Greetings to those who still continue to visit The Thin Edge, even though my time and energies have obviously been focused on other things for the past three years. Yes, we moved back to the United States three years ago this month. The time has flown as we have watched our family grow: three grandchildren have quickly multiplied into nine over this short period of time.
My American heart doctor confirmed that I had suffered a heart attack in Wales in March 2008, so within a few months of returning, the VA (Veterans Administration) took great care of me and completed stent surgery at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Five stents later, I immediately felt a huge difference in my quality of life. Just in case you’re wondering, we received wonderful care with the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK and they would have performed a similar intervention if we had not already decided to move back to the United States. The only downside to socialized medicine, whether the NHS or the VA (yes, it’s socialized medicine, too), is the occasional waiting list for non-emergency procedures. My doctor in the UK was ready to explore surgical options, but I knew it would take several months and, by then, we would be back in the states.
Learning the ropes of a totally new career has also kept me busy. Since November 2009, I have been working as a Special Investigator retained by the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM), conducting background investigations for national security clearances and positions of public trust. I have traveled quite a bit with this job, volunteering for month-long “details” in: Phoenix; Dallas/Fort Worth; Meridian, Mississippi; Huntsville, Alabama; and Enterprise, Alabama. I really enjoy this work, since it gives me a very flexible schedule and I love working in a primarily military environment on four Navy bases and two Air Force bases nearby.
In returning to the Bible Belt, I decided not to re-engage in a professional (paid) role as a church planter or pastor, even though several different opportunities have presented themselves. I’m sure this has puzzled some and sparked genuine concern in others. In fact, I have avoided the “institutional church” or “organized religion” altogether since returning to Pensacola, after two or three years of rethinking what it means to BE the church versus the various models of church that have been developed since the Reformation.
That brings me to another major change in my life: I no longer consider myself to be a Reformed Baptist or Evangelical Calvinist or TULIP-loving Christian (whatever term you use). I’ll have to unpack this disclosure more fully in another post. I still keep in touch with and love my Calvinist brothers and sisters, but I’m sure this will come as a shock to them and I hope they continue to love me back. Unfortunately, I’m afraid a few of them will just write me off. I just feel that MY focus, at this point in my life, should be aimed more on the love of God than nit-picking or drawing swords with everyone over the finer points of predestination or election or dozens of other theological issues. I’ve just grown weary of going down that road; and I’m tired of the constant battles and the endless scars inflicted on myself and others. More later!
Blessings to you all and I really do hope to write more in the coming days.