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    Part I: Every Tribe, Language, People, and Nation

    A couple years ago my favorite seminary professor told me of a women’s mission trip to India, and that I’m going. I don’t consider myself the global missions type. I’m sort of neurotic about international travel. It’s a combination of safety freak plus control freak. (Good thing I’m married to a psychotherapist.)  Plus I have a love/hate relationship with India. But I would not turn down my favorite professor. But as the trip drew closer, my anxiety skyrocketed. Not sure how much you know about the current religious-political climate in India, but a certain group of Hindu nationalists don’t play nice with those who follow the Abrahamic religions. Some of…

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    Every Tribe, Tongue, People, Nation

    A couple years ago my favorite seminary professor told me about a women’s mission trip to India—and that I’m going.   But wait. I’m not the global missions type. I wanted to vomit. No one has more anxiety about international travel than I do. Call it a combination of safety freak plus control freak. (By God’s grace I’m married to a psychotherapist.)  Plus I have a love/hate relationship with India (née Rapistan.) But I would not refuse my favorite professor. As our departure date approached, my anxiety skyrocketed. On the Open Doors’ World Watch List for severity of persecution of Christians, India (formerly #31 a few years ago) lands at…

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    The Beginning of the Beginning

    How does watching old seminary class lectures on the Gospels sound to you? To my husband and me, it sounds like Date Night. (Not sure if you got the memo, but nerds rule the world.) And right out of the gate starting with Matthew Chapter 1, the Bible wastes no time slapping us in our faces. Matthew Ch. 1 is a genealogy written for Jewish readers. We Americans don’t get excited over genealogies. But family trees matter in many old world cultures. (My husband’s aunt knows her family tree going nine generations back.) And the genealogy in Matthew Chapter 1 matters because it culminates in Jesus’s birth. (Matthew 1:1-16). In…

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    To Drink or Not to Drink

    I heard a sermon on the sin of alcohol consumption, where the pastor claimed that whenever the Bible mentions wine, it’s referencing grape juice. He went on to say that alcohol is dangerous (possibly), addictive (agreed), and a narcotic (wait, what?) The DEA classifies narcotics (also known as opioids) as controlled substances. They reduce pain, induce sleep and euphoria, and do not sit on grocery store shelves. Even at a drug store, we cannot purchase narcotics unless a pharmacist has dispensed them via a doctor’s prescription. I’m not here to abolish teetotalism. I grew up less than eighty miles from Napa Valley, California, and have tasted (and spit out) some…

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    The Other “F” Word

    While posing for a photo with some female friends at a recent professional event, a colleague announced how well-endowed we are. After my jaw dropped, one of his cronies scuttled over to assure us his friend didn’t mean anything bad by the comment—that he meant it as a compliment. Well, 1962 called. They want their ideology back. Because reducing a colleague down to body parts is the opposite of a compliment. Furthermore, a thought ought to remain inside the confines of one’s head, or else it ceases being a thought. The next morning after a meeting, Mr. Pervy Mc Perv came up behind me, put his arm around my shoulder,…

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    Did God Really Say?

    I attended grad school in San Francisco in the 90’s. Each week a group of Christian students, faculty, and staff would gather in one of the small classrooms on the top floor for our CMDS meeting. This room had a floor-to-ceiling view of the Golden Gate Bridge where I can still picture the cars driving Northbound towards Sausalito. I adored the cute rainbow-painted tunnel arcs where the bridge merged with Marin County. My beloved friend’s uncle had painted those rainbows there many years prior. Every week I sat at the back of the room next to the window, gazing at the orange bridge stretched over hundreds of boats below. Some…

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    My Favorite Bedtime Story

    I took my first health care job in a pediatric facility over twenty years ago. The new job came with plenty of stress. They expected the doctors to use heavy sedative doses to get children to cooperate so they could crank out procedures and turn big profits.             On my last day at work before leaving for a planned vacation, I poured the properly measured sedative liquid for a child, and left it on the counter for the assistant to give to the patient. I came back into the room and saw the assistant pouring additional sedative liquid into the cup for my patient. I confronted her, reminded her she…

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    Mumbai

    Seven islands in the Arabian Sea sum up the South Asian city where smog and soot stain the snot. Sensory overload; a civilized shamble where the sun sizzles and silence is scarce.  Screeching streetcars and speeding cyclists saturate streets; swarms shove at subway stations.  Social class a stand-out split between the silk stockings and the starving.  Scores of shiney saris scramble just before sunset for suppertime sales of seeds and spice.  Skinny schoolchildren salivate over the scent of sumptuous samosas; sugar-savages storm sweet shops. Seductive street snacks secure a sick stomach due to slipshod sanitation.     Sixty-two percent of slum-dwellers short on sustenance; a sad statistic of sorrow and suffering.…

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    Certain Unalienable Rights

    Piscine Molitor Patel got named after his father’s best friend who loved to swim. This friend enjoyed swimming at the Piscine Molitor, a luxury pool in Paris. Instead of giving their son their friend’s name, his parents named him after the swimming pool. But kids at school often teased him, calling him “Pissing Patel.” So he shortened his name to Pi.             I loved this scene from the movie Life of Pi. Late in 2012, friends, family, and coworkers raved about this movie—how it was based on a novel, and starred Irrfan Khan. So my husband and I went to see this movie together in Dec 2012.               After the…

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    No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

    Exodus depicts the story of what God did when he heard his chosen people crying out for justice and deliverance from Egyptian oppression. Enter: the burning bush in Exodus 3. God commissioned Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to save them from the Egyptian tyrants. He told Moses to request Pharaoh's permission to let the Israelites leave Egypt. And Moses answered God’s call saying “Here I am.” But did he mean it? Moses had legitimate fear that the Israelites might not believe God had appeared to him. Because God had not appeared to the Israelites for over 430 years—their whole time in Egypt. Plus Moses had left Egypt under…