A Slice of the Eighth 3/8/2016

“Which is greater and more important, the wall on top of the mountain or the mountain underneath the wall?”

-Dudley Rutherford, Walls Fall Down

[I’m seriously failing everybody! Those students of mine who read this blog, please help me remember to have students TAKE PICTURES!!! The thought occurs to me sometime during the day and just as quickly evaporates!]

That means your stuck with a picture from me. I had no idea what to post so I started scrolling through some photos I had downloaded from my Facebook to later put on an external hard drive. I came across a few pictures of my time spent in China. I thought they’d make for a good log.

For those of you who don’t already know…I’ve been to China. It was the second time I had ever flown anywhere. A few months prior I had flown (for the first time) to New York to spend some time with a friend who was working in a church plant (Chelsea…I spoke of her before). Not long after that I signed up for a class in college, Cross Cultural Education, whose final assignment was… GOING TO CHINA!

Each year they have the class the visit various places. During the majority of the semester the class studies the basic cultural values, education system,people, landmarks, historical significance of a country. Then In the last week of the semester you pack up and head over! The primary trips we took were to grade schools, colleges, and kindergartens to view and experience how education in America found similarity and dissimilarity in china.

 We spent 11 days in country plane hopping from Xian (pronounced she-un), Beijing, and Shanghai China. Amidst all the school visits, I got to view things like the Terra-Cotta Warriors,  Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden Kingdom, Buddhist and Hindu temples. And you guessed it, I got to walk on the Great Wall.

They were sights that boggle the imagination.Sights that will never quite be given justice through two dimensional photography.

  • To see it, great expanse of brick and mortar farther than the eye can distinguish where it ends and begins.
  • To feel it, in your lungs as you hike up half a mile of “fun house incline” slopes crammed amongst thousands of tourists in a 6 foot wide space.
  • To hear it, in a native tongue that always manages to sound just a bit rushed and peevish even when their face says they’re happy.
  • To taste it, in the authentic spice of a home cooked meal by a citizen of the Hutong (Chinese neighborhood). There are somethings that are only really understood when you experience them in person.

Recently, I’ve been reading Walls Fall Down. In it Dudley Rutherford apply the story of the walls falling at Jericho to modern faith. At an early point in the book he tells a story of meeting a young Chinese girl on the Great Wall. Through a translator he winds up trying to describe God. He moves from a simple object, her sunglasses, to more complex objects like his computer to help him explain. After each object he asks where the object came from and each time she responds that someone made them. Then he gets to the Great Wall, of which they are sitting atop. (Having had a similar view I’m now definitely drawn into the chapter!)

He says,

“Which is greater and more important, the wall on top of the mountain or the mountain underneath the wall?”

He continues,

“She paused as she pondered the question, and then she said, “The mountain.” It seemed as though something had clicked in her mind. We have all these man-made objects-from something as simple as a pair of sunglasses to something as advanced as a laptop computer or one of man’s most remarkable feats of engineering, the Great Wall of China. And yet, the mountain beneath all those items I described was greater still.”

(Insert the noise of my brain exploding.)

In all that time I spent huffing and puffing and regretting every day I HAD’NT exercised before the trip. I had never stopped at the top to consider that. Sure, I’d looked out and marveled at the beauty of God’s creation. But I had never considered which was greater, the wall or the mountain.

And now, I wonder…

Just how much of my trip was wasted in pondering the wrong questions?

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