Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Great Leap

This post serves to introduce a series of posts coming up, which will give me an opportunity to publish a few photos I took on my journey from Southern California (where I'm from) to South Mississippi (where I'm at). But why "The Great Leap"? To explain that, I'll have to get just a little bit autobiographical.

For nine years I was a student: 3 years with Victory Outreach collecting all the academic certificates and diplomas they could muster; 3 years with the Latin American Bible Institute and with Vanguard University of Southern California, collecting a B.A. in Religion/Ministry; then 3 more years with Vanguard, collecting an M.A. in Religion/Biblical Studies, and publishing my 277-page thesis, Jude and the Scoffers.

Along the way I served as director of a Victory Outreach men's rehabilitation home for a year, and then as the assistant pastor of a storefront Assemblies of God church in Skid Row Los Angeles, for two years. But by the time I received the M.A., I had been out of active ministry for four years.

What did God want me to do? Where did God want me to go? I had gone back to the church of my roots (Episcopal) and discovered what I thought to be an oxymoron, an evangelical Episcopal church. I asked the advice of Fr. Richard Menees, the assistant rector, and he recommended that I check out Church Army USA, telling me, "They take in misfits."

So that begins my story. Church Army USA headquarters was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; their biggest "base of evangelism" was in Branson-Missouri, and they had an outpost doing Katrina relief in Pass Christian, Mississippi. I was determined to visit all three to check them out, and I had an ancient Mazda MPV to get me there. My prayer was that God would speak to me along the way, answering my questions: "What to do? Where to go?" I was jumping from what I'd known for nine years, off into the unknown: The Great Leap.

I'll try to post every day or so; Watch this space!

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