Monday, July 26, 2010

Rev. 5

"Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" And no one in heaven or earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."
-Rev 5:1-5

This is an encouraging passage for me, mostly because emotionally I'm a wreck right now. Currently my mother is in the hospital, as her 10 year battle with cancer has recently taken a turn for the worse. There are a number of treatments available, but her condition is serious and uncertain. Having an ocean between us while she goes through this if excruciatingly difficult. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Equally frustrating is the recognition that even if I was in America I couldn't do anything to make her well.

Meanwhile, my closest and dearest friend here, Julie, will be returning to America in less than 2 weeks. For the past 4 months she has been a wonderful neighbor, coworker, cultural informant, and friend. She has been such a vital part of our community here and the thought of her leaving makes me sad and confused.

And in the midst of this I read Rev. 5 and am encouraged.

Without delving too deeply into the nature or purpose of Apocalyptic literature, the scroll in this passage most likely represents the meaning and purpose of human history. John weeps because no one is found to read the scroll. In the same way we need someone to interpret our own lives. We need to believe that events have meaning and significance. We need to feel connected to a larger story.

This is exactly where I am right now. I do not understand why this is happening, and like John I am mourning.

But Jesus, God's vindicated righteous one, is worthy to open the scroll. In his death and resurrection, Jesus has conquered sin and death and has removed the curse of Genesis 3. This person and his work is intrinsically linked to the telos of all human history. He is the hermeneutical key that interprets our very existence.

Even when consumed by uncertainty, I know that Christ is Lord. He is making all things new and is restoring his people to the Father. I can rejoice in this, even as I mourn.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My baby brother David took a short break from his time in Rome to come see me in Istanbul! But he needs to shave.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Aşk ve Yaz

Right now the Dernek I work at is sponsoring a summer English camp.

My favorite moment so far was when one little guy came up to me and asked, " 'I love you' ne demek?" (What does, 'I love you' mean?).

When I told him "Seni seviyorum" his eyes got really big and immediately ran off to find the girl who told him.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Buna Ababa

"We call this coffee Buna Ababa, or "Coffee Flower", for a reason. Notes of jasmine, lemon blossom, and gardenia lead to flavors of citrus, bergamot, and honey above an elgant, delicate body in the cup. This is perhaps the most regal and brilliant coffee anywhere and these coffees are always firm favorites of coffee connoisseurs." - Tasting Notes from Counter Culture Coffee.

In other words I am "l2l"ing this month's coffee of the month from Counter Culture. Grateful to get my hands on a bag.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Reflections on the 4th as an Expat

I lot of people seem to think that I hate America just because I don't live there anymore... and because I'm pretty vocal about my belief that the American Revolution wasn't a just war... and because when I was in high school I used to tell people that I hated America. This is further accentuated by the fact that these days I'm usually mistaken for either a German or Russian (by Turks, Germans, and Russians), and even a cursory review of American history shows that Germany and Russia haven't exactly been our bffs.

But in reality I'm American as my mom's gluten free apple pie (which more is like a cobbler, because gluten free pie crust is really hard to make). For example:

I like more than 12oz of soda with my dinner.
I like ice in said large quantities of soda.
I love air conditioning.
I love American Football.
I regularly use American inventions, such as the light bulb, the telephone, and the internet (thanks former vice president and Nobel laureate Al Gore).

All of these things are distinctly American and people who don't like America don't have to use them.

But beyond a renewed appreciation for these conveniences, living abroad has taught me that everyone comes from a place, and that place plays a tremendous role in one's worldview and identity. In recognizing the fact that I had absolutely no influence as to which nation or culture I was born into, the best response seems to be an appreciative but critical acceptance of my national and cultural heritage.

In other words, I am getting a tattoo of a bald eagle riding on a Harley Davidson holding an American flag.


Recently we tried to recreate the popular poem Footprints. This was when a whole bunch of crap was going down.