The Inner Voice of Who Knows What

the pilgrimage: Henri Nouwen and my own topsy-turvy little heart

Archive for the month “February, 2008”

A Bus Testimonial.

This is a little something I wrote yesterday for this month’s FIFUL Faith and Justice Forum; the topic was transportation and justice. Here are my two cents, whatever that adds up to. : )

Fresno Area Express… I’ll readily admit that the city bus is not always as “express” as it could be. There is no pretending that riding the bus is a glamorous thing – the AC isn’t always the best, it take a while to get from 0 to 60, a few of my fellow riders aren’t too concerned about their hygiene, we don’t have hydraulics or rims or fuzzy dice.

What my bus does have, though, is a world that I would have never experienced on my own. Riding the bus gets me out of my small world, a world that is quite pleasant but is mostly white, middle to upper-class, Protestant, and familiar. The FAX does a wonderful job of plunging me into the unfamiliar, which can be a really, really fun time.

My bus reminds me to live intentionally, consciously, and environmentally-friendly. My bus does wonders for the earth; it brings justice to the ozone and righteousness to the greenhouse gases. It is healthy for the world we live in. But for me, it’s even more than environmentalism, I ride the bus because it is healthy for my own soul. It gets me out of myself, into somebody else’s sphere of living that has an incredible amount of wisdom to offer.

Some of my favorite people, the Amish, say they ride buggies because it slows them down. The bus is my buggy, reminding me to slow down and think about the choices I make in life… Am I choosing to live a life marked by convenience and comfort and self-sufficiency? Or can I make the choice to live with a little more work, a little less comfort, and a renewed appreciation for the beauty of interdependency?

Justice means that things are set right, that things are moved from their state of inequality to their state of equality. I may look like a silly little middle-class white girl getting on a big unfamiliar bus, but it is that kind of thing that defies our skewed notions of the certain things that certain people should and shouldn’t do. And every time I get on that bus, it becomes more familiar – and it becomes more okay for me, a silly little white girl, to be there.

That is justice to me, not conforming to the myths about what we should and shouldn’t be doing. If we follow the example of Jesus, he had some pretty crazy ideas about deconstructing those myths.

So is there risk on my bus? I suppose so… the world of the bus is where most of my date offers come from. And from some very interesting fellows.
It does get awkward.
But I am more than willing to get past that awkardness, to a place where I can simply be with my neighbors in their journey – and become a part of that community that exists on those wheels.

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Firsts.

These last two weeks have been fraught with new adventures… They say there’s a first time for everything, and that time has been quite enjoyable.
Recently I have:

Gambled!
… spontaneous Table Mountain visit that got me $3 poorer and fairly depressed at the sight of so many people hoping for something they probably will never receive, staring at their individual screens, only slightly more advanced than a really bad arcade game.

Mailed a package to Canada!
… I love Laura Adams.

Gone skiing!
… the bruises are worth my sense of accomplishment. I learned to glide downhill, even if that meant a lot of crashing into the sides of the trail… at least the snow was soft, right?

Bought a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day!
… I love my friends.

Helped make a film!
… no, not professional – but entertaining and incredibly fun? Yes.

Ran away from an oncoming train and sat on a rickety bridge platform while it sped by!
… mmhmm, exhilirating. Go try it sometime, I will gladly go with you!

Visited a synagogue!
… favorite moment: learning that the Hebrew writing above the altar reads simply, “for the love of truth and peace.”

Eaten a veggie sandwich at a ribs joint!
… delicious.

Watched a Vietnamese film!
Three Seasons, see it if you get a chance and have a desire to see many beautiful lotus flowers.

Spun and danced crazily on a pier above the Pacific Ocean in a blustery windstorm!
… okay, maybe not windstorm, but it was intense. I thought I might blow away. If our day retreat was all about figuring out what sexy is, it was captured in that moment of liberation above the waves.

New adventures are good ones.
Peace.

I love sexy.

“look, no eyes”
courtesy of phitar

Hmm. Some thoughts.

So, certain individuals have called for an update.
The problem is, I feel like there is way too much on my mind right now to create any kind of cohesive and coherent message to convey all that’s been happening the last little bit of life…

We’ll start with this: The world is good. Life is good. Sometimes they get hard and sometimes they get confusing, but goodness abounds.

I love my module. I keep realizing this fact, and the fact that my module loves me, more and more.

MLK Day was a good one. I bicycled, marched for peace, played with children, visited friends, had some tea, and stopped by a car wash fundraiser to get the bicycle clean. I find that some of my favorite people are those that I interact with for about three minutes… A wave is more than enough to share a bit of friendship.

“Sex class,” or rather Theological Ethics of Conflict and Peacemaking, is great. It has been stretching, affirming, challenging, strengthening, turning upside down my own ways of viewing human sexuality. Yes, it gets frustrating when I find myself one of the most liberal people in the room – but this is growth.

I miss Laura Adams. I am so happy for her to be living out life in a bold and unconventional way. But I still miss her and the comfort she so lovingly brings to my troubled mind. Sigh…

I think I finally settled on a New Year’s Resolution… seeking out friends who are different from me. Whether that comes in the context of belief, personality, language, image, life goal, or whatever else plummets me out of my own comfort zone, I am ready to have friends unlike me. Honestly I am becoming very tired of continually being with people who are so like me – usually white, Protestant, middle or upper class. There is nothing inherently wrong with them, with me, but I just feel very ready to know more people unlike me.

Jesus for President! The tour is coming to Fresno on July 12, and I am incredibly excited to be on the planning team for this wonderful occurrence. On the agenda: potluck, veggie oil, fliers, music, political imagination… Can you get any better than that?!?

For Lent, I am nearly convinced that I won’t be buying anything for myself. No purchases for me, unless in an emergency. This means I’ll need to stock up beforehand and be very conscientious about my habits. If Lent is a time to examine the things that distract us from seeking God, this fits perfectly. Should be fun. : )

I am currently listening to Norah Jones and wishing I could sing a bit more like her. Today in jazz band I took an unsolicited scat solo – not great, but it’s a step for me!

And now, to conclude.

“Do you think that one of the reasons why people hate The Da Vinci Code so much is that, if Jesus had a baby with Mary Magdalene, he can’t be their boyfriend?”
courtesy of Robert Jost

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