the latest with me

It has been really long time since I have done any serious blogging and I think there are a few reasons for that. Probably the main reason is much conversation and interaction much like what happened with blogging in the past has all but completely moved to Facebook. I can make a short post there about something and then have significant interactions in the comments section. This has made it challenging for me to keep up with blogging when any engergy I might have for writing out a post is taken up by Facebook. I know not all agree with that but it’s the reality of it all. Another reason is that I think I just got burned out and was dealing with a lot of emotional challenges to the difficulties my family and I had been facing, and not just emotionally but also financially and relationally. Between the time we left the Grand Canyon National Park around Easter of 2011 we have moved 10-11 times and once in a huge cross country move only to leave that situation in just less than a school year. That much transition is a lot for anyone to deal with (with the amount of stress we had to deal with, it really is a miracle I or Debbie never got hospitalized). I realize that many can write their way through these kinds of things and that serves to help them process it all, however, for me I just withdrew – I switched from blogging to facebooking…. Instead of hours blogging I was spending hours facebooking, and to my detriment I am afraid. One the one hand, a few friends I was able to chat with through the messenger setting helped me get through a lot of stuff, on the other hand it is hard to pull away and unplug. It’s the curse of the blessing I suppose. It’s part of the change that has happened too in the world of social media. I know a few folks who used to do a lot of blogging have closed down their blogs and left it altogether. Others left it up but have moved on to other things (like facebooking).

My Friend Scott is writing a book about stories of change. You can learn more here (and maybe even contribute). I and hoping to talk aout a change in this post (or some changes).

We’ve been through a lot of changes in our life in the last 5 years. We moved from Arizona to eastern North Carolina. Debbie has completed her Doctor of Ministry in Leadership from AGTS.  I have finally completed my Chaplain Residency (also known as Clinical Pastoral Education). But one huge change in all this is that on Monday, March 14th I start my first full time job with a good salary and benefits in over 10 years. Yes, you read that right. It has been over a decade that I have been either underemployed or altogether unemployed. In August of 2003 I quit a good full time job I had working with at-risk youth and youth with disabilites in Washington State to go to seminary in southwest Missouri (AGTS). From that time, until this Monday I did not have a full time job and really, had much trouble getting one. Yes, we pastored the church at the Canyon but it was bi-vocational (that usually means no salary) and worked part time jobs in the Park). It became more than we could handle and a bit more of a mess than we had ever intended. This was also during the economic recession that our country, in some ways, still hasn’t really pulled out of. We applied for new minsitry positions and even “secular” jobs but all to no avail. Until we were offered the chance to move to eatern North Carolina. That too was a big change. It sure has been a big adjustment to not only living on the East Coast but also the South, and then, there is eastern North Carolina. It has been a lot to handle. Thankfully, I had my CPE expreince to help us work through some of it and also to overcome it. Just as CPE is a process, so is life. I am still very much in process yet also making a change in vocational emphasis.  I had long wanted to be a Bible teacher of some sort (really to teach Bible overseas), who knows, this may still work out. For now, I am pursuing Chaplaincy. So far this has been a good option for me and u think a fruitful vocation that fits well with my personality and faith life. It represents yet another change too in that it has brought depth and breadth to my understanding of theology and the Bible and a change to how I think about these things. Whereas I did much reading related to biblical studies much reading now also involves some psycholgy and counseling materials that contribute to Chaplaincy work. I feel like I am in a paradigm shift right now and am not really able to explain  how or why. but as I learned in CPE, its all a process and one needs to be okay with that. Process often involves change and to benefit the most from change one must accept it, even embrace it.

2 responses to “the latest with me

  1. Hi Brian. Thanks for sharing openly and honestly like you have. I too slowed down on my blogging over the last 12 months. Regarding the blogging audience; I think we still have our blogging readers – but perhaps many do the same I do with the email feed, that the blogs are read via email, and so rarely are engaged on like they were before.

    I connect my blog with Facebook and use my blogging platform alongside FB. I have a varied collection of friends who are across a wide spectrum of theological belief and practice; unsaved friends who are on a variety of spectrum’s along the way to connecting with Christ, and other family and friends. So I use the blog as a means for them to read along in more detail from FB if they want to…and many do.

    I feel your pain about being unemployed. I have not worked since I was struck down with illness in late 2007. I can’t believe that is close to 9 years now. I also started my initial studies in 1999 and have been frustrated that I have not been released into paid ministry.

    One of the things I now believe though is I have never been ready to be involved in pastoral ministry on a senior level. While I thought I was, I was immature in the faith, my understanding of what pastoral ministry is – and the result would have created a mess and harm for others – including myself.

    One of my major shifts along the way is understanding what ministry and vocation is. While Abraham was a prophet; he was always a goat herder, and never stopped being a goat herder. Daniel was a politician. Nehemiah a statesmen / ambassador. Cornelius was always a centurion. And Luke was a doctor. And Paul a tent maker. All these people ministered powerfully within the framework of their vocation; being obedient to what God had called them to do. Yes, there were others who God changed their vocational direction, such as King David, the disciples etc. But within a cast of thousands upon thousands of people in the NT church, this was a rarity and not the norm. And so my focus has changed of what it means to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, and how that is actually worked out.

    Bless you mate. Sorry for the long ramble. I always enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the good work.

  2. Reblogged this on Trinitarian Dance and commented:
    Brian blogs a honest and refreshing post about his frustrations of ministry and where he is at today.

    I made a comment about my own frustration, and shift of perspective over the last 10 years. The following is part of my comment:

    One of my major shifts along the way is understanding what ministry and vocation is. While Abraham was a prophet; he was always a goat herder, and never stopped being a goat herder. Daniel was a politician. Nehemiah a statesmen / ambassador. Cornelius was always a centurion. And Luke was a doctor. And Paul a tent maker. All these people ministered powerfully within the framework of their vocation; being obedient to what God had called them to do. Yes, there were others who God changed their vocational direction, such as King David, the disciples etc. But within a cast of thousands upon thousands of people in the NT church, this was a rarity and not the norm. And so my focus has changed of what it means to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, and how that is actually worked out.

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