« March 2008 | Main | December 2008 »

new posts probable soon -- with your help!

Please pardon a post here that's personal news combined with (gulp!) a commercial announcement (and one that I've all but duplicated on Grace Notes at that!).

I've been to a few gatherings with large numbers of clergy lately, and have been honored and deeply encouraged in the work I do as a "paradigm planter" and public theologian by the profoundly gracious things that many have took me aside to say. And it's very clear to me now that a lot of people would love me to start adding new material once more to the lectionary blog. If you're one of those people, I've got good news:

I'm planning to do just that -- starting, I think, with the start of the church year in Advent.

I'm just trying to find ways to make it work, but I'm hitting something of a stride, and I think -- with your help -- I can do it.

I'm starting to catch my breath after the initial rush of demands from starting a job. Yes, as some of you have seen on Facebook and Twitter, I'm now working full-time for Guitar Center. Work in retail is tiring in some ways, but it hits the spot for my extroverted side, and it also uses some of my skills in listening (people talk -- verbally and with non-verbal cues -- about what they like, want, and need, and I reflect it back to them in a way that helps them recognize that), teaching (helping people make INFORMED decisions), and communication.

And I really needed the job. The economy's woes have hit everywhere, including nonprofits, and I just wasn't getting the hours I needed with IMPACT Boston to make ends meet. For example, I had no hours at all assigned for November.

Furthermore, The Episcopal Church's General Convention is coming up in July. I need to be there, for reasons that will become clear soon, and I very much want to be there, offering the kind of take on convention that I offered via The Witness magazine when it was still being published, and also raising my voice when I can and it's appropriate around important pieces of legislation. But airfare and two weeks of staying in a hotel -- even the über-cheap one I've managed to find and reserve a room for, and even when one cooks a lot of meals in a toaster oven or microwave, as I plan to do -- isn't cheap, and after paying seminary tuition for two years, I know I'm going to have to scramble hard between now and June to get through convention without an insane credit card balance. So full-time work was needed at least until I could cover convention expenses.

I also needed a job where working harder and doing better immediately generated immediate rewards. We had problems with dampness in our basement that needed remediation, and that isn't cheap -- plus I needed to make up in a hurry for the months in which I had budgeted expecting work from IMPACT that, due to no fault of theirs, didn't materialize. At Guitar Center, if I can sell more gear, then the rewards are immediate.

But I didn't want a job that had nothing to do with anything I loved, and I did want a job where I felt I was helping people like the readers of this blog in their work and in balancing work with other things that bring joy. Working with Guitar Center to connect people with what they need to make music, have their sermons, soloists, and Christmas pageants heard, and achieve excellence in liturgical sound and light seems like a pretty good way to go.

So I'm hoping that you and I -- and others that you and/or I know -- can help each other out, and that you'll pardon an announcement here that's at least in part commercial. If you're in the U.S. and you need or want anything of the sort Guitar Center or Musician's Friend carries -- or even some musical or sound-related things they don't carry -- I'm authorized to make absolutely sure that you get THE lowest price available anywhere in the country on it (indeed, if you find a cheaper price anywhere else within 30 days after purchase, you get a refund of 110% of the difference!). So the websites are great places to browse, but give me a call before you buy, as I very well might be able to do even better by you.

Thinking about giving a musical instrument, an amplifier, equipment to record music or a podcast, or even a game like Guitar Hero or Rock Band for Christmas? Please feel free to give me a shout.

Need anything related to light and/or sound for your congregation?  Microphones? Affordable and professional-sounding ways to record sermons, podcasts, and services? A portable P.A. you can use in the parish hall or at the church picnic? Instruments, from tamborines and djembes to guitars and keyboards? Music software? Please feel free to give me a shout.

Is there a guitar, bass, keyboard, or other piece of musical gear you've had your eye on? Please talk to me.

Whatever you need, I'll be very glad to give you a no-hassle, no-pressure, no-sales-fib way to get any of it, and to get it more cheaply than you could anywhere else -- and one of the advantages of working for a behemoth like Guitar Center is that there's a good chance I can get ahold of what you need and a 100% chance that it will be the most affordable way to get it.

Just drop me an email with your phone number, a couple of good times to call, and a bit of information about what you need (whatever you know about it -- I'll help you figure it out if you're getting a gift for someone else or aren't quite sure what gear will accomplish what you want), and we'll talk. You'd be doing me a huge favor, and I wouldn't be putting this out there if I didn't think I that I could help you out considerably in return.

And please tell your friends, colleagues, mail carriers ... I'd really like to do General Convention -- and to produce even more of the stuff you've found helpful from me -- without breaking the bank, and I think this sound/light equipment thing just might be the "tentmaking" trade that will make the other work I do sustainable.

And with that, I'll return for now to alternating catching my breath and doing some scrambling for sales this month so I can carve out extra time to start lectionary blogging again in Advent.

I do hope that you haven't found this post obnoxiously commercial, and please accept my apologies if you have. I'm just trying to figure out how to do the rather unconventional mix of things I do as a freelance theologian for God's reign, and to pay the bills at the same time. Sometimes, the territory feels strange to me, so if it is for you too, I'm grateful for your openness to potentially successful experiments and patience with the ones that go awry.

Blessings -- and thank you, as ever, for your support, encouragement, and reading on!


November 9, 2008 in Personal Notes | Permalink | Comments (8)