September 29, 2004, 10:04 am
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Haven’t posted much for the past several weeks. I seriously doubt it matters much. If I’m wrong and you, dear reader, have been missing that special something in your days because I haven’t been writing, then, uhhh, I guess you can leave me a comment and let me know . . . oh, and I’m sorry (I guess).

Anyhoo, the past couple of weeks have been sort of a waiting game. As I mentioned in previous posts, Michelle has been interviewing with companies in hopes of getting a new gig. One interview was with a small startup company and the other interview was with a massive very recognizable company with many prominent products on the market. Each has its own appeal. She’s expecting a job offer from the small company within the next few days, but won’t likely hear from the big company for a few more weeks. That makes the decision a bit tricky – do you accept the offer in hand because it’s in hand or do you hold out for whichever might be the better deal?

Today my big task is to complete an application for renewal of funding from my denomination for the church start. I’m very ambivalent about this. Actually, I’m pretty negative about it – mainly because it involves me putting my “numbers” together and attempting to justify the support. I understand the process and don’t necessarily disagree with the accountability of what I’ve done with the support I’ve been receiving – I just think there’s a lot more to this deal than the numbers reflect. Even if I were to get picked up for another year of funding (which I have my doubts about), I doubt I really want it. I think at this point I’d rather just go get a regular job that pays a regular paycheck and do the church planting thing more organically, naturally, and less dependently. There are other planters out there that are better at this deal than me, and could use the support I’m currently getting. I’m going ahead with the application in order to stay faithful to some guidance I’ve received. If I decide it’s not the way to go, I can always pull out at that time.

September 13, 2004, 8:10 am
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Interesting days here. On the surface, things would appear either normal or actually more boring than normal. I spend time working on our big landscape project, reading, running the dog ragged (or is it the other way around?), and trying to be out in the community talking to folks with the Kingdom in mind. Below the surface, though, there’s a lot going on. Michelle’s got two job interviews in the next eight days – one with a big big pharmaceutical company and one with a small start-up type pharmaceutical company.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out my role in vocational ministry – it’s the time of year when I’m supposed to be doing my annual application for denominational funding for the church start work, and I’m thinking I may not do it. Instead, I’ve begun firing off resumes for regular jobs. There’s a tension there, whether to pursue work that relates to my grad degree in counseling, or to pursue a higher level career type track at Starbucks. I’m good at both, and both have their up-sides, but I’m wanting to have as much missional impact with my work as possible. And then there’s always the possibility of going back on staff with a regular type church . . . lots of mixed feelings on that one.

Change is something that I neither avoid nor run into. I’m fairly conservative when it comes to major life change decisions, and yet I do like the adventure of going into a new direction. Change is inevitable, though, so it’s all a matter of how severe the change should be.

My mother-in-law is experiencing change in a painful way these days. Less than a year ago, she lost her thirty-plus year home to fire, and she’s had a couple of address changes as a result. She’s also had the change of a cat dying and as of yesterday, a dog dying. To many people, that might bum them out a bit, but animals are a HUGE deal to Marge, and she grieves for them when they suffer and die. I admire that – mainly because all too often I’m one someone who fails to value God’s amazing creation in all its forms. She helps me appreciate God’s beauty. I wish things weren’t so hard for her right now.

The losses are big and small. Michelle and I were talking about going to Disneyland as kids – back in the days before one price of admission would get you on all the rides and attractions you wanted to go on. You had to have tickets for each of the rides – the best rides were the “E” ticket ones. As we talked, Michelle remembered that her father still had some “E” tickets stuck in a drawer somewhere, and he could probably sell them on eBay . . . except for the fact that the tickets also burned in the fire, as did wedding photos, Michelle’s wedding dress, the urn in which the ashes of a beloved canine friend were kept, etc., etc., etc.

This post seems to be a rambling list of melancholy thoughts. I’m pretty sure there’s a theme to all of this, but I can’t put my finger on it just yet. I do know this much (and this isn’t related to the theme, it’s just plain random): I’m glad football season is back, and better yet, I’m glad I’m married to someone who likes football and gets into watching the games with me. We’re not fanatics, but we did watch a lot of pigskin yesterday. Good stuff.

September 10, 2004, 7:41 am
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San Diego county is like many regions around the country – we’ve experienced a blindingly rapid rise in the cost of living. Housing is extraordinarily expensive. The median price of a home here is over $550,000. And let me tell you, the house that half a million dollars buys you isn’t very impressive. Our affordability index is right around ten percent – in other words, 90 people out of a hundred cannot afford to buy a home in this market.

In one sense, Michelle and I are very grateful to have been able to get into the home ownership game during a low spot in the housing market and a high spot in the stock market several years ago. It’s become discouraging, though, even though we got our piece of the action. We know that if we were to sell our home and move to another home of equal value, we couldn’t afford it – our property taxes would nearly double.

This is one aspect of life and ministry in this time and place. It’s not the most important one by any means. And yet it does have an impact. This makes the notion of house/simple/organic churches even more like a no brainer.

September 3, 2004, 8:02 am
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I’m ambivalent about my role as a voter (in a Kingdom sort of way). And yet I’ve watched several hours of each of the political conventions this year. Some of my feelings surprise me.

Meanwhile, I’m mindful of the horrible ending to the terrorist hostage situation in the Russian school. 100 dead, many more injured. We have close friends who are in the process of adopting two Russian orphans, and are supposed to travel there in the next few months.