I wasn't aware that I had a cousin from Nigeria, but I do. His name is Etibo, and he's a seminarian studying in DC. We had a delightful dinner tonight.
How do I know he's my cousin? When I asked our waitress for hot water and tea, he said, "You don't drink coffee?"
"No," I replied. "I don't like coffee, just tea."
"Are you British?" he said, jokingly.
"Oh, in Nigeria, we were evangelized by the Irish. We say we are all a little Irish."
I then suggested we were likely cousins, and he agreed. Nothing like meeting family for the first time!
Today was four conferences for us "newbies" to Acton University - four lectures meant to get us up to speed on things like Christian anthropology, limited government and economic theory in a free and virtuous society. All four lectures were brilliant, and I think my brain is on overload!
Some of the questions we pondered, and questions we raised today:
1. Who is man?
2. Does the Christian answer to that question have impact beyond the realm of theology, and if so, what is that impact?
3. If utopian ideals have been proven over and over again to be impossible, why do they keep coming up? What is the Christian answer to these errors?
4. What does it mean to be "free"? What does the answer to this question mean to us as individuals, as family members, as citizens, as children of God?
And that was just the morning....
Our evening guest speaker was Immaculee. If you're not familiar with her, run out and get her book, "Left to Tell" and read it. I'll wait.
Okay, I'll assume you didn't read it...yet. Immaculee was a young Rwandan woman in 1994 when a civil war broke out in her country. Her entire family, with the exception of one brother, was killed. Immaculee survived by being hidden, with eight other women, in a 3'x4' bathroom.
For three months.
And you were ticked off this morning 'cause the guy at the coffee shop got your order wrong.
Immaculee gives a wonderful, awesome, beautiful story of forgiveness, mercy and prayer - a witness to the fact that no situation is so horrid and evil that God's grace cannot over come it. It was humbling.
My overall impressions of the day are that I learned a lot, and it was almost overwhelming. I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to do with all this knowledge.
Also, the Church truly IS universal: I have a "cousin" in Nigeria now, and I learned from a sister in Christ tonight that the worst we can imagine still cannot remove us from God's love and mercy.
I'll post again tomorrow!