Monday, January 26, 2009

Observations upon returning to my own church after a 6 week absence

  1. The pregnant ladies all now look like they're ready to POP, and some of them are, in about 4-8 weeks.
  2. The littlest kids are all significantly older. Little Zoe's hair is long enough to pull back into pigtails, and she walks more than she crawls now.
  3. Some dudes grew beards.
  4. Some dudes shaved their beards.
  5. Some gals shaved their legs.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

it is written

I've been back for over a week now, and wondering how to restart this blog thing again. Whenever I go away from it, it's always a little hard to know how to return. I've gotten out of the groove, and I lack inspiration. I know that you would probably enjoy reading about my trip, and I'd like to write more about it, but it's hard to know what to write without it becoming a list of my itinerary, and Ben has already written some great posts about Amsterdam, that what could my writings add? My perspective, I suppose, but a lot of my perspective from the trip is best shared one-on-one, and not through a blog. Instead, I found other inspiration this morning.

Last night, I saw Slumdog Millionaire. If you haven't seen it, please see it as soon as possible! I'm going to do my best to talk vaguely about plots points and avoid giving any spoilers, but if you'd prefer to wait to read this until you've seen it, then wait. One of the friends I'd seen it with had already seen it before, and she told me about things that she hadn't noticed the first time, like the depth and complexity of one of the main characters, and how even from childhood, you see the changes that this character undergoes.

This morning, I found myself thinking about the female character from Slumdog, Latika. This movie is many things, and it is most definitely a rescuing the damsel in distress story. When I reflected on that this morning, at first it irked my quasi-feministic side. Why couldn't Latika rescue herself? Why was she so dang submissive toward the men in her life? Why couldn't she have been a more dynamic character, like the boys in the film? But the more I thought about it, she was indeed a complex character. I believe that feminism is about choice, and at a key point in the movie, Latika makes a difficult choice, a choice that probably saves someone else's life, and a choice that leads her to continue her life of submission and degradation by men.

I continued to reflect on this damsel in distress aspect of the plot more, and thought that really, it was a beautiful love story. In our heart of hearts, all women (and probably men too) want this kind of love, of a man who never forgets her. Years may pass, but she is still the love of his life, and he continues searching for her, and will never be satisfied until his love is safe in his arms. He's willing to put himself through danger, and do whatever it takes to be with her. A couple of times in the film, someone asks, "What? Not her again," and encourages the main character to give up on chasing after her. Yes, her, who else but her? No one will compare, and he will continue after her, never giving up hope that they will be together again. Gosh, who doesn't want that?

And I've never been one to get a lot out of the imagery of Christ as the bridegroom, and the church as the bride, but thinking about this film this morning, that image clicked with me. I saw the gospel in this film. I saw a woman, so defiled, so degraded, living with the enemy, first being forced into this awful lifestyle, and then choosing to stay in it. And I saw a man, who loves her infinitely, and more than that, he looks at her and doesn't see her lifestyle, doesn't see the ugliness of her actions and the actions against her, but he sees her for who she is, he sees her as beautiful and pure, and because he does, that is how us, the audience sees her. She's radiant and gorgeous.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

how I will spend the rest of my Christmas vacation

Tomorrow afternoon, I will fly to Houston, then London Heathrow, and then Monday afternoon I will arrive in
where I will attend an opera, and spend the next day sightseeing with a great tour guide. The day after that, we will spend a couple of nights, and about day and a half in

before taking a train to
to spend a few days, before flying to

for a few days and after that I will fly home, via Newark, NJ this time, having eaten, drank, slept, explored, and taken many pictures of cities of four countries that I have yet to set foot upon.
It's an understatement to say that I'm thrilled about this trip, my third European holiday, that was rather spontaneously planned a little over six weeks ago. I'm excited about the sights I will see, the company I will keep, the friends I will meet, the food I will eat, the pictures I will take, the tongues I will hear, ok, everything excites me except for the weather, but even the cold fog and clouds will be an exotic change from the strange warmth Texas has imparted upon us these past few days. And hey, it could be worse, it could be raining! Perhaps it will snow, blanketing an otherworldy magic onto a place that already seems so enchanting to me, or perhaps the clouds will break and the sun will shine down unexpectedly. Whatever the weather, I will love this time.