Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Servanthood and Honoring God

Okay, today, as I was reading my Bible and writing down my notes from the reading (I take my notes on the Devo Notes blog above), God revealed to me something incredible about the life of Abraham, particularly about the attitude of a servant in honoring God.

Now, I don't usually advertise by Devo Notes blog like this, but I'd recommend reading today's Devo Notes (28 Dec. 2011) as this is where I posted this revelation and I believe it is something of which all of us should be made aware.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'll Be Home for Christmas (or a merry TCK Christmas)

Okay, for those of you who might be unaware, I'm heading home (finally) for Christmas.

Those of you who know me are probably hyperventilating right now on my behalf. Those of you who don't are probably thinking, "What the heck? I'm heading home for Christmas, too. What's so special about that?"

My response to the latter is simply, "You live near 'home', don't you?"

Imagine living in one place for most of your life then moving away, by yourself, to some place far enough away that the chance to visit "home" and see your friends and family is rare. Welcome to a part* of my world (and of many a TCK, too). Just to put things into perspective: the shortest trip home takes 18 hours...

... by plane.

Before you ask, no, I can't drive there either. That is, unless you've invented an amphibious car for me to use.

So, for me, heading home is a big deal. I'll be able to see family, friends and familiar sights. I'll be back in my comfort zone, in an area in which, despite the crime, I feel relatively safe.

Now, I begin my trip home tomorrow afternoon. If you all could please pray for safe travels and an enjoyable time being home, it'd be much appreciated.

Merry Christmas and God bless!

*I say part because my 'home' story is a slight bit more convoluted than that, as most TCKs can attest.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New TCM Family Member!

Two points of order:

  1. You may have noticed some posts here dated back to much earlier this year/last year/earlier. Those are blog posts from my pre-Blogger days that were initially posted on Facebook's Notes app. I saw them recently and decided to integrate them to the TCM family.
  2. You might have noticed a second tab on the top of the blog. That is a tab introducing and possessing a link to a new blog in the TCM family. Devo Notes is two things: a collection of my previous Devo Notes posts from my Facebook Notes days and the continuation of that project, namely the posting of what I'm reading in my daily quiet time and what I'm learning from it.

USAargh! - 13 Dec. 2008

the USA trip... Woohoo!!!? 
yeah, wasn't too psyched before I left - I was trading interhouse basketball & summer& beaches for winter in a place which is home in name only and i don't really know anyone anymore 

the only thing I was looking forward to at the beginning was snow... 
still waiting... 
anytime now, God... 

we arrived in our small hometown, only to see that it wasn't really small anymore, most of my good friends had moved away & so the only people I knew were my parents' friends and the odd acquaintance - fun 

we then left to Tennessee to visit Grandparents - it's not too bad. 

doesn't mean I'm not missing friends and mk camp... 

the biggest mission: 
da da daaaaaaaaaa! 

such a mission... 
not that it's bad or anything, it's actually given me a chance to look at the universities I'm looking at, meet with some of the professors in my possible majors and give me a chance to get a feel of the different schools 

looked at Carson-Newman & Belmont so far 
I like Carson newman's small town feel, but Belmont also has that but since they're also a little bigger, they have better courses and they have good premed (thumbs up) and a Commercial music major (2 thumbs up) 

leanin towards Belmont - gut feeling and It just feels right, but, unfortunately, it's a bit more expensive - major pressure for scholarships - I want to go there, but If I don't get any... 
out the window :-( 

overall: had a ho hum hols so far: 
saw family - nice 
missing friends - bleak 
missing mk camp & once-a-year friends - bleak 
missing sun, beaches & SUMMER break - bleak 
no snow - BLEAK BLEAK BLEAK BLEAK BLEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

oh well, it can only get better, right?

home? - 10 Jan. 2009

when i was little home was something easy to describe. Home was that largish brick house where i lived with mom & dad. i'd walk in after getting off the school bus and see mom in the kitchen making a snack, or when i was a little older i made the snack myself. 

but then i moved to another country. South Africa was another world entirely from what i'd known and when time came for our 1st furlough i couldn't wait to be back in the usa. but as time went on i guess i just got acclimatized and now i've come to the us and it doesn't feel like home at all. no friends to hang at the beach with, no beach, completely different worldviews, the food's different i can't work in farenheight, pounds, ounces and quarts anymore, it's like complete gibberish to me. and the us isn't the us i used to call home when i was 8. 

so i've begun to do some thinking, 
home isn't where you were born 
home isn't where you're from 
home isn't even where you currently live 

i used to call home where you stayed for the night 

but home isn't any of these things. home has nothing to do with geographic locations... 

home is where your friends are, where you have people that you would trust like your own family, where you feel comfortable, where you have a place that you feel that the puzzle piece that's you fits perfectly, where you have a deep gut feeling that this is home 

i guess, the old adage is right... 

"home is where the heart is" and the heart changes, it adapts, it grows and as it does so i guess it changes it's feeling of "home" to the gap you've grown into 

and, i guess, right now, that home is in South Africa 

but why do i still have this nagging feeling of a sort of concrete responsibility to the usa? a sense of patriotism to a country that i don't really have any emotional ties left with? 

i feel like i'm being torn between my old "home" and my new one. one's a tie of a perceived sense of responsibility, patriotism & citizenship, the other's a tie of the heart... 


i'm confused 

i wanna go home... 


The One about Respect (or why we shouldn't call Obama Nobama) - 20 Jan. 2011

In today's society people tout tolerance and respect and expect you to go along with it because that is what's "right." What disturbs me, however, is the recent disrespecting of certain individuals in offices of power.

Most people would agree that respect is something that is either earned or part of an office or position. Respect, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is, " Deferential regard or esteem felt or shown towards a person, thing, or quality."* A person is said to earn respect by completing deeds which are considered good, acting in an honorable fashion or being honest. A person also earns respect by being placed into a position which ranks above someone else. For example, a teacher, because of her position, deserves respect from her pupils, regardless of her ability; likewise a manager should receive respect from those he has hired because of his job position if for nothing else. I, in turn, respect the fire marshal and the police chief. I have never met either of them. I do not even know their names, but because of their position, I give them respect.

Following suit, should not a governor receive more respect than a mayor, a senator more than a governor, a head of senate more than a senator and a president more than a head of senate? Why then do people continually disrespect our current president? Yes, I may not agree with everything he has accomplished during his term so far. Yes, I believe he has made some serious mistakes. the question arises, however, should I begin calling him Nobama or disrespecting him in another form? No! While I may not agree with his actions and while he may not have garnered much deeds-based respect from me, I will still attribute to him the respect and honor due to the office of the President of the United States of America. Likewise I will do what I can to uphold his presidency by not devaluing it and running it through the dirt. 

If we disrespect the office with one president, what is to prevent us from doing this again? What is to prevent us from robbing the office from any power whatsoever because the title "President" has become ignored due to our disrespect?
Think about this; and think twice before disrespecting those to whom respect is due.

*"Respect." Oxford English Dictonary. def. 10a. Web.20/1/11.

Blog Transfer!

So, over then next short while, I will be transferring blogs.

Let me clarify: I used to use Facebook as my blog site, posting notes there about some serious issues. Recently, I decided to move all of these posts (the blog ones only, not the random ones) to TCM.


Also, I have a whole Devotional Post series that I might post as a different page. Watch this space!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Peace on Earth

To much of modern thought, a vacuum could be considered the most peaceful concept in existence. Consider this, a vacuum is never at rest - it is constantly straining against its bounds trying to fill itself.

Similarly, Peace is a void inside the soul of Man, a vacuum, if you will. Essentially then, the quest for peace boils down to attempting to satiate that hunger which consumes the void.

Depending on one's philosophy or religion, filling the void is attempted through diverse means:

  • Eastern philosophies following Buddhist thinking seek peace, essentially, through emptiness. This, however, does not fill the void, but add to it.
  • Those Eastern philosophies following Hindu thought seek peace through moral neutrality, which lends itself to either emptiness, like Buddhism, or a works-based system, which will be explained just now.
  • Islamic philosophy seeks peace through works. The main problem with works-based attempts at peace is that, while contributing to the filling of the void, it doesn't fill quite completely, leaving a sense that there must be more, and a sense, ultimately, of futility.
  • Jewish philosophy, while similar in this matter to Islam's works-based mindset, seeks peace through observance of the law. Again, the void is only partially filled and can lead to a sense of futility and disillusion.
  • Western philosophies, particularly those falling under nihilist and egotist or hedonist thinking, promote a very selfish view which manifests itself respectively as either a resignation to futility (and therefore a lack of effort to address the void) or an attempt to fill the void with personal desires, which still leaves a sense that there is something more.
  • Philanthropic or altruistic Western philosophies seek peace through the betterment of others and, while this may possibly be the most satisfying of the philosophies, it does not quite fill the void. It instead falls, eventually, into the same pit that all works-based philosophies fall.
What, then, can fill this void? Every human concept seems, at best, to be able to only partially fill the void. What, then, can perfectly fill that gap? If one considers humans imperfect, as all philosophies (of which I am aware) do, then can anything originating from Man possibly come close?

Of course not.

Only that which is perfect can fill the void, can perfectly bring perfect peace. What else is perfect other than God? Christ Himself has been called the "Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6), God has been called the "God of Peace" (Rom 15:33, 16:20, 1 Cor 14:33, etc), and the Bible even speaks of "peace... in the Holy Spirit" (Rom 14:17).

God. Is. Peace.

So, during this Christmas season, one of "peace, goodwill to men" (Luk 2:14), remember the real source of peace, not any artifice or thought of Man, but the perfect being and sacrifice of God.


Bob Owira
6 August 1991 - 5 December 2011

Dude, I can't believe you're gone. I want to say this is a cruel joke, but, sadly, I know it's not. Rest in Peace, my friend.

To the Owira Family, my prayers are with you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Finals Week! (and general prayer requests)

Yes, the dreaded Finals Week is almost upon me, so life's getting full of studying (or, at least, it should be). Regardless, it's here and, along with needing to study, I also need much prayer.

  1. Organic chemistry (AKA: The GPA Breaker) - I currently have a "C" in the class and I really need to move it up to a "B"
  2. Genetics: I have a "B" right now, which is passable, but I'd prefer to have an "A", which is still in reach.
  3. Continued prayer for the Brazil Missions trip - I'm still short for Monday's deadline, so I need prayer. If you feel called to, you can even donate here. -> click me!
  4. I'm flying back home for the Christmas, so please pray for travel safety and a restful and enjoyable break.
Well, without much ado, here's the exam schedule:

9 Dec.
10:30am-12:30pm - Calculus 2
1:00pm-3:00pm - Communications 101

12 Dec.
8:00am-10:00am - Organic Chemistry

14 Dec.
8:00am-10:00am - Genetics

Sunday, November 27, 2011


So, I thought I might as well address, for once, the whole reason for the name of the blog and some of the thought processes behind it.

As some, clever individuals may have noted (or may have previously known from prior friendships) I am a member of that select group known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs). What exactly is a TCK, you ask? Well, the best definition I've found is:
"A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of [their] developmental years outside the parents' culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background."
Unfortunately, I don't know the original source of this quote, but it can be found on most websites for or about TCKs. Basically, a TCK is someone who grew up in multiple cultures, drawing on different aspects of each of them, combining them, and creating a new, separate culture.

TCKs come in many different flavours. The main three, however, are Military Kids (aka Military Brats), Government Official's/Diplomat's Kids and Missionary's Kids (MKs) <- that's me. There's also a new branch of TCKs emerging, the Offshore Businessman's Kids.

There are a number of traits common to TCKs. These can range from multilingualism and possessing multicultural awareness to depression and isolation, depending on the individual. Some of the major, lingering effects many TCKs feel are restlessness (particularly those who've moved a lot), dissociation from home or host culture, ability to form quick relationships, inability to form deeper relationships, greater or lesser maturity (depends on the individual), and a loose, if not lacking, sense of "home".

So why the blog title? Well, I figured I'd start this blog as a sort of relief mechanism for me, cataloging the differences between "home" and "home" It quickly diverted from that intention, but there's still the underlying sense of "what a strange world the US is". Which one would think weird seeing as it is my birth country, but, if anything, I'd call my other home "home". It is, after all, where my family, friends, and memories are.

Anyway, I was browsing through the troves of Google for TCK (actually, I lie - I was trawling for my blog's name and seeing what else would come up, but shhh) and I happened to come across numerous blogs by other TCKs and links to support websites for TCKs and studies about TCKs (mostly performed by other TCKs themselves). All of these websites had many elements in common - it's  hard to put a finger on it, but there seemed a sense of world-weariness, isolation, and experience and right now, as I type, I can see, appreciate and associate with each of those sensations, but there's so much more.

Yes, we've slogged halfway across the world multiple times, yes, we've repeatedly packed our lives into boxes and suitcases, and yes, we've made and broken multitudes of relationships, but, I repeat, there's so much more. How many people know what mzungu price is, much less know how to haggle? How many have tried this in Wal-Mart? How many people do a mental juggle before meeting someone, trying to decide which language to use? How many people can say they can truly appreciate the luxury of consistent electricity?

Hello, we have unique experiences and we'd love to share them, so don't be shy, ask us questions*. Who knows, you might make a new friend and help one of us adjust to our new/old/re-new/i-have-no-clue-where-i-am "home".

For additional info, check this Wiki Page. It's fairly accurate in describing TCKs

*Don't ever ask these questions:

  • "Can you speak [x] language for me?"
  • "Which country do you like better?"
  • "If you're from [x] country, why are you [y] skin colour?" <- okay, you can ask us this one, but don't expect an answer until we've finished laughing our guts out.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Pay it Forward

So, this Thanksgiving I was thinking. Here in America, we're really well off. The grocery stores are well stocked, we have grocery stores, there are no homeless people on the side of the street, the unemployed are [supposedly] cared for, and the list can easily continue.

Now, look elsewhere in the world: children die daily of malnutrition; store shelves lie empty; over 90% of the global population live on less than $1 a day; parents sleep uneasily, knowing that their children might be taken in the night, and this is only the top of the list.

So, this Thanksgiving, be thankful for the luxuries you possess in your 1st world universe, despite the economic collapse, and maybe, just maybe, give a thought to the less fortunate in the world and consider those less fortunate.

Some causes/charities I recommend and support
Freedom 4/24
Invisible Children
Samaritan's Purse

Friday, November 18, 2011

We are the Revolution

Revolution [1]:

  1. the overthrow and replacement of a government or political system by those governed
  2. a radical, pervasive change in society and the social structure; usually sudden and accompanied by violence
  3. a sudden, complete or marked change
  4. a procedure/course back to the starting point
  5. a single turn
This year seems to have been a year for revolutions. From the masses of riots in the Middle East earlier this year to the Occupy Wall Street movement, there has been a recent fever of revolution, of replacing or overturning an established system. "Revolution" has become a catchphrase in a world dissatisfied with its current situation. It's a common theme in today's pop culture, sparking artwork and banners urging people into motion [2-4].

* Just because I have a Ron Paul image, don't assume I support him. I am making no statement of political support.

Now, did it ever occur to you that Christianity is a revolution? In fact, it satisfies, as an exception, definition number 2, and completely satisfies nos. 3 & 4. Don't believe me? Christ's message and life demonstrated a life markedly different from the surrounding, and modern, culture. Christianity also proposed and enacted a radical overturn of social strata: masters and slaves were declared equal, all races were declared equal and men and women were declared equal. All of this, though, serves only to underlie the main reason for Christ's coming: to return humanity to a right standing, the original standing, with God. As an example, let me show you some excerpts of Christ's teachings:
21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will even rise up against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. [5]
Now, before you all scream  "Heresy!" or "Contradiction!" and attempt to condemn me to hell (which is a real place, consisting not of little fires and cartoonish devils prodding you with pitchforks, but of pain, agony, and anguish for eternity with no hope of relief or rescue), let me explain the context. In the overall passage from which this excerpt is taken, Christ is speaking to His disciples as He is sending them out into the province of Judea and warning them of persecution that they will receive if not then, then in in the future.

Later on, Christ, again, makes a radical statement
37 The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39 Anyone finding his life will lose it and anyone losing his life because of Me will will find it. [6]
This time Christ is speaking about the priorities one holds in life in a revolutionary manner. One would normally think to care for and love one's family first and attend to one's own life before following God. Not so. Christ declares that, in comparison to how much you love God and put Him first, you hate your parents, siblings, children. Not only that, but we are called to selflessly lay aside our own lives and priorities, submitting to God and enduring, in His name, the hardships that come our way.

Christianity is a revolutionary concept. Want proof? Francis Chan describes the early church as "powerful," "spreading like wildfire," and unstoppable by torture, riots or other persecutions [7]. Don't just take his word for it, though. Read stories of the martyrs of the church as compiled by John Foxe or Voice of the Martyrs. Read the entirety of the book of Acts, in the Bible, and see the eyewitness recordings, or recordings of eyewitness accounts, of the actions and persecutions of the early church.

Face it, Christianity is supposed to be revolutionary, so arm yourselves, put on the whole armor of God and go. Proclaim the good news of the saving sacrifice of Christ for our sin. Spread the news of the revolutionary, Biblical way of living. Live life as though tomorrow's the day Christ returns.

Did somebody say Revolution?

Yeah, Christ did.

[1] "Revolution."
[5] "Matt. 10:21-22." Holman Christian Standard Bible 
[6] "Matt. 10:37-39." Holman Christian Standard Bible 
[7] F. Chan, Forgotten God. David C. Cook Pub.: Colorado Springs. 2009. pp 155. Print.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Okay, first off, I agree, to a degree, with the Occupy Wall Street movement. I've felt the difficulty of obtaining a job here (see: American Nightmare) and I know and have met others who, despite being extremely well qualified, have been laid off and have been searching for a job for, in some cases, two years.

Not only this, but the inefficiency, inelasticity and relative incompretency of many major American companies are actually hurting the national economy and, to a lesser degree, the global economy and environment. One example of this is the oil companies and the manner in which they have their fingers in every major pot.

The OWS movement, however, has taken a slightly disturbing turn:
  • Protesters have been injured, shot at with rubber bullets and gassed. One such protester in Oakland actually sustained a concussion from a rubber bullet at point blank range in the head.
  • Anonymous is becoming involved. This is partially a good thing and partially a bad thing. Anonymous is a hacktivist organization with mild anarchic leanings that works in a Robin Hood-esque manner. (See their latest publication here)
  • The use of Guy Fawkes and V for Vendetta imagery in media like this, evoking the idea of rebellion, coups and, in the case of V, anarchy.
  • The mimicry of the ideology and actions of the riots that rocked the Middle East earlier this year.
What can we, as Christians, do?
  • We can pray. Pray for the safety of the protesters, that an acceptable action will be taken by Wall St. and the associated "1%" and that the protest will remain a peaceful one.
  • The movement is still continuing and expanding. Winter is approaching and the protesters will need supplies and food to stay warm. The OWS movement has, in fact, sent out a Winter Donation Request, which, I would encourage Christians to not only assist with, but to use as a witnessing opportunity.
  • Become involved. Not necessarily in the protesting, but perhaps in providing for and ministering to the protesters. both the "99%" and the "1%" are people and both are in need of God and salvation. Not only that, but the protesters are searching for hope and life. We can provide that. 
We can't just sit back and let motions like this pass us by. Let's get our hands dirty, represent Christ and serve.
After all, we are legion.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Prayer Blog - Prayer Group Edition (24 Oct 2011)

Hey, So I wanted to send out a quick shout and prayer request.
First, thanks to all of you who have been praying for the Brasil trip.

Second, the matter at hand. Tomorrow, in prayer groups, I'll be speaking to my prayer group about 1) the sin nature of man and 2) salvation. So, if all of you readers could please be praying for my prayer group (Isaac Ohman, Temitope Olufotebi, Rob Cochrane, Brandon Hall, Christian Watkins) that God would be at the forefront of what I speak to them and that He would seriously work in their hearts (some of them are not saved).

Please and thank you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Prayer Blog!

So, as many of you faithful readers are aware, I am one member of a mission team from my university headed to Northern Brasil. Before any of us go, though, there are a number of goals that need to be reached and the easiest way to address these goals is prayer. In light of this, I thought it might be good to give all of you a list of prayer requests and the team members' names so that you can pray for them specifically.

Team Leaders

Team Members

Missionary Liasons
Dick & Cledie
Rick & Kim
Greg & Ane

Prayer Requests

  • Visa applications
  • Health (of the team and missionaries)
  • Managing schoolwork effectively
  • Travel (when we finally leave) - safety, pilots, boat, etc
  • The inhabitants of the villages we'll visit
  • That the Gospel would be clearly spoken, presented and acted out by us.
  • God's blessings on the team, missionaries and locals
  • That God would go before us and prepare the hearts of the natives for the Gospel
  • That each team member would be able to raise their portion of the team funds*
  • That the team members would grow closer to each other and to God
  • Protection for the missionaries now and for all of us during the trip
  • Greg & Ane's unborn child
and, finally,
  • That God would be glorified and people be brought to Him.

*For information about donating, email me at

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Seeing and Remembering

So, I currently have a fair bit of free time due to Fall break (and having finished all of my work I'd planned to do) so I thought I'd rehash something from an earlier post and combine it with something new.

So, previously, in my post "Got Revolution?", I ended with a thought saying how we're in a war for lost souls, for captives and hostages and how we need to set them free. Looking back at this statement, two questions come to mind, "Who are these lost souls?" and "How do we set them free?"

As for the first question, Christ said, "Open your eyes and look to the fields, for they are ready for harvest" (Jn 4:35). These lost souls about which I write are all around us. See that person in the next cubicle over at work? That lady walking her two-year-old child through the park? That lonely old man sitting on the bench? You know what the crazy thing is? Most of these people, these lost souls, aren't who usually pop into our heads when we think of people needing salvation. We need to train our hearts to see them, to remember them.

So often we pass these invisible people by, We look past them and forget them a handful of seconds later. need I remind you of Christ's example in John 4? Christ purposefully spoke to a woman while sitting by the well, a woman whom many Jews would probably have ignored and forgotten moments afterwards.

This brings me to the second question. how do we answer it? Simple - we start by seeing and remembering. You see, Jesus intentionally chose not to ignore the woman, but to see her, to speak with her. Likewise, we need to see people differently. People have worth; they deserve to be seen, not just glimpsed. They deserve to be remembered, not forgotten.

"Okay, that's all well and good for a start, but what next?"

I'm glad you asked. You have now seen this "invisible" person. Pray for him/her. You'd be surprised, but it's hard to forget someone for whom you've seriously prayed. even better, if you have the chance, go talk to the person. Get his name, learn where she's from.

People don't just go up to random strangers and say "Hi, you don't know me. Wanna talk?"

No, no they don't, but even a simple "hello, how are you?" or offering to help with something will catch their attention. You see, people today so rarely go out of their way to engage with someone that when someone does, it's surprising. It prompts "Why?"

And that's the golden question.

See the Invisible,
Remember the Forgotten

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Up the River!

So, those of you who follow me on twitter or have friended me on Facebook know that I've been accepted onto a missions trip, from the 14th-26th of May, headed up into the Amazon. So, I figured, you all might want to know what I learned about the trip at our first meeting.

So, we'll fly in, here, to Manaus.

Then, we'll head to Itacoatiara.

Then, from Itacoatiara, upriver into a side river and a lake.

Here's a closer look at the lake where we'll be doing the bulk of our work.

In case any of you were wondering, on this trip we'll be partnering with doctors from Word of Life ministries and we'll be doing light medical and optical clinics in villages on the river. We'll be hitting a different village each day. We'll also be working with children during this whole time, playing games, doing Bible messages, the whole nine yards. If you were wondering about living quarters, we'll be sleeping and living on a riverboat.

Now comes the fun part. For me to head on this trip, I need to raise $3200. I have faith that God will provide for me to be able to go, but that money does have to come from somewhere. So, if any of you readers feel called to donate, please begin considering it. as soon as I know exactly how and to whom the money should be donated, I'll blog about that, too. If you don't feel called to donate, or are unable to, please pray for the trip, the team and the missionaries with whom we will be working.

God bless!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Missing Something?

So, today was my last day at work until next summer (for that specific workplace) and I was finishing up my shift when one of my co-workers comes up and says "Have fun back home."

Caught off-guard, I reply, saying "I'm not going home just yet; I'm heading up to Liberty."

At that, her whole demeanor changed and she replied, saying "Eww, really? Liberty?"

So, here we have a problem. Liberty is fairly well-known at my workplace as the '[extremely] conservative, Christian university up in Lynchburg'. Right up, we are doing something right: we are being forward with our message and becoming known as a school of Christians, but what I want to know is, what are we doing that is pushing people away from the message of God?

Now, I know, the Bible talks about Christ being a light in darkness which the darkness doesn't understand (John 1:5) and those walking in darkness lacking understanding, too (Psalm 82:5), but I think there is more to this aversion towards Liberty than simply not understanding. , There is, however , a quote (whose origin I have not been able to trace) which seems to shed some proverbial light on the situation: "We fear that which we do not understand, we hate what we understand even less, we condescend to what we understand least of all."

So, we have fear, hatred and condescension stemming from a lack of understanding, but I don't think those are the main reasons people look at Christians or, in this case, Liberty and are turned away. So, if it's not the message that puts people off, it must be the messenger, right? What, then, as Christians, are we doing wrong? Real or perceived, unaddressed character flaws. C. S. Lewis, in fact, speaks about this issue in The Screwtape Letters as a tool used by demons in dissuading their temptees away from the "Enemy" (God). They take a character flaw that a person has and plays on it to either greaten the flaw itself or enlarge others' perception of it. 

So, I'm sure you're wondering what these character flaws are, right? They could be anything. They could be large, like hypocrisy or greed, or small, like irritability or complaining. (Disclaimer: I am not perfect, nor am I casting judgment on others who show such flaws as I, too, fall victim to these same failings, amongst others.) 

Flaws and misunderstandings aside, another major turnoff that I can think of (and the last which I shall mention) is the manner in which we Christians spread the Gospel. Sometimes, frankly, we have the tact and grace of a 2 x 4. Bible-bashing, turn-or-burn speeches, tracts-for-tips, anti-[insert social evil] rallies or other similar witnessing tactics, whether hyperconfrontational, insulting, tactless or some combination thereof, simply make Christianity less than desirable. Our message is one of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness; each of which is given despite our unholiness, yet so often, only our unholiness and the punishment therefore is mentioned, with no real deliberation on the alternative.

So, why is it that a well-known, Christian university is viewed with disdain, dislike or even disgust? It could be one of the reasons listed above, one not listed or some combination thereof. Unfortunately, it's not just Liberty that's viewed in such a manner, but the whole of Christendom. How, then, can we change this perception? It's seemingly simple: you (yes you, reading this) need to return to both the letter and the spirit of the Gospel and devote yourselves, first, to it, to following it, to understanding it, to furthering it... It's not an easy task; it will take your whole life to fulfill and even then, there will be more yet unfulfilled. There will be pain and persecution, but the work is rewarding and the after-life retirement package is beyond comprehension.

So come, pick up the cross, fix your eyes back on Christ and spread the Gospel. 


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Death by Parchment

So, I'm sure many of you who regularly read my blog remember my previous post about the discrepancy between America's appearance of jobs and its reality. No, I'm not going to withdraw that one, but I am singing a slightly different tune. that song being "I now have a job, the world is great and I'm making money!"

Shallow, no?

Still, I am extremely thankful for that job (at which i have my first full shift today). In fact, now that I have a job, one of my goals for summer break is finished. Now to work on that driver's license (a paperwork mission which rivals that of Vogons, I swear).

Okay, pleasantries aside, it's time to burst a bubble (I mean, what's the point of a semi-sarcastic, external commentary blog if there's nothing to shred to pieces?). So, most of you have done some sort of paperwork in the past, right? Have you ever stopped and wondered if it was all necessary? Let's look at some examples: for my job, I had to read through and periodically sign and inch-high stack of papers containing tax information for two years, acknowledgement of company rules, two other tax-related forms and a release form signing over my firstborn son; another example, my learner's permit application, didn't require as much signage, but it did need two proofs of identity, one proof of legal presence in the USA, one proof of state residence and one proof of my social security number.

Is this all necessary? Well, sadly, in America it is. There are so many thick-minded people here who search earnestly for some small loophole that would allow them to be paid for not working, evade taxes, receive certain privileges which aren't ascribed to them, etc. Additionally, some people will sue over trivial matters, so, to prevent being sued, the companies have to print large contracts, of which 99% of the pages are fine print.

So, I must ask, America, are you so lazy and lacking in common sense that you, as a result, deal  death penalty-level amounts of paperwork?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

American Nightmare

America. The goal towards which many strive. Oh sure, everyone despises America for it's foreign policies and double share of numbskulls, but offer a chance to go live and work there and most internationals would jump for the opportunity.
America is AMERICA. It's only the most well-known nation. Aside from Hollywood, America has a reputation of freedom, inalienable rights and jobs - and not just the crummy street-sweeping ones either.

Well, It looks like I'm going to have to disappoint you. America, while it has the appearance of all the above characteristics, is crucially lacking in the job department. Unless you have an impressive resume (CV) and plenty of years left to work, you're pretty much sunk.
(Now, I'm going to be honest here; My resume's a little wimpy. Unfortunately, a wimpy resume makes it hard to get jobs, leaving your resume almost eternally wimpy. That small fact aside, coupled with the inability to work more than one summer in a continuous capability, renders me unhireable, it appears.) 
So, despite applying to more than 20 jobs in the last few days (not to mention over 30 in the past few weeks), I have only one lead and that one appears fragile at best. Needless to say, I'm practically bashing my brains out.

So yes, America the great employer still thrives in all its glory; the American Dream still shines its light into the world, a beacon of hope for individuals everywhere. All you need is an Italian silk suit and a Lexus. Meanwhile, the only American dream I see is an American Nightmare.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death. A reason to celebrate?

So, Osama/Usama bin Laden/Ladin is now dead. I want to say 2 things about this.

Firstly, I am glad for America having achieved, after almost 10 years, the initial goal of the Afghan front. I won't lie and say I wasn't excited, I was. But, at the same time, neither was I overly ecstatic.

Secondly, it's pretty evident that the death has caused quite a stir. If you simply look on Facebook,  you have the opportunity to see many people posting comments about it. Among these comments, though, there are three different perspectives: the many ecstatic, caps-locked OSAMA IS DEAD followed by exclamation points, interjections, patriotic comments or combinations thereof; the few simple staters-of-the-event, like myself; and the even smaller group criticizing the first group. Yes, you read correctly, there are those who criticize the patriotic, enthusiastic celebrations of the masses, but, if you think about their reasons, they might make some sense or even convict you as they did me.

These lunatics show some degree of scorn towards the mass celebrations of bin Laden's death. "Why?" you ask; for 7 reasons:

  1. Osama was not a Christian and, as such, will find himself subject to eternal damnation in hell.
  2. Osama was a human being with family and friends that will mourn his loss and miss him.
  3. It has been almost 10 years since the destruction of the WTC on 9/11, rendering the death no longer defense of the nation, but retribution.
  4. While Osama was key in organizing the 9/11 attacks, he was, at the point of his death, more a figurehead than an actual leader, making his death of no significant import for Al Qaeda.
  5. He was not made to account for his crimes leaving justice unfulfilled.
  6. Since when do we celebrate death?                       -AND-
  7. If we mourn the deaths of those we love and we are told to love our enemies, where does that leave us?
So, really America? Really? You who, for the most part, call yourselves a Christian nation rejoice in the death of another human? What message does this send to those of other religions? Yes, enjoy the satisfaction of the end of one who caused mass amounts of suffering and death, but at the same time, keep in mind the reality of death: final. Osama is no more, justice has not and will never be brought into account because of this and he will never have the chance to repent and be forgiven, condemning his soul to eternal suffering. So, I ask you, is the death of bin Laden truly an occasion for celebration? 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Passed over

inevitable developments.
saddening in direction.
aspirations sinking into disbelief.
projecting apathy showing internal disarray.
pillories placed against scarred injured dermis.
obstacles positioned precisely at secretly injurious demarcations.
in outer purpose portraying acceptance serenity imperial detachment.
nested inside piratically purloined aspiration starts instigating destruction.
tenuous notes incorporate ones present position and spirits initial disposition.
making tenacity notably important option performing positive acceptance sans irritated            dismay.
eventual motion towards new inevitable options preferred performance at slowly initializing     debriefing.
not excepted methods to negotiate interior orientations promoting personal and spiritual          identity destruction.
towering nigh exists more total never inferior omnipotence possessing pure and                      supernatural incomprehensible deity.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trans-Atlantic Dealings.

Birthdays are, as most would agree, a very special time to be celebrated. Especially one's 18th. But what does one do when a very close someone else has their 18th birthday while one is halfway around the world? Some people may use such media as facebook, twitter or skype, but how many sisters have a whole blog devoted to them from across the big blue?
That's right, this whole blog today is devoted to the celebration of my sister's 18th. Why? It is my proxy. I would give almost anything to be back in SA celebrating the anniversary of my best friend's birth, but, alas, I cannot. So, instead (and because I did not have enough time to write a poem) here is my tribute.
To an amazing artist
To a stellar soccer player (and a determined defender)
To loads of laughter
To a comical card player (I wanted to say cheating, but it is your birthday)
To a vexing veteran of the Word War I, II & III
To a humongous heart
To a beautiful best friend and a stunning sister.

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Got Revolution?

If you were given news that could, and probably would, shatter the world and yet set it into an era of new understandings and revelations, would you share it? What if, upon hearing your news, the masses rose up against you while only a select few believed you & your message? Would you spread this news, and how fervently would you do so?

Let's put this into perspective. There is such news circulating the globe, reaching far-off, previously unknown people; yet, for the most part, those that already know this world-changing news are apathetic. Interestingly, those that are busy hearing it for the first time are seeing a revolution of thought. Previously "savage" native tribes have become curiously non-violent and the few calm people groups have gone up in arms for their fervor for or against this news. Would it surprise you if I told you that that same news had a similar effect on the people first hearing it some 2000 years ago?

12 men, along with other fellow news-bearers, first announced this news 50 days after the sabbath day of the Jewish Passover celebration. Surprising though it may seem, these men were not, for the most part, highly educated men. Their leader was a simple fisherman. The result, however was striking. 3000 men joined the cause in what was only the beginning of a revolution of thought and belief.

Even more striking is the uproar against this new motion. Local leadership bashed their brains out trying to cease this idea and, once it had spread, the whole Roman empire tried to have it outlawed. Somehow, despite these persecutions, this news gained more followers and was spread even further, reaching as far as Ethiopia, India and Russia.

Would it surprise you to learn that one such persecutor, a Saul of Tarsus, displayed a full revolution - ceased his persecution and, in turn, spread the news - and even went so far to show this as to change his name? You might recognize the name of Paul? He was only one of the most prominent bearers of this news and helped establish and instruct many gathering centers for the news-bearers. We even have translated copies of some such letters today.

What is it about this news, however, that makes such a change? A fisherman becomes an influential orator, opposition rages in futility and even the most hardened of persecutors becomes the most radical missionaries of this news. On the surface it seemed nothing new: do's and do not's, evil and punishment, good and rewards, the nature of man and the inability of man to be righteous, the aversion of God to evil and His restitutionary actions...

wait, what? A message that taught the inability of man to be considered righteous, that man was and is inherently evil really caused all this change? Yes,  but there's more.  In this message is a God who created all yet that which He created chose, of the free will He gave, not to honor and worship God, but himself, creating  a rift which would separate God and his creation, man, indefinitely. Enter Jewish culture and tradition. A blood sacrifice of a pure, blemish-fee animal atoned for the rift of a man until he created such a rift again in his own life, which was inevitable, given the nature of man since the initial one. This was but a temporary solution which was later addressed by this God sending a final atonement sacrifice of His own son to permanently seal this rift for all men, for all time. Unfortunately, this bridge is only open to those that accept the key, the sacrifice which was made. This last detail, in addition to the whole of it, is the reason there was such an urgency to get this news out.

If you haven't guessed by now what this news is, then, I'm afraid, you probably would be wise not to submit that application to Scotland Yard. This news is something many people have heard and are sadly taking for granted. This news is the Gospel (lit. "good news"). This news has changed lives and peoples past and present, yet somehow the idea of permanent salvation is reaching a state of being blase. Is it the news itself, the presentation of the news or merely the people hearing the news? It's definitely not the first - this message is still changing lives and challenging cultures - so it must be the last, if not the last two.

Are churches today becoming apathetic to this revolutionary news? Maybe. Is this message being  misportrayed? Increasingly so. Could the latter be influencing the former? To a large degree, yes. The news is not some average, run-of-the-mill idea. It has, and still does, cause revolution and persecution. Somehow Western nations have lost this sense of urgency, this sense of revolution. have we become so comfortable that we feel this could be put off or has it become so overheard that it is droned out? Either way, the time is ripe in the Christian nations of the Western world to realize the revolutionary nature of their faith, to raise the banner and answer the call given to spread the word.  There is a war going on. a war for the souls of the lost, a war for captives and hostages and we

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Welcome to the Fourth World.

Everyone knows 1st world (developed countries), 2nd world (ex-communist countries) and 3rd world (developing countries), but very few people know about the 4th world (partly because as far as I know, I just coined the term). Welcome to my world . The fourth world, as I call it, is the homeland of many TCKs (third culture kids) everywhere. Aside from airports, it's not actually a physical place, but a place of mental confusion and unrest. Why? Well, ask yourself where you're from, what your culture is, what your language is, who you are. In the 4th world, these are very hard questions to answer. Where is home? Is it one of two (or more) cities, the place you sleep for the night or the place you were born? What's your culture? American? International? or is it somewhere in between? Life's hard for us TCKs in the 4th world...

but I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.