11 March 2015

destination unknown (with a nod to Missing Persons)

For the entirety of my Christian life—reckoning it from the time of my baptism in August 1986—I have heard about the journey of Abraham and Sarah.  (Actually, I heard it before that.)  God spoke to Abraham and basically said, “Hit the road!  I’ll let you know when you get to the right place.”  Hebrews 11 says that Abraham “set out, not knowing where he was going” (v. 8).  Destination unknown.

For me, that story has always been a bit of an academic exercise.  It’s been something to think about, something to learn about.  Certainly, there are ways to apply it to our own and to others’ lives.  We can look at life and see how we’ve been led in directions we could not have foreseen.  But for me, it’s not a story I’ve ever really felt.

That is, until now.  I don’t want to exaggerate, though.  At the beginning of last month, my wife Banu and I moved in with my aging mother.  We really believe that it was something we had to do—and we wanted to.  We are convinced that the Spirit has been guiding us.  We knew where we were going.  So it’s not completely a case of “destination unknown.”

Still, as ministers we are in a state of transition.  We are still jobless.  A couple of days ago, I told Banu that even this little taste of unemployment has given me a new perspective.  I can relate somewhat to those who have been plagued by long term unemployment.  At times, I feel a sense of disconnect with those who are employed.  Even if they have jobs in which I have no interest, they still have jobs.  They have income.

Having said all that, we don’t have a sense of panic.  But I would be lying if I said that there aren’t moments of unease.  There have been moments in which I can’t escape the feeling that the clock is running out.  That means:  until we use up the last of our money.  And the prospect of having inadequate (or no) health insurance isn’t terribly comforting.

Nonetheless, we press on.  We do have goals.  One of them is finding a physical location for our ministry, St. Lydia’s Place, which exists online.  We look forward to making (more) connections in the Nashville area.  We look forward to the future.

We look forward to being able to say, with joy, destination unknown.

(The photo is by Felix Rioux.)

09 March 2015

live life as art

From Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Kappus in Letters to a Young Poet:
“Read as little as possible of aesthetic criticism—such things are either partisan views, petrified and grown senseless in their lifeless induration, or they are clever quibblings in which today one view wins and tomorrow the opposite.  Works of art are of an infinite loneliness and with nothing so little to be reached as with criticism.  Only love can grasp and hold and be just toward them.”

Life is art.  If we succumb to the age-old temptation to seek approval from the critics (who do not necessarily criticize us—we might get a thumbs up), we betray the one who continues to create us as works of art, who has “made us,” that is poiema (Ephesians 2:10).  We are created to be poems.

07 March 2015

resume resumé

Don’t rely on that artsy-fartsy liberal arts humanities stuff.
Bullet points, life summary, bullet points.
What can you do for us?  What excites you about working for us?  What do you bring to the team?

It’s okay to be poetic—just be brief.  Read what you’ve written, then make it half as long.  Read it again, then cut.
Did I say it?  Don’t rely on that artsy-fartsy liberal arts humanities stuff.  (As much as you might love it!)
Get down to brass tacks.

Does this foolish venting leave you gasping for air?