Seven months in some things I’ve learnt:
• Between the near-miss mortality reminders (interesting how your threshold for that changes – 2 on Tuesday and 2 more I would have counted before I moved to Beijing and wove my bicycle in and out of 4 million or so cars) and the construction-happy, coal-burning grime, life in a Beijing bicycle lane is quite a lot like Ash Wednesday
• I couldn’t write on this blog, use Facebook, read a whole lot of other people’s blogs, etc etc without some “technological assistance” to deal with the Great Fire Wall of China. When that “assistance” was “made unavailable” we had a day of thinking about our sense of entitlement and about privilege and all that. Then we heard that the tech wizzes had found a new way to reconnect us with the world-wide world and we stopped our worthy thoughts and leapt right back on!
• Sometimes I like to help a congregation with its liturgical responses. With my loud and steady voice I like to help people find the beauty of all the voices together, everyone at the same speed. Seven months in Beijing has taught me there is also something very beautiful about a congregation whose accents and cadences are so diverse that were are hardly ever uniformly together… And as for saying the Lord’s Prayer in the language we first learnt it (whether that’s trespasses or debts or sins or our (non-English) mother tongue), never was there a more beautiful holy babble.
• The more tired I am the more likely it is that my chopstick talent will involve pinging vegetables in random directions, dropping things on starched white tablecloths and rendering my outfit in immediate need of laundry. Eat out with me after I’ve preached at your own risk!