Monday, May 30, 2011


  I just completed reading "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" and as usual there were things in Aron's story that resonate with me. First, he writes about being raised in Ohio and his fear of moving with his family to Colorado. He had been led to believe that Colorado was buried under snow all year. It was only after moving there and discovering the truth that it all changed. He not only began skiing, but the outdoors became a passion. It was a life transition for him. Second, having earned a degree in mechanical engineering, he began working for Intel. Nothing should have been more rewarding and secure vocationally than working  at one of the great corporations in America. It was not enough. After only five years, his avocation trumped his vocation, his passion trumped his career. I get it.
  Having been reluctantly drafted (or so I felt) into ministry to preach, I embarked on the proper education. While doing so, I envisioned a lifetime serving in an established county seat church. Over time, reality paid a cruel and unwelcome visit. I discovered that my passion for the kingdom was not shared by that county seat church crowd. Consequently, I ended up moving to an unfamiliar region of the country and it was there that my transition found expression. I discovered a gift for reaching unchurched people, which strangely enough, did not square with the establishment. Much like Aron Ralston, I had to decide: security or passion?
  "So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which my appear to give peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endless changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." (John Krakauer, Into the Wild) Oh, I so get that too!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Uncertain Seeds

     At 57, I have a lot to think about. While there may be another 30 years in front of me, there are 57 behind. Mathematically, that's almost a two-to-one ratio. More importantly, what is behind is certain while what is ahead is speculative. But it's that speculative that drives the desire to reflect on the certain. In this case and for the purposes of this blog I feel compelled to begin by probing the origins of the present.
     It's rare that I find anyone who knew in childhood what they wanted to do in life that actually did it. Unfortunately, I think that most perhaps simply stumble along into the next opportunity that presents itself based on family history and geography, which would account for the high percentage who never live far from where they grow up and carry on some family vocational tradition. And while it might appear that I have met a part of that criterion, nothing could be further from the truth. On the other hand, I have encountered a few who at age 40 were still trying to determine what they wanted to be when they grew up. They have bounced around through several vocational experiences never quite able to find one satisfying or lucrative enough to want to embrace as a career. I've done my own share of bouncing which has contributed no small part to the success of the last two decades.
     Somewhere back in the 60's there was a friend of the family who was doing what was known as "Church Planting." It seems that they had chosen to butterfly their way around the country, landing ever so briefly to gather a new group of people together, organized them into a church, then fly to the next location. I can remember thinking to myself, "that doesn't sound like much fun!" Of course, my perspective was being shaped by my own desire for roots. My father had begun preaching in the late 50's and was well on his way to maintaining that national average for church tenure: 18 to 24 months. We had and were never to stay anywhere very long. By the time I graduated from High School there had been twelve different schools.