An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
My plane from Amsterdam was unusually full of Muzungus...well okay, at least as compared to my last two trips on that flight (back and forth). I admit to enjoying playing a guessing game in which I try and discern what the Muzungu is going to be doing in Africa. Generally I perceive - from my admittedly limited experience - four general categories:
1. Medical research/aid workers (like myself) 2. Post-Modern hippies with a social conscience working for with some NGO 3. Missionaries 4. Adventure travelers
Now I realize you could break this down more...but it's my game to play so I make the rules. Appearance, eavesdropping on conversations, and seeing what people are reading all play an important role in successfully playing this game. Anyway, it occurred to me that I, myself, might be difficult to categorize.
I'm reading a book about living off the grid of modern technology (Better Off) which might tempt you to place me into number 2 or perhaps 4. But you'll need more data because my hair doesn't look like I just woke up from a hard night's sleep.
You might overhear me talking to someone about "the Church" and this would almost certainly put me down as number 3, and many - including myself would be tempted to end the game at such point.
But then...GASP...I'm found reading a scientific paper on Human Herpes Virus 8. Uh-Oh...now what? Number 1?!?! And yet talking about God? Reading a book you might assume is about reducing your carbon footprint? (It's not really, but it might look that way). Man...I am personally ruining the foundation of my own game!
So, in order to have fun with someone who might also be secretly playing the game I've decided to answer the question, "What are you doing in Africa?" with this:
"I'm here to get away from the extravagance of the west, to participate in the community of Christ, to help people suffering from horrible diseases, to train technicians to run an assay for a scientific study, and to just see what sort of crazy adventures a Muzungu can have in Uganda."
They may yet just write me off as a missionary...but so what. We are all supposed to be missionaries so I guess they would be right.
I am following your blog with great interest. In 1983 I made a trip to Uganda to work with schools and churches. Things were in turmoil in those days, but the faith of the people - their amazing joy - changed my life.