Saturday, February 9, 2008

Some Poetry to Share

I would like to share some poetry that expresses well many of the complexities and difficulties of life here in the US and in the Middle East. The first is from my friend and professor Dan Haase (check out his blog at The second and third are my own, written in response to my time in the West Bank this last summer. Enjoy!

The Sounds Of A Thousand Summers

The sky is singing cerulean chords
Across the horizon’s score

The cirrus clouds as feathered wings
Invite by flight: explore

As dragonflies wake the eyes
Like lightening coming forth

Trees, as praise, are rooted deep
And lifted leaves adore

A yellow finch and cardinal join
No human could ignore

A refrain is built on locust’s wings
The orchestration soars

When the children upon the scene
Come bounding out-of-doors

Their laughter yet another piece
That blooms within the flowers

The chorus sweetens like a fruit
When light upon it pours

The touch of gladness in the mind
When tasted peace is ours

A thousand summers; a thousand dreams
Upon a thousand shores

And yet today a world away
Play instruments of war



Cuando no hay otra manana
Y el hoy de ayer se ha olvidado,
Cuando la esperanza pierde su aliento,
Te espero.

When yesterday’s wars threaten today’s peace
And to crack the very seams of my soul,
When I can’t bear my burdens anymore,
I wait for you.

معنى او سبب يوجد لا عندما (when there isn’t reason or meaning)
مغلق الشمس باب و (and the door of the Sun is closed)
الشئ هذا الى يحتاج ولا الاشياء بعض الى يحتاجقلبي عندما (when my heart wants anything but this)
انتظارك في انا (I wait for you).

Tu, quien tienes hoy, ayer, y manana
Whose peace the world can’t break
Inta, illi ma lazim 3indak ma3na (you who don’t have to have reasons)
Tu, you, Inta…are worth waiting for.



Thousands come to see the birthplace of Christ
Never seeing the death surrounding the monument they visit
Never realizing that the ½ hour it took them to come from Jerusalem
Is an eternity for the millions of Palestinians who can’t visit the city they call “the Holy.”

The Manger of Bethlehem is now a tomb, slowly sucking the hope away
It’s a tomb made of concrete walls and metal bars
No wonder hundreds leave each year (and thousands more would if able) and never come back
Ironic that that thousands from America come here, sipping their tourist water bottles and complaining of the heat.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A Personal Update

Well, I have done a lot of "soap-boxing," and so I guess its about time for a more personal update.

Here's some of my latest news:

1) Grad school! I started my first full semester of grad. school classes in Intercultural Studies at Wheaton. In some ways it doesn't feel like a lot has changed, though it is nice to feel a bit older when i say "I'm a graduate student." :)

2) Internship: This semester I am doing an internship at my home church in Wheaton, Church of the Resurrection, an an Anglican Mission in America church. The internship title is "prayer and social justice," but in reality will end up encompassing all sorts of things. Mainly I view this as a time to deepen my roots here, to be discipled, and to further prepare for ordination within this denomination. One of my main goals, though, in this, is to help encourage concern for the poor and for justice ministries at our church. It is a time to practice much of what I would like to do in the ME.

3) This summer: I have applied for a scholarship to study Arabic for two months in Jordan. I wasn't planning on returning this summer, but if accepted this would be an all expenses paid opportunity and would also allow me to do two things: a) attend a controversial Anglican Conference in Jerusalem (GAFCON) b) Meet some Anglican leaders in Jerusalem with whom it is possible I could work with in the future.

I have also been accepted to take two week-long classes in Reconciliation and Social Justice at the Eastern Mennonite University.

4) Arab relationships: I have been blessed with several new Palestinian and Arab friends, including a refugee from Iraq. Many opportunities for ministry with them have opened up!

4) Prayer Requests: Openness to God's leading and changing of my plans, acceptance to this scholarship, humility, funds for the summer classes, for my Arab friends.

As a side note, I hope you have been keeping up with the terrible situation in Gaza. I encourage you to read the last two entries in my friend's blog who is over there: Tabulagaza

Peace of Christ be with your spirits!