An Evangelical Pilgrimage
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Category — Preparation

Packing (again)

stack_o_books

Keizer, OR :: We are packing the car tomorrow. On Sunday we drive to California for the remainder of November and much of December. We don’t have all of the details worked out for December so we don’t know how long we’ll be where. I’m excited to leave Oregon. Not because I’m excited to leave Oregon, but because I need to head out, start something, start this journey.

The last month has been an amazing time for me. For all of us. John’s parents have cared for us so well. They have given us a room to live in that is larger than our old living room. Every morning I come downstairs between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. to find fresh coffee and hot breakfast. Molly gets attention from her three uncles and is regularly watched by the grands so I can go out for a while or John and I can go on a date. It’s been a wonderful time. I’ve rested, found the rhythm my days were always lacking and enjoyed being cared for. Now it’s time to loose the pounds I added as I gave myself permission to sit, strengthen the muscles in my legs to help mend my knee, and get focused on what lies ahead.

First order of business: figure out how to pack John’s books in the car while leaving room for me, Molly and John.

November 6, 2009   3 Comments

Christianese

language

Keizer, OR :: I have spent the last five years of my organized spiritual experience in home groups and not inside structural and institutional churches. This reality has created a small language barrier that I need to work on. I will need to relearn Christianese.

In my experience a lot of Evangelical Christians have a vocabulary and way of speaking that I have distanced myself from on purpose. While I was in college I participated in a few campus outreach and evangelism projects. I realized I was not really speaking clearly to the people I wanted to share my story with. It was like me trying to evangelize to people who didn’t speak my language. After this realization I began to listen critically to the words coming from my mouth, those used in the prayers at church, the lyrics in the songs we all sang, and in the sermons I was being taught. Although I did not disagree with the heart of the message I started to see how powerful language can be and how specific words can influence entire doctrine, meaning and social structures, culture and people’s lives.

Now, as we enter back into churches and institutional Evangelical communities I will need to practice using this language to relate more effectively with others. Even though some of my word choices have changed (possibly forever) I find that with a little practice I can slip right back into my Christianese.

October 29, 2009   2 Comments

Encouraged by Generosity

Keizer, OR :: I expect to post many stories under this title. Today I’m excited about going home. Home for me is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Nevada City and Grass Valley, California. Although it’s likely that home will mean a lot of different things over the next year.

Since we left our rented home in Portland we have been blessed and cared for by John’s family in Keizer. We are now making our plans to stay in NC/GV for November and our family and friends are offering to be some of the first who house us on our journey. This entire adventure will not be possible without accepting offers of generosity from others. It’s humbling and encouraging.

October 28, 2009   3 Comments

Packing and Cleaning and “Moving”

Portland, OR:: We’ve been packing and cleaning and “moving” all of our stuff for the last few days. I’m tired. My body aches today. This morning I’m sitting on the floor in our old home gearing up to clean the oven. It’s the last thing that needs deep cleaning in our place. I can’t wait until it’s finished.

Every time we move we say it should be the last time, and yet we continue to move. Since John and I have been married (7 years this November) we will have moved our stuff 8 times! This is our 9th! I hope our resting place after this journey is a place we can call home for a long time.

A little on stuff: Stuff is everything that you need and think you need. Most Americans have much more than we actually need. There’s a book called Material World that documents families from all around the world with all of their earthly possessions in front of their home with them. It’s dramatic and tells an interesting story about what we think we need. I felt like this on Friday. Almost everything we owned was out in front of our house before we played trailer Tetris (making it all fit just right, thanks Jon R.). There was just so much! I hope we develop lasting habits over the next year regarding stuff and learn to live with a lot less. But even if we settle into a more permanent home next time I don’t want to keep accumulating stuff. We just don’t need that much.

As for today, we turn in our keys and make our final drive with all of our stuff to John’s parents’ home in Keizer, OR. They have been extremely generous letting us borrow their van, watching Molly and providing us with a room in their home to live for the next month. (Thank you!) The emotions are starting to catch up with me too. I had a good little cry yesterday and I’m sure I have a few in store for today and tomorrow. I love you Portland. I love you my dear Portland friends.

(I put moving in quotations because we’re not really moving in the traditional sense. I had to pack all of our stuff into three different categories: 1) the next 5 months, 2) the following 9-11 months on the road, and 3) long-term storage. I’m happy to say we have everything we need for the next 5 months in 3 suitcases and two bins. But John’s books deserve a dedicated post. He has over 50 boxes of books in storage and 7 boxes of books he wants to bring on our trip…all “essential.” I’ve asked him to narrow it down to 3 or less. We’ll see. He’ll need some encouragement from everyone I think.)

September 27, 2009   9 Comments

Happy Camper

happy camper plate

Portland, OR :: Kate’s mom bought this plate in California for Molly before we told her (Kate’s mom) about our plans to travel around the country. A lovely coincidence.

P.S. Portland, OR :: I cross-posted yesterday’s post about evangelical myths over at the BWC blog. There are sixteen great comments so far. Check them out.

August 28, 2009   2 Comments