Monday, July 27, 2009

what to write

Haven't written since last week. I feel I should, but don't want to. Don't want to be to self-focused, but what the heck, it's my blog.

Pretty up and down these days. Being home with my family has given me wonderful time with my kids. In the last week we went to Kings Dominion, visited my parents at their camp on the Shenandoah River, swam in our neighborhood lake, danced, played football (Cash is a natural), read stories, made lots of great food, and went to church together at New Hope...

I am grateful for my family, that's really where my identity is these days, and that's good. but it's still a hard change.

For years, I was a pastor, and not just a pastor, but a pastor of a really cool and exciting church community. I loved my job, loved the people I worked with, and cared for, and hung out with. My identity was very tied into that job.

And now that I'm not there, a big part of my identity is kind of missing, or unclear. And the bottom line is that I'm grieving the loss of a ministry, and a lot of relationships that I am beginning to miss.

I will stay close with a few people at Convergence, but will drift away from most of them. I'm sad, but not depressed. I have really seen God work, and felt God's presence, and I am excited about the future (graduating Leland next spring, getting back into baseball--I umpire my first game in 7 years in 2 weeks, trying to read and write more).

But I know I will grieve the loss and change for a while as well. Fortunately, I'm not alone--my family is wonderful, my friends are great, and basketball season is not far away (Go GMU).

I feel pretty good tonight; so I'm gonna close and go to bed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

healthcare arguments

some comments from people on facebook about President Obama's press conference tonight on healthcare reform:

He is full of it...and I don't know how Americans are so stupid to listen to him.

definitely totally full of crap, and I hate listening to the man, but I do because I want to know what he said so that I can refute it all!!! Grrr!!!

Obama's words don't match reality. If he's so concerned about the deficit, why did he spend trillions of dollars we didn't have.

I think responses like these show how self-centered we are as Americans. It's obvious the system is a mess. I have a hunch that most of the people who are complaining about the possible changes have the means to get good healthcare. They are getting what they want; so they are fearful of any change.

The problem with that attitude is that it doesn't consider those who can't afford healthcare. It baffles me how so many Christians just want to keep things the way they are going, especially financially--again, I think it's because they have what they need. They don't want taxes to go up. They don't care that the gap between rich and poor is growing.

How can anyone read the New Testament, especially the words of Jesus, and not take seriously the call to do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to help, give, care for others, live lives of simplicity?

I'm not advocating socialism or communism, but where do we find Capitalism encouraged in the NT?

Perhaps if the church were really living out the principles of Jesus, really giving away our wealth, sacrificing, seriously caring for the least of these; we wouldn't need the government to take action like this.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Guys' Rules

got this from Jamie a while ago...don't know who wrote them, but great job!

We always hear "The Rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note; these are all numbered "1" on purpose!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon and the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Shopping is NOT a sport; and no, we are never going to think of it that way.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! OBVIOUS hints do not work. JUST SAY IT!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question we ask.
1. Come to us with a problem ONLY if you want help in solving it. That's what we do.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.
1. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant to the other one.
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.
1. All men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, we scratch it. Simple.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it's just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine...REALLY.
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round is a shape.

Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know I have to sleep on the sofa tonight.
But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Friday, July 10, 2009

vacation ramblings

Bellingham, WA

We're coming down to the home stretch of vacation--several activities this weekend for Jamie's 20 year high school reunion. We fly home next Tuesday. It's been a great vacation so far--very relaxing, good time with family and friends, time to think and enjoy my wife and kids, do some reading and writing.

I am looking forward to getting home and getting back into some routine. I am hoping to start doing some part-time work soon--umpiring baseball, something I loved doing when I lived in Texas.

Also looking for full-time work (something low-stress--the focus this fall will be on school).

There is a lot of work to do on the house and yard that I haven't had time for; hope to get some of that knocked out as well...

last night Jamie and I had dinner with her sister L and L's husband C. We always have fun with them, they are such great people. We ate a great Italian/Seafood restaurant called Mambo Italiano in Bellingham.

A lot of our conversation was about the birth of our kids--C and L have an adorable 13 month-old son. It was so nice to relax with great food and wine, and share our lives and stories with each other.

We are talking about moving out to Washington in the next couple years; I love it out there, and see great opportunities for ministry. It would be a beautiful place to raise our kids. We've actually been thinking and praying about it for a few years; now it seems the time is getting close (I'll finish my MDiv next spring).

I love Virginia--but life there feels so rushed and crowded and pressure-filled. Life in the Northwest seems a little slower, more relaxed. I love the mountains and the small towns and cities north of Seattle--would love to work in or near Bellingham....

OK, enough rambling today. On a spiritual note, the trip has helped me slow down and listen for God; especially in the conversations with people around me. It has been encouraging. Nap time is almost over, so I'm going to spend time with my boys.

Friday, July 03, 2009

who am I?

for the last three years, a large part of my identity has been found in my job, my ministry. I was pastor of a really amazing, innovative church that is breaking new ground and doing some things that will influence both church and culture.

Now I'm unemployed. I'm not looking for pity. I mean, I'm sitting next to a window in Burlington, WA, looking out on a beautiful back yard--trees, sunshine, flowers, while the rest of my family naps. It feels good to not have the stress I've been feeling for a while. It's great to be on vacation.

I am excited to get busy with school and look for some work that is low-stress. I'm also eager to spend more time with God--listening, praying, reading and writing. Anyone in ministry knows what a challenge it is to keep a healthy, intimate relationship with God.

I've done OK over the last three years, but not as well as I'd like. I'm looking forward to slowing down, spending some time in silence, and getting more dedicated to writing.

I'm also trying to lose some weight. I used to umpire high school baseball in Texas; I'm planning to get back into it (it's great part-time money and a lot of fun). I got out my old gear the other day and realized I need to order new pants or lose about 15 pounds fast.

So 5 days ago I went on a fast from sweets (I'm addicted to chocolate). No cookies. No ice cream. No candy. this is really hard---I can be stuffed after a meal, but don't feel like I can stop until I've had something sweet for dessert.

Yesterday we were out sightseeing and stopped in a little cafe on a river. Everyone else got ice cream; I had some cherry tomatoes. I feel lighter already.

I started off talking about identity. Since resigning my church that feels more complicated. I'm not a pastor anymore. I am a husband, father, student, writer, umpire, friend. seems like a pretty good list to me.

If you're still with me, thanks for reading as I did some self-therapy today. I hope you are well.