If you were in the Cousin Crew this week you would have the opportunity to get your inner tourist fix sorted. That’s to say; We were taken on 3 tours, some meet and greets, with your good ol’ fashioned Q&A times.
But if you weren’t in the Cousin Crew then what are you going to do?
How will you ever experience the world as we have?!
Have you being cheated out of the richness in this life?
Don’t worry, we got you sorted. It’s called a Blog Post!
So put on your imaginary shoes and walk with us as I take you on a virtual tour of our experiences. Although bear in mind, some places will require you to remove your imaginary shoes.
First place of prayer and prostration… A School of Cousins? Yes!
You might send your child to a christian school, or you might teach scripture at a christian school, or you might have gone to a christian school.
Well our cousins got the same thing going themselves. Schools that operate with their beliefs running as the constants current behind it all. This influences their dress, their discipline, their activities, and their motto.
Some things you would see, of course, is the modest dress code for women. The teachers and the students who are female will be covered. This can seem quite unusual perhaps. That’s to say in our western world the females in schools will wear skirts above the knees, and that’s not short enough, so they cut them shorter! But the very opposite is true in this kind of school.
They were very hospitable, which is to be expected. We got to meet a man who was in the upper echelons of our Cousin’s community. We will call him Mr Kool. More on him later…
The mourning started with a brief Q&A time about the school along with an introduction and explanation of things. Then we were taken on a tour. (It’s a wonderful looking school which is growing fast and is very clean) Tick tick tick.
Something we noticed during this time, actually specifically in the time with Mr Kool, is how ‘similar’ we all were in our views. Mmmm yes.
Now I don’t think any of us want to be cynical. But perhaps we were all just a little suspicious.
I won’t go into details, but let’s just say, there was the beginnings of some pretty watered down and fluffied up responses.
Perhaps this is because “harmony day” was the next day? Perhaps it’s because the current social climate is a sticky place to walk?
How did we find this experience?
Well for some of us, it was great!
One of our team made a new friend, and will hopefully meet up again with a cousin of ours to chat further. A point of praise and prayer! Pray that happens.
For others, it was sad. Why? Because you are confronted with a glimpse of isolated children far from the reach of the gospel. But nowhere is too far because the Lords hand is not too short. So do keep this in your prayers as well.
After we all left the school having learnt how sunflowers grow, and being reminded of burning things with bunsen burners, we made our way to…
The first Prayer Hall.
As you enter the imaginary space dear reader, do remember to remove your imaginary shoes.
Here you will be greeted by two trained cousins, and one… Mr Kool.
We spent an hour or so with them talking. We engaged them with questions with the hope of ourselves learning more about them, but ultimately to simply establish good relationships between our groups. This is because a positive relationship means far more than the sharpest argument from an apologist. We pray our meeting served this purpose.
But as the time went on, there was a common thread. All the waters flowed to the ocean, and that ocean was… Mr Kool.
How to tell you reader? But to say he was very, hmmmm… ‘Nice’
His words were smooth silky words of affirmation and politically correctness. Nearly as smooth as his swav suit of sunlight gold and silver lining. His soothing words would slip over our minds and caress us to sleep it seemed.
Where one might call him simply a good politician, another might say (to quote) – “Pure Gangsta”
And later we would reminisce and investigate further, finding that to be a very adequate summary indeed.
Now as we leave the first Hall of Prayer and prostration, do leave your shoes off, there is one more.
But this one was different.
The second Prayer Hall.
This time around reader, when you come in, you will not simply engage in a good ol’ Q&A, but first you get to sit and watch.
What do you see through our eyes?
You will see many come to perform the requirements and obligations set upon them. It’s a sight to behold. It ought to stir up within you a feeling of envy to some degree. Why?
Because of the unity you watch before you. Side by side, word for word, together. Every day.
But… as one of our team said “it looks great doesn’t it? sounds good too. But if you could hear what they are saying, you would be very sad.”
Well some of us felt sadness that night.
As a woman member sat next to our brother some came to greet us.
But not all of us.
The women were not acknowledged. And as the men beside them were warmly greeted, they remained out of sight as it were.
It was a tough time to experience that. But as we were told later “its amazing you were allowed in the same room at all!”
After this moment we were gathered in another room for a time of discussion, mainly questions from us.
And this is where the second hall differs from the first. There was no smoothing and soothing medium through which all answers were filtered. Put another way Mr Kool was absent.
The flavour of these answers was much more real.
That’s not to say they weren’t sensitive and wise and kind. They just stated their beliefs without avoiding the hard bits. Something we cannot say of our first meeting with a certain individual.
This was a helpful discussion as we got to see differing views amongst the halls on topics or even amongst themselves at times. This last difference was a little awkward as you see glances exchanged and body language speak words something like “wait what?!…” without a word being spoken at all.
For you dear reader I will condense the conversation down to a couple of key moments.
Aside from subtly pointing out the supremacy of christ in comparison to all other like figures in their worldview there was an opportunity for a member to respond to a question asked of us!
Wonderfully there was a defence given of the reliability of our scriptures, a common problem for them. Now although there was no clear sign of taking on these arguments, we cannot see below the surface (and be assured their surface appearance is important for their honour) we can only pray it does have a lasting effect.
That last point was a great point of praise, but the next point is a point of great sadness dear reader. I hope you feel the weight of this.
The judgement day.
A topic brought up, in which we shared very many common beliefs.
Let me quote our cousin.
“On that day, it will be me and my maker alone… just the two of us. And on that day, the day I meet my creator God, I. Will. Have. Nobody… I will have no Lawyer. I will have no advocate. I will have no brother. No sister. No father or mother. I will be alone to be judged for everything I’ve ever done…”
Reader can you see it?
I tell you every heart broke.
But no words were spoken out of respect.
However every one of us knew.
“There is an Advocate! There is a Lawyer! There is a Brother! There is one who will stand and plead before the maker. He is the Maker! The Son of God. The Lord Jesus!”