Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dear Mr. Hawking

I felt the need to write a letter after reading this article...

Dear Mr. Hawking,

I was saddened today to read about your latest conclusions to your scientific studies. You are renowned around the world as a brilliant man with an incredible mind, able to challenge many scientific theories and add to our knowledge of the world as we see it, as well as don't see it. Despite your disability that weakens your muscles, you have been given a great gift - the ability to reason and think on a deeper level than most people.

Where did this gift come from? Did it come from gravity? Your recent findings suggest that gravity is the cause of spontaneous creation, so is it responsible for intellect, for genius? What about for emotion? Is gravity what makes us ponder the mysteries of the universe, or long for relationship, or feel guilt over wrong, or feel anger over injustice? If so, my goodness gravity is much more intelligent than anyone ever gave it credit for before! Maybe it was resentful at being ignored, and that is why it threw an apple at dear Newton's noggin.

And tell me, if gravity is so complex, where did it come from? Gravity cannot begat gravity, can it? And even if it could, how did the first gravity come into "being"? Very peculiar... it seems to me such an extraordinary creation could not just appear and begin creating. Something must have set it in place and set it in motion... but what??

I don't want to write this simply to question your research... I felt compelled to write because your conclusion breaks my heart, for it reveals that you have no hope. You are a weak and dying man, Mr. Hawking, without physical strength or a cure to look forward to. But those things in themselves do not have to seal your doom. After all, I know a dear old man - very smart and innovative like you - who is also dying of ALS, and he is better off than you, simply because he has hope that will be realized. Unlike you, he believes that God created the universe, including gravity. But his belief goes beyond that... he believes this same Creator God has a passion for reconciliation - that his greatest desire is for us to be with him, to know and love him, and to realize more and more every day his love for us. He believes that this Loving God gave his Son Jesus to die and raise again so that we could have victory over sin and death. He believes we were created for a lot more than spontaneous accidents. And because he believes in such an awesome God - because he believes that Jesus lives - he can face every new tomorrow that he is given, with grace and joy and power, because when the last day of his life on earth is gone, he will be with his Saviour, and he will be strong and mighty in a way he never could under the weight of gravity on this old earth.

It is sad that you have chosen to put your faith in gravity, because when life is over, gravity will fade away, and the only thing remaining will be the God you don't believe exists.

Prayer Support Letter #2

Dear Friends,

After an exciting summer of serving the Lord in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, with International Teams, I have decided to return there this fall to serve for three more months.

Through this missions experience, I will have the opportunity to work with refugee families from countries like Burma, Mexico, Congo, and Somalia. I get to continue to live in my house, the “Angaing Inn” (Loving House), with new refugee families, welcoming them and helping them learn how to adapt to American life. I will also keep teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and lead a Bible study for international adults on Sunday mornings at a local church and Tuesday afternoons at my house, as well as provide one-on-one and small group basic language immersion classes for newcomers. In addition, this fall I’ve been given a new leadership opportunity as director of the youth night program for teenagers from Somalia and Burma, which will include computer training, homework help, and godly character building activities.

Would you consider helping me make this project a success? I need prayer and financial support. The total cost of my mission trip is $2,900 per month. Any financial gift you contribute is tax-deductible. The departure date for this thirteen-week trip is September 10. I am praying for monthly commitments to come in soon. If you feel God is leading you to be a part of this ministry with me, you can give online ( In the comment box at the bottom, please write “Preference to Connie Chandler’s account.” If you would rather write a check, please make it payable to “International Teams” and include a separate note (not on the memo line) that designates you want your gift to go my account. Please mail all checks to International Teams, Attn: Receipting Dept., 411 W. River Road, Elgin, IL, 60123.

If you are willing to participate by praying for me while I am on the team, please let me know so I can add you to my prayer team list that receives regular prayer and praise updates. All too often we take prayer support of mission work for granted. Before I go, I need to know that others will truly be praying for me. While I am gone, I will be sure to write regular updates here on my blog. Please let me know if you would like to receive prayer and blog updates by mail.

Thank you for considering this request. I look forward to hearing from you and would enjoy telling you a bit more about this opportunity personally.

Blessings to you,


Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Triple-Effort Tedious Sestina

This is my 100th post on blogspot!

Last night Bliss came to visit, and brought a book with her called The Making of a Poem. I'm sure it is normally used as a college textbook that students would spend much too much money on and barely read. But for us, it was an exciting treasure found in a musty used book store. We pilfered through it together, especially interested in finding the most complicated patterns in poetry.

The one we liked best is called a Sestina. It has thirty-nine lines, divided into six stanzas of six lines each, plus one ending stanza of three lines. There is no rhyme or rhythm pattern. But here's the catch: you have to use the six ending words from the first stanza as the last words in the following five stanzas in sequentially inversed orders, plus use them all again in the last stanza.

That is insanely confusing, I know, but this is how it looks: the first stanza has six lines, so think of the last word of each line having a number, 1-6. The second stanza uses those same last words for each line, only you invert them to lay out in this order: 6, 1, 5, 2, 4, 3. The third stanza inverts them again: 3, 6, 4, 1, 2, 5. And so on... Ok, so maybe it is still complicated, but Bliss and I thought it looked like fun so we decided to give it a try!

First, we decided our topic would be "having to do a tedious task," and then we picked our ending words. We wrote the first stanza together, Bliss wrote the second and third, Kevan wrote the fourth, I wrote the fifth and sixth, and we all wrote the final three lines together. I like how it turned out, because it matches up and flows well and yet retains each of our styles individually. Since it took three of us to accomplish this, we called it "The Triple-Effort Tedious Sestina":

This is what you want me to do?
Will this be a waste of my time?
How could I possibly find joy
In such a tedious chore?
Now I ask you, do you have bliss,
Inflicting me with such unnecessary hardship?

To secure a lasting friendship,
Not to ask of one so new, what to do?
Forge ahead with unity and bliss,
Find a balance of work and free time,
Then a person ought not dread a chore
Which gives sunny days to enjoy.

And rewards arrive layered with joy,
Owing nothing to safety in number or kinship.
But for me I grow weary of this chore
Because of the many things I like to do,
Only there is so little, so little time...
And I spend much of it seeking a touch of bliss.

If only I could find sheer bliss
In trimming these flowers you so enjoy!
Then perhaps you would give me the time
Of day aboard life's tiny, overpriced cruise ship,
For I think we are long past due
To discover your unavoidable chore.

Just to mindlessly work, for me, is a chore...
To use my mind - to inspire and create - is bliss!
Yet every morning God soaks the grass with dew
And in this simple, daily task he finds joy.
In watering the lawn, there is fellowship
With my Father, so it's not a waste of time.

I suppose it is about time
I stop thinking of this as just a chore
And see it as an act of worship
I believe it would be utter bliss
To do this task out of love and joy,
Because it's what I delight to do.

There is no time for worship
When bliss becomes a chore -
So look for true joy in all you do.