Monday, February 6, 2012
Pack it up for Portland! Dad's going to cemetery...I mean, seminary.
We moved to Portland, Oregon the summer before I went into 7th grade. My brother informed people Dad was going to be a pastor and go to "cemetery" (seminary). I thought Portland was the most beautiful place I had ever seen! My junior high felt more like a amazing college campus but many of the kids looked like no one I'd ever seen in Montana. Crazy hair in rainbow colored mohawks, piercings in places I'd never seen pierced, holes burned into their clothes. And there were rich kids that bragged that they paid a hundred dollars for a pair of pants, and this was in 1985! Culture shock! It didn't take long to understand it was going to take work to find my niche. Fortunately, I fit in perfectly as a band geek. I met some very sweet, "normal" friends here. I was often surprised when someone would ask, "What does your dad do?" I was proud of my dad and how he was following God's calling into ministry, but began to realize people made assumptions about who I was because of this. Assumptions that I was ultra-spiritual and never was tempted to swear or cheat; like I was born with holy blood or something. When dad completed school, we started actively seeking a place to serve. I began telling my friends that I was probably going to move. "Where?" Well, we didn't know yet. We were waiting to see where God would lead us. "What does that mean? Is God going to send you a letter or something?" It was a faith building experience and I boldly believed God would direct us. None the less, it was a slightly odd question to explain to my peers.
You'd expect to do an interview in order to get a job. But how about interviewing the kids to see if the parents were qualified? Crazy, right? Evidently, not to one church we visited. I know that not every church is as nutty as this one where Dad candidated, but let's just say it was a very strange car ride home as we discussed what happened. Our heads were still spinning. At one point, board members had begun asking us kids questions. "Do your parents fight? Would you say your dad is a man of prayer?" Weird, huh. Was this from God? It sure didn't seem like it. Fortunately, dad chose NOT to look any further into this one.
God was faithful though. We left beautiful Portland and moved to Hermiston, Oregon when I was 15. We were excited about what God was going to do here through us as a family. Dad was really excited about preaching and connecting with people, mom had zeal in spades when it came to children's ministries, and us four kids...well, we saw it as our ministry, too. We used music every turn of the way and my brother and I used to joke about being the "Christian version" of the Von Trapp family singers from The Sound of Music, right down to the family puppet shows! We all got busy working for the Lord... or the church. Something like that. (Enter confusion over serving God versus serving the church, stage left) But that's for another day...