Saturday, April 29, 2006

Truth Against the World

The weekly day of protesting has officially switched to Fridays.

This makes things more interesting, because a couple of other ladies are also out there every Friday morning (except when it's raining), so we join them instead of going solo. In greater numbers the most effective way to march against abortion isn't to march at all; it's to form a line along the sidewalk at the front of the hospital and face the traffic with our signs.

The first time I ever went out to help protest in Windsor, one of the ladies told me to look people in the eye when they drive past. I took her advice, and continue to do so... to use my eyes as well as my sign, to be a silent voice that says "Don't just drive by here and ignore me... don't just ignore what I'm saying." And people respond. Some slow down and read the signs as they go past. Some honk, wave, nod, or shout encouragement. Some swear or flip us off. Many avoid looking at us--yesterday a young couple changed lanes just to be six feet farther away from us. One good man took a head count, drove to Tim Horton's, and returned with coffee.

Last week I stood at the front of the line: facing into the flow of traffic, with nobody between me and the city. Normally when I go out I'm shy and retiring. I avoid talking to people I don't know. I don't like to meet their eyes; I don't like to cause trouble. But every Friday morning I step away from my usual wall of protection and stand as Truth Against the World. Standing against the tide, looking into so many eyes in so many faces. Sometimes the faces break my heart.

I've never realized before how many hard faces there are in this city. How many people wear their walls on their faces, daring life to hurt them again. I've never realized how many young people drive through the streets with a mingled haughtiness and fear in their expression; the trepidation of trying to become someone in a world that's continually trying to cage them. I've never realized how many elderly people look lost. I've never realized before how many people here are different than me: how many are black, how many are Muslim, how many are recently come from Asia. They remind me of others I have known. They remind me to pray.

I pray a lot when I'm out there. I pray for the people driving past. I pray for the city, this entity made up of all these faces and the souls behind them. I pray that Jesus Christ will come and make Himself known here. That He will find the lost; humble the haughty; comfort the wounded; break the hardness and bring joy, holiness, righteousness, peace.

It makes me consider myself a little, too. I realize how little I am. What a small piece of this place, of this world at large, I represent. Yet, at the same time, I represent something far greater. I represent Truth Against the World: Jesus, the Son of God, and every counter-cultural word He ever spoke. I represent His life. My heart is an outpost of His kingdom.

May His kingdom come in glory... may the knowledge of God cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Heather and Snow and One who Lives

From one of my favourite books, George MacDonald's "Heather and Snow," which is slated for publication by Little Dozen Press in the none-too-distant future. It is the story of Kirsty Barclay and her half-witted brother Steenie, whose chief joy is to wander the Highland mountains at night in search of "the bonny man" and His angels.

Steenie darted forward, shot head-first into the hole as he had seen Kirsty do, and crept undismayed to the bottom of the slope. Kirsty followed close behind, but he was already on his feet when she joined him. He grasped her arm eagerly, his face turned from her, and his eyes gazing fixedly into the depth of the gallery, lighted so vaguely by the candle on the floor of its entrance.

'I think I saw him!' he said in a whisper full of awe and delight. 'I think I did see him!—but, Kirsty, hoo am I to be sure 'at I saw him?'

'Maybe ye did and maybe ye didna see him,' replied Kirsty; 'but that disna metter sae muckle, for he's aye seen you; and ye'll see him, and be sure 'at ye see him, whan the richt time comes.'

'Ye div think that, Kirsty?'

'Ay div I,' returned Kirsty, confidently.

'I s' wait,' answered Steenie, and in silence followed Kirsty along the gallery.

This was Steenie's first, and all but his last descent into the earth-house, or Picts' House, or weem, as a place of the sort is called: there are many such in the east of Scotland, their age and origin objects of merest conjecture. The moment he was out of it, he fled to the Horn.

The next Sunday he heard read at church the story of the burial and resurrection of the Lord, and... associated the chamber they had just discovered with the tomb in which 'they laid him.' The earth-house had no longer any attraction for Steenie: the bonny man was not there; he was risen! He was somewhere above the mountain-top haunted by Steenie, and that he sometimes descended upon it Steenie already knew, for had he not seen him there!

Happy Steenie! Happier than so many Christians who, more in their brain-senses, but far less in their heart-senses than he, haunt the sepulchre as if the dead Jesus lay there still, and forget to walk the world with him who dieth no more, the living one!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The very limited version of Theodore Pharris Saves the Universe has been removed from public availability. It will now go into the proofreading and re-formatting phase, eventually to be marketed and re-released.

My Amazon books have begun to trickle in. Let the publishing education commence!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Drama

This has been a significant Easter. A season, a weekend, that has altered my perspective by reminding me that we are all living, not a mundane, meaningless existence, but in a drama that began before creation and reached its most critical point two thousand years ago.

It is the story of Life and Death.

Last month an old friend of mine died of cancer at a young age. She was part of my church family, one of those people who first opened my eyes to Jesus in all His reality and glory. (I wrote an article after her death called "Fallen Flower," which you can read here.) Then, just a few days before the holidays began, one of my cousins died in the womb. Her name was Annie Marie Grace, and I spent part of Good Friday beside her grave, mourning alongside the family. I have walked close to Death this Easter. I have been reminded of its reality and of its inevitability.

Perhaps because of this, I have been unusually aware of the condition of being alive. Spring has come here in Ontario, and the cool air, the rain and the gentle sunshine, the flowers and the newly budding trees, all emanate one message: "You're alive!" I am alive, and I feel it. The sense overwhelms me with gratitude. I can sing; I can smile; I can love. I'm alive. On the same day that I attended the burial of my baby cousin, I also met the five-week-old son of another cousin. So precious. I am awed at God's handiwork. Yes, yes, we're alive. Sorrow and celebration alike proclaim it.

And yet... many of us fail at life. God has given us a gift, something inexpressibly amazing. Yet we exist without purpose, without meaning, squandering life on our own selfish lusts. A pitiful race we are. The Westminster Confession says it well. We were created "to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." We did, once. But the drama took an unexpected turn. A villain entered. Man sinned, and Death entered the world. Death, that turns all of life into vanity.

And so, two thousand years ago, God created a new Man. And He lived. Jesus Christ lived with all the brilliance and glory of one filled with the Father. He was everything man was meant to be. He was more. He came so that we might cease to merely exist and truly Live as He lived. He said "I am the Life." He said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Like glorious spring in a human body the Son of God overturned the long winter of sin and darkness. He set the captives free.

Ah, but man loved darkness. The shadows of Good Friday fell. Death conquered Him. He was convicted by lies, cruelly murdered, buried.

You know the story. I'm not telling you anything new. But I want to remind you, because it's your story, and mine. Because our fates were decided over the course of three days long ago when Death buried Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ rose again. Let this season alter your perspective. Be reminded of what was accomplished for you in the life of this Man.

He came to give life. Abundant life; life with meaning. He conquered Death. When He rose, everything changed. The grave is no longer the end. It is a stepping-stone. No longer can this precious gift of life be snatched away from us. Instead, it is enriched, it is fulfilled, it is made real and brilliant and eternal.

I heard it many times this past weekend: the ancient greeting of Christians who rejoice in what He has done.

He is risen.

He is risen indeed.

* * *

My first book, Lord, Teach Us to Pray, can be purchased here.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Rachel's Very Own Publishing Conference

P.P.S. (Pre-Post Script): I've actually updated since this post, but Blogspot did a very strange thing and lost this post... which I didn't take kindly to. The new post is below this one. Grumble.)

I started a publishing company last year and I'm bound and determined to learn how to use it. I really wanted to go to the BookExpo in Washington DC this year, but then I thought long and hard about it--and decided that the conference will do me much more good when I can speak the language of publishing. In other words, I'm an ignoramus and it's time I learned me a few things.

So, instead of going to DC to spend the weekend tripping over everything I don't know, I have decided to invest in books. Lots of books. Books that will make me an expert on self-, small-, and successful-publishing. Thank God for email lists where experienced people are fast and easy with recommendations, and for where one can find every book one needs in one place (except that they don't carry my books... yet. So if you need those go here).

The only depressing thing about this is it means I will spend hours and hours learning on my own and missing out on the fun party atmosphere of major conferences. Thus I have had a brilliant idea: you should all come over. We'll sit on my bedroom floor amidst stacks of books, eating chips and shawarmas and tea (maybe we'll drink that, 'stead of eating it) and we will fellowship and converse and become expert together, so you can all become publishers and join all of the fine competition out there.

Who's coming?

Guttersnipes for Life: The New Wave of Abortion Protesting

Alexis and I, intrepid protesters, couldn't go on Wednesday morning as is our usual wont because Alexis was sick. Hence, we decided to go today. I awoke this morning to the not-so gentle sound of rain on a nearby tin roof, and when Alexis did not show up when she said she was going to, I went back to bed.

Ten minutes later there she was, pounding on my door. I trudged downstairs again, opened the door, and greeted her as any true friend would. "Are you looney?"

She is. So am I. We went protesting. What's a little rain? Actually, it was very warm and the rain let up a little for us. Mind you, we got wet. We got VERY wet. You see, it wasn't raining very hard, but we had to contend with the tidal waves. We had slogged halfway down the sidewalk with our signs held high when a car zoomed past us, causing all the contents of the gutter to rise alarmingly and slosh down over our heads.

We laughed. What else should we do?

(This is sort of how we looked... only there were two of us... and we didn't have umbrellas, just signs, which aren't much good for keeping the rain/gutter water off... also, we aren't in Japan. But I love the picture!)