I thought I would write a reflective post on how things are going; this seems like a good time to write a post like this given the time of year it is (the beginning of 2015). I will be reflecting on life, on my walk with Jesus Christ, on perspective and how things continue to unfold in my own individual signature on the wall of salvation history.
I am almost five years removed from DSRCT, the cancer I was diagnosed with in late 2009. I still have nerve damage in my feet (neuropathy) from the chemo I went through back then, but other than that (minus one kidney, and some gortex inside my body) I am doing well (my next and final official check-up with my oncologist is at the end of February … a CT scan). Sometimes I wonder why I am still alive; when you are spared of something like DSRCT, you ask the question “why,” why did I survive? I think built into living through a typically terminal cancer there is almost an expectation associated with, especially as a Christian[s]. People, Christian and non-Christian alike seem to assign some sort of grander purpose, some sort of bigger narrative to your life because of survival, as if God must have some sort of extra-special thing, some sort of special reason for allowing me to live on. In reality I have come to conclude that I don’t really believe that that is true, other than the testimony to God’s grace and superabundant power that gets magnified because of my survival; so maybe that’s enough. But that isn’t really any different than anyone else, any other Christian. We all have an astounding testimony and witness bearing capacity purely because of who Jesus Christ is for us and with us! Anyway, that was kind of a random thought, but that’s what this whole post will be.
Ah, employment. What to say?! I currently work for the railroad (as a Conductor/Switchman); before that I worked for a dairy (on the corporate/processing side of things); and before that I worked for Toyota (corporate side of things/imports from Japan off the ships); and before that an array of various jobs (through school). I earned an MA degree in biblical studies and theology, and a BA degree before that in the same thing back in 2001 and 2003 respectively; I had ideally hoped that I would be in “full time” pastoral ministry, or maybe a professor of theology; alas, those dreams have been shattered upon the rocks of reality (but I haven’t lost total hope, with God all things are possible!) So instead I have become a theological blogger, a theological author and editor, and an Evangelical Calvinist. Talking about Evangelical Calvinism …
I became an Evangelical Calvinist back in and around 2009, when I started my first iteration of The Evangelical Calvinist over at a blogger url. Becoming an Evangelical Calvinist began to take shape rather organically; starting the blog was one move that led there, coming into contact with Myk Habets was another move, and reading Thomas F. Torrance’s book Scottish Theology was the primary move that led to the blog, led me to reading an essay by Myk, and then eventuating in contact with Myk, which led to publishing to our first edited book together entitled Evangelical Calvinism: Essays Resourcing the Continuing Reformation of the Church in 2012. This trend continues on as Myk and I are under contract for a second volume Evangelical Calvinism book, probably due out in and around 2016. It is kind of strange to be identified as an Evangelical Calvinist, the language causes confusion for almost everyone who first encounters it. Beyond that it sounds like I love Calvin more than Jesus with such nomenclature attached to my name online and everywhere; but in the end I really just love Jesus, and I love the Triune God that Jesus has brought me to participate within. I love Jesus. I love him. Without his unbreakable grip upon my heart none of this would mean anything. I simply love him. Evangelical Calvinism is not some academic thing for me, it has become a symbol, but not something that slavishly identifies me; I am a slave of Christ, that is what identifies me, and I would think any good Evangelical Calvinist would want the same to be known of them.
Finally, I love my family. My wife of 15 years is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me, other than my relationship with Jesus Christ. My kids are growing fast, my daughter is a new teenager, and my son is getting there; they are beautiful to me. I feel inadequate as a dad and husband, so I look to Christ to be my adequacy, and struggle with his resurrection power to help me to be the best dad and husband that I can be. I usually fail miserably at this endeavor, but God’s grace has thankfully been shed abroad, deeply, in the life of my wife and my kid’s; it seems to allow them to at least put up with me.
My extended family (mom, dad, brother, sister et al.), well I haven’t been to Southern California for almost five years (which is unthinkable to me! we used to go at least once a year to visit), to see them there; although they have been here to visit me. I am praying that the Lord will allow us to visit them back in the homeland this year sometime (I just found out though that I won’t get vacation this year at work); please pray that this might happen still somehow.
Happy New Year, 2015!