Barbara's Random Thoughts

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I miss "Barbara and the boys"

For the past couple of weeks (among many other visitors), we've had an NC alum staying here at Pangani before he heads to Durban for a course in teaching English. He leaves tomorrow and I realized tonight how good it's been to have more guys around to hang out with. Somehow it's a different dynamic when it's just the five apprentices: Tyler and the girls. (Not that I'm complaining. I often proclaim "I like us!" when the five of us are hanging out. Because I do!)

I've never had a ton of guy friends, especially ones I'd call close friends. That changed somewhat when I moved to the Bay area and became part of YAF. I used to joke that it was always "Barbara and the boys" when we'd hang out after church or after ministry team meetings. Because it usually was. And though I often complained about the male/female ratio, I started thinking tonight about how much I really did enjoy hanging out with the guys. I miss "Barbara and the boys"!

Maybe I need to start joining the Monday poker nights here, for more male bonding time. Hmm. Except I'm really not a poker fan. Oh well.

For the memories: this is a picture of me with Jason, a fellow MT member who frequently proclaimed, "I love it when it's Barbara and the boys!"

| posted by Barbara | 12:35 AM |

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fiction and Nonfiction

I've never been a nonfiction kind of girl. I've always preferred story to fact. I know that nonfiction isn't always just facts...there are plenty of compelling true stories that fall into the whole nonfiction genre. But pure story is what I've always been drawn to.

It's funny; Lucinda introduced me to this week. I happily searched for and added to my virtual shelves all the books I have with me here in SA. And I was not really surprised at the larger-than-normal amount of nonfiction...most of that is required reading for NCSA. But I was surprised at my reaction to said nonfiction. I was a little embarrassed by the inclusion of several titles that fall squarely into the category of what I've always thought of as Christian self-helpy nonfiction. Journey of Desire*, Allure of Hope**...ok, maybe it was just those two titles.

You know, I always feel like nonfiction is more "serious" than fiction. I always feel a little less intelligent, and a little too indulgent when I'm reading stories and others are reading nonfiction. And I'm surrounded by a lot of that now. 9 times out of 10, I'm the only one reading novels around here...everyone else is being all serious. Somehow there's a lingering stigma--even in my story-filled mind--against fiction...a nagging feeling that people who read nonfiction are somehow making more productive use of their reading time.

Funny, because this week we have a couple here at Pangani sharing a series of lectures taken from John Eldredge's book The Sacred Romance. (Please note a further example of Christian self-helpy nonfiction!) And one of the themes threaded through these lectures has been how story helps us discover our heart. How story is vital to who we are and what we desire, and how it helps us connect with the larger story God has for us. Hey, yeah, let's reaffirm the value of story! In the midst of lectures from a book with a slightly-embarrassing touchy-feely title! This totally validates my reading preferences, but alas, it doesn't help me feel more intellectual.

*When we were collecting our stacks of books at the beginning of the year, I was missing a couple from my pile. I found myself wandering around saying “Hey, I need a Journey of Desire...wait...that doesn't sound right..."

**This particular book features your standard Christian "women's issues" cover image...a woman:
A. standing
B. walking
C. spinning,

in one of the following settings:
A. in a field
B. on a beach
C. on top of a hill

Said woman is usually wearing a flowy dress and carrying or wearing a floppy hat. I swear, it's like those are the required stipulations every editor of such books must give to the cover designer/photo researcher. Come up with something else for once! This is one of the reasons I am embarrassed to read books like these, no matter how timely or well-written. They have cheesy touchy-feely subtitles (in this case, "God's Pursuit of a Woman's Heart") and feature formulaic "feminine" covers. Sigh.


| posted by Barbara | 12:06 AM |

Monday, June 04, 2007


Tonight, at Potter's House, a women's shelter in downtown Pretoria:

Woman: You are from America?
Me: Yes, from Califonia.
Woman: You must help me find an American boyfriend. I want an American boyfriend.
Me: Really? So do I.


| posted by Barbara | 9:48 PM |