The King's Return

Sing now, ye people of the Tower of [the Sun],
for the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
   and the Dark Tower is thrown down.

Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard,
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hath passed through,
   and he is victorious.

Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
   all the days of your life.

And the Tree that was wither shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
   and the City shall be blessed.

Sing all ye people!

{the tiding of the Eagle, from Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien}

And glorious shall be that day! For as Ioreth of Gondor said, "The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known."

"But to you who fear My name,
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings..."
{Malachi 4:2a}

"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.'"
{Revelation 21:4-5a}

"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
{Revelation 22:1-2}


Obligatory Cheer

Today has been one of the more wonderful Christmas Eves out of those that I can recall, although of course nothing beats the childhood sense of delirious excitement. Then again, Christmas Eve always meant the dreadful tedium of cleaning to be done in preparation for the greater delight of Christmas Day itself, and really all that made it worthwhile to my child's mind was that in the chill of the morning we would wake up to sticky buns, hot chocolate, and the wonderful tree with all of its attendant joys. If those were the things that mattered, who really cared if the piano legs were dusted and the bathroom smelled like Pine Sol? But Mother knows best...

These days, the tree is fake and doesn't smell quite as glorious as they once did (although it also doesn't shed or require watering, as my mother would probably point out), the family is harder to accumulate into the less cramped quarters of our remodeled living room, and instead of a big meal, we're having a large-ish breakfast prepared by yours truly and a soup and sandwich lunch that is neither ham nor lamb nor any of those large racks of meat that traditionally form the centerpiece. And yet, as I said, this has been one of my favorite Christmas Eves to date. It may be cliche and perhaps you, like myself, will have a spontaneous desire to play the Charlie Brown Christmas theme song, but honestly, it is all about relationships.

We celebrate the birth of our savior with the cheeriness of red and the living, peaceful hues of greenery. That most precious birthday of all, worth every second of preparation, but not requiring it, because what that birth, life, death, and resurrection have given us is beyond all of the shopping, baking, melee, and madness... It's the eternal love of eternal beings who set aside time out of the hustle and bustle to grow warm together, to sing, to make merry and mayhap even get a little too merry with the eggnog.

Perhaps, like Martha, we are all too inclined to get caught up in the preparations because we want to honor our friends and family with the best. But let us also, like Mary, be willing to pause midstride to hug one of those friends or family members, and simply rest with them. I spent the first half of my day at work, making lattes, brewing coffee, and running orders, but I did all of that with some of my favorite people in the whole world. The candlelight service that I will be going to tonight with a close and dear friend, though filled with the glory of traditional Christmas hymns and the light of the Christ child, will not be any more meaningful than those few hours spent ruining my knees and laughing with my coworkers, for it is those latter moments that give meaning and fullness to the former ones.

May your day also be full of glad tidings, good cheer, and people whom you love. Merry Christmas!



What does it take
to make
No Beowulf weregild this-
what money could repay?
could hope to furnish bliss
when night o'ertakes the day?

I would if I could, oh,
is there nothing I can give?
When you have dropped,
- suspended -
in the arms of Love caught,
the space beneath feels immense.

You're in better hands than mine;
And still I would give anything
to see you smile once more.


The Power of a Story

This morning I awoke with a plan. Go to Panera, get bagels for an afternoon brunch with Joy and Sunshine, and then hang out and work on my Strategy for Transformation there. All was going well right up to the very last part, which I was fully prepared to do, had all of my thoughts clear in my head by some miracle, had some great sources in mind... And then I read the requirements page and realized that since I had last read it, I had completely changed around the nature of the project and so my lovely ideas were useless and would have to be abandoned by the wayside.

Which doesn't help, because not only did I like my idea, but I also have no clue what I'm going to say for the paper and my heart hurts a little bit at having to abandon a preshus. So I thought I'd exorcise that particular brainchild by writing about it here.

When I was in high school, I was always the student in math class who passed with flying colors but wrestled with things because I wanted to know what the point of them was. Why do sine and cosine even matter, and who came up with them anyway? How did they come up with them? Are they flawless concepts that are seamlessly applicable in realistic circumstances or are they theoretical constructs that almost overlap with reality to the degree that they are useful but with holes and patched bits?

The high schooler graduated and went to IMPACT 360. There she had a teacher named Charles Thaxton, who taught about the relationship between God and science and had written a book on the topic called The Soul of Science. She borrowed the book from a teacher and read it over the course of the summer, overjoyed to discover that it talked about the history and thought progression of natural philosophy at its birth and subsequent refinement into specialized areas of study like physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology. So many pieces were clicking into place, so many things made sense when placed within the overall context of history. And so she was able to rest her mind a little in the comfort of knowing that everything wasn't based on completely arbitrary philosophical constructs from a bunch of disembodied brains.

One of the things that we have lost over the years is a sense of the interwoven connections between all things. We have such clearly defined lines drawn between the various disciplines to the degree that we grow up with a sense that there couldn't possibly be an intersection between mathematics and literature. Obviously there's a sort of person who likes the one and an altogether different sort of person who likes the other. But we forget that all things are born out of minds that interpret the world with a perspective or, in the recently glamorous terminology, a worldview. Because of this, a mathematician and an author might have a surprising amount in common that we can only know if we are willing to consider critically what they have composed and follow it to its logical origins.

A lecturer recently commented on the differences between linear and story-based teaching. It was a passing statement, but it struck me because it helped to unite some questions that had been revolving through my head for the past several years. I did well in every subject in high school (except P.E., but even then I made passing grades), and people would always ask me what my favorite class was. Depending on my mood or the teacher, it could be history one day, pre-calculus the next, chemistry, government and politics, or any number of others. The one that almost always made the top of the list was literature, but by a narrow margin and mostly because I loved to read. But my appetite for books is not limited to fiction, as my book list for the year illustrates. Out of 49 full-length books that I've completed, 28 are non-fiction on topics ranging from grief to sex education to the life and times of Paul Revere.

Still, my literature teachers always commended me for my essays and insights, so I thought with a mental shrug that it was as good a path to pursue as any. But one of them made a comment that, when tied with what Jason said about stories, makes sense of my education. She said that in her ninth grade class they had been reading Elie Wiesel's Night... "And Moshe the Beadle, the poor barefoot of Sighet, talked to me for long hours of the revelations and mysteries of the cabbala. It was with him that my initiation began. We would read together, ten times over, the same page of the Zohar. Not to learn it by heart, but to extract the divine essence from it." When they read those lines, she said that she had finally found a student who was like that, meaning me.

There are two aspects to my revelation. The first is that the unifying factor in all of my classes and in all of my learning was Truth. I am hungry to know it in all its forms, and that often takes the form of playing Hide and Seek with God. All truth is God's Truth, because it is out of and a part of His nature and being.  As such, we embrace truth wherever we find it. But one of the most beautiful and ancient methods of transmitting truth is through story. A story illustrates a truth about life that is a far more effective teacher than writing a dry, individual, summarized and synthesized concept up on the whiteboard and expecting bored, disconnected students to understand it.

My broad and apparently misguided strategy for transformation in the area of education (which, now that I think about it, could possibly be tweaked for my paper) was the reconnection and integration of various disciplines together so that they form a fuller picture of the world around us. The primary connection with story is that our history is a story. And just as a body does not function or even look like a body when all the pieces are dissected and bottled up in different parts of the laboratory, so history does not fulfill its function or even look like the real story of our past unless all the pieces are put back together. (To clarify my terms: all learning is historical in that the facts and concepts that we learn were discovered, synthesized, or otherwise composed at a historical point by people whose lives covered a historically grounded span of time with various influencing factors)

Can you tell that I have changed my eventual major to humanities? I once said on a college application that I want to know everything, but I'll settle for as much as possible. It's still true.


A Brief Protest

In response to J. Meacham's NYTimes review of Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years...

Courtesy of Salvo 14, Fall 2010


I am Woman

AKA the shirt that gets a lot of comments...

This is just a plug for a very interesting and thought-provoking series written by Salvo journalist and author Robin Philips. For those of you who don't have time to read books like Wendy Shalit's A Return to Modesty or Girls Gone Mild or any other number of excellent books on modesty, gender, and the messed up sexuality of the modern day, Philips provides some great history and context, as well as dealing with many different facets of the whole shebang. It will take a little while to get through everything, but it's definitely not book length and totally worth reading. I've been tackling one a day for the past few days, and it's doable.

Robin's Readings and Reflections: Gender, Morality, and Modesty (A 6 Part Series)

Just one observation that caught my interest (from part 4: Gender Benders):
"Chivalry is unpopular today precisely because it is an emblem of masculinity among the men who practice it and an emblem of femininity among the women who receive it, even as feminine modesty reminds us that looking at a woman is different than looking at a man."


Fire and Fragrance Outreach: Team England

Team England (from left: Joy, Nick, Tyler, Samantha, Derek,
Elizabeth, me, and Shannon)
Dear family and friends,
As I write to you, I am sitting at Panera with my one-on-one (the lovely Elizabeth aka Sunshine) to whom I just retold the story of my coming to Fire and Fragrance. In the retelling of that incredible testimony, I am reminded of how good God is, and how far He will take me if I only give Him the chance.

For those of you who don't know, I have been at a Youth with a Mission discipleship training school called Fire & Fragrance, operated in Harrisburg, PA, in partnership with the Burn 24/7. I am just now wrapping up three months of lecture, so the dts portion of the school is coming to a close. It has been a long twelve weeks, but somehow I feel more refreshed now, even after the grueling climb, than I did coming into the school. We've discussed topics like Biblical worldview, evangelism, the Holy Spirit, intimacy with God, and a host of others, taught by leaders from various ministries around the United States; seen God move in Salem, Massachusetts during the annual Halloween celebration; lived by faith and ministered to approximately 450 people over the course of our three day Faith Journeys; watched flat feet get healed before our eyes; and spent nearly 100 hours in worship and prayer, ministering to the heart of God and proclaiming His will for the earth. It has been incredible to say the least. And they tell me the best is yet to come...

After a week long Christmas break, we will be diving right back into lectures with our School of Revival and Reformation. And finally, in March, we will be leaving for outreach. The entire school will be going to Harvard and Yale together, and then my team is leaving for England in early April in order to minister at Oxford and Cambridge, and in London.

It's hard to describe succinctly all that has gone into the past few months, but if there is one thing that I have learned from a missions-oriented school it is that all the bleakness of the world only serves to highlight the greatness of our God. Our nation is ripe for revival, and I hope to be a part of God's movement and work. Through our outreach, we will be living out that hope.

I am in need of two kinds of support: prayer and finances. I am asking people to partner with me in prayer for the three months of outreach, beginning March 8th and going through May 20th (approx. dates). If you are willing to do so, please let me know and give me your email address. I'll be mailing updates regularly throughout the course of the trip with testimonies and prayer requests.

Regarding finances, the projected cost of the trip is between $4500 and $5000. At present, I have raised $2750 of that amount, but there is still a gap to fill. Please prayerfully consider whether God might be leading you to sow into His kingdom work by helping to lessen the gap. You can either use the Donate button on the sidebar or mail it to University of the Nations (address below) clearly marked for Christy Linder, Fire & Fragrance Harrisburg. Please note that if you choose to use the Paypal option, you will not receive a tax-deductible gift receipt. If I have my facts straight, you should get one if you mail your check to the Kona campus.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and consideration. I wouldn't be here without others to make it possible, and I am so grateful for everything that has gone into bringing me to this point. If you would like to contact me, you probably found this through my Facebook so you can message me or email me at crlinder09@gmail.com. I welcome any questions or even just the opportunity to chat about life. :)

In Him,

University of the Nations
75-5851 Kuakini Hwy #433
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740