Henri Nouwen says that the purest form of prayer is listening. I have been trying to remember to leave more space in my prayers for God to speak, to guide my prayers or to answer my questions, to say what He wants to say.
Recently while praying for someone I love, Job’s wife came to mind. I wondered into the stillness of an open-ended prayer what she had to do with this situation where a person of strong faith is suffering. She is famous for being not the most supportive wife when her husband was afflicted by Satan himself as a test of his faith. As Job mourns the loss of all his children, his vast material wealth and sits in ashes scraping boils with broken pottery, she chimes in with a single line of dialogue:
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I saw an article on facebook this week titled Dear Church, Here’s Why People Are REALLY Leaving You. When I read it, I got a big rant that attacks five cliches of the evangelical church: the big productions many services turn into, the alienation caused by “Christianese” lingo, self-absorption, wrong priorities, and lack of genuine love. Fair enough – those things all suck.
But the article made me sad because all the pain that was harnessed into this attack is directed at big-C Church, which I consider myself a part of. The Church includes all Christians around the world and throughout history, and it is so much bigger than the evangelical movement (which, for all its failures, is part of the Church). I am heartbroken on behalf of the Church that we have been so misunderstood and that we have perpetuated the misunderstandings by inviting people to come to church at 10:30 on Sunday morning.
Matt got a pretty bad sunburn on our travel day to San Juan Del Sur, so day 8 we took things pretty easy and Matt hid away from the sun. Our hostel offered free breakfast, so we had a nice slow morning there before moving over to Hostel Esperanza right across the street from the beach. We unpacked properly for the first time of our trip, and I went for a walk down the beach while Torre took his afternoon nap. It was so relaxing to wade in the surf, to feel ocean water washing in over my feet while the sand was pulled under my feet back to the sea by the undertow.
The power was out at this time – it seems there may be unofficial rolling blackouts because the receptionist said when it goes out it’s usually back on by sunset at 5:30, and so it was. It was the only power outage we experienced for the rest of the week, but it was a reminder that this beautiful country faces serious struggles and lack of infrastructure.