A postmodern journey of faith...


On Being Bivocational...or in my case, Quadvocational

I've not kept things up here very well...but about 2.5 years ago, we took a position at a small home missions church in Menno, SD. It's a very nice little church (referring to the people...the facility is, well, sad). We had a few initial bumps in the road, but things smoothed out considerably.

I only alluded to it, for reasons unbeknownst to me, but about 5.5 months ago, we had our fourth child, Noelle. My wife has a condition called CMT that sometimes causes her excruciating pain, and this condition is exacerbated by pregnancy and childbirth. We decided after Noelle came that it was time for her to stay home instead of returning to work. A couple of weeks ago, we had a visit with the neurologist and he confirmed that we'd made the right decision, saying that keeping up with 4 kids was plenty for her.

Unfortunately, even though Elicia's job only netted her about $250-$300 a month after we paid for gas, that impact really hurt our family finances.

Back in August last year, I opened a small-time computer repair business hoping to generate some extra income. It's actually gone fairly well for me, but only has brought in between $100 and $200 on average. When Elicia was still working, that was fine and certainly helped out. But now, we find ourselves falling behind. I also deliver a regional shopper newspaper, but we use it as a way to pay allowance to our children. They help, and get paid for their efforts. We make enough to pay for our gas and that's about it. So, right now I'm in the job market again, for the first time seriously in about 8 years. It's scary, I'll tell you.

My family has never been big on taking risks, it seems. A few of us have been, but not very many of us. When I first moved to South Dakota, several people from my family thought I'd cracked. It turned out to be a great choice for me, even though some hard times have come of it. But I finally decided to swallow my fears and jump on this one. And decided to apply at Citibank in Sioux Falls. It's a great company with great benefits. I was worried, because my qualifications and experience are a little unusual--but I decided to take the risk. Last night was my pre-employment screening.

Admittedly, I was very nervous. But as we arrived at Citibank for the session, I decided that I was going to work for this company. I need to work for this company. I feel impressed that this is very important.

Well, a group of us went through the screening. They provided info about Citibank--it's a very generous company. They really take care of their own. And then came the testing. And the waiting. Finally, they began taking people in to go over the screenings. And I waited. And then I waited some more. When I was done with that, I waited for awhile.

I was one of the last two taken in. But the news is this: I'm qualified to move ahead. This is *not* a job offer. But I have an interview today. They could possibly make an offer as soon as today--if not today, then probably by Tuesday.

If you read for this, pray for me. This is a big step for me personally, and for us as a family. This job could get us completely out of "the system," provide me and mine with some much needed insurance coverage, and just generally improve a number of aspects of our lives.

And I can't help but think that a pastor who's not almost constantly stressed about money would be happier. And a happier pastor is definitely a better pastor.



Parents: Beware of the "Choking Game"

As the a parent of 4, this absolutely broke my heart:


It would be so horrible to find your child dead because of pursuing some "thrill." Really, the destructive effects of this are not so different from drugs. If you've not made the jump yet, the choking game is where kids will temporarily cut off the oxygen to their brain for a short period of time in order to pass out for a few seconds. This, apparently, is a thrill--mostly because it's a different sensation.

13 year old Gabriel Mordecai of Paradise, CA died from it.

Be aware of this, as it is becoming more and more prevalent.


Top 10 Tech We Miss: The Newton

When Apple gets things right, it's spectacular (think iPod), but when the company messes up, it's a hoot. The first popular pen-based PDA, the Apple Newton, was big, expensive, and too smart for its britches. Early models tried to interpret handwriting with often amusing results, making words out of users' scrawls that often combined into surreal "Newton Poetry." We miss the Newton because what it thought we meant was often far more interesting than what we were really trying to say.
HILARIOUS! I think I should get one of those...they're still around on eBay.

Read the whole article for the other 9:


OT: Why Do Men Have Nipples?

This looks good...ever wonder why men have nipples? Apparently these guys have an answer for you:

My View of Church: as Servant

I'm learning a tremendous amount these days about how I view church, with some surprises along the way. I just took a survey to determine what model or function I perceive church fulfilling. The results, while not surprising, were certainly interesting. Here's what I came up with:

You scored as Servant Model. Your model of the church is Servant. The mission of the church is to serve others, to challenge unjust structures, and to live the preferential option for the poor. This model could be complemented by other models that focus more on the unique person of Jesus Christ.

Servant Model


Sacrament model


Herald Model


Mystical Communion Model


Institutional Model


What is your model of the church? [Dulles]
created with QuizFarm.com

What is least surprising about this is that I scored 0% on the institutional model. Hmmm...


Just a quick one...back at Blogger now.

Just a quick post this evening. As part of my renewed commitment to blogging seriously, I've moved my personal weblog back to Blogger. Why? Becuase it's just NICE. That, and I'll be focusing the Squarespace site on open source software for Windows. I'm learning more and more that an all-inclusive blog only works for a few people. The rest of us need FOCUS.

Of course, focus is something I've never quite been good at, you know. :)



Birth Control

So, I've been thinking about birth control, or rather the morality thererof.

It's an interesting topic. But let's get something straight out front. There's no question about birth control outside of marriage. It's wrong. Why? Because you shouldn't need it. Intercourse outside of the bounds of marriage is wrong--the Bible calls it fornication.

But what about the use of birth control inside of a committed marriage relationship? From what I can figure, there are two schools of thought.

The first is the conservative crowd. In their view, the products of intercourse are the potential for life. To do anything to prevent those products from creating life is to play God. For them, it is something akin to abortion--it's just as bad as aborting a new embryo. Advocates of this position would site the example of Onan in Genesis 38:8-10, who practiced the most basic form of birth control and was slain by the Lord as a result. However, it's important to note context. At that time in history, the people of Israel had been ordered to reproduce in order to create a mighty nation of the Lord's people. The problem with Onan's actions was that they were a violation of a command from the Lord more than a practice of birth control. That having been said, the previous points could still be valid.

Here's the other side--the somewhat more liberal (but still possible conservative) advocates of birth control. The idea is this: it is better to prevent it than to bring a child into the world who is unwanted. Unwanted children get neglected and abused. And then there's the situation where parents just simply can't afford any more children. In this case, then they become a burden on the welfare system...which then becomes a burden on everyone else. Both of these are moral issues.

Oh, but then there's another angle...the idea that birth control causes people to abdicate their responsibility, even married people.

I'm not sure what to think. What are your thoughts?


Johannes Paolo II, aka Karol Wojtyla

The pope died on Saturday. It might seem like that shouldn't matter to a protestant like me, but it does. Regardless of whether you're protestant or catholic, the Pope sets the spiritual temperature of Christendom. Perhaps it's time for that to change. But the reality of it is certainly still there, regardless of whether we like it.

In many ways, the church is at a turning point. Catholicism has still remained a bastian of controlled conservativism. That could all change if the "noisy" folks have their way. The rights of the unborn, and basically every cause of righteousness in the world will take a beating if a liberal pope is elected. The problem is this: the "noisy" folks lack balance. It seems like we just can't have people who embrace justice without simultaneously embracing ungodly agendas, placing human reasoning above God's. Johannes Paolo II was one of the few who could hold onto some semblance of that delicate balance.

On the other hand, Johannes Paolo II was also so bent on church polity that he sacrificed scripture, at times. We can (and should) let women and married men into the priesthood without embracing every Tom, Dick or Harry that comes along. We can bend on contraception without rejecting the "culture of life" (a term coined by John Paul II, *not* George W. Bush).

We need to pray for a man of courage, a man of balance. This papacy has been a difficult time--but Johannes Paolo II was a good man with good intentions. Let us pray that we have the same again--a good man with good intentions.

Furthermore, let us all be that: good men of good intentions. The Lord knows our hearts.


Terri Schiavo

If you've not seen www.terrisfight.org, you need to. Go to the multimedia page, and view the videos. If you can see those and still believe that she's a vegetable, then leave a comment and explain why.

I can't understand this culture of death USAmerica today. I guess it doesn't take a genius to speculate what Michael Schiavo's motive would be. I can't say for sure; this is only my opinion. Still, I can perhaps understand why he might want out. But why not divorce her and leave her care to her parents?

Life, while being one of the most precious things in God's sight, has completely lost its value to me in lieu of convenience.

Explain this to me, please. I can't see any sense in it, myself.


Living in Transition

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. *g*

Seriously, I'm still alive. One child plus, and still alive. We had our daughter, Noelle Elizabeth, on February 19th at about 7pm. We're thrilled...mom and baby are doing well.

Other than that, I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying, hopefully not in that order.

And I've discovered some things.

I've slipped a bit.

I've tried to hard to pursue this PoMo thing that I think I went a bit too far with it. I began to ask, "Why do I struggle with depression? Why do I want to leave the ministry, when it was once all I wanted to do?" And the answer I came up with is that I never really lost my first love--I just tried to turn it into something that it's not. And so, I decided that I'm sticking it out for awhile--until God clearly tells me that it's time to go. And you know, the relief I felt at that choice was like a thousand pounds being lifted off my shoulders.

This tells me that I made God's choice.

And I'm glad.

So, I'm back. I've been down the road and it's changed me...but I'm not leaving it. I came close, dragged my foot in the ditch a bit even, but stopped being stupid and got back into the car...and off we go!


Spiritual Immaturity...and why it happens...and why people who "grow up" leave church as we know it...

There's a fantastic post over on Paul Fromont's blog about spiritual formation. "Spiritual wha...?" you ask. Spritual formation. You may not have heard of it. But the jist of it is that it's that thing that happens to move the average pew-sitter past the "Feed ME!" stage and into actually *living* a life of faith.

Yah...there's a difference. Just think about it. Our spiritual parenting skills in the western church suck.

Here's the link...go read it...then come back here and give me some feedback. (The link will open in a new window because I want you back here...)

Along these lines, I thing I'm going to do something unconventional and post my message from yesterday here as well. It fits.

Again, come back and talk to me. :)


Creech: closer than we think

"This quote from Thomas Merton raised a question a little while back. I thought maybe I'd try to expound on the concept a bit more. Here's the quote...
...sometimes when we have no feeling of peace or of God's presence He is more truly present to us than He has ever been before.
This idea is very foreign to most of us, especially to those who are used to hearing and talking about the notion of 'feeling God's presence' or 'having peace' in some tangible way."

Read the rest here...


"Rest is the ultimate humiliation because in order to rest, we must admit we are not necessary, that the world can get along without us, that God's work does not depend on us." - Mike Yaconelli


Give me a break, Steve! Talk about genius marketing...

...at ThinkSecret's expense.


You know, at first I was going to comment on Steve Jobs' insecurity. It's well known that he has a pretty good ego, and that insecurity usually follows a pretty good ego...but then I got to thinking. This is genius! I mean, how many people have already changed their PC purchasing plans pending this new Mac? I know I'm sure thinking about it...Macs are phenomenal machines! And to be able to get one with OSX for around $500? Unheard of! I'll be eagerly watching the market to see what develops.

So, why sue? Well, it's a way of turning trials into gold, literally. Granted, leaked trade secrets can be a bad thing. On the other hand, if you leak just enough...then the anticipation will draw even more attention. I remember when things started leaking out of pa1mOne last year about the new PalmOS handhelds...there was a lot of anticipation. Unfortunately, this was followed by disappointment for many of us. I guess that could be the big downfall of this whole thing--that the product flops because the market got it's hopes up too high. Anyway...by sueing, a few things happen:
  1. Apple makes a move to protect it's valuable IP and trade secrets. This is important.
  2. Since the cat's already out of the bag, why not feed it a little more? The lawsuits confirm that these rumors are, at least in-part, correct. So...let's feed the anticipation a bit!
So, it's not so bad. The only loser could be ThinkSecret. I hope Apple drops the suit or at least doesn't receive a judgement against ThinkSecret. It would be a shame that they'd have to pay for a few Apple employees' loose lips. Would we sue ABC or USAToday if they talked about this?



Winter is finally here! School just closed, and I'd be really surprised if there's school tomorrow! Here's the view out my window:
Update on Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 11:56PM by Tory Larson
Just a follow-up...there wasn't school today. And I wouldn't be surprised if we start late tomorrow, too!


Emergent, emerging...who are we anyway?

Happy New Year!

I've decided to keep on trucking with this blog. The site will primarily be a blog and link repository...and that's OK.

I'm no longer running Linux. I think it's ready for prime-time...but not for me. It's a great utility OS for people who aren't "into" keeping their computers on the cutting edge with a minimum of effort.

Maybe I just need to run as root. :)


I just finished reading this article on CT about the emerging church. Interesting perspective, albeit a bit skeptical. It raises some interesting questions...like who in the world are we, anyway?

Some days I'm not sure. I feel like a square peg in a round hole most of the time...trying to communicate an incarnational Gospel to people who seem to be about "What can Jesus do for me?" You know, it's not about that. I like McLaren't illustration of the circles (read the article)--with the individual as part of the church which is affecting the world. It's a beautiful picture...and certainly it's Jesus-style. I still long to hose the bulding and the whole bit and just live incarnationally for God in whatever way I can. Frankly, church isn't making that big of a difference in my family's life--it's "Daddy's job." And that's not right. So we need to figure out a way to be incarnational...to get it right.

But what is right? Ahh, yes...the next loaded question. The fundamental question: what IS the Gospel...and how should we best relate it to the world?