Month: July 2014

Noah’s Trip to Haiti (Part 2)

Noah on ground with kidsMy son Noah spent 9 days in Haiti last month with friends from our church, working at an orphanage. I posted the first half of his letter yesterday to donors (click here for post).  Here is the 2nd half of his letter.  

I wished we had gone back to the disabled orphanage, but we had other things planned.  We spent most of our days visiting another larger orphanage in the mountains. The team would drive up in the morning, spend the day, and then return to the compound for dinner. I became very close to many of the kids there. Evens would borrow my sunglasses and watch every morning, and make sure I got them back at the end of every day. Lele and Bebe were brothers, but I probably spent more time with Lele. Lele and Kenn loved to be carried and they loved to make me carry both of them at the same time and walk around staggering with their weight. Cynthia loved to play tag and get into tickle fights. Roberto and Robinson were tricksters. When I first met them, they kept saying they were the other person. I also enjoyed a game of “basketball” with Robinson by seeing who could throw a ball highest against a wall. Eveloude liked to be given high speed piggyback rides. I found out late in the week that she had been a restavec, or a slave girl, and escaped to the orphanage not long before our arrival. She was not yet a Christian and at twelve years old, she could not read. By the end of the week she said “Jesus loves you” in English.

One of my favorite ways to connect to the kids was to push them on the swings. I developed an elaborate routine. I would raise a child up, and ruthlessly blow on the back of their necks until they were giggling uncontrollably, and then release them pushing them as needed. Next I would stand in front of them in the path of the swing, and run out of the way right before their feet hit me. The kids loved it. Too much even, and I would need to maintain up to six swing at a time. Looking back on it, I realized my dad played with me in the same way. When I was very young he would push me down a hill in a stroller and screaming “out of control baby stroller,” or when I was a little older he would swing me upside-down and yelling “pendulum research.” I had been given an opportunity to be a father to the fatherless. I could only show love for a few of the seventy kids there, and I was only there for a week, but I like to think I showed some kids that they were loved, by us and by God.

Thank you again, – Noah

Noah w Eveloude

Noah’s Trip to Haiti (Part 1)

Noah and kids 1Our son Noah (17) spent 9 days in Haiti last month with a group from our church helping at an orphanage (Our older son, Nathan, went there 2 years ago.)  Some of these children became orphans after the 2010 earthquake (see my blog on Aftershock).  Here is the first half of the letter he sent to people who supported him.  I hope you are as moved as I was.

I wanted thank you so much for your prayer and support for my trip to Haiti. God protected us, and my team enjoyed safety and health. It was an amazing experience that changed my life and reached out to the lives of 68 orphaned children. Without you, this would not have been possible.  Thank you.

As soon as we arrived, I was hit by two things: heat and poverty. People crowded us at the airport asking to help us carry our bags, looking for whatever work they could find. After a ride in a Haitian style bus called a Tap-tap on roads with crazy driving, we arrived at the compound. We arrived before dinner and had time to unpack, unwind, and talk to the missionary who ran the orphanages, Greg Barshaw.

The next day we visited the disabled orphanage. The kids were very interested in my watch; they crowded around and wanted to push the buttons. They were content with the simple things, just standing there pushing a button, hearing a beep, and seeing a number change. I wish I could be as happy as these children over a little thing like that. After playing with the kids for a few minutes, Greg told us to gather around one orphan in a wheel chair. He looked barely responsive, and had a large cast around one leg. Greg said his name was Daniel, and he suffered from cerebral palsy. But as if being a poor orphaned child with a disability wasn’t enough, Daniel broke his femur when a therapist was trying to stretch it out. They operated on him without pain medicine and set the bone. I looked at Daniel and thought of the all the pain and loss, and wondered how it could be worth it. How could it be worth it to pull through all that pain to live in a wheel chair, unable to speak, unable to control your own body? Most of the group moved on to entertain other kids, but I stayed with Daniel and wrestled with this question.

One of our leaders, Andrew, began to hold his hand. After a little while, Daniel smiled. He was happy. In his horrible condition, he was happy, holding Andrew’s hand. In that moment, I knew why God put me in Haiti.

 

 

“I Will Strike You Down and Cut off Your Head”

If you are into trash talking, you may want to check out my recently published article,

” ‘I Will Strike You down and Cut off Your Head’ (1 Samuel 17:42) Trash Talking, Derogatory Rhetoric, and Psychological Warfare in Ancient Israel.”

It just appeared in a collection of essays entitled,

Warfare, Ritual, and Symbol in Biblical and Modern Contexts, edited by Brad Kelle, Frank Ames and Jacob Wright, from SBL (June, 2014)

Who trash talks in the Bible?  David, Goliath, Elijah, Jezebel, Jehu, the Rabshakeh, and even Yahweh himself.  David is the one who promises to “cut off” the head of his opponent Goliath from the title.

So, is it OK, or even good to trash talk?  Do you trash talk?  Should we trash talk today?  

I also have a series of nine blogs about OT trash talking (click here).

I begin with Shakespeare’s Henry V, then move quickly to John Cleese’s French knight in The Holy Grail (how often do you encounter Monty Python in academic works?) before working through examples in literature of the ancient Near East and the Bible.

I really like some of the section titles,

1) Introduction
2) Insults, Boasts and Predictions
3) Trash-Talk Research
4) Bulls and Birds, Falcons and Foxes: Trash Talking in the ANE
5) Flailing Flesh and Smoldering Stumps: Trash Talking in the Hebrew Bible
6) Canine Consumption: Elijah, Jezebel, Jehu, and Others
7) Eating Dung and Drinking Urine: The Rabshaheh, Hezekiah, and YHWH
8) Lions, Bears, and Dogs: David and the Philistine
9) Biomorphic and Zoomorphic, Scatological and Theological

I first gave an earlier draft of this in Oxford in July 2008, but many of the scholars weren’t familiar with the term “trash talking”, instead they spoke of “sledging” which is apparently what taunt speech is often called in cricket.

Other contributors to the volume include the three editors, as well as,
Saul M. Olyan
Nathaniel B Levtow
Thomas Römer
Kelly J. Murphy
Deborah O’Daniel Cantrell
Rüdiger Schmitt
Mark S. Smith
Susan Niditch
Jason A. Riley
T. M. Lemos

Where else do we find trash talking in the Bible?