Updates from November, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • ivanildotrindade 8:27 pm on November 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: buying christmas trees, demolition derby, dodge city, i love ohio, wayne county fair, wayne county ohio   

    Why I love Ohio 

    My brother raised his arms up high and shouted, “I love the U.S.!” He was visiting from Brazil and we were on the beach in Malibu. I was surprised by his out of nowhere outburst of love for my adopted country. After all, he had been to my house in Ohio and had not declared any love to Wayne County, the place we now call “home.”

    Maybe that’s because he never saw a demolition derby at the Wayne County Fair, ate fried Oreo cookie, Learch’s doughnuts, or rode a bike on the hills leading to Hocking Hills. He never went to Cedar Point or heard a barbershop quartet. My bother is an urbanite who is used to the high culture of the theater and the music hall. He doesn’t speak Ohioan.

    How could he know that at any other time of the week the noon meal is “lunch,” except on Sunday, when it is called “dinner”? And how would he be able to guess that “soda” here is simply “pop”? (By the way, some friends of mine invited a group of Chinese students over for “dinner” on Sunday and they showed up around four! Others told their out-of-town guests to bring “pops” and they brought “Popsicles”)!

    I heard that somewhere in Wayne County a couple who had moved from the city was suing because of the smell of animal-based fertilizer that hovers in the air at certain times in the summer. And I have to confess, at first I thought it was strange, but now even I need my manure fix to make the steam of summer more complete… Or maybe not!

    And try to ask directions in Ohio? People will give you a manual, complete with maps and landmarks that will ensure you will get there with your eyes closed. This was before GPS’s, which now make it impossible for commercials to make fun of men who supposedly never stop to ask for directions. (I must not be fully man then!). My brother-in-law used to give me directions, complete with the sounds the train would make when approaching a crossroad. Sometimes he would also imitate the cows, if one of the landmarks was a farm with large animals. How I miss those directions, you dumb GPS!

    Only in Ohio you can take your family out in the country in search of a live Christmas tree and when you follow the sign to the woods, out pops a drunk farmer in overalls carrying a shotgun, asking you, “Which one do you want?” while pointing to a bunch of high pine trees.

    Fearing for the safety of your family, and especially the little ones, who thought they were out for the greatest adventure of all times, you simply point to the tree nearest to you and watch in disbelief as the farmer aims toward the tree top and shoots it, making it come tumbling down like a landing Santa without a parachute. You pick up the smoking tree, pay your five bucks, and head for dodge as fast as you can. True story, happened to a friend of mine, Jerry Christensen. Those of you who know him can ask him to corroborate.

    But my brother would have no way of knowing any of that. I thought of trying to explain to him why I love Ohio, then I remembered the story of the Christmas tree and decided to leave it alone. He might suspect we were all crazy around here and never come to visit again!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 8:51 pm on November 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Black people, foreigners, Italian people, race relations, Racism, small town, what is racism   

    “Blacks” and “Italians” in Wooster 

    When we moved to Wooster, Ohio, we had three small children. Two of them had already been swimming for years, so when we found out that this new city had three public pools, we had to try them. I remember summer was approaching and we had to buy pool passes. It was a $90, a hefty sum for us, but we thought it was worth it.

    To make sure that we would make the right choice — bummer, we had discovered we had to opt for only ONE of the three sites! — I appealed to an old friend. He and his wife, both deceased now, were an older couple who went to our church and had known us since my years as a graduate student in Indiana. He was a kind, simple, hard-working man who had reached out to our family and loved to serve us in a multitude of ways, but when I asked him which site we should pick, his answered shocked me.

    We were sitting at their dinning room table, having just finished a lasagna, which was still half-steaming on the counter by the sink. Without blinking, he said, “You should pick Freelanders. Christmas Run is okay, but stay away from Woodland.” Pause. Same breath, “there are too many Italians and blacks there.” Now the lasagna was steaming in my gut…

    I tried to hide my look of incredulity. I thought, “I must have heard it wrong,” but later I double checked with my wife and she confirmed my worse fears — our dear friend was a racist. Well, maybe yes, maybe no. As we came to ponder more on the subject, we came to the conclusion that our friend was a mixed bag — a docile grandfather figure whose thinking had been poisoned along the way by some grossly erroneous assumptions.

    On the one hand, he felt so comfortable with us, his foreign friends with thick accents, that he didn’t think twice before he mouthed his offensive remark. For him, we were just like him so he didn’t mind dropping his guard a little. He didn’t consider us “Blacks” or “Italians” but this didn’t give us any comfort. For starters, I am part Black, then there is the slight matter of how I exaggerate in the use of my hands when talking — there is definitely more Italian in me than North American! That whole experience left us with an unsettling feeling in our hearts.

    Then a short time later a dear friend, one who had taken upon herself to assume the role of our kids’ surrogate grandmother, complete with attending Grandparents’ Days in school and complaining with Principals if she didn’t think they were treating our children right, she also decided to go “Black” on us.

    This lady, who is also deceased now, came to our house one day visibly upset. My wife asked her what seemed to be the matter and she said that she was concerned because a “Black” family had moved into her street. Now you have to understand, this was a village of a couple of thousand people whose only claim to fame was to make sure they ticketed every motorist going a couple of miles above the speed limit in the few minutes that it takes to drive through town. (This is the same town that would one day drive my son into paralyzing fear, after some high school kids started lowering their car window and screaming the “N” word at him, as he walked to his aunt’s house from school).

    This perfectly sanitized little town was finally getting a drop of cultural diversity and some people were getting worried. My wife pointed out the obvious to our friend, “How about us? We live here.” Her answer, “Yeah, but you are not ‘Black.'” Once again, our jaws dropped. To think that the dear old lady who was so faithful in church and loved us so much could be a racist? Impossible!

    Well, not really. We found out that there are people who are racist and proud of it, others who are racist and embarrassed by it, others who are racist and ignorant of it, and yet others who don’t even know what being a racist is. Our two friends probably fit somewhere between the last two categories. But a racist is a racist is a racist, church-goer-loving-grandmother or not. Unfortunately, I haven’t succeeded in finding a different word that could better describe the views expressed by our two friends in those two conversations we had.

    The funny thing is, though, I never loved them less, nor did they love us less, even after those two days that taught me the multidimensional face of racism.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • Kisa Weeman 10:04 pm on November 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Pastor I,
      I find this blog fascinating and helpful. I know this is an issue my kids and our family will have to deal with at some point, as a bi-racial family. What is helpful is your description of the different awareness levels that people have about their racism. (That is what it is, altho I have some acquaintances who try to disguise it as “raCIALism”….which they say is more “scientific”.) I have had several heated arguments/discussions with some friends who have used blatant racist terms around me and my kids, and were proud of it! In fact, I was so shocked that I asked this person to look right at my kids and repeat what he had just said–just to see if he could still say it, and he could! Somehow, some people can completely disassociate their racist beliefs from their friendship/bond with the minority race person at times. It boggled my mind for quite some time, but you have explained it in pretty clear terms. I still care deeply for these friends, and they still interact with my kids, but….not sure if they “get it” to this day!(despite my discussion with them) ……oh, and I’m sorry to hear about the fearful episode for your son while walking to school….how did you advise him to deal with that???

      • ivanildotrindade 10:34 pm on November 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Kisa, very true: “Somehow, some people can completely disassociate their racist beliefs from their friendship/bond with the minority race person at times.” It makes me wonder, though, if they do this to the ones they love, how about the distant ones they don’t want to like? I don’t know, it is a complex subject but we still have to face it head on. “Racialism” is pie in the sky. I have friends in California, she is Anglo, he is of Mexican extraction. They have two girls, the older one looks more like mom and the other more like dad. When the girls were small and Mom would go out with them for a stroll, if people saw her with the older one, they would remark on how beautiful she looked; if they saw her with the younger, normally they would remark on how “clean” she was, followed by, “Is she adopted?” And this was coming mostly from other women, mothers like her. But if you would ask them, they would die denying that there was any racist bones in them. Complex. There is no room for playing games with words, but I have also learned that there are those that will never change because they don’t see that there is anything wrong with the way they think. So you need to learn to identify those people quickly and desist from trying to change them. You also need to determine to what extent you can or cannot be close to them.

        What happened to my son happened more than once. At first he didn’t want to say anything, although he knew exactly the type of car those kids were driving. He didn’t want to be the one “telling” on other kids. When we went to the Principal, he was not helpful. Eventually my son had to leave that school. He had to go to counseling and we helped him deal with his anger. He has never had a problem being proud of his heritage, it was the “stupidity” of some people, to use his word, that was getting to him. But he is doing fine now.Thanks for the comment.

    • Rob Miller 8:30 am on November 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for this post Pastor Ivanildo.I grew up in a home where racist jokes and terms where used frequently. I am guilty of using derogatory terms myself.But once I realized that we are created in the image of God and that we are all equal in his sight.I knew I had the resposibility to teach my children the truth.

    • ivanildotrindade 12:19 pm on November 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      thanks for your openness here, Rob. the pain related to this subjects runs deep in our souls. some of it was inflicted upon us because of choices that others made. the voices of our childhoods were not always gracious toward anything that was different from “us,” and many drank from the well of poison without knowing it. unwinding the bizarre twisting of the brain is something that no human can do alone. we need supernatural help, but it seems that you realized that a long time ago and took measures to correct behavior. your children will be better for that.

    • rachel bar 9:42 am on December 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I am not of your faith, but a racist is a racist is a racist. It is even worse when the bigotry is expressed by someone who used to be a pastor. Here’s my blog on the same subject matter:
      http://onepersonsingular.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/who-is-melvin-thompson-and-why-do-i-care/

      • ivanildotrindade 12:25 pm on December 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        thank you for your comment, rachel bar. i read your blogpost and couldn’t agree with you more. thankfully, there were many other voices of people of my faith who let it be known that this is an abhorrent view. thanks for being a voice for that as well. keep up the good work!

    • Connie Benchoff 11:00 pm on December 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Ivanildo, I had not read this post until just now. When I see you again, remind me to tell you about a conversation I had with R… today on this very subject.

      • ivanildotrindade 12:16 am on December 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        thanks 4 the comment, connie. yes, i would like to hear. this subject touches all of us, some deeper than others.

  • ivanildotrindade 8:50 pm on November 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: California, living in ohio, , , you know you live in ohio if...   

    My ‘you know you are from Ohio if…'” moment 

    Today I experienced one of those “you know you are from Ohio if…” moments. I cleaned my garage (50% done) and was hauling the trash on the back of my truck. I decided to stop at Starbucks to get a cup of coffee. I went in, got my mocha and came out. Next to my truck was parked a nice Toyota driven by a young lady who was there on the driver’ s seat. When she saw me approaching, she lowered her window and said, “You dropped a bag back there on Milltown Road. I didn’t know if it was important.”

    I laughed and said, “Oh no, it was all trash.” Then I immediately felt bad because I saw that she pulled out of the parking lot quickly. It dawned on me that she had followed me only to tell me that I had dropped a bag. She wasn’t there to order a coffee at all!

    I thought, “How rude of me, I didn’t even say thanks.” I was feeling bad when I noticed that the same young lady was on the same intersection with me — she was turning right, I was turning left. My chance to say thanks. I tried to lower the window but by then the light was turning green and she was moving. I managed to use my horn and give her the thumbs up sign.

    Where else would people take a detour in their destination to tell a perfect stranger that he dropped a bag? It was raining hard, the bed of my truck was not covered, there were bags of mostly paper matter, cardboard boxes. One would be justified to think it was just junk. But no, this nice woman from Ohio had to make sure.

    And stories like that abound. One day I got a call on my cell phone from the front desk person at the church where I work. She asked me if I had been to the outlet mall lately. I said, “No.” She said they had found a wallet with some money in it and a copy of a passport that belonged to someone with my last name. It took me one second for me to figure out: my nephew!

    He was visiting us from Brazil and went to this outlet mall about 30 minutes from Wooster. I called him and he was on his way back home from the outlet. He had not yet noticed he was missing his wallet. He went back, got his wallet with all the contents intact. He couldn’t believe it. Neither could I. But that’s what you get when you live in Ohio.

    Just today I went to the Post Office with my niece and people opened the doors for us; two ladies I had never seen before smiled at us as if we were best friends and one lady asked me if I was waiting to use the self-serve check out lane at the supermarket because I was standing close to the area trying to get my wife on her cell phone — and why certain people have cell phones anyway? The lady said, “I just didn’t want to cut in front of you.”

    I have a theory that it is the severe variations in weather patterns that make people somewhat docile. They all pretty much share the same misery from December to March. They figure if they are mean to each other, they will make life even more miserable… That’s certainly not the only reason but it has to be a factor.

    I lived in California. They have the mountains, the beaches, the beautiful landscape and the famous people. But when it comes to kind people, Ohio is light years ahead of California. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to live here, except, of course, for the freezing weather in the winter.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 7:10 pm on November 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Balkan, Bosnia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnian, human spirit, Ratko Mladić, Sarajevo, Serbia, Serbs, siege of sarajevo, Slobodan Milošević   

    Remembering Sarajevo this Thanksgiving 

    Almost 20 years ago the city of Sarajevo went up in flames. In 1991 Yugoslavia ceased to exist. Slobodan Milošević, and his right hand man, General Ratko Mladic, appropriately nicknamed “the butcher of Sarajevo,” decided to execute their plans of a greater Serbia, so when Bosnia-Herzergovina decided to become independent, the Serbs, who were the majority and living throughout the region, were incited to resist (at least this is a version of the events as I understand it…)

    During 43 months, from 1992 to 1995, the enemy imposed a siege on Sarajevo. Since Sarajevo is located on a plain, it was easy target for the Serbian tanks, artillery and bombs, coming from the direction of the mountains. The enemy cut off the supply of water, electricity and gas. Food and medicine could not get to the residents either. So how did they survive this long without surrendering?

    Enter the indominable nature of the human spirit and the ingenuity of the Bosnian people: they dug a tunnel, prior to the start of the war. The oppressed are always on survival mode. A local family who lived in the area agreed to give their house as the entrance to the tunnel and two teams began to dig, one coming from the direction of the mountains, the other starting from the city. On July 30 the two groups met and opened the tunnel with a handshake.

    The tunnel became the umbilical cord the Bosnian resistance needed to survive. On the first night of operations only, they were able to send to Sarajevo 12 tons of armaments. The tunnel also helped wounded soldiers and civilians to the safety of treatment outside the war zone. Today, the house that served as the entrance to the tunnel now houses “The Tunnel Museum,” a tribute to the resolve of those who will not be subjugated.

    The war for Bosnia independence left 200 thousand dead and 2.5 million refugees. It took 10 years but Sarajevo, a city of 600 thousand and the Capital of the Bosnian nation, has rebuilt itself. This beautiful city’s heart, once wounded, is now beating with excitement. “The Jerusalem of the Balkans,” as the city is also known, once again welcomes Christians, Jews, and Muslims, often on the same block.

    So on this Thanksgiving season, I pay my tribute to those who believe in freedom. Some have at times fought with weapons of death; others simply resort to words and sheer humor, as this story from the days of the war in Sarajevo illustrates:

    A nationalist Serbian wrote on the outside walls of at Post Office: “This is Serbia. Get out!” The response came hours later. A Bosnian simply wrote, underneath the first line, “No, this is just the Post Office!”

    A blessed Thanksgiving to all,

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 5:18 pm on November 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: addictions, not home for the holidays, thanksgiving   

    Not Home for the Holidays 

    There are things you see and you never forget — the phenomenon of the Pororoca in northern Brazil, the aftermath of a tornado, a grotesque tumor on someone’s face, and someone being hit by a car moving at a rapid speed. These are just a few of the things I have seen and never forgotten.

    But none of these compare to a random sight I had one day while distributing free Christmas meals to deserving families in the town of Macapá in northern Brazil. It was Christmas Eve and the people were so happy to receive a meal. They were very poor and had nothing. One of my younger brothers, a pastor like me, was leading the effort. Since I was on vacation with my family there, I wanted to participate.

    We were leaving one home when I heard noises that didn’t sound like they were human noises. They were grunts, somewhat defiant, somewhat pleading, definitely scary sounds. In all honesty, it sounded like the noises pigs used to make when I was little and my dad used to slaughter them. To this day, I have nightmares with that particular kind of noise.

    I followed my ears and realized that I was not dealing with a pig after all. It was a fully grown man, probably in his 20’s, being held on the ground and tied by two other men, hands and feet, the hands tightly wrapped on his back. The job was done so there would be no possibility of “escape.” The victim screamed, protested, and pleaded for mercy. I could hear him barely saying “Don’t do this to me” and something to the extent that he would behave himself.

    I wanted to go across the street and stop the freak show but was strictly forbidden by my brother and others who knew the situation better. I found out, to my dismay, that the young man was an alcoholic. Since the family had no resources and the government offered no help, that was the only thing they could do — tie him up starting Christmas Eve and leave him that way until the Christmas “festivities” were over.

    The young men had gotten drunk so many times and would come home and break everything he could find in the humble house. He had hit other siblings and even threatened to kill his mom. He would get out of control when he got drunk. When I tried to say something, I saw the face of his terrified mother lurking on the back. His brothers were saying that they were doing that because “we love our mom.” Mom looked over and could not hide her love for her son lying on the ground, mixed with a look of resignation that marks those who believe “there is nothing also we can do.”

    Every time I approach a Holiday now, for some reason, I think of that young man’s predicament and of his mom’s sorrow, and  I cry. And then I think of all the other thousands, maybe even millions, who have to spend Holidays away from their loved ones because of addictions. May God be merciful to you this Holiday season.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 6:34 pm on November 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capernaum, , james, jesus' flesh and blood speech, john, john 6,   

    Peter, the man — III 

    “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

    This is my first Passover meal after the Lord was taken up to heaven. For this reason, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. I think of the events that led to His passion and play with a thousand scenarios in my mind. I keep asking myself, “How did we miss so many things that are so obvious to us now?”

    I remember the time we were all in Capernaum, where my brother, Andrew, I, James and John, come from. By now Jesus was drawing large crowds everywhere, and we were gladly riding the coattails of his popularity. I mean, is there anything sweeter than returning home as the right hand men of the most famous person in the nation?  We went to the local synagogue and everyone came out to hear Him.

    For us, local boys, it was a chance to prove our critics wrong. And trust me, they were there. We could spot them in the crowd – the same people who called us crazy for leaving our fishing business and casting our lots with an unknown Rabi who was reputed to be the promised Messiah. Now, they were coming to us with gifts, hoping to have an audience with Jesus. And without our clearance, no one could see Him. Suddenly, everybody admired us and wanted to be our friends.

    That is until Jesus opened His mouth and began to speak… I mean, here we were, in the biggest moment of our lives, expecting vindication or at least a pad on the back. If He wanted, He could have made a passing reference to us, like, “For all of you out there who thought Peter and Andrew were crazy, well, I’ve got news for you:  you were all wrong!” But no, instead, Jesus began to say some strange things that got even us, insiders, a little worried.

    It started when some religious leaders from our town heard Jesus say that He came from “heaven.” Sure, you can say that thousands of kilometers away from your village, but Jesus was saying this practically in his hometown. These people knew where Jesus had come from, they knew His parents, his brothers and sisters; they even knew what his favorite outfit was, when He used to go to the local synagogue as a young boy. I thought, “Oh, oh, we’re in trouble now.”

    Next, Jesus began to talk about “My Father this, My Father that.” People got confused. “Isn’t this fellow the same Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph? How can he then say that he came from Heaven?” But Jesus was on a roll now. The day was getting late and people’s stomachs began to growl. Can’t imagine a worse time to talk about eating flesh and drinking blood… But that’s exactly what Jesus did!

    He said, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”  Simon, who knew a thing or two about blood from his days as an insurgent against Rome, looked across and mouthed, “This is going to be a bloody mess. Time to get out of here!” But Jesus went on to say, “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”

    I thought, “It’s all over now.” The crowd went wild, a fierce argument broke off, and people were sneering. I looked for Simon and he was gone. I started moving toward Jesus and overheard one of the leaders saying, “How can this fellow offer us his flesh to eat?” There was chaos all around and even some of Jesus’ most dedicated followers were saying out loud, “This lesson is a little hard to swallow. I wish He had skipped it.”

    Andrew found me and said, “I guess the paparazzi will leave us alone tonight.” I wanted to smack him, joking at a time like this…, but he couldn’t be more right: our celebrity days were over! Jesus looked at us, a handful of his core disciples still standing there, and asked, “Are you also going to leave me?” I looked around, saw Simon coming back, and for a moment I had a flashback. I thought of the time we had been exhausted from fishing all night. Haven’t caught nothing, we were washing our nets, when Jesus came and told us go to go fishing again. I knew it was useless, but I did it anyway and we had the biggest catch ever. I imagined I was on the boat with Him again when he told the wind to stop and I could hear His voice once more commanding, “Lazarus, come forth!”

    Suddenly, I understood clearly that even if I didn’t get the whole flesh and blood thing, what I had experienced with Jesus was real, it was supernatural, and it was stuff that only The Messiah of God could do. So, when Jesus asked if we were going to leave Him as well, for once in my life, my reaction was not one of emotion. Rather, it was probably the most rational thing that ever came out of my mouth and it came to me as naturally as grilling fish on the beach. I said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy one of God.”

    Now we know that Jesus was not speaking of literal food or drink. He was pointing us to his death and resurrection, the two events that changed the course of history and restored hope to the heart of fallen humans like you and me. And even if that speech was a little hard on the ears, I am glad Jesus gave it. It was that speech that gave me a chance to settle in my mind once and for all who Jesus really was – my Savior, my Lord, the Holy one of God!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 10:24 pm on November 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fisherman, fishing, foot washing, last passover, , three-fold communion   

    Peter, the man — II 

    “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

    “If you’ve been married as long as I have, you know there are subjects you don’t ever talk about, at least not in public. My wife is good about pinching me whenever I am about to start on a topic SHE doesn’t think is appropriate. But on a night like this I feel that the Lord wouldn’t mind if I told you the story about the time He almost didn’t wash my feet.

    So let me start by telling you straight: fishermen grow up around dirty feet. Our poor feet are either getting wet or getting dirty. On the boat, we are around fish all the time, so you can guess what our feet smell like. (Just about right now I would start to feel the pinch…). On dry ground, we put our sandals on and walk on dirt, over sharp rocks, or sometimes on muddy roads that have been drenched by rain, and the heat sometimes makes our feet steamy and sticky. By the time we get home, our feet look like the fish we just caught – dead and smelly.

    No one with a right head, then, would offer to go anywhere near our feet. Only the rich had servants who would wash their feet at the door when they got home. The rest of us resorted to bribing our kids to remove our sandals before we collapsed on the floor after a hard day at work. Touching our feet, then, was a no-no, unless you wanted be the one collapsing on the floor.

    So on Passover night, when Jesus rose up and started washing feet, you can imagine the shock… First of all, we were in the middle of a meal. I mean, what kind of a person washes feet just before dessert during the Passover meal? No one I knew. Just picture this, “Andrew, can you pass me the jelly donut, please, and while you are at it, can you give me your feet too?” Sounds kind of strange, doesn’t it?

    But that’s not all. Remember, we’re talking about Jesus here. He was a miracle worker. Women had anointed His feet with expensive perfume and we loved to sit at His feet with abandonment. Now He was the one bending toward our feet and washing them. Something about the whole scene screamed “Awkward!” The other guys felt the same way, but they were always so scared to speak their mind. Me? I didn’t care. As soon as I saw what He was doing, I said to myself, “No way, Pedro! He ain’t touching my feet!”

    So when Jesus came to me with his towel, I asked Him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” What I really meant to say was, “Lord, you are NOT going to wash my feet, are you?” But instead of giving me a straight “yes” or “no” answer, he gave me the typical “get on with the program” line, preferably without asking too many questions. He said something about the fact that this would make sense later. But I didn’t care about later; I only cared about the moment and my gut feeling at the moment told me, “No way!” Look, I know I am a simple-minded fisherman, but what sort of an answer is this, “Just do it”? Some kind of first Century Nike commercial?

    I wasn’t buying it, so I said, “No, you shall NEVER wash my feet.” Jesus didn’t flinch, He didn’t raise His voice, He didn’t show any sign of frustration whatsoever. He simply rose away from my feet, and I felt the love in His voice when He said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

    Somehow, when He said that, I got it. And it was all because of one little word. Jesus didn’t say, “Unless I wash your FEET, you have no part with me.” He said, “Unless I wash YOU.” That word “YOU” finally sank into this old fisherman’s thick head. It hit me like the jolt of a sudden wave on the Sea of Galilee.
    I realized then that Jesus was just using my feet to get to my head. The whole time, He was not really talking about the exterior dirt on my feet. He was talking about the sin inside of me. With that simple act of washing my feet, He was reminding me that my sins were not a single episode; they were a series. And His Father, who is Holy, is offended when I sin, so I need to experience His daily cleansing.

    When the light came on, it was like an unexpected catch. I went from “no feet” to “head, hands and feet.” I wanted the full body treatment because I knew that sin had contaminated every area of my life. I thought of the argument I had just had with James and John about who was the greatest, the way I had treated my wife the last time I saw her, my thoughts about the Samaritan people we had just visited, who had hurled insults at us because we were headed to Jerusalem….

    At that moment, I saw who I really was for the first time in my life, and I was covered with shame. The thought of not being on good terms with my Lord overwhelmed me, so I told Jesus to dump the whole bucket of water on me. Jesus graciously reminded me that I didn’t need a full bath. Once cleansed of the guilty of sin, we just need regular cleansing, which is possible through our daily communion with Him. A wave of relief came over me. I was so happy that my relationship with Him didn’t have to stay broken and His humble action that night – washing our feet – was a beautiful picture of that.

    So, on this night, when we remember the work the Lord did for us, this truth rings as true today as it did the night He almost didn’t wash my feet. In a way, He is still here and He wants to wash YOUR feet. Please don’t be like me, let Him do it and embrace His cleansing.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:12 am on November 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: love feast, passion of the christ, , peter's denial   

    Peter’s questions: “Lord, where are you going?” 

    I wrote three monologues about Peter, one of Christ’s apostles, in which I tried to humanize him and show how he might have felt about the events surrounding the last days before Christ’s crucifixion. I did it without realizing that I would be asked to perform these at Communion service in our church (no one was willing to tackle all the memorization involved!). This happened yesterday, once in the morning, and once in the evening.

    Some people asked me to make the monologues available, so I am posting them here, starting today:

    “Lord, where are you going?”

    Growing up in the home of a fisherman like I did was always an adventure. For one thing, we didn’t we ever follow a schedule. The tide was our king so when it changed we were on the move; if the fish got scarce, we scattered, only to camp out somewhere and wait what appeared to be endless hours for that great catch… which sometimes was so great, it never came.

    Moving at a fast pace, pausing, hurrying up again were as common to me as eating “Matza” during Passover, so when I decided to follow this Jewish Rabi who was claiming to be the Messiah, I knew exactly what I was signing up for – lots of strenuous journeys up and down the barren hills of Palestine, little sleep, food on the fly, and not much solitude. But I was ready for the challenge.

    And for three and a half years I followed this man who had divine powers but never seemed to like to tell us what was next on his agenda. As soon as we got settled into a village, he was on the move again – a friend was ill, and he had to go and heal him; a sudden wedding invitation and he would haul all of us into the home of a person we had never met before. Such was, then, the life of a Messiah-follower – always on the move, not settling anywhere, and never complaining about the pace.

    Oh for sure, some of the guys who were not used to physical activity, did try to complain, but I always reminded them that they were there by choice, plus they always had the option of dropping out. Matthew, who was used to just sitting outside the city gates collecting money, was so out of shape that he often lagged behind. We started joking with him that we were going to tax him since he was always the last one to get anywhere…  Matthew wasn’t laughing, especially when we made a human chair with our arms and invited him to sit on his old tax collector’s seat, and we would say, “Hail to the old publican!”

    You may laugh, but we had to come up with stuff like that to entertain ourselves – the pace was so brutal and the food tentative at best. I must have lost twenty kilos just in my first year following him. Jesus was a king on the move. He was the master tide-changer and we, mere humans, had to keep up with him. I lost count of how many times we walked the countryside from Galilee to Judea, from Judea to Galilee, but I was taking everything in stride. I was, after all, a tough old fisherman; nothing could phase me.

    Toward the end, though, I must admit that even I was getting a little tired. He began to talk about going back to Jerusalem one more time. We wanted to hang on to him a little longer because we knew that things were so volatile in Jerusalem. They had marked him and by extension they had marked all of us. We tried to convince him to head north and go home, but he said no. “All right, then,” I said, “Let’s all go and die with him there.” But I was just kidding … dying wasn’t exactly on my bucket list.

    The night before Passover, just as we entered Jerusalem, he began to talk in the familiar tones of someone who is saying good-bye. We couldn’t quite get it and John was freaking out. He thought he and Jesus were so tight they would never be separated. Not to be outdone, I was waiting for a chance to tell Jesus that if he thought he could “lose” me, he might as well forget about it. I didn’t leave fishing just because I needed some exercise – I was in it for the long haul and I was going to stick with him no matter what.

    My chance came when Jesus announced He was going somewhere we could not follow him. He said, “In a little while you will look for me but not find me.” I thought, “No, we aren’t!” I mean, hadn’t I left everything to follow Him? Wasn’t I willing to endure His demanding schedule? To pick up and go at a moment’s notice? Hadn’t He done enough tide change in our lives to last a lifetime? And what do you mean we will seek you but not find you? How do you play hide and seek with the Messiah?

    “Slow down, Peter,” I thought, “Don’t run your mouth like you did before.” So I hid my emotions and said, almost in a whisper, “Lord, where are you going?” I wanted a street address, with a zip code, if at all possible, but instead I got more of the same coded language he had used before: “Where I am going, you cannot follow now,” but He didn’t stop there. He got teary-eyed, and a deep sense of tenderness filled the air when he added, “… but you will follow later.”

    I didn’t quite get it, but it didn’t matter anyway because just about now the old emotional Peter was back. Pumping my chest, I said, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!!” His eyes were now completely filled with tears and He uttered those words I wish I had never heard, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And that’s how history went down, remember?

    I suppose you could think that this story ends on a sad note, but you would be wrong. Though I remember his piercing words about my denial, it is the confident words about the future that I remember the most. He said, “… but you will follow later.” Wow. On the eve of what would be his most excruciatingly painful test, Jesus was pointing to a future joyous occasion when we would be together with Him again. And the thought of that future reunion with Him has kept me going.

    After His resurrection, He hung around with us for five weeks. It was a sneak preview of that future reunion. We, who saw Him fade into the chamber of death, also saw Him after He burst through the gates of hell and proclaimed victory over sin. So no matter what happens to us, we are not turning back, and this time around this old fisherman can say with complete understanding, “Lord, I will lay down my life for you!”

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 12:09 pm on November 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Break 

    To all my loyal readers: I’ve been knocked out by time change from my trip to Asia and have been working feverishly on a project I have to finish by this Wednesday. Little sleep and tiredness have taken their toll so I have not been able to blog in the last few days. My apologies. I will resume writing after Wednesday of this week.

    Thanks for your patience!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 2:03 am on November 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gerald sandusky, , penn state scandal, sex abuse   

    Crimes against humanity at Penn State 

    I just finished reading the grand jury testimony in the case of the horrors allegedly committed by a former Penn State coach against boys. It is the most disturbing piece of work on this subject you will ever read anywhere. It is painful, it is disgusting, but it is true and it must be read by anyone who wants to have any sort of opinion on the matter. Don’t be blinded by “news reports. I beg you to read the grand jury testimony. And don’t stop when it gets unbearable. Read every word of it. You will understand why I am so outraged.

    Read it here and cry. Go to the bathroom. Throw up. Lament the tragedy of men who in the height of their power and influence preyed against the most innocent of victims — little boys from troubled homes, not a few but scores of them. Read how men were cowards and dirt bags. Yes, I am referring to the gender here –men’s names populate the entire report. The few times women are referenced, the precious few times, those are the only times someone was trying to protect the victims. No one is immune, there is enough guilty to go around and up and down the entire administration upper echelon. Pathetic and pathological liars, they are.

    The little people — moms, janitors, and obviously the victims — are the only ones who escape unscathed. The rest deserves hell.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • Harold & Sylvia Stoltzfus 10:50 am on November 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Ivanildo:
      You may remember driving through PA State when you came to Lititz. Chet informed me that they have the largest football stadium in the USA–107 seats. It is like a city set on a hill which you can easily see as you pass through the hill country, college town. We agree with your assessment!! Since PSU is only less than three hours from here, the subject is a front burner subject of almost every person in this area.
      We have a niece whose son is a graduate and became a world famous volleyball player. She is fit to be tied. The ramifications are like blood in the ocean and washes up on every shore and can never be extracted from the water.
      Here are some thoughts:
      Each of us has a Jeremiah heart–no exception–no matter our station in life.
      Each has to determine to FINISH STRONG and ask God to help us.
      The sadness of missing a strong finish when we are all set to do so, is great enough to sink a
      BATTLE SHIP!!
      Ivanildo, thanks for writing.
      WELCOME BACK TO AMERICA
      Harold and Sylvia

    • ivanildotrindade 11:36 am on November 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      thanks for your comments, Harold. i am so sad over these developments, but not really surprised at the lowest depths of human indignity. the last time through PA, we went to the penn state campus to get some coffee at starbucks. we punched the GPS and it took us there. it was beautiful but knowing what i know now it has lost some of its niceness. i’m back on the saddle but barely.

    • Rob Miller 9:05 am on November 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Not sure if I really wanted to read the grand jury testimony. However I did,not all of it but enough. I found myself in tears for those boys whose innocence was robbed. As a victim of sexual abuse from a teacher and coach myself it brought back some very painful memories. Shame on those people who allowed this man to continue to do this for years and years. I was wondering what I would do myself if i had seen what the graduate student had in the shower? My first thought is I would want to charge him and beat the crap out of him,but I would hope if I ever witnessed anything like that I would have enough courage to immediatly rescue the victim.

    • ivanildotrindade 12:22 pm on November 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      thanks for being transparent, Rob. this is indeed to painful to contemplate. sorry for the painful memories. we all would wish we would absolutely all we could to protect the victim in this situation, but only when we are faced with something as terrible as this we can know whether we passed the test or not. hopefully we will never have to be tested!

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