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Alabama

Tonight I came up for air out of my sea of Greek materials and called a friend in Alabama with whom I hadn't spoken in a while. He was hanging out in the campus ministry facilities there so I ended up being passed around to about seven different people which ended up being a marathon Alabama catch-up session.

On Wednesday of this week it will be exactly one year since I announced my resignation from University Christian Ministry. An entire year has passed since my experiences in Tuscaloosa but I can recall every story and every moment of those ten months as if they happened earlier today. Ten months - I lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for ten months. Yet I seem to recall about five years worth of memories. From the moment I rolled in with a U-Haul and no place to live on January 1st to the moment the last item was packed out of the now-famous Reed Street house on October 29th, life was a non-stop adventure. Each day held something new and unexpected. I saw the work of God in ways I had not seen before. I saw the work of Satan in ways I had not seen before. Both grew me, stretched, me, pushed me to my limits in all kinds of wonderful and strange ways. I found whole new levels of looking at life and God. I experienced new levels of wonderment in God and people who showed me new ways of living by faith. I looked evil in the face and winced from the burns it gave me. I feel like I boarded a ten month long wild roller-coaster that gave me the biggest highs and wildest moments I've had so far. When I got off I was dizzy and needed to lay down for a while, which was the season in life God gave me in Tulsa.

Now things are different. Very different. My days are largely routine. My purpose is very different. I have professors who are telling me that God can do without me for three years. What? Where did that idea come from? Is that what seminary does? I guess that from day one in Alabama there was no choice but to place myself as a tool in the hands of God and embark on the adventure that creates. Every moment was by faith - it had to be. But now I exist largely within the ivory towers of theological academia, where ideas are forced to be complicated beyond belief and the Christian experience is distilled into the printed pages of books.But this is not an entry about the merits of grad school.

My vivid reflections about Alabama life will fade through time, and the analysis of my new adventures will become paramount and the lessons learned become clear, just as it has been for my Bama life. When I think about it honestly, I had moments in Alabama where I longed for the OU life. So, I figure that whenever the next round comes, I'll think back on Abilene in some of these same ways. One thing is for sure, though. I know now to expect more of the unexpected. And the unexpected is what usually reveals the glory of God.


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