Day two of the great dog adventure left me thinking, "Why the hell didn't we do this before?"
We had a great day with Jack. I didn't go for my run with him this morning: sore feet and tired legs told me it might be better to take a day off. So we came downstairs and read for an hour before the girls started waking up. Then we all had breakfast, and Jack went outside to do his business (and what a load of business he did - a poop scoop is item one on the Target list for the week). I worked from home while the girls went to the gym, then Jack and I went to my office for the afternoon. We came home around 4:00, and at 5:00 Jack, Alanna and I went to pick up Ainsley from her first afternoon on her own at preschool. I grilled pork chops for supper, and for the past hour we've been downstairs together. Jack has finally barked - at Reggie, no less, and I'll admit to a fair amount of schadenfreude watching our seasoned pesterer get a taste of his own medicine from Jack.
Having Jack with me at the office felt absolutely natural, and a steady succession of visitors did little to change that feeling. The high point of the day was a sit-down with the recruiting chairs for Beta Sigma Psi, the Lutheran fraternity. While I'm very supportive of the fraternity, getting settled and focusing on ministry at the Lutheran Center didn't leave much time to get connected with the Beta Sigs last year. The new recruiting chairs took the initiative this week to introduce themselves to me and ask how we could work more closely together - and I'm very thankful for it. (I should note that the previous Beta Sigs did nothing wrong; I just didn't make those connections as I'd hoped to do).
I've thought often over the past months about how ministry changes as you get comfortable in a new call. The best comparison I can find is playing football in the NFL. You often hear people talking about the game "slowing down" as a player gets comfortable; you embed more and more the longer you play, until much of what you do is second nature. And the less you have to think, the more you can trust your instincts, the wider your perspective comes and the better you play the game.
There's a danger to this, of course. Whole denominations are in turmoil because they are gripping tightly to an outdated model of ministry with which they're comfortable, rather than changing to meet the needs of current generations. My church is one of those struggling with this aspect of our life together. I am only eleven years removed from my last campus ministry experience, but very little of what I knew then can be used now. No one uses Unix for email or internet anymore - why would we think that using horribly outdated ministry practices would be any more successful?
That having been said, there is something positive about a certain level of familiarity and comfort in one's environment. When we welcomed Pastor Luhwa to our house two weeks ago, we did our best to make him feel at home, and invited him to consider our house his own, but let's face it: no one actually takes the invitation to heart. Guests are guests, even when they've overstayed their welcome - only residents have the right and expectation to get comfortable.
We are no longer guests here - we are residents, and we're starting to feel comfortable. As you can tell from the picture above, even though he's only been here a short time, Jack is no longer a guest, either. And that, friends, is a good thing.
Grace & peace,