More stories of the past at Kumomoto. Stories that complex-ify. Japan not as a cohesive, evil, military power all seeking destruction of neighbouring nations, but as a land of people in various societies with each their own different story of life and love and suffering, dominance and loss.
My impression of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo was a college trying to keep its identity as a Christian college on a growing campus with increasing diversity. They seem to be doing a good job of balancing and finding integrity in the shifting realities, and they're not the only Christian higher education institutes to be dealing with this question of identity.
Every now and then a familiar story comes to new meaning. A recent re-reading of the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52 pushes me into an area of discomfort that challenges my identity and my understanding of our identity as a faith community. It makes me question our responses to Jesus' unexpected ways of transforming people. It causes me to wonder how good my vision is after all.
After a refreshing and relaxing Christmas holiday in Canada, my spouse and I have returned to Harrisonburg, VA to continue our studies at Eastern Mennonite University. While going north in December does not really align with my climate preferences, the draw of family and friends during the Christmas season is strong.