Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why I Celebrate World Cup

Why I Celebrate World Cup



There's been so much controversy surrounding this World Cup. It's almost a taboo in some circles to admit that you are not only excited about it but fully intend to make the most of the celebration.

This year the World Cup is being hosted by Brazil. Notably one of the, if not the best team in the world. In the midst of this is the reality that the nation has grossly neglected to care for very basic needs of the people in the areas of health care, transportation and education. In spite of this,  the government is picking up the tab for the most costly World Cup in history. Not surprisingly the citizens are angry and protesting change. All the eyes of the world are on Brazil and the time has come for the citizens to have their voices heard.

So, should we boycott the game ?

When I was one my parents moved our family to Brazil where they began their missionary work until we returned when I was nearly 10 years old. It took me a while to fully understand the conflict of feeling like an immigrant in my own country , Canada. I had never studied here. My culture was based on Brazilian media and society. And , my English contact was a jumbled mess of other English speaking missionaries from around the world. None the less, there  is no such ESL or integration programme for white Canadians who are "fresh off the boat".

At best, the Brazilians we amused by my Portuguese (and yes, Brazilians speak Portuguese, not "Brazilian"). Humoured by the sight of an obviously Canadian family so culturally emeshed in theirs. Little by little, it was easier to integrate into my Canadian society. This has always been a situation that has saddened me. Left a void of sorts in my life story. I have never returned to Brazil and consequently I feel like there is a piece of my childhood that has simply vanished.

However, I hold dear the feeling of community and national pride I remember being privy to in my childhood. Streets lined with banners and flags. Bonfires, dancing, music and utter abandon in the way neighbours would celebrate together. Roasted corn, fire works, straw hats , barefoot , bare chested boys kicking balls on dirty streets. Girls with belly's bared and little skirts playing the parts of cheerleaders. Drunks at the bar playing dominoes outside. Women in the local favela's setting up food outside to share with anyone. Drums. Whistles.

These are fragments of my life. These are slivers of my roots. 

I'm not jumping on the band wagon. I'm not trying to force myself into a culture that's not mine. I'm not even supporting the government's choices. I just want to feel the way I remember feeling when I was a little girl. To capture the excitement. To share in the celebration. To cheer on a nation who embraced me for nearly a decade in very tender years. To remember that those days existed.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

On my Heart, About my Head.

On my Heart, About my Head

I've heard that it's been said that in order to really write from the heart you have to write as though no one will ever read it. Transparent, real. I find that a really hard task but I'm going to try and think about that today for this post. Not because I don't want anyone to read it, mind you. I just want to be able to express to you my heart without fear of judgement.
 I'm trying to think back how long ago it was when I began to reflect on this topic. I'm guessing at least 18 months ago. In my Bible it's under the subheading "Propriety in Worship". As I was studying the mandates of what godly marriage should look like, what Christian brotherhood looks like and what daily life looks like the 11th chapter of 1 Corinthians stopped me and gave me reason for pause. Go ahead and read it . Propriety in Worship . How was I to approach living the type of life the book of Corinthians was teaching and just omit this practice , frankly because it's no  longer socially acceptable even among "Bible believing" churches ? Why does the church do that ? Doesn't that seem hypocritical to choose what we find relevant to our situation and then preach that God's word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow ? In right conscious I began to cover my head in obedience during my private prayer and reading. After some time I began to cover during meal time prayers with the family - after all, aren't they also my brothers in Christ and part of public worship ? The task of putting a scarf on and off seemed a bit silly after a time as I found that in trying to "be joyful always;  pray continually;  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not put out the Spirit's fire" (1 Thessalonians 5:16) meant that I should never not be in worship.

This posed a ridiculous dilemma for me. Church. You know, that safe place of acceptance. The place where you are free to just love on God. I'm not really sure where the fear came from. I was concerned that I would be a bit of an oddity as the church wasn't preaching this and I could only see one lady who I suspect covers (though in a fashionable  manner).  I'm happy to say that no one teased me or has made any comment since I've started attending service covered. It could be people for the most part haven't noticed. And that's ok too. For now it means that I can enjoy this intimacy and fellowship with God without feeling the need to defend it.

As far as a woman's hair being her headcovering, that might be true but one look around the congregation and you can see the variety of stylish up to date short cuts women are wearing. It's not being preached ! And the idea of headcovering is such a ministry opportunity. 

All earthly relationships are meant to mirror those of our Lord, we are all made in his image. As parents we can understand the Father's heart for us. As children we can grasp the concept of a caring Father who provides for our every need, who comforts us and teaches us to trust and obey. As brothers in Christ we can reflect on the awesome relationship Jesus had with humanity when He came to fellowship with us and draw us to the Father. As a married couple we are designed to show what the church's (The Bride's) relationship is to God (her Groom). Husbands are called to an almost overwhelming task of loving their wives even to the point of laying down their lives ( sound familiar ?). Wives are called to not only help their husbands to succeed but to honour and respect them. The Bible is saying that when a man covers his head in corporate worship he dishonors his head (which is Christ, because he is the Bride of Christ) and when women uncover theirs  they dishonor their head - which is their husband. We don't want our earthly marriages to look modern or culturally acceptable just for the sake  of not looking "backward", "different", "repressed" or whatever the thing is that prevents us from even considering the words in the Bible. We want people to ask us so that we can explain our marriage in light of the beauty of God's plan for us. Remember, we are meant to reflect Him ! We are being humble because we take on the position that the Church (as a whole) should be taking in relation to God. We are honouring our heads because it honours God.  We don't think anything about a man removing his hat in service, because we view it in light of a cultural sign of respect. We need to start viewing things in light of a God's standard.