Hello again, dear readers.
It’s been a very long time since I last even thought about posting, and I hope that it’s not too great a disappointment that I am posting this only as an announcement that this will be the final post on A Heart That Burns.
I began this blog in large part as a chronicle of a particular journey I had embarked upon: to become an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. In truth, that journey has been over for me for well over a year. It was at that point, in the wake of a confrontation with some mistakes I had made in pursuit of that goal, that my wife and I made the very difficult decision to not only end my pursuit of ordination, but to leave the Church of the Nazarene.
Before I go further let me state categorically that I am not angry with anyone in the Church of the Nazarene. Some of my dearest friends – who have continued to love and support my wife and me in the past year – are Nazarenes. Ultimately, the decision was prompted by the growing knowledge that my wife Kathleen and I simply didn’t fit into the Church of the Nazarene. Part of it was that I too often found that my identity as a Jewish believer in Jesus needed to be supressed in order to fit in as a Nazarene; along with this is the simple fact that if the CoTN has any interest in ministry to Jewish people (beyond a specific local congregation), I was never able to discover it.
Our departure was also the culmination of some serious wrestling I had been doing (some of it in these pages) as to whether I actually had a continued call to ministry. My prayerful conclusion was that whether God had plans for my future that involved ministry, I was chasing a goal that more and more seemed to be one that I was pursuing of my own volition rather than the Lord’s leading.
The year that followed was very difficult. Following closely on the decision to leave the Church of the Nazarene, my schedule at work changed and the days and hours I worked made it impossible for us to attend any church service. I can’t adequately describe what that lack of fellowship was like, but it might involve the words “Siberia” and “exile.”
As terrible as this was, some good things have come out of our year of displacement. When Kathleen and I were first married, I was full-time missionary. Who we were as a couple was very much defined by ministry. Upon leaving full-time missions, Kathleen and I were both tapped within the space of mere weeks to do pastoral ministry within our local Nazarene church. Over the course of 5 years, it never really occured to us that we needed to put in any more time figuring out who we were as a couple. The past year has given us the time to do that and we are the better for it, our marriage is stronger for it, and I love her more today than I did the day we were married.
A year ago, I asked God that if ministry was no longer my path, that He would allow me to advance in the work that I do. He has been faithful in this; I earned a promotion a little over a month ago and have since started a new shift with hours that will allow Kathleen and I to see more of each other and will allow us to resume church attendance. We are excited about the start of a new journey.
As I close, I want thank those who have taken the time to follow A Heart That Burns, some of you from close to the blog’s inception. As many of the posts continue to get hits from people searching for information on John Wesley and holiness, my intention is to keep the blog up. Within a week I will shutting down all comments. Thanks again for following along with my journey, and may God bless you in your own!