Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Many life decisions are hard. What career will I choose? Whom should I marry? When should I marry? Is it the right time to have kids? Paper or plastic? All of these, among others, are difficult decisions, some of which left me near paralysis in terms of making them. Today I am faced with another question which leaves me feeling perplexed, frozen, and altogether unable to choose: which books do I take to my church office? You see, I have limited shelf-space. So, do I bring Barth's Dogmatics? The obvious answer is yes, but what if I need him at home for something. Then what? Of course, I should bring my commentaries, but those who know me well also know that I work best late at night, so I may actually need them at 2:00 am, and how will it look to the cops if I am heading into the church building at that time? A no-brainer would be my youth ministry texts. But again, as I start writing articles for various youth ministry publications, as I hope to do, might those too be more well-served at home? I've narrowed it down to these two for sure: my Bible (of course) and my greek NT. Otherwise I've packed two boxes full of the aforementioned books for a trial run. I've never felt so uncertain about a choice in my life. Pray for me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What Comes Next

Many of you already know, and the discerning reader caught the allusions in the last post, I'm sure, but I thought I'd make it more official: I have accepted the call to be the next high school youth pastor at the Evangelical Covenant Church of North Mankato in Minnesota. I will start June 6, officially, and am incredibly elated to be joining such a great church. The vote went well, or so I was told, and the church has been amazing in their outpouring of support for Amy and Soren and me. I look forward to figuring out how to keep my academic and intellectual side stimulated as a youth pastor. I'm sure it will take some intentional effort, like reading instead of watching the same Seinfeld episode for the 35th time, but I think I can do it. Along those lines, I have a request for the few people that read this blog.

I'm of course going to continue to read theology. No matter what I end up doing, that will always be a part of what I do. But, I'm also interested in reading a little more sociology, especially as it pertains to youth and youth culture (if there is such a thing). I have a few books in my cue, but I'd love some suggestions from those out there that might have some ideas. So if you know of anything, send the title my way.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Graduation, or What does it really mean to be a Master of Divinity?

Yesterday was graduation here at PTS. Myself, along with 200 or so other peers, were all conferred with the degree Masters of Divinity for the three years of work in exegesis, theology, practical theology, and field education we all completed. Apparently such coursework affords us the ability to master divinity. Its an interesting title, don't you think? Master of Divinity. I've somehow mastered God because I went to seminary, making me fit to pronounce and teach about him to some congregation. Sure, I probably have a wealth of theological knowledge that some church, somewhere, could valuably acquire through my mastery. And I've learned quite well what it means to write a paper to convey my mastery of God. But when I think about some of the people whom I will come to know in ministry, I feel wholly inadequate as a master of divinity.

The older woman in the church, who for 65 years has been serving her church through her giftedness in hospitality, welcoming new families to a town they are only remotely acquainted with through some brief, though overwhelming interview experience. That's a master of divinity. Or the group of young students, who put aside their weekends to hang out with some guy who is going to come and maybe be their next youth pastor, showing their excitement at that possibility, and making him and his family's nervous concerns disappear. They are masters of divinity. Or the countless numbers of people, who realizing that looking for a home from 1500 miles away is one of the hardest things about relocating, and so offer apartments and homes temporarily, while a new pastor with a young family can find the right home; those are masters of divinity.

I am very proud of my accomplishment, don't get me wrong. But, I realize that while I have learned so much, it is these people in the congregation I have been called to serve, that will continue to teach me what it means to truly be a master of divinity. Thanks be to God.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


The boy's moving in on my turf! Gone are the days of laying on the couch with my wife, I guess.