The Gospel, a Good Book, and Football

Just a short, quick update as we are getting settled in Carlsbad, NM. I’ll confess, it has been a pretty stressful last few weeks trying to figure out where we were going to end up after our CPE residencies in Houston were over. We were grateful beyond words when a former professor from Logsdon Seminary and his wife (I used to be his graduate assistant) offered to let us stay with them. This was honestly one of the most gospel shaped offers I’ve ever witnessed. [Thanks Dr. Stiver…or ummm, Dan (that still feels weird to me). You are not only a former professor but a friend as well!] The down side was they have stairs that Christie with her fibromyalgia can’t navigate multiple times a day. One of our aims right now is for her to be able to rest and recuperate physically and felt the stairs would work against this. We regretted terribly having to decline the offer. Believe me, if it hadn’t been for the stairs we’d be in Abilene right now! But we are also grateful (and blessed) beyond words to Christie’s parents for inviting us into their home (they thankfully don’t have stairs). I don’t really understand everything that God is doing right now, but I am thankful for a place to land and for God’s provision for my family. We have a roof over our heads, plenty to eat, its football season, and I have enough of my books with me to keep me busy for awhile (although it pains me that about half of them are still in storage).

Please be praying with us about what happens for us long term. Its rather obvious that we didn’t make it to Abilene like we planned. We still hope to end up in Abilene in the long term but who knows when at this point. I plan on putting out PhD applications again sometime this fall. In fact, I have been flooded with feelings of very deep remorse that I wasn’t able to start a program this fall. I honestly feel torn within myself between wanting so badly to do a PhD…feeling called to it really…on the one hand, and feeing like I really don’t have what it takes to do a PhD on the other. In any case, I am doing my best to learn from my last round of applications. I know which schools I want to apply too this time around as well as those I won’t be applying to again. I know I have to raise my GRE score (GRE…ugh!!!!) and I am working on submitting better materials this time around. There’s also the overseas distance program that the University of Durham offers, but I honestly don’t know how I would pay for it right now. I’m open to suggestions. So we’ll see what happens with all this. But this also complicates when we should go back to Abilene. It doesn’t make much sense either financially or physically (this is my back speaking) to move to Abilene only to move somewhere else in less than a years time, that is of course unless I get into the University of Durham and actually have a way to pay for it. All this needs prayer…particularly for patience, perseverance, and wisdom for us.

In the short term we are here in Carlsbad. To be honest, its tempting to say we’re ‘stuck in Carlsbad.’ But that really isn’t the truth. I don’t know how long we’ll have to stay with Christie’s parents. To me this is really open ended at this point. Like most things for us all this is kind of a great big experiment where we are just trying to be open to where God sends us…to join with the mission of the Father, Son, and Spirit wherever we are at. One of my biggest worries was what I was going to do for employment once we got here. Gas for the Uhaul (especially since we were pulling our vehicle behind us) was much more than we planned. But thankfully the first place I checked with was a mental health organization here in Carlsbad. My father-in-law helped to arrange for me to come by and it seems they want to give me a job, most likely in case management. This sure wouldn’t be my dream job (see my last post for that). But the best thing here is that this would be a job where I actually got to help people make their lives better (and hopefully it will have some benefits with it also).

I’ve already turned in my release forms for the rather extensive (intrusive?) background check they have to do. I also have to get finger printed and I meet with them again on Thursday Sept, 15th to hopefully finalize everything (they wanted me to come in Monday but the lady I’m meeting with is out of the office Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday). The drawback to having to wait so long is that it gives my overactive imagination time to think of all the ways this might fall through. Now, I realize that they most likely aren’t going to start reference and background checks on me if they are not serious as these can be time consuming and even pretty expensive. I realize this is most likely just me with some normal anxiousness before a new job. But prayers are appreciated nonetheless…specifically that everything would go through smoothly and that I would get to start SOONER rather than later.

However, I am going to try to treat my downtime as just that…downtime…and not stress too much. I plan on posting on my blog regularly as a way to get back in the groove of writing regularly. Most of it will be theological/philosophical in nature (its just what I do) and will probably have at least a slight academic tinge to it. Just perfect if you happen to be into the same type of stuff or if counting sheep doesn’t quite get you to sleep one night. 🙂 One of the first things I’ll be blogging about is Scot McKight’s new book The King Jesus Gospel. McKnight’s central claim seems to be that evangelicalism has created a reductionist ‘salvation culture’ rather than a more fully embodied ‘gospel culture’. It may be a controversial thesis for some, but just from a glance I think he is probably right. The book was sent to me free from Zondervan and my blog(s) will be part of a blog carnival that goes from Sept 19th to the 26th. Hopefully this reading will keep me occupied and keep my overactive imagination in check until Thursday. In the meantime, from everything I’ve seem, McKnight’s book looks to be good and you can check out his promo video below.

As for me…the better part of my weekend will be spent with the gospel, a good book, and football. Now, shhhh, its Saturday and College GameDay is on. Shalom.