Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer


One of the best things about moving between cultures as often as I have is that I get a chance to learn how much I don’t know. One of the things I have learned living in the Middle Eastern countries was how little I knew about my own religion. Knowing how little I knew sent me into a bible-study program that I look forward to resuming one day when I am living back in the US, or someplace that offers it – Bible Study Fellowship. They do an in-depth study of different books, or sections, of the bible, very serious, and you learn so much.

Apart from that, the church with which I affiliate, the Episcopal Church, has daily readings – I’ve mentioned this before – you can see them yourself by clicking on The Lectionary over in my Blogroll, and then going to the Daily Office Readings and clicking on the right week. Once there, you have to click on the day of the week, and it will take you to the readings for today.

One of the readings for today, the New Testament reading, made me smile:

James 4:13-17,5:7-11

13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’
14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.
17 Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

7 Be patient, therefore, beloved,* until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.
8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.*
9 Beloved,* do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!
10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved,* take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
11 Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

In the first section, verse 15 tells us that we should be like good Moslems, never saying we are going to do something without adding “if God wills it,” or (big grin) in Arabic, “Insha’allah.” How often we hear Westerners saying “None of this ‘Insha’allah!’ I want you to DO it, dammit!” I never looked twice at this verse until I had lived in the Middle East.

In the second part, there is a message just meant for me, maybe not for you, in verse 9. It tells me not to grumble against another person, of I will be judged by the same standard. Hmmmm, now there’s a scary thought!

December 31, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Humor, Relationships, Spiritual


  1. Talk about a cultural change. It looks like you could write a book about your travels. Good luck to you.

    Comment by Health Freak | December 31, 2007 | Reply

  2. I agree with Health Freak (about the book!)

    Our teachers in HS used to tell us “I don’t want any of this Inshalla! You have to do it!”
    My closest friend in MN started saying Inshala now its funny. I was talking to him the other day and he’s like “You’ll meet monica when you come to the wedding” *pause* “inshala” LOOL!

    Comment by Chirp | December 31, 2007 | Reply


    Comment by ZAHRA | December 31, 2007 | Reply

  4. Interesting post. Do you know that the NECK – National Evangelical Church in Kuwait has Cell Groups for the members who meet once a week and do Bible Study. These Cell Groups can range between 6 and 20 people and as it becomes bigger, it splits into smaller groups and starts growing again. From there the name Cell Groups. Apart from studying the Bible, worshipping and praise, you pray together and share each other’s troubles…

    Comment by bbq8 | December 31, 2007 | Reply

  5. Health Freak, Chirp – I used to dream of writing a book, I wanted to be an author. It’s one reason I started blogging. The way to be a writer (I know, this is so disgustingly simple) is . . . to WRITE! What I have found is that writing the blog satisfies that need for me, and it makes me happy. I don’t need to be a KNOWN author, just to write, to share, and to get a little feedback. For me, it’s enough.

    Chirp – *dying laughing at your teacher*

    ZAHRA – Kuwait!

    bbq8 – I knew of one women’s bible study, and some night ones, but I didn’t know of the cell concept. Sounds like I may be in luck!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 31, 2007 | Reply

  6. oops! I do a lot of grumblings within myself which is equally dangerous. I’ll have to build up a New year resolution soon!

    Comment by Joel | December 31, 2007 | Reply

  7. Joel – I think we are all tempted to grumble, and it is good to have a list of positive things to help us change our perspective.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 1, 2008 | Reply

  8. interesting, inshallah

    Comment by Mrm | January 4, 2008 | Reply

  9. Glad you find it so, Mrm. What you reading these days?

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 4, 2008 | Reply

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