16 February 2006

an overqualified typist

I just finished typing up a paper for a friend at Seminary. As I did it, I couldn't help but think that I was a bit overqualified to be typing papers: I'm working on my master's degree, after all. And so I should be doing prestigious things like tutoring and grading. Not typing up papers. Typing's a basic skill I learned in high school.

Except that the person I'm typing them for never learned how to type in high school. While I type about 50 words a minute, he might be doing well to type 15 words a minute. He has been getting only a few hours of sleep for the past while, and I have had no problem getting enough sleep. He is trying to support a wife while taking classes full-time, and I have only myself to support (not too difficult as my tuition and rent is paid for by scholarship - and if I'm desperate I can get help from my parents). English is my native language, English is one of his several languages. I am working towards getting a ph.d. so i can help the church somewhere some day. He is in training to go back to his home country and with a master's degree would be one of the most educated theologians serving his church. it seems fairly obvious that his need is greater than mine. And as we sat together in the computer lab, he asked me for a few minutes' help. which has evolved into a couple of papers of help. How could I say no?

maybe i'm overqualified. but currently my Hebrew skills and master's degree qualifications are not exactly in demand. whereas my typing skills and my ability to proofread are. so it seems fairly obvious that i ought to suck in my self-importance and serve God in the areas He's given me now. and keep listening to where the random skills He's given me might be of the most service to Him (and thus others.)

And well, it was a nice diversion from the papers that I'm writing for myself. I'm currently trying to prove that everything that Ruth and Boaz did in the book of Ruth followed the laws of Moses (torah). A task that's made more challenging and interesting by the questions raised over what actually happened on the threshing floor when Ruth slept at the 'feet' of Boaz (Ruth 3).

On a completely different note: That I've been primarily typing papers lately is made blatantly obvious in this blog entry. The punctuation is mostly correct, especially the presence of capitals :)

10 February 2006

In six months

Six months (or so) from now i should be in the process of moving myself to Amsterdam. i guess i'm starting to get excited, but as my friend, Deb, can attest, i don't really do the whole anticipation thing. i guess i'm also a bit anxious (my strange dream about forgetting my dutch passport when i was flying out and trying not to get my stuff stolen was a tip-off). what annoys me is that i do know that it will be well. i guess my subconscious just wants all the details figured out already. but it helps to acknowledge the anxious-ness (having to finish up three 20+paged papers in the next two weeks probably doesn't help my irritabbility/anxiety either). and my prayer is that as i work out the details of life next year and the next couple of weeks, i'll be able to believe more fully that it will be well.

05 February 2006

carry the faith for me

growing up, I learned that God did not have grandchildren. that means that i don't get saved just because my parents believe. i have to make my faith my own. and there is much truth to this.

and yet there are also times when i rest in the knowledge that my faith is not my own. faith is a living, breathing thing, done by a body of believers. i go to church and chapel and pray not because i always want to or believe what I ought to, but because these things happen to be the more obvious ways of my opening my soul up to be able to meet God. and sometimes I am delightfully surprised by Him.

as I participated in the Lord's Supper at a monastery, i was struck by the assurance that I didn't have to have all the answers for how and why i believe. the prayers would go on without me. the church will do quite well without my assistance. i am nobody. and yet i am still invited to sit at God's table, to eat and drink faith.

i'm not sure why this has come up now. i guess it's proof that i don't have all the answers :)
i tend to be one of those people who doesn't really doubt. some days i know within my being that God is. some days are overshadowed by the disconcertion that the world is not how it ought to be - and i desparately wish it weren't that way and don't know how to live with it. and some days are just the ordinary 'get your work done and try to be faithful' kind. and other days i wake up overjoyed. just because. i figure it's all normal. even though my feelings and thoughts about the day and my faith fluctuate like the weather in West Michigan, God doesn't. the faith of the church doesn't. we, the body of Christ, carry the faith of God together. And God has promised to protect, preserve, and uphold His church.
as a body it's okay, if one part is hurting, for the church to nurse that back to health (hop along on one leg for awhile) until the body is restored again.

and so i rest in that comfort. and know i never have to worry about losing my faith. for i am surrounded by others will help me in the journey and will even carry my faith for me when i don't know.
and maybe i can carry the faith awhile for those i love. even as i pray and hope that they will be able to hold onto it themselves.