This blog post has a very specific purpose.
I have been writing posts over the last year or so about our family’s move to Boston to be a part of a church plant. Since these posts are mostly tailored to our various church families and Christian friends, I have thought often about how that are probably a bit isolating to my various types of secular, atheist, agnostic, and other generally non-church-going friends. Well, this blog post is for everyone who has respectfully sat through my posts about prayer and God’s calling without even the slightest hint of cynicism or judgment.
I’d like to talk to my non-Christian friends about our family’s decision to move to Boston.
First of all, I would like to apologize to a lot of you guys. I have been a bit of a coward in the past when it came to the topic of our move to Boston. Many of you have asked me “well, why are you moving to Boston?” and in responding I have either downplayed the role of the church in the motive for our move or completely eliminated it altogether. I’m sure that was really confusing to a lot of you. I’m really sorry about that. I’m sure that my motive for adjusting the truth (or flat-out lying) was simply that I was afraid that you would judge me or make fun of me or something like that. Pretty lame, huh?
Now that that is out of the way, I want to talk to you about the events in my life that led to our family’s move.
You probably know that I have been a Christian my entire life… sort of. I mean, I grew up going to church and would always self-identify as a Christian. More often than not I would tell you that I am a Christian and then spend half an hour complaining about other Christians so you would know that “I’m not like them”.
A lot of you have seen me act in ways that completely contradict the way Christians are supposed to act. You saw me act like a total hypocrite… especially people who knew me from about age 15 to 20. I did a lot of irresponsible things in that time that hurt people around me and made it seem like I didn’t take my faith seriously at all… which would be accurate. I took my faith as seriously as I had to so as the still be accepted by other Christians. That was about it.
When I was about 19 or 20 I starting hitting a personal faith crisis. I realized a few things. First of all, I realized that if I really believed all of the crazy junk in the Bible it meant that my life needed to look different. If I really believed that the perfect, holy God of the universe created the world out of a desire to create beings to share in His love and that sin ruined that perfect relationship with God, and that God came in the flesh as Jesus Christ and died and literally rose from the dead so that we could be reconciled to that original perfect love…. If I really believed all of that stuff my life needed to be different.
I decided that I did believe it. I can’t give you a scientific theory that justifies my belief in God. I can’t prove His existence rationally. All I can tell you is that I thoroughly examined all of those things that I learned as a child and decided that in the core of my being, I believed that they were true.
So, when I was 21 I got married to Leah. As you know, she shares the same faith that I do. We have made that faith the center of our marriage and our lives. As many of you know, we spent 4 years in a band called Save the Ship. We were a Christian band. Being in that band was something that I felt like I was supposed to do. That band was the reason that Leah and I moved to Panama City after college. It was a wonderful experience for us.
Then, back in 2009, I met a guy who was moving to Boston to start a church. I had always liked the idea of living in Boston. As you probably know, I have always wanted to live in a bigger city… and Boston always been an idyllic place in my mind. Then, when I met this guy who was going, I couldn’t stop picturing myself as part of this church. I kept seeing myself walking down the streets of the city (which I had never been to before). I got to the point where I couldn’t picture myself being anywhere else but Boston.
So, I took a few months to talk it over with Leah and think and pray about it. After those months we decided that we would begin saving money so that we could move in the summer of 2011, which we did.
We moved up here to help our friend start the church. We came to help with leadership, to volunteer, and to be a part of the community. I also had this curious feeling and thought in my mind that I should eventually become a pastor… an idea that freaked me out and made my wife even more uncomfortable (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Leah say, “I have no desire to be a pastor’s wife”). Part of the reason that we came up here was so that I could learn about my potential future as a pastor, and whether or not that was really something that I wanted to do.
It turns out that it is something that I want to do. I’m not sure what that means yet, but I do know that I want to eventually transition out of working a normal job and into ministry as vocation.
So, that is that. That is why we are here. That is why we saved thousands of dollars to move across the country. That is why we spent thousands of dollars to stay up here. That is why our family lived with friends for 6 months. That is why I work at a job that shreds apart my pride and dignity on a daily basis. We believe this stuff in the Bible is real and we think it is the most important thing in the world. We think it is worth the uncomfortable 6 months we have had.
If you have questions for me, or want to discuss my faith, my motives for moving, or anything else… please please please feel free to email me (thomasirby at gmail). No question or statement is off limits. Even if you just want to debate me and make me look stupid… please email me. I would love to hear from you.