Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sight for the Blind

I recently shared elsewhere about a blindfold I wear for praying through difficult times of faith. The source of that blindfold is the story below. Keep in mind that now I am in Texas, and have been here for many years:

(written Sunday, February 13, 2005 by Kendra Hinkle)

Be Thou my vision,
O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me,
save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
(8th century Irish hymn)

This past summer, I spent some time playing in the Little Painted Dessert in Arizona with a team of college students. We took off running down the thin pathways of colored rubble, and skated down steep embankments of loosenning rock. After a while there were a few of us left, jumping dry stream beds and discovering fossilized trees while we ran. Off in the distance we headed to a 75-foot drop where you could stand and surf down a crumbling rubble embankment. After my first ride down and ending knee deep in loose rock, I headed up for another try. I gazed about a mile over the landscape, and my innate drive to run began to well up within me. Abandoning a second surf down the hill, I grabbed a fellow runner - a girl on our trip who had already been my adventure partner early in the mornings on the Navajo reservation.

We took off running a new trail through the hills and valleys...keeping an eye to the dot (our van) on the ridge above. Running in that place was a moment I will remember forever. No maps...just pure love for what God enabled us to do. We ran long and hard, and eventually slowed to a walk as we ascended the steeper parts of the trail.

Later that week, we were blindfolded and taken into a van. As the van bumped over rough terrain, a song with the lyrics, "I'm desperate for you. I'm lost without you," played in the background. As I sat there, tears began to stream down my face. The song played, and the memory of the previous run through the Little Painted Dessert played through my mind. There was a God-ordained freedom in that moment of running. No fear. No need for a map. But in my memory, there were no longer two runners tracking among the breathtaking landscape...there were three. I became overwhelmed as I realized that God was with me in that moment, in a very personal way.

The van stopped. Our blind, human chain climbed a rugged trail. Finally, we removed our blindfolds in front of two dead limbs fashioned into a cross. I went off by myself and sat on a volcanic rock ledge overlooking the landscape. I began to sense God calling me to place the blindfold over my eyes both spiritually and physically as I prayed over the decisions ahead in my life, and recited Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowlege Him and he will make your paths straight" (NIV). It was the same verse the Lord had given me four years earlier upon entry into my current ministry situation. Then, He was calling me to contentment in Him in all of the newness of Indiana, and now He was calling me back out.

As the impact of those moments has joined with my situation, I have decided to follow with a blindfold on. Everything I own on this earth is packed into a 5 X 10 space. My suitcases, which will be my traveling companions, are almost ready. The destination: first to the family farm where I grew up. Solitude will retune and deepen my ears for the Lord. After some more trips to see various family members, I will begin to apply and search with the Lord for what He is specifically calling me to.

Lord, be my vision and my strength. My legs are weary, but yours are sure. I cannot see ahead of me, but I have your voice to guide my steps. No one is like you, Lord. There is none who compare.

Scripture marked “NIV” is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Sometimes kyaking backwards is an important skill, but you will get very frustrated because I can't navigate well that way and make us go in circles.

Sometimes I get dizzy spells and can't go into the office on time. But I prove I'm sober when get there by walking like on a balance beam and touching my finger to my nose.

Sometimes I forget to zip my fly. Augh!!!! Makes me so mad that I forget so often. Why me, Lord?! Why did I have to get left out of the common sense gene pool?

Sometimes when I'm on walks men stand half naked in their yards and stare endlessly at the sky, or balance on small cement blocks and stare at stop signs. There are some strange characters who live near campus.

Sometimes I do a few pushups.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Screenwriting and Story

Screenwriting might not be my forte, but story is. I'm unearthing some great insight into how I write, read, and speak about God's word, as well as new ways to understand story. The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler is a common text for those in screenwriting and film industry. It's not a book built from how movies are made, but a book resulting from research on how people have told stories from different cultures over the course of history. Many of the movies we see have likely been impacted by people taking cues from this work.

So what is it that draws millions of our dollars, our time, and our attention? Hehe. Read the book and find out. =-)

On a smaller note, the below quote reminded me of how even the small things we do can help people prepare for the story of God as they come to church:

"The great German stage and film director Max Reinhardt believed that you can create an atmosphere in a theatre well before an audience sits down or the curtain goes up. A carefully selected title can strike a metaphor that ingrigues the audience and attunes them to the coming experience. Good promotion can engage them with images and slogans that are metaphors for the world of your story. By controlling music and lighting as the audience enters the space, and consciously directing such details as the attitudes and costumes of the ushers, a specific mood can be created. The audience can be put in the ideal frame of mind for the experience they will share..." (p.84)

I'm not suggesting the ushers wear costumes, and I lean toward simplicity, but at times we could get creative in preparing better for the story we gather together to remember. Instead of simply promoting a church service, why not promote our story along with it? The attitudes of the ushers even!