Monthly Archives: December 2011

church history, i will never forget you…oops.

i only recently received my official seminary diploma in the mail, even though i graduated a year ago.  while i completely enjoyed learning everything i learned, one question always remains in my head when i think of seminary.  what am i suppose do with all those hours of sitting in church history class?

not my actual diploma. this is a web diploma. but mine looks like this and cost me $25,000 more.

not my actual diploma. this is a free web diploma. but mine looks like this and cost me $25,000 more.

and the bigger question:  what are the chances that the people group in Asia that i serve amongst are going to ask me a question about Origen?  or Ecumenical Councils?  Nestorian doctrine?  (i write these words, and even though i wrote papers on each of those things, i already can’t remember what many of them mean or even the significance behind them, only that they were important to shaping how Christianity is today.  yeahh…and to be honest, i can’t even remember why they were important.  just that they were.  there ya go).

i’m sure if i were constantly reviewing my notes, i’d be able to remember things, but to be honest, i just haven’t been good at history, period.  never been.  not to mention church history was sooo much information that something was bound to be squished out of my limited-space brain.  but no seriously, i have this lingering question in my mind, wondering when i will ever hear someone from the people group i’m serving, ask me a question regarding one of those things.  it’s as if Frodo said to me:

naww...wait, really? and then what happened after the battle of san jacinto? you MUST tell me more about texas history, it's SO applicable to my journey to mordor!

naww...wait, really? and then what happened after the battle of birch coulee? you MUST tell me more about minnesota history.

meaning: it ain’t gonna happen.  ever.  which makes me a bit sad, considering all the time that went into sitting in class, studying for essay tests and writing papers at the time.  (and just so you know, i really did enjoy church history class; i’m not good at remembering history, but i love hearing stories).

though really, i’m not sure what i’m too sad about since i can’t really remember much other than  the Nicene creed (important and therefore the only thing i remember!) and words i thought were funny to say like “Papacy” and “Tertullian.”  but there is the hope – that possibly one day, someone might ask me who Origen was.  that would kind of make me feel like i’m putting all those hours to good use.  just once will be fine.

and then i could say, “that is a great question.  let me go read my notes and get back to you because my brain could only contain so much information.”

"alamo.  what a fun word to say even though it has nothing to do with me!"

"mankato. what a fun word to say even though it has nothing to do with me!"

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tour guide i am not.

i serve in a country where many people back at home have a possibility of passing through.  therefore, i often get these random messages (through facebook, nevertheless) of people who will be passing through this country and want me to “hang out”/”grab a meal” or the worst one, “take them around.”

case in point: last week, this person from my uni days – someone i rarely ever talked to – sent me a private message on facebook saying they were going to be in town for a few days and wanted to see if i could do any of those above.  initial reaction from me was, “…who???”

if my first reaction to you is an owl's, then we probably have no reason to meet up.

if my first reaction to you is an owl's, then we probably have no reason to meet up.

and then i remembered that this was someone who was part of a 300+ member christian group that i was a part of back in my uni days.  are you kidding me?  we barely even talked back then.  to prove it, we’re not even friends on facebook.  ha.

don’t get me wrong, i love meeting up with people, but gut reaction usually tells me they just want someone to pass the time with while they’re in a foreign country; they have no interest in learning about the culture of the country, much less the people group i serve with.  plus, it’s pretty easy to tell if they actually want to know what i’m doing here.  i’d had more than enough of these conversations where essentially they just want to catch me up on their lives at home, but don’t want to know what i’m doing here.  therefore, sometimes i’m not sure who to blame – the person?  or facebook for giving them a false impression that we are friends just because we have friends in common?  not sure.

most of the time, it comes down to the fact that i simply don’t have the time to take random people/barely-acquaintances out just for “fun.”  if i can’t even get through a meal, there won’t be much hope for hanging out for an entire afternoon.  last time, an acquaintance was in town and wanted to grab a meal.  both of us being girls, i figure it wouldn’t be that hard to have a meal and just chat.

seconds crawl when you're in the land of nothing-to-say.

seconds crawl when you're in the land of nothing-to-say.

have you ever had nothing to say SO MUCH that you couldn’t even think up things to say??  most awkward meal ever.  and most people would agree that i’m pretty good at making up small talk.  but i agreed to the meal because i felt bad if i didn’t.  plus i assumed that since i kinda knew her, it wouldn’t be too horrible.  and then i realized that we really didn’t know each other at all.

so do i feel bad turning people down?  before, yes.  now…not so much.  people assume that since i’ve lived here for awhile now, i’ll know all the places to go or where to eat.  sorry, most people (even the locals) have no interest in coming over to the ghetto where i live, and i am limited on how many “expensive” places i can eat (i’m on a missio’s budget, after all).  why would i want to eat at an expensive or foreign restaurant that costs 5x what a local meal would cost?  i don’t.

well, maybe if you’re treating.  and if i we can remember each others’ names.

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there is such a thing as being ineffectively gung-ho about missions

i’ve met my share of christians who are gung-ho about being a part of missions.  and then i’ve met my share of christians who are so gung-ho about missions, they essentially tell everyone else who aren’t going into full-time missions that they’re rubbish and worldly-materialistic-selfloving pagans.

okay, not in those exact words, but that’s the general feeling i get after talking to them.  and i already am a missionary.  you can only imagine how “regular” christians feel after a conversation with them.

to these people, i say:  cut the crap.  if you’re so adamant about people living “missionally,” why don’t you apply to a missions organization and become a full-time missionary?  oh, it’s because missionary organizations (those with a good screening process) will sniff you out like a cop dog on a high school locker.

hide all you want, but i'm onto you. how much is a kilo of pride worth?

stop making people feel bad.  your name is not Holy Spirit.

being guilted into how to live missionally does not help someone actually live missionally.  not to mention it makes people not want to talk to you because you just make them feel bad.  no wonder people think missionaries are a bunch of bible-totin’-God-lovin’-all-we-talk-about-is-how-everyone-should-be-a-missionary people.  whenever i’m back at home and trying to share with people at church about what the mission field is like, they’re always afraid i’m trying to make them become full-time missionaries overseas.  that’s never the case.  after all, there are ways to be a faithful part of the furthering of God’s kingdom without having to go overseas (not saying people should instantly rule out going, though).  and those that are already living overseas (as expats) have other means of being involved with local missions even if their time does not allow them to physically serve in a local ministry.

anyway, all this to say, if you are (or know of) one of those people who lives in a foreign country and serves alongside the missionaries there, but are not actually a full-time missionary, don’t think that just because you take time out of your schedule to serve the poor or whathaveyou, you’re more “Christian” than everyone else.

you’re not.  missionaries are not either.

we’re all just regular people, saved by the grace of God, and serving Him in a different country.  yes, we’re excited about what God’s doing in the countries we serve in, and yes, there is always a need for more workers, but guilting people into coming (or taking whatever action) when they’re not ready to commit never ends well.

everyone has their specific place in the building of God’s global Church – some may go, some may send/give, some may pray, some may learn, some may mobilize, others may welcome, and some might do all these things.  the point is that we christians live as obedient disciples of Christ who actively participate in what God’s doing around the world.

if you want to encourage people on ways to be involved with missions, be an effective mobilizer.

don’t push.  pushers are jerks.
…unless you’re Ice-T and pushing 100% legit life out of your trunk and dope beat and lyrics.

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hey. you there.

it’s been a long time since i’ve blogged, but i figure i need an outlet for all my sometimes cynical thoughts and sarcastic words.  yeah, i’m that kind of person.  so here’s to a fun journey during which i’ll bring a (written) voice to the things you think but don’t really say because let’s face it, what kind of good christian missionary says these things?

hint: me.