In a culture obsesses with trilogies, let me offer the final episode of the series as a quintology. If you take away the darkness, pain, and other gloomy things while adding joy, happiness, and stuff like that, you will see how the past six months have been good to me.
Let us start by rewinding back to February. What ended up being our church’s last event was a Super Bowl Party. From the beginning it did not feel right. It took a whole week for me to realize that the pastor thing was not working out for me.
Who do you tell when the life you have worked for is no longer an option? Outside of the proper leadership and participants of the group, I did not feel I could tell anyone. On top of that, what church do you go to?
It took about a month to decide. For many reasons, we decided to go to OKC1st Church of the Nazarene. I found out there was a really early service at 8:30am that did liturgy through a Wesleyan lens, and we could stay with our denomination. My wife also looked forward to it.
Our first Sunday to OKC1st’s Word & Table was different. We recognized a few of the congregants as our former professor’s from school. That made us feel very comfortable. Rev. Judy Cox presented the gospel in a way that we needed to hear that week. We stayed for Sunday School, and boy, was that an experience! To actually discuss theology and practics of the gospel with the very people who taught you these things in college… and they treated us as equals!
Both my wife and I were hooked. Save for sickness, we have been attending Word & Table every service since. Sometimes we stay for the big worship service, but usually we stick with W&T. After a few months, Judy moved on to another ministry assignment. This was strangely heartbreaking, but we found out quickly that Dr. Jirair Tashjian would be replacing her as the pastor to W&T. OKC1st also has a great lead pastor in Jon Middendorf (to be fair, all the OKC1st pastors are great).
Rabbit Trail: Dr. Tashjian was my professor of the New Testament in college. He is one of the smartest men I know and more importantly, a man of God. In college, a few friends made the Jirair Tashjian award for the student who personified the person of Jesus best. It was a joke award, but a very respectful award. Dr. Tashjian is a small man who speaks gently and quietly with a little bit of an accent. The words he speaks are generally full of thought and compassion. I get the pleasure of calling him Pastor Jirair. If I ever get him to start a Twitter account, I am encouraging him to take the name @pastorjirair
The children’s department is just perfect for my daughter who has instantly made about 100 new friends. This is very important to us as only one church that we have been a part has had more than 3 children in the whole department.
Also, I got involved with the church’s Celebrate Recovery (CR). CR sometimes has a reputation of only being for those with addictions, but that limits its scope quite a bit. CR is also for people who have been broken by the world or those in it. Among the areas that CR helps is depression, guilt, anger, and really anything that causes issues.
I started attending because I have been told a few times that I have an anger problem. One of the people in charge for OKC1st’s CR has been a friend of mine for a few years, so I decided to check it out. So far, I have made every meeting since April 18. This is in addition to a step study that I started at the beginning of June. Once I complete that, I can help be apart of CR leadership. CR is a good thing for people who love God but have felt judgment and condemnation from the Church. It offers a safe place for people to recover from their hurts, habits, and hangups.
Some other positive things are that I have steadily lost weight, maintained blood pressure fairly well and I have stopped getting stress sickness. I have even voluntarily eaten vegetables! Save for a nagging leg injury today, walking a mile or two has taken up my mornings over the past week. I am actually getting up at 5am every morning. Just over a year ago, I was going to bed at the same time!
Hopefully, this is the last chapter in the series, at least concerning me. I have lined up some interviews with other Former Pastors/Somewhat Ministers and will include those in due time. Thank you for taking the time to read the series.