Last day as a Crossroads Employee

Today marks the last day of my employment at Crossroads.  I think I've done a lot to make sure my various bases are covered as I leave.  For the last six years I've worked there I've had a constant cloud of unfinished tasks and open loops.  There's always more to be done.  So today when I loaded up the program I use to keep track of my tasks/projects/all that I realized it was weird to see I don't really have a whole lot of unfinished stuff.  It will be nice to have less responsibilities for a while, and to be able to pick and choose a little more of my ministry responsibilities since it won't be my job anymore.

Good news on the job front - I haven't landed an HR job yet but I do have a long-term sub job.  I'll be subbing at Washington for a teacher that had to retire mid-year starting Monday.  It's a pretty perfect setup because it's at the school I want to be at, I have 4 U.S. History classes and one social science elective class (not sure what it is, maybe Sociology), and 6th period prep which means I get to leave early.  Also since it's a long-term job I'll make a bit more money than I otherwise would.  It's pretty great that while I'm looking for another job I'll have this consistent income.  I will actually be teaching instead of just babysitting (the usual charge of subs) but I'm actually a little excited because it's stuff I'm interested in (my major was History with a focus on US History) with older students.


On Supporting Politicians

Yesterday I was cleaning up my Facebook profile and removing my support for Ron Paul.  (You can read this post at another blog for some of my reasoning for supporting and no longer supporting Paul...it wasn't written by me but I don't feel like writing an entire post on the subject and I'm pretty much with the iMonk.)  While doing so I noticed a number of people in my friends who had checked that they "support" such people as John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.  Such sentiments are very popular these days, as supporting a Republican is generally considered uncool by most people under 40.  I am not a Republican myself, and that's not the point of my post.  The point is that I think a lot of people "support" Obama or Hillary (more Obama) because it's cool to do so and they think it sounds good, they hear it's a good thing to do and "BUSH = HITLER, NO BLOOD FOR OIL!!!!"


Since I work with students and know a lot of people in their mid-to-late teens, many who are just becoming aware of the political process and the fact that they have a place in it, and since I live in the freakin Bay Area, I am surrounded by people who make goo-goo eyes over someone like Obama.  I don't really have any particular issue with Obama other than disagreeing with him on a number of political issues - but I'm not really sure where he stands on some things.  I know he wants Universal Health Care (but I don't know the particulars of his plan), I know he's Pro-Choice, I know he's been unfairly made fun of by idiots for the similarity of his name to Bin Laden and Saddam and accused of being a stealth Muslim, I know he thinks "the rich" don't pay their fair share of taxes, I know he's a good speaker...but I don't know much about his positions and how they would differentiate him from Edwards, Clinton, or even Giuliani (except for his position on Iraq).    What bugs me is there are so many people who support Obama (or any other policitican) who don't know crap about him.  They see him as this cool savior for mankind who talks about hope and change but they don't know what he means by that or how he wants to make it happen.

Most of the time when someone makes a comment on how they love this or that politician I ask them "why do you support that person?"  Lately that comment has been directed towards people who express love for Obama or Hillary (Edwards isn't chic).  I've gotten a very short list of replies.  They are:

(1) He isn't George Bush.

(2) Because.

Few things bug me more than people just falling in line with something or someone they think is cool or good or whatever, with no good reason.  In my work at Crossroads I have always tried to tell people they need to think through what they believe and why they believe it.  People are too willing to blindly follow the crowd without engaging in any critical thinking.  It makes them feel cool and progressive and like they're doing something to ride on the coattails of some popular politician and maybe they'll even vote for him/her but they really have no idea what they're doing.  I'm sure there are Obama supporters out there who like him for legitimate reasons...I just haven't met one and am not sure I even know one.  But I know a lot of Obama "supporters."


Career Change

As some of you already know but others of you don't, I will be making a career change soon.  My employment as Youth Pastor at Crossroads will be over at the end of January, and I am looking for a full-time job in a non-church environment.  I'm going for jobs that are related to things I love to do and am skilled at.  So my focus is on training and development jobs, helping people do their jobs better, become better educated, better employees, co-workers, all that.  This has been in the works for a while, but last night was the night we announced it to Crossroads as a whole.

I wasn't sure how I'd react when I got up in front of the congregation and announced I wouldn't be working with the kids anymore.  I love working with them and I love them - but I'm also not much of an emotional display sort of person.  Somewhat to my surprise I started to tear up when I was talking about it in front of everybody last night.  I think it was good for the kids to see that I genuinely care about them, as some of them may wonder about that since I'm moving out of the youth ministry. 

I'm excited about the changes a new career will bring to our family.  The schedule Janelle and I have been keeping the past couple years, and especially in the time since we've had Belle, has been crazy.  We have no days off together, and many weeknights I'm busy with ministry stuff.  Janelle and I often don't have much time to give good energy into spending time together, and the concept of getting away for a weekend or taking even a day trip as a family is just about unheard of.  With me getting a job with a more regular schedule, Janelle will be able to work less and we'll be able to match our schedules better.  We will have weekends.  Heck, I haven't really had weekends since I was 16. 

Today I had my first interview at a place in Mountain View (not Google) that I think would be pretty sweet to work at.  The position would be good because it's in the arena I want to get involved with (Training and Development) but I don't have to put in time as an HR Generalist and learn stuff I'm less enthusiastic about.  I think the interview went well, but now I have to wait to hear back.  It's a different thing for me; every job I've had up to this point has been with people I knew beforehand as a customer or friend, or where I had some sort of a hookup.  Going in to complete strangers and trying to sell myself is an odd feeling.  But I think things went well and I hope this first interview will be my last for a long time.


Slate Osteen Article

If you know me, you know I'm not a huge fan of Joel Osteen, despite his popularity.  I think his brand of religion is harmful in a number of ways and perverts just about everything Jesus is about.  It seems Christians often exist at two extremes: we either criticize everybody, or criticize nobody.  Or, we criticize for stupid things, or won't criticize for anything.  Here's an article from Slate, written as best I can tell by a non-Christian who still seems to understand the message of Jesus a lot better than Osteen.  Here's an excerpt:

There's, of course, nothing inherently suspect or dishonorable about seeking uplift and consolation in the Bible. But the point of those "deep theological doctrines" that Osteen seems to deride is to leaven that quest with the less agreeable features of life—pain and suffering, the persistence of evil, the fleeting quality of all endeavor, the cosmic insignificance of the human self, let alone that self's subordinate chosen modes of expression in body posture or a near-pathological penchant for smiling. After all, the same Bible that Lakewood's arena full of believers champion as a handbook for what they can do and be also contains these words, in Revelation 3:17: "Thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."

ht: internet monk


Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all!  I'm still recovering a bit from the all-nighter with the Youth Group but it went well.  We broke a window in the main sanctuary part of the church building...so that's cool.  I'm a bit bummed because I lost my mp3 player, the awesome SanDisk Sansa e280, which I just received in September as a birthday gift.  I'm hoping it will turn up soon but I'm not going to hold my breath.

I hope to be posting some actual content up here soon, and should have some big news next week that I can finally talk about publicly.  For now, I leave you with this link to a new blog, the io9 blog.  It's a blog on just about all things geeky, from sci-fi to science to random info to whatever else.  In looking at its first few days of posting I am pretty encouraged by just about everything I see.  Plus it has an interview with Jack Coleman, better known as the "Horn Rimmed Glasses" man from Heroes, Noah Bennett.  He is by far my favorite Heroes character.  His character wasn't even supposed to be a big part of the show initially but Coleman did such an awesome job he became a bigger part of things.