Posts Tagged ‘singing’

More Confessions of a Lutheran Charismatic

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I wrote last summer, in a post titled Confessions of a Lutheran Charismatic, about how reading Light Your Church on Fire Without Burning it Down by David Housholder was a very meaningful experience. This was because it awakened part of my spirituality that I had kept hidden for a long time–namely my singing in the spirit (aka in tongues).

I was inspired this week to share a bit about how my prayer life has evolved since rediscovering this melodic gift. That post is over at Life & Liberty under the title, Singing in the Spirit. Click the title to read that post.

Note: the artwork above is my attempt at a visual representation of a prayer song that was with me as I wrote about this topic.

Is it Really Good Enough?

Yesterday my friend Sarah Bessey shared a link to a guest post by Tara Livesay over at D.L. Mayfield’s blog. In the post Tara Livesay talks about her life in Haiti and her concern about visitors who come for mission trips.

Tara laments the tendency of visitors to view themselves as the heroes and to look at the people of Haiti as “projects.” She writes about the air of superiority and even the disdain with which some visitors view the people of Haiti.

Tara says,

It is not at all unusual to hear visitors botch something up they are working on and say, “Oh well, it is good enough for Haiti.”

That post hit me right between the eyes, because I was one of those visitors. When I was 17 years old (over half my lifetime ago), I went on a week-long mission trip to Haiti.

I know I went there thinking I was going to be a hero. The real truth of that trip is that the people of Haiti made more of an impact on me than I did on them.

When it came down to it, I avoided the hardest work projects because they were too hard. Even when I did help out with doable things, I remember just feeling hot all the time.

My half-baked efforts were far from “good enough for Haiti.” The “project” was too much for me. I failed it.

The only good I did in Haiti was when I joined in their singing. I was terrible at it because I was unsure of the words, their meaning and their pronunciation.

20130405-160409.jpgWhen we gathered with Hatian churches or Haitian school children, there was so much singing. Their singing was so joyful, so exuberant. They knew the words even if I didn’t.

I eeked out the words the best I could manage. And the best thing about singing with them was that it was with them. It wasn’t something I did for them because I was better. It was something we did together.

I still remember some of those songs and I still sing them from time to time. It is part of the lasting impact that the people of Haiti have had on me.

Still, I think part of me has carried a sense of failure that I didn’t make the impact on Haiti that I intended.

My son was in public school when Haiti had been devastated by the earthquake. So I dusted off my photo album from Haiti, made a slide show and spoke to my son’s class. I wanted to do something helpful, to Raise Awareness.

Now though, after reading Tara Livesay’s post I wonder if my little talk only perpetuated the “we as heroes” narrative. Did I use that opportunity to make up for my failure at the “project” earlier in my life?

I started writing this post last night before I went to bed and I have been mulling it over all day. I want to be able to wrap it up in some meaningful conclusion. I can’t seem to do it though because Tara’s post has left me with more questions than answers.

Could it be that is a good thing?