The idealistic cynic

April 12, 2008

life / ministry

I want to let you in on one of my greatest fears. And one of my greatest hopes. I wrote recently about the ways I’ve grown into things of emergent, and before that how I grew into the underground and have desired to reach out there.

For a little more background on how I got to my current place, I want to give a little more history. While I was in high school, trying to un-learn some things that I had learned before I met Jesus, and trying to figure out what those things meant and what the new things meant, and how to put it all together, I had to figure out what to do about college. I felt strongly that I needed to learn ministry, so I went to a A/G college that is now a university, and pursued a B.S. in Church Ministries with a Bible concentration.

There, one of the first things I was faced with was the question of how I would financially support the kind of ministry I wanted to do. Prior to this, I hadn’t thought about it, at least not in any in-depth way. This was my idealism. It occurred to me then, though, that I could use and enhance the skills I had in web design to support myself. I could create websites on a relatively flexible schedule, do a lot of original, creative work, and make enough money to support myself (and my family, if I were to get one) and also hopefully to support a ministry.

Thus, I had become somewhat cynical of the church. I believed it didn’t care about the kind of ministry that I wanted to do (which, to some extent, is true, though I think it is less true than it was seven years ago when I was preparing to graduate from high school). I benefited from my education even so, much more than I expected. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My theology and spirituality and hope for the church as a whole. and my part in it, were shaped in powerful ways there, and I was fortunate to meet and marry an amazing woman as well. But, I had traded the first idealism for another idealism, that I could quickly transition into funding a ministry from the creation of great websites.

When I finished the first degree, we weren’t yet financially able to leave Florida, and Florida is still quite behind in technology, and also art, education. So, I pursued another bachelor’s degree, in Interactive Media, at an art school. I learned a lot through it, as well, and then was finally able to leave Florida and see seasons again. Also, I became extremely fortunate to become a part of Revolution Atlanta, and feel like I am involved in, and can be more involved in, ministry there.

Now, I find myself trading, or perhaps balancing, the web-related idealism with cynicism. Do I need to pursue graduate school? If so, where? Who pays for it? If not, can I ever get to the point of doing my own thing? If I do transition into an individual way of working, will I have time to do ministry then? If I don’t, can I work in a relatively normal position, and still have time to do ministry? Who pays for it then? Does that mean I do need to pursue graduate school, more importantly than otherwise?

So, there is much to learn and question.