Funny when life changing moments happen. For instance, the night I prayed that initial prayer of surrender to Jesus for the first time was a weeknight the week after the 1968 Democratic Convention, but it never occurred to me to remember the specific day until years later when there was no way for me to figure it out. The specific day, though, is irrelevant in comparison to all the twists, turns, and changes along the way.
In a sense, today (actually yesterday, May 19, as I’m writing this after midnight), is one of those life changing days. Early on the morning of January 1, 2009, I did the pickup portion of the last rental I would have before closing my business. Little did I know that over the next nearly 2½ years I would have such difficulty getting a stable job. I had already been living in my son’s house for a little over a year. I had been struggling with pain in my knees for years, which made some of the work I had done previously impossible. Anyway, in December 2010, my son, who is in the Navy, was told that he was going to be transferred to a little desert town in the intermountain region in the late summer/early fall of 2011. As I had no savings or stable employment, I felt that I had no choice but to follow him, but, for a few days, I was in a kind of shock/depression. I have lived near an urban area for my whole life, and I was having difficulty finding work here. How was I to find work there? Further, the past couple of years, the Spirit had been teaching me about the subjects I normally write about on this blog, but I have little idea of how to go about things in a town where I didn’t know anyone, and I had not been able to find anyone so far who has been walking down this same road of following Jesus without the added man made structures and traditions.
Today, everything changed. My son called and told me that his orders were changed, and he was now going to stay in the same city he has been in for the last six years. I am no longer in a holding pattern waiting to begin learning how to live in a new area, but I am suddenly looking at, “Lord, how do I honor you right here, right now (as I guess I’ll be here a while)?
I just started reading a secular book about following one’s passion in the latter part of life. The assumption within this writer is along the “do what you love the money will follow” idea, but part of simply following Jesus is that doing so isn’t a vocation, although each of us is responsible for covering the needs of our brothers and sisters who go where, for whatever reason, it isn’t or might not be possible to earn a living due to the culture being so foreign. My passion for the moment is to find one neighbor (geographically) who is destined by the Spirit to begin walking down the path I’m going, that I can share what God has been showing me and vice versa (with the latter being equally important, not just a phrase to tack onto that statement to sound humble).
I live in a suburban neighborhood. Neil Cole, in
, speaks about working in poor neighborhoods. That last business I had had me visiting the poorest neighborhood in my metro area often. No one could afford to run the air conditioners consistently, so on hot days, everyone was on their front porch. That can be trouble, as that situation can allow for two or more people to be physically hot, and inwardly angry about not being able to do something about their situation, and if one rubs another the wrong way, the frustration spill over to violence. Conversely, everyone knows (whether for good or ill) their neighbor. In my neighborhood, everyone comes home from school or work and hides in their a/c’d house, or cooks on their grill in the back yard with eight foot high fences. Normally, the rest of the neighborhood’s contact with them is only smelling their steaks waft over the fence. Organic Church
Therefore, this change makes me seek immediately how to contact my nearby walled society. I am almost certain that it isn’t going to be easy finding my neighborhood’s first “person of peace.” I am on the lookout for any signs in the culture around me, even in the Christian subculture, of the slightest hint that simple church exists. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the Irish band getting video play on JCTV. Yesterday, I was in Books-A-Million, and looked in their Christian section. Now, I couldn’t figure out the order of books on the shelves (most bookstores, within a genre, order by last name alphabetical order, but that didn’t seem to be the case in this store), but the only author I found on the shelf which I had heard mentioned in simple church circles is Bruce McLaren, and he his a theological writer, i.e. the book I picked up isn’t what I’d call a light read, although more readable than some seminary level texts. Today’s the next day, and I can’t remember anything of what I read.
With this change in my life, a new challenge awaits. I wish to live and work in excellence, but first comes competence. Chesterton wrote, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” A bad plan is better than no plan. I am trying to come up with a bad plan that the Spirit may correct.