When I left America 5 months ago I said goodbye indefinitely. In order to integrate into my new community, I was resolved to leave as much of my culture behind as possible. Although I knew I'll always be an outsider, I wanted to fully commit to living life here, and that included not returning to America until my contract was over. Any vacation time was to be spent traveling- Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa- all the places I've never been.
And yet I find myself with a roundtrip ticket to Phoenix for tomorrow and a suitcase to finish packing.
My mom is currently in a hospice facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Modern medicine has done all it can to fight the cancer that is ravaging her body and now treatment will focus on increasing the quality of my mom's life, not prolonging it.
As I write these words, my heart is in deep anguish. Cancer has been a formidable part of my family's life for more than a decade now, but now that the long dread moment has arrived, I find myself incapable of processing the significance of what is happening. Essentially, I am leaving tomorrow to spend one last week with the person I have loved so dearly my entire life. I have no vocabulary to describe the dull pain in my chest, or the pit in my stomach, or my incapability to imagine a world without her in it.
In the midst of this anguish, my only hope is the the gospel.
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ, Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death."
"Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed., in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and thie mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'"
1 Cor. 15 :20-26; 51-55
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
"The shape of the narrative in the closing chapters of Acts is also most instructive. A quick comparison with Luke's gospel reveals a close parallel: Paul, like Jesus, goes on a long journey, ending up being tried before both Jews and Romans. The equivalent of the crucifixion, however, is not Paul's own death. Luke has no intention of making Paul a second redeemer, dying for the sins of the world. The crucifixion narrative in the gospel is echoed by the storm and shipwreck in Acts; the resurrection, by the safe arrival of Paul and his party in Rome, leading to the open and unhindered proclamation of the kingdom of Israel's god, the god now revealed in the risen Lord Jesus. The gospel of Jesus advances by the same means as Jesus himself had done; the cross and resurrection are stamped upon the life of the church that bears witness to them. But the work of the church derives from that of Jesus, and is not merely parallel to it."
-N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 375.
-N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 375.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Just when I had given up all hope on a new Sufjan album (largely due to interviews like this one where Sufjan basically says he isn't making new albums), the elusive song-writer and indie-demigod drops a digital Pearl-Harbor of an EP, All Delighted People, with virtually no warning. The title couldn't be more apt, as I for one am quite delighted with it after a few preliminary listens.
You can listen to and buy the album here. That would be a very good idea.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Gossip is pretty much ubiquitous. Every place on earth there's more than 2 people, people enjoy talking about people who aren't there. Also people are bad so they sometimes say bad things about the people who aren't there.
In Turkey, people take gossip to another level, in fact, they have entire tense for it. For example:
If want to say "This morning Mehmet went to school." I would say:
"Bu sabah Mehmet okula gitti."
But if I didn't see it with my own eyes (i.e. I'm assuming he went to school) I say:
"Bu sabah Mehmet okula gitmiş."
The mış/muş case ending let's everyone know it's not firsthand information.
But the use of mış/muş (pronounce mish/moosh) doesn't stop there. For instance, nobody remembers being born, so technically your birthday is second hand information.
"Ben 1987 yılında doğmuşum"
Even crazier, if you were drunk enough to not remember what happened, you should use mış/muş.
Dün akşam sarhoş olmuşum.
Definitely gives a new meaning to "heard it through the grapevine."
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I brewed the last little bit of my Counter Culture Guatemala iced, so refreshing in this humid 33 C heat. Kind of scary to be out of (drinkable) coffee, but glad to know some of Louisville and Phoenix's best is on the way. Kahve geliyor!
Really been enjoying playing "Treats" by Sleighbells as my get-motivated-for-a-full-day-0f-Turkish-class soundtrack on the train every morning. A lot of fellow mass transit commuters must be wondering why my head is bobbing so early in the morning. The answer is infectious beats my friends.
Speaking of Turkish class, I'm finally learning conditional clauses, something I've longed to be able to say for a while now. Türkçe öğrenirsen, çok pratik yap!
After what's been essentially a 4 year hiatus, I've decided to start writing poetry again. Not sure how it's going to turn out now that I've lost most of my brooding teenage angst.
Been enjoying reading T.S. Elliot, Orhan Pamuk, and N.T. Wright lately- when there is time, which isn't often.
Monday, August 09, 2010
"the Jews who believed in resurrection did so as one part of a larger belief in the renewal of the whole created order. Resurrection would be, in one and the same moment, the reaffirmation of the covenant and the reaffirmation of creation... Creational/covenantal monotheism, taken together with the tension between election and exile, demands resurrection and a new world. That is why some of the prophets used gorgeous mythical language to describe what would happen: lions and lambs lying down together, trees bearing fruit every month, Jerusalem becoming like a new Eden. This, too, was simply the outworking, in poetic symbol, of the basic belief that the creator of the universe was Israel's god, and vice versa. When he acted, there would be a great celebration. All creation, in principle, would join in."
N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p. 332.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Monday, August 02, 2010
This past weekend some dear friends and I journeyed to northeastern Turkey, where we explored hidden waterfalls, jumped off of bridges, and helped a French man move rocks up a mountain (it was part of his "spiritual journey"). It sounds cliche, but it was absolutely wonderful.
I love the mountains.