Because life is a series of edits

Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

September Update from the Dunhams

In Internet on September 5, 2006 at 2:00 am

We just sent out our monthly email to our friends, family, and donors, pointing them here.

So What?

In Places & Spaces, Pop Culture on September 3, 2006 at 9:39 pm

I just realized I missed the opening day of the NCAA football season yesterday. Oh well.

Anyone think less of me for not really giving a flying flip?

Just In Case There’s Nothing to Talk About Later in Family Therapy

In Places & Spaces on September 2, 2006 at 10:46 pm


After a major amusement park bummer a week ago (and considering the calendar, knowing it was now or never), Megan and I braved the Labor Day Saturday crowd (which wasn’t bad) and took the girls to Six Flags. With four “get-in-free” vouchers in hand (thanks, Mitchell and Lisa) and a two-year-old who was free, all we had to buy was one child’s ticket and we were in.

We stayed for seven hours. And believe it or not, it was a blast: the crowds were thin, the weather was perfect, and the kids were great. It was amazing…especially for us (insert your favorite hapless scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation here).

It’d been some twenty years since I’d been to Six Flags (our youth group used to drive down from Illinois once a summer for the annual mostly-pointless trip), and the place had built up quite a bit with lots of new rides and a very cool waterpark. Still, I knew that the coaster my oldest two (7 1/2 and 6) had to experience first if they were going to follow through on their rollercoaster smack-talking and prove their amusement park mettle was Daddy’s old favorite, The Screamin’ Eagle.

To my surprise, they rode it: the younger twice; the oldest three times. To be honest, I was amazed that they went through with it. But then I was probably more amazed that I, as their parent, allowed/encouraged them to experience the risk and trauma of a 110-ft. high, 92-ft. drop wooden rollercoaster that runs 3872 feet in length at 62 m.p.h.

If this doesn’t come up in family therapy in twenty years, I don’t know what will.

After the third time around, you would think I would have learned my lesson. However, as we were getting ready to leave just before the park closed, my seven-year-old begged me to take her on The Boss, the fifth fastest wooden rollercoaster in the world at 66 m.p.h., complete with a 122-ft. drop at a vertical angle of 52 degrees.

I ask you: What was a loving father to do? We ran up the long walkway, each semi-trying to talk the other out of riding the monster coaster, but neither one succeeding. During the ride, my seven-year-old closed her eyes for at least half the time, and I kept asking God to forgive me for my almost-beyond-being-forgiven irresponsibility in exposing my precious children to the emotional scarring that the experience of rollercoasters before puberty might produce.

Thankfully, the ride ended with no incident (that is, we lived). On the way back down the walkway, my seven-year-old declared that, indeed, she was “the boss of The Boss.”

Oh, God, what have I done?

Thoughts on the Possibility of Pastoring, Part 3

In Seminary on September 1, 2006 at 2:00 am

“He must see a measure of conversion-work going on under his efforts…As a man to be set apart to the ministry, his commission is without seals until souls are won by his instrumentality to the knowledge of Jesus.”

While difficult to gauge accurately in terms of scope, the depth of difference in others whom God has impacted through my life and ministry seems real enough, both to me and to them. More important is that those of whom I am thinking were not influenced only from a distance by my writing or music, but rather from a personal closeness more congruent with a pastoral-type ministry. In most roles I’ve occupied (and in most relationships I’ve enjoyed), people have seen me as a “pastor” – mostly figuratively, but for some (despite my protests), literally.

“It is needful as a proof of your vocation that your preaching should be acceptable to the people of God….”

This, I suppose, is the last piece of the pastoral puzzle to fall into place; that is, after twelve years of ministry training with The Navigators and four years of seminary training at Covenant, would God lead some congregation somewhere to issue their stamp of approval on my preaching and pastoring potential by calling me to be and become their pastor? The answer is as of yet to be seen, but soon will be – one way or the other – come May of 2009.

Toward the end of his lecture called “The Call to the Ministry,” Spurgeon wrote:

“A really valuable minister would have excelled at anything. There is scarcely anything impossible to a man who can keep a congregation together for years, and be the means of edifying them for hundreds of consecutive Sabbaths; he must be possessed of some abilities, and be by no means a fool or ne’er-do-well. Jesus Christ deserves the best men to preach His Cross, and not the empty-headed and the shiftless.”

If Spurgeon is correct, I can and want to trust God for a good outcome in his service; by God’s grace, I want to avoid living as “a fool or ne’er-do-well”…“empty-headed,” “shiftless.”

Make me one of your best, Lord Jesus – not for my sake, but for yours and your Kingdom’s. And keep me from screwing it all up too badly if indeed this is your call for me.