Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's Starting Already

The first Christmas catalogs for the 2007 season arrived in the mail today.

Here they are:

Once I'd scanned the covers, they went straight in the trash. I haven't the time nor the call now even to think about Christmas gift buying, even if I did have the cash.

Of course, come next December 23rd when I'm standing in the interminable queue at the post office, or when yet again I'm staring at the stack of Christmas cards and envelopes I have neither addressed nor sent, I'll think back to today and go, "You improvident twerp! Why didn't you take the hint and get started early for a change?"

I'll risk it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

As If I Had Nothing Better to Do . . .

I has a cat.

I has also compewtr an indernetz.

An grate REFORMED theologie!

Puts thim loltogthur, we can haz ~~~~~~~~~


(see belw plz)

Moar ltr mybe. Kthxbai.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Homing Pigeons

Back last April when I got put "on contract basis" from the architecture firm (due to, I was told, lack of work matching my skillset), my soon-to-be-former boss said, "I know! We'll say you're going on part time so you can spend more time doing church ministry work!"

I, being the Be Agreeable First, Think Later type, did not gainsay this. I figured, maybe This Is God's Way of Pushing Me Out to Pursue My Ministry Vocation.

But it's four months later and all I'm doing in that line is pulpit supply preaching, which I'd been doing all along. None of the possibilities that were talked up for me here in my presbytery have panned out, and as for my listing on the wider PC(USA) pastor-congregation computer dating website, I've gotten nary a nibble.

So I'm throwing in my lot with the architects again. At least, I've started sending out resumes, like flocks of cream-colored Classic Laid 25-lb. bond pigeons.

Of course these pigeons have to be tracked very mile of the way. I know it'll take a lot of phone calls and follow-up e-mails even to get my foot in the door.

I'm asking for informational interviews, whether firms are looking for a Project Architect of my qualifications or not. I didn't grow up around here: I don't know the architectural firms at all. At my former company, we were kept at it so steadily you didn't have time to get to know the people in your own office, let alone anybody anywhere else. If I can at least see who's doing what, I'll know whom to concentrate on, whom to pester like my cat knocking things off the dresser to get me up in the morning, because I really want to work there.

Till then, I'll see if any of my "pigeons" makes it home.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Physician, Heal Thyself

I'm printing out my sermon for tomorrow. I've chosen more or less the Revised Common Lectionary passages from Luke and Colossians, the former covering Jesus' parable of the Rich Fool and the latter, where we are to consider ourselves dead with our true lives hidden in heaven with Christ.

I'd intended to focus on the theme of True Riches, but the bridge collapse in Minneapolis last Wednesday made it right to deal also with the motif of death.

A very sound sermon the Holy Spirit has given me, I think: All about the wrongheartedness of confusing making a living with having a life, and of confusing the temporary life of this earth with the eternal life in God. With a descant on how our attitudes on that have to be right all the time, since at any moment our lives might be required of us, just as in the parable of the Rich Fool, just as with those poor victims of the bridge disaster the other day.

The Holy Spirit is also reminding me what a wry sense of humor my God has. Why does He always insist I preach my sermons to myself first? Why does He so cleverly arrange it so, no matter what the texts are, they and my sermons always are applicable to me?

It struck me in the Luke passage that, by human estimation, the man in the crowd who asks Jesus to make his brother divide the inheritance with him isn't greedy at all. He only wants what's his according to the law. He only wants his means of livelihood.

But my sinless Lord Jesus implies that he's greedy! He's greedy because he's focussing all effort and hope in life on material sustenance and how he can get it. He's not concentrating on God and His will for His life; no, he's willing to drag his brother's name publicly through the mud and ignore God in the process. The poor can be greedy just as much as the rich. They can be just as impoverished in their relationship with God.

And here I am, without a fulltime job since early April, drawing unemployment compensation that will run out before I know it. And I'm worried. I know I'm good at what I do, whether it's in pastoral work or in architecture. And I'm willing to get additional credentials where I'm lacking.

But I'm afraid. I'm afraid a suitable pastorate will never open up for me. I'm afraid that potential architectural employers will only see my age and the fact that I'm a novice in AutoCAD (I'm an ace at drawing by hand) and refuse to speak with me any further. I worry about losing my house and my possessions and coming on the charity of family or the State or ending up a bum.

Or worse, maybe, I'll starve to death and die!

I'm afraid, I worry, I focus on making a living or my inability to make a living and turn my eyes totally from the power and provision of God! I let that fear and worry depress me so much I'm unable to concentrate on finding the labor and livelihood that God has out there for me!

I don't say writing this sermon has screwed my head back on straight. But preaching it tomorrow should help the process a little. And may grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit move it forward a lot.