After a great evening and morning with Jeremy, Petra and the boys, Jeremy drove me the hour and a half from Orahovica. We were not in too much hurry because this particular train is usually quite late. but we arrived about fifteen minutes before the train was scheduled to stop. We had have great talks and I was very well fed. It was great to be with these good friends. We talked till late and then after breakfast continued out conversation. It was really great to hang out in the country. Thanks for your hospitality and friendship guys.
Then, after waiting almost an hour and a half, I headed for Bosnia where I look forward to hanging out with Dejan and Michelle for a day before the prayer retreat in the mountains. I am grateful for Mark who got the sleeping bag and backpack out for me to use on this part of the adventure. As the train arrived at Osijek, I moved quickly to get on the Hungarian car. I was hoping for the same good conditions I rode down from Budapest on yesterday but it seems that the guy who connected this engine to these two cars forgot to connect something and there doesn’t seem to be any electricity. Oh well.
I had forgotten that in northernmost Bosnia, the train stops at intersections for cars… I think we stopped once for a chicken… But now am in Sarajevo, already having fun with Dejan and Michelle…
to Sarajevo to visit Dejan and Michelle
to Croatia today to see Jeremy and Petra and the boys.
Teams in bold are my hopes:
49. Uruguay vs. S. Korea
50. USA vs. Ghana
51. Germany vs. England
52. Argentina vs. Mexico
53. Netherlands vs. Slovakia
54. Brazil vs. Chile
55. Paraguay vs. Japan
56. Spain vs. Portugal
Ok, Brazil is a pick, and I guess Spain is too.
A. Slovakia vs. Brazil
B. S.Korea vs. USA
C. Mexico vs. England
D. Japan vs. Spain
I. Slovakia vs. USA
II. England vs. Japan
3rd place Slovakia vs. Japan
Final USA vs. England
So, I’m taking an on-again, off-again retreat until Sunday night. Part of this down-time, indeed its a Sabbath, means quietness, catching up on reading and rest. I’m just back from another failed visit to see a flat (apartment) to lease and a stop at the local box store where I have stocked up with supplies for the weekend. Today, I caught up on the two week old news in the Economist that my sweet Anna sent me and in it is their Technology Quarterly. In that section I read two articles that interested me greatly. One because it was about human behavior, the other about a software program.
The article on human behavior was in context of human-computer interaction. It was about the computer recognizing the nod. Yes, the nod. Have you ever thought about nodding? Not nodding off (which I will do in an hour or so – I just had lunch) but the nod as communication. When having a conversation, one nods. Researchers have discovered that the nod is often preceed by a gaze change to the speaker from the listener. I personally would add an “umhmm” or a “hmmm.” This shows that the listener is indeed listening and engaged. Over and against just waiting for his or her change to speak (which happens way too often in typical conversation). Communication is really happening when we nod.
The other article is about a software that prevents the internet from distracting us. Be it Fb, Twitter or just checking our email, when working on the oomputer, we are very distracted. Sometimes Ill be at my desk working on something that is time sensitive and I’ll get a call, or I’ll be driving (back home) and I will take the call. But I will sometimes warn my caller that they are only getting 47% of my attention since I’m still doing X. It’s what multi-tasking is all about isn’t it? “Dipping” into the stream of the web as we try to work really slows us down. Our attention gets divided. The software prevents distraction by protecting us from the Internet.
This made me think about God. I am glad that God doesn’t have to divide His attention. Any of us who speak to Him have all of His attention (I might have said 100% of His attention, but 100% is a concept of human reasoning and I’m not sure that that is His limit. God is unlimited. He is eternal (something we don’t really get). Thus, he doesn’t need software to keep Him from being distracted. oh, and, I think God nods a lot.
Mid day, I went to meet my Szeged friends to vsit with them on their way to the airport, I spent the ride down to see Andy, Samm and Kimbo going over my notes from _A Praying Life_. In sorting through all the quotes, I found these to be the most helpful for my own praying life:
about Jesus… “And he prays. And he prays.”
“When Jesus tells us to believe, he isn’t asking us to work up some spiritual energy. He is telling us to realize that, like him, we don’t have the resourcesto do life. Whenn you know that you (like Jesus) can’t do life on your own, then prayer makes complete sense.”
“We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy meandering prayers.”
“If you slow down and reflect, you’ll begin to see whole areas of your life where you’ve been prayerless.”
“Until you are convinced that you can’t change your child’s heart [or anyone elses for that matter, even your own], you will not take prayer seriously.”
“I often find that when God doesn’t answer a prayer, he wants to expose something in me.”
“You can’t walk with the Shepherd and not begin to change.”
I think one of the things that I am taking away from this book is that to connect to and hear from God I need to soak often in the Scriptures and I need to abide quietly with Jesus day in and day out. This is how I am changed, not from regret and remorse, but from biblical repentance: recognizing my sin (and not being surprised at it), crying out to God asking Him to change me, and rejoicing as I receive the work of the Spirit changing me from the inside out.
I urge you to go buy and read this book. As one friend who took that advise said, “It is changing the way I think about prayer.”
This is my first entry. I traveled with the group but went without headset, I’d been there five time before, I didn’t need commentary. I took notes from which the following submissions come:
They hang neatly
striped prayer shawls
worn many times
while reciting Hebrew prayers
the fringes, decorations, embrodery
the trim, frayed
the Shema quoted from heart.
How many prayers were said
while wearing these shawls.
Shuffling through the rooms
visitors hear of
pile and piles of hair
burlap sacks filled with hair
cloth and netting are the product
these didn’t affect until the braid
lying just as it is was cut
from the terrified head of the
woman just hours
before her death
her ashes, now scattered,
but her braids remain,
but never never comes
and again keeps coming
again and again,
again and again.