then I get an automatic in with more of the guys, since they will feel more comfortable asking me to dance if they’ve somewhat met me. (Silly, scared boys who don’t like asking.) I must remember to wear a skirt, though, as every time I wear jeans I realize how hot it gets. There is nothing worse than sticky, sweaty jeans when you’re trying to dance.
Alright. I must get on homework. I’m estimating I have around 6-8 hours worth, and if I can finish it all today, then I could start working ahead tomorrow. I really need to get ahead so I have time to work on my thesis preparation. yikes!
Forgive me if most of my blogs center around grad school. It’s just, my mind is empty of all else. The workload is immense, and surprises me each week with the busy work I am assigned. I thought we would have been past busy work by this stage. I mean, honestly, how am I supposed to work on the big stuff when the small stuff takes all my time?
Tonight, however, there is a game night. And by game night, I don’t mean sports, but board games. We’re cool like that in seminary. I’m looking forward to it: it’s a great opportunity to get together with fellow students for something other than study groups! I’m going to make peanut butter cookies, but sadly, from a mix because pb cookies from scratch cost too much (i.e. peanut butter is expensive). There are things I never thought I would stoop to, but moving out on my own and being excessively poor (thanks to school) has brought me to new lows.
I’m back to wanting babies. I blame all of my friends (the myriad of them) who are either pregnant or just had a baby. And then they post these pictures of such cute and cuddly little bambinos. And I just want one. Or two. And, let’s be real here, folks: I’m not getting any younger. Time is ticking, and so with it, go my opportunities. Who knew that I would fall prey to the biological clock?
However, I must get back to my homework, because between needing to make dinner, cookies and go to a game night, I don’t have much time left for actual school work. I need a wife. Well, you know what I mean. I was walking with my co-workers the other day and they were talking about how awesome their wives are: how they’ll have dinner ready so these guys can eat on their break and get back to work in a timely fashion. And I realized that I will never get a wife, I’ll only ever be the wife (provided I get married). Drat!
I talked to my program advisor today about the thesis I have to write for my MABS. I was realizing all of a sudden that since I’ve changed gears and don’t want a ThM, I have much less time to get that thing done. And it’s a four credit class, and the paper is 60-80 pages, so while not incredibly large, it is more than a one semester project.
I found out I’m going about it all wrong, but there’s no time to change that. Last semester I took the research paper writing class (step 1), but didn’t have a topic yet, so didn’t use the class to help me write one of my chapters. Oops. This semester I’m supposed to be in the Masters Colloquium class (step 2), in order to continue work on another chapter. I’m not in that class. Oops. So now, I am told that I need to have the following by the end of February: a topic, a thesis statement, a first level outline, and a 3-6 page write-up on my topic and my methodology of how I am going to write it, chapter by chapter. When I have all this put together (in all my free time), I am supposed to make an appointment with my program advisor in which he will set me an advisor for my paper. Then I can get cracking, spend the rest of the semester and all of summer researching and writing, and come Fall, sign up for the actual course and finish the thing.
Am I concerned? Oh, just slightly. I have no earthly idea of what I want to write about, although I made it sound like I was narrowing in on a topic when I was talking to my program advisor. February is one of my busiest months, course work-wise, but I have to find extra time to do extra work that counts for nothing for my current classes. And the work will not stop. After it’s all figured out, it’s “hello library, you’re looking nice tonight” for the rest of my life until my paper is done. And this is a good reminder of why I don’t want a ThM, of why I don’t want a PhD. Right? (Except that there is always that little part inside of me that so desperately wants to get those delicious looking degrees. I must remain strong!)
Now, to pick a topic…
Today, I went to a missions conference. I was there for over 12 hours. What a day. But so worth it.
I talked to eight organizations, which I had pre-determined to check out. My most disappointing one was CAM International, who took one look at my gender along with my previous educational institution and current institution and told me they typically partner with people from Moody or DTS. They said I should look at organizations that match with my schools and beliefs. Keep in mind that they never asked me what I believed; they made assumptions and acted on them. (Now, it should be said that their assumptions were mostly correct: I am a woman, and I do think its okay to teach both men and women, so!)
However, three organizations I talked to really impressed me: WEC, SIM and TEAM. Both SIM and TEAM wanted to sign me up today. No joke. The representative from SIM is adjunct faculty at my school. He wants to have lunch with me this week and wants to see about sending me to Niger over spring break in order to check out a ministry he thinks would fit me well. The TEAM guy wants me to go to Indonesia. Both are for discipleship/teaching ministries to national pastors/lay people. And all of them told me that my current educational level (BA in Theology) is all I need, that a Masters is above and beyond what I would ever need or use. But I felt like I was on a casual date and they were proposing marriage.
One of the speakers talked about obstacles to living a mission-centric life (which all believers are called to per the Great Commission). He cited four obstacles, using Moses as an example: Exodus 3:11-13; 4:1; 4:10; 4:13. The problems are: Moses was unaware of who he was and who God really is, Moses was unsure if his own people would believe him, Moses felt inadequate and unprepared, and Moses was just plain unwilling to go. The answers: 1. The issue is not who we are, but whose we are, and as we walk with God, we will know Him. 2. God told Moses the elders would listen to him, so if you are concerned about friends & family not supporting you, pray that God will give you confirmation. 3. God promised to teach Moses and to give him words to say. Spend time in God’s word; He will give you the words to say (cf Acts 7:38). 4. Consider what happened to Jonah when he disobeyed. Consider Isaiah 6. “We need to give up our small ambitions and live a God sized life.” He said that God wants to set us free from our obstacles so we can be set free to embrace the will of God as go-ers, senders, welcomers (ministry of hospitality) or mobilizers (strategic motivators).
The last speaker of the day said that the problem of being lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-22) is the #1 epidemic in the body of Christ today. He cautioned us to take stock of our lives and ask where we spend our time. Are we on fire for Jesus? He also talked about the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Missions is not just proclamation, but it is being concerned for people’s physical and social situation, also. Missions is hard, but God never said it would be easy. He also stressed that a mission-centric life is what every Christian is called to. And I agree whole-heartedly.
I’m really glad I went. I’m not sure where it will take me, but it was just what I needed.
True beauty just might lie in a good batch of homemade guacamole.
All you need is avocado, grated onion, lime juice and salt. Then if you take a whole wheat tortilla, cut it up and bake it into chips, you will have something truly wonderful.
I love my mortar & pestle.
The other night, I wrote a brilliant blog. I mean, absolutely, without a doubt brilliant. Unfortunately, it was in my head. And I was much, much too tired to pull myself out of bed to actually write it down. I tried to solidify the sentences and ideas in my head, but of course, I had completely forgotten it all by the next morning.
I feel like it had something to do with my current disappointment in life, my frustrations with my school program, my lack of direction in life. (Or my plethora of ideas which lead me in opposing directions all too often.)
In the end, I have nothing much to say, but that school had begun. My classes look okay so far, I start my new position at work tomorrow, but the weather is terrible. I also have a zit right on the bottom edge of my lower lip: it is neither attractive nor enjoyable. The ups are that I have a lovely sherpa (fake sheep?) blanket, which is the coziest thing I have ever owned, and my avocados are nearing ripeness, which means I get to try out making guacamole with my new mortar & pestle.
Life will get better. But in the meantime, if you have extra cash to throw my way, I’m accepting donations. :)
Sezme Sesame Snaps are delicious. Sesame seeds, sugar and honey. I wonder how hard it would be to make my own?
My folks got me a mortar and pestle for Christmas, then also bought me a knife set. I am glad that I’m finally feeling like I have proper tools for the kitchen.
Canada was great, although it poured the entire time. One day it even sleeted. The day I left, the skies were bright blue, birds were singing, and I was leaving. Drat the weather.
School starts tomorrow. I am still trying to get settled back in. Yesterday, I got to my apartment at 3pm, mostly unpacked, figured out my next two-week meal plan, went shopping, had dinner, then went to happy hour with a group of people from school.
And then I heard that our entrance exam for Greek II isn’t for three weeks. I studied all Christmas break to ensure I would be ready to take it tomorrow. Blast. At least I’m ahead, right?
I will freely admit that these are the same resolutions from 2010. I liked them so much, and feel so much that I have yet to attain them, that I should like to have them again for 2011.
And so, in the spirit of the New Year, my list of resolutions:
I resolve to be real about my faith; to spend intentional time with God.
I resolve to be confident in who God made me to be.
I resolve to not make foolish resolutions throughout the year, but to be careful with my decisions.
I resolve to do more of the things I think about doing (such as dancing, climbing, writing, etc).
What do you resolve for 2011?