I'm definitely running a bit behind in my blogging, and I apologize. Since I've had a friend comment that my posts lately have tended to be less personal, I'll do something about that and write a bit about the highs and lows of the last week or so.
I've been spending some time over the past few months getting back into the official ordination process with the PC(USA), having put that "on hold" for the past several years. A week ago Tuesday, I took a couple of evaluations required of all would-be ministers, and also was introduced on the floor of the quarterly Presbytery meeting as an Inquirer. I do not yet know when I will seek Candidate status, and am trying to take care of things one task at a time at the moment. At this point, the safest thing to say is that I'm "official" again.
The joy of reaching this milestone was diminished somewhat by the Facebook response of a former colleague from college, who attends a church that left the PC(USA) out of concerns that it was becoming too liberal. Among other things, I pointed out (as I am doing here) that although the denomination is certainly not perfect, it hasn't actually done the things it is feared as doing. At least not yet. What I didn't say, out of a concern that it would make a contentious situation even more so, was that if the denomination does ultimately go in a direction that he might find objectionable, it certainly will do so even faster if those who agree with him leave the denomination prematurely. Theologically, I'm probably not that far off from him, but pastorally, I definitely am not where he is. I definitely do not see myself leaving this denomination no matter how certain votes turn out. At the very least, I wouldn't do so immediately. My belief in maintaining community, even with those one disagrees with, is too strong. However, I also have a strong belief that other people need to reciprocate that respect, and I'm sad to say that I felt very dis-respected in that conversation, which took a simple announcement updating my status within the PC(USA), and turned it into a referendum on totally unrelated issues and an unnecessary indictment against the denomination itself. I have since deleted that conversation, in an attempt to restore the focus on more positive matters.
The next day, I got a call from my wife informing me that her car had broken down on her way to work. Although she was able to get the car towed to our mechanic, and I was able to get away from work in order to pick her up and get her to her own job, it eventually turned out that the car was not worth repairing, so over the next few days we had to make arrangements to dispose of the old car, and we are now in the process of looking for a new (used) one. We are fortunate enough that her parents, who live not too far away, were able to loan her a little-used car of theirs, so we're in a fairly stable place within that still-stressful situation.
This week is Finals Week for the Winter Quarter, which is also always a stressful time. If you happen to read this, and you're a student, I ask for your forbearance. I deal with far more students in a great many more classes than you probably realize. And, if you're able to put clear identifying information on your work (your name, the course, the professor's name, proper postage if appropriate), that always helps. Prayers are welcome, too!