Friday, May 09, 2003

A Great Way to Spend An Hour
OK, I know I'm getting old and sentimental. But I am here to report that there is no better way to spend an hour than taking your four-year-old daughter out to buy her mommy a mother's day card & gift. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

I am on my blogging honeymoon (I'm still doing it more than once a day). I'll settle into a more realistic pattern soon, I promise.

I can't really vent my soul without giving you some M. Scott Peck. So, from The Road Less Travelled, here goes . . .

"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult -- once we truly understand and accept it -- then life is no longer difficult."

"It is in the giving up of self that human beings can find the most ecstatic and lasting, solid, durable joy of life."

"The best decision-makers are those who are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain their ability to be decisive."

I included that last one as a direct reference to my recent law-school decision. Big decisions are a pain.

I am a recovering Anger-Aholic.
"Hello, my name is Greg, & I am an anger-aholic." Three years ago I started journaling about my anger and eating lunch monthly with my good friend Ernie so I could start getting better. (I never killed anybody or wrecked a car on purpose, but I have thrown a sandwich across our kitchen -- see my wife for details).

I can handle the big things. In 1991 my then fiancee called off our wedding three weeks before it was supposed to happen. No outbursts from me. I am seldom emotional in any way at funerals or when somebody I love moves away.

The little things get me, though. Tuesday morning I turned on a computer in our office to take care of some financial details. I pushed the button in, and nothing happend. So I pushed it again, and this time the computer came on, and the button fell off into the guts of the computer somewhere. This is the stuff I can't handle. I immediately freak because I know that my one-hour financial work on the computer has turned into an all-day event of finding the button which has now been swallowed by the computer. And I was skipped over when it comes to that whole mechanical ability gene.

For the first time in my life, I took a computer tower apart. First I had to go home to get tools. (Yes, I have access to tools! My dad buys them for my wife Rebekah. She lets me borrow them if I promise to bring them back to her). I mumbled obscenties under my breath, slammed a drawer, and acted like a fool, but I did get the computer apart. I eventually got to the broken button. Unable to fix it, I removed it and discovered that you can turn this computer on and off without the button as long as you have a screwdriver handy. (I am now officially becoming my father). I then put the computer back together and made nice little labels threatening anyone who would dare turn it off.

Here's another example of little things that get my goat. I have a great quote somewhere from M. Scott Peck about the fact that people like me (and him) can actually fix things. We're not really mechanically impaired, we're just ridiculously impatient. As I looked through my files for this quote, I couldn't find it quickly, which extremely pisses me off. Enough said.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

A little about me, in case you are new to me, or in case you've known me for awhile but haven't found my intraverted self very open to share. I live in Vegas with my wife Rebekah and my four-year-old daughter Tori. Without getting too deep, I consider myself a missionary to today's culture, which has landed me with my friends planting simple churches. I love to travel. I am an avid runner. I am an avid reader. I am way too devoted to the Chicago Cubs and the Indiana Pacers. And recently, I have made a major life decision to go back to school. I will begin part-time classes at UNLV's Boyd School of Law this fall. In case this makes you wonder what in the world I'm thinking, here is a little something I wrote up a week or so ago to explain my thoughts . . .

. . . . Why am I going to law school part-time for the next four years?

To prepare to live the “normal Christian life.”

In 1989 I made a last-minute decision to go to Bible College and to enter vocational ministry. As I look back, I made this decision for two reasons: First, because I was so frustrated that my high school friends were hurting and needed Christ, yet I felt ill-equipped to do anything for them. Second, because I was a nominal Christian at a crossroads. I knew it was all or nothing, at that point in my life, there was no middle road for me. I had to go for it completely in the only way I knew how, or I would be a nominal Christian for the rest of my life.

Now, fourteen years later, my situation is much different. I am now equipped to share faith with my unchurched friends (I just don’t have any of those kind of friends these days). I have now walked so far away from being a nominal Christian that I’m not sure I would know how anymore! I am now a Christ-follower and a servant/minister, regardless of career title. Especially with my convictions on simple church planting, I am committed to serving and living for God regardless of what my role in life may be.

To spend much time among people in the real world.

I often think it may be more powerful to model my convictions in the process of living a normal life among real people than by practicing my convictions behind the four walls of a church building. A missionary, after all, is one who is sent into a culture. I am ready to start my final stages of preparation to live the normal Christian life by taking law classes.

I am not sure I was ready to be in the world but not of the world back in 1989. I needed some years to learn how do both without getting them reversed. Now, I feel great anticipation and excitement about being out there, in the world, while not being of the world.

·To use my natural talents & abilities more fully

I could be consistent with everything I stated above by working at Wal-Mart or by parking cars at a hotel, or being a construction worker. However, my natural gifts and abilities are white-collar skills. I am naturally designed to read, write, speak, analyze, and organize. The fact that I was able to get into law school at this stage in my life seems to show an open door for me to pursue this use of my gifts. While I never see myself as a defense attorney or an “ambulance chaser,” a law degree opens up a broad door of opportunities for career pursuits that are consistent with my gifts & abilities.

·To have the flexibility of being able to be a tent-maker

As I have become convicted of my call to simple church planting, I have been in many situations to coach and mentor others who are considering the same calling. More and more, I find myself advising them that the best way to start such a ministry is to work in the real world, at least part-time. I always feel a bit of an inconsistency that I really don’t have that option. I look forward to being able to support myself and my family while I live out my ministry convictions.


One person who prayed about this with me had this to say: “I see two highways before you. God says chose either one. But, you must have fun with whichever one you chose!”

I haven’t always been the best at having fun. I usually need someone else to drag me into it. However, taking on challenges has always been a source of fun in my life. Law school is the next such challenge. Only a person like me could see this as an exciting adventure!

Here is the story of how I came to blog.
I was in the office this afternoon, and almost ready to leave. Jeremy called. He said, "I'm coming over there. How long are you going to be in the office?" Without thinking, I said, "for at least a couple of hours." I really only had two more things to do. Yet I was socially obligated to stay "for at least a couple of hours." So, I set up my blog, a project that has been on my back burner of good intentions for a few months now.

For the next half hour I stared at a blank screen trying to come up with a title. For the last twenty of those thrity minutes, Joe also stared at my blank screen and tried to help me come up with a title. Soul Vent. All I'm saying is that the word Vent has more than one meaning, and if you are not impressed then try your own hand at coming up with a title for a blog on a day when you set up your blog only because you were socially obligated to be where you are longer than you need to be.

Soon you will see bits & pieces of things I have written, saved on my computer, and wondered if anybody would ever read. Until then . . . .