Monday, August 31, 2009

Chapter One

This is the first time I've put my thoughts to paper since moving to Portland last April. My reasoning? I have none I guess. Could be a lack of motivation, but mainly I've just had nothing I wanted to write about.

I think I've been on an intentional hiatus from processing since I moved here. Transitions are quite overwhelming, no matter how wonderful they may be. Perhaps there has been so much to process that I have temporarily numbed myself to it all as a defense mechanism. Life is coming at me a thousand miles a minute. It's exciting, but challenging. I am being swallowed up by the sea that is Portland. By no means am I drowning, just learning how to navigate the waters.

Let me give you a bit of an insight into my post-college/post-Puyallup life. First of all, let me address every Portland stereotype right here: they are all pretty much true.

Portland is weird. Portlanders are actually quite prideful about it. They embrace their weirdness, and want you to embrace it too. In fact, for many of them, the greatest failure is going unnoticed. Therefore, they will do everything in their power to let you know that they are bold and unique individuals. The funny thing to me is that nearly everyone does it, so in fact the “weirder” you are, the less different you are from everyone else. Hmm…I’m gonna go ponder that thought with my fellow existentialist friends.

Tattoos: If you have one somewhere on your body why don’t you go ahead and pat yourself on the back- Portland will like you. If you have more than one, Portland will love you. It really doesn’t need to be super meaningful- so don’t stress too much. I’ve had so many friends tattoo themselves in Greek or Hebrew, or with meaningful poetry or scripture, but honestly some people here just do it because they thought a cat face with a tiara on it was just fun (and yes the woman in front of me at Stumptown has that exact tattoo on her arm…I can’t make this stuff up people).

Green: Don’t you dare throw that apple in the trash you nitwit. That goes into the compost bin! You drove 6 miles to work today on NOT a bicycle? The planet hates you. You went to Wal-Mart for groceries instead of the neighborhood co-op? Just pack your bags and leave. Portland is a haven for go-greeners. This is something I really love about it. Sure sometimes it’s a little overdone. The act of recycling is not just an earth-conscious act, but a hip trend. Everyone’s doing it. But hey, if people are just doing it to “be cool” then power to them. It really does help our environment- Go Go Gadget Green!

Now that I’ve addressed these delightful little stereotypes let me sum it up by saying, I love it here. I love the weirdness, I love the free-spirits, I love the environmentally conscious crazies, and I love the community I feel here. It’s a tough place too. Spiritually speaking, it is pretty dark. Let me rephrase that: RELIGIOUSLY speaking it is pretty dark. People are spiritual here, that is not an issue. Christianity is just not something that many hold to. Perhaps it is the concept of absolute truth. I think that is a hard thing for people to accept here. They want to be open to everything, but when you are open to everything, you really don’t have concrete belief in anything at all. I want Jesus to shake this city. I want an outpouring of the Spirit. Imagine the work that could be done if these bold individuals became radicals for the Lord, proclaiming truth all over this town.

That leads me to explain how God has been stirring my heart these past few months. Thanks to one of my great mentors, Rob Fairbanks, I was connected with Dan and Ann Steigerwald here in the PDX. Both have been doing ministry for many years, including work overseas. They are incredible people and I have really enjoyed getting to know them and talking ministry. I have also been connected with two new friends, Bryan Dormaier and Desirae Marks who, along with the Steigerwald’s and myself are hoping to start a church plant in the SE area. The visioning process is already in full swing and we are working with a few others who are interested as well. One couple who works with Christian Associates (the church planting organization Rob, the Steigerwald’s, Bryan, and Desirae are a part of) are considering a move here from Texas to join our team. Woo! Oh how good the Lord is. Things are happening. Great things. Challenging things. I am learning and growing and living.

I will try to be better at updating, but this gives you something to chew on for awhile. Pray for me when you think about it. Pray for wisdom, for vision, and obedience.

Until next time,