Saturday, October 18, 2008


I found this article on Christian eloquence interesting for several reasons. (link below)

1) I have spent years taking classes in technical writing were the goal is to convey all the necessary information in as few words as possible. We were taught to write simply and clearly.

2) I often struggle to convey what I think and feel in words. I don't usually aim for eloquence. My aim is usually to be understood.

3) I appreciate eloquence in speakers and authors, but elegance in logic, argument, and design are far more appealing to me.

I don't think I had ever considered the benefits of eloquence (there are 5 that Piper discusses). I appreciated eloquence, but really hadn't thought much else about Christian eloquence. Eloquence isn't necessary. Christ is necessary.

But as I continue to study and practice engineering, my appreciation for beauty and elegance in design increases. In the same way I hope that as I continue to read and hear Christian speakers, my appreciation for eloquence will increase.

If you are going to read the article, you can skip the next paragraph. But if you weren't going read it, here is the conclusion.

"Yes, there is Christian eloquence. It is not the decisive factor in salvation or sanctification; God is. But faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word. That word in the Bible is pervasively eloquent—words are put together in a way to give great impact. And God invites us to create our own eloquent phrases for his name’s sake, not ours. And in the mystery of his sovereign grace, he will glorify himself in the hearts of others in spite of and because of the words we have chosen. In that way, he will keep us humble and get all the glory for himself. Amen." - John Piper

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Retreat and Augustine

The young adults retreat was blessed with BEAUTIFUL weather. I was really looking forward to a weekend of rest, fellowship, and teaching. We spent hours at the beach or playing games, and we spent hours in conversation.

The picture below captures a great moment during Catchphrase. =)

While I was on the retreat I got the chance to do a lot of reading. I hadn't gotten very far into Confessions by St. Augustine when I came across a sentence that really impacted me.

"So too let him rejoice and delight in finding you who are beyond discovery rather than fail to find you by supposing you to be discoverable." ~ St. Augustine, Confessions

It is kind of hard to explain what I was thinking, but I will give it a try.

I liked the statement and it reminded me of my personal testimony in a lot of ways, but I didn't really like the words "beyond discovery". The connotation seemed momentary, as if to say that God could not be discovered by a person, but looking at the larger context that is clearly not the meaning. I talked several people about the phrase and the knowabilitly of God. I consulted some other books when I got home and prayed for wisdom regarding the words of Augustine.

In the end I am able to rejoice in the fact that I am finite and God is infinite. I will never know everything there is to know about God, but I will continue to understand Him more as I worship and serve Him. It is by God's grace that I did not fail to find God because I wanted understand everything about God and the universe before having faith. I can know God but will never know everything about every aspect of God. These sorts of paradoxes fill the first chapters of the book. Augustine says about God that He is "deeply hidden yet most intimately present...immutable and yet changing all things". I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book and thinking about more of what Augustine had to say.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Last week there was a prayer meeting at church for the missionaries the church supports and specifically for Africa. Throughout the night I was listening to the men and women pray to our Lord with trust and faith. The prayers were bold and honest. It had been a difficult week for me leading up to the prayer meeting, but that time spent in prayer agreeing with my brothers and sisters in Christ was a beautiful time of fellowship with God. I was moved to tears several times by the prayers. The confidence I have in Christ and my love for Him should lead me to pray bold prayers, but I often don't pray this way.

Pray for Africa.

Pray that I would pray boldly and often.

Pray for the health of my grandfather (who I call VovĂ´ Moa).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The New Adventures of Old Christine

A friend that I visited this past weekend suggested I call my blog The New Adventures of Old Christine. =) Well since my blog already has a name, I decided to use the title for this post since it seemed appropriate.

Last week I went on a whirlwind trip through Pennsylvania (York, State College, then Philly). I ended up staying with a different friend every night for 4 nights.

The main purpose of my trip back to PA was to meet with my former college professors and share with them the details of my appointment was a water engineer missionary. Hopefully while I am in Sudan, they will be able to answer questions or direct me to resources for information I may need. Overall my professors were excited for me, especially those I knew well. Many are looking forward to hearing about engineering in Africa. I did have a few professors say that I was being irrational (rationality is kind of a big deal for engineers), but all I can tell them is that serving and following my savior is completely rational.

I was especially looking forward to meeting with my former thesis advisor. The title of my undergraduate thesis was "An Analysis of Water Treatment in Developing Nations" (Sometimes I can't help but laugh when I look back at the ways God was working in my life over the years to prepare me for this call). I had talked to him while I was a student about organizations that were involved in water engineering overseas, and his years in the peace corps. He was glad to see that I would now be going overseas after over two years of experience at a manufacturing site in the United States. Not that 4 years of classes, tests, and homework isn't good preparation for being an engineer, but not much can replace the practical experiences of listening to pumps and tracing pipe.

It was a gray and rainy day in State College on Friday while I was visiting professors and walking around campus. I had several surreal moments when I almost thought I was a student again walking to lab or class along familiar paths. I was on autopilot as I walked from building to building... that is until I walked up to a building that wasn't there three years ago. I took some pictures and then continued walking at the brisk pace of a student who is trying to get back to their dorm for a nap between classes. There is something about Penn State that brings me joy as I remember the four wonderful years that I spent on this campus. I am thankful for all the experiences I had at Penn State from playing capture the flag in two feet of snow at 2 am to sitting in a dorm room having long discussions and even having anxiety attacks from a lack of sleep.

Overall it was a wonderful trip through PA. I met with my former campus ministers, the LAST student I know at Penn State (who happens to be the little sister of one of my peers), my former professors, several of my best friends, and then I had the chance to meet and pray with Larissa in person on my way home through Philly. I even got to watch Penn State beat Illinois on the big TV in the HUB.

Today I am getting ready to leave for the weekend again. This time I will be going to the beach for a retreat with the young adults from my church. =)