September 2007


Corn dogs.  Yes, yes…anything you’re about to say, I already know.  Saturated fat.  Oil.  Whatever goes into hot dogs.  They’re totally not good for me, and probably take hours off my life each time I have one…

 …Yet have one I must.  They’re just so good.  Plus, my unscientific theory is that things taste better on sticks.

If getting older has taught me anything, it’s that (a) odd little pains just don’t go away overnight anymore, (b) alcohol and coffee have very unpleasant effects if only occasionally consumed, and (c) a lifelong walk with Christ is filled with huge ups and huge downs, but must include both.

This year has been a somewhat miserable one, but of late this has been a very good season.  When I headed to the Cdn. Rockies for my post-miserable-school-year retreat, I knew there would be a lot of time just spent in silence with God.  No agenda, just time hearing what God would tell me about Himself and myself.  Things hadn’t been right for awhile, and He was able to teach me the simple joy of worshipping Him by doing nothing.  A long overdue lessson…

Now, as I await my next steps, things get a bit trickier.  While I actively seek a job and clarification on my next ministry pursuits, God has also given me the luxury (by way of unexpected $) of relaxing a bit.  My last month has included more reading than usual, stronger efforts to stay in touch with old friends, a lot of daily quiet prayer & reflection time, pretty regular physical activity, and a return to my long-neglected therapist: writing.  In the past, when these things are happening, God does amazing stuff in the lives of those around me, as in mine.  This has been a good season…

At least, until this week.  While not one filled with any true hardship, I think the change in Washington weather brought with it a change in my enthusiasm to quest after God.  Back to the old junk: discouragement, isolation, inactivity, and that whole sin thing.  So, Wed. AM, I decided I’d had enough, and chose to fast through breakfast.  And several grumpy, unproductive hours later, God and I had a little chat.  Seems I’d been riding a bit of a “bubble” the past month or so (perhaps pinned on false expectations about a few things), and the market just needed to correct itself.  Nothing to be concerned about, but something to be aware of in the future.

Life will have ups and downs, but it’s sure a lot more fun than the flatline so many around us walk around with. 

The movie Mean Girls.  Saw it again the other night, and am troubled that a couple of near-30 single guys couldn’t stop laughing at a HS teenage girl drama.  It’s just very intelligent, and nails high school game-playing to a T.  Lindsay Lohan is/was actually a pretty solid actress, and the film even threatens to have a moral compass (besides the drive to scam as many 12-yr. olds out of $9 most films stick to). 

(on the flip side, a good but disturbing look at teenage girl stuff is the movie Thirteen.  Very hard to watch, and most of the rebellious behaviors are pretty extreme, but it gets into a lot of the “why?” side of things.  A good, hard watch.)

Bumped into a friend this morning, as I pulled together my chaotic thoughts following a lively 2nd grade Sunday School class.  This friend had previously been a fellow youth minister in town, but was now shopping for churches (& church jobs) after being laid off by his church.  A few things rattled my cage here…

– Who ever heard of a church laying people off?  Aluminum plants, factories, big heartless corporations, sure…but the church?  Does ministry “downsize?” Does a failed ministry venture always indicate failure?

– As you may know, in the past year I’ve felt a strong call to return to my first love of church-based youth ministry, and have hitched my wagon to the prospect of working for a local congregation again.  But that hasn’t really played out so well yet.  Oh, I’m the first to admit, each of my dead-ends thus far has been an incredible learning experience; the chance to revise and articulate why you feel God has called you to something is never a waste of time.  And, for the record, I have consistently prayed over this idea, and have consistently felt my engines revving up in this particular arena.

Still, I come to this troubling conclusion: the entirety of my recent decisions have centered around the notion of ministering full-time to Whatcom County MS/HSers through a local church.  The fact that more doors have closed than opened, leads me to deduce that either all of my decisions have been dead-on and pointing me towards an upcoming triumph, or that all of my career decisions of late have been completely wrong.  Even before my encounter with this youth min. friend, my resolve to follow God’s call hasn’t come without its low points.

– I have a gut-sinking feeling that, sometime down the road, this friend and I will end up competing for the same ministry position.  And, if it comes to it, how aggresively do I pursue a ministry job that would otherwise go to a guy with a wife & kids? When did ministries and careers got all jumbled up together? 

Keep talking to God, keep your lifestyle rightous & pure, and have the guts to ask tough questions from time to time.  God always seems to work through those kinds of things…

Welcome to my first official attempt at hosting & maintaining a blog site!  Lately, I’ve been feeling that writing itch flare up again, and believe the only way to make it go away is to start getting some of these voices in my head down in print form.  I invite you to do the same (except with your own voices…stay away from my voices).   

 Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Felipe Beach.  Enjoy