Each night as we writers sat down to blog, he’d show us the pictures he took for the day, and we’d fight over which ones we got to use in our posts. He took some amazing pictures, and shared many of the raw, untouched photos with us.
Well, now that he’s had time to dedicate more time and resources to focusing his creative eye on the pictures, he has now released his official photo documentary from the trip, as part of the site Visual Peacemakers.
This photo essay beautifully captures the essence of our time and the people there as well as (if not better) than the words of us writers. I encourage you to spend some time with these pictures and let their weight and beauty affect you. Then, would you consider joining with Lemonade International in their continuing work in the La Limonada community of Guatemala? Continue reading →
Today in the Christian church calendar is Ascension Day, the day we celebrate Christ ascending into heaven 40 days after his resurrection and now sits at “the right hand of God the Father.” (You can read a prayer and poem I posted earlier for this Holy Day)
The Useless Ascension
The idea of “Ascension” doesn’t seem to get a lot of play nowadays in the Church. This, in spite of the fact that it is an essential part of all the Church’searliestdoctrinalformulations, and the subject of the most-quoted Old Testament verse in the New Testament:
The Lord says to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Compared to other, non-creedal things like Hell, homosexuality, and “attacks on biblical authority”, the Ascension isn’t really talked about. Maybe this is because the Ascension isn’t really a “doctrine”–it’s an “event” and a “declaration”.
And we western Christians love our systematic “doctrines” that we can pick apart as nauseam and/or figure out how we can “apply it to our lives” in such a way that we can feel like we’re “good Christians.” But honestly, the Ascension doesn’t have many direct applications for today. Continue reading →
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
My church is currently in a series called “Resurrection Stories” in which we’re going through each of the non-Jesus stories of resurrections (or “resuscitations”—whatever) found in the Bible. It is, after all, still Easter.
A few weeks ago, as we were talking about Elisha raising the Shunnamite’s son, our pastor pointed out that most of these resurrection stories seem to center more on the people around the dead person than the dead person themselves. And so, in a sense, these resurrections are more for the people affected by death than the one dead; the ones that “receive” the true resurrection power are mostly those around the resurrected one.
Further, as he pointed out, most all of these people that “receive” the truest benefits of these resurrections are women—the most alienated and disempowered group throughout world history. Continue reading →
Murse(n.): 1. a purse carried by a man. 2. used to describe a male handbag, or man-purse.
I’ve been a big fan of messenger bags, ever since college (my chiropractor can confirm this). From early on, these bags became known as my man-purses, or “murses”. After starting my new job, I decided to get a more “economical” bag off Ebay that ended up being a little more purse than man (see “before” picture above).
Nearly every person who’s asked the question has been someone I love, who loves me, and gets me. They know that I can’t even articulate a simple answer to a casual “How ya doin’?” thrown my way. And so I’ve felt grace and understanding as I haven’t been able to answer.
At a wedding this weekend, in an attempt at capturing in one word the seemingly contradictory dimensions of my experience in Guatemala, I blurted out the word “paradoxitous”. Yes, I was trying to be funny.
Any regular follower of the blog has seen that in the past week and a half that I haven’t really been posting. This is a big change from the near-daily posts I was putting up all the way through my trip to Guatemala.
Though a big part of the silence has been time constraints after being out of the country, the main reason has been the (literally) speechless state in which Guatemala left me. I’ve needed this time to process, talk to people, pray, and find the words in which the community and people of La Limonada would dress themselves in my mind.
I think I now have these words (or at least the provisional ones; we’ll see what time does), and so expect the blogging to pick back up tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting back to this; I’ve honestly missed it a lot.
I don’t struggle with the plurality of beliefs about God. If there is a God, I am quite confident (as arrogant as it may sound) that Christianity is the proper understanding of Him.
Rather, my struggle is with the sense that God is there at all. Many of the posts on this blog have dealt with my open acknowledgment of my “inner atheist” (as I’vecalled himseveraltimes), and how I’ve tried to deal with him.
I don’t know that I need to expound on this too much, as I’m confident many of the readers here get this already, but just in case: this doubt is not intellectual; it is existential. I often miss that abstract sense and “feeling” of God’s existence. Continue reading →
Tonight is my last night in Guatemala. By the time this is posted and most of you read this, I will be on a plane (or, more likely, waiting in an airport), on my way back home.
The past coupleof posts this week have been a little intense. The way I received and processed those first few days was definitely through the filter of brokenness and pain. And this was definitely appropriate. There were so many stories of poverty, violence, abuse, economic exploitation, injustice, paedophilia, and rape that I simply could not tell.
Since God’s children share in flesh and blood, Jesus himself likewise partook of the same things
Today began with a meeting of the microenterprise crew–the staff and several of the women who have benefited from small loans to help start small businesses in the area.
Lemonade International is insistent that this is merely a solution to help some of those that are gifted in this way. Lemonade International partakes of the flesh and blood of these people, weak as they are, and sees how they can serve them as individuals with individuals needs.
Last night. She sat in the corner of the bed-couch in the corner of the room. One leg tucked under the other, face still red from the laughter she has both given and received over dinner. In one turn, though, the tone becomes serious as a question rises above the crowd, asking for her story. The story that has brought us here.
A nurse to burn victims, Tita began making home visits to a severely injured gang member, not knowing that her feet were walking upon the holy ground of poverty, violence, and death.
She eventually realized that she was in the neighborhood of La Limonada, nestled in the valley of the shadow of Guatemala City, considered a trash heap by those outside; both the people and the items are considered its waste.
Yesterday, I touched down to begin my week in Guatemala on a blogger’s trip with Lemonade International, a non-profit development organization doing work in a particular called La Limonada.
This community of La Limonada is the largest slum community in Central America. After the 36-year-long Guatemalan Civil War began (due to an American coup to overthrow their leader), many, many children and women lost their fathers and husbands to fighting, leaving this huge community of hurting people. Many, many of the refugees ended up in La Limonada.
This community is a 1-mile long stretch that is a half-mile wide and straddles a ravine. 60,000 to 100,000 people live there. It is considered a “red zone” by Guatemala, meaning that deliveries, police, and most outsiders in general don’t go in there. In the boundaries of the “zones” of Guatemala City, La Limonada is between two different zones–it doesn’t even have a place in the official boundaries of the city.
It’s literally been abandoned and marginalized by the very nation in which it resides. Continue reading →