humans and their necks

“For some, war leaves no choice; for others it makes choosing a must. A small gesture can yield irreversible consequences. It can either save a life or ruin it. (A quote from the Schindler museum)

Barbed wire fence from Schindler's factory

‘saying you don’t come back from the cemetery’

I am angry in Krakow. Always. Angrier than a Christian should be. Angry like I could punch someone. Ball up my weak little fist and throw it into somebody’s gut. Is that righteous anger? I don’t know. But I peer through a grimy little window in a wall somewhere in Schindler’s Factory at photos of men hanging by their necks. Continue reading

lazarus and one world

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I saw Lazarus do a HAPPY stride like Pharell Williams last night in front of a One World television while the World Cup captivated a room full of strangers. I saw him eat a bar of dark chocolate with a bowl full of fruit this morning. He was Asian.

I think I am starting to like this hostel world.

I like the Polish girl at the desk with her friendly, Polish-accented English. I like the unpolished, anything but plush, earthy, this is the real world reality of an apartment turned home for sojourners on the cheap.

I like the community that becomes a part of the momentary fiber of who and what we share at the core. We are people. Not nationalities, or adverts, or styles, or occupations, or them or us. We are people. People who need a place to sleep, a place to shower, some practical food.

Individualism severs that main artery to community. It does. It breathes into reality an insulated cocoon of comfort. Cultures with higher levels of individualism necessitate broader personal space. And personal space breeds a disconnect from others.

The hostel community forces you out of that bubble – shared bathrooms, shower facilities, sleeping quarters – they attack that individual, comfortable, sterile bubble. Germs. Activity. Plans. They all become somehow more visible, tangible, real.

Can I say that I think our North American churches may suffer from the disconnect of living here in these margins where most of the world breathes?

Our places of worship can easily become bubbles. We are comfortable there : safe, sanitized, proper, like a Hilton hotel. But most of the world is spending the night in One World. Quite honestly, the majority of the world spent the night on the street, selling herself, raped, used, abused, starving, begging for mercy.

And this is not a post to create guilt for prosperity.

This is a post that invites us to step into the world. Incarnationally. It means living in the world, with the world, becoming side by side sojourners : Entering into the mystery of a God who entered into our One World. The bubbles have to be burst. The choice to intentionally live where the germs, and the bathrooms, and the borders are shared is the Jesus way.

Last night, I said this One World was stretchy for me. It is. Truth : I didn’t book this place for my family. Someone else did.

And I did not write the new Wesleyan Freedom statement that talks to church folks about the reality of humans in chains. Someone else wrote that thing.

But, our family has spent a significant amount of our lives crisscrossing Central Europe in a VW Sharan, in all-night buses, in trains, living with people, experiencing their stories … enough to know that if ever we needed a Church that moved to the margins, it is now.

Want to hear something? This world seems so big, right? We think that our lives are disconnected, insulated, safe.

We met Lazarus last night right here in One World watching the World Cup. He was cheering for USA. Turns out Lazarus graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University last year. He and his brother are touring Europe before he goes to grad school. And, Lazarus, this Lazarus, well he can’t hear Jesus calling him yet. I guess he probably hears him, he just doesn’t want to listen. But, it seems like God knows where One World is.

Coincidence?

Or a God who bursts bubbles to do a happy dance?

Praying for Lazarus now.

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a room with strangers

It is past midnight and I am tucked into a bed in a Krakow hostel called ‘One World’. There are 9 beds and our family fills 6 of them. There are 3 strangers sleeping in the remaining beds. This is a stretch, even for me and I am pretty stretchy.

Diversity. God is amazing.

And this is a day in the life of a missionary : 13 hours across 4 countries to spend the night with 3 strangers in One World. If I weren’t so tired, I am sure these would be the ingredients for an interesting post!

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lazarus dancing

 

Danube shoes

i wanna see Lazarus dance

All of us want to see Lazarus dancing

On June 14, our family begins a journey that will last until August. We will be continuously on the road : from our home in Budapest to Romania to Bulgaria to Moldova to Poland, to Denmark, back to Hungary, back to Bulgaria, and then home to Hungary again. Six weeks of car, train, and bus travel – no airplanes. 

It is not vacation. 

But, we will dance. We will dance with Lazarus. Continue reading

when we have faces – Croatia in Focus

Danube shoes

jewish shoe memorial

It is a rainy afternoon and I am snapping photos from a little golf cart that tours Krakow, Poland. It has no sides but still shares the busy, traffic-jammed streets with real vehicles, leaving me with a feeling of vulnerability. I shiver and grasp my camera securely. The spring rain still has the bite of winter making me wish for a second layer. The Jewish Ghetto of Krakow seeps into my bones.

I have walked the streets of Auschwitz and Birkenau, turned my eyes from the plethora of photos that speak the last desperate syllables of life on this planet, seen the cases of hair, dolls, shoes, spectacles, that once belonged to someone just like me. That once belonged to 12 million souls like me. And, one of the questions that always worries me is simply, ‘How did they not know?’
Continue reading

third-culture thoughts

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On the streets of Budapest as thousands of Hungarians remember the Soviet invasion of 1956.

ANOTHER WORLD
It wrapped its arms around my head and pulled as the revolving door spit me into its dim realm. As the days and years passed, the not unpleasant but pungently earthy smell would become a reminder that I had left the sphere of one world and entered an inner sanctum; a sub-world, if you will, where people carried their burdens in speeding bullets of dark passages. The Moscow metroFresh air became redefined and distributed with the whoosh of 150 kilometer per hour measurements and the multiplication of bodies sharing a tiny compartment. 

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