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it's been a while ...

I haven't been posting much here, and I'm even further behind on the Anglican news digest. I've got news to share, though, and I'd like to get back to posting regularly here as well as on my other pages.

First off, I'm pleased to say that I've accepted a new job. I am editor of The Witness magazine. The Witness has been around since 1917 as an Anglican voice for justice, I've admired their work for years, and I think their mission is of particular importance at this historical moment, so I'm both honored and energized to be joining them. There was some gap between editors, so it's going to take a while before I hit my full stride and post content as frequently as I'd like to see it going up, but I'm already posting new articles from both regular and new contributors to The Witness, and I encourage you to check it out. (If any of y'all happen to be photographers or writers interested in contributing please do feel free to contact me too!)

The new gig is part-time. The difficulty of part-time work is that I still don't have benefits. I'm trying to figure out what to do for heal care, since I can't afford to continue the COBRA coverage from my last job, and that's very stressful. I'll probably end up switching to a health plan with a deductible of multiple thousands of dollars, so it will help if (God forbid) I develop some major medical condition or have a massive car accident or something, but it will be no help at all if I get the flu, a sinus infection, or some other condition that would benefit greatly from medical treatment, but isn't immediately threatening to life or limb. This is a downer.

The lovely thing about part-time work — especially when I'm doing it from home — is that I'm still free to take the next good thing that comes up, whether that's guest preaching, teaching, or consulting in a parish or, should an opportunity come up that's OK with my bishop, an ongoing parish, chaplaincy, or seminary gig. I also really ought to file my dissertation, I've got two partially written books going, and now that I'm in my third year of blogging the lectionary, I'm wondering whether I ought to revise and supplement what I'm doing to produce three handy one-volume preachers' commentaries on the lectionary.

Sadly, though, a little over a month ago my ordination process hit a huge snag that could delay me for several years. This is a massive downer. I miss working in a parish. I miss preaching regularly. And it's harder to produce focused reflections in the lectionary blog without day-to-day pastoral interactions with which I can bring my thoughts on scripture for dialogue. I've been in various discernment processes or waiting periods for almost ten years now, and it's a huge blow to think it could be a few more years left to go (not to mention many, many thousands of dollars more in expenses, which are hard to meet when one isn't working full time, the washing machine just broke and needs replacing NOW, and our home heating system really ought to be replaced to the tune of five thousand dollars or so). I'd appreciate your prayers.

I've really been encouraged, though, by opportunities I've had to get to know more about more of the folks who read this site, mostly through the SarahLaughed.net online map, where over 250 readers thus far (so many that you have to click on a little link at the bottom of the map to show them all!) have posted a pin to show where they are in the world and a brief “shout-out” to say hello. I also have much appreciated emails I've received from readers sharing their own ideas and a little bit about how they've used the site and what it's meant to them. I really am an extrovert, and at a point when my day-to-day work doesn't involve face-to-face interactions with other people, it's been nice to picture the faces of people with whom my work brings me into contact. When I feel isolated, it's lovely to click on a map and see all of those pins or open the email folder I keep with the title “encouraging words,” and see just what kind of relationships are developing here in cyberspace. I'd love one of these days to add more features for y'all to interact with one another here too -- something like what Real Live Preacher (an amazing writer and a good friend) has done with his expanded site. I'm glad to hear that folks have liked listening to podcasts of the lectionary blog, where you can hear my voice with your ears rather than only by my tone in writing, and it would be wonderful to find ways to bring that kind of personal touch to relationships between readers.

So thanks for your messages, your “shout outs,” and most of all, your prayers. These are rough times, but I'm glad to have this corner of cyberspace that makes me feel like I am helping to further the mission of the church even if I can't now do all of what I feel called to do.



November 18, 2005 in Personal News | Permalink


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Dylan love...First of all, huge and excited congrats re the job. You'll do it wonderfully well, and, as you say, it's good that you will still have time for your distinctive stuff too.
But what a bummer re the health insurance (will just have to pray you stay disgustingly healthy for the foreseeable future, which might be good anyway)and even more of a bummer re delays in the ordination process. I was sent home to feed my chickens (that's what they told me to do, literally...despite total absence of poultry of any kind) for 2 years, which felt an eternity after I'd spent 8 years faffing around and running away from my calling...so I do do do so know how horrible that feeling is. Huge and heartfelt hugs,- and yes, PLEASE, do publish your lectionary reflections. They are, as I've told you before, a true God-send.
Blessings xx

Posted by: Kathryn | Nov 18, 2005 4:46:05 PM


I'm so sorry that you've hit a snag in your ordination process. I read your blog (almost) daily because it helps me bear the plodding pace of my own discernment process with less anxiety. I also love your lectionary blog--I often consult it before planning my middle-school church school lessons and activities.

I'll be praying for your health, peace and patience. You are doing wonderful and important work.

Posted by: Annalisa | Nov 19, 2005 2:04:07 AM

Congratulations on becoming editor of the Witness! What a good fit.

Re the discernment process (and health insurance)--I wish I had something more concrete and helpful to say other than you're in my thoughts and prayers. The church can really feed us, and sometimes it can be such a twisted place. May God sustain you and offer real solutions (and may God's time be sooner rather than later!)

Posted by: Emily | Nov 19, 2005 6:51:21 PM

congrats on the part time gig. regarding the health insurance, you could always move to canada, which has been my answer to all problems since the last presidential election. Or go back to school. I had a friend for a while that went back to school every time his insurance expired. He has something like 400 undergraduate credits in a bajillion majors, (and only one BA), and swears he'll be doing it again in his 80s when he needs a hip replacement "Medicare, Schmedicare---give me that student insurance!" Sorry to be so silly (although that is a true story). Hope things are looking up. (Hey, if your diss isn't done, can you get insurance from the school where you're getting it?)

Posted by: ppb | Nov 20, 2005 7:54:54 PM

Congratulations on the job!

Posted by: Lynn Gazis-Sax | Nov 26, 2005 1:03:33 AM

Congratulations on your new job! As someone who has contributed to The Witness in the past and cares about the publication, I'm happy to hear it will be in good hands! Best of luck with that, and with working out the difficulties in your ordination process.

Posted by: beth | Nov 28, 2005 1:00:45 PM

Congrats, Dylan! You and The Witness-what a logical combo!

Sorry about whatever roadblock you've hit in The Process.

Re insurance....at least out here in California, BC/BS's individual policies are very reasonable compared to what I was paying for COBRA from my church policy in MN. I think a $500 deductible PPO policy cost me well under $300/mo. (I'd been paying $475 for COBRA thru the Dio of MN's plan...)

BTW...my two new-to-me cats say "Meow!" to your felicitous felines. I now have a tabby who resembles Foster and a dilute tortie who is the same basic color scheme, if not pattern, as Bette.

Posted by: Gillian | Dec 1, 2005 10:55:20 PM

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