“Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” 😀
Brooklyn received its first official snow flurry today. The flakes didn’t stick, but there was snow I tell you!
I stayed up until about three in the morning this morning; I was reading through the end of the book of John, and there’s one part that stuck out to me. In John chapter 20, after Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, Mary Magdelene is weeping outside Jesus’ empty tomb when she sees two angels sitting were sitting where Jesus’ body had been. They ask her why she’s crying, and she replies, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Before I go on, I want to point something out. Mary felt disconnected from Jesus, the One who had physically saved her, who had cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:1-3). After following Him for most of His time of ministry, she couldn’t feel His healing presence anymore. She probably felt really lonely. I found this to be similar to how I feel when my sin or my fear get in between me and God. This big wall forms between He and I and it can’t move until I talk to Him about what’s on my heart, until I come out and tell Him about my fear or my sin, until I’m honest with Him. Obviously the context of Mary’s situation is totally different from what I’m talking about, but it’s just a thought.
After answering the angels, she turns and sees Jesus (she actually doesn’t know it’s Him…she thinks it’s the gardner!). He asks her the same question, “Why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?” She says, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” She then turns back to the angels, but before she can inquire any further, Jesus says her name.
When I read this, my heart stopped. I put myself in Mary’s position, hearing Jesus say my name, calling to me like the sheep I am. Once He said her name, only her name, she realizes it’s Him. In John 10:3-4, Jesus says, “The sheep hear his (the shepherd’s) voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (ESV) This passage is a partial representation of what an intimate and personal relationship with God is like. Throughout the Bible God is described as many things, one of which is a shepherd looking over a flock. Guess who the flock is? Yep, God’s disciples, those who believe in Him, who follow Him. This also shows the personal and intimate nature of God, that this God is not a distant God, but a relational one. This reminded me that even though I’m a sheep (which happen to be possibly the most unintelligent animal on the face of the planet), He has made me worthy to walk with Him.
At first when I learned that sheep were unintelligent (I mean, just watch the Veggie Tales version of David and Goliath, the sheep just randomly fall over), I was really insulted. But then when I looked back on all of the idiotic and nonsensical things I’ve done, I figure it’s a pretty accurate description. 🙂
Because of how I felt reading this particular passage of scripture, I’ve decided to read John from beginning to end. Oh! Speaking of the end, check this out:
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” —John 21:25, ESV
I was like:
I just didn’t even know what to do with myself. If Lin hadn’t been there, I probably would’ve had some kind of embarrassing solo dance party in the middle of the room. That’s in the Bible! Isn’t that awesome?? It’s there! That’s so cool 😀
Oh! Yes. Other stuff happened today. Well, once I got over the excitement of there being snow, I walked to Word, Usage, and Style. Last week our assignment had been to write about an out-of-body experience. I wasn’t sure what to write about at first, but I eventually did settle on a story. I typed it up, edited it, and sent it in. But there was one line that I probably should’ve left out…
When I was reading my essay in class, I went over it without care, feeling pretty good about the piece in general. But when my professor began to edit it, he (after saying how much he liked the piece) immediately went to the dreadful sentence:
“Grey and I were in the kitchen, laughing and making corny jokes about the Amish people that seemed to be infiltrating our county.”
Disclaimer: I was not targeting the beliefs of the Amish. But in the Sticks, where I’m from, the way they live disrupts my entire community. They don’t build anything to code, don’t follow regulations set by the local government or pay taxes, and they take unfair advantage of the “Outsiders” that live around them, which is a shame because I personally think the way they live is really fascinating, and the dynamics of their community are worth learning about.
My professor was absolutely livid that I had included this line in here. At first I didn’t understand what he was instructing me to do, so I asked for clarification.
“Well it’s not politically correct. When you write here, in the real world, you can’t say things like this.”
I tried to explain its cultural nature, how it was part of my life back home. I understood what he was saying; I really should be more careful about how I depict other religions in my writing, but I wanted to clarify. Regardless of what I had to say, he went on to talk more about political correctness. He referred to my first piece, which was about my testimony, and said I shouldn’t write it the way I did (I wrote it as if God’s truth was the only truth).
I stopped my professor by saying, “but what if that’s true?” My classmates looked at me. I didn’t realize what I’d said until he asked me to elaborate, but he continued on before actually giving me room to explain. He eventually transitioned into something along the lines of how he was surprised I was badgering my fellow Christians. Granted, I’m sure there are Amish who believe in eternal security and faith-based religion, but Amish doctrine preaches salvation through works and denies eternal security, which are kind of important.
I shouldn’t have said anything. I should’ve just kept my mouth shut.
“It depends on your definition of Christianity.”
He then began to interrogate me about my knowledge of Amish beliefs, not allowing me room to answer. “Do they believe in Jesus Christ? Do they believe in the Bible?” He went on. “It’s in the dictionary. You can look it up.” I felt like I had been slapped across the face. That’s when my classmates joined in. Group mentality took over and they began interrogating me as well, asking me if, because they were of certain denominations, they were not considered Christian.
I scrunched up my nose and pursed my lips to keep myself from crying.
I’m nineteen I thought. I will not cry
The interrogation went on until the last blow was final delivered by my professor.
“I just don’t feel like this was a very Christian thing for you to do.”
My professor had stepped over the bounds of his professionalism to take a direct stab at my faith; he had attacked me in front of the entire class. I had been blindsided, and I was speechless.
I understand why it was wrong of me to write that, or at least why he had pointed it out. But I can’t deny that I had been attacked, ganged up on, and humiliated. I but my lip and held up my chin. I refused to let Satan achieve his goal of breaking me. It had to happen eventually, the attacks, I mean; I just hadn’t expected it to happen this way.
During our break, I went into the bathroom to compose myself. It was over…though I was sure it was only the first of many. During the next half of class I was tempted to hold a grudge against my classmates and professor, to play the victim, but I was reminded that they’re not the enemy. God loves them just as He loves me.
After class, I went to grab a second coat (because it was just a little too cold for just my Pratt sweatshirt) and to take my laptop to the technology department. The completion of this task made me feel a little bit more relieved, a little bit more optimistic. Then I walked to Dekalb Hall to try and hand in my homework that had been due Monday in Critical Thinking & Writing, but my professor wasn’t in her office today. As I walked out of the building, wondering how Paul had survived living in the environment that he lived in, I went to open the door to leave and ran smack dab into the wrong one. Imagining Denis and Adham laughing at me from afar made me laugh 🙂
Writer’s Studio was odd. Maybe it’s because I’m a novelist, but I didn’t really extract any message from the vulgar, pornographic book of poems we had read. Maybe I’ll GET poetry one day…meanwhile, I’ll continue reading Dr. Seuss.
Speaking of green eggs and ham! In Botany, we conducted the slightly-permeable-membrane-egg-vinegar experiment. My lab partner and I had out one of our eggs in vinegar and the other in water. Well, my professor put green food coloring in our egg’s water, which, after a week, turned the the insides and part of the yolk green. It was really cool! Then we conducted an experiment where we spat into a vile (not as gross as it sounds), added Palmolive, salt, and ethanol, and saw the DNA in our saliva separate and become easy to see in the vile.
As I studied the detail of my spit and thought back to the detail in the videos shown in class (they showed how DNA in the nucleus forms chromosomes), I was reminded of just how awesome God is. He came up with that; He was the first to conceptualize and then create DNA.
Wow. And all of that exists inside our bodies every second of every day. If I think about it for too long my brain starts to hurt. How did God pull all of that out of thin air? How did He do that? I mean, I’m excited when I come up with a new food combination (even though it’s probably been around for forever). God drew the blueprint of life…and it all works in perfect harmony.
After Botany, and the dorm fire alarm that was caused by burnt popcorn, I went and cleaned up my dorm, had one girl tell me I had nice eyebrows, forgot my laundry (twice), and ate Honey Nut Cheerios 😀
Today, after first period, I was really confused on how to feel. It was like they had been waiting for me to slip up, to make some kind of mistake so they could point it out…it shocked me. I began to go through the motions of questioning what I’m doing here, how God is going to use this, how He’s going to use me, if I’m even doing the right thing.
But then I was okay; I was at peace. It suddenly didn’t matter that people are offended by the gospel; I would write about it anyway. It didn’t matter if “not everyone believes in what I believe”; it’s not even about my beliefs, but about what God says. They keep trying to make it about me…but it’s not about me at all. They need to look at the One they’re ACTUALLY offended by, not His followers. So I’ll speak of Him and His word, and I’ll mess up, and I’ll have to come crawling back to Him, and I’ll have days when it’s hard, when I want to give up. I don’t know how any of this is going to turn out, but I do know that when it’s all over, God will still be with me, loving me like He always has, since before I was a twinkle in the eyes of my parents: everlastingly, unconditionally, perfectly.
“I have said these things to you, that in me (Jesus) you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33, ESV