A month ago my wife and I arrived in San Antonio, Texas, to begin the next stage of our life. I guess that makes today a fitting occasion to provide a bit of a personal update. I know many of you have been waiting with great anticipation for my report from the Republic (smirk)!
– As far as employment is concerned I continue to do some grading for online students of Western Seminary, but I remain unemployed when it comes to having a day-to-day job.
– Confession: I thought that as a seminary graduate moving to the so-called Bible Belt where there are churches on top of churches it would be a breeze to find at least one church interested in employing me. I was wrong, dead wrong. I’ve applied for a few jobs and my response has been quieter than crickets. I have seen a ton of job openings in Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston areas, but I think that the evangelical culture is stronger there than here. Roman Catholics seems to be more numerous here, and there are a lot of job opportunities in their parishes, but I think its disingenuous to convert to get a job!
– We have visited four churches since moving here: one charismatic congregation of the Black church tradition; one storefront Pentecostal church; one Vineyard church; and a modern Mennonite church. I’ve learned that my time in non-denominational evangelical churches have caused charismatic-Pentecostal style churches to be a bit disorienting. Two of the churches we’ve visited have women pastors, both very good expositors, so that has been exciting. Actually, the two churches that we continue to consider for future membership are those churches.
– The weather has been fantastic. I’ve enjoyed temperatures ranging from the low 90s to high 70s. I see many of my friends in Oregon mentioning the coming rain and I do not miss that at all. In fact, I have not missed Oregon period (though I have missed my friends from there). That said, I have noticed that some things that are important to Oregonians (e.g., fresh food from farmer’s markets, sustainable living) have rubbed off on me. These values are not very Texan in general. But I should add that San Antonio under the leadership of Mayor Julian Castro is moving toward sustainability and such.
– San Antonio is massive. I have learned to drive in cities like San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, and Seattle and I’ve traveled to places like Chicago, New York, London, and Paris. San Antonio’s size and the speed of their drivers has unnerved me. There is so much space that everywhere feels like a highway. When driving you must move fast and if you don’t you get lost or crushed in this suburban sprawl.
– We’ve met some good friends, mostly people my wife knew from her childhood here (so I guess I should say “I” have met some good friends). For those wondering, no, I have not found my theo-nerd friend like I had in JohnDave Medina and Josh Smith in Portland. I’m sure that will change in time.
– Thus far the best days have been those listening to Amy-Jill Levine lecture on Jewish-Christian relations. It was my first time around an academic environment. I am about 75% sure that I will be attending the Annual Meeting of AAR/SBL next month, so that is exciting, because a few weeks ago it was looking quite bleak.
– I have experienced some serious bouts with homesickness. As the fall arrives I’ve had the smell of falling leaves and cut grass from my hometown of Napa comes to my thoughts. Also, the San Francisco Giants are in the NLCS, so every game I watch includes shots of the city that I consider home. While I have begun to acknowledge the reality that life may never lead me back there that doesn’t mean I have come to accept it. I continue to dream of returning to the City by the Bay.
– Overall, I like my new life in Texas. I’d rather be in California (well, northern California), but I am thrilled to have escaped Oregon and its nine months of rain.