>Image via WikipediaAs I look back, these are the things that have defined and shaped me over the past calendar year:
Moving into the new church building. — I continue to say to our congregation that I don’t want the building (or our economic state upon completion) to define us, but as their pastor I have invested much of myself into its completion. Very few things in my life will compare with our consecration (in October) and our first official worship on Christmas Eve.
Performing my sister’s marriage in May. — It was awesome to be in a place in our relationship that this was meaningful for each of us. Plus, I think her husband’s awesome and it was great to see family and friends and meet new friends as well.
A trip to Indiana in the summer. — “Back home again in Indiana.” While I might just stay in Alaska forever, there are some beautiful parts and beautiful people in Indiana.
Blogging. — I started this thing in the spring, determined to “post regularly” which would be a change from the three or four other times I thought I had earnestly taken up blogging. This time I stuck with it and, while this has given me a place to post some non-religious things I think are cool or meaningful, it has been a good move for me religiously. I’ve expanded some of my influences, perhaps reading more on the evangelical side while maintaining some of my social values. I’ll be interested in seeing what it is I find important in the coming year.
Social Networking (by this, I pretty much mean Facebook). — What a “time suck.” But, at the same time it has renewed relationships with persons I had not heard from in years and has become a vital part of my correspondence with persons.
A tragic November.–Deaths in our church community and our extended family. This month tested some of my pastoral identification and made me question many issues about death and suicide. It was a hard month with lots of emotional and spiritual involvement from me. I was burdened by it and eager to move into, and immerse myself in, December and the progression towards Christmas.
The stress of my wife’s job and education.– This past year we felt the brunt of what it’s like to have the mother of the house employed full-time and taking classes to pursue her teaching degree. It meant putting the little ones into daycare for another day each week. It meant having to compartmentalize my own work at times to free her up to meet deadlines. It has also meant that I’ll probably need to hold off on pursuing a Doctor of Ministry until she’s done with her classes. I don’t think our family could take that. There are long term benefits here, but over the next year it will continue to shape us as a family.
Two plays in the fall. — I was in “Once Upon a Mattress” and in a Murder Mystery for the Hotel Alyeska over Halloween. I enjoyed both of these but there were a couple of weeks in October where I was in rehearsals for four hours a day on weekdays. However, all of this is forgotten with the thrill of a performance.
The growth of my children and their accomplishments. — A lot of what I do and who I am revolves around my family, shuttling them places, celebrating with them, worrying about them, teasing them, trying to have them grow in faith and love. Confirmation class with my two older girls is part of this.
Sermon series. — Particularly these three: 1) One on UnChristian (by David Kinaman), exploring the perception of Christianity in by those outside of the church and the reasons for the perceptions, 2) Adam Hamilton’s 24 Hours that Changed the World, and 3) Start: Becoming A Good Samaritan, which continued to push our church in a more missional direction.
Self-Reflection. — This blog. The deaths in November. Focusing on mission and ministry as we live into our new worship space. My pastoral role. Prayer time. Sermon series. I think I’ve grown a lot over the last few years. While I see myself, at times, as a 20-something, brash pastor, I’m really not that person. I’m a lot more mature and responsible in real life than the “loose cannon” I sometimes am in my head. I’ve given myself a lot to think about this year.
This may not be a complete list and I might have left off something of note. I’m sure that someone will bring any glaring omissions to my attention. But I think these topics pretty much sum up a lot of my 2010.