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A Few More Fridge Magnets

May 11, 2012

Again and again, as I read Peter Rollins’ How (Not) to Speak of God, I found myself shouting, “YES!”

Rollins, speaking of missionaries, states, “there are many who have been put off by the apparent superiority they are often required to assume in such environments.”  How often here have I agonized over this very thing.

He goes on to describe exactly what I have come to see as the essence of my experience in Haiti.

“Instead of bringing God to ‘unreached’ places and ‘unreached’ peoples, I find countless missionaries who say that, while this was how they once thought, time and again they find that these unreached places are the very sites where they must go to find God and be reached.  How many of us have learnt too late that our initial idea, that by serving the world we will help bring God to others, has eclipsed the wisdom that in serving the world we find God there.”

For me, Haiti is a conversation, sometimes without words, in which both those with whom I share my life and those who share their lives with me learn from each other, engaging, as Rollins puts it, “in a genuine dialogue in which they [and I] are prepared to rethink in relation to what the other says (instead of an inauthentic dialogue in which one pretends to be open to the insights of another, but in reality one is not prepared to place one’s own thinking into question).  Rather than being a sign of weakness, this powerless approach is a sign of strength, for one is committed to the idea that if we genuinely seek truth from above, we will not be given a lie, for God does not give scorpions to the one who seeks bread.”


The richness of 1 John 4:7-12 is beyond imagining.  It speaks to my heart of my relationship with the Wholly Other, whom I cannot comprehend, but whom I can experience through love.  It also describes the most crucial aspect, one that encompasses all others, of my relationships with others.  Reading “know” in the Hebraic sense (See my post More Fridge Magnets) adds another layer of richness.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 


It has been exciting to begin to make concrete plans for my summer in Canada.   I have been extended an invitation to travel with old friends to Rollag, Minnesota for the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, which runs August 31st through September 3rd this year.  I have never been to this event, but I have heard a great deal about it over the years.  I look forward to having the smell of steam and coal smoke draw me back into memories of wonderful days spent at my forge, and working on Locomotive No. 3, built for the CPR in 1882.  The old girl is still active, pulling the Prairie Dog Special every summer weekend on the old Cabot subdivision just outside of Winnipeg.  Perhaps I will look her up as well.

A number of other things have been tentatively planned, and will soon be confirmed.  If anyone wants to see me while I am back “home” (I’m not sure where to call home anymore), please get in touch very soon.  I have run into scheduling problems on my past visits, and don’t want to disappoint anyone, including myself.

My plan as of right now is to arrive in Canada during the first week of July and return to Haiti early in September.  I will book my airline tickets very soon and will provide exact dates at that time.

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