An Evangelical Pilgrimage

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Welcome to California

Nevada-City-main

Penn Valley, CA :: We are in California and I’m loving it. Although Oregon has become a very special place for me and I can see us settling there when this trip is finished, I am a California girl 100%.

Fall in Nevada County, California is wonderful. The deciduous trees flash bright red, orange and yellow between tall evergreen pines. The air smells wonderful. My sister describes it like, “mushy leaves and pine needles, old brick, rusty iron, cedar, mulled cider, incense, old books.” And I add that it is all warmed to a gentle simmering fragrance by the beautiful sun light that makes it way through the trees. Topped with a little bit of smoke from the wood stoves.

California has sun. Oregon sometimes has sun. California has my kind of sun, consistent. Today we all woke up with leaves stuck to our cars and wet roads thanks to the downpour that started at about 11:00 p.m. last night. But then, by 9:00 a.m. the sun was out and it will most likely remain out for the next few days. Right now my whole family is seated around the dining room table, speckled with sunlight shining warmly through every window. It just feels warm everywhere…even if it’s chilly.

I’m happy here even though I know we won’t stay here.

November 12, 2009   12 Comments

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

Checking In from the Balcony

StatlerandWaldorf

Portland, OR :: So, I’ve had a lot going on these last few weeks. Jordan and I relaunched the main site for Burnside. I am writing a longish profile of an author for the January/February issue of Relevant, along with two short book reviews. I also signed a contract recently (with two co-authors) to write a book with a title I can’t tell you on a topic I can’t divulge for a publisher who will remain anonymous. All this on top of grant writing, which has been sporadic.

The manuscript for the book is due at the end of February, just before Kate and Molly and I head east. The profile and the book reviews will be done next week. I will have a few other assignments for the month of November, but nothing major. I should soon be able to settle back into a routine of writing for On the Narrow Road.

I appreciate Kate’s posts. She is picking up the slack on the blog, as at home, so I can get all my writing done. Thank you, sweetheart.

In other news, it’s good to be back in Portland for the evening, sitting next to Dave on our bench at 39th and Sandy Starbucks, heckling the baristas (Natalie and Ashley) like Statler and Waldorf in the Muppets. I’m going to Jon R.’s house later for a party sponsored by Tostino’s (Pizza Rolls and nacho cheese) and farewell butt-kicking in Halo.

October 30, 2009   4 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