Sunday, May 1, 2011

Let Me Reintroduce Myself To You

When I set this blog up a number of years ago, I really meant for it to be something I updated regularly. Really. I did.

I haven't had much chance to recreationally write lately. I do enjoy blogging and have tried my hand at it a couple times but tend to get busy and blogging just isn't the priority for me that it is for alot of other folks.

Anyway, here's an update with my thoughts on some of the things we've experienced in the last couple of years.

Our lives - by "our" I mean the kids' and mine - have changed dramatically. I took that job I referenced in late 2009. The kids and I moved to Columbia in January of 2010 where I went back into full-time radio, working for the Zimmer Radio Group as a news reporter.

In less than two months, the afternoon drive-time talk show host (Gary Nolan) left and I was moved into that role. It wasn't a new task, as I had been Gary's back-up for a couple of years but having a weekday, drive-time talk show has been both challenging and fun. "The Mike Ferguson Show" went on the air on February 22nd, 2010.

I kept anchoring KLCJ's news in both the mornings and afternoons for about a year. Budget cuts and consolidations resulted in that part-time endeavor ending in early 2011. I miss the work but don't mind the extra time (and sleep) at home.

The kids transferred from Blue Ridge Christian School in Kansas City to Christian Fellowship School in Columbia, which is a good school. It's been quite a transition for Austin (now 14) and Amber (now 12). CFS is more demanding, academically, overall but it's far less demanding doctrinally. That's not a slam against CFS so much as it is a reflection of the very liberal culture and mindset of Columbia, Missouri.

Columbia is a university town with all the good and all the bad that comes with that. The bad is I've seen a tremendous difference in the Christian community here when compared to the church family we moved from. The worship is less reverent here with more or less every church embracing the seeker-sensitive, Rock-n-Roll Jesus approach: throw on your ball cap, grab some cargo shorts from the bottom of the pile on the floor, crank up the guitars and wave your hands in the air like you just don't care...

That's not the Sunday morning church I grew up with.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy contemporary Christian music (much to my Dad's chagrin). I picked up Jeremy Camp's new album this weekend and love it! I just think there's a time and place for everything in the perspective of reverence and, to me, hopping up and down to a rock band is not reverence in God's house. In the car? Sure. When working out? Yep. When preparing to listen and meditate on a sermon? Ehhh....not so much.

I also like jazz and blues and the crooners like Sinatra and Martin and Bennett. Is their music "sinful". I don't think so but it's not right for church.

I'm used to breaking out the suit or sport jacket and tie. Doing that here makes you stick our like a sore thumb and, as a result, makes you a visual distraction. So, I'm slowly getting used to the casual attire - it still feels weird to dress down on Sundays. But that's not all of the challenge: the liberal mindset of this community has worked its way into the churches and, as with all seeker-sensitive churches, the Gospel and Biblical truth sometimes takes a backseat to "tolerance" and ecumenicalism.

Even this morning I heard an otherwise good sermon with a clear error in doctrine. It was a minor point of the sermon but part of Ephesians was misrepresented - with the more modern, politically-correct, liberal version of what God (through Paul's writing to the Ephesians) instructs for the Christian family winning out over, well, what God actually instructs for the Christian family.

I won't get into too much theology with this post but suffice it to say we're being challenged spiritually here. After almost a year and a half, the kids and I are still unable to find a really strong church. I've greatly prefer a Baptist church but, so far, every one we've visited is just as watered-down in some way as the others, so we're looking at non-denominational churches as well.

Maybe that's the challenge. It pains me to type this, but God isn't Baptist. In fact, I'm pretty sure He doesn't care what the lettering is on the outside of the church building you attend. Denominations are man-made; I just believe conservative, fundamental Baptist churches generally have the most accurate reading of the Bible and the strongest teachings.

We will settle in somewhere and it will likely be very different from that which we are accustomed.

The challenge is that we've (especially me) been drop-kicked out of our comfort zone in so many ways with this move. We have to be more discerning when it comes to what we hear from both the classroom and the pulpit, for instance. My personal homework load has gone up as a result, which is not a bad thing. I wasn't spending enough time in devotions before the move, anyway.

But still, hearing incorrect things was been a serious source of frustration for me for several months and, then, I got to thinking: maybe, just maybe, God knew what He was doing when he sent us here...

I've had to start separating the "must haves" when it comes to finding a church from the "nice to haves".

Hmmm...that means I should (gulp) stop complaining and start listening more. Maybe there's something I'm supposed to learn here from an unexpected source - someone I may instinctively think is unqualified to teach or something that's unconventional in my eyes.

I still have no idea why this is where we are supposed to be right now. I do believe it is where we are supposed to be. I don't know for how long, but that's not for me to decide.

How often to update this blog, on the other hand, is up to me and I'll try to do better at that.