Friday, March 31, 2006

Explosive Yoga

Yesterday it was over 70 degrees. It felt more like summer than spring. I finally got to enjoy driving my car with the top down. To driving a convertible on a sunny day is to take a drive with the sunshine. And it's wonderful.

Yesterday was also the day of class with Yoga Nazi. She'd tell us to just stretch as far as we felt comfortable. Then she would come over to me and say "I think you need to go a little farther. Feel those muscles stretch." And then I would fall over in pain.

One of my co-workers and I were talking about the nice weather and he said he would like to go to the shooting range. He said when you are completely focused on the target it's really relaxing. You control your breathing, ignore your surroundings, squeeze the trigger gently.... I told him it sounded like yoga with explosions.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

On Worldwide Missions and the Church in America

I recently read an interesting article for a worldwide missions class that I am taking. The article was written by Edward Dayton titled, "The Task At Hand: World Evangelization".

In this article Dayton mentions that Christians have 3 tasks:
1. Evangelize the nominal Christians that are in our churches and neighborhoods. (Millions of people)
2. Evangelize the non-Christians that we are in contact with on a regular basis. (This is estimated to be 2.2 billion people)
3. Witness to the unreached people groups of the world. (This is estimated to be 2 billion people)

This was a refreshing view of the task of the Church. Too often I hear views that are horribly imbalanced. "We shouldn't go overseas... there is too much to do at home" is one view heard and "The people at home can go to a church if they want to - we all need to go overseas for missions" is another view. The task is not an either/or kind of a task. The church should NOT decide between local ministry or overseas missions. BOTH are needed.

Dayton goes on to say that "no matter how earnest all the local churches in the world are in reaching out to their near-neighbors (people like them), only one-third of the non-Christians in the world can be reached by Christians who speak their language and understand their culture."

This, to me, is one of the most convincing arguments I have heard on the need for overseas missions. The task of reaching all the nations with the gospel will not happen without cross-cultural evangelization.

However, there is still much work that needs to be done at home. In America cross-cultural evangelization can occur across the street. Ralph Winter in an article entitled "The New Macedonia" asks, "Are we in America prepared for the fact that most non-Christians yet to be won to Christ (even in our country) will not fit readily into the kinds of churches we now have?"

This is a powerful question. So often in my life I have mixed my social preferences with my Christianity. Am I ready for someone's Christianity to look different than mine? Am I will to maintain the meaning (theology and biblical doctrine) of the church while allowing the form (the expression of that theology and doctrine) to change based on different cultures?

Take for example, marriage (in a simplified version). In my mind it means a bride in a white dress walking down the aisle in a church to a groom. Biblically it's a covenant between two people and God. Culturally this is expressed in many ways around the world. Not every culture has a bride in white in a church with an aisle. Can I allow the flexibility that we see in marriage ceremonies to be present in other aspect of the Church?

Winters also states, "Present day American Christians can wait forever in their cozy, middle-class pews for the world to come to Christ and join them. But unless they adopt [methods of reaching people not like them] and both go out after these people and help them found their own churches, evangelism in America will face, and is already facing, steady diminishing returns."

These are my thoughts as I am wrestling with trying to differentiate between biblical truth and social norms and understanding the need for different strategies and churches for different cultures.

Things I didn't mean to imply in this post: That truth is relative. I don't believe that truth is in any way, in any situation relative.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I liked this article.

Book Readings and 4-letter words

Last night I went to a book reading by an author I had discovered a year ago. It was great. He is just as good of a speaker as he is a writer. I had never been to a book reading before but it's nice to hear the author read with the emotion they intended for the story.

He was funny, charsmatic and thought provoking. I enjoyed it. His humorous yet didactical writing/speaking managed to keep me entertained and engaged. During the course of the evening he read an article he recently wrote. Today I found the article to send to Ben. As I read through the article I realized he had made some changes when he read it last night. He left out the cuss words.

Now, mild cussing used appropriately really doesn't bother me. What bothered me was that he wrote the cuss words but didn't speak them. If you are going to write something in a public forum I think you should be willing to say it out loud. It seemed to be slightly two-faced.

But then I got to thinking about some of the key points of public speaking. One major thing that any public speaker has to consider is their audience. The book reading was conducted at an extremely conservative university. Had the author used the cuss words in his readings many people probably would have gotten hung up on the 2-3 words and missed the point of the article. This would have done no one any good.

So maybe leaving those words out of the reading was the best thing. What do you think?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

On weddings...

Ben and I went to a very nice wedding this weekend.

When the bride was saying her vows she got all choked up and started to cry, but then she started to laugh so she was sort of laugh crying.

All I could think was "Man, it would be awesome if she snorted right now."

I've never heard a bride laugh-cry so hard that she snorted. I think it would be hilarious!

Monday, March 13, 2006

On how the legal department just about ruined my day

I have this picture as my wallpaper on my computer at work.

After lunch I was explaining to my officemate, Stephen, that I really wanted to be on a beach right then. Legal Beagle walked in and started describing some of the beaches he has been too and I start to day dream. It went something like this:

It's crystal clear.

Nice. I am enjoying this.

The water is oh so blue.

I can feel the sun on my face.

The beaches are brilliantly white.

Yes. It's a beautiful beach and I am enjoying it immensely.

One of Europe's finest nude beaches.

Suddenly a large, hairy, naked fat man blocked my sun and interrupted my day dreaming.

I yelled at Legal Beagle for making the large, hairy, fat man ruin my day dream. Stephen yelled at him too because now the large, hairy, fat man is stopping to search for sea shells.

*Sigh* The beach was ruined. Naked people will do that, you know?

At least it made me somewhat more productive and happy that I was sitting at my desk instead of on a beach with a large, hairy, naked man.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Prejudice Just Got More Subtle

I was in Detroit for a meeting with a customer yesterday. He may very well be the most annoying, anal and frustrating customer the company has ever had. And lucky me, I got to manage my second commercial contract with him. The frustration and beratement of the team got so bad that we had our President's permission to walk out if they started yelling at us during the presentation.

There was no yelling from him. One of our executives talked with his boss and his "priorities were realigned". Thank you.

The meeting actually went pretty well, except for one point. I don't think anyone noticed it but myself.

One of the older guys in the company attended the meeting. He had been really helpful in dealing with our frustrating customer and he is pushing to do more work with us. Good ally to have; however, he never acknowledged my existence. I traveled with 4 male coworkers and he introduced himself to every one of them and wouldn't make eye contact with me. I even sat next to him. When we passed samples around the room, he wouldn't look at me and would just kind of slide things in my direction. All of his efforts of excluding me were so subtle I didn't know what to do. I'm still not 100% he was trying to exclude me, but he did treat me differently than all the other guys in the room.

I don't want to sound like some angry woman with a chip on her shoulder, but that's not the first time things like that have happened. They have always been sutble, almost unobservable messages that I don't belong in the engineering or business world. Every encounter leaves me wondering if maybe I really don't belong. Maybe I'm not qualified. Many times I feel like I just need to suck it up, in order for my company to maintain a good reputation. It also makes me so thankful to work for a company doesn't treat me like that.

So what would you have done in my situation?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Just because I love my readers

Cow Abductions.

I have to say this made me laugh.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Should I throw out the water dish?

My humidifier broke, so my apartment is really dry and staticy. When my cats walk across my bedspread at night you can see sparks.

I thought that this dry air was the reason my fish tank seemed to constantly lose water.

And then I caught my cats drinking out of it.

Sneaky little things.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I like memoirs. I like reading about people's lives. When I go to a bookstore these kinds of books are almost the only ones I pick up.

I like them because I can relate to most people's stories, the common human experiences, and many times the writer can more fully express my experiences.

Many memoirs cover only the highlights, the life changing and teaching experiences of a person's life. And if you read the memoir, you think that their life consisted only of these events. Their life was one climax, lesson and journey after another. The everyday things, such as, doing the laundry, washing dishes and sitting in traffic is left out. Reading memoirs can make me think my life is unusually boring because it is not made up entirely of "highlights".

I was reading in the Bible the other day these verses from Exodus 31:

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you."

These men were given the skills needed to make everything that needed to be made for the Tabernacle - the place where the Lord dwelt with Israel.

I have to wonder about these men. What did they do before they worked on the Tabernacle? Did they make furniture, jewelry, and clothes? Did they realize that their skill was supposed to be used on something more than just clothes? Did their jobs frustrate them? Did they yearn to serve? Were their boring, everyday jobs just training for working on the Tabernacle?

And then I have to ask myself, am I in training? Are my skills supposed to be used for some kind of service?

I wish these men wrote memoirs. I would love to hear their stories of training.