Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Adjusted Again

Hey Everyone,

I guess it's time for an update again. Sorry for those of you who haven't heard from me in a while, I hope to get writing soon enough.

So I've been back a couple weeks now and still no prospect of employment in sight. I'm doing my last round of job hunting tomorrow, so if you could pray that I'd get something that will challenge me, cause me to learn and also earn a bit of money, I' d appreciate it.

It's been good being back. I'm sort of fully here now. That doesn't mean I'm not missing people cause I am, but I'm slowly finding my feet here again. The challenge is to learn how to live here with all the changes that have happened in my life and my world view over the past 4 years. Probably the hardest part of it is realizing that I'm very insulated by where I live. The immigrant communities and traditionally "poorer" areas are on the complete other side of the city. That doesn't mean there isn't brokenness in my own area but that it just won't be as visible and is harder to find. Pray that I'll come into relationships where I can serve and be served, where I can be challenged to walk deeper in my faith. Most of all please pray that I'll be following Christ were he's leading me this summer.

About a week ago, I was fortunate enough to have a visit from two friends from Wheaton. David Michael, and Jon Knoche (strangely enough both are half European, David half Swedish and Jon half German....didn't know that till they came), anyway they're both over in Oxford studying for the summer under Dr. David Cook who teaches the rest of the year at Wheaton. They wanted a break from the Oxford life for a few days (can you blame them?) and so they came over to visit me in Dublin. We spent the time seeing the sights (many of which I'd never been to before). We stopped by the James Joyce Museum, a tower where he lived and which inspired the opening scene of his book Ulysses. Then we went off to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College (thanks Aprile for getting us in for free!). This is an ancient Celtic illustrated manuscript of the Bible. It's amazing because of the detail in the artwork, some of the detail is only visible at a micro-scopic level. Next we went to the Chester Beaty Library, which is a museum set up by this rich American, who got his money in pretty atrocious ways (i.e. diamond mining in Sierra Leone), and then spent it all attaining some amazing historical artifacts, including some of the earliest copies of new testament manuscripts.

We ended that day with a trip to the Guinness Factory. they only let you in the old part, and so don't see it actually getting made, but the tour ends with a free pint and incredible 360 degree views of the city from a pub in a giant tower. It was great having the two of them over. My parents really liked them too.... which is always a bonus.

Here's one of us at the Guinness Brewery at St. James's Gate (my first time here).

Monday, May 15, 2006

Well, another update.

Alright, there's been loads of things I've wanted to talk about recently on this thing, such as the immigration marches that went down in Chicago and across America recently supporting strong immigration reform that will be more fair to the people that America exploits to keep our economy running.....I also just got back from a weekend with Servants to Asia's Urban Poor. That's the group I went to Cambodia with. My mentor in Cambodia, Craig Greenfield, was there along with Helen (who is UK coordinator) meeting with anyone in the US who was interested in their vision and the principles they live/work by. It was a great weekend of remembering God's calling on our lives. I went with two of my good friends from here, Matt and Sam. Josh, Dan and Stina, came up for the saturday sessions. I think we were really challenged by the discussions and really appreciated the insights that Servants has with 30 years of ministry under its belt as an organization. Servants' five principles that we believe Jesus modeled are (in case you're wondering):

Incarnation (living with the poor),
Simplicity (setting aside affluence and comfort),
Community (working with people not just for them, receiving from them in turn as well), Servanthood (empowering not overpowering),
Wholism (preaching grace and promoting justice).

One of the great quotes I heard this weekend was from a guy who also was interested in Servants but currently works in urban poor ministry in Los Angeles while attending Fuller Theological Seminary.

"You say that you care about the poor, tell me their names."

What a challenging statement for us who say that we desire to follow Jesus. I fear that as Christians we often believe the secular lie that Money can solve most of life's problems, and we do sacrificially give of our economic resources, but that's not all Jesus called us to do. If we are to follow him, that means to count the poor as our friends (our ACTUAL friends...that's doesn't mean just in some metaphorical or mystical way). It means that we are to follow him to the 'bad' parts of town and to embrace people that we don't want to touch. This is hard for me, it's hard for all of us, but isn't it what Christ demands of us. If you're not so sure I encourage you to read through the gospel of Mark with an eye on who Jesus touches, embraces and spends time with. Or look through Luke with an eye out for the poor and the economic principles that Christ teaches. You may see things that aren't preached in our Western churches.

Okay, I could probably talk more and more about that, but talk is cheap, the truth is that my life is painfully far from that, so please encourage/challenge me and go with me in this life that Christ desires of us.

Tonight, at 7:00, my flight takes off back for Dublin. It's a bitter sweet feeling (more bitter than sweet at the moment). I've already had to say goodbye to some of the best friends I've ever had. People who have been with me through hard times, who truly have shown love to me, who know all the worst things about me yet stay with me, people who challenge me to follow Christ more. It's also sweet because I know I'm going where God wants me to be. He brought me to Wheaton, and I remember four years ago being very afraid, not knowing what God had in store for me. He has been more than faithful and right now he wants me back at home, even if only for a few months.

Please pray for me in these transitions, culture shock still hits me as I cross the Atlantic both ways, and pray that I would hear God's leading for this summer as I discern where to invest my life and which communities to be involved in.