Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Girl Effect

In case you missed this blurb on your Google News feed, today is the 88th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote in the United States.

The 88th anniversary is not a very auspicious anniversary; however, the notation reminded me of this video I saw a few months back on "The Girl Effect"--the powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society.

To celebrate this anniversary, take a few minutes to watch the video below and think about the impact that women have had on our world, continue to have on it, and will have on it in the future.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Working Out of a Redeemed Imagination

While reading an article on the emerging movement for the elimination of nuclear-weapons in the latest issue of Relevant magazine, I was struck by the following statement:
"We live between two realities that we haven't seen: on the one side, the cross and resurrection; and on the other, the fulfillment of God's Kingdom...that is a redeemed creation. When Christians are faithful to this vision, there is a savor to our salt and a brightness to our light that the world needs badly."
We have heard of and believed in the cross and the resurrection. Now we wait for and hope for the redeemed creation. And it is this redeemed creation that I see when I dream of a world without extreme poverty, a world without hunger, a world without pollution.

Often, I encounter a kind of cynicism and pessimism that says these dreams cannot be achieved. Often, when I start listing off the statistics and tallying the odds, I encounter the same cynicism in myself. Poverty, hunger, global-warming--they seem to be immovable objects. Barriers that cannot be thrown aside no matter how large or how powerful the counterforce.

But when challenged with the idea of a redeemed creation, we can see a world without them because we can foresee the Kingdom of God. We stand in the midst of the good news brought near to us through Jesus Christ and the coming good news of the Kingdom of God and the splendor of the new creation. It is through these eyes that we see immovable objects moved--mountains thrown into the sea. And it is with these eyes that we act. Not to be ourselves savior of humanity and of creation, but instead to be living testimony of the redemptive vision of God.

In view of a redeemed creation, we need a new and redeemed imagination. A redemptive imagination that envisions creative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. A redemptive imagination that promotes freedom and effectively disbands the slave trade and sex-trafficking. A redemptive imagination that disarms and destroys conflicts between peoples and puts an end to genocide. A redemptive imagination that feeds every child and eradicates disease.

A redemptive imagination that knows no limits because it is fueled by a limitless God.

It is the redeemed imagination of Christ that can serve as our guide. Jesus took the tattered pieces of the Jewish nation, pieces of the Law that were meant to bring redemption, and rewove them through the limitless powers of His imagination into the redemptive power of the cross and the resurrection. That same imagination is now offered to us through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It is intertwined with faith, hope and love. A redeemed imagination that envisions a redeemed creation.

With a redeemed imagination at our fingertips, the redemptive power of the cross and the resurrection behind us, and a redeemed creation before us--we can offer to the world an unmatched savor to our salt and brightness to our light. Both of which are desperately needed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Peace Corps Update

After an intense physical and dental exam, my medical forms were mailed to the Peace Corps on Monday of this week. When I say an intense physical, I mean intense. Six vials of blood for six different tests, an EKG, a few other tests you don't want to know about, full physical, dental x-rays, and full dental exam. All total Monday's mailing was about 20 pages of paperwork.
What's next? Once I have my medical release, I will receive an official invitation. This invitation will provide the much coveted details, i.e. where exactly I will be going and when exactly I will be going.
Nothing unexpected came out in my physcials. I am hopeful this means that I will receive my medical release quickly. I have heard that it can take some time. Obviously, from my opinion sooner is much better than later. I would like to have a month at least to study my host country, learning about its culture and history. I'd also like to have time to gather together any supplies that I will need for my journey. In other words, I want to be as prepared as possible to leave when November roles around. Please be praying that the release will come quickly.
In the mean time, I plan to begin substitute teaching when the new school term begins here. I will be working on applying for a substitute position with the two largest area districts next week. I am also hoping to take a few more weekend trips to visit friends and family. I will let you know as I make those plans.
Thanks for all the prayers and blessings! November draws closer and the anticipation is growing. Hopefully back with a new update soon...