Monday, August 13, 2007

Bon Voyage

Since I wasn't able to keep up with my blog while traveling I thought I would post some excerpts from the emails I sent to friends and family. This one is about my arrival.

After my arrival I discovered that my housing is actually at the
University of Paris. That in and of itself was thrilling to me. The
campus is beautiful and my room is more than I could have hoped for.
But what blessed me the most was that I was immediately befriended by
two of the residents, Yun from China and Hachim from Algeria. Yun
showed me the ropes ( God bless her!) and took me to the grocery
store. Later Hachim invited me to eat a home cooked dinner that he and
three other of his Algerian friends had cooked! They were surprised
and delighted that I am a fan of their countryman, the violinist
Djamel Ben Yelles, and I can't begin to tell you how much better and
more at home their hospitality made me feel. Who would have thought
that immediately upon my arrival I would be so embraced? Talk about
having your steps ordered.

This morning I had to go out and buy a few odds and ends to prepare my
meals with, so I ventured up where i knew there was a large immigrant
community and the shopping is cheap. I ended up wandering into the
largest open air market I have ever seen. The market was packed and
loud and beautiful. They sold everything from fresh fish to underwear
- but for me the most beautiful thing of course was the incredible
mixture of people from every race and nationality. A lot of Tunisians,
Algerians, Moroccans, Africans, etc ... And let me tell you, I have
really been enlightened on the scope of what is African Attire! But
this is the Paris that I love. The Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower are
beautiful, but for me it is that Paris is such an international city,
and the immigrants here do not feel the pressure to assimilate. Here
the Africans wear their African attire all of the time.



Did you notice how "secular" Europe in general and France in particular are? Not that I have a problem with that, to the contrary in many respects actually, but it's sure not like the evangelical world here, huh?

Maybe you saw different tho. Just curious.

voixd'ange said...

You know, my thoughts are very mixed on Europe and how "secular" it is. I sure wouldn't seek to emulate Christianity American style there, or anywhere else for that matter. The people I encountered in Europe were so utterly kind - I was overwhelmed. My church experience in the States could not compare. In fact my pastor once said at Bible study a while ago that the only thing meaner than a Christian is a pastor. He was trying to get us to think, but his words ring way to close to the truth for me.
But worship music in French I found was nearly non-existent. I know you're not much for us hand - raising emotional types, but it would be nice if there were at least an option for the French people in their native tongue.

Madcap said...

What about the Taize stuff? I'm not very familiar with it myself, but the local Charismatic community seems to talk about it a lot, and I thought it was French. Non?

voixd'ange said...

Oui MCM - it is. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. In fact thought a lot about going there and probably should have. Hopefully next time.


Taize is beautiful and deeply moving on occasion. I've played it for my daughters since they were infants @ bedtime--so quite some time now given they are 8 and 6. It's repetitive chant and very meditative and contemplative, if you will. Not all repetition is vain.

You say, “I sure wouldn't seek to emulate Christianity American style there, or anywhere else for that matter." I find that interesting and very telling. Why wouldn't you?

voixd'ange said...

Part of it is personal experience within the church since I was very young. Part of it is what we have seen materialize in this nation over the past 6-7 years or so. There seems to be mass confusion as to the difference between discipleship and Western civ. I think we've developed a church culture that isn't necessarily Christian, even though some see it as the living embodiment of Christianity. My reading of the book of Acts and the life of the early church doesn't read anything like the Republican platform and sounds very little like the harsh voices of the religious right.


I'll say this much. Thank God that the Founding Fathers of our Republic established separation of Church and State. As of late, that line has been blurred, but I hope to see a return to the intent.

voixd'ange said...

Amen to that.