Monday, March 13, 2006


Marco tells me that I'm a bikkel. But I'm not so sure.

For one thing, I've been told (by Marco himself) that the Dutch word bikkel can be used to indicate a man with just one testicle (don't ask me why they have a special word designated for this anomaly!)... But even if you use the other meaning for bikkel -- that is, to refer to someone who is tough or courageous (again, don't ask me how the same word could represent these vastly different concepts!) -- I still feel less than comfortable in owning up to the title.

Marco told me I was a bikkel yesterday, for marching into the icy waters of the Nieuwe Meer to help baptize my friend Maria. Despite the fact that the banks of the lake were covered in a thin layer of snow, and even though other parts of the lake were actually covered in ice -- Maria, Vera, and I waded into the frigid water wearing only shorts and a T-shirt, while a crowd of Maria's friends and family looked on (wearing their parkas, hats, and gloves). And certainly, such an act requires some balls (please forgive me, but the pun could hardly be avoided!)... However, even after momentarily staring hypothermia in the face, I am surely no bikkel.

It's not especially tough or courageous to stand beside someone, say a few words, and ceremoniously dip her beneath the water to the cheers and tears of those watching. I guess I may have been mildly in danger of losing a toe or a testicle to frostbite in the freezing waters of the Nieuwe Meer -- but it's not especially tough or courageous to get a bit wet below the waist, in the act of drenching a good friend... And since I'm glad to say that my body is still fully intact, I cannot say that I am a bikkel.

But I stood beside a true bikkel in the Nieuwe Meer yesterday.

Maria displayed true courage in choosing to follow Jesus, less than half a year ago. Maria has displayed true toughness in the months since, as she's made daily decisions to follow Jesus in the most practical ways of life -- quitting a job that compromised her beliefs, sharing her faith boldly with her old circle of friends, leaving behind a life of familiar faults for a life of foreign faith. Maria showed the true heart of a bikkel, in opting to celebrate her baptism at the cold, cold Nieuwe Meer instead of at the heated revalidatie centrum where only ten people would have been able to witness the public pronouncement of her faith. Maria's mother, co-workers, neighbors, bar-buddies, and other friends were able to catch a glimpse of true Christian commitment through her courage and toughness in submersing herself in the death of Christ (Romans 6:3) -- in order to rise again from the Nieuwe Meer, confident and exhuberant in public confession of her Nieuwe Leven in Christus!

What a beautiful celebration. What a powerful symbol. What a bikkel...


At 10:49 PM, Blogger Krista Davis said...

Eric, wow. that was great. very encouraging and very funny. i love reading your blog. greetings from poland!

At 11:06 PM, Blogger Marco said...

Hey that picture turned out to be very cool... You would almost say that I was standing in the water while taking it... but I'm afraid I'm not bikkel enough... ;)

Great post by the way!


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