Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Four Years

(This appeared in the most recent Red Mountain Church Parish Newsletter.)

Four years.

That’s a presidential term, a college education, the average life-span of a mouse, and 32 dog years. It’s also how long I’ve been pastor at Red Mountain Church. I’m calling it a milestone.

A few months into our time here I wrote in the parish newsletter about our first impressions of Birmingham and Red Mountain Church. I commented on how seriously food is taken in this city. I’ve gained 15 pounds since coming here and that’s my excuse. I also named my favorite places to eat. I still like Cantina for Mexican, but I think Flip Burger has overtaken Five Guys in that department. O’Henry’s coffee? Eclipsed by anywhere that sells Primavera. And I’m still looking for that good, local and reasonably priced Italian restaurant. Mafiaoza's in Mountain Brook doesn’t count. It’s good but it’s a chain. And don’t get me started on Davinci's in Homewood.

I also wrote this,

"Easily the most pleasant part about landing in Birmingham is the reality of the Gospel in the people at Red Mountain Church...In the midst of it all I’ve been encouraged and sustained by how faith in Christ is real and makes a difference in our parish."

Still true. Every word.

Some family milestones in the past four years. Grace graduates from Erskine College and now teaching in China. James and Noah making their way out of Homewood High School and in full-scale collegiate mode. And for about nine months we had Matilda, the Italian-Greyhound-from-hell-that-nearly-ruined-our-lives. The last time I checked she was tormenting a family in Georgia. Jeeves, our ill-tempered, dimwitted and now aging cat, was happy to see her go too.

Dawn has made good friends, branched out into the working world and continued to be the glue of our family. She is wise, beautiful and patient. True. Every word.

Me? I still wake up every morning with the vague goal of not completely wrecking Red Mountain Church. Despite what are at times my best efforts to do just that God has done good things here. Not everything we expected or asked for but a real work of grace. I still miss college ministry. Sometimes a lot. But I’m not going back there and I’m as convinced as ever that God wants me at Red Mountain Church.

So then there’s this. I will continue to make awkward movements in the pulpit, drive our church administrator around the bend with my inattention to detail, forget people’s names (“Hey...buddy!”), struggle with my own inconsistencies as I call God’s people to see their own and rest in grace while striving for righteousness.

Thanks for letting me be your pastor. I’m grateful.

Still true. Every word.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Tom, I remember you from your days in Australia (only we were all muuuuuch younger then). Enjoying your blog!