Tuesday, December 16

Be Longing

Churches seem to be decreasingly useful to the last two or three generations of faith seekers. Why? If these faith people are not in churches, where are they? Where are they spending time, living, being, growing up?

One public space patron had this to say. The question was, “Why do you find yourself so often in small, independent coffee shops and bars?” Answer: “Because it’s like home. I live alone, and staying in [at home] presents a really different reality of environment than going out to do my studying. And sometimes I want to go out not just for a practical reason. Sometimes I go out because I want to see people; my friends, acquaintances or even strangers sometimes.”

“So you might go to the bar without anyone else you know? Why not just stay home?”

“Well, I guess it’s just more inspiring in the places I go to. There’s interesting things to look at. There’s people I might meet who I never knew or people I might see that I haven’t seen in a long time. And there’s always the staff in these places that I sometimes have a relationship with. When I go to the same places over and over it feels like I live there, sort of. It feels like my living room in a way.”

“But why choose these specific places? Why not others? Why do you choose independent places over chains? Why bars and coffee shops over restaurants?”

“I think it’s because of the way they look; they way they’re set up, you know? Like in a chain, you know what to expect and sometimes that’s OK but you don’t look around and get inspired, because you’ve seen all this before. But if you go into an independent place it has the style of the owner or the manager all over in the way things are set up and the way it’s decorated; or the way it sounds, what music is playing, what the lighting is like. I guess this all just means that somehow the person who runs the place had decided what they want the life of this place to be and made it that way. So I get to connect to a real person. And it makes it a better place for me to connect to other real people in the same space at the same time, you know?”

“Can you describe this a little more? What is it about a place that makes it like a living room and not an institution? Is that the right way to ask it?

“Yeah, that’s right. I want things to seem like home and family and not an established, market researched institution. Umm… OK. There’s this place I go to. It’s a coffee shop called the GreenHouse. It’s organic. So already I know something about the owners and their values, even if it’s a small thing. They like to keep things as healthy has possible: people and the earth. Then I go in and see an upright piano in the corner. It’s open for anyone to play if they wish. And I sit in a big chair. It’s like the one in my living room and in the living rooms of most of my friends too. And then I take off my shoes and put my computer on the footstool in front of me. There are lamps and rugs around. I go up to the counter where Ray is cutting turkey. I order some tea and he brings it to me. We have a conversation about school and whatnot before I go back to my chair. I’m reading and writing and people come in and out: a book group from the school next door or a couple of guys drinking coffee after work. And the members of the family who owns the place are in and out too. After a while, Cybil, Ray’s wife starts baking for the next day. And the place begins to smell like the house smells when mom starts supper. So there I sit in my living room chair smelling supper from the kitchen and conversing mildly with people who come in and out of the house as work and school get done. See what I mean? It’s like home.”

As I listen to this unfold, I’m thinking about the idea of home and noting that these places, where so many are spending their time, are more like “home” than our own residences. Why is that? And why is it that we are so driven to find home? This idea of creating public spaces that are like our living rooms, intimate and familiar, is based on the understanding that we want to belong. Like the famous lyrics “Where everybody knows your name.” We, as a whole culture, aren’t as convinced about the value of independence and self-sufficiency as we once were. This mentality is leaving us lonely. It’s not fulfilling our needs for connection and intimacy. So, new kinds of places are becoming meaningful to us. The answer to the question, “Where are these postmodern generations?” is… out. Not at home.

In her essay, contained in Growing Up Postmodern, Sharon Daloz Parks talks about the deep rhythms of the young person’s soul that pulse between pilgrimage and home. These ideas used to by closely related. Citizens of a “home” would press out on a pilgrimage only to return home with “gifts, blessing and wisdom.” But we have since lost this connection as we have, culturally, a dwindling connection to place and “home”. Parks says, “Particularly since the Enlightenment, we have been keenly aware of the limitations of our knowledge – especially our knowledge of God, Truth, Ultimate Reality. We have become poignantly aware of the relativized and partial character of truth. Our understanding is always incomplete – and, hence, we have a consciousness of always needing to press further in an ongoing intellectual and spiritual journey toward but never quite arriving in our quest for truth and wholeness.” So, in essence, today we are on pilgrimages our entire lives. We are constantly swinging, sometimes gently, sometimes not so gently, between the press forward for more knowledge, experience, understanding, truth and wholeness and our desperate search for belonging and home in which to flourish in order to make this pilgriming possible and meaningful.

Saturday, November 8

my Aunt Mimi

AUTUMN WISDOM FORM THE MONASTERY :voices from The Circle of Life, Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkeht ----- "While many people dread the approaching winter season, often these same people claim autumn as their favorite season. Perhaps this says something about the haunting call of this season...Autumn touches the core of the soul with its wordless message about the necessity of transformation and death. We are gently encouraged to look toward the west and embrace the bittersweet truth that all things are transitory. As we face the painful reality that nothing lasts forever, autumn teaches us humility. We learn to honor the dying. Everything is moving, flowing on into something new. In this lovely season when the dance of surrender is obvious, we find large spaces left where something beautiful once lived. As one by one the leaves let go, a precious emptiness appears in the trees. The naked beauty of the branches can be seen, the birds' abandoned nests become visible. The new spaces of emptiness reveal mountain ridges. At night if you stand beneath a tree and gaze upward, stars now peer through the branches. This is an important autumn lesson--when certain things fall away, there are other things that can be seen more clearly. Autumn is a wondrous metaphor for the transformation that takes place in the human heart each season. We we notice a subtle change of light outside...we know the dark season is near...Autumn calls us in from summer's playground and asks significant questions about our own harvest: What do we need to gather into our spiritual barns? What in our lives needs to fall away like autumn leaves so another life waiting in the wings can have its turn to live? ...Autumn speaks of connection and yearning, wisdom and aging, transformation and surrender, emerging shadows, and most of all mystery. This is the season that touches our longing for home, for completion. We are invited to let go, to yield...yes, to die. We are encouraged to let things move in our lives. Let them flow on into some new life form just as the earth is modeling these changes for us." I wonder: As some things fall away, what other things can I begin to see more clearly? What in my life needs to fall away like autumn leaves so another life waiting in the wings can have its turn to live? So, friends, as I look toward January, I look forward to winter...like Edna Buit who looked forward to the winter rest for the land, I too will begin a "dormant" season. Like Edna, I will wonder what new surprising life might emerge come spring, what flower will blossom that I had forgotten was planted. But until then, I will treasure Autumn, look forward to Winter rest, in hope for Spring. (Miriam Bush)

Tuesday, October 28

sometimes i feel like perhaps life is just spent throwing out pieces of ourselves around us like fisbees, across space and time and geography. and then running around gathering them all back up again like bright red fallen leaves, only to throw them out once more. and throughout our life span, we simply spend our time throwing and gathering and throwing and gathering. i'm not sure it's such a bad way to live life. throw as much as you can and gather it back in time. but i think the times that hurt are the times inbetween. when we realize we've thrown too much or for too long and it's time to gather again. and we face the gathering with emptiness from the past months or years of throwing it all away. in these times it seems impossible to get it all back again and until we begin to do it, and the pieces fall back together, we just might fear and be sad. but, inevitably, slowing, almost dutifully at first, we begin to collect the parts of our spirit back again and reassemble them in a new way than ever before. and then we get to decide where to throw them out next and to who. and the truth is, we don't have to work at all for this. time does the work. we only think we can control the throwing and gathering. but our spirit does it all on it's own i think. our joy only comes from recognizing and being grateful for the process no matter where we are in it. i guess this is what the earth does. she has seasons: giving and gathering, giving and gathering. i think it's the same.

Thursday, October 23

The Question

What is the relationship between Creation and Hospitality?

Tuesday, October 14

i walked by the river with a scarf and a speedway coffee, listening to the September playlist from a friend, as instructed by the... well, instructions on the email about said playlist. and i decided to stop and look over the rail for awhile at the swarm of fisherman in their waders in the river. and a little, black, BMX biker boy came up and leaned on the rail right next to me. our elbows were touching. and he said, slightly audibly above the sound of the music in my head, "i wish i had a fishing pole." and i said, "you don't?" him, "No. Do you?" me, "Nope." he told me he wishes he could just pick up all the water in his hand and hold it so the fishermen could get all the fish without having to stand in the water all day. "like a superpower?" i said "yeah. and i would do it from inside the water, you know, with telekinesis!" and i said cool. then i asked him if he went to school today and where and did he like it. he doesn't hate school. he doesn't love it either. then we commented on the whole, full grown tree that had floated down stream and gotten stuck by the spillway. you can see all the roots. and we decided it was cool and that we had never seen the roots of a full grown tree just out in the open air like that. then we talked about the algae in the river on the rocks and about seaweed. and he said "I think snails eat algae" me, "how do you know?" him, "now i know you don't watch sponge bob but, on one episode they all got covered in this green stuff and i think it was algae and then a snail ate it off them." me, "actually i do watch sponge bob." and then we threw rocks and sticks in the river for a long time. we watched the sticks get sucked down by the current at the bottom of the spillway and we watched the ripples of the rocks we threw, stick in circles in the water. and the circles followed the spillway down on the surface of the water, into the foam at the bottom. and each time it happened we looked at each other with raised eyebrows and muppet smiles as if we just discovered something that seems like impossible physics. he asked, "how old are you?" "25" i said. "how old are you?" "10" he said. i never finished the playlist.

Sunday, September 14

My Faithful Followers...

To my faithful blog followers (of which there seem to be about...2), this is for you. Don't kick me off your lists. I often don't even know where to begin. Do you get the feeling sometimes that writing about life not only doesn't capture your thoughts and experiences but actually makes them less real? I get that feeling often. I wish I was more articulate.. or perhaps less articulate. Whatever... I just wish writing was like taking pictures, expressing things without having to sift them through my own lens first. But I suppose photographers are forcing things through a lens too. I want to write like a security camera: grainy,black and white and objective. Then again, the world is more than that, even the most drab security camera view can't catch the truth of it. It's raining today. And yesterday and the day before... And I'm fantasizing about the emotions of nature. If nature has emotions, what does the rain mean? What are the clouds for? I have this pair of glasses that I only wear on the days when I feel the most introspective and melancholy. And they remind me, each time I have to slide them back into place, of how I feel. And I like that. If nature feels melancholy some days, maybe the rain are her glasses. Just so she doesn't forget to embrace the gray, disconnectedness of that day. It's been melancholy out for days now. I like it.. I'm feeling tragic romantic.

Sunday, August 10

It was one of those moments. You know the ache you feel when you realize you can’t possibly put into words what you see lying on that bench, looking skyward. You know you’ll never be able to quite remember how the sparks of the fire mingle with the tiny bright stars, frozen in the sky. And something inside you freezes too, when you think about how you’ll never get this moment back. No matter how you try you’ll never recreate the suspended stars and the dancing sparks. Or maybe you will, but you’ll never feel this way again. You’ll never be as taken aback as right now. Shocked by the clarity of it all, the even, still, 3 dimensional living of it all. Cold air, orange embers and the bitter smells of the past that force your heart down the paths of the future where things will never be the same. For better or worse, the days that burn the eyes of our hearts today will flow by us and new days will take their place. This, what I see above me tonight, the sky, the smoke, the pain and the promise, written so obviously in the life of nature, this is my life too. Time and space are creation. I am creation too. Even after all these words, I still have that ache.

Friday, July 11

Well, it finally happened. I don't actually know where I am. I'm blank. I'm sitting in an airport but I don't know if it's in Cincinnati or Cleveland. I think Cincinnati. Regardless, it feels strange not to know exactly were I am. And it seems even more strange that it doesn't actually matter. At all. I always assumed this would happen someday. Here is how I've spent the first part of my layover. There's a chapel about a mile away in this airport. I stumbled upon it. Went in. Listened to my Gregorian Chant. Meditated (it was almost loud enough to drown out the final boarding calls). Said my Our Fathers. Listened to some Lakota George Flutes and took these pictures. I left refreshed. Amusingly refreshed. Now I'm here. Trying to stay calm. Trying to love life. Trying to pass the time. And doing a fine job of it all. Hope the flights on time. When did flying cease to be an adventure and end become instead simply a mode of transportation?

Trip #3

Leaving for my third trip of the summer. I'm at the Grand Rapids airport on my way to San Fran. I'll continue my studies there. Some upcoming reading: Creation and Reality; Micheal Welker, Crooked Little Heart; Anne Lamott (just for fun). And others I'm sure. Once I get going it's hard to stop. Why California? you ask. Well, it just so happens that my beloved sister is there for the summer and I just couldn't go 8 weeks without seeing her. I don't have many plans beside seeing her and reading (by the pool of course). Labri update: My great friend Sarah got home from Labri the other day. She lives in Atlanta. And she wrote about the separation on her blog. She said just what I, also, had felt. Something about how we leave and not only does some of our heart stay there at the Manor House but little pieces of our heart and self also fall scattered across the Atlantic on the way back to our old lives. It's strange, we decided. We leave some of us there and instead of missing just those people and that place, we seem to miss that part of ourself as well. It's as if we are still there. Rattling around in the house, doing chores, reading on the couch, arguing over lunch. And life feels strange for awhile. Until, sadly, we begin to forget and disconnect and perhaps even turn back into who we were before we knew of that place. But we are never really the same I suppose. And that's we we go. So, it was nice to read her blogs and hear the sorrow and relive that moment just for a bit. How does all this fit into my paradigm of finding a home and staying there? Cedar Rapids update: My last post of Cedar Rapids was called "Are floods and tornadoes weeds?" While I was there, I heard my Uncle preach a sermon about weeds. He preached the parable about the weeds and the wheat from Matthew. Several things about it were of interest to me in my search for the heart of this Creation. First of all, I felt compelled by picture of plants to illustrate the idea of creation. Because I think the plants are not only humanity but perhaps more. Perhaps they are systems and themes and idea and trends and emotions. Perhaps that parable has something to say to us about micro and macro life. Inside and outside of ourselves. I'm a little ahead of myself. Let's just say that the reigning idea of my Uncle's message was the we are to take care NOT to pull the weeds. What looks like weeds may be wheat. And, as it would seem, visa versa. The parable states that the garden was sown with seeds of fruit bearing plants. And then, later, another came along and scattered seeds of weeds in among the plants. I think two things. I wonder if the weeds a real. I wonder if what we think are weeds could always turn out to be wheat. I'm not sure if I believe it, or what the implications are, but I'm asking the question. I guess the parable does say that the seeds of weed were sown. Question two: We are taught that creation was distorted, or broken by sin. But does this parable apply here? Is the garden not destroyed or broken but sin is just added to the picture? Added to the already complete garden? this could mean that we are left to contend with sin in our world but that it need not have changed the nature and state of the garden. As I discussed this with my mom after the service. We tried to reconcile this idea with the knowledge that our own natures and wills are not unaffected by sin. But we discovered that here the parable might work on a micro level. There is a garden inside us as well. And there is perfect completion but also the invasion of sin. So within the world there is good, complete, unbroken wheat. And sin. If we are not to pull the weeds in the world or the church, for danger of pulling wheat accidentally, are we to not pull the weeds in ourself either? And there is a larger, more complicated, diverse question left to answer. Are the floods and tornadoes of the weeds? Are they sin sent in among the good order?

Monday, July 7

are flooding and tonados weeds? and who put them here?

Downtown Cedar Rapids had somthing like 32 feet of water. All the government offices and disaster centers had to be relocated. There were empty spaces in the Mall. Here's what it looks like with the County Treasurer next door to the Gap... and so on. Pretty ingenious. Anything touched by the water was considered contaminated. The water was toxic because of all the stuff that gets into it as it rushes around town. Sewage, gas & oil, fertilizers, chemicals, etc. So the first step of four in the flood clean up is hauling the muddy contents of thousands of basements (and some entire houses) out to the curb to be collected by the contracted trash removers, needless to say, working overtime. You have to ask yourself when you see the streets lined with 25,000 people stored atricles, "where has our consumerism gotten us today?" Sort of a poetic human statement here. You think? This is the house next to the one we worked in the first day. As you can see, the water washed away the entire block foundation, right out from under the house. But here is the same house. Curious how those pretty little delicate flowers managed to survive, with gusto, what the block foundation could not.

Friday, June 27

Behold, I am bringing a flood of water upon the earth.

So my study on nature and creation has taken me on a field trip. To Cedar Rapids IA, (it's been tagged a natural disaster area), to help with the flood clean up. An interesting perspective on the nature of nature, to be found here. Especially for 25,000 people who now have no homes. The yet unofficial, lateset word on the street is that FEMA(national disaster relief) has only been to two disaster sites of higher magnitute than this: Katrina and 9.11. They anticipated a foot of residential flooding. They got 10 feet. But as you can see, it's still as beautiful as ever here. More to come later.

Thursday, June 12

I miss L'Abri. It's strange how simple it is to form connections in a totally other part of the world. Can we say modern marvels? It's so easy to get from here to there, and I think we suffer in the end because of it. Here I am in Michigan, with part of myself still in England. How strange and modern of a predicament. Who am I that I feel the right or privilege to go where I want when I want, even when it's utterly impractical? And since when does it seem like a good idea to spread myself and my heart all over the globe so flippantly. I think it's part of what brought me home early. I was beginning to wake up to this strange phenomenon of how travel and distance can affect the soul. I don't wish I hadn't gone. I don't wish I stayed. I simply reflect on the unexpected and usually hidden effects on my self, which I only now, at this point in my life am turning my attention to. Michelle and Sarah, remember the other day when we talked about the idea of running away and around from where we have our roots? I think that's what I'm feeling now. I feel that it's good and fitting, as creatures, for humans to be home. It's not a matter of avoiding challenges or adventures or keeping a narrow world view. In fact it's more difficult to stay I think. It's more risky, more of the heart to be lost when we invest where we are and have a mind to stay. But in the end and on the journey we are who we are most when we are where we belong. When we are home. That's how I feel at Western Sem. Thank you God. Love you all at L'Abri. I miss you. The house, the walks, yes. But mostly just you. And now that part of my heart is there, it's there to stay.

Wednesday, June 11

Well, I'm home. I woke up at 6am this morning. It felt like 11am. Imagine that. I can't wait to get into the hammock but first I wanted to let all the fellow LAbri-ers know that I finally put up the facebook group English L'Abri Summer 08. I love and miss you all dearly. Yes, all of you. I missed tea this morning. Not sure what I'll do with out it. Love you all.

Thursday, June 5

Went to Winchester today. I was late for the bus, this is me running after it. Josh (UK) Winchester Cathedral: The largest Cathedral in Europe. We took Holy Communion there at noon. The Royal Oak: The oldest Pub in England. It was dark. We don't have McDonalds like this in the States! Or candy like this...

Wednesday, June 4

Sarah (Atlanta) "Where is my make-up." "Can I have that with one of those.. you know... straws with the crazy shapes." Philip (Canada) Anthony (Michigan) Josh (Britain) Me and Michelle at the Pub.

I’m learning about the difference between cursed and fallen. Humanity and nature where affected differently by the fall. Nature was cursed to produce hardship for humanity. Nature was destined to groan until the redemption of all creation. Humanity was cursed because of the fall and also was, indeed, fallen in nature. Humanity was expelled from the Garden and therefore was separated from communion with God. Nature was not expelled and still is joined to God by complete obedience. I think, in speaking about death, and wondering about the presence or nature of death in the Garden, pre-Fall, this is important. I used to be of the mind that there must have been death in the Garden if nature is not fallen because of humanity’s fall. But I wonder if this new difference I’ve discovered will shed more light on that. There may not have been death in the Garden. This is why God says, “do not eat of it or you will die.” And at the Fall, humanity and its domain (nature) were subjected to the cycle of life and death until redemption. So nature was cursed because of it and so death entered the world, but nature was still not fallen from the presence or will of God. Also, I’m spending some time on the idea of the creation of nature as an act of hospitality on God’s part. (Thanks Sam) God prepares a place for humanity. Paul Marshall, Heaven is Not My Home, says that the creation of humanity is the culmination of all creation, the point. And in this idea we see a culmination of two truths occurring simultaneously. 1) Nature is created for the sole purpose of being the home to these human creatures 2) We are dependant upon nature for God’s provision. We cannot sustain ourselves. If Nature is created in preparation for humanity, the focus of God’s creation, we are able to liken it to a house that your parents build you and give to you. They say, “Son, you’re getting married and you will need some provision and protection. We have built you this beautiful house and it will give you shelter.” If we receive this gift from our loved ones, we would rightfully intend to do two things. 1) care for the house and revel in its details, not just because we are sure it will “keep giving” if we do so but because we want to honor and love the one who gave it. 2) We will delight in caring and preparing this space for others. We will invite others into our homes and pass the hospitality on to them. We can do these two things, and should for nature. So, even though the actions of humanity cannot possible harbor the power to permanently destroy or even redeem nature, we still must act. We must be compelled not out of a desperation that our resources will run out or God will cease to provide for God’s creation. Not out of a calculated prediction of what the future will hold and the affect that our current action have on it. But out of love, and most of all, gratitude to the giver of the ultimate hospitality. These acts of love and appreciation are those that reflect not fear but trust in the continued provision of God through nature.

Sunday, June 1

At the Pub right now with Philip. We walked 20 minute to get here. It's the closest civilization to the Manor. It's great and bizarre how there aren't really street numbers here, just cottage names. And the Post man knows just where to go. What a Holiday. So we'll probably get back late for dinner, not by much though. We came to use the internet. I'm actually typing on my own computer! Two of the more interesting parts of England: 1) the children sound smarter than me with those dang English accents 2) the walks, we walk on foot paths all over the countryside, usually every day. The paths are really just a faint row of trampled down grass which you follow blindly and uncertainly through sheep fields and meadows of buttercups until you seem to have gone full circle and you begin to look for the 14 chimneys of the Manor again. I have some to write about on what I've been discovering on death but that will have to wait, seeing as we are going to be late for dinner as it is.

Saturday, May 31

Thoughts on Creation: *** Here's what's come up in the last few days. There is a difference between the idea of being fallen and being cursed when we think of the beginning. I think I'm finding that humanity is both fallen and cursed. We have experienced a separation from the perfect communion with God which seemed to be present in the garden. We have also been cursed with various hardships, presumably, as a result of the activity of disobedience in the garden. Nature was also cursed, it seems (though there is compelling argument that the curse of nature is simply the fallen-ness of humanity and our subsequent affect on it). But nature's nature does not seem to be fallen. Not separated from God. We have ample biblical narrative to tell us that nature still obeys God's every command, unlike humanity. So it's difficult to discern what appears in nature: whether it's something out of order as a result of the affects of humanity on its state or whether it's still ordered perfectly to God's will. So I wonder, how do we look at nature's rhythms and patterns to know what proper order is? And even if nature isn't fallen or corrupt, is there a visible order and pattern to see which is worthy of study or emulation? Ive learned much more too but time runs short. More later.

Thursday, May 29

Danni, Rachel, Josh... waiting for the bus to Selbourn. It never came. Jane Austin's house in Chawton! Jane's Church. The front was built in the 11th century. Mrs. Elizabeth Austin and Cassandra's graves. (Jane's mum and sister) We walked a 100,000 miles today (i have a new favorite hatred... stinging nettles, i'll kill them all) and looked at the map only once, or twice or 82 times.
So we went to Jan'es house today. And it took 100 hours. And we had no idea it would. And we came back muddy and tired and sunburned and full of Strongbow Cider and English cany which we bought on the way home. Though we deserved it. So, that was nice. Umm... normal day here: Breakfast 8am, tea, work till 11, tea, work till 1, tea, lunch, tea, and discussion (yesterday was about nudism), tea, study till 4, tea, study till 630, dinner all together and discussion, lecture or nothing, tea, tea, tea, fires and more discussion. Come to think of it all we really ever do is drink tea and discuss. Drink tea!. There's lots of tea.


Was going to post some pictures of my room and the view but the internet access isn't very reliable and the pictures won't load. Maybe next time. I layed awake last night for hours with a very strange feeling. Somehow I felt that I shouldn't stay through to the end of the month. I'm having a great time, great people here. The house and country side are obviously lovely. I have amzing meals at the gignitic tables in these families homes each day. But there is something wrong. I felt quite strange, almost as if something might happen and I should be home sooner. At any rate, I'm leaving L'Abri couple weeks early. I'll be home on the 10th. I feel, not disppointed to go early, a bit confused but it just feels right and I guess I'm deciding to listen to that. Finished with the dramatic retelling of Creation courtesy of CS Lewis. It was enriching. Found several similarities as well as some key differences in the way we generally hear of creation. On to more boring, but just as stimulating readings I suppose. Lots of great conversations about it so far!! Everyone seems really interested once I begin to ask the questions out loud.

Wednesday, May 28


So here are the questions. If any of you happen to have figured them out, please, don’t hesitate to comment with the answers. What happened to nature (all none human creation) when humanity fell and was expelled from the Garden? How is, or, is nature responding to humanity because of this? What happened to the order which God created in the beginning because of the fall? Why does any of this matter? I have a suspicion that what happened to nature is not exactly the same as what happened to humanity. We have some literal Biblical witness which talks about the current state of nature and we have some narrative Biblical witness which points to this as well. I guess that’s where I’ll start. I have several books with me and the library here is full of books and lectures which I will sift through eventually. I think the most compelling way to go is to begin with the account of creation. There is Genesis, but perhaps other accounts as well: C. S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, for example, the Psalms. I’ll give it a few days.

Monday, May 26

Made It.

I'm here at The Manor House. There are bout 10 students who have arrived today for the beginning of this term, which ends in August. Only three girls, so far. It took me two planes, two trains and two miles of walking. I met up with another student walking from the train station. Micheal, he's from the center of England. He is studying architecture. So we walked the soggy, muddy two miles together. It's lovely here. Most of you know hoe I love rain and clouds, so it's perfect weather right about now. We arrived with soaked pants and shoes and socks. A staff member promptly sat me down in front of the fireplace to dry out. Then I went to bed. Slept for a few hours. Dinner at the house next door. All at one big table. Four students from the US, one from Michigan, Kalamazoo, Anthony. More student arrive as the week goes by. ---- Dr. Haman asks the question, "On a scale of 1-10, how well do you feel you're beginning this new journey?" I think about an 8. It's so remarkably beautiful here, it's like a fairytale. We went for a walk down Church Lane. It was like a movie. Everything looks like The Holiday. We are taking coffee in the sitting room now. I'll stop in for awhile and then probably get back to bed. Still feeling congested and not 100%.

Sunday, May 25

I'm here in Cincinnati. Here's what it looks like. (isn't technology great?) If I hear the woman in the ceiling say "Caution. The moving walkway is ending." just one more time, I don't think I'll make it. I better find a new spot to wait. I can't check in to get my seat untill an hour before the flight. And that's 3 hours from now. It will be terribly unfortunate if I have to be stuck in the middle of a row. 9 hour flight and all. So I have time to kill, sleeping to do and yes, I can't help it, I'm going to watch the Grey's Finale while I wait.
Sister and Roommate... thanks for the ride. I won't miss the Calder.
Not my plane. But one like it.

Friday, May 23

I leave in two days. I'm fortunate enough to fly from Grand Rapids. That eliminates one headache, trying to get to Chicago or Detroit. I'm not fond of the actual traveling process so the fewer steps I must take means a better experience for me. I change planes only once in Cincinnati. When I arrive at Gatwick airport, 14ish hours later, I catch the train to Guildford and then one to Liss. Liss is the closest thing to a town that's near the Manor House. From the Liss Station I can walk two miles either on the road or through the Riverwalk forest trail. Umm.. no contest. If it rains I'll get a cab. It's suppose to rain. Woke up sick yesterday. So my plan is to drink TheraFlu on the couch until Sunday. What I really need is to head to the WTS Library and download some of the Journal materials I'll need during my studies. Not sure if I can make that happen today. Maybe tomorrow. I think I'm packed though. So cross that off the list of anxiety threatening activities. One checked bag. A pack which I can travel easily with, especially when I'm walking, seemingly aimlessly through the English countryside. I have this strange vision of myself. Of what it will be like as I begin my two mile walk, mid day on Monday. I envision continually asking myself how I got to this very point in my life. Not really sure where I am and some vague idea of where I'm going with an even cloudier notion of why. Sometimes that happens to me when I'm in unfamiliar, wide open spaces. I like it. It's like there's nothing else outside myself at that point. Just me, a creature in God's creative world. I'm looking forward to that moment I think.

Tuesday, May 20

Here's where I'm going. I leave on Sunday the 25th.