Monday, April 17, 2006

Why am I doing this?

Why am I doing this? I must be crazy. Why would I leave 18 years of experience in a network of collegiate ministry, in which I am increasing in seniority. Not many people stay that long. Why step out now? You have insight and could make a contribution to the upcoming generation. Why would I leave something in which I am very established, respected and appreciated (to a degree)? Why give all this up. Why step into a new career direction in which I have zero money and experience? The failure rate of ventures like this are pretty high. Why do it? I think I do it for these very reasons. Yesterday's experiences make for today's stories. But there comes a time when those stories get old, when you realize that yesterday's experiencesare leaching into tomorrow's stories. When this happens, a decline takes place. I got to point as I prepared to speak or teach to students, I wondered how often have I told this story? In student work you can get by with four years of stories and repeat yourself to the next class of kids. They don't know the difference, but I began to notice. It was a damp night in May. When you're depressed,sometimes you don't sleep well, which was true for me. I would stay up late to try and exhaust myself so I would drift off to sleep quickly. I hated to lie in bed and look at the ceiling, listening to all the thoughts of the day, reminding me of my false identity. This particular night, I decided to go to bed so Karen wouldn't feel alone. I put on some headphones to listen to music instead of the other voices of the night. This line in a song set me up: sound the alarm awaken the watchmen open their ears let their voices be loud After that song, my heart heard this: "YOU ARE THE WATCHMAN" This is the name I heard so clearly that night. I have had enough of these experiences to not blow them off, so I got up, got dressed and went for a walk in the neighborhood. It was about 12:30am (note track 5 on the CD). I asked the Spirit to tell me what that meant. He said, "Look around you, what do you see?" "Not much, no one out at this time of night," I replied. He said, "This is where the watchman lives. He lives at night. He is awake when no one else is." I continued to walk, meditating on this thought. I went home and journaled the experience. In the next few days, I began to share this story with afew people. They affiirmed it. "That's you, dog. That was the voice of God that night." It was this experience that has been the source of both encouragement and wounding. Names do that to us. How many of you had your name abused as a kid? I was Kevin Shit to a few empty people growing up. They took of mine and abused it. Watchman? Why do you think you are left alone in the dark? All important stuff happens in the day." I started understanding the role of the watchman, his was one of the most important to the safety of the city. Most attacks happened at night or in the wee hours before the dawn. Watchmen had to have the ability to look into the night, stay alert, be ready for anything that would affect his city. But it wasn't enough to watch. He had to awaken other men to arms once the threat has been identified. If he watched without awakening, he only did half his job. As a Watchman, I see something coming that will require huge change on our part as men of God. More to follow, watchman

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The On Ramp

The On Ramp. This my entrance into blog world, my on ramp, so to speak. I pull onto this information superhighway with a story. Her name was Mrs. James Ellliot. This is how she preferred to be addressed formally, but she was just Mrs. Elliot to me. I was her gardener for two years while working my way through seminary in Marin County, CA in the late 80's I would visit her home twice a week, mainly to water her extensive bonsai collection and keep the place tidy. She was a fascinating woman, and at 82, she was in fine health, especially in mind. Part of her morning routine each day was to read the Wall Street Journal front to back, usually about 2 hours to do so. The reason this was important was that Mr. Elliot had left her in charge of his trust funds, three to be exact, and she wanted to be well informed about any investment decisions she would make concerning that very large, most likely, sum of money. In short, she knew how to make money with her money. One day while pruning a very old oak bonsai, she wandered out into the garden to find me. She often would just want to chat a bit or share something she learned that day. "Kevin," she said, "I have been reading about this idea called the 'information superhighway' and I believe they are onto something here. Telecommunications are moving to fiber optic technology and I'm thinking about getting in on it." Of course I had no idea what she was talking about, nor was I that interested because how would that effect me, a poor grad student working for a rich old lady who may never live to see this thing happen. A few weeks later she came outside during my routine of fertilizing the orchids. "I did it, Kevin, I did it!" "You did what?" I asked. "I decided to move some money into companies specializing in fiber optic technology." was her reply, adding, "and I would recommend you do the same." Again, nice idea, but highly unlikely for me. Boy, was I short sighted. Mrs. Elliot was right on the direction of the future, and I probably could have been had I not assumed that I could get in on the action. Had I channeled even a very small amount toward investing in her optimism, who knows what it would have produced. My blog is titled, "From the watchman" because I think I see some things that are coming, just like Mrs. James Elliot of Tiburon, CA. Changes that effect the Church As We Know it. I'm rolling the dice, I'm all in. These are my thoughts. Thanks for reading, watchman