Monday, January 26, 2004

Where do we go from here?

It would seem, from reading my friend's site, that I am less regular than others at my blogging. I realise that was a painful sentence to read, but the lack of blogging has cramped my grammatical senses. The durations between these blogs are where my life has been fitting in and with recent events being what they are there has been room for little else. There has been room for overwhelming feelings. There has been room for larger than life changes. There has been room for loneliness without solitude. There has been room for little else.
Words usually don't fail me, and I can, with a modicum of aplomb, weasel my way through a conversation as well as the odd blog, but lately words have not been my friends. I don't know how to deal with the sense of imminent separation let alone form it with words. It would be nice to think that this will be just a holiday and then we will come back and all will be as it was, but this is a dream. I realised over the period of my first month in China that God has so connected this body of the Son that I am never truly alone and that even now there may be someone whom the Lord has roused from slumber in Malawi to pray for my family, but what do they look like? Would we know each other in a crowd? Would I know their laugh? Have I felt their tears? I miss brothers and sisters, and I will miss brothers and sisters. Till we're all home let's just love one another, okay?

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

The Fellowship Factor

It has been only a few days since I returned to the placid winter shores of Lake Okanagan from what has long been called the Whore of the Orient. Shanghai, I believe, deserves this title no more or less than anywhere else but that is what it has been called. During my stay there I discovered the profundity of aloneness. This was no mission trip with other salivating evangelicals eager to proselytize the unwashed masses, it was a work term to test the waters before bringing my tribe to live there. I had no contact with any other believers and other than the cheesy Christmas music so ironically blaring through the malls brimming with Chinese shoppers there was no hint of humanitiy's symbolistic efforts to reach Christ. No churches, no dusty religious section in the bookstore, no Hollywood limelighted gospel namedropping, no trappings whatsoever (unless you count the strangly figured fat man in red). From this particularly isolated vantage point I found that many of the residual misgivings I had about the overwrought organised church and its Sunday morning oddities were exposed to the elements and could no longer hold their form. I may have fought this at first with all the self-righteous fervor and zeal I could muster in the face of the gale, but to no avail. I thought perhaps it was just homesickness at best or a perverted sense of culture shock at worst, but this too blew away. When I descended from my isolated abode I bore within my hands a purer revelation than ever I had known before. In a tiny way I understand now how Paul could say that he yearned for the people of the churches with the bowels of Christ. I forget sometimes that these people too were organised in a fashion they could understand, they too had their odd little rituals that some of the crew thought to be too confining. They had all the shitty little quarrels and petty striving we know, and yet Paul yearned for them with the bowels of Christ. I have discovered that the thing of it is that he yearned for the people. The people. I yearned for the people. I found that all the other shit didn't matter. I found that even that worship guy who plays all the wrong music would have been a most welcome sight on the streets of Shanghai. The pastor who seems elevated and esteemed in his own eyes would have been most welcome at my table. I found that the people are all that I cared about. After all, this is where the Spirit of Christ resides.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

A Little More Poetry

Hey, here I am still in Shanghai and the days are passing slowly in the drizzle. I can't tell if the clouds are low or the smog is thick, but there is a dreariness that surpasses even this Fraser Valley boy's experience. The cool thing is that the heart is still pumping the juice of life, and the brain is still recieving signals from Papa so my spirit is lifted.

The Streets of Psalm 23
There was a street
Whose memory was beat
'Neath the souls of mean feet
And 'twas no mean feat
To erase the hate in the heat
Burning beneath my feet
In eyes all 'round, indiscrete
Hard like broken concrete
Yet even here....I did eat!
(Brad Koop Jan 2004)