Thursday, June 08, 2006

Readdressing the Concept

When I named this blog "tentpegs" I explained, in the first column, that the word refers to our tendency to put down roots, make ourselves comfortable, and not continue our journey from here to heaven. In my own life I can often hear the tentpegs give as one more part of who I am and what I do moves on; my tent folds up and the journey continues.

As our congregation moves from being a one-location-many-services church to being a multi-site, missional, many-services church I can hear a lot of tentpegs popping out of the ground. Such is as it should be. God never wanted us to be comfortable and "at home in the world." We settle for far too little. We settle down far too quickly.

Thanks for your kind words about Duncan. He took the ASVAB test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) on Monday and scored 82. Average is less than 55 and it takes 74 to qualify for application to NROTC so he is a very happy man. He gets up at 6AM each day and goes running before coming home to take a quick shower and head for school. His work ethic and dedication humble me. [thanks to all who recommended Frank Shaeffer's books "Keeping Faith" and "Faith of Our Sons." We got them, read them, and are buying other copies to send to everyone who knows us and wonders what got into Duncan and how we are handling it]

We signed the papers on Monday. Kami and I sat at a small desk in a tiny room and signed the papers that allow Duncan to make his own contract with the Marines and enter whenever he wants to. He is 17. We heard the tentpegs pop out of the ground. Life is changing, never to be the same again.

I feel somewhat like I felt when I left Kara at Lipscomb six years ago. Her mother and I cried for the first hour on the drive home, unable to speak. We did the same thing when we put our son, then aged 9, on a flight to Guyana to help his grandfather in medical missons deep in the interior... and with Hurricane Mitch on its way. It was similar to the feeling I got when I walked over to my daughter -- who stood there nervously, radiant in her wedding gown -- offered her my arm and said, "It's time. We will do this well. Let's go," and nodded to the people ahead of us to open the door and let us march down the aisle.

Tentpegs popped out of the ground.

Tentpegs are our security blankets. They are our chains. They lock us into a place of comfort and security, allowing us to build palaces for ourselves while God lives in a tent, a shack, under a bridge.

What if the children of Israel thought about things for awhile and decided they didn't want to go to the Promised Land, but stayed around Mount Sinai instead? Forget about what God might have done to them: think about how tragic their loss would have been and how they would never have known it.

We were built to move. We weren't built to make our homes on this planet. As we move towards God He builds change into our lives: seasons change, jobs begin and end, and children grow up and put on a wedding dress or camoflauge.

And the tentpegs pop. Let each pop remind us that we are not at home yet. May the old songs remind us that we are pilgrims and strangers, just travelin' through this wearisome land. But we have a home in that yonder city that is not made with hands!


At 6/08/2006 09:37:00 AM , Blogger Niki said...

I've heard the popping of tentpegs all my life. I appreciate you putting words to some of the things I feel and experience. Right on Patrick! Keep leading my friend!

At 6/08/2006 10:41:00 AM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Reading this post, Patrick, brings tears to my eyes thinking back to the day David left - at 17 - to fly up to Annapolis for plebe summer at the U. S. Naval Academy as he entered the Academy. That was a terribly difficult day for me for a lot of reasons. David and I were very close and it was hard for me to have him go, although I very much wanted him to and was very proud of him, as you are of Duncan.

I well understand your feelings about his decision and all that it will mean for you all and him. I continue to remember you and Duncan in my prayers for him to have a steady resolve and faithful heart in all that he does.

Some tent pegs are much harder to pull up from the ground to move on than others. Letting children go are among the hardest tent pegs to pull up, I think.

At 6/08/2006 08:34:00 PM , Blogger Kari said...

Hey Patrick!
I always appreciate your wisdom and encouragement. Sometimes it's scary to pull up your tent pegs, but if they were meant to stay there without moving why not build a house?
Thank you for being such a steady source of encouragement for me--even though you're not anywhere actually near.

At 6/09/2006 07:08:00 AM , Anonymous Danny Gill said...

Patrick, you're speaking my language! Every day I hear more tent pegs pop, and I'm learning to anticipate the sound and enjoy it. We're transients here. And there are days when I'm ready to move on . . .

At 6/09/2006 07:46:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

You know, after that whole thing with Jael, the thought of tent pegs kinda freaks me out!

At 6/09/2006 07:59:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

That's why we pull 'em, not pound 'em! Aspirin, anyone?

At 6/11/2006 09:06:00 PM , Blogger Jimmy, Tiffany, Abigail and Cooper said...

Thank you. I am struggling two months into a move I didn't want to make, but my husband did. I had a great life, a great church family. Starting over was the last thing I wanted to do. I'm struggling with wanting to put down tent pegs and leave them down, where I want them. Not just for my comfort, but where I can have a vibrant faith and help others. I don't know if I can do that where I am now. But you remind me that e don't know the future. We must trust God to put us where we can grow and help other grow as well. Thanks for your thoughts. (BTW, we LOVED Leave a Hole and my husband, a former United States Marine, was very moved by Duncan's Creed!!!!!)

At 6/12/2006 11:24:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

Another chapter for your best selling book!


At 6/16/2006 10:30:00 PM , Anonymous Melanie Morales said...

Have you heard the story about Sherlock Holmes and his assistant go camping in the woods. In the middle of the night, Sherlock woke up and leaned over to Watson and asked him what he saw. Watson began this incredibly descriptive narrative as he saw the beautiful night sky above him - he began to go on and on about how beautiful the stars were and how bright the moon was until Sherlock who'd lost all patience interupted him. "No, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!"

So, when moving from camp site to camp site - don't forget to look around and look up and admire the incredible ways God is still working around You - even when your journey has been shifted yet again to the next site.

My husband's mom allowed him to join the Marines when he was 17. As his wife, I'm truly grateful for more reasons besides the fact that I don't have to worry about my ironing skills! My ironing is taken care of by him!

I don't get to comment often - but I enjoy reading your blog. I love the "tent pegs" angle you come from. And I also just read your Executive Mailing Tube - I'm still laughing!


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