Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coming to a Close

Well, the term is ending in less than a week and I’m sad to be leaving. But, good news, I am coming back! I’ve been accepted as a helper, and as a bonus all my friends who applied to be helpers are also returning. Next term there will be an unprecedented seven helpers. Normally L’Abri hires four, but everyone who applied is basically wonderful and the workers are excited about getting to keep each of us on. I am looking forward to working alongside such great people. In fact, as a whole, I’m looking forward to next term, though I must admit, it feels a little surreal though I’m not sure why. I am also looking forward to coming home, being with family and friends, and going to church. Besides people, church is the thing I miss most while here at L’Abri. It will be more difficult next term than this one, because while four months is a long time to be missing church, eight months is longer (naturally) – you see, the once or twice I’ll get to go to church before returning to Switzerland is just going to be a tease. Of course you know we have chapel every Sunday, which I enjoy, but it isn’t the same. I miss singing, I miss age diversity and I miss baptisms and communion and oddly, I miss the messiness, the strange quirks and follies that make church home. Boy howdy, am I ready for some good old-fashioned church when I get home.

Jasie and I are still having wonderful tutorials, right down to the very end of it! This past week we discussed ways in which we desire to be more kingdom-minded and less self-absorbed, more countercultural and less socially permeated. We also talked about good getting in the way of best and the difficulties of walking the line between under achieving at too little a cost or because of fear and over achieving at too great a cost (namely relational), between selling oneself short and obsessing. No, we didn’t figure it out in the hour during my tutorial, but we are dedicated to seeing each other grow in Christ our Lord and I am blessed beyond measure by her guidance and her friendship as I am by many of you who are taking time to read these blogs week to week, who have been and continue to be so instrumental in my development as a disciple. The lovingkindness of the Lord and his bewildering blessings truly are endless.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


We had our first snow of the season this past weekend. There were snowball fights galore, a few snowpersons, snow angels, sledding… You know, all the usual snow activities. It’s supposed to be an especially cold winter this year, so it’s a good thing this Texas girl has a special affinity for coats and hats and scarves! So far I’ve been plenty warm.

With only a few weeks left in the term, I’m getting excited to see my family and friends back home. My cousin has a new baby I’m excited to meet. All the food here has be absolutely wonderful… not a single meal I don’t like. But I am looking forward to a nice big juicy stake when I get home; we don’t get meat here very often. I am sad to think that the term is close to its end but won’t be sad to leave unless I’m unable to return next term. I’ve made some precious friendships here, which some of you know is an answer to prayer, for I was nervous before I left about the loneliness that could have been.

Currently I’m finishing a book called, Slaves, Women, & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis by William Web and will soon be starting, Providence & Prayer: How Does God Work in the World? by Terrance Tiessen. They’re both rather heady and I’m enjoying them, but don’t think I have the mental energy to write about it yet. But I wanted you to know that I was still reading things in the realms of prayer and Bible study. I also started 2 Peter and am enjoying that too. You should also know that everyone here says the same thing you all did about the origin of evil: that not choosing Good is choosing evil by default, that it didn’t exist until first the angels, then we chose self over God.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Now & Later

This past week I spent much of my free time writing a letter to the L’Abri workers (full-time staff) about the possibility of my staying on next term as a helper. If I am accepted, I will stay for free, have one afternoon a week to study and work crews and work projects the rest of the week.

I want to share my letter with you, for it was a great exercise for me personally insomuch as it gave me insight into what is happening here now that I desire to continue for another term.



Dear Friends,

Life at L’Abri has become a thing most precious to me. I enjoy being a part of this community and would like to deepen my involvement, returning next term as a helper. It is satisfying to contribute to the daily livelihood of a community, to know that people are eating because of the bread I made or that the grounds are lovely because of the leaves I raked. But it is much more than this. We share the work and engage in each other’s lives as we labor alongside one another: people are enjoying the meal we made; L’Abri is beautiful because of the work we’ve done collectively. There is a love-induced pride in the work and the fellowship.

I believe in the work of L’Abri and desire to support and contribute to this place that provides a safe haven for people to discuss issues that in other Christian contexts are considered unmentionable, a shelter from the totalizing violence of various Christian subcultures and culture at large, and an alternative to western individualism within the joys and challenges of constant community. My benefit from this is twofold in that I am free to exist in the vulnerable-secure dichotomy of honesty, which in turn frees me to provide a sense of home for others. Already this term my fellow students honor me with regard as a leader and a shepherd, someone they trust, and I hope they also feel encouraged by my love for the work and the diligence and strong work ethic that derives from that love.

I would also like to continue my studies. I have so many varied interests and L’Abri is a great venue for entertaining a myriad of interests through formal lunches and study and tutorials. I really value my tutorial time and desire to continue working with Jasie through my issues and the spiritual disciplines and the current issues of the Christian subculture. I love the church. It hurts me to see it hurting so and I feel overwhelmed when I try to think about what to do. I view my time here as an opportunity to remove myself from the situation so as to see more clearly what’s happening now, where things are going, and what to do. My time here also serves as a stint of consideration for the next step in my personal life. The slower pace of life at L’Abri blesses me in many ways, significantly in the time it affords me to grow in my communal role of neighbor and friend and my individual role of person.

I understand being a helper is difficult. I don’t pretend that it will always be easy regardless of my experience. On the contrary, it is because of my experience that I know it is difficult at times. So I do not wish to communicate naive expectations, but I do earnestly enjoy being at L’Abri and desire to stay and more deeply develop what has begun – both in my personal life as well as in the relationships I have come to cherish.

Thank you for your encouragement throughout this process and throughout my journey as a whole.