I'm looking forward to July. I've said yes to a few preaching appointments in July and I'm getting just a little bit impatient waiting for them to arrive. The first sermon I will preach this coming Saturday at a football tournament. How cool is that! A bunch of friends are organising a little football thingy, we'll spend the Sabbath together and have a little trip to nature where I'll share the Word, and then a bonfire to end the Saturday. And then football all Sunday long. Sounds like an awesome weekend in the making.

And then toward the end of the month I've been invited to preach at our youth camp meeting and also at our senior members camp meeting. So within one week I'll have to preach to two completely different audiences. It's quite a challenge, but a good one. For some reason I'm especially looking forward to share the Word with the elderly people. I've got so much love and respect for these people who've seen joys and sorrows beyond my imagination, who've survived the hardship of our history and who, despite of everything, have still remained faithful to the Almighty. I already have a passage chosen for that sermon and I know I will get overtly emotional when preaching to them.

I sure seem to get the coolest preaching appointments around here. :)

I have a strong passion for preaching. Yesterday I listened to quite a few sermons by Dr Haddon Robinson who has taught homiletics in Fuller Theological Seminary for many decades. Listening to preachers like him or Fred Craddock (who's the best of the best in my modest opinion) makes me inspired and humbled at the same time. There is still SUCH a long way for me to go, and it's good to keep the bench mark high so that one wouldn't get settled and content with mediocrity. And on the other hand I'm always surprised when God can use me, my thoughts and experiences and my quiet voice to speak to people's hearts. It happens quite often that my mind brings back wonderful memories of the sermons I've preached in the past - the Zacchaeus or 6 word memoir ones from The Experience, the Peter's sword sermon from Newbold's contemporary service, the latest visit to Central London Church... Ah, good memories! It's such a beautiful thing, this preaching thing.

But enough of talking. It's time for sermon prep!


Every man's actions
belong to he
if prepared for thereafter
to each his destiny
some people believe
and some people know
some people deceive
and some people show

You must do the heaviest
so many shall do none
you have got to stand firm
so many shall run
some they rest their head at night
some get no sleep at all
if you listen close to what you see
you will hear the call 

Jah work
Jah work
Jah work is never done

[Ben Harper, Jah Work]

I talked to a Brazilian friend yesterday. P. has been on the streets lately as well, protesting against injustice and corruption. And there is a lot of hope and some confusion and clearly some fear in the air. Nobody really knows what these protests will lead to. I know there are all kinds of forces at work, and very different motives and intentions, but deep down I believe (and now I borrow some words from pastor Bell) that God is there, too, leading and calling and inviting and drawing and pulling these people (and all of mankind, for that matter) into greater love and joy and justice and equality and peace. Something big and beautiful is happening and God is right in the middle of it.

So in my heart I'm with them, with my Brazilian friends. May God spread out His mighty hands and protect and bless you all. Stand firm.


It's my last Tuesday's Tune from my cover series today. There are loads of great covers out there but I have to stay true to my own taste. So I've decided to share Stacey Kent's version of good ole What A Wonderful World. A good number of years back she was one of my favourite jazz singers. She's got this distinct and at times a bit awkward voice. But it's clear as crystal, goodness, it's clear.


It looks like it's going to be a hot day here. So I'm off for a date with Dostoyevsky. Hopefully it will be the last one for now. I'm getting slightly tired of his company.


I take back my words about The Brothers Karamazov. I'm far from being done with the book because I realised that it has two volumes. I had only finished the first one. So I have another 700 pages to go. Sigh.

The chapter where brother Ivan tells the story about a medieval inquisitor who condemns Jesus to death because of His life and because of how it contradicts the teaching of the church blew me away. I mean, what an idea! I knew I could expect something really really deep from that famous chapter but it was way more than I could ask from it. If it was up to me, I'd make that chapter mandatory for all the church leaders out there to read. Everyone seriously involved in church should think of Jesus' desert temptations and how the church over its history has continually said yes to the temptations which Jesus rejected. The temptations of miracles, mysteries, and authority... And thus the church has every right to condemn Jesus for getting it all wrong. Oh my, brother Ivan sure is a genius.

But I have one problem with the book. It's this continuous drama and hysteria that makes me really tired. It's like, someone is constantly hysteric or pathetic, moods change in a blink of an eye. I went to see a Russian opera about two weeks ago. Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride. Beautiful music! But again, what a drama. Someone gets stabbed, someone gets poisoned, someone loses their mind... And I don't know if it's a Russian thing or 19th century thing. Or just a general human thing. But it makes me so tired in my head.

I hate drama.


I took a walk in my backyard. There's beauty everywhere. Everywhere.


It was a week ago or so when I happened to think of all the ways Newbold has influenced my life. I was eating chocolate that M.J. sent me, wrote another tract to B. (a 'bad ***' one, as he calls my long sentimental-emotional outbursts he has to endure every now and then), talked and prayed with S. over Skype, listened to illegal amounts of Ky-Mani and Stephen (I hold U. responsible for that). I don't even want to mention how I analyse and critique sermons now when I sit in the pew (I think J. has done a lot in this area by killing my own sermons - although we never agreed on the terminology, what I called 'killing' he called 'sharing thoughts'). And of course I ordered tea with milk the last time I went to a cafe. There's not a single area of life that Newbold and Newboldians haven't influenced.

So this Throwback Thursday is a tribute to my Newbold family.

K. & J. & H. & U.
S. & A. & M. & T.

That picture was taken on my birthday party in the end of my first Newbold year [click on the photo, it goes bigger]. It's a picture I don't come across with very often but each time I do, it makes me laugh. It's this happy kind of laughter as I think - just like any Newboldian is ought to - that I happened to be in Newbold at the right time and happened to meet all the right people there.

But enough of that. We wouldn't want to get too emosh now, would we.


As to books, I'm finishing Dostoyevsky's monumental The Brothers Karamazov today. After the LOTR trilogy there's no book too fat for me. :) Then I'm on to Tchekhov's short stories. While reading I listen to Rachmaninoff's music. I'm going all Russian here.


Yes, yes, I haven't forgotten, I have to post my Tuesday's Tune! First two weeks I've had a cover so I thought I'd make it a cover month and post two more of them. Two more of my favourite ones, I mean. Today it's Eva Cassidy's version of Sting's Fields of Gold. I can't decide whether it's better than the original or not, but I sure listen to it way more than the original. So I guess my deeds show that I really vote for her version.

It was a strange and tough day today. I had to fight for my beliefs and principles. And I lost.

I'd be more than thankful for anyone who says a prayer for me.


I saw an ad somewhere on Facebook last week - Food Bank has a big food collecting weekend in Estonia and all volunteers are invited to help. It took me exactly two minutes to decide and to sign up for the event. So this afternoon I spent three hours at the grocery store in a big shopping mall, distributing Food Bank fliers and answering questions and encouraging people to buy something extra that they could donate to Food Bank. Gosh, they were truly the most intense three hours I can remember. But it was all well worth the sweat and effort. After our three hour shift me and two other volunteers had four big trolleys full of food. I mean, they were literally food mountains there. I was so touched by the generosity and goodness of people I almost got emosh.

And then, although I could have just go home, I helped FB people to load the food mountains on a van and then unload the van at their office, to sort and weigh and pack and everything. And I started talking to the Food Bank's local coordinator and she was very surprised to hear I'm a theologian and about to start working in a church. And then she said, 'Well, we have these food collecting events every now and then. Do you think you could put a little volunteer team together in your church and come help us some more in the future?' And I was like, 'YEAH! ABSOLUTELY!' So we exchanged email addresses and compliments and went on our way being friends.

This is pure awesomeness, I tell you! Of course we're going to help Food Bank in the future. I mean, if not us, who else?

And standing there, looking at people who donated and who didn't, who paid attention and who didn't, I decided - my kids are going to grow up, learning that giving is just as important as receiving. No, that giving is more important than receiving. And that giving is essential, like breathing or blinking your eyes. That giving makes you a human. Yes, my kids will learn that one day.


It's June the 14th. It's the national remembrance day here in Estonia. It's a day when we remember and honour those fellow Estonians who suffered from the Soviet terror.

Of all the nations caught up in the World War II Estonia was one of the most unfortunate ones. We got caught between two evil empires. Which one of them was more evil, I don't know. But which one caused more suffering to Estonians, that I do know.

In the middle of the night on the 14th of June 1941 about 10 000 innocent people were woken and arrested. The crime was being wealthier and more intellectual than the rest of the nation. Well-fixed farmers, police officers, politicians who hadn't been shot by that time, teachers, writers, other intellectuals, their families - all were sent to Siberia against their will, in cattle cars. Half of them never returned, they died there of hunger and diseases.

The next day Soviet newspapers reported of 10 000 happy Estonians who were thrilled to leave and who were eagerly waiting for a new life in their new homeland...

Another 20 000 people were mass deported to Siberia in 1949.

There's not a single Estonian family who would have been untouched by this horror. Actually, I've sat on a couch of an old church member and seen the scars on her arms and legs and heard her bloodcurdling stories of how they - little children - ate grass and bark in Siberia in order not to starve to death.

We don't know for certain but it's likely that my grandfather was on the deportation list in 1949. It was four years before my mom was born. Why the Soviet soldiers didn't knock on his door that night, we still don't know. If they had, things would be very different now. Most likely my mom would not be here. Most likely I would not be here...


I'm so excited about my Tuesday's Tune and there is so much awesome music out there that I need to keep myself from posting ten songs at a time. I mean, I could. But no, it's one at a time. Today's tune is another heart-melting cover, Joni Mitchell's cover - James Blake sings her A Case of You. It's hard to believe there's a man out there who's got a voice like this. Dear heavens! I hope I will never meet him in person...


So I finished my LOTR book marathon yesterday, now I'm on to the movie marathon. It seems that I'm developing an unhealthy interest in that story. But truth be told, it is the most beautiful tale I have ever read in my life. The third book got me constantly teared up, and it doesn't happen often that I need a box of tissues when reading a book.

And there was another revelation that hit me while reading the last book. I realised that the whole story is Aragorn's just as much as it is Frodo's. Aragorn is that quiet guy who keeps a low profile and always follows Gandalf's instructions and who barely ever lets people realise that he is the King, the heir of Isildur and the rightful lord of all the Middle-earth. He just toils and works and helps the Ring-bearer and fights for what is good and just, and the kingship doesn't seem to bother him much. And he heals, oh, he heals! His name means the Renewer, and one of the most beautiful bits of the book is when he heals people after the great battle because the old tale said that hands of the king are the hands of a healer. "At the doors of the Houses many were already gathered to see Aragorn, and they followed after him; and when at last he had supped, men came and prayed that he would heal their kinsmen or their friends whose lives were in peril through hurt and wound, or who lay under the Black Shadow. And Aragorn arose and went out, and he sent for the sons of Elrond, and together they laboured far into the night. And word went through the City: 'The King is come indeed."

Yes, the King is come indeed. And when the battle is won and the Black Shadow has vanished, the King finally claims his throne. And the moment he is being crowned, "all that beheld him gazed in silence, for it seemed to them that he was revealed to them now for the first time. Tall as the sea-kings of old, he stood above all that were near; ancient of days he seemed and yet in the flower of manhood; and wisdom sat upon his brow, and strength and healing were in his hands, and a light was about him."

What a story. What a King.


There's a reason why I use every opportunity to go jogging. I mean, a reason beyond the fact that it makes me feel good and that it's my payback for all the endless library and classroom hours. And the reason is that my little 5km jogging track is downright beautiful. Every time I go running the beauty of it astonishes me.

The pinetrees are bent by the constant sea wind. The sea is a hundred meters to the right.

See! That's what I mean. :) I love these endless alleys.


With my dad after the concert. Tired and happy. And blessed.


Last few days I waited eagerly for a package to arrive from Paris. And this morning it was finally delivered to my door. Oh, it wasn't just any package, it was The Package - I don't think anything else could have made me jump for joy like this one did! A dear friend sent me a camera - now I'm a proud user of Nikon D-40 with two lenses, 18-55mm and 70-300mm. I knew I couldn't afford a camera myself but someone has heard the quiet wish in my heart. Another dream has come true.

This means that this blog will be flooded with photos soon.

Last week my mom reminded me about something I had completely forgotten - my maternal grandpa was a professional photographer. It was way back in the old days I don't know much about but I do know that he used to work in a photo studio. I went through mom's old photo boxes the other day and found a handful of studio shots of my mom and her siblings. Plus one Christmas card. Mom claims that postcards made of grandad's photos were manufactured and used nation wide, and that they often got Christmas cards from their friends and relatives with his photos. But apparently they've got lost somehow, at least my mom doesn't know where they are. So I've taken it as my summer mission to find out what happened to my grandad's photos - there's a good chance they might have been given to some museum. Maybe, just maybe I can find them and take a look at them and pay tribute to my grandad whom I barely remember. It's like a whole chapter of family history has suddenly become alive to me.

And I really-really hope there's still a drop of his blood in my veins. 


I'm sure everyone knows the feeling when you promise to do something or when you say yes to something just because it seems so far away. And then when the time comes, you're like, what on earth was I thinking? Well, I'm exactly in this situation now. Months ago - far from Estonia and this life here - I let my parents talk me into playing the violin at a concert. Oh, why not, I thought, I have done that before. I didn't quite realise that we were talking about an opening concert of Pärnu's organ festival in the biggest church around here. It's actually a big deal. My dad was offered such an opportunity and he thought I could help him a bit with my violin. He's a bad *** organist, by the way.

Well, the concert is tomorrow evening.

Yesterday evening, after being sick for a good number of days, I went for a walk at the seaside again. I passed the town's notice board (or whatever it's called - it's where all the posters of upcoming events are) and I saw a huge poster of Pärnu's organ festival. They have one concert every week for the whole summer. Opening concert - M. K. (violin), R. K. (organ). WHAT? I thought I could just play my two Bach pieces really quietly, without any public knowledge of my existence. I guess I was wrong.

My mom has been calling her family and it seems to me that a whole bunch of friends and relatives are coming to Pärnu tomorrow for the concert. Including my aunt. Who's a violin teacher.

It's going to be humiliating.

But the cool thing about it is that I get to assist my dad when he plays the organ. I will probably get terribly nervous because I need to push all these right buttons at the right time but it's still awesome to be so close to the magic of music. And I'll spoil it for you - the concert will end with Bach's most famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. I'll probably start crying in the end of that piece. Bach's music is the most divine of all the music out there, nothing and no-one can beat him, at least for me.

But someone must go practice her violin now.


Every blog needs some structure. One can't let it go all random. So I've decided that every Tuesday I'll post a song here. It's called Tuesday's Tune.

Today's tune simply has to be Morcheeba's version of Gershwin's Summertime. First, because Morcheeba's voice is beautiful, second, because I've never heard anyone play flute like this, and third, because it's 25'C outside, it's hot, moist, and I can hear the thunder approaching. It's time for summer songs!

PS. Mind the pictures in that video, phahaha!


             Hanging out with my friends.


Weird things happen.

I've always thought I'm good at passing judgement when it comes to my own doings and achievements. Thinking that I'm able to evaluate my stuff objectively, including academic stuff. Uhmm, wrong. Sometimes I really have no clue about how I'm doing. The first signs of this strange phenomenon emerged sometime last semester. It must have been in October when I started writing my dissertation and J. came to work in the library for a few weeks and I remember how every time I needed a break from my writing I went downstairs and cried on his shoulder (figuratively, that is) and came up with a whole book of lamentations about how Dr V. is going to shoot me and make me write it all over again and so on. Well, the feedback I got from Dr V. was... rather different from what I was expecting.

And the same weird thing has happened again with one of my essays from last semester. It was the last paper I wrote and I was tired by the time I got to that paper, to say the least. And honestly, I was aiming for a pass. I swear. I didn't want anything else but to get this paper done. But when I asked the department secretary for my grades last week, she told me I had got 70+ for that paper. WHAT? First I thought that she had made a mistake and wrote accidentally number 7 instead of 5. But then the same grade appeared in e:Vision a few days later. WHAT WHAT?

Now I have a new theory. Somewhere in Turnitin there must be a little hairy creature who every now and then has mercy on stressed students (especially on those who have to teach Greek at the same time) and who writes new essays for them and submits them and lets them get an undeserved 70+ for a paper they've barely had time to work on.

This is by far the most plausible explanation I can come up with.

Now I'm working on the Dr V. thingy. There must be an explanation, too.