Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Diary of Dundee, Part VIII

I’m not certain that I truly awoke Saturday until Pete pulled in to the petrol station parking lot with Chad and me in tow. Two other cars pulled in beside us, carrying Eric, Mindy, Ted, and Todd. Like Pete, Simon and Andy had given their morning to cart us to the airport.

Petrol stations in Scotland, as well as grocery stores and sandwich shops, bear the marks of a society which has aborted God and the family. Magazine racks wear nudity and false sexuality like Southerners wear ball caps. I sometimes envy men who say that they don’t have a difficult time keeping their eyes from straying to pictures that degrade and tantalize. Either that, or I think they’re liars. It’s not easy for me in a week when I am focused on the work of Christ, so I can’t imagine how it is for someone living with it day in and day out. But pornography is only a symptom. Liz touted some other symptoms for us at dinner earlier that week. The one I remember is that Dundee has the highest pregnancy rate in all of Europe. I also remember a couple of newspapers with articles about how the most violent crimes in the city are statistically committed by more children than adults. Rape, sodomy, murder, violent assaults – these are the acts of children.

I am forced to say what is unpopular. People, without Jesus, drift naturally towards apathy, delusion, fear, and pride. Scotland used to be a country from which missionaries were sent. Now, the opposite is necessary. I heard no end, standing on the street corners on Monday night, of the relativity of truth. You can’t make a people see reason, but the few Christians in Dundee have spent a great deal of time praying for the Lord to open the hearts of the city to the liberating slavery of serving God instead of being dominated by vices and fears.

There is an old copy of Anna Karenin on my bookshelf. On the spine, it bears the words, ‘Shelf of Fiction’, and below that, in a shield, ‘Veritas’, meaning ‘Truth’. It is interesting that so much truth should be found in fiction, in stories. Our own stories were the vehicles by which we entered into the confidences of the disconnected post-modern minds of Dundee, Scotland. I may never see all the ripples made from dropping us six pebbles into the waters. But, as it is not grace of my own that brings me redemption, I am glad for trust in the one whose feet tread the waves.

I daresay I’m biased.

And so, we walk out from under the misty, gunmetal ceiling and back into the sunlight. It sometimes feels that transatlantic flights and big events become the bookends of my life. I am blessed when I lightly grasp the thought that the muddled middles and the in-betweens are the defining times. Let there be more. Many, many more. And I hope Jesus never stops ripping my world open.


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