Monday, November 21, 2011

Lessons from Subway: Humility

I have a degree in youth/global ministry.  I work at Subway.  This has been frustrating for me.  I have left Subway multiple times thinking it was my last go around and I would never have to work at Subway again.  But here I am working my longest stretch at Subway...with no end in sight.  A few weeks back I decided to change my attitude in regards to this job.  Rather than be frustrated by it, I have decided to learn from it.  And learning I abundance. 

The first lesson I am learning (in fact it is what made me decide to allow myself to learn from this situation) is humility.  It has humbled me to obtain a college education and yet not seem to be able to move beyond a job in fast food.  It is humbling to make sandwiches for young professionals (many younger than me) who come in to our store.  It is humbling to have seven years of experience in a job and not move beyond the title of "Sandwich Artist."  It is humbling to write resumes in which my job experience consists mostly of the above title. 

Humbling, yes.  Humiliating, no.  Humbling because I had for some reason built up in my head that I was so far above this job.  Humbling because of my own ego.  Not humiliating because I am so thankful to have a job.  Not humiliating because I am so thankful I have a job in which my employer trusts and respects me so much. 

Because of this experience in being humbled, I have learned many more things as well...and those are to come.

Friday, November 18, 2011

More to Come

We finally have internet at our new home!  That means more posts will be coming soon...I know you all (the handful of you that actually read this) just can't wait ;)  I have this little idea of writing a few posts about lessons from Subway.  Ideas such as humility, contentment, and keeping my mouth shut will be discussed.  Also...maybe some pics of the house will be up soon.  Until then...

Monday, October 24, 2011


 Over the past few months I have sent out at least 20 resumes to various non-profits in the Twin Cities area.  I have read job descriptions for dozens and dozens....and dozens more.  What do they all have in common?  A requirement for the job is experience.  How is any recent college graduate supposed to get a job if you need a minimum of three, five, or more years experience?  Especially if you have a BA in religion with a major in youth ministry and a minor in global ministry?  The jobs I have applied for are ones which I think I would enjoy, would do well at, and believe I am qualified for.  And if I believe I am qualified for a job then that's saying something because I am not the most confident person when it comes to trying something new.  According to these job descriptions, with my education and experience I guess the only jobs I am qualified for are Sandwich Artist or Youth Pastor.  What a frustrating position to be in.  A call back from at least one of these places would be fantastic.  That's my rant for the day.  Hopefully my next post will be more constructive.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Evolution of Faith

Last week I started reading Evolution of Faith by Philip Gulley.  Reading the title alone has made me contemplate how my faith has evolved over the years. As if this book hasn't been enough to get me thinking about such things, a few days after beginning this book, I watched a slightly perturbed group of college students try to analyze the gathering (the Porch's weekly "service") for a paper they had to write.  This brought back a rush of memories and the many frustrations I faced in college--the countless classes, chapels, and other services I spent finding all the errors in what as being taught/preached--as I found my faith shifting.  Actually, my faith was more than was crumbling.

Let's back up a bit...

My parents raised me in a Christian environment.  I memorized loads of Scripture in AWANA as a wee one.  As my siblings and I grew older, our family began attending church less and less as all three kids were involved in sports tournaments most weekends.   By the time I was in Jr High, attending a Sunday morning service was a rare occasion, which was fine by me.  While I considered myself a Christian, it was fear of getting in trouble that kept me a decent kid rather than a desire to live in the way of Jesus. In eighth grade I began attending youth group at a Wesleyan church because there was a cute boy there that I liked.  I fell in love with that place (not that boy).  Over the years, I was incredibly blessed to have three different, amazing youth pastors.  Each challenged me in a different way regarding my faith.  By the time I was ready to graduate I had read the Bible in it's entirety (twice), served for a few years on the youth group's leadership team, preached a few mini sermons on Sunday mornings (on Youth Sundays of course), and decided I was going to go on and pursue Christian ministry of some sort (as long as I was able to play softball on a scholarship at the college where I would be learning about this whole ministry deal).  I was solid in my faith and nothing was going to shake me.

Until Bible college.  After taking a year off from school and getting married in that time, I (with Jeff of course) moved to New Brunswick, Canada to pursue "the call" I had on my life to become a full time youth pastor.  At the end of my freshman year I added a Global Ministry Major to my Youth Ministry Major.  At the end of my sophomore year I dropped my global major to a global minor.  At the end of my junior year I was questioning just about everything regarding the institutional church, and was pretty convinced that house churches were the way to go.  My senior year was packed full of frustrations as I was sitting through lectures all about church structure and using Roberts Rules of Order at church meetings.  I can't even begin to describe the anger in me as I became so disenfranchised with the church.  I was disgusted with what I was learning because to me it looked nothing like what Jesus ever intended the Church to be.  I wrote paper after paper voicing my frustrations and arguing my points.  Thankfully, I had professors who allowed me to think this way and graded me according to my work and research and not on the premise that I had to agree with them.

Through experiences of working closely with a youth pastor on my internship for 6 months and working as a youth and young adult pastor in a church for a year after that, I have slowly morphed from being calloused, to broken-hearted, to understanding there's a place for institutional, conservative evangelicalism--even if it's no longer for me.  It played a large role in my faith, and I would not be where I am today if it weren't for it.

While it began with questioning ministry practices and eventually the institutional church as a whole, it didn't stop there.  Just about everything in my faith has been questioned, torn down, and is in the process of being rebuilt...hopefully never to full completion again.  I'm sure there are some who think I've "backslidden" or "fallen away" because I no longer hold some of their most cherished beliefs.  But that's ok.  I have never had a more vibrant, hope-filled, Jesus-centered faith than I do now.  I would never change where I've come from in my faith, even though I no longer hold to much of it.  I'm thankful for where I came from, content with where I'm at, and excited for what's to come.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

More than a Buzz Word

In my last post I claimed that I miss writing.  This is not entirely true.  I miss the feeling of accomplishment which comes after successfully completing a thought which is a rare occasion for me unless it finds itself in written form.  I do not miss the actual process of writing.  If that were the case, this computer would seldom leave my lap.  Sadly, that feeling of accomplishment does not come without the process, so here I find myself, in the midst of the process...

The idea of living in community is something that Jeff and I have been a bit more than infatuated with  for several years now.  This infatuation began our senior year of college after reading books such as The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.  Many of our peers and close friends also flirted with this concept of living life in intentional community.  For some it came to fruition, while others realized it was just a phase which has since passed along with their years of living in a dorm (which is something I never experienced unless you count living in an apartment basement in a men's dorm with my husband--not quite the typical college life dorm experience to say the least).  For us, the dream of living in community, the aching to share our lives so intimately with others, the conviction of living a more simplistic, interconnected, holistic life has only grown with the years.

I love shows such as Friends and Grey's and Private Practice which depict the lives of friends who are struggling together as they try to figure out life.  But even more, I appreciate the real life examples I have witnessed first hand.  Our friends at Reconciliation in Salem, Oregon graciously introduced us to their version of community as they seek to live missional lives and gave us hope that this was really possible for us.  Our faith community, Solomon's Porch has beautifully demonstrated and invited us to join them in pursuing what God is up to in the world.  My aunt and uncle have warmly welcomed us into their home where we have so enjoyed our little community.

As we have witnessed and participated in various communities, we have further developed our own dreams for community living.  We dream of a community in which...
...we recognize and participate in the connection with one another as a household, our neighborhood, our city, and our world
...spirituality and the ways of Jesus are passionately sought after
...hospitality is central to all we do; dinners are a time to gather together (just like the olden days) and we always have an open room for those in need of a place to stay (except, of course, when that room is being occupied by someone in such a circumstance--does the whole loaves and fish thing apply to beds in a house or just food?)
...those living and visiting feel safe to be who they are without judgment and vulnerability is a way of life
...everyone who walks through the doors is a participant and contributor in the community
...possessions are held onto loosely and money assists us in our efforts but never guides us
...the weak, marginalized, and oppressed find welcome and rest
...further dreams are encouraged and pursued

As we dream, we are well aware that living in community will mean infusing our dreams with those of others in our community.  We are under no illusion that this will be easy; that living in community won't have its struggles.  If we never face a struggle, never deal with a disagreement, never make a compromise, then I'm guessing true community isn't really happening--that we are really just a bunch of roommates. 

I am excited and scared out of my mind to pursue this new adventure.  The thought of buying a house; the commitment to a place and a people--to stability, to community, to actually doing this thing--is terrifying yet comforting.  Our closing date is October 27th.  Who's in?