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Abilene Bound

It's official boys and girls, July 1st I hit the road to Abilene, Texas, with Oklahoma in my rear view mirror. What's funny is that there was a day that I would have given anything to say that. However, God has matured me just a little bit over a few months so that now that occaision is a little more bittersweet.

Two of the beneficial things about having an eight month (already??) hiatus in Tulsa have been 1) I've gotten a little closer to my family, and 2) God has given me an amazing spiritual family at the Memorial Drive church and the Holy Grounds ministry. Several of the guys in the group laugh at me now because I told them initially that I just wanted to "glance" off Tulsa and into Abilene, but these people have become very important to me. I'm excited to get into things at in Abilene, but leaving here is going to be much harder than I originally thought. Praise God for putting me in the right place to heal after having the spritual wind knocked out of me.

Since you last joined me on this blog, I took another road adventure to the west Texas town of Abilene. What this did was complete my immersion into the last of four different worlds, all within one week. Starting with my Tuscaloosa trip, I spent four days in Alabama, four days in Tulsa, one day in Norman, and three days in Abilene. Intense experiences in past, present, and future worlds all within an eight day span -- this is quite a mental exercise. (It also included a night in Memphis, but that is just a quasi-world for me.) Each past world carries with it a powerful set of memories, enough that if I forgot the others, I would have enough memories for a lifetime. And that is just three former worlds! I'm just 24 years old! What makes me laugh about that is that God is already plugging me into Abilene life in a big way - and I don't even live there yet! At least I went into Norman and Tuscaloosa not knowing anyone (and came back to Tulsa that way). If this is any indication, God has some major adventures brewing ahead.

Now, on a more melancholy note, I can already tell that I am going to have to go through culture shock when I move to Abilene. But, unlike having to adjust to a totally different societal culture where everything I know and do is debased, this will be a much more subtle kind, and in some ways more insidious to me. I am now going to have to deal with the Christian school mindset, which I have found through the years to be, in many ways, a total affront to the whole idea of the Christian mission. I don't want this to turn into an essay about Christian schools -- maybe I'll write that later -- but I know that I am going to have to face many challenges. This mainly comes through the fact that I am going to be, in one way or another, working closely with the campus ministry of the Southern Hills church, which has about 400 college students on the rolls. Woah, you say. That's a lot - especially for all you state schoolers who know real life campus ministry. But how many are committed, active participants in the ministry? About 40. That's about the same core group as your grass-roots, independent, self-led state school campus ministry, you say? How is that the case at a Christian college with thousands of professed Christians and a weekly college-level attendance at church of hundreds at just one of the churches?? What I am discovering in a big way is that Christian community is a much different animal at Christian school than at state school. What I considered to by my life-blood, sink or swim, all-consuming, do or die Christian family at state school is something that barely gets a glance by most Chrisitan school students. So many go in as good Christians, leave as good Christians, but never know the powerful, tight, life changing, accountability-inspiring, passion inducing nature of real, purposeful Christian community. So, even though I don't have the answers to this, I have already been asked to bring in a measure of the state school campus ministry view of community. I'm praying hard about how we can all work together to bring more of this to a great place like ACU. Once again, I'm going to need a lot more from God that I've been asking of him.


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