Tuesday, November 13, 2007

War and Peace: Completed.

War and Peace: Completed.

I have officially completed the novel that is War and Peace, though I must add, with a very surface level understanding. They say it is one of the greatest novels every written, and I must agree with this, as it would have taken a literary genie to develop all the characters, plots, sub-plots, and even intertwine them with one another on such an intricate level. Kudos to you Leo Tolstoy.

I did enjoy the way that Tolstoy portrayed the actions of history not to be controlled by military men of genius (Tolstoy argues that there exist no such genius’), but by something much larger than simply a single man. I think he builds a strong point (though not necessarily intentionally) for the influence of a sovereign God on the course of history, though I am pretty certain this is not the view he chooses to accept.

I was a bit disappointed this afternoon, as I found myself drowning in Tolstoy’s debate between the relationship between free will and necessity in the last portion of the book. I’m pretty sure I am in no position to comment on this last segment, but I can at least say I tried to comprehend what I could. Maybe I’ll understand when I’m older.

The book itself has done quite a bit of traveling to get to this point. It has been to Kenya, Mozambique, Hawaii, Washington, South Africa, Greece, and multiple aeroplanes in between. Just last month, I saw it necessary to perform surgery on it, as is shown in the picture (it was originally purchased in a single volume). One box of cornflakes and a few slices of duct tape later, I had two much more manageable books.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt:

Now he had learnt to see the great, the eternal, and the infinite in everything; and naturally therefore, in order to see it, to revel in its contemplation, he flung aside the telescope through which he had hitherto been gazing over men’s heads, and looked joyfully at the ever-changing, ever grand, unfathomable, and infinite life around him. And the closer he looked at it, the calmer and happier he was. The terrible question that had shattered all his intellectual edifices in old days, the question: What for? had no existence for him now. To that question, What for? he had now always ready in his soul the simple answer: Because there is a God, that God without whom not one hair of a man’s head falls (p. 1258).

Amongst other things, there exists a cornucopia of stray dogs here in Porto Rafti. It is not uncommon to hear of people going out to town, followed by 19 stray dogs. I often find it a bit unsettling, not knowing the life stories and backgrounds of these pups, but I guess they’re interesting to have around.

Now I'll be moving on to Les Miserables, when I have the time.

Monday, October 8, 2007

feed my sheep

Today I met Doreen and Charles. They live in a park. They are strollers.

They taught me something about generosity. They have so little. But they still found a way to give, even of the little that they had.

We sat in the grass, along with the pigeons. They were sitting on some pieces of cardboard, the piece beneath Charles read, “THERE’S AN EARRING IN MY SOUP.” As Charles consumed his roll, he chased it with a swig of milk that ended up messily residing at the corners of his lips. Doreen was slow to eat her Yellow Corn Roll, as she lacked teeth to speed up the process.

She says they are strollers. She says they aren’t homeless, and they aren’t beggars; they just stroll around from place to place. Every Sunday they wash windows and clean gardens for 100 Rand.

100 Rand is less than 15 dollars.

About half way through her roll, I noticed her breaking off small pieces, tossing them to the seemingly ubiquitous birds. She feels that God wants her to give to the birds. The birds can’t speak up and say they’re hungry, so she feels that she must feed them. It’s the enjoyment in her day. And she did not just to break off small pieces from the small piece of bread we had given her, but she then pulled a couple more pieces of bread from her bag to give away. To the pigeons, and at one point a large female duck.

I would have liked to cry, but I did not want to feel weird.

So this is the picture of generosity I will keep in my mind; Doreen, with a weathered hand, reaching out, lending bread to a swarm of grey pigeons.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

seattle to cape town, with some small-scale airport adventures in between

I am now confident to say that the Japanese are masters of speed, efficiency, and kindness, amongst other things. Never have I found the airport personel to be so amiable and helpful. Kudos to you Japan.

Arriving in Singapore, I felt as if I had arrived in Florida. I had not, I was still in Singapore, it just felt like Florida. Maybe they buy their carpet from the same people.

Arriving in Johannesburg, we met James and Moses. In America they would have appeared to be wearing prison jumpsuits. In the Johannesburg airport however, orange jumpsuits identify the helpers/cartmen/people-who-take-your-cart-from-you-by-force-and-push-it. Usually this would have proved to be an annoyance, however, we soon found that they knew how to find their ways around hundreds of people - helpful when you flight leaves in less than an hour. They asked for some handsome tips, but I figure this is cheaper than the ticket I would have had to buy had I missed my flight…which most definitely would have been the case.

So I’m now in Cape Town. Africa? A very interesting brand of Africa I would say. It kind of seems like a European version of Africa. This I like. Maybe I shall get to explore sometime soon.

Oh, and I now live with three Korean gentlemen. I should be picking up some new vocabulary.

Monday, September 24, 2007

here's to you ellensburg. I love you and will hold you warmly in my heart.

So I'm leaving.

It is weird to say goodbye. I won't miss the smell of mothballs that we use to fend off the intruding skunks from beneath our home, but I will miss the mother and father who are now slumbering, and the brother whom I hug with fervor...not to mention the furry animals that run to and fro in the wee hours of the morning. If this is nostalgia, I do request your forgiveness.

It's weird saying goodbye to people for nine-months-but-more-like-a-year-and-a-half. Could it be possible that I would have the beginnings of facial hair by the time I return...most likely not. Could it be possible that my views on the world have changed completely? This I think is more likely.

I don't know what's going to happen, but this, I think, is good. Could it be possible that he, the LORD, would give me my expectations? Yes. I do think so.

I like long rides in airplanes. I like the small cups of coffee and not knowing what time of day it is. I like asking for multiple meals (for this one I have found the African Airlines to be most generous).

So I will miss the trees on ninth street this fall. I won't be riding my bicycle through the leaves. Others will in my place, but I don't know if this is any consolation.

I have sleepy eyes.

Maybe Monster Truck Madness is the best way to fare one well.

Friday, August 24, 2007

here, some new garmets with which to adorn yourself

Romans 5:13-14, “…What a contrast between Adam and Christ, who was yet to come! And what a difference between our sin and God’s generous gift of forgivenenss.”

There are Zebras in Africa. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see any, but I know that they live there. As I was reading this verse from Romans, I began to think of zebras, because of their contrasting strips. I don’t know what would contrast more than black and white, and I find it interesting that God has built a picture of this contrast into creation.

The panel of yellow is to portray the heavenly clothes that God has waiting for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. When someone with AIDS looks simply at their life in the world, there wouldn’t appear to be much hope. However, with an eternal perspective, there is an everlasting hope that can be held on to when they look to Jesus for hope. On top of the yellow I put one flow of purple. In the bible, purple seems to be a color of royalty.

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

Finally, the colors on the right are the colors of the stones that are to be in the wall of the New Jerusalem that will be in Heaven. This can be found in Revelation 21:18-20.

“The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve gems: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.”

Saturday, August 11, 2007

polka dots, blood, snow, etc.

There are polka dots on this painting. They are to show the black blots that are our sins.

But there is a part-two to this. The flows of red are intended to speak of the way in which Jesus’ blood washes and cleanses us of our imperfections, shortcomings, iniquities, etc. The flows of red turn into progressively cleaner shades of red, to show how God continues to author and perfect our faith through Jesus’ blood.

Then there is the white. Through the grace extended to us through Jesus Christ, where once we were dirty, we can now become white as snow.

Isaiah 1:18 says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (New International Version)

The verse on the white is the answer to the verse from the first painting.

Habakkuk 2:3 reads, “But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”
(New Living Translation)

AIDS isn’t going disappear right away. It will take time, but I believe there is a time coming when God’s vision for the eradication of AIDS will be fulfilled.

Which leads to painting no. 3.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

solutions of the world, or the great shortcomings that may follow:

This painting has a couple ideas to it.

It was created to be coming from the standpoint of one who has been infected with HIV, questioning the sovereignty of God. The words, a verse from Habakkuk 1:12 ask,

“Is your plan in all of this to wipe us out? Surely Not!”

Many people who contract this disease are quite often stigmatized, hated, untouched, left to die alone, etc. Surely they would question and are questioning what God is doing in such a situation, and for good reason.

Another idea that is contained here is that of the solutions of the world, and how really, they are only masking a problem that requires a much more sovereign solution. With HIV and AIDS, the world has some solutions. Some sound halfway good. Some are a bit more far-fetched and unrealistic. Some say to solve AIDS by solving poverty. Some say to solve AIDS by promoting the use of condoms. Some say to solve AIDS through education. Though these may sound somewhat effective, but they are not without their errors. These solutions can only go so far in preventing the spread of such a disease. In all reality, they would only mask parts of a problem that is only continuing to worsen.

But don’t fret. There is hope.

These are the people I hold in my hands on a constant basis.

While I was in Africa, God put an idea for a painting in my head, which is the first painting that I'll post. This idea for one painting then turned into more ideas, for more paintings.

In working with the issue of HIV and AIDS, I saw that God is wanting to do something in regards to this issue. And he is putting it on the hearts of his people to do something.

He has put it on my heart to portray the message of restoration that he longs so deeply to speak into the hearts of these people. People with HIV. People with AIDS. People that God loves just as much as he loves you; as much as he loves me.

There is a hope for HIV and AIDS in our world, and that hope is Jesus Christ. These paintings are meant to speak something of that.

But even more so, I'm thinking that these paintings also have a bit to say about the ways in which God has made a way for all of us, (with or without AIDS,) to come before his throne. To Run to him. To kiss his feet. To worship him. In this there is restoration, and in this there is life, of the eternal sort.

I would have wasted away long ago without such a hope.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Out of my element? Yes, I think so, but I'm in a place where that can be ok.

Things are wild lately. I see that in the next two to three months there is the potential for my life to become drastically different. Not that this is bad. I’m excited for whatever change may come; I just don’t know what form the change is going to take. I’m not sure that I even know what form I want it to take.

I can’t run away from the need I have to grow my faith.

I do believe, but help me not to doubt.

My heart has been full of ideas lately - ideas that excite my heart for the world. But I think they are things that require a spoonful of patience, to put things in Mary Poppins’ terms. Things that require me right now to do things like going to the registrar, where I could very likely be hornswaggled into some sort of University Code for Transcript Retrieval. Things that require me to scrape burnt cheese off of multiple white dishes. Things that require me to climb up wobbly ladders to uncomfortable heights. Things that are worth it for the sake of pursuing the oftentimes foggy but intriguing visions that he is drawing on my mind.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Prolonged Return to the Beautiful, but Distant State that is Washington.

Let's just say that the Midwest treated me as her friend. And by saying that the Midwest treated me as her friend, I mean to say that I follow an amazing God. A God that could grow a relationship that had continents and ocean and time in between.

Chicago is a fun place, but even more so is Berkeley. Though I often struggled with the high rate of yard-sport proficiency that appeared to be so engrained into the genes of many Midwesterners,

Berkeley is also the place where they make World Dryers, the things that dry your hands in many-a-public lavatories.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dear Midwest, I hope you treat me kindly.

So, just FYI, if you're ever in Seattle/Tacoma International Airport at 5 am, don't even worry about going to Starbucks, the line is the size of a large anaconda.

So I sit here at Tully's. Drip Coffee and a Scone.

I slept for about two hours last night, because I am a weirdo.

But soon I embark on a journey to Chicago. For some reason that requires a quick jaunt to Dallas. Why? Because I buy tickets on travelocity.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Ten Dollars, Presidential Debates...and "Possible" Genocide.

As I was transporting dishes, from being cleaned, back to their homes, I was asked an interesting question:

Is Ten Dollars a lot of money to you?"

Confusingly stumbling over my words, I tried to explain that ten dollars was a fair amount of money. I wasn't really sure how to put it in the context of a lot or a little. I hate being wishy-washy.

10 i-tunes; A smidgin over an hour's wages

Then I remembered Mozambique. Ten Dollars goes a lot further there.

Enough water for 10 years; 260 pieces of bread; 40 pineapples

And I don't say this to convict any of you, because when I look at myself, I realize that I surely don't look at 10 dollars for what it is. I don't know if it is even fair to compare the two situations. In the very least, I hope I can look at this and remember what they go through on a regular basis.

They fish. They play with my used Fanta can. They eat rice everyday. They die from diseases of which they have no solid understanding. They adhere to religions they don't care about. They dance. They sing. They hurt. They could buy water for less than ten cents a month, but cannot always afford it.

And I question the value of money.


I am currently planning a showing of Photographs from, and Art inspired by this most recent trip to Mozambique. I’ve set up a tentative date in my mind for Sunday, July 22nd, in the foyer of the church that is Ellensburg Christian and Missionary Alliance. I’ll make some announcements when this date is solidified.

Above: A slight flavor-taste of painting #1. This is just a small portion of the entire painting #1.

I plan on selling the photographs and paintings. I’ve never sold art. God has placed it on my heart to give a significant portion of any proceeds back to the Mozambicans. I’m in the process of finding a Christian Organization that is working with HIV and AIDS in Quelimane, the city where my team and I spent most of our time in Mozambique.

In the meantime, I need to find some synthetic fur to make some synthetic zebra stripes.


I watched some of the Presidential Debates tonight. I was intrigued.

I don’t know who makes the questions for these shows, but I was scared to see that whoever does make the questions still questions whether or not the Genocide in Darfur is really Genocide.

I’m comforted by the fact that the course of our country, the course of our world, is not in the hands of politicians or kings or rebellious/brainwashed militiamen, all of whom are just as much in need of grace as I; things are in God’s hands, and his hands are giant. Read Colossians 1. More precisely verse 16.

Let’s pray.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Black and White African Horsies.

Romans 5:14-15 reads, "...What a contrast between Adam and Christ, who was yet to come! 15 And what a difference between our sin and God's generous gift of forgiveness." (NLT)

This is turn causes me to think about zebras. And their stripes. I like the look of zebra stripes. Very fashionable, though I certainly don't condone the skinning of these beautiful aminals. Screen-printed zebra stripes are much more efficient. But beyond fashion, I really think there is something pretty about their stripes.

A message of salvation that our sovereign God has worked even into the nice little aminals that he created.

Yes, I meant to spell it aminals.

I don't say this to come across as someone who's trying to fend off evolution - I don't think that needs to be the issue. But rather, I see this as just another reason to be flabbergasted at God. Obviously he is infinitely complex, but to stylistically work his message - contrasting our black blot of sin with his gift that turns us white as snow through faith in Jesus Christ- into creation, is pretty neat, keen, fun, (insert nerdy adjective here).

We may see this working itself out in an untitled painting #3. More news on this later.

5:17 goes on to say, "The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who recieve God's wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ." Quite astonishing when you recall that the author of this passage was a former Christian-Killer.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

An inconsistant blogger...

So I realize I would like to make blogging more of a priority. But I get confused, very confused.

But this is where I am. Pero aqui es donde estoy.

I want to love Jesus more. Even if I do love him some, I want to love him more. More than dollars. More than fancy electronic devices. More than a cup of coffee. More than paintbrushes. More than the life that I continue to find baffling a bit more every day.

The love, the abundance of love that has been poured out on me. This precious red liquid flowed out of his hands and now somehow rests, amongst other things, over Tim Dyk.

Lord teach me to live. But first, teach me to love. You.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An Orphan.

Physically, I am obviously not an orphan. Spiritually, I am nothing more than such a child without parents, without anyone for that matter.

But not an orphan without hope - I've been adopted. Would anyone else have been able to take me in? Maybe. But in you alone does this orphan find mercy.

So no, I am not the physically malnourished toddler whose parents have been stolen away by unnecessary political conflicts or an unruly pandemic. But in a different realm.

The day I was born, I was dumped in a field, and left to die, unwanted. But for some reason, as I was helplessly squirming around in my own blood, attractive by no standards whatsoever,

I caught your eye.

You told me to live.

I became worth something. Not because of any value I possessed, but worth something only because you wanted me.

I can't thank you enough for taking up a project such as I, not to mention following through with it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

strawberry yogurt and coffee do not settle a stomach.

Why am I surprised that I feel so differently? I went away for five months, and then I am torn up when I find that I am not able to return and settle into the exact same place I used to fill. I don’t want to go back to filling that old place, but I don’t know what the new one looks like.

Credits. Practicum. Majors.

Is it because I would have wanted something “concrete”?

Trusting that I am not a lunatic.

A place where I am a failure if I do not have you to follow. A place where I would seem to be a fool, but trust that I am not because of a vision that has been instilled by your spirit. A place where I sometimes appear to myself as a loser would it not be for the place I know you are taking me.

Because when I was looking them in the eyes, I was starring directly into your face. It was too much to handle. I wanted to keep looking, but I had to place my gaze elsewhere, because I didn’t want to have to tell them why I was crying.

So this is why I am completely content with you. Because I know this is life, and life to the fullest. Trusting in your sovereignty, and your ability to take me where do not know how to go. This is the life I want. This is the faith I am learning to have.

Monday, March 26, 2007

To the Lord

May I love you? Simply for who you are? May I grab hold of your hands, simply because you've stretched them out for me to hold? No, not for what may come from them or for what is coming from them. Not now. Just your God-manos.

You reach down, through the layers of clouds - Stratus and Cumulus, because Gina Bloodworth taught me that those are the only important ones - placing your big hands right in the middle of my neighborhood. They're a bit higher than I would think that I can reach, but when I get on the ends of my toes I find that I am able to have my hands envelloped by yours.

And there is nothing else, because there needs not be anything else. This is all you want, and this is all I want. The rest can be dealt with later.