Wednesday, March 29, 2006

how rude!

today was a beautiful day... but two unkind acts ruined it for me.

so i was enjoying the gorgeous weather while walking to work. i normally like to have a cup of coffee while working, so i stopped by tim horton's to get one. i only had a $100 bill on me, so i was courteous enough to ask them before placing my order if they would have enough change for my bill. since the tim horton's was one of those drive-thru ones, they told me that they didn't have enough change, but maybe i can change my bill at the gas station. so i went over to the gas station, but the sign on the door said they don't accept bills over $50 and that the till doesn't contain more than $100. i know they do it to discourage robberies, but i was frustrated because it meant they wouldn't be able to change my $100 bill. so i walked back to the tim horton's and i told them i wasn't able to change my bill, but would they accept my "free donut" rim plus some change? i had 90 cents in change. such a simple request, i figured they would give it to me. but you know what? they wouldn't! i couldn't believe it. i wasn't trying to cheat them or anything... i was honest with them about my whole situation from the beginning... and even if it is store policy to punch in a 'win a donut' as nothing other than a donut... fine, punch it in as a donut, but they can't afford to give me a cup of medium coffee?? how the heck does the store track coffee?? my goodness! it's not much! but it would have made the biggest difference if they had given it to me. and the fact that they didn't just ruined my afternoon. this is one of those examples where rules don't always have to be so black and white. c'mon people, show some kindness to a poor girl who wants nothing more than a cup of coffee to complete her afternoon! if i were in their shoes, i would've given me a cup of coffee. of course i realize i'm biased. i know i wasn't trying to scam the store. maybe that's what they thought of me. maybe the fact that i was carrying a $100 bill was shady to begin with. STILL! all that trouble for a cup of coffee, it was obvious that i really wanted one, and i was willing to make a fair trade of it by using my 'win a donut' and paying for the remaining difference. and they couldn't show a little bit of compassion? it's not like their jobs were at stake. i'm sure they drink coffee for free all the time. they couldn't spare a cup for me?? i'm still trying to get over it.

so i'm walking the rest of the way to work in a lousy mood and trying to figure out why people can't be nicer. i was approaching the entrance to the building where i noticed two people about to go in... i'm guessing a high school kid and his dad. the boy looked at me before going in with his dad... i was about 20 feet behind them. by the time i walked in the door, they were already in the elevator. let me explain this elevator that i'm so familiar with since i've been working in this building for over two years. it takes FOREVER for the door to close. without pressing the 'close door' button, i know for a fact that i would've made it to the elevator and still had a few seconds to spare before the door closed. so... take a guess at what happened. of course they closed the door on me! i was obviously heading towards the elevator, and they didn't even have the decency to wait. i was beginning to get angry... i raced up the stairs because i knew i'd be able to beat the elevator (which i did), and since the dental office is right outside the elevator, i waited for the elevator door to open and then i glared at the father and son for a couple of seconds before i walked into the office. now... i realize what i did was very immature of me. i didn't have to stoop to their level... exchanging one act of rudeness for another isn't going to make this world a better place, and it certainly doesn't make me a better person. i succumbed... sorry folks. i guess the point i'm trying to make is that the smallest things can make or break a person's day. if we only knew the impact that random acts of kindness can actually have on people, we would want to be kind more often.


3/30 - i got so caught up in the rudeness i totally forgot to mention the kind gesture someone made the day before. so i drove to school, and in the parking lot i pulled up to one of the machine dispensers to get myself a ticket for that day. i guess someone paid for an all-day ticket and left early, so that person was nice enough to stick the ticket into the coin slot so whoever finds it won't have to pay for parking that day. wasn't that nice of them?? of course, before i realized what i was holding, i had already inserted my money into the machine. and i couldn't get it back! so i just paid for my ticket and inserted the other ticket back into the slot for the next person. but it didn't matter that i still paid for a ticket... just knowing that someone was nice enough to give away their ticket to a total stranger had made my day :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

i can't stand B's

hate seems too strong a word for something as measly as marks. but B's really do drive me nuts. 79% is the worst. it screams "almost, close, but not good enough!" don't get me wrong... B is a good grade. it usually means above average. sometimes i get a B and i'm ok with it. but only if the assignment was late and i got penalized for it. when i'm penalized for late assignments (and they almost always are), for some strange reason i can accept whatever mark i'm given. i can even take an F for not handing something in. it's the mark i would've gotten before the penalty that really matters to me. if i took the extra time to make an assignment better, handed it in late, and got a B for it (i.e. A before the penalty), i could live with that mark. but if i hand something in on time and i get a B for it, it drives me crazy! i know it's the same mark...... and actually, life would be a lot easier if i just handed in above average work on time instead of handing in great work that's always late... but then... i wouldn't be me. people wonder why i don't try harder to meet assignment deadlines... maybe it's cuz deep down, i can't live with the consequences of being "not good enough." there's no excuse to fall back on. at least when something's late, the tardiness becomes somewhat of a scapegoat that i can blame for giving me a "not good enough" mark. without a late penalty, the blame falls on me. *i* am "not good enough" to deserve an A. now, i acknowledge that my way of thinking is totally messed up. totally. at the root of all this is pride... so subtle, yet so dangerous because it's not obvious. conceit is the most obvious form of pride: "i'm the best, and both you and i know it!" what i have is a kind of pseudo-humility. i don't think i'm good enough... but it doesn't end there. let's follow my line of thought. i don't think i'm good enough... because... i have the potential to be so much better. because... i think i have what it takes to excel. these aren't bad desires in themselves, but they can be easily blown out of perspective. in my particular case, to have such thoughts indicates that deep down, i must believe i really am "all that." not cool. nothing to be proud of at all. my prof reminds me all the time, "grace, it doesn't have to be perfect, you know! just hand it in on time!" i know. alas, this is one of my inner struggles. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

that's grace-flaw #94237 for ya.

Friday, March 24, 2006

LOTR--the musical

i didn't realize the official opening night was only last night. i read a lot of the reviews that were published today and most critics don't seem to be too wowed by it. my family watched it a couple of weekends ago... personally, i enjoyed myself. i mean, the production had its ups and downs... i was visually very impressed, but the story adaptation didn't sit too well with me, and the character development was a bit lacking. but honestly, what else can we expect from a production that tries to fit the LOTR storyline into a measly 3+ hours when the movies can't even get it right in 10 hours? overall, it was better than i anticipated. and i did have my doubts. no avid LOTR fan wouldn't be skeptical of a musical adaptation! if you thought gollum was amazing in the movies, you should see gollum in theatre... absolutely brilliant. the stage, the lighting, the special effects, all the visual stuff was brilliant. the music wasn't a huge highlight of mine but i was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked with the story. the characters, though... aragorn and arwen, for example. their love story didn't convince me in the least bit. and there was no room for the faramir-eowyn love story at all. in fact, there was no faramir. what an injustice! one of my favourite characters in the series, and even in the movie they messed him up. he's as awesome as aragorn, people! he was nothing like his brother... i can't believe the movie tainted his image like that. but anyway... back to the production. so it was good for a first-time shot at it. i'd watch it again, but in a different theatre, with a different cast (that can portray the characters more convincingly?), a revised adaptation (that can portray the characters more convincingly? cuz i dunno whether the fault lies in the cast or the script), and a more spectacular frodo-gollum struggle (cuz the end-of-the-ring scene was so anticlimactic). also, i have to make sure i sleep well the night before so i'm not tempted to close my eyes like my dad did during parts of the production.

so i bought a t-shirt that night. and i'm still feeling a bit guilty cuz it cost so much. but it's LOTR! i love LOTR. and... it's a nice shirt :) all in all, if you seriously consider yourself a fan of LOTR, i recommend you watch the musical some time. i think it's worth it.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


if you had to give up your senses one by one, which one would you let go of first?

not to be morbid or anything... but i've thought about it.

a long time ago, i would've said that my eyesight would be the last thing i'd let go. between that and hearing, most people consider those senses to be the most important. smell and taste seem to take a back seat... i guess cuz they're less relevant communication-wise? and people seem to take touch for granted. well... if i had to choose a communication handicap, my vocal chords would be the first to go. i know it's not really a "sense," but anyway... the world would be better off if i said less, i think. though i'd miss laughing out loud. but at least i'd still be able to laugh. and i'd definitely be missing out on one form of worship. but at least i'd still be able to hear music and play music.

next... i would give up my eyesight. it seems crazy, but i was just thinking... of all the senses, the eyes are the most prone to sin. the tongue comes close, but i'm giving that up first already. what i'll miss most about losing my vision is being able to marvel at nature. also, i'll miss reading... and maybe watching movies. i'll miss the active life, all the sports. but as long as i can still listen to nature, breathe it in and feel it around me, as long as i can hear stories being told, as long as i can still go for a walk outdoors... life would still be good. imagine all the things i'd be free from... vanity and narcissism, for one. and a big one at that. all the time, effort and money going to clothes and cosmetics and accessories and all kinds of useless stuff to improve my physical appearance and meet the ridiculous standards set by the media... ugh!! there are so much more important things in life. all that time and effort and money could be going to more worthy causes. i hate the fact that i succumb to this superficial crap. good riddance, if you ask me. better yet, i'd no longer be able to judge a person with my eyes. i try to do that now, but goodness it's hard. wouldn't it be great if people never judged you based on your outward appearance? actually, the answer's not so black and white. most of us spend a lot more time and energy on our outward appearance than we care to admit, and if appearance no longer mattered, we'd be left with just our "insides"... you know... the part of ourselves where we keep all the ugly things that we don't want anyone to know about. sigh.

alright, moving on. what about smell and taste? would i really give up sight before smell and taste? i had to think long and hard about this one. and the answer is YES. first of all, smell and taste pretty much go together... lose one and you essentially lose the other, so i'm gonna clump them. but what i'm really after is my sense of taste. how can i possibly live life without enjoying my food??? it's one of the few necessities in life that i can actually enjoy. i don't eat to live, i live to eat. i'd be absolutely miserable if i could no longer find joy in eating and drinking. simple as that.

the second last to go would be touch. i wouldn't live very long without companionship that's affirmed through touch. i can't explain it any more than that. and then the last thing to go would be my hearing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

heavy stuff

[3/18 - decided to put the original post back up. i wasn't sure how well it would be received... it's a lot to swallow. but i'm grateful for the feedback even after i took it down. it's encouraging to know that others have the desire to see our church step out of its comfort zone... starting with simply being able to acknowledge our brokenness and our need for healing and restoration... and that we need to be continually transformed and renewed by God so that we're able to love each other more and more each day.]


my grandpa and i had a really good conversation in our kitchen the other day. he was having dinner and i dropped in to boil some water and make hot chocolate. i had no time for conversations with so many papers due, but i wanted to tell him about my retreat because it was held at a catholic retreat centre. (yes, my lolo is a catholic. and yes, i believe he has genuinely accepted Christ and is going to heaven.) a couple of weekends ago, he also went on a retreat with some of the men at his church, and he was sharing with me about it... some place in north york that used to be a hospital, but mike harris tried to make them do abortions and the sisters refused, so they shut down the hospital and turned it into a nursing home and used one of the adjacent buildings as a retreat centre. an order called Sisters of the Sacred Heart runs the place, if i remember correctly. anyway, i brought a pamphlet home from the retreat in case he was interested in knowing who ran the centre i stayed at (which was called Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre), so i showed it to him, and he was like, "ohh!! OMI, yes!!" and that took me by surprise. i guess it's like my grandpa travelling to australia and being invited to go to a church and then coming home and telling me the church was called hill-something. haha. anyway, the point is i'm not catholic so i don't know all too much about the different orders, but the Oblates of Mary Immaculate are apparently quite big. my mom's high school was run by OMI of the philippine province. and so we got to talking about orders, and how they work, stuff like that... i was genuinely interested in all he had to say. most of it was stuff i would never encounter or even bother to look up by virtue of my protestant upbringing. anyway, we somehow managed to steer the conversation to church history. all the stuff i learned just this year, he already knew! before seminary, i knew hardly anything about church history... and i still haven't taken a course on it, but i've heard enough summaries in other classes to be able to sketch a rough picture. oh, wait! now i remember how we got into church history. he mentioned how the centre he went to was ecumenical and i was surprised again. that he would know the term "ecumenical." i never even uttered that word in my life before this year. and so i responded, "my centre was, too!" obviously. i went with a tyndale class. they wouldn't have accepted a group like us, otherwise. so then he proceeded to share with me the passage that inspired them (the sisters? him and his church? the catholic church in general? i forget.) to be ecumenical. you know the one where the disciples go up to Jesus with the beef that other people who aren't a part of their "group" are casting out demons in His name? and Jesus responds with something like "whoever's not against us is for us." and i was surprised yet again. me, the outsider? of course! the possibility had never occurred to me. that's what a catholic who reads this passage would think. i'm sure that's what my grandpa had in mind. and i know he meant well... the emphasis of the passage is not that there's an in-group and an out-group, but whatever we do in the name of Christ is acceptable no matter who does the doing. that was his indirect way of saying that he accepts me. but STILL... i've encountered this passage before and it's always been the other way around. all in all, i'm glad to have experienced both sides as this has made me more aware of my own pre-conceived notions... one of them, anyway. i'm sure i have a lot more hidden inside me. but i wanna figure out what they all are and begin to break them down one by one.

i'm gonna digress. i just thought of something else. (i hope no one who goes to CECC gets hurt or offended by what i have to say.) i've always wondered why my maternal grandparents don't come to CECC. the rest of my household does. i mean, my mom gets them to come sometimes for easter or Christmas when there's potluck, but that's about it. and it's not simply cuz they're used to attending a catholic church, cuz they've attended evangelical churches in the past. my mom's a pretty 'convincing' person and usually she would try to get them to attend the (evangelical) church she goes to. and usually they'd go along. but not in this case. i think she did try, at the beginning... but then she stopped shortly after and allowed my grandpa to find a catholic home church and my grandma to stay home.

i think it's really sad. because i think i know why they didn't wanna come back, and i think i know why my mom stopped trying to make them. it's cuz they didn't feel accepted. not that the ushers didn't smile and greet them as they walked in, not that some people didn't try to say hi after service... i'm not talking about the motions of acceptance. i'm talking about the genuine sense of belonging and community that people are supposed to experience in the church, because that is what the church is supposed to be. i think they felt a big disconnect... during a couple of the potlucks, when i wasn't busy hanging out with the same people that i hang out with all the time, i'd glance in their direction and i would see their discomfort. but i didn't do anything about it. and no one really talked to them or associated with them other than my own family. everyone was like me, too busy being with the same people. i guess when new people come to our church, it's usually the one who brings them that introduces them to everyone. that's how people typically get to know one another in our church, when someone actively brings them into the group. but hardly anyone will go out of their way to go up to someone they don't know and take the time to have a meaningful conversation. heck, i'm so guilty of that myself. of course there are a few who go out of their way to do this, but they're soooo outnumbered by us passive ones. it's horrible, i think. anyway, i dunno if my mom ever tried to introduce them to people... maybe she didn't, and that's why they didn't feel welcome. or maybe she did. but even so... i think there's more to it. i think it's cuz they're not chinese.

there. i said it. but before go on any further, let me share how i got to thinking about this in the first place. i took a course called cross-cultural communication, and one of the topics we encountered was the intentionally multicultural church. i couldn't decide whether i was for it or against it. i looked at our church as an example. we are a chinese church, but not just any chinese... chinese from the philippines. pretty specific. if a chinese person from the philippines were to move to toronto, they ought to feel right at home at our church. they would find immediate community (ideally). in the past few years, we've gained a lot of mandarin members and added a mandarin service. and what we're doing is ok, right? i mean, if we were to try to cater to ALL kinds of nationalities, would we still be as strong-knit a community? but then i start to think... there is such a fine line between strong-knit and exclusive. and when it comes to church, i don't believe in exclusive. oh, but let's be realistic, now! look at all the churches around us. different denominations, different nationalities... those are the two big dividing factors. stuff like whether you're young or old, married or single, in school or working, prefer hymms or contemporary songs, whether you were born here or 'back home,' whether you prefer to worship in english or 'native tongue'... these 'lesser' diversities usually manage to be addressed and contained within a church. but korean and japanese?? chinese and filipino?? that's just asking for too much. well, maybe not... the tendency for 1.5 or 2nd generation, especially in canada, is to be more accepting of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. it's the canadian way. the older ones are the ones that have a harder time assimilating. they're much more comfortable in a community and environment that's as close as possible to the one they had 'back home.' dare we rob them of this? are people wrong in taking pride in their roots and doing everything possible to make sure that the culture is not lost in a new country?

i'm going all over the place. but i can't help it... i'm really confused. the intentionally multicultural church seems like a good idea, but i get the feeling that it'll only work with people of different ethnicities who have moved here at a young age or were born here to begin with, because they not only carry their ethnic culture but at least they have the canadian culture as a common denominator, having been raised here and made friends in a multicultural setting. imagine taking a bunch of new immigrants to form a church. what language would the worship be in? let's say english. ok, everyone's different, but we ALL know that we're united in Christ, and so on and so forth... how long do you think people will put up with each other before they begin to feel that they're not receiving anything? that their spiritual growth (the kind that can only happen in community) is being stunted? that they're not being touched by the message because they can hardly understand what the pastor is saying? that they're not getting any support or encouragement or accountability from other members because they can't communicate with others, they can't relate, they can't open up, no one knows where they're coming from, no one understands... what kind of community is this??

so yah, i guess especially for the older generation, churches need to be divided by nationality so that they can continue to grow. but it sure makes it awkward for the next generation. these kids who grow up in the church feel a lot of pressure to stay. but the next generation is always wanting to do things a little different cuz they have a different worldview. but they're not fully detached from the worldview of their parents, and so there's a constant tug-of-war going on. oh, here's another spin on things... if someone can't find community in one church, surely there are enough churches around that he or she will be able to find community there, right? so is it ok (or even better) for a church to focus more energy on retaining/defending a particular stance or cultural identity instead of trying to be so inclusive?

and so i'm torn. i look at the demographic of our church over the past 8 or 9 years that i've been there. we are (were?) primarily chinese from the philippines, but the mandarin congregation is steadily growing. we've had the odd chinese-other (whether cantonese or another dialect or caucasian or mixed or filipino or whatever else i never noticed), but most of them end up leaving. the ones who stay have a reason (i.e. because of *someone*--be it family, significant other, or good friend). when that reason no longer exists as a reason... yah. somehow i am not surprised that people choose to stay or leave a church based on the sense of community they feel. but rightly so, non? the growth a person experiences is closely connected to the community that person's in. so now i wonder... should our efforts go towards re-enforcing the unique community that we have at the expense of excluding others, or should we try to be more inclusive, but at the expense of our own identity and sense of belonging that we have built up over the years? there could be a third question... how to do both? maybe i'm just being pessimistic, but i don't think it's possible. i mean, let's take an obvious example. language. a lot of 'regulars' at CECC find community in speaking fukien or tagalog. doing so in the presence of those who do understand AND those who do not will bring about both kinds of effect. you bond with the one who understands but you rub it in the face of the one who doesn't. say the person speaks english instead... now it includes everyone, but if people speak english all the time, they lose the bond that particular language and culture brings, and a sense of disconnect begins to set in, especially if people are used to communicating in a non-english language when they're in their comfort zone in a community.

did i mention i was torn? ok... back to the beginning. i would love for my grandparents to worship in the same church as me, but the way things stand, maybe it's better that they don't. and here's the extra twist: chinese from the philippines, filipinos from the philippines. our church numbers are growing primarily because of immigrants from china and the philippines--mainland chinese and philippine chinese. why not filipinos?? is the divide so great between the two cultures that nothing even needed to be said for my grandparents to feel it? yes, i think so. i know that there are still parents and elders in our church who discourage marrying into a filipino family. but you know what, every culture has its faults... we're none of us righteous. i guess my worldview is particularly affected because of this, and the older i get, the more i see it and feel it and am hurt by it.

growing pains, is all. everyone goes through them in one form or another. each person has a different take on things, a different story to tell. this is a bit of mine. and it's not often i'm this transparent. but that's a whole other story.

i think i should take the owl's ways more to heart:

there was an old owl who lived in an oak
the more he heard, the less he spoke
the less he spoke, the more he heard
why can't we be more like that wise old bird?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


i was reading up to gather info for one of my papers and i got stuck on this story. it made me stop. and think. i was stirred. and left speechless.

read on, carefully and reflectively. the story speaks for itself.

(hope i'm not breaking any copyright laws by putting it on my blog. )



Walter A. Trobisch

On one of my trips I worshipped in an African church where nobody knew me. After the service I talked to two boys who had also attended.

"How many brother and sisters do you have?" I asked the first one.


"Are they all from the same stomach?"

"Yes, my father is a Christian."

"How about you?" I addressed the other boy.

He hesitated. In his mind he was adding up. I knew immediately that he came from a polygamous family.

"We are nine," he finally said.

"Is your father a Christian?"

"No," was the typical answer, "he is a polygamist."

"Are you baptised?"

"Yes, and my brothers and sister too," he added proudly.

"And their mothers?"

"They are all three baptised, but only the first wife takes communion."

"Take me to your father."

The boy led me to a compound with many individual houses. It breathed an atmosphere of cleanliness, order and wealth. Each wife had her own house and her own kitchen. The father, a middle-aged, good-looking man, tall, fat and impressive, received me without embarrassment and with apparent joy. I found Omodo, as we shall call him, a well-educated person, wide awake and intelligent, with a sharp wit and a rare sense of humor. From the outset he made no apologies for being a polygamist, he was proud of it. Let me try to put down here the essential content of our conversation that day which lasted for several hours.

"Welcome to the hut of a poor sinner!" The words were accompanied by good-hearted laughter.

"It looks like a rich sinner," I retorted.

"The saints come very seldom to this place," he said, "they don't want to be contaminated with sin."

"But they are not afraid to receive your wives and children. I just met them in church."

"I know. I give everyone a coin for the collection plate. I guess I finance half of the church's budget. They are glad to take my money, but they don't want me."

I sat in thoughtful silence. After a while he continued, "I feel sorry for the pastor. By refusing to accept all the polygamous men in town as church members he has made his flock poor and they shall always be dependent upon subsidies from America. He has created a church of women whom he tells every Sunday that polygamy is wrong."

"Wasn't your first wife heart-broken when you took a second one?"

Omodo looked at me almost with pity. "It was her happiest day," he said finally.

"Tell me how it happened."

"Well, one day after she had come home from the garden and had fetched wood and water, she was preparing the evening meal, while I sat in front of my house and watched her. Suddenly she turned to me and mocked me. She called me a 'poor man,' because I had only one wife. She pointed to our neighbor's wife who could care for her children while the other wife prepared the food."

"Poor man," Omodo repeated. "I can take much, but not that. I had to admit that she was right. She needed help. She had already picked out a second wife for me and they get along fine."

I glanced around the courtyard and saw a beautiful young woman, about 19 or 20, come out of one of the huts.

"It was a sacrifice for me," Omodo commented. "Her father demanded a very high bride price."

"Do you mean that the wife, who caused you to become a polygamist is the only one of your family who receives communion?"

"Yes, she told the missionary how hard it was for her to share her love for me with another woman. According to the church my wives are considered sinless because each of them has only one husband. I, the father, am the only sinner in our family. Since the Lord's supper is not given to sinners, I am excluded from it. Do you understand that, pastor?"

I was entirely confused.

"And you see," Omodo continued, "they are all praying for me that I might be saved from sin, but they don't agree from which sin I will be saved."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the pastor prays that I may not continue to commit the sin of polygamy. My wives pray that I may not commit the sin of divorce. I wonder whose prayers are heard first."

"So your wives are afraid that you become a Christian?"

"They are afraid that I become a church member. Let's put it that way. For me there is a difference. You see they can only have intimate relations with me as long as I do not belong to the church. In the moment I would become a church member their marriage relations with me would become sinful."

"Wouldn't you like to become a church member?"

"Pastor, don't lead me into temptation! How can I become a church member, if it means to disobey Christ? Christ forbade divorce, but not polygamy. The church forbids polygamy but demands divorce. How can I become a church member, if I want to be a Christian? For me there is only one way, to be a Christian without the church."

"Have you ever talked to your pastor about that?"

"He does not dare to talk to me, because he knows as well as I do that some of his elders have a second wife secretly. The only difference between them and me is that I am honest and they are hypocrites."

"Did a missionary ever talk to you?"

"Yes, once. I told him that with the high divorce rate in Europe, they have only a successive form of polygamy while we have a simultaneous polygamy. That did it. He never came back."

I was speechless. Omodo accompanied me back to the village. He evidently enjoyed to be seen with a pastor.

"But tell me, why did you take a third wife?" I asked him.

"I did not take her. I inherited her from my late brother, including her children. Actually my older brother would have been next in line. But he is an elder. He is not allowed to sin by giving security to a widow."

I looked in his eyes. "Do you want to become a Christian?"

"I am a Christian." Omodo said without smiling.

As I walked slowly down the path, the verse came to my mind: "You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel."

What does it mean to take responsibility as a congregation for Omodo? I am sorry that I was not able to see Omodo again, because I had met him while I was on a trip. I just report to you the essence of our conversation because it contains in a nutshell the main attitudes of polygamists toward the church. It is always healthy to see ourselves with the eyes of an outsider.

I asked myself: What would I have done if I were pastor in Omodo's town?

From Walter A. Trobisch, "Congregational Responsibility for the Christian Individual," in Readings in Missionary Anthropology II, ed. William A. Smalley (South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1978), pp. 233-235.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

every woman should...

i believe this is the first time this year that i've sat at my desk in my room to do schoolwork. i dunno how i managed to get away with it for half a semester. actually, no... i'm not getting away with it at all. ohhh, the consequences......

but anyway, here i am. i've reclaimed the laptop from my mom who i'm sure is secretly despising me right now. where else other than the privacy of our own bedrooms can we get any productive work done in this house?? the desktops are useless in our dining room-makeshift-study room. it's too cold, there's just too much going on, too many noises and smells, people constantly walking around, plus there's a baby in the house... way too much distraction for me.

above my desk, i have a poster i bought some time in university... i forget what the company's called. you know those people that come at the beginning of the school year and set up in one of the main halls? like sydney smith or the medsci building at st. george... anyway, i was drawn to this particular poem... maybe cuz of how well it reflected certain aspects of me. it's been on my wall but i can't remember the last time i stopped to read it.

and so i read it just now. i dunno why, but somehow, it never fails to make me smile :)

Every woman should...

know how to use a stick shift;
a plunger;
understand the difference between
don't tell a soul and
don't tell a soul I mean it;
know her mind; change it;
have protection handy;
but not too handy;
use special china;
and special underwear
for no special reason;
over commit; come through;
refuse to do it again; do it again;
be able to discuss first and ten;
have better things to do;
set boundaries; go camping;
grow something; dance crazy all alone;
stare at a phone;
get dressed in five minutes;
be a princess; get over it;
believe in the perfect man;
get over it; read; walk; flirt;
shock; listen; sing; thank God;
be single and like it; a lot;
raise a child; or not;
see a wrinkle and be reminded
of her youth; not her age.