Friday, August 04, 2006

Beach-Bound Bum on Blogging Break

One of my wife's biggest objections to my career as a minister was that I would never really come home from work. Sure, my body would from time to time enter her house, but it had never really left work. It had only moved from one office to another office. I was always working on a lesson or a sermon or an event or some other ministerial need.

I started this blog at the end of last October as a way to channel the energy that I had been putting into ministry. Since then I have never gone more than two or three days without writing something, be it a comment or a new post, for this blog.

That's about to change. In about two hours I am leaving for the beach. OK, not exactly the beach - I'm actually headed to Lexington to meet up with my mother. We'll leave from Lexington tomorrow morning to go to Chapel Hill, NC, home of both the University of North Carolina Tar Heels (I still don't know what a Tar Heel is, any more than - despite being part of the Indiana University Alumni Association - I know what a Hoosier is) and my maternal grandparents. We then leave from Chapel Hill on Sunday, bound for Holden Beach, a quaint and quiet beach just about a half-an-hour's drive north of Myrtle Beach, SC.

Holden Beach is also right by Calabash, home to some of the most distinctive seafood in the world. As such, once a year I get to be a hypocrite, and actually eat a dead animal. I know, I know, for shame and all that. But one week per year this vegetarian cuts loose and eats seafood.

Anyway, we'll be at Holden Beach through Saturday, arriving home either Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, depending on how long we feel like driving with a cranky kid. So, by my count that should be just over a week without any sort of Internet connection, which should be enough to drive this former workoholic turned serial blogger a smidge stir-crazy.

In other words, it should be more than a little bit good for me.

Holden Beach, here I come! I'll see you (figuratively, anyway) good folks in the blogosphere when I get back.

6 comments:

Jeff said...

Hi Chris,

Where did you used to serve as a minister (forgive me for asking you and your readers to cover old ground)? Will you ever do so again?

Enjoy your time at the beach. It looks like a great reading list. We're heading out in a couple of weeks to visit some Canadian friends on an island on Parry Sound in Lake Huron. Nothing but solar electricity will be available. Should be fun, but I don't know how much reading I'll get in...

Cheers,
Jeff

Sally said...

have a great holiday- seafood sounds wonderful- enjoy it.

John W. Loftus said...

Have some great R&R friend.

Sandalstraps said...

Jeff,

Thanks for your comment, and sorry I didn't get back to you sooner - I finally got home about two hours ago!

I served as the youth pastor of a United Methodist church in Louisville, KY for four years, before accepting an appointment to serve as the student pastor (that is, the only pastor, but not an ordained minister) of a small United Methodist church near Springfield, KY. I served four months of a one year appointment, before leaving both the ministry and seminary. This is covered off and on in a few places, but I've never told the entire story - I still don't have enough emotional distance from the events which lead to the demise of my career.

No, I don't expect to ever return to any form of professional ministry, and I am no longer a candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church.

The closest I've come to telling the story is found here.

Sally,

Thanks as well to you for your comment. Alas, as I will probably write in my next post, the seafood didn't agree with me. I've been a vegetarian for almost four years now, eating seafood only once a year and eating no other meat at all. Evidently in the twelve months since I last ate the flesh of a creature of the sea, my system forgot how to digest it. So, one more joy tossed aside.

Its just as well; turns out I can enjoy the beach without eating anything that comes out of the ocean - not that I begrudge those who haven't given up eating meat the joy that comes from fresh-caught fish.

John,

Always good to hear from you.

Jeff said...

Chris,

Thanks for the response on that. It must have been extremely frustrating to have your words taken out of context and not being able to have the opportunity to defend yourself.

Although our backgrounds are very different, Im well familiarized with fear-driven religion and the sin-cycle. Catholic fundamentalism has its own variety of this with excessive legalism, and Protestant fundamentalism has its own variety as well. I find it fascinating that the people who profess to believe the most in grace are the ones who seem to see the narrowest gate to heaven. Wouldn’t you think that would be the reaction of the people who are supposedly the works-righteousness ones instead? I can understand how the “works-righteous” would be jealous and peeved at the notion that someone who didn’t do good works could get into heaven. For those who claim to profess “sola gratia” the loudest, why not let God let His grace abound? They won’t. There are some deep pyschological problems and guilt-projection issues at play in such a mentality. It says more about themselves, IMO, than it does about God or the Scriptures.

Sandalstraps said...

Jeff,

I agree with you about the oddness of proclaiming salvation by grace alone, while also attaching such strict criteria to that grace.

The problem is, sola gratias is not really sola gratias, because as the apostle Paul said, we are save by grace through faith. The real disagreement is over both

a.) the nature of faith, and

b.) the relationship between faith and grace.

In Protestant fundamentalism faith has become synonymous with belief, and particularly limited kind of belief: intellectual agreement with "right" or "sound" doctrine. Those who have faith, and are therefore under grace and not subject to condemnation, are those who agree with us about the nature of God.

I used to preach James at people who thought like that, which really irked them. But, then again, Martin Luther wished that James hadn't been included in the Bible, and wanted to relegate it to a secondary canonical status.

But I'm pretty much a universlaist, the inevitable result of believing that salvation by grace means salvation with no strings attached.