Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Treasure hunting

I confess that I have been letting the whole Colorado move thing make me crazy again. I am almost positive I will not be able to get a news job, and giving that up hurts me to the core. I do not "do" journalism. I "am" a journalist.

So, my whole sense of self is wrapped up in this.

Then there's the money thing. I will almost assuredly have to take a pay cut, in relative terms for sure, but maybe even in real dollars -- which sucks. The cost of living in the Denver area is about 17 percent higher than Oklahoma City.

So, worry worry worry.

But, I had lunch with a couple of PR gals yesterday who helped me see opportunity there. One of them has lived in Boulder and worked in the Denver market.

They know me just well enough to know I hang my hat on integrity in public communications and that I hold public relations, as a whole, in disdain, although I loves me a good flack. Problem is, there aren't that many good flacks.

PR people who confuse marketing and public relations are the problem. The best PR people were in the working press first. Which means I could do PR, for the right firm, working for clients with integrity. Maybe. We'll see.

Going over to the Dark Side is a galling prospect.

But then, just as lunch with my flack friends pulled me back from despair, here comes my trusty issue of The Christian Century, with this timely message, again, to further soothe my worries, again.

It's the ending of the "Living by the Word" feature, in the current paper issue based on Luke 12:22-31, by Kenneth H. Carter Jr., pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C.:

"Where your treasure is," Jesus taught, there you heart will be also."

There is an urgency about these matters. Time passes, and we are shaped by our commitments and loyalties, which add up to a particular way of life. We are accountable to God and to one another. At times our priorities are misplaced; in the language of Abba Poemen of the fifth century, we hear the warning: "Do not give your heart to that which cannot satisfy your heart." "Life is more than food," Jesus insists, the body more than clothing" (Luke 12:23). As disciples we recognize the danger of the sin of storing up treasure for ourselves, of giving priority to that which seems, in hindsight, to be trivial.

The call is clear: be prepared, light the lantern, wake up, get ready. The audit is scheduled; the date and time are unknown to us, but the Son of Man is coming soon. Our security is finally not in the stock market, which goes up and down; or in the government, which rises and falls; or in the corporation, which splits and merges and restructures. Instead, we would do well to learn from the ravens -- they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet God feeds them (Luke 12:24). Their patterns of behavior teach us that life is a gift, a gift to be shared, a gift to be treasured.

Our true security lies in the grasp of a fundamental truth: the reign of God is near, closer than we realize. The culture, and our misplaced allegiance to it, has led us down the path of anxiety about the present and the future, about our possessions and wealth. The gospel as gift and demand is clear: God will provide for us, and through us God will provide for others.

Bloggy buddy and friend Geoffrey Kruse-Safford blogs on prayer at his place. I don't believe God does "answer prayers" in any way that means much to us as we see through the glass darkly. But God "answering prayers" isn't really what Geoffrey is writing about. He's writing about dangerous communion.

But, I pray because I can't help it. Though God slay me, yet will I trust him. And I must be reminded again and again -- and again! -- to cling to the gospel truth:

"God will provide for us, and through us God will provide for others."


As one who has crossed to the Dark Side, I can attest it ain't that dark. One of the best parts of my job is jawing with reporters and editors -- as you know, they appreciate someone who speaks their language.

That said, your unique ability to switch effortlessly from "erudite" to "redneck" and back again can only help your employment prospects here on the Dark Side.

One last thing: You've bemoaned here a time or two about how you are unable in your real-life occupation to have the kinds of opinions you so eruditely and redneckishly toss around in this space. Over here on the Dark Side, we get paid to express those opinions. We earn money for advocating for the things we believe in. And there is great satisfaction in that, my brother -- greater than anything journalism ever gave me.
Would you then be PER, or perhaps ER-PR? EPR? There are all sorts of possibilities there!

Thanks for the link. I don't worry about "answered prayer" all that much. I just worry that I am open enough to hear an answer when it comes. I also worry, sometimes, that I'm just not good enough to be heard. That's why the line is always open.

Though God slay me . . . I like that. That is deep faith. Selfless faith. Sometimes, I wish I could say I had either, let alone both.
What I have, I think, is the habit of faith, seasoned by a few episodes of life when God seemed farheest away yet in retrospect was actually RIGHT THERE, and a few incidents when the godness of God have just jackslapped me to the ground. Most times I've sensed I was knocked to my knees. The images after Katrina, as I've blogged before -- and testified in the RW a couple of times -- knocked me to my face in shame of my ambivalence. But it's the habit thing that is most important I think; we are creatures of rhythm.
Though God slay me still I will trust Him - that was my great-great grandmother Stacpoole's life verse, and years ago when I discovered it, I made it my own.It just about sums up our walk with God, and that in the end it'll all be OK.
Job 13:15.

The second half of that verse is worth looking at too. The whole chapter would take a lifetime of meditation to "get."
I pray for a job with the Dark Side. I think you'd find your rewards -- let's be honest, ER, you've found the rewards with your current gig, though you've said yourself it ain't real news -- in whatever you chose to do in the Mile High City.

And you have tremendous skills that could be put to use better than "news." Your relationship-building traits are as important in other posts, and that's a big part of what journalists do.

'Sides, ain't bein' a writer better'n bein' a newspaperman?
All I know is what I know, Teditor. But I climbed up on the running'board of the multimedia train awhile back with a regular audio podcast, and I am fixin' to climb on in -- to the bar car at least! -- and see what happens. Woo woo!
In other words, writin' ain't what gets and keeps a job in the media anymore. But, by damn, writin's what makes ya good at all the rest of it, as opposed to merely tolable OK!
Let me know when you land in the Denver region, and I'll have my brudder set you up on the ski train. That's a REAL train that heads into the mountains.

You need to just shut up a minute and jump into Phillipians 4, OK?

Quit your worrying and in everything give thanks. Life is supposed to be an adventure so grab hold and hang on!
From Greenfield (Tenn.) Times.
A letter found “under a stone at the foot of the cross on which Christ was crucified.”
According to the article, “ON the stone was written, “Blessed is he who shall turn me over.”
No one knew what this inscription meant until a child turned the stone over and discovered a letter written by Christ himself.”
The article says bad luck will come to those who possess the letter written by Christ but do not publish it. And bad fortune plagued many who kept the letter private, according to the article.
Titled “The Letter,” it states that individuals who work on the Sabbath day will be cursed and commands that readers attend church. It speaks against dressing in costly apparel and being vain.
“I have ordered it a day of rest. I will have that day kept holy that your sins may be forgiven you. You will not break my commandments but observe and keep them, They are being written by my hand and spoken from my mouth,” according to the letter in the newspaper article.
It continues that readers should fast five Fridays in the year beginning on Good Friday “following in remembrance of the five bloody wounds I received for you and mankind.”
The letter encourages readers to love one another, attend and become a member of church and give to the poor. In return, he “will comfort in times of temptation” and “give a long life and many blessings.”
“And he that hath a copy of this letter, written by my own hands and spoken from my own mouth, and keepeth it, without publishing it to others, shall not prosper; but he that publisheth it to others shall be blessed by me and if their sins be as many as the stars of the night, and if they truly believe not this writing and my commandments will have my plagues upon you, and be consumed with your children, goods, cattle and other worldly enjoyments that I have suffered for you __ if you do, it will be for you in this world and in the world to come.
“Whosoever shall have a copy of this letter and keep it in the house nothing shall hurt them, neither pestilence, lightning or thunder, and if any woman be in birth and put her trust in me she shall be delivered of her child. You shall hear no more news of me except through the Holy Scripture, until the Day of Judgment. All goodness and prosperity shall be in the house where a copy of this letter shall be found. Finished.”
That is just a big old hoot. What, from the last issue of Weekly World News (moment of silence)?

One of the first "news" stories I wrote as an intern 20 years ago was about a woman whose ultrasound photo of her unborn baby, she said, looked like Jesus. The paper actually put it on the front page.

I wrote something like: "It helps to see it in low light, squint and have somebody whisper 'Shroud of Turin.' "

Yes. I was a smart-ass. Then. And now.
Three words for your last words there, ER: Dog. Bites. Man.

: )
Interesting. I am also a former Oklahoman, now living in Colorado.

I like Oklahoma because my family lives there, but I am enjoying my life here in Colorado. Welcome to the Centennial State.
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