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.