Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my family, friends, and readers across the US and the world. May His peace and joy reign in your hearts today and the upcoming year. Below is a song that I've been listening to a lot lately. Enjoy!

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know You would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

"I Celebrate the Day" by Relient K

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

OK. Today's top three isn't going to be as fun as usual. It's more of me thinking out loud. Although, I do have to say that if I was writing a fun top three today the Rusty Pelican Cafe in Wallingford would definitely make the top of the list. If you live in or near Seattle, you should definitely check it out :)

So, it's the season for making life decisions. So here are my top three choices.

1. Attend a seminary affiliated with my denomination. If I attended the seminary in North Carolina, I would probably get my M.Div in Collegiate Ministry. If I went to the one in Louisiana, it would probably be a M.Div in Urban Ministry. Pros: 1. It's a cheap-ish education in something that I enjoy. 2. I would be closer to home. Con: I feel like I'm selling my soul in some respects.

2. Go to school at Truett (Baylor's seminary) in Texas. If I went down this road, I would try to get a dual M.Div/MSW degree. Pro: Truett is more aligned with what I believe at the present time. Cons: 1. One word: Texas. 2. I'd have to sell more than my soul to afford this place.

3. Stay in Seattle for another year. I have the option to keep my job for another year. It would be a very different experience, though, since the group I work for decided to restructure the way we do ministry. Pro: I'd be able to help keep a program running that I helped to build. Con: I don't feel very qualified.

Well, there they are. The top three roads I could take.


Friday, December 5, 2008

'Tis the Season

Happy 100th post! I started this blog last December to keep my family and friends in Tennessee up to date with my life and offer my thoughts on different issues. I was looking back on my first post and I saw a Donald Miller quote I think about a lot. In some ways, it has been the theme of this blog and of my life in general in Seattle.

"It's interesting how you sometimes have to leave home before you can ask difficult questions, how the questions never come up in the room you grew up in, in the town in which you were born. It's funny how you can't ask difficult questions in a familiar place, how you have to stand back a few feet and see things in a new way before you realize that nothing that is happening to you is normal."

Anyway, it's fitting that this post is about an event that reminds me that I'm part of something beautiful, but not entirely normal. Tonight, we decorated the house for Christmas. I had a great time and did than my share of smiling and laughing. I know it's not exactly like being there, but I took some pictures so you could get an idea of the holiday cheer that we spread around. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. I may even love it more than Christmas (although it's extremely close). It's usually time spent with family without the stress of wondering if they're going to like the gifts you get them.
This Thanksgiving I'm stuck in Washington while most of my family is in Tennessee. While I miss them, I'm also excited about what today holds for me. I get to celebrate this holiday with a couple of friends that feel like family. None of us have done a large part in helping make the Thanksgiving meal before so this should be very interesting. Hopefully, nothing will get burnt :)
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

It's just a dancin' kind of week...

1. Dorky Christian dancing. You wonder what the world has against Christians sometimes, and then you watch something like this. If you watch nothing else, fast forward to the guy's solo dance in the middle.

2. Evolution of Wedding Dance. If they'll let me do something like this at my wedding, I think my life will be complete :)

3. Nickelsville. It's a community of Seattle homeless people currently encamped a couple blocks from my house that I have great respect for. If you're not from Seattle, it helps to know that the mayor of Seattle is Greg Nickels (think Hoovervilles from the Great Depression). Oh, and to keep with the dancing theme, we had a little 'foot fun' at the Nickelsville Benefit Concert last weekend.


Monday, November 17, 2008

And Life Still Goes On

My word of the week is 'powerless'. You want that used in a sentence? How 'bout "I feel powerless to fix the problems I see in the world."
I've been silent in the blog world lately because I've been processing some complex emotions. Usually, my method of processing is ranting on here about what I think. The thing is that ranting on here does little good for me or, on my best day, the twenty people that read this.

Here's what's been making me feel powerless this week without my usual commentary:
1. Seeing street preachers with signs in the middle of downtown Seattle yelling at people that they're going to hell.
2. Realizing that college ministry may not be a top priority for the people that make the big decisions.
3. Reading this article about a recent vote by the Georgia Baptist Convention.
4. Fully understanding a profound statement one of my students made. "The world system should hate us, but the people should love us. Currently, we fit in with the systems, but the people hate us."
5. Seeing the people and country I love deal with death, economic downturn, sickness, and sin.

John Mayer and I have been on the same page for a while. We've both been waiting on the world to change. I'm tired of waiting though. I want to roll up my sleeves and make something happen. But what can I really do?

What can we do?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Top Three Thursday

These are the top three questions that are occupying my mind these days and some of the conclusions that I've come to.

1. How many more times can I read the words 'God is in control' in relation to Obama's victory from Christian articles on faith and politics without losing it completely? I have nothing against reminding people that God is really in control of everything (becuase He is), but it's like the Christian world is just now realizing it. Or they're scared out of their minds because they think an Obama administration is the signal that the end of days is here and they need something to cling to. I never once read an article where it said "George W. Bush is president, but that's okay because God is in control." If McCain had been elected, would we be reading the same kinds of articles? If the answer is no, what does that say about how deeply Christians have gotten into bed with Republican politics?

2. What does it mean to truly be pro-life? I think that a lot of Christians, and people in general, are pro-birth but not really pro-life. It's starting to really bother me. Being pro-life is not just about saving the life of an unborn child. It's about saving the life of everyone. It's about lowering the number of deaths per 1,000 for children under 5 by making sure they have adequate nutrition. It's about lifting people out of poverty and providing training to those that need it so they can do more than just get by until they die. It's about extending grace and second chances at life, even to those that do heinous acts because Jesus would not give up on them and they are not beyond redemption. Being pro-life is fighting against so-called 'death with dignity acts' that really say that we no longer value the lives of the sick and elderly. Ultimately, it's about adopting a 'womb to tomb' philosophy of life.

3. Does Jesus really have a PR problem and do we really need to do anything about it? That may not be the best way to ask this question and get at the answers I want, but that's the stage it's in right now.

Thank you for paying attention to today's soapbox version of Top Three Thursday. Feel free to comment away.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

My top three list will be on Thursday this week. That's because I've got the same thing on my mind as, well, every other person with access to media in the world...United States elections. For those of you that read my blog on a regular basis, you already know how I feel about politics. Even tonight, I'm going to be baking cookies for a friend's birthday instead of watching the results come in. I'm content to get the results in the morning. Still, I know that a US administration change is a big deal for the entire world and feel some degree of apprehension (if that's the right word) about what's going to happen when our decisions are final. That's why I appreciate this reminder from a blog my mom sent me today.

"Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their plans come to an end. But happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the one who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He is the one who keeps every promise forever, who gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners...He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked." (Psalm 146)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Week in My Life

It seems that my internet presence has been noticeably lacking this week since a couple of you checked with me to make sure I was still alive :) I was actually sick for most of the week, and while I was semi-operational, I didn't feel like sharing much of anything with the world. Now that I'm better, I'm ready to share the fun parts of the last week with you.

Sunday was a gorgeous day in Seattle so I went to the Washington Park Arboretum to look at the colorful leaves and get some exercise.

I apparently was not the only person to get that idea. I think that about half of Seattle was there with their kids/dogs. The arboretum is big enough, though, that I was able to get some beautiful shots away from the crowd too. I just had to do a little off-roading to get there.

One of my favorite spots at the arboretum is the pond. The ducks are so fun to watch.

On Thursday night after family supper, we had a pumpkin carving contest at the house. Since I have the pumpkin carving skills of a two year old, I teamed up with Natalia. She carved and I provided artistic direction :)

These are some of the jack-o-lanterns that we came up with. The one that looks like it's throwing up won the contest. Natalia's/Mine is the geeky pumpkin with glasses on. (It even has a pocket protector, but you can't see it in this picture).

While others were carving away, one of my students and I sorted through pumpkin guts to get the seeds out. Later that night we roasted them. They were amazing.

Other fun (but not photgraphed) events of the week: 1. I got my pearly whites cleaned on Tuesday. I know that I've said this before, but I really do think that small hands should be a job requirement for dentists.
2. We did our annual Trick and Treat social experiment on campus yesterday. This year we threw in a twist. "You have to give your second candy bar to a person supporting a different candidate for President from the one you're supporting." Students loved the idea and played along well. We met about five people voting for McCain, a couple of Ron Paul hold-ons, and more than a few Obama supporters.
3. Tonight I made chicken jambalaya for a few of the people at the house. It turned out great and we had some fun talking about our crazy Halloween experiences.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Now There's a Good Question

"There is a pent up aggression that has exploded in this country and is manifest in an ongoing collision of faith and culture. Some have joined the fray out of deep-seated religious beliefs, some out of political convictions; for some it's good business, and some...have good old-fashioned agendas such as the quest for power and money. All of that is as American as a McDonald's hot apple pie and baseball's free agency, but there is some question in my mind where Jesus fits into this whole thing. That seems like a good place to start: Are we trying to fit Jesus into what we're doing as people, as a country? Or are we trying to fit into what Jesus is doing?"

From "Lord, save us from your followers" by Dan Merchant

Monday, October 20, 2008

Images from the South

Because it has been cold and damp today in Seattle, I've been thinking back on warmer days (a.k.a. my trip to the South).

This was my first trip to Chick-fil-a in over a year. It was soooo good :)

My cousin turned 3 years old while I was in Tennessee.

I got to go to another cousin's marching band competition. Being in the hot, humid weather made me remember why marching wasn't always my favorite thing to do.

My cousins and I at my aunt's wedding. I proudly claim most of them.

My aunt and her new husband.

The guest house I stayed at in North Carolina.

Part of the chapel at the seminary I visited. The entire campus was beautiful.

Friday, October 17, 2008

And Two Weeks Later...

Has it really been two weeks since my last blog post? Wow! Well, here's what's been going on in my life...

A couple Friday nights ago, I went to First Friday Fun Night at a friend's apartment complex. I got to meet some cool people and eat really great food. Since that night, I've been thinking about ways that I can integrate this kind of stuff in my current and future ministry. Also, I think that if more Christians opened up their homes once a month to neighbors for no-strings-attached food and fun, we may start to gain some favor in our communities. Just a thought.

Last Thursday, I flew back to the South for a crazy week of events. Friday, I went to my cousin's 3rd birthday party. I got to see my mom's side of the family at the party, which made me really happy. I was kinda sad though because I realized that my cousin had no idea who I was because I'm never around.

Saturday, I went to another cousin's marching band competition in Mississippi. When my mom and I looked at the program, we realized that my old marching band had competed earlier in the day. I looked around and found my old band director and got to talk to him for a few minutes before my cousin's band took the field. He didn't recognize me at first, but once it hit him who I was we had a good conversation.

On Sunday, I went to my aunt's wedding. It was a small, outdoor wedding that was soooo beautiful. My aunt made a gorgeous bride. I have to admit that my eyes misted up during the ceremony. I just keep praying that I will fall in love with someone one day that I can promise to be with for the rest of my life.

Monday through Wednesday was a big blur of events at a seminary that I'm looking at in North Carolina. I didn't expect to actually like the school, but now I realize that I have a hard decision to make. Do I go to a good school in North Carolina that is closer to my family and cheaper, or do I go to a good school in California that is 3,000 miles from home and expensive? There's more to it than proximity to home and the cost of the school (God will provide), but those are the big things in my mind right now. I want my cousin to know who I am, I want to spend more time with the people I love, and I ultimately want to do what God has for me. Do those things have to be mutually exclusive?

Tonight, I'm going to a ladies' night at my church. Bring on the fondue fun!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Top Three Thursday

...even though I think it's technically Friday now.

1. Molly Moon's. This high-end ice cream shop makes the most splendiferous milkshakes out of unusual flavors. Their ice cream is also mostly made out of local, organic products which just makes me feel better about eating it :)

2. Sunny days. The last few days have been relatively warm and sunny. I'm pretty sure it's been Seattle's last hoorah for the year though. Hopefully, I've stored up enough vitamin D to last me the next nine months.

3. PlayPumps International. My supervisor told me about this company while I was doing research for a future social experiment on clean water. PlayPumps installs water pumps in Africa. The great thing about these pumps is that they are powered by kids playing on a merry-go-round. How awesome is that! Now if only we could come up with more inexpensive, fun solutions to the world's problems...


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Newest Evangalism Tool

If you ask me how I prefer to do evangelism, you will hear a lot about building relationships and loving people like Jesus would. If you ask me what evangelism method I, well, let's say 'less than love', you'll see me give a little laugh and immediately answer "the evangacube". Don't get me wrong. The evangacube is good for some contexts, but in mine it would probably get me laughed out of the room.
Today at the religious community information fair on campus, I came across what I believe to be the new hot evangelism tool...

Our Mormon neighbors used this method to explain their beliefs to anyone with about five minutes to spare. While I didn't agree with everything they said (obviously), it made me strangely happy that other faiths have their own cheesy ways of sharing what they believe. Anyway, I have no doubt that the evangelical version of Evangacups will be hitting the Lifeway shelves any day now :)

Here are a few other pictures from my day. Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Here We Go Again

It's that time again. The time when students come back and classes start. This is the time of the year that I love. I'm looking at my calendar for this week and see lots to do. There are campus events that my organization is going to have a table at. There are teach-ins, birthdays, and times that I just get to hang out with some really cool people. After a summer of not doing much, it's time for me to kick into gear and start building relationships with a new set of students. If you could see my geeked out smile right now, you could tell that I'm thinking "Man, I love this job!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Anti-Top Three Thursday

Not much has made me stand up and pay attention lately, but there sure have been some things that make me want to throw shoes at them. Here are a few...

1. "Burn After Reading". I'm a fan of the Coen brothers, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt. Yet this movie made me feel like I had wasted my time, money, and brain cells. At the end of the movie, I had to laugh because the entire thing had been so confusing and pointless.

2. Google Chrome. Can I say that on a Google-owned blog? Understanding that I'm not a tech geek...After hearing how it was going to be a completely different kind of browser that was going to do everything a user would want, I was very disappointed. I was especially disappointed that it kept freezing while I was trying to watch a show on Honestly, I'm more impressed by Flock than Chrome. Maybe when the bugs get worked out and they introduce a few new features I'll give it a try again.

3. Cable News Networks. This is nothing new, but it's been much more pronounced lately. With the election right around the corner (but not soon enough), every news network in America is giving their time to (over)analyzing the candidates and politics. When I turn on the TV, I want to see someone in India talking about the recent bombings or how (insert your favorite oppressed people group here) is struggling to gain equal rights. Cable News Networks, give me all my news and not your overplayed opinions on a small segment on it.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For Christian Communities

Be careful not to create a Christian ghetto. Our ultimate purpose is to invite others into our lives of faith, not to keep people out. We live in Christian community, first, for encouragement within the body of Christ, and second, so that others can see a different way of life and want the same.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Top Three Thursday

1. "God of gods" video. My church recently started a new series that is going verse-by-verse through the book of Daniel. As part of the introduction to the series, a few of the people from the church made a video. All I can say is IT'S AMAZING. Check it out here. It's a few minutes long but it's worth sticking with it to the end.

2. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. I feel so girly putting that on here, but it's the truth. A friend and I used free movie tickets that we got at American Eagle to see it. I thought it was going to be lame, but it's as good as the first one if not better in some ways. Parents be warned: may not be suitable for all children. It deals with some adult issues that I wouldn't want my 7-year-old cousin thinking about.

3. California dreamin'. Unless God hits me over the head and tells me 'no' in the next few months, that's where I'll be moving next August. I've found a grad program that I'm psyched about and can somewhat (as much as you can in California) afford without going completely broke. If everybody wants to start chipping in on Lindsay's Christmas Travel Fund now, though, I may have enough money to come home sometime during grad school :)


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jesus is...

Forgive me if this doesn't make any sense. It's kind of late :)

After I came back from India, I wrote about satsang. If you don't remember what satsang is or just want to review the post, click here. Anyway, I've been thinking about the beautiful contextualization of communion with coconut products instead of bread and wine. That's led to the thought: what would communion look like if Jesus had been part of the campus scene today instead of a Jew 2,000 years ago? Would he say that he is the pizza of life? Would he compare his blood to the beer that flows so freely around here? What analogy would best convey who Jesus is and what he has done to the college realm? Maybe it would be bread and wine. That's not too far from our own culture in America.
Does Jesus even need to be compared to food (even though I have to admit it's tastier if he is)? Can he be described as the 'Cell Phone of Life'? Our only true and constant connection to God, get it, ha ha...maybe not...
What do you think? Would Jesus compare himself to different elements if he were living in modern day Seattle?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

1. Hey Marseilles. I first heard them at UW's Lawnapalooza and have been hooked ever since. They're a band from the Seattle area that just put out their first CD, "To Travels And Trunks." Thanks to a wonderful friend that went to the release party I got my very own copy of it. You can hear a sampling of Hey Marseilles' music here.

2. Tennessee Soybean Festival. Once again, I'm going to miss what is arguably the most exciting week of the year in my hometown. There's great food, music, and a parade. If I were there this week, it would most definitely be rocking my socks off.

3. The Impossible Quiz. Okay. I have to admit that I put this one on here because I ran out of stuff for this week. The Impossible Quiz is a really good way to waste time though. Thank you to my newest co-worker for showing me yet another way to avoid being productive.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Unswerving Hope

I just finished watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Watching him speak brought so many thoughts to my mind that I feel like I need to share.
Recently, I finished a book called 'Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals' by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. I started reading the book for the pretty pictures. Seriously. I ended up finishing the book because of its content and challenge. It framed American politics (and politics in general) in a way that I had never heard before. All my life I have heard that it's a good Christian's responsibility to vote in elections, to further the cause of Christ through national politics. This book argues the exact opposite. Shane and Chris make the argument that as Christians we should not get involved in a government that is only a cheap imitation for Jesus. I've been struggling with the ideas presented to me for a couple weeks now. I still don't know where I stand on some of the issues that they brought up. Should Christians vote in elections? Who should Christians vote for if they do decide to vote? My answer to both is: I really don't know. That's between you and God.
With that said, I have to add...Please don't place your hope in any presidential candidate or particular party to bring vast change to America. After all the speeches are done and the ticker tape has been cleaned up, both John McCain and Barack Obama are humans. They can only get so much done and keep only a percentage of their promises.
Obama made a reference at the end of his acceptance speech to Hebrews 10:23 which says "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess..." which is very fitting because one of his campaign buzz words is 'hope'. The part that he left out though was "...for he who promised is faithful." In context, this verse is very fitting for how I feel about Elections 2008. In Hebrews 10, one of my favorite parts of the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews makes the argument that Jesus is our High Priest and that we now have direct access to God. The hope we profess is in God, and in God alone, because He is faithful. The writer of Hebrews then goes on to ask followers of Christ to "spur one another on to love and good deeds" in light of our magnifict hope. While I want better things for this world, my hope for a better future is in Christ alone. The only way that Americans (and the world we are part of) can prosper is if the entire Church steps up and starts taking the commands of Christ seriously. Changing our lives for the better is not something that government can do, but it's most definitely something that Jesus promises when we look to Him.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Rant

What follows is a stream of consciousness. Basically, that's where I type whatever I'm thinking without editing. The word choices are not always the best and the feelings are raw. It rambles and makes little sense at times. Read on at your own risk (but the risk may be worth it)

How to put this into words...let's see...I guess I'll start at the beginning. The very best place to start. I went to a missionary connection conference put on by my denomination Thursday through today. I usually don't look forward to going to these things because there's lots of people that expect me to have great stories of how my ministry has saved countless souls and changed the world for the better. While I would love to go and tell those stories, I really don't have them. I have great stories of how I've made something think about a situation differently, but I haven't seen a single person get saved this year. I think I would freak out, in a good way, if that ever actually happened.
Anyway, back to the conference. I went on Thursday night to the hotel that the conference was being held at. Thanks to my organization and the people that support it I get put up in fairly nice hotel rooms for free when one of these things happens. Thursday was a rough night that involved not talking to many people and running over a chair on the highway. Funny story. I'll tell it some other time. Friday and Saturday were much better.
Okay. Get to the point Lindsay...the much as I dread going to these things ahead of time, I always walk away wishing that I had just a little more time with the people around me. Being in Seattle all the time, in an environment that is very hard to make an impact in, I forget that God is doing great things in America (and around the world, but that's not really my area of focus at this point.) Being around other missionaries from the Northwest has given me a vision for God's work. I made really good friends with a couple from Wyoming that is working with the people from the oil and natural gas industry. They are the only Christian presence in the middle of nowhere. Lives are being changed. I met people from Alaska that work above the Arctic Circle so that the people in the farthest reaches of North America can hear about Jesus. There are the truck stop evangelists, apartment ministry people, and church planters. So many stories and so little time. I go into these things wondering what I'm doing there and I leave understanding that I'm not the center of the world and God is at work in major ways.
As much as a I give my denomination grief for certain things, I don't think I've seen more committed people than those that I was around this weekend. For all the politics on the national level and bad press, we actually do a lot of things right. In the Northwest, the younger generation (and a few of the older) are into relationship evangelism and loving someone to Jesus as part of a slow process. While I personally ascribe to this philosophy most of the time, I cannot look down my emerging church nose at those that do things differently. God is changing lives through methods that I would probably flat out reject using in Seattle. It takes all kinds.
So, I don't know exactly where I was going with this. It wasn't a glorification of my denomination. There's lots of great ones out there. I think it was more me spewing on about how there is so much great work going on out there and so few people. Every missionary in that room today has some level of frustration because they see their mission field and then they look at their resources and manpower. It's low. Very low. Even with record numbers of missionaries in our organization, the numbers are low. Send more workers, send money, pray more. Get down on your knees, pace in your room, walk a labyrinth...whatever you have to do to really plead with God for America and the area that you live in.
End of rant. Have a great night.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And I'm Back

You know it's time to write a new blog post when your mother asks you if you're going to write anything soon :) Well, here's the update on my life for those of you that rely on this blog to find out what's going on:

1. Stella had minor surgery. For those that don't know, Stella is my Hyundai Accent and I rarely, if ever, refer to her just as "my car." For the last month or so, she has had trouble on the highway and changing gears smoothly. Thanks to the great mechanics at Clary's, my transmission is as good as new and it didn't cost me my life savings.

2. I've decided to intern (for free) with Global Support with a Mission during the summer at least. This is a fairly new group that mixes my loves of Jesus and international travel. I'll be organizing stuff and making contacts for them. On a side note, if anybody out there has mad website-making skills, we need some help.

3. Catherine came out for a week. We defied death on Mt. St. Helens, traveled around in O Canada!, and relaxed in Seattle. It was great to see my former roomie again before she dives back into school again. Here's a picture of us at the beach in Vancouver, BC.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

After a brief hiatus, Top Three Tuesday is back and better than ever :)

1. "Get Smart" - I watched the reruns all the time as a kid and I finally went to see the movie on Friday with a friend. It was awesome. I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes for it at first, but it exceeded expectations. There were only a couple spots that made me tilt my head and say "Huh?". The rest was extremely funny. They upgraded Maxwell Smart for the new millennium, but they were good changes. Lindsay's rating: A-

2. "Flyboys: A True Story of Courage" - I'm not talking about the B-movie that came out a couple years ago. I'm talking about the book by James Bradley. I'm not done with the book yet, but I haven't been able to put it down since I checked it out of the library yesterday. Not only does Bradley tell the stories of the fighter pilots and bombers of WWII (especially those that crashed near Iwo Jima), but he also analyzes the history of the U.S. and Japan so that readers can have a true appreciation for why people/countries acted the way they did. It's not a book for the faint of heart though (he describes death in great detail at times). Just a warning if you decide to pick it up.

3. The BBQ place on Lake City Way. On the way to a concert Saturday, I noticed a new restaurant on Lake City Way. I still don't know what the name of the place is, but the food is great. It's as close to Southern food as I've found in Seattle. I got the catfish, fried okra, and baked beans. They were out of cornbread :( While I was there, I met a couple that told me about two other places in the city that serve Southern food. I smell a Rainramblings food contest in the works :)

Monday, July 28, 2008


The first Sunday that we were in India we went to the gathering that Sunil leads called 'satsang'. At this gathering, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and curious observers come to worship and listen to a message. In America, we would call it a seeker service, where the truth of the Bible is taught but not everyone in the room is a Christian.

The most memorable part of satsang was communion time. Instead of using bread and wine (or grape juice), they use a coconut. This may offend some people, but it makes perfect sense in context. The breaking of bread and the presence of wine mean nothing to someone from a Hindu background. The coconut, on the other hand, is used in Hindu ceremonies as a sin offering to the gods. When Sunil quotes the words "This is my body broken for you", he takes a hammer and smashes a coconut into pieces. The flesh of the coconut is used instead of bread and the coconut juice is taken instead of wine. Everyone in that room knows exactly what it means when a broken coconut is used as a metaphor for Jesus. It much more powerful than bread and wine could ever be for them.

It was also very powerful for me. In the American church, we've tamed the death of Jesus. We use small wafers and little plastic cups of whichever drink we prefer to symbolize Jesus. We've taken out the visual breaking of the bread in front of the congregation. For a society where the majority of members learn (and are affected) by seeing and doing, this might be a mistake. Not might, IS a mistake. We need to be reminded Jesus' death was not a pretty one. No death is pretty, but Jesus' was down right awful. Seeing a coconut get broken shocked that reality back into me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Exit Here

I think this is the best exit sign EVER. It's from the Taiwan airport, although all the exit signs in Taiwan have a little man running out the door. In America, we merely mark the exits with lit signs. In Taiwan, they are apparently serious about leaving their buildings and show you that you should be also.
Taiwan is also the home of the crosswalk man that starts running when the light is about to change. Why can't American sign creators have this much fun with our stuff?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Three Snapshots

I finally started going through my pictures this afternoon. I'm only through my first memory card. I've posted three pictures that stuck out to me as a good way of introducing my perspective of India. More pictures will be coming each day so keep checking back.

So, this isn't the best picture I've ever taken but it's the only one that I could find with a beggar in it (the man in the left corner, not the beautiful girl in the middle). Beggars were everywhere (at stop lights, outside shops, random places walking down the street). In this picture, we were at the station to take pictures of people going about their daily lives in the city. The man in the picture saw us outside of the station and followed us around for at least ten minutes if not longer. It was hard to listen to people constantly begging for money, but unless you have a small fortune, it's not wise to give out money because you'll get mobbed.

This is a common street scene in a shopping district of New Delhi (or pretty much any city in India). When I was taking this picture, I wasn't surrounded by many people, but usually I had to give up my own idea of what personal space is.

India wasn't all beggars and crowded streets though. This picture was taken at a seminar that we went to in Indore. The Indians there were amazing people that stole my heart. I loved seeing them smile and interact with us. Much more on Indore later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Short Update

Wow. Twelve days without blogging. That has to be some kind of record for me. Life has been pretty crazy since I returned from India. Only a couple of days after I got back, my family came to see me in Seattle. We had a great time even if I was jet-lagged. We went down to the Redwood Forest in California and to Mt. Hood near Portland. Even though I was exhausted, being with my family re-energized me emotionally. My sister stayed a couple extra days after the rest of my family went home. We got to go to Gasworks Park, the Woodland Park Zoo (which isn't that far from my house), and the outlet mall in Marysville. She also got to meet my Bible study group which was exciting for me even if nobody else was excited about it.
I still haven't even looked at my pictures from India. Something about having to relive all those emotions and memories keeps me from it for now. I'll probably work up the emotional fortitude in the next couple days. Once I do, I'll post a few pics for you proving that I really did go to Asia :)
For now, I'm relearning how to live life in Seattle. So much has changed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Back in America (or 'Re-entry Stress 101')

Well, as you can probably tell from the title of this post, I'm back in America. After three weeks in Asia, I'm back at where I started. At least physically.
So, there's this thing called re-entry stress (or reverse culture shock). I'm pretty sure I have it. My time thus far in America has almost been like a dream. We landed at the Seattle airport around 7:30 last night. It took us almost two hours to get our luggage, go through customs, get our luggage again, and drive home. Because my stomach is still on India/Taiwan time, I heated up a frozen pizza at 10:30. As I was waiting for my pizza to be done, I noticed only one thing. The silence in my apartment was deafening. I sat in my room looking around and noticing how quiet it was. Asia is not quiet. Even at night there is noise. In India, it was the AC running and the car horns blaring. In Taiwan, it was general traffic noises. My apartment in Seattle is just quiet.
This morning I woke up at 5am. I could try to blame it on my phone beeping every 10 minutes to tell me that I had a text message, but it would only be a bad excuse. I was wide awake. I tried going back to sleep for over an hour, but it didn't work. So I got up and got ready for the day. Because my fridge was completely empty, I ate a Clif bar and went to the grocery at 8am. If you want to avoid people and get fresh produce, grocery shopping at 8am is the way to go.
Shopping for food threw me into a state of shock. There were so many choices and the prices were so high. At one point I was just staring at something on the produce aisle. The nice Safeway guy asked me if I needed help with anything. I wanted to say "Yes, did you know that I could probably feed a small Asian army with the money that I'm about to pay for my groceries." But all I said was "No, thank you" and pushed my shopping cart along to get some overpriced orange juice.
After unloading my food at home, I went to get some gas. My transmission was acting funny before I left so I thought I would take the car to the transmission guy so he could read the code. After I got gas, I turned on my car and looked for the check engine light. It had gone off thus making my trip to the car guy totally pointless. By the time I returned home disappointed that my car was acting like it was functioning right, it was 9:45. I decided to take a short nap because I was starting to get a little tired. I set my alarm for 11am. I woke up at 6:30pm. So much for getting stuff done today and fighting the jet lag.
Right now, I'm just trying to process what I experienced in India while reacquainting myself with my own city. This is going to be one weird week.

Friday, July 4, 2008

India: Part 2

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity that I'm still processing. Last Friday, we took a twelve hour train ride from Delhi to Indore. In Indore, we got to hang out with some amazing people that taught me a lot about what it means to serve and the need for change. After a couple days in Indore, we took another twelve hour train ride to Nagpur. We stayed in a building that's associated with the movement we're working with. We sat in on a meeting of caste leaders in the area. We also got to visit a typical Indian village to see how most Indians really live. Then, a couple days ago, we took a fifteen hour train ride to Agra, which is the home of the Taj Mahal. We got to Agra at 2am and went to a hotel. By 9am, we were at the Taj Mahal.
Seeing the Taj is one of the things that is on my 'Thing to Do in Life' list, but it wasn't how I imagined it. Don't get me wrong. The Taj was BEAUTIFUL! It was really hot though and I almost blew chunks/passed out. The white marble does a great job of reflecting sun light, making the monument one extremely hot place to be on a bright day. We stepped into the shade after seeing the Taj and it had to be twenty degrees cooler, no kidding. Also, the rest of Agra is a tourist trap. My advise to anyone going to see the Taj is to go and see it (and the Agra Fort next to it) and then get out of town fast. Since 1996, Agra has been totally dependent on the tourist industry because they shut down all the factories to cut down on air pollution.
At 8pm yesterday, we got on the train for a two hour ride back to Delhi. Being back in Delhi is kind of a relief. It feels like returning to a sort of home for a while. Tonight, we're going to the American Embassy for what I've heard is a massive 4th of July celebration. I'll miss spending the 4th with my family, but this promises to make one pretty awesome memory.

Happy Indepedence Day!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

India: Part 1

I realized this morning that I've only been in India for a week. It seems more like a month. A good month, but a month nonetheless. Here are five observations off the top of my head:

1. There are people EVERYWHERE. India has over 1 billion people living in a space that is only a third of the size of the US. This is definitely not the country for the claustrophobic.

2. I felt safer driving in Africa. Driving in India could be its own amusement park ride. There are lines on the road, but nobody follows them. On the Indian version of a highway, there could be a car, motorcycle, bus, auto rickshaw, normal rickshaw, people, and cows all trying to use the same space.

3. The food is wonderful. I brought a lot of Clif bars with me just in case I couldn't handle the food, but I haven't had to use them yet. In Northern India, they eat lentil soup with something that resembles a wheat tortilla. They also eat spicy vegetables and rice. Oh, and did I mention they have the best mangoes EVER!

4. Caste is everywhere. I can't remember if I explained this earlier or not, but we came to India to learn about the caste system and to try to take some action against it. The more I learn about the caste system, the more truly evil it becomes. Caste is not the same as class. America has different classes, but a person can move fairly easily between them. In India, there is no escaping your caste, if you even have one. There is a large chunk of the population that is Dalit. Dalits are described by those that have a caste as "talking animals." What's heartbreaking is that most Dalits don't question this. They think that they did something wrong in the past life to deserve their place as a Dalit, so they don't fight for their rights and dignity as a human being.

5. India is very spiritual. Being spiritual doesn't matter if you're not following the right thing though.

Future plans: We're leaving on the train tonight to go to the state of Maharashtra. We'll be there for about a week working with different caste groups and also doing a little sightseeing (Taj Mahal!). I'll try to let you know how Maharashtra went when we get back to Delhi.

Have a great week!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Alive

I'm still alive and loving India! The people and the experiences more than make up for the heat and oppressive humidity. I'll try to write a longer post later talking about what we're actually doing. Have a great day America!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mixed Emotions

You know that part in "10 Things I Hate About You" where the girl says "I know you can overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you just be whelmed?" My version of that today is "I know you can overpack, and I know you can underpack, but can you ever just pack?"

Tonight, three friends and I are going to India for 3 weeks. I don't know exactly what emotion I'm experiencing right now. The fact that I'm going to India hasn't really hit me yet. I'm sure that half way through the incredibly long plane ride I'll realize what I've gotten myself into.

Good emotions: Excitement (the thought of going to India is what started my constant wanderlust way back in elementary school), happiness (I get to work for a wonderful cause), curiosity (I love learning new ways of doing life).

Not-so-good emotions: Apprehension (while I know what I'm doing, I don't know exactly what I'll be doing. In other words, I don't have the details that my personality so thoroughly craves), separation anxiety (people keep talking to me like I'm never coming back or something), some level of fear (as a human, I naturally fear the unknown, and India is definitely the unknown at this point.)

I heard that we're going to have internet access in India so I'll try to keep you posted on what I'm up to. Until then, much love and peace.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Top Three Thursday

1. The Walkable U-District. For those of you that aren't familiar with Seattle, the city is made up of what has to be at least a million neighborhoods/districts. Okay, so there are only about 77 distinct neighborhoods, but that's still a lot. A website recently gave walkability scores to these districts. The U-District, the part of Seattle I live in, was #8 on the list. That means that I can go shopping, out to eat, to the movies, or to the park (among other places) without the use of anything but my own trusty feet.

2. lectio divina james dobson. According to Google Analytics, that's what a large number of people type in to find my blog. I'm one of the top picks because in May I wrote this post about James Dobson and this post about a devotional I'm going through that uses lectio divina. To those that are wondering, I have no idea what James Dobson's stance is on lectio divina. Sorry. But now I'm curious about why you're curious. If you happen to be one of those people, please let me know.

3. Women's Studies Emphasis. So, I'm being slightly sarcastic on this one. I've been getting information in the mail from different seminaries lately. They all have one thing in common. They send me a pamphlet on what I'm sure is a great women's studies program that I have no interest in. My view is that I'm a woman and, therefore, I presumably already know what emotional and spiritual needs a woman has. I don't need eight courses to teach me that.
I think that seminaries should be equal opportunity and start offering a Men's Studies Emphasis for all the guys out there. It could have courses like: "Biblical Theology of Men", "Current Issues for Men", "Cultural Influences on Men", and "Relationship Skills Building." Just a suggestion.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lindsay in Ministry

I've been struggling a lot lately with the question of the role of women in the church and, especially, ministry. This isn't a new struggle. This question has been bouncing around in my mind since I was a teenager and felt my own personal call to ministry.

God pulled me kicking and screaming into this world called ministry. I was well on my way to bigger and better things. When I finally realized that there wasn't anywhere that I could run to hide from God, I gave in. My prayer was "Okay God. If this is really what you want me to do, fine. Have it your way." Despite my somewhat bitter prayer, the moments following were filled with some of the greatest joy I have ever known. I was finally focused on God again and I knew what he wanted from me.

My joy quickly turned into pain though. When I told people about my new found call, I was met with hesitation. "Are you sure that you're not going to change your mind?" "Oh, you mean that you're going to marry a missionary and help him." "You know that you can't be ordained, right?" These were my first warning signs that I was stepping onto rocky territory.

I think that the true pain came in college when I realized for the first time that there really were men that had problem with women teachers. I had friends that left our college Bible study class because they let women teach from time to time. I was told to my face that if there was even one Christian man in the room that the women should defer to that man. When I started researching seminaries within my denomination, I learned that women could only receive certain degrees at some of them (mostly degrees having to do with Christian education or counseling). I felt insulted by this (especially when one seminary had the verses supporting their stance wrong on their website).

That being said, I have no ambitions of being ordained. That's just not where God has called me at this point in my life. But that doesn't negate the question: what is the Biblical answer to a woman's role in the church? What if one day I do decide that God wants me to plant a church? Even if I have prayed through the whole decision, is it sinful and not of God?

I've read both sides of the argument (with both sides making excellent points). I've read the Bible and begged God to show me the answer. I've ended up more confused than ever before. I believe in absolute truth. There has to be a right answer. What is it? Is it the complementarian view that says that women are useful to the church, just not as pastors or deacons or is it the egalitarian view that basically says that the Holy Spirit calls out both males and females?

God, would you please open up the skies and tell me the answer? There's just too much pain and uncertainty.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Birthday in Pictures

The wonderful cookie cake that my roommate had waiting for me when I came back from Tennessee.

Do I look older? I still feel like a teenager trying to act like an adult :)

Misplaced Order = Free Meal
After waiting a almost an hour, we got our food. It was the best BBQ Chicken Sandwich and bottomless fries I've had in a long time.

After lunch, we went to Trophy in Wallingford. The cupcakes are kind of expensive, but the alone frosting is worth every penny!

My roommate and I went to Tully's for a birthday (non-alcoholic) drink. After a couple of sips, I realized that my drink was full of caffeine (a.k.a. "Lindsay Kryptonite"). Next time, I'll read the fine print on my vitamin water before buying it.

Thank you to everyone that called, sent a card/email/smoke signal, or wished me happy early birthday while I was home. Yet another magnificent June 9 has come and gone.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane

In a few hours (10 hours to be exact), I'll be taking to the friendly skies to visit Tennessee. I think I've been waiting for this day since...oh...Christmas. Don't get me wrong. I love Seattle and am proud to call it my home fifty weeks out of the year. There are just some days where I really wish I was back in what I half-jokingly call "the promised land."
My supervisor and I were talking about our philosophy of travel and the idea of 'going home' a couple months ago. He asked me when I really feel like I'm home when I visit TN. Is it landing at the airport in Nashville or actually being in the town I grew up in? My answer was: when I walk in the front door of my house. I love to travel, but there's nothing like walking in the front door and flopping down on the couch like I've done a thousand times before.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I just had to show off my pretty new visa (minus identifying information) that came in the mail today!!! I think the friendly FedEx man was kind of confused about why I was waiting for him at the door :) This was the last major hurdle that we had to deal before leaving the country. Now all we have to worry about is what to pack. Thank you to those that were praying for the visa application process.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

1. Seattle Coffee Shops. Not only do these places have great drinks, but they are also a great place to work outside of the office. It's almost like they expect large numbers of Seattlites to use their space as their own personal place of business. They all have free wi-fi (with the exception of Starbucks, but who goes there in this city of great independent coffee joints) and tables to work at. Guess where this post is being written from :)

2. Jeff Greer. Jeff , a church planter/musician/bartender, came to the Purple Door and did a music-in a couple of Thursdays ago. He shared some of his original music with us and talked to us about what the last couple of years has looked like for him. I appreciate that he was willing to be totally open with us even though he'd never met us before. Some of us are going to see him play at Q Cafe this Thursday night for a benefit concert.

3. The real Charlie Brown. I'm not talking about the comic strip character or it's creator. I'm talking about one of my grandpa's friends. He died last week in an accident. Charlie was a great Christian man that constantly invited Grandpa to Bible studies and talked to him about Jesus. He's one of the people that contributed to Grandpa becoming a Christian almost a decade ago. I only met him a few times (I remember off the top of my head: at my grandparents' anniversary and my great-grandmother's funeral), but his smiling face left an impression on me. I'm forever grateful for the part he played in my grandpa's life.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Random Post

So, here's what's going through my head...

1. Folklife was fun. The Northwest Folklife Festival is an annual festival at the Seattle Center. It features hundreds of musicians and street performers over a three day period. I went with my uncle and cousin on Saturday and had a blast. It was in the high-70s and sunny. A perfect day to listen to random music and watch a little girl balance on a ball, hula hoop, and play the violin at the same time. Seriously. Here are a few pictures from my experience.

2. I got my hair cut last week. I now have the perfect summer haircut. Even if the sun and humidity melt my hair, it still looks great :)

3. I'm ready to go home for a little while, but I'm not ready to leave Seattle. Last night, it hit me that I'll be in Tennessee soon and that means leaving the friends that I've made in Seattle. It almost made me physically sick. Can I be homesick for two places at once?

4. I started reading "The New Christians" by Tony Jones yesterday. Good idea? Maybe. It's a book about the emergent movement within (or on the edges of) Christianity. It's raising more questions than it answers. Oh, the tangled postmodern web we weave.

5. "I'm a product of my culture." I've been thinking about that statement since I talked to one of my parents on the phone. They commented on how I seem to have changed since I moved to Seattle (meaning I'm more liberal and talk about Jesus differently). It's true. I've changed. Moving to Seattle has given me the chance to explore territory that I wasn't comfortable exploring in TN. I've accepted some things I've tried, I've rejected others. I think that's the process that every person goes through daily without even thinking about it. My changes are just more noticeable.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

Prayer Request Edition

1. Visa Applications. I sent the Indian visa applications to San Francisco last week. We've come across a couple minor problems since then. Please pray that we will get issued visas without any more problems. Without these visas, we can't go to India.

2. Cannon Beach. Those of us on staff are leaving for a retreat at Cannon Beach in...oh...ten minutes. We're going to be meeting up with other directors in our network of campus groups. Pray that this will be a refreshing time for all of us. Getting out of Seattle is a blessing sometimes :)

3. The Future. I'm not going to get real specific on this one. Let's just say that I'm a long-term planner and God isn't into giving me long-term plans. Pray that I will trust Him and that He will let me in on the secret of what my life will be.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Pictures and a Song

I went to the U-District Street Fair on Saturday and Sunday. They shut down 41st-50th Street of the Ave for hundreds of vendors/performers and thousands of community members to come together. All in the hottest weather that Seattle has seen in a long time (it was probably pushing the 90s).

In the South, every fair worth mentioning has at least one church booth present. At the street fair, I didn't see any churches represented, but I did see the Humanists of Washington and representatives of the local communist party. I also saw an "Ask the Atheist" booth, but I thought it would be in bad taste to take a picture of the guy.

This is my new tattoo. (At least for the next couple of weeks.) Our dream of doing "'Have A Tat' for Humanity" finally became a reality on Friday. There was food, t-shirts, and henna tattoos all around. We have lots of extra t-shirts, so if you want one please let me know. They're $5 :)

Also, I've been listening to the song "Oh My God" by Jars of Clay a lot lately. The part that I keep listening to over and over is the bridge of the song:

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we're better,
Scales were gone and faces lighter
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls beneath my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder