Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lantern Festival Celebration in Chiayi

New Year’s Day I was in Chiayi in south/central Taiwan and saw  what I suppose is the giant lantern for this year’s National Lantern Festival, which rotates among locations in Taiwan every year. Too bad I won’t be in Taiwan for Chinese New Year’s this year. However, having visited the national celebration a few years in a row in in the late 90’s when I first moved to Taipei, I haven’t really had the urge to fight the crowd. DSC00124



Friday, January 15, 2010

Pilgrim Learners

Today over lunch at McD’s (yes, sometimes I stoop this low here in Taiwan) I was reading chapter 6 of Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship by the late Lesslie Newbigin. Suddenly, I happened upon the word “pilgrim”.

At this exact moment, in order to drown out the loud music in the fast food restaurant, I encountered for the very first time the song “Pilgrim” by the artist Enya stored in my mp3 player. The confluence of events caught my attention immediately. Here are the lyrics and a link to Enya’s lovely song:



Pilgrim, how you journey
On the road you chose
To find out why the winds die
And where the stories go.

All days come from one day
That much you must know,
You cannot change what's over
But only where you go.

One way leads to diamonds,
One way leads to gold,
Another leads you only
To everything you're told.

In your heart you wonder
Which of these is true;
The road that leads to nowhere,
The road that leads to you.

Will you find the answer
In all you say and do?
Will you find the answer
In you?

Each heart is a pilgrim,
Each one wants to know
The reason why the winds die
And where the stories go.

Pilgrim, in your journey
You may travel far,
For pilgrim it's a long way
To find out who you are...

Pilgrim, it's a long way
To find out who you are...
Pilgrim, it's a long way
To find out who you are...

A lovely song (I still like her theme from Lord of the Rings better), but I have to disagree with the lyrics stating that the answers lie in “the road that leads to you”. Here’s what Newbigin was saying in the very instant I simultaneously encountered the word pilgrim both in the mp3 and the book:

“If we allow the Bible to be that which we attend to above all else, we will be saved from two dangers: The first is the danger of the closed mind. The Bible leaves an enormous space open for exploration (ie. if you interpret it correctly—neither as fundamentalists nor as liberals do). If our central commitment is to Jesus, who is the Word of God incarnate in our history, we shall know that in following him we have the clue to the true understanding of all that is, seen and unseen, known and yet to be discovered. We shall therefore be confident explorers. The second is the danger of the mind open at both ends, the mind which is prepared to entertain anything but has a firm hold of nothing. We shall be saved from the clueless wandering which sometimes takes to itself the name of pilgrimage.  A pilgrim is one who turns his back on some familiar things and sets his face in the direction of the desired goal. The Christian is called to be a pilgrim, a learner to the end of her days. But she knows the Way.” (p. 91-92)

May the biblical story continue to awaken my imagination and challenge and stimulate my thinking and acting (91). May I also, while seeking to be a lifelong learner encountering different fields beyond my ability to completely comprehend, trying to understand different kinds of books, etc.  – continue to be a confident explorer yet humble, not arrogant), fighting the good fight, perservering in the quest.