Well, the day has come.
When Braden was born, almost a year ago now, Kari and I had no idea what we were in for. As she tried to hold down a full time job and be a mommy, she became overwhelmed. We began talking about how nice it would be if we could get closer to home, so our parents could be with the grandson and we could have some relief.
When I lost my job at headquarters a couple months ago, our desire to get home reached its height. We decided to begin actively looking for an open door to return closer to home, wherever that may be. We received a few enticing opportunities, including ministries in Honduras, an Asian country, and Seattle, but none of those fit the "closer to home" rule. We received conjecture from two other locations which did fit that bill, one in Michigan and one in Tennessee (difficult to pass up, for sure). But there was no peace. So we waited, and eventually we saw what we thought was an open door at our alma mater, Mount Vernon Nazarene University. The job, while it would have been amazing, would not have been ideal for our family situation, but I applied anyway. After a phone interview, I was asked to fly to Mt. Vernon for an interview in person a couple weeks ago. We were excited at the possibility that was before us.
The day before I left, I received a phone call from a pastor in Dayton. He had offered me a job before and had had a staff position come open just one day earlier. He had heard I was going to be in the area for an interview and wondered if I might be able to change my return trip so I could chat with him and his ministry team. I agreed, not knowing what was around the corner, and headed to Ohio. After arrriving at MVNU, I was told that the folks in another office had found out I was in town and would like to interview me for a position they had recently had come open. Again, not wanting to close any doors, I agreed. That night I had interviews at 4:00 and 7:30, followed by a quick drive to Dayton for a night with Kari's folks and an interview at 6:00 the next morning at the church.
This past Wednesday, we received a call from Keven Wentworth, pastor of Beavercreek Church of the Nazarene. The board had voted to offer me a staff position: Associate Pastor for Community. I would be in charge of small groups. We gladly accepted. BCN is the church where we were married, and where Kari served as College and Career Pastor. Her parents attend the church, which is only about 2 1/2 hours from my parents' home in Kentucky. I start June 1.
And tomorrow I start looking for a place to live. I would appreciate your prayers, as I have the responsibility of doing this without the assistance of my wife, the one who will truly make it home.
We are very excited to be close to some of you who read this who we haven't seen for too long, and very sad to leave some really close friends out here in Kansas. But, the former things have taken place, and God is declaring new things (Isaiah 42:9).
May it be so.
Now Reading: The Importance of Being Foolish, by Brennan Manning
Well, the day has come.
The guys in our small group had an amazing conversation last night...One of our best ever, I think. It reminded me about hearing the other person's viewpoint, something that many of you who read this taught me a lot about.
Our conversation focused mainly on two topics, which I'll briefly discuss here because I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on them.
1. Christianity vs. Other Religions. The question about Gandhi was raised, which spurred this conversation. The gist of it was that Jesus is the only way to the Father, so is it possible for a Buddhist, Muslim, etc. to make it to Paradise? Many different viewpoints and angles were shared. I'm still formulating my opinion, but, suffice it to say, I'm getting further and further from the "Fundamentalist" Christian view as we would know it. I'll leave it at that.
2. America's Presence in Iraq. Basically, I began this conversation by stating how opposed I am to our being there at all, then backing up and saying that I'm more concerned with the motive and (this is my word) hypocrisy of our decision to go there. One of the other guys in the group talked about how we still accomplished something great (by removing Hussein from power and making hopefully positive changes to their government), and we should be glad for that. While we disagreed, it was civil and, I felt, a time that stretched both of us and the thoughts of the other guys there (some of whom also participated in the conversation, albeit to a lesser degree).
So, as I'm still formulating what I think about these two topics, I'd be very interested in hearing what some of you, my respected and loved brothers and sisters, think.
Now Reading: Blue Like Jazz (second time)
...from the Lectionary reading for this week.
O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
Whit thorns thine only crown;
How pale thou art with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn!
How does this visage languish
Which once was bright as morn!
What thou, my Lord, hast suffered
Was all for sinners' gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
Look on me with thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me thy grace.
What language shall I borrow
To thank thee, dearest friend,
For this dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever,
And should I fainting be,
Lord let me never, never
Outlive my love to thee.