Archive for category travel
I write this post from a nice comfortable guest bedroom in the home of a friend in Gentilly, a suburb of Paris, France. Just a few days ago I was in Ghana on mission, doing all the things that short term missionaries do, and some that they don’t (like discussing with our ministry partners what kind of woman I need so he can find me a wife). Now I am relaxing in Paris for the next several days – almost 10 full days before I return to my normal life and responsibilities. Hence the blogging hiatus since late May. Thanks Wayne for checking in on a brother.
As I rode the train from Amsterdam to Paris yesterday, I began my process of debriefing my summer experiences in mission. Anyone who has gone on missions knows, or should know, that how you re-enter your home country is as important a part of the trip as anything else you do. I debated, given my tiredness, if I was perhaps foolish to set aside quite so much time for recovery and “vacation.” There are lots of other things I could and maybe even should be doing. And I miss the students who were part of the team. But I also know that rest is important, and I have no choice now, since my plane tickets are already purchased. So I am stuck here until time to leave, and I have no agenda. I will see what I want to see and there may be many things I do not see. My priority is rest and refreshment in the Lord’s presence here in the capital city of the eldest daughter of the church.
In Amsterdam and subsequently on the train to Paris, I had many uncollected and random thoughts as I tried to piece together my experiences and my surroundings. Some observations…
The first observation, a recollection really, is just how big Dutch people are. I mean, they are just really tall and big people. I am six feet tall and easily at many points was the shortest person in the crowd. There were many women who were taller than me. It makes me wonder what the heck they’re feeding them.
The second is that Europe is far more diverse than America. The world was present on the train and in the Metro station – people of varied nationalities and cultures mixing and intermixing. There are lots of mixed race children around.
The third and easily the only really disturbing one is that for all the wealth and luxury of Europe (and it is indeed wealthy and luxurious – have you looked at the dollar/Euro exchange rate lately?) it is a spiritual and communally desolate place compared to Ghana. The reality of spiritual oppression in some communities in Ghana were idol worship is practiced is nothing compared to the oppression of a godless and unarticulated spiritual depravity that stalks the land here. I do not mean to suggest that God is absent; He is never absent. And amazingly I met someone on the train who quite likely is Christian, as he explicitly asked me about attending the Hillsong – Paris church after I told him I had come from Ghana on missions. He also mentioned that some of his American friends were coming to do church planting in Paris. No, the gospel is alive and well, and the kingdom is steadily advancing in quiet and not so quiet ways. But in just this short stay, the words of I Timothy seem even more prescient to me, “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” More thoughts on this later, but can it be that the very wealth of nations is a spiritual placebo, plastering over our spiritual destitution with the appearance of security?
I traveled today and yesterday and noticed people in the airport who seemed to be entirely extraneous. By this I mean that they were carrying no bags, and were walking with apparently no purpose whatsoever. In addition, they did not seem to be workers. They were just… randomly in the airport, seemingly purposelessly. I wonder why they were there.
Have you ever met someone with the gift of holding a conversation entirely by themselves, with or without your participation? I sat next to such a person on my flight to Florida. In addition, she had less than minty fresh breath, if you get my drift. I certainly got hers.
I’ve noticed that security people at airports are much more “vigilant” if the airport is really small. I think it makes them feel important and as if they are contributing mightily to our nation’s security. They serve an important function I’m sure, but it is rather interesting.
Even though I’m a “pastor” and work in full time Christian ministry, sometimes I don’t feel particularly spiritual. I hope that doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
I really like preaching. I got to preach yesterday night and it was great to share what I’d seen in scripture. I was a little surprised because people laughed and responded verbally. I wish I could preach more often so I could get better. Is that vanity?
You ever notice how the phrase “a bad neighborhood” is really just shorthand for any place with a lot of poor people or Black or both?
Ok… back to traveling. I’m a big boy Ms. Flight Attendant. I can drink a full can of juice.
I don’t care if it is in the airport; $2.75 is too much to pay for a 20oz. soda.
That is all for now