Be warned, this is a long post. Try to make it through, though, it's worth it.

First off, Chris and I forgot to post yesterday. It was a strange sort of day. Christine woke up sick to her stomach, so we spent the majority of the day watching movies. It was ok, though. For one thing, it was pouring outside - our first day of rain since Chris arrived! Which is amazing, considering this is Vancouver, and in Chris' opinion, very disappointing, because she loves the rain. Also, our main plans for the day were "shopping". Anyone who knows me well knows I'm not a big fan of shopping. So I wasn't super disappointed we missed out on it. Christine, however, was quite disappointed that we missed out on shopping, especially when we had supper. You see, for supper, we met her cousin Andrew (also a Regent student) and his wife at a huge mall, where the shopping would have been prime. It was great to meet them, they're both very easy to talk to.

Today (Saturday) was a sad day. Christine woke up feeling better, thankfully. We took the bus to the airport around lunch, and I had to say goodbye to her. I cried some. It's so hard to go from the real thing, the friend in person, to going back to communicating through phone lines and internet connections. Re-introducing an intermediary element. That's a sad thing. But the harder the goodbye, the more joyful the reunion. Christmas is going to be great. So the story of Christine in Vancouver and Blue Spoon and our mutual adventures must sadly end here. It's been one of my favorite weeks of all time, a surreal and joy-filled experience. I couldn't have wished for anything better. That girl is seriously one of God's greatest gifts to me.

I also want to tell you about how I made a breakthrough of sorts tonight. Since the beginning of this Regent thing, I've been hearing repeated warnings against turning my faith into a dry academic study, divorcing my heart from it. I knew I was in danger of becoming too mind-heavy, and of studying for the wrong reasons, since I'm always fighting a tendency to be focused on grades and people-pleasing. This prompted me to write a sort of manifesto back in September. Here's a taste of it:

"I realize that it is entirely possible for a year at Bible School to be futile if my heart is not in the right place. It is not about knowledge; it is about love. I'm not here to learn to be an academic, but to learn to be a worshipper. It is not about marks; it's about transformation. It's not only about thinking; it's about responding. I will interweave my study with intense devotion. I refuse to be a safe observer. I choose to become alive. Professors are not the audience I must please, but the mouthpiece of God. I will not read what professors require so I can pass; I will read what professors love so I can grow. Papers are not chores, they are prayers. I want to learn the truth that I may worship in truth. Above all, I want to learn to love."

So these have been goals of mine for a while now. Tonight I began to see the realization of it, the "internalizing" of something academic. I was reading about the Orthodox theology of Christ and the cross. I came to a quote from Julian of Norwich where she pictures Christ saying, "If I had to have suffered more for you, I would have gladly done it". I was also listening to the new David Crowder CD (thank you Rachel). Suddenly I realized that David Crowder was screaming, "Breathe in deeper now - the wonder of the cross" with all the passion that makes me love David Crowder. It forced me to let it sink in - what Julian of Norwich was saying, the wonder of Christ's willingness to die for us, a love stronger than death... and I cried. Yet it wasn't sentimental at all, it was one of the deepest things I've felt in a long time. Maybe I'm becoming a Christian mystic like Julian... I wouldn't mind.

Anyway, I wanted to share that story with you mostly so I wouldn't forget it, and so I will keep striving for the transformation over and through the academics. But also so you will go out and buy the new David Crowder CD, "A Collision". It is a CD that tells a story, that takes you on a journey, that pulls these cries out of the deepest part of you and helps you express them. It has been comforting me, stirring me, and challenging me all night. As Jared put it, "On a scale of one to ten, I give it a never leaving my CD player". :)

Good night to all of you, and if you remember, pray for me, as I have a lot of work to do over the next little while (I did no reading during reading week!), and it's going to be a struggle to keep my heart in it...

(Chris, I changed the colour of the text in your honour)