Monthly Archives: August 2010

Moving Day

Sorry I have not posted to the flamingheretic all summer. It has been incredibly hectic recently. In May I accepted a new position as associate professor of Moravian Theology at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA. I start teaching on Aug. 30. I will also be director of the Center for Moravian Studies.

It took several trips to Bethlehem to find a house we liked that was convenient to the seminary and (barely) affordable. Since we have not yet been able to sell our house, it also meant finding money from every available resource so we could make the down payment. We are still awaiting final confirmation from the mortgage company, but all is looking good to have settlement on Aug. 16. The house was built in the 1870s on land purchased from the Moravians. It is just four blocks from my office. Ironically, the office is the same one I occupied when I was assistant dean in the late 1980s.

In the midst of house-hunting, my wife and I took a long-anticipated trip to Italy for our 20th wedding anniversary. It was probably foolish to go this year, but the trip was planned and largely pre-paid before I knew I was changing jobs. Italy was amazing: Rome, Florence, Turin, Venice. Such wonderful art and architecture and history! We stayed mainly in guest houses owned by the Waldensians.

Now we have packed up most of our belongings and the movers are scheduled to arrive on Aug. 19. We did manage to give away several truckloads of possessions: furniture to Habitat’s ReStore; electronics to Goodwill; books to the Shepherd’s Center and to students; and lots of useful items to my niece and nephew. I was given a grill when I was ordained back in 1987, which I still use. It’s going to my daughter.

It is hard to leave a home you have occupied for 15 years. We’ve done a lot of work on it and we did a lot of living here. It is the only home Madeleine has ever known and the only one Sarah remembers. I recovered from three major surgeries here and wrote as many books. Julie made many Thanksgiving dinners and we celebrated many Christmases here. But there comes a time to pack up all of your belongings and leave Haran to go to the land the Lord will show you.

Madeleine is extremely sad about leaving home and friends and family, and I sympathize. It is so hard to leave that I almost did not accept the job. But I truly feel called to this position. I am confident that Madeleine will grow to love Bethlehem. Julie and I both attended school there and like it a lot.

Julie will be working for a national university as the Director of Assessment. She is very excited about that. And we all love the new house on Main St. I had hoped to spend the summer writing and getting ready to teach, but moving has proven to be almost a full time job. I’ll be so relieved when it is done. We are trying to do a few fun things for Madeleine: water park, canoeing, the beach. We are also having lots of lunches, dinners, etc. with friends to say good-bye. I am really going to miss the folks at Wake Forest and Home Church.

On top of it all, Sarah is heading off to the university this month! She graduated from high school, earned her IB diploma, and will be enrolling in a statement university in the mountains. She won’t get to fix up her room in the new house until Thanksgiving.

Just when you think your life has settled down to a predictable rhythm, everything is tossed in the air. Yes, the stress and anxiety is high, but faith means making the journey despite the anxiety. Wisdom is knowing that something will be very hard for a while, but things will eventually resolve.

We already have some friends in Bethlehem and have a community of faith. MTS has also been very helpful with the move. Bethlehem will be our new home, but Winston-Salem will remain my true home. We will come back as often as we can.

I am glad the position was established this year rather than last year. It was good to be here for my mom and for my nephew Erik. Two new markers in God’s Acre at Hope. I know mom would have been happy that the seminary has hired me, and she would have loved the house we are buying.