When giving thanks seems inadequate

Amy and I have been on a journey for the last six years. I hope to recount that tale in greater detail in the near future, and this summary will fall woefully short of communicating the heights, depths, joy, pain, struggle, and victory that has characterized our story. And, as a story, I’m sure it is both unremarkably common and strikingly distinct.

In any case, the road has led us to a new chapter in our lives. This past Sunday our church community gathered and affirmed me as an elder and a pastor. Although the conversation leading to this has been going on for some time, I’m sincerely humbled and awed all over again as I wrap words around this new reality. It’s exciting, sobering, and a little overwhelming all at once.

Depending on your past and present experience with the organi-/sm/zation called the church, words like elder and pastor will register in a particular way. I’ll probably write more about what they do mean in our context at some point, but for now here’s some of what they don’t necessarily mean or involve: polyester suits, three seminary degrees, Buicks, funny hats or robes, or being old and bitter. Now, I’m not saying those things are bad (well, maybe the first and the last one), but they just aren’t mandatory in our setting.

In a practical sense, it does mean I am leaving my job with A&M to work full-time for the church. Since we’re one of those weird little congregations without an actual building, I’ll headquarter at home and do my work there and as I roam about town. While I was traveling a few weeks ago, my unreasonably loving wife converted one of the bedrooms in our house to a wonderful little office for me to camp out in. (I’ll post some photos of her work soon.) I’ll get to work with three of my favorite guys in the world – Scot, Ross, and Chris – as fellow pastors and elders. And I’ll more fully be able to give my life to our new covenant family. This is all a good, good gift. I’m sure it’s possible to feel more content and blessed and grateful than Amy and I feel right now, but I’m not sure how.

I am thankful for those of you (and if you’re reading this, consider yourself included in that group) who have contributed to our journey to this point. Thanks for listening, praying, counseling, laughing, crying, and encouraging us along the way.

I am thankful for this gorgeous, excellent woman God created to be my companion, soul mate, chief encourager, example, and mother of my children.

I am thankful for my beautiful son, no longer a baby, but now a little boy with a life and energy coursing through his veins that reminds me he was created with purpose and joy.

I am thankful for my precious daughter, whose illogical happiness and satisfaction with her fragile new life dismantles my hardness and cynicism one smile at a time.

And, of course, I am thankful for the people who call themselves Community Church for trusting God enough to trust me, for recognizing Amy’s all around beauty and brilliance, for loving my kids, for being silly and faithful enough to believe beyond the ordinary, for valuing honesty, for giving weakness and vulnerability (and the weak and the vunlnerable) the space and protection they need to be mended and empowered by the Healer, and for following Jesus even when it seems like the least reasonable thing to do. May we continue to drink in and spill out the life that is really Life.

On posting with(out) malice

In case there’s any confusion from the last post (and others like it), I don’t wish any ill will toward ladies whose sense of personal style causes me to shake my head. They just cause me to shake (and often turn – the other way) my head. I know this whole fashion thing is tricky for lots of folks, and I know my general lack of concern about anything fashion-related beyond trying not to look like a 30-year old guy who shops at Sears probably means I’m ill-qualified to even participate in a discussion of the matter. But those rules don’t apply on my blog. That’s just the way it goes here. And, if I can be serious for one or two sentences, I think in many cases this is but one of many symptoms of real issues of identity and the spirit. Dressing someone better doesn’t make their soul better. But I’ve got to fill this space with something, right?

As soon as I finished typing that paragraph, I got an email from the folks at J.Crew. Which one of you weenies did that?

Also, I actually do wish some amount of ill will toward CapitalOne, both for their incredibly annoying commercials featuring David Spade (the man who, in my generation, has most effectively parlayed smarmy into millions) and for trying to steal my money. I had to get my bank to take the money back from them to get anything done. Beware.