Saturday, September 25, 2004

Blogger ate my post for today. Ordinarily, that would be no great loss, but this time I had actually typed quite a bit. It was probably my fault; I didn't want to lose the post if something went crazy, so I was trying to copy/paste what I had typed and something went wrong. I have no idea what; what I had typed just disappeared. So this is a redo which means it will be shorter and more to the point.

Yesterday was college again. Only three more class sessions to go. It's hard to imagine that it has been 18 months already. At the same time, it seems like I've been doing this forever. I don't remember what it is like to not have 100 pages of reading and a 10-page paper hanging over my head every single week, week after week, without any breaks or end in site.

The real question is what is next. I can't see myself in graduate school at this point. For one thing, I need to pay for this program first. I've been paying for all this with student loans, so I have to pay it all back before anything else. I'm also not sure that I really want to go to seminary at this point in any case. This program has been very practical; from what I hear, most seminaries are starting to get the idea, but they are still in transition from academic to practical. Maybe they will have it together by the time I'm ready. Or not. The funny thing is that I got into all this because I wanted to take some Greek and Hebrew classes, which only seem to exist in seminary. None of the seminaries I talked to would even allow me to audit a class unless I had a bachelors degree. So now it is 18 months and $20,000 later, and I still don't have my Greek or Hebrew. I do need to take 15 credits of Bible courses. It looks like Moody does have some entry-level Greek courses that I can take by mail or online. I need to nail down what Cornerstone will transfer from Moody. I tried to get some information last night, but of course Cornerstone makes that as difficult as possible. Understandable from a marketing perspective; Moody runs on funds from an endowment so their classes cost less than half of what Cornerstone charges. Of course, I thought this was a Christian college that was interested in preparing students for ministry, not a business. My mistake.

In any case, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what comes next. I have known for some time that I was not comfortable where I am at. The average church today just doesn't seem to work, at least in terms of what is described in the book of Acts. I thought it was just me until I began this program and started to talk to others that felt the same way. I started studying and brainstorming with some of my study group and we came up with some ideas. It's something that Debbie and I can start doing right now. The problem is what the reaction in our church will be. Because so many families have left the church recently, emotions are running high with a lot of talk of loyalty and such. If we start a ministry that is separate from the church, it will not likely be taken well.

The biggest tie we have is our kids. I can't leave them, and I don't think Debbie ever could either. But there isn't much else that is really keeping us there. I would like to finish out my term on the board, but it's not like the world will end if I don't. I don't feel I have contributed much of anything. In fact, I often wonder just what it is we do that is so vital. We never talk about anything of substance; just building maintenance and budgets. We never talk about why we do what we do, if what we do has any measurable results, if there may be a better way to accomplish the same goals, etc. The rest of it is just an endless series of tasks. I never get to talk to people on Sunday morning because of all the scurrying around I end up doing. We keep trying to redefine Sunday evening service as something other than "Sunday Morning Lite," but it keeps slipping back into that. Most weeks it is all I can do to stay conscious. Even the endless demands to have more activities for the youth is starting to really wear on me. It's even starting to wear on the teens; we just have too much planned. All of our meetings are consumed by planning events. I would much rather see our time and money spent to make the youth rooms less like dungeons (the teens' opinion, not mine), developing some meaningful lesson plans so we have some idea what we are covering in the seven years we have these kids, and developing ourselves as leaders.

In any case, it's late and I'm rambling.

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