It took two weeks and some intense times together, but by the second "cultural night" of NARPI (Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute), groups were no longer isolated by country or regional cultures. A Mongolian and Japanese team did a dance, Korean and Japanese women led a song, and Chinese and Mongolian participants were the emcees. Yet the richness of each person's identity was clearly present.
He poured the bowl full of water, then held it out, balanced on his palm, fingers angled down and away from the thick bronze base. Slowly, he moved the wooden mallet around the edge. Expecting the resonance of the singing bowl, I was shocked to see sparkles of water emerge from the rim. As he continued, water suddenly splashed up, bursting into the space above the bowl, and drenching his face and front. Laughing, he pointed out the obvious: with water in the bowl, the energy of resonance became visible.
I am not entirely sure how my recent piece in CM will be received with respect to church authority. The basic point of the column was draw attention to both the conflicting or contending lines of authority that we have drawn and also, most importantly, to acknowledge that we have drawn them. This was not a piece about rejecting authority much less rejecting God or the Bible. It was rather about taking responsibility for the authority we name and claim.
During our trip to Canada for the Christmas break, I was surprised how many times I heard the same story. It goes something like this: They are trying to get us not to say "Merry Christmas" and to say "Happy Holidays" instead because someone might get offended. If they are offended by Christmas, they can go back to their own country. After all, if we were in their country, we would have to follow their traditions.
Today during a field trip with the Intensive English Program at Eastern Mennonite University, the staff had some miscommunication. The resulting disorganization didn't cause any major problems, but was a bit frustrating and confusing for both students and staff. At our staff meeting when we got back, we discussed what went well and what we could have done differently to improve. We thought of past trips and how we could use ideas from there, how we could create times to meet and communicate before departure, and what unique situations had happened today that may or may not happen again.
The "new" science of love, she calls it. Well, I wouldn't say it's so new, except in perhaps in western scientific knowledge. There's nothing much new that she said. It's just that she had sources to cite and specific western scientific research, and some eastern knowledge, to refer to.
Nevertheless, it's exciting.
A couple who had been a part of our church community in the past and who had moved to Ohio to become part of an intentional community, returned for a visit and shared about their experiences.
Hearing the words "intentional community," my ears perked up. I'm both attracted to and challenged by the concept of living together, sharing possessions, and reaching the point of connection in which extreme learning cannot help but happen.
I can't tell you much about the experience. I signed a paper swearing me to secrecy, and allowing them to use anything I said.
Maybe it's one of the most top secret organizations in Harrisonburg?
It's called "Rosetta Stone."
If you haven't heard of the company, they create computer-based language learning programs that they sell to anyone willing to learn.
In the book Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life, Henri Nouwen, with co-authors Donald P. McNeill and Douglas A. Morrison, describe the current society's obsession with news. All day long, people can access news about events locally and across the world.
Last summer, we were camping at Crabtree Falls in North Carolina. It was a new experience for us. We'd been through the state before, but had never spent a night and had never tented in that area before.
One night, after a relaxing evening around the campfire, I was peacefully dreaming, curled up in my sleeping bag. Suddenly, a strange sound broke the stillness and woke me from sleep. In half-conscious confusion, I tried to identify the source of the sound. An animal? But I couldn't tell what kind.
After the summer of people coming and going, holidays, and uncertain schedules, we finally returned to worship. Although it felt strange coming back up the hill after so many weeks away, entering the space of worship and exciting greetings of old friends and a few new faces, I sensed familiarity, warmth, and rejoicing in community.The theme of worship through the summer had connected with gardening. From preparing the garden soil, to sowing seeds, to nurturing plants, to the harvest, we journeyed through the metaphor of our lives and spirit.