Sunday, August 29, 2010
Some timely wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech (the 47th anniversary of him giving it was yesterday). I think Northern Ireland and definitely my own country could do with remembering it in these times when we so quickly draw and reinforce lines between "us" and "them."
Saturday, August 28, 2010
-Seeing this picture of my niece Natalie on my sister's blog, along with videos of Gigi. They're so much fun...can't wait to see them soon!
-St. George's Market Saturdays...I'm gonna miss these. I love the music, the friendly coffee barista who knows me enough to ask specifics questions instead of a general "How's it going?", tee and toast gal who puts so much creativity, wit and care into all she makes, seeing old friends and making new ones and so much more. They've started opening St. George's on Sundays too and because I have a little window of time tomorrow, I'm sneaking in an extra wee visit. (Tee and toast gal and I conspired this as a we-don't-have-to-say-bye-today ploy.)
-Coffee, life-shaping conversation and prayer with Ri. Our lives are both heading in slightly unknown, but wonderfully exciting directions.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
-Well, the goodbyes (or "very enthusiastic see-you-later's" as I've heard said) have begun. I had coffee with Ken, who was the director of the community project I worked at when I was here before and has been a wonderful friend & mentor to me. Do you know those people who see the absolute best in you? He's one of them. He actually recommended that I apply to be the director of Corrymeela, the largest reconciliation community in Northern Ireland, a position I'm surely underqualified for. I love the vote of confidence. :) Ken's such a visionary and encourager. I'll miss him.
-Walking home (a bit teary) after saying goodbye to Ken, I ran into two of my housemate Katrina's artist buddies and they invited me to join them to go see their friend's studio and to have dinner. What was going to be an evening spent packing alone turned into a great night with fascinating people and the most amazing smoked haddock cake with a poached egg on top. Later I told Katrina how glad I was to run into them when I was feeling a bit sad and she said, "Sometimes God puts people in your path just when you need them." So true.
-Hearing that a family friend who was in a terrible plane crash is going to survive and recover.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
-I've had the nicest morning. I went into town a bit early and decided to grab a latte and apricot croissant (how European am I? ha) and instead of just rushing on with it, I sat down at the cafe and had my breakfast while writing a report on the Romania trip. While sitting there, a friend from church knocked on the window to say hello (which I would've missed had I rushed on instead of sitting). It was a great start to the day.
-You probably know this already by now, but I really adore writing. I get a bit of an adrenaline rush, love crafting words together in (hopefully) interesting ways and feel somehow more connected with the world and my own thoughts after having done it. Another good part of my morning. :)
-Our office is being rid of asbestos (oh, joy) and so instead of working there, I went to the Blake's nearby and am doing some work from their house. It's more cozy, I have Jo for company and it's asbestos free!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Hi blog buddies...
I'm back from Berlin and watching my last two weeks in Belfast slip through my fingers like grains of sand! Needless to say, I haven't made much time to blog in all my efforts to spend as much time as possible with folks here. It is definitely a bittersweet thing to leave...my heart will always in some way be here and I know I won't ever really completely leave it, and yet every time I see a toddler I think of how much I yearn to spend time with my nieces and family back home. Alas, it seems life is not a static thing. And I suppose this is a gift. So, in my laziness, I have only posted a few pictures from Berlin here, but invite you to view the rest (all 100+ of them) here on my facebook page. I hope your summer is winding down slowly and that you're still able to sip a glass of wine or lemonade and read a book for fun in the shade. In between Wilbur Smith marathons, I've started reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, a book I halfway read in seminary. It sounds a little cliche to say it feeds my soul, but really, it does.
Enjoy a bit of my Berlin experience...it was so wonderful to be with the Kuhlas again and see their complicated and beautiful city. I got to experience so much of it: Parliament, the Holocaust Memorial, the city park, a flea market (called the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark) and much more. Berlin is such a rich, artistic place.
the haunting and powerful Holocaust Memorial
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
-Preaching for the last time at Fitzroy (I'm still there for a month or so, but this was my last time preaching) and feeling so loved and supported. I preached on the women at the cross, the women who stayed when everyone else left and how they ministered to Jesus during his life and even went to tend to his body at the tomb, only to discover the wonder of the resurrection. Everyone applauded me at the end of it, which surprised me quite a bit, but was such a tangible sign of their ministry to me these past 2 years.
-Skyping with my Nana who had never seen a computer before and with my sister and nieces.
-Having lunch with my good friend Ruth and catching up on all the exciting developments of life, as well as the perfectly ordinary ones.
-Going to the evening service about Orthodox Heresy (from Belfast visionary Pete Rollins) and David who was leading talking about how this new way of following Jesus isn't about giving the right answers but asking the right questions. Then, he referenced a sermon I preached months ago--which I ended with questions I had--and he said, "If you want to know what an orthodox heretic looks like, look at Whitney." (Then everyone did, much to my embarrassment!) I replied that I considered this a compliment and he said it was the highest compliment he could give. What generously supportive people!
Friday, August 06, 2010
-Receiving a doozy of a going away present from Fitzroy: my very own, shiny new Mac laptop. What an incredibly generous thing! Those people are sneaky. I have about a month left, and can't believe it. I find myself trying to grapple with little moments: writing sermons in the Linenhall Library, strolling through Cornmarket, sipping coffee at a favorite cafe, listening to incredibly talented buskers...I want to grab onto these things with both hands and not let go. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fully let go of Belfast, and that's a good thing. :)
-Lots and lots of movies in one day. I can't get enough. By the way, dear blog buddy, you should see the new Karate Kid. I know, how can it ever replace the old one? Think of it as a good biblical commentary: not quite the original thing, but oh so creative and wonderful. It was fantastic.
-Wearing my favorite little waistcoat/vest over my favorite little Florence and the Machine t-shirt and my favorite not-so-little green scarf and feeling positively jaunty on an otherwise rainy day.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Hello everyone! I'm back from a phenomenal mission trip to Romania. We did a bit of sightseeing in Budapest as we passed through Hungary and then went on to Romania to lead Vacation Bible School at a couple of churches, visit elderly and sick people from a congregation, visit a Roma village as children flocked to us, visit an orphanage and spend a good deal of time travelling together and getting to know each other better as a team. I think the most profound part of the experience for me was walking through a Roma village that had open sewers and no running water just feet from wealthy areas. A little girl came smiling up to me and just took my hand as we walked through the village.
I later reflected to the group about how moving this was for me, that she would warmly welcome me into her community where she has nothing and how she would not receive such a warm welcome were she to come to Northern Ireland or America where we have so very much. I talked about how we belong to each other now--how the whole world does--and how I have to remember that little girl. I have to remember her when I'm seeking calls, looking for missional and giving congregations. I have to remember her when I'm thinking about buying a shirt I don't need, wasting food because I have more than I can eat, deciding what place to live in and when I'm caught up once again in materialism and status. I have to remember this little girl because she reminds me that truly blessed are the poor, that the gospel is not about preaching with greatest acclaim or making a name for myself but it is about loosing the bonds of injustice, freeing the oppressed and caring for the foreigner, orphan and widow. It was a powerful trip I won't soon forget, and I know the 20 fantastic young people who came with us feel the same way. Here's a great youtube video of some of our pictures:
And here are some other pictures taken by me and others: