A Life without Christ

I love stories. I love hearing about people. I love books that share a story. I appreciate stories that show me the love of Christ, especially when they don't intend to. I love stories about people who are real.

I just read such a story.

Night by Elie Wiesel.

I can't fathom the extent of suffering Mr. Wiesel has endured. Never in a million years will I understand the suffering. I can't imagine what my response to God would be had I been the one in concentration camps. It scares me to think that my response might have been his. Listen to his story:

In days gone by Rosh Hashanah had dominated my life. I knew that my sins grieved the Almighty and so I pleaded for forgiveness. But now, I no longer pleaded for anything. I was no longer able to lament. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man. Without love or mercy. I was nothing but ashes now, but I felt myself to be stronger than this Almighty to whom my life had been bound for so long.

How sad to see a man who was so close to truth, only to turn so far away from it. His story is heartbreaking. The suffering is sad, yes, but many suffer. What is heartbreaking is his loss of faith and his rejection of God. As he remembers a hanging in the camp he says, " 'For God's sake, where is God?' And from within me, I heard a voice answer: "Where He is? This is where - hanging here from this gallows..."

When belief is caught up in a God who is not there, who is not personal, this is a right response. That god is dead. But praise the true God, that He is there and He is living.

While Night is desperate and intense, the most moving portion was in the forward written by the publisher Francois Mauriac. With him I identified and with his words I thought, "how should a Christian respond?"

What did I say to him? Did I speak to him of that other Jew, this crucified brother who perhaps resembled him and whose cross conquered the world? Did I explain to him that what had been a stumbling block for his faith had become a conerstone for mine? And that the connection between the cross and human suffering remains, in my view, the key to the unfathomable mystery in which the faith of his childhood was lost? We do not know the worth of one single drop of blood, one single tear. All is grace. If the Almighty is the Almighty, the last word for each of us belongs to Him. That is what I should have said to him. But all I could do was embrace him and weep.

Response. When Christians are faced with the suffering in the world how should we respond? Wiesel says this of response in his preface to his own story, "I answer that not only do I not know it, but that I don't even know if a tragedy of this magnitude has a response. What I do know is that there is 'response' in responsibility."

There is response in responsibility.




This article is incredible. I have no coherent thoughts about it other than, Lord have mercy. Truth. Why can't people see it?


This is my week.

Dr. Richard Ganz will be speaking at VERiTAS for a three day conference this week. If you have never heard Dr. Ganz speak (or his incredible testimony), please come. It will be worth your while.

Session 1: "From Freud to Jesus"
Tuesday, October 24. 7:00 pm.
Butler University, Pharmacy Building 106

Session 2: "Can Psychology Exist without God?"
Wednesday, October 25. 7:00 pm.
Butler University, Gallahue Hall 108

Session 3: "Psychology: Science or Religion?"
Thursday, October 26. 7:00 pm.
Butler University, Gallahue Hall 108.


More hiking pics

This time they're for real...
The Blue Ridge Mountains

The cost of being fashionable:

"Sir, we'd like a trail map, please."

"You're going hiking? Dressed like that?"


Still Vacationing

Charlottesville, VA: Home to Thomas Jefferson and the most picture perfect college town! UVA campus is absolutely beautiful - makes big school setting actually appealing.

Spent the afternoon yesterday hiking to Humpback Rock and driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I don't have a camera, but I stole some pics off the internet. We hiked several miles to this place. I must not be in too bad of shape because I'm not sore at all. Yippee!

This is the Blue Ridge Parkway.

My friend Jessica and I dressed up for dinner and toured the downtown walking district in Charlottesville. Again, more adorable-ness.

Jess is at work today, and I have been lazing around with a rate of zero productivitiy. Unless you consider working on my scarf and watching Food Network and Project Runway being productive. Now I'm off to find a coffee shop to sit and read for a while. That should ease the pain of procrastination. Sunday I meet up with a DC friend in Leesburg, then off to Pittsburgh area for church and more friends. Monday it's back to real life.


"Carry Me Back to Ol' Virginia," or, Flying Solo

Note to self: Grab a rifle and watch out for Red Coats. This is patriot territory!

Fall break has found me safely in Charlottesville, VA for the weekend. I'm visiting friends here and there, touring the scenic byways, shopping for my fancy, catching up on sleep, and searching for a reservoir of renewed sanity. I felt a bit like Orlando Bloom in Elizabethtown today - if you've seen it you know what I'm talking about. A guy makes a solo trek across country starting in Louisville, accompanied by a great soundtrack. I traveled four states solo (3 more to go), crossed the Ohio at Louisville, and listened to some great tunes. Haven't found myself yet, but still looking...

Did you know Kentucky was beautiful in the fall? And the I-64 stretch from SW Virginia to Charlottesville is to die for, especially with the sun setting in the Blue Ridge. I now have a new perspective on driving long distances. And I realize how addicting they can be - sort of like computer solitaire: just one more game, just one more mile. Suddenly, you've gone a hundred miles past your lunch break point. Extremely therapeutic.

Notable accomplishments for the day:
-9 quarters poorer, but I can put air in my tires. And I finally know how to use the gauge.
-I'm map reading extrordinaire- with only one short detour on my record.
- No dozing off. No temptation to doze.
-Reading and driving do mix, thanks to book on tape. I can cross Wuthering Heights of my to-read list. Good thing, too - very depressing.
-600 plus miles. All by myself.
-Only one cup of coffee and 600 plus miles. All by myself.


Feminine Fragility

A recent discussion with a friend centered on how women need to talk more than men and how women tend to be much more emotional. She said women were like tea cups, beautiful but easily broken. I've pondered this and think you could take the analagy to another level.

Tea cups. There different qualities of tea cups. Some are thick and chunky, but some are very fine and delicate. Both can be beautiful, but the most delicate tea cup is the finest, most expensive. It also is the most easily broken. The way to find out if your tea cup is good quality is by holding it up to the light. If you can see through the rim and the bottom edge of the tea cup, then you've got a well made piece of china. If when you hold it up to the light, and the material is very opaque and doesn't let light through, then you've got a cheaper cup. Still useful, but not as delicate.

So as women, are we most beautiful when we are the most transparent? We're still beautiful and God can still use us even if we're made of chunky clay, no doubt, but does that make us the finest? If we are always cold, closed, and hesitant to let people see through our lives, we're not going to have much affect on the lives of the people we help. That opaque layer of protection will always get in the way of our growth. But if we are open about our struggles and the real stuff of life, then our lives become transparent and people can see how beautiful we really are.

The hard part is the comfort level. It's much easier to be a comfy mug and it's more reassuring because we know they'll stand up better to every day use and are less likely to break. It's hard to be transparent and to be open about your life. No one wants to let others see the delicate side. But I guess if you really want to influence people around you, you have to be willing to be picked up and held to the light see what kind of quality will shine through you.


Currently thinking about...

...working out my salvation with fear and trembling

I just returned from a three hour long group discussion at the LeFebvre's on a cappella singing in worship. It was a fantastic conversation, and somehow this verse summed up how I felt when leaving. There are gray areas in Scripture, and sometimes truth is unclear. Tonight exemplified what it means to work out your faith, that is, to seek truth in every circumstance and to question what is at the heart of your belief.

The fear and trembling part comes in with the question we must face if what we believe is wrong. Lord have mercy on us if we err in believing an untruth. We should be in fear of the condemnation that will come if we don't believe rightly. If what I believe is not true, am I willing to face the real truth?

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12

No More S'mores.

Title is misleading. It should read, Not Any S'mores, but I liked the rhyme...

In any case, that was the event last night. No S'mores!

More than anything, Mom wanted a bonfire last night for her birthday celebration. With both of us having October birthdays, bonfires are a bit of a tradition and birthdays aren't birthdays unless we have one. So we tried.

Problem A: Wasps.

Apparently there was a hidden wasp nest in the firepit. Needless to say, they were a bit unhappy about being smoked out of their beds. As Dad was attempting to build a fire, wasps were billowing out of the pit and crawling/flying everywhere. Both Colin and Dad got stung. One landed on my jeans and I carried it unknowingly into the house. Screaming and running back outside, Colin attempted to remove it by slapping a towel on my leg. Oh no, it only pushed the wasp into my jean pocket. More screaming and running back inside.

Problem B: Weather.

After the lives of all visible wasps were extinguished, the party finally settled 'round the fire. Only then, did the heavens open up and it started pounding enormous drops on us and our hard-earned fire.

Result of Problems A and B: No S'mores!

Ahhh, maybe next birthday....


Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday to my pal
To my pal, to my pal
Happy Birthday to my pal,
My pal, MOMMY!

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you. You are an inspiration to me and my loving guide. You don't just live by example, you set the example of what a godly woman should look like. Thank you!


Clothes Captioning

While shopping on Friday night, Amy and I were commenting on this season's return to 80's fashion style. We're in agreement for sure that leggings and shirtdresses are a fright! But also we both think that the "tunic" is a good thing. Ok, maybe not the real tunic, but both being long torso makes us very grateful for longer shirts. After a number of years of having shorter shirts not meet the low rise jeans, we're glad finally not to have to tug shirts to keep the belly covered.

Most of us are probably cringing and groaning at the 80's popularity. But there is one good point I really appreciate about the 80's, and that's the emphasis on feminine clothes. Yeah, a little too romantic for my taste, but I'm glad to see the fashion world encourage women to take pride in their woman-ness.
J.Crew has amazing pants. And Fantastic is my new spot remover salvation. I know, Fantastic?

I recently removed a pair of khakis from its hanger only to notice that large, bright blue spots dotted the legs. ARGH! Blue and Khaki should be coordinate not ASSIMILATE! Seeing as I'd missed this stain in transportation from dryer to closet, and they had hung there for a number of weeks, I had my doubts I'd ever wear this pair again. Off to the wash they went drenched in Shout. No luck. Someone told me hairspray would work so I tried that. Still no luck. Then I tried using Fantastic (at Mom's suggestion). Low and behold the blue spot had lightened. Encouraged I tried it again. And again. After at least 15 times through the wash loaded with Fantastic, I am delighted to say that hardly a trace of blue remains! Seriously, I can't believe it myself. If you had seen how stained they were, you'd be a convert too! So my cold-wash only pants went through 15 hot water washes and returned to my closet without a measure of extra wear or shrinkage. You really do get what you pay for... Amazing!


Thoughts for a GORGEOUS Sunday

I fell asleep last night with a children's praise song in my head. Proof that learning music early in life will stick around. Funny how truths are true at any age...here are the lyrics as I remember.

He's still working on me,
To make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be,
He's still working on me.

There really ought to be,
A sign upon my heart:
Don't judge me yet,
There's an unfinished part.
But I'll be perfect just according to His plan,
Fashioned by the Master's loving hand.
We went for a long drive after church today and we passed this church that was advertised as, "The Salvage Yard Christian Church: No Traditions. No Politics. No Baggage."

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