I was reminded of this when Emily and I were trying to solve a mystery earlier this evening.
When I was younger, my secret childhood dream was to be a detective so I read tons of mystery books. My two favorite heroes were Cam Jansen and Nate the Great! I think I read all of their adventures. Oh! I also liked Encyclopedia Brown, the Boxcar Children and had a huge Nancy Drew phase. I remember the Boxcar Children because the author’s name is “Gertrude,” which almost epitomizes the ugliest name ever. It’s funny that I didn’t read any classics like Sherlock Holmes though…
I stopped wanting to be a detective when I realized that I needed to be a cop first…
So this was the least scary picture I found of him…haha.
Like I said last post, I wanted to write something about the life of Francis Schaeffer after reading one of his biographies. The biography is titled Francis Schaeffer And the Shaping of Evangelical America and is authored by Barry Hankins. Hankins divides Schaeffer’s life into three stages:
- Staunch fundamentalist against modern and liberal theology and Christians. Basically there were “Christians” preaching about the Christian God without believing or mentioning sin or the resurrection of Jesus Christ, more or less. (That is a very shallow explanation but you get me) He led a lot of separationist movements and encouraged congregants to leave their churches if their churches believed in Christian liberalism.
- Establishment of L’Abri in Switzerland. I find this part of his life so fascinating because he basically became this philosophical, culturally engaged and loving thinker, teacher and preacher. He set up this school called L’Abri, where people could stay free of charge but had to work for half the day for food and board and then participate in either personal studies or theological and spiritual discussions for the other half. He would have long conversations that would end well past midnight that were incredibly stimulating, persuasive and engaging. In short, he was doing apologetics with hospitality by not simply arguing and debating atheists, agnostics or subscribers to different religions but deeply cared about their well being and stay at L’Abri. Most of the people who stayed at L’Abri were college and recently graduated folks. One of his most memorable teachings was the “line of despair” where he pushed his students to the brink of existentialist thought and challenged them to think and come to terms with whatever was beyond that.
- Republican, conservative, right winged evangelical. This was unfortunate, not that he was part of the Conservative party but that politicians and especially his son pushed him into arguing and dealing with the political mess in America. I am not saying that Schaffer’s views were not incongruous to the Republican party; he certainly agreed on some points but he also vehemently disagreed with certain issues as well. The Republican party basically used Schaeffer to advance their political agenda and thus gain votes and the evangelical crowd. I will just say that it is very difficult to be on middle ground in the American political realm.
I want to visit L’Abri. They opened up many more schools across the globe and most stays now are about $25 a night including board and food. I really liked the way he approached evangelism in that it was a combination of apologetics and hospitality. It takes both reason and love for the other person in order for anyone to even begin to consider the truth that the Christian faith is preaching. And a disclaimer, Schaeffer simply engaged in conversations and dialogued with his students. If you feel threatened by any of this, it’s not suppose to be threatening.
For my Comparative Race Analysis class today, we had to read a chapter titled “Congested Terrain” in the book Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class. This chapter focused on the local resistant movements between blacks and whites in the American south. It was a resistant movement for both the blacks and whites because blacks were fighting to sit at the front of the bus, among many other inequalities, and the whites were resisting to protect their jobs and themselves from the perceived threat that if blacks were equal to them, they would lose something.
Four thoughts I have:
- Even before class, I can already imagine the conversation we will have during class. My peers, including myself, will state how heinous these violent acts were. Indeed they were heinous, hateful and horrible, I do not deny that at all, but I feel that in some ways we will try to separate ourselves from the aggressive white supremacists who mostly come from a working class background. We might think that we are different, smarter and would never ever spit at a black women or make blacks or anyone else for that matter pay at the front of the bus then ask them to board at the back. In my conviction, I feel that if my job, in other words my means of survival, was threatened, I would be angry and perhaps even violent towards the individual or group who threatened “my right” to live. Which leads me to my next point.
- What are my rights? Is it really my right to say that that is my job and so no one can take that away from me? As a Christian, I must say that I have to constantly remind myself to submit my rights to the God of heaven and earth. That is my choice and I do that willingly.
- Now to say something about my school and my generation or at least something about the “northeast intellectual elite.” We, including myself, have this “sense of entitlement.” I say things like I want this, I want that. I definitely notice this when I am in a group setting and I try to outdo the person before me to say something that I want that is unique, special or would make me feel awesome. Back to my first point, the north was fortunate that there were not as many poor whites who were trying to get jobs that blacks were also trying to get in order to sustain themselves. We see less local battles (granted that there were riots in urban areas in the north, midwest, and west) because some of us are pretty wealthy. No one is competing with us for survival and so the ugliness that was visibly displayed in the south was simply internalized. I want versus I need.
- I can make the statement in the second to last sentence of my third paragraph because there are still racial problems everywhere! Racial reconciliation is still a huge problem at my school, a “liberal, open-minded, loving to everyone, don’t want to offend anyone” school. The worst part is that we are so damned PC. Talking about racial issues either silences people or makes everyone feel like crap. Here is where I think Jesus comes in and the promise that He will “reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1.20) Freak, I said “Jesus,” “blood,” and “cross” all in one sentence. And that’s not all, in Revelation, “nations, tribes, people, and language” are the things that God redeems on earth into heaven, thus ethnicity/race is indeed beautiful to God.
- So do we want to experience the fullness of peace and reconciliation? To actually be able to celebrate and rejoice differences and not use our differences as sources of self-entitlements and rights?
I understand that I certainly am not the first person or Christian to ever right about faith and reconciliation and this perhaps is simply a reiteration and less comprehensive or intellectual post of what many have written about before. But thank God for the many who have deeply wrote about this before me.
Yesterday, I was reading a biography on Francis Schaeffer, one of the greatest evangelists in America/Western Europe. He was definitely labeled as Conservative, evangelical, right-wing whatever else but he can definitely also be considered intellectual, very cultured and progressive. So what the freak is he? Why the heck is society so concerned with categorizing people, especially Christians? The God I believe in supersedes and transcends all labels and stereotypes. I wish I visited L’Abri, the school he opened in Switzerland, when he was still alive. (I would still like to visit there now anyway.) I really admire him a lot despite what critics say of his theology and intellectualism. I will probably blog about him soon too, when I have time.
Oh and it’s April Fool’s Day and Maudy Thursday.
Or volunteer in New York, take bartending classes at Columbia, start a garden, read some books (list), watch some movies (list), go to New Orleans for the mission trip I missed, or cater/wait tables.
I need to finish C.S. Lewis’ Miracles! I can’t make myself read though, it’s too nice outside and I tried reading outside yesterday but totally failed. I also tried to read while walking which amounted to two pages per two hours. A walk would be very nice today. I might do that later.
My mind wanders a lot. Especially to places I want to travel to. I realize that I say “I want” a lot. I don’t like that but I do it anyway.
I watched a video on ABC News about the Texas textbook controversy. It is frightening how much power the Texas school board has over textbook sales; actually, how much power Don McLeroy has.
Read Donald Miller’s blog this morning and I really enjoyed his post about “Every Day Actions Into Spiritual Rituals.” I found the every day actions he wrote about personally comforting as weird as that sounds but I agree that rituals do serve as a sense of security and a connection with God. I might reflect more on my own spiritual rituals today, that is an idea. I also like his idea of using a new and differently translated Bible after reading one through so that the underlines will be different for each Bible.
I also followed the back and forth between Glenn Beck and Jim Wallis. I liked how Donald Miller described Jim Wallis as a very gentle person and correctly exemplified what “turning the other cheek” looks like.
This was a loaded Christian/Christianity post that had mostly nothing to do with what I want to do this summer. But yeah I want to go to British Columbia this summer to visit my cousin and be completely humbled by the awfully beautiful mountains. Any one want to go with me? I don’t want to be a solo traveler.
If there is anything I learned from Urbana, it is the continuing conviction to be involved with justice issues at home and abroad. I often feel quite cynical about raising awareness for causes because many times my efforts seem to fall on deaf ears. People seem too concerned with their daily activities to really care about overused and generalized words such as human slavery or poverty. My cynicism has immobilized me in the past semester at school and it was very hard for me to “do anything.” Cynicism has also instilled a sense of despair even though I believe in a God of hope. So much for my faith. But I thank God for His grace that it is not by my strength that rescue is brought to the orphaned and widowed and voice is given to the voiceless. He has broken in me once again the paralyzing grip of despair that I can be used as an agent of love and healing. I really need to stop believing that those words are for the foolish and “rosy minded” people and start believing that they are divine Truths to act upon.
Anyway, I have been following Eugene Cho via twitter, his blog, and the organization he and his wife started: One Day’s Wages.
I finished reading Gary Haugen’s Good News about Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World. Gary Haugen is the CEO of International Justice Mission. I am not going to lie but I want to work for them. I said “I’m not going to lie” because I always feel like there are people who laugh at me for dreaming. Maybe the people I imagine to be laughing at me is myself. Another lie.
The other organization I have been following is Sojourners, a ministry that responds to the Biblical calling of social justice. Their blog is a collaborative effort of diverse writers who blog about faith, politics, and culture.
My final thought about justice and faith is that evangelism is proclaiming the good news that God deeply desires to free the oppressed, redeem the oppressors, feed the hunger, and clothe the naked. It is not to convert people into Biblical rules and laws. I am saddened when I encounter “Christians” who do not embody the God of justice in their faith (myself included). They (I am) are seriously leading impoverished and empty lives.
I was in Boston this past weekend hanging out with the two best peeps in the world, Emily and Tiffany. They have a pretty sweet apartment and we had some adventures 🙂
Now, I have a lot of papers and exams due but I wil be done December 18th!!! I am so pumped for December 18th. Also, I have a West African Dance Performance on the night of December 18th, a huge dance party to end the semester. Come if you can. This will probably be the one and only time you’ll see me “dance” on stage.
I am also currently very excited about my sociology classes and I can rant on and on about stuff that I have been learning. I have been reading and watching books and movies with a sociological frame. It’s great. Check out stuff I have watched and read recently:
Menace II Society:
Compelled to Excel: Immigration, Education, and Opportunity Among Chinese Americans by Vivian Louie.