2006: Year of deaths

January 7, 2007

Well, here’s my reflection on the past year. I will take things in the order I contemplated them.

The “word or phrase I would use to summarize 2006” jumped out at me, and was the first thing I wrote down: Year of deaths.

2006 saw the death of many things for me:

  • Our church shut down.
  • Our leadership role in a church came to an end.
  • My thoughts of an opportunity for radical change to create a new kind of church did not work out.
  • For the first time in 15 years, we are not in a Vineyard church.
  • In fact, there are no more Vineyards left in San Jose.
  • The Bridge Community in Ventura whom I love also shut down.
  • My dream job turned out to suck.
  • With our kids at a new stage, our social life came to a screeching halt.

The year was not a total loss. I think we succeeded in “finishing well” with Cornerstone Vineyard. A dozen people from our Vineyard went to this year’s Soliton Sessions. I have hope for a new job. Our marriage is stronger than ever, and I learned an important lesson: Any ministry I attempt without Kay will not work well.

But all in all, I find myself at the strangest point in my faith-journey since I had my first encounter with God at age 11. I have run out of both passion and faith. Everything I have been passionate about has been deconstructed, and I am left with nothing. The one thing that is stronger is the love and life we share in our marriage and family. Other than that, I am empty.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m in a good place for God to begin something new—on his terms.

++ Now, more than anyTHING
or any agenda
I need you, oh Lord ++

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

16 responses to 2006: Year of deaths

  1. (Actually, there is one Vineyard church remaining in San Jose, but we’ve never visited them.)

  2. Peter Eisenmann January 7, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks for being honest and open about where you are right now. I am in a similar place and have decided that I have to relax and get to a place that I want to rely on God coming along side rather than me pursuing him. That is NOT the tack that I lived in for years and it is scary.
    Come Lord.

  3. Wow, I’m sorry. I hope that, when you’ve had time to rest and grieve you’ll be able to look deep and find that your faith, like love, is there even when the intense feeling has withered. I hope you find that small, stable, rock of a faith that digs in and won’t let go, that blossoms occasionally into passion but that lives even when the blossoms wilt.
    In the mean time, don’t beat yourself up too much. Transitions of any kind are hard, and transitions in parts of our lives that we’ve understood to define who we are are even harder.

  4. Hm. Well, #1, I am really sorry that you feel that way. I feel like maybe you are either looking too hard, or aren’t looking at the right things then. Sorry, hoesnty is my burden in life…
    To elaborate: Yes, your church died, but your church is not the building you go to, or even the people you meet up with. It’s you. You are the temple and the only thing that matters in your contract with your God. Your wife, your children, and the rest of the planet could stop their faith, but as long as you have it in you, your church is still there. (and this, from the athiest.)
    Yes, your think your dream job ended up sucking. Then it wasn’t your dream job. Just because you were wrong about what you thought that job was, doesn’t a) make it actually your dream job or b) imply that whatever said dream job is “sucks”. It was a mis-fire. We all have them. Go figure out what you learned and find that which is actually your dream job. 🙂
    Your social life died? Come on now. It might be different than before, but there are aspects to your social life that you forget about. Your kids are part of your social life. Yes, you might not hang out with friends as much, but I bet you see a lot more of your children and your wife. Don’t discount them as your friends just because they are family. As they grow older, your children may become the best friends you have. Also, I feel like I have seen you more this year than ever before.
    Ok, so lastly in the Noelle school of hard knocks: Don’t sit around for God to hand you something. Go fix it. You are a motivated, smart, funny, really awesome guy. You will find the job you need. Make it happen. You will find a church that fullfills you. Make it happen. And if you want more of a social life, get on it. Everyone I know would jump at the chance to make something work, all you have to do is ask. There’s no reason we can’t hang out with your kids around.
    You are not empty. You are full of life, and joy, and strength, and humor. You make me, personally, really happy whenever you are around. I know that Chris adores you. If you still feel empty, its up to you to fill yourself back up. It may take time, but I have my own faith, and that is in you, and I know that you are going to feel full up again, very soon. Just make it happpen.

  5. I love you man. Hang in there. And remember, for there to be a resurrection there must be a death.

  6. Jon,
    Hadn’t heard about Bridge… what happened?
    – Greg

  7. Peter,
    You put it well! While I find myself in a weird place, I’ve been down the road with God long enough that even though my faith is currently dormant, I know that he will find us both out.
    (I’ve known other Eisenmanns. Is that a coincidence, or do I know you by another name?)

  8. Iris,
    Thanks for your encouraging words. Any transition is stressful. Having multiple transitions stacked on top of each other—well, it can get downright weird.
    I know that faith will find me again.

  9. Noelle,
    I want you to hit me as hard as you can.

  10. Greg,
    As I understand it, the Bridge has shut down. The folks we know are meeting together much as they did when they first dreamed of the Bridge, to see what God wants them to do next. Check out the link above.

  11. John, sorry to hear that this last year was so difficult. Ugh!! Losing your church fellowship is really tough, and getting the dream job that ends up sucking it the pits!! The Lord is near to the broken hearted, keep on keeping on, brother.

  12. Why do life cycles surprise us so much? I keep thinking people in another time understood these things better, somehow were more sensible and able to get it right without fail. Or I think that a people sometime in the future will get it right and never have endings.
    But somehow we grieve and in that itself is something irreducable.
    I am learning that reconciliation isn’t about making things right, it may be about making that IS all right.

  13. Hi Suzanna!!
    Thanks for bringing up life cycles. I was just enjoying the simple pleasure of grocery shopping with my wife, and in the midst of it my thoughts strayed to Abraham. We, uh, never hear about him grocery shopping, so to speak. I have a fresh anticipation of finding God in the ordinary and unremarkable.

  14. Hey Jon. The past year has been quite the same for me. It has been the hardest one in a long time. But the good news is after death, comes life.
    The journey will be a more exciting one, because you know the one who is writing it sees all, knows all. And as much as we are all worry-warts in some way — a mindset of joyful anticipation will break us out of our shell..
    And into the full presence of the Lord for His glory. I cannot wait to see what will unfold for you this year. 🙂

  15. Kryx, thanks for having faith on my behalf.