I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of sacrifice. What does it really mean? Does God really require it from Christians? The same kind of sacrifice from everyone, or are we each, in turn, asked to surrender parts of ourselves that are unique to us? This, of course, stems from the conviction I received about four months ago from (I believe) God that I should prepare for a future wife. It’s only been four months and it feels like it’s been a hundred years already. I can’t imagine what it will be like if I’m asked to spend another four months with this unsettled feeling inside of me, having given up several things in the process of trying to obey and surrender to his will.
So, let’s dig into the sacrificial nature of obedience to Christ….
Yesterday while on break at work I jumped onto Youtube and ran a quick search for van life. Lately I’ve had some problems with the YouTube algorithm in that it keeps recommending the same videos over and over again, as if I’ve already gone through all videos in that category.
To my surprise, though, this time around I was recommended a new video from a creator I’d never seen before, someone who was apparently living in her van full time, but rather than traveling around the country like most of them do, she was living in the same town and had a regular job and was more homeless than a “professional” van-lifer.
I watched her handful of videos, but then noticed that her postings had abruptly stopped two months ago. I watched the last video and there was no warning, no mention that she would be away from her channel or that she wouldn’t be posting anymore. This is not the first time someone has disappeared on Youtube. In fact, most creators I think end up burning out on the video platform after some time, buckling under the pressure of relentless filming and editing, but I think more just run out of things to say, things to film.
I immediately started to wonder, though, what happened to Toy Owl? Where is she? Is she okay? Did something terrible happen (my mind instinctively goes to catastrophe). So, I thought maybe I would talk about these kinds of abrupt disappearances that I increasingly find are just a part of life if you’re going to watch amateur creators online.
I just can’t shake the question, though, what happened to Toy Owl….
A few posts ago I broke down the approximate costs that would be required if I decided to remodel my house in town before I put it up for sale and if the ROI was worth it to me to do it. In the end (at least at this point) I’ve concluded that it really is not worth the extra year and many, many hours of work during that year and the additional $20,000 to invest in the materials (I would have to do the work myself which is also a problem to be factored in), to only realize an $18,000 profit at best (if everything goes perfectly along the way and I can actually find a buyer who will pay $100k for a house with no foundation and will pay cash – I doubt any lender will give someone a mortgage on a house in this dead beat town). In the end, I’ve decided it would be better to just clean the place up, run a broom through it, take down some of the cobwebs, maybe even plant some grass in the front yard (right now I spray the entire property since I’m not here much anyway to do maintenance), and then throw it up on Craigslist in hopes I can hook a young couple who are smart enough to realize they can buy a small starter house in a sleepy coastal town with just a 30 minute commute, put $20,000 in over the course of just a few years, and either live in it for the rest of their lives or wait 2-5 and catch the market at a peak and sell it for cash and then roll that over into a bigger house down the road.
But, say I’m able to do this and I can sell the house in the next year to a cash buyer and I then can move to the Eden property full time (dependent of course on how this summer and this fall go on getting the property prepared for winter living), there is then the question of what improvements do I want to put into the Eden property.
I figure it would be a good idea to lay these options out as well and that’s what I plan to do with this blog post. So, let’s jump in and see what options are available and what exactly I might want to do with this paradise property in the future….
Awhile back I stumbled onto a short comment by Jerome that really opened up the world of hermitism or what would later be called in the East, “idiorrhythmic” monasticism. It is what the Desert Fathers practiced in the beginning of this way of life, which would be later rejected by “traditional” or “authentic” monasticism in lieu of community based expressions like actual monasteries. Personally, I’ve struggled for a long time with “imposter syndrome” simply because I was not attached to any kind of established order nor took official vows, not to mention I held to a protestant theology (though not necessarily evangelical) which did not help at all.
But Jerome, in his argument against Jovinian, who was a protestant precursor, made a passing comment about him that I found incredibly intriguing. So, let’s take this post to explore just what this early Church Father said about this particular heretic (I mean this in the nicest way), and how it might apply to me and other hermitic religious people in modern day….
A few weeks ago I stumbled onto one of those BookTube girls online and I started watching her videos as she went through her bookshelves, talking about the myriad of books she owned and which ones she liked and which ones she hated and why and why not. All the while she complained about dating and college and the rest of her seemingly perfect life.
Despite this, I did manage to take some of her book recommendations, titles that I simply would never have heard of before. One of those that rose to the top (not exactly sure why) was the book You’ve Reached Sam, which is about a high school girl who’s boyfriend suddenly dies and, in her grief, she calls his number to hear his voice on his voicemail, but instead of getting a recording her dead boyfriend actually picks up.
I immediately got the book (along with around 200+ other titles that formed my new reading list and loaded them up on my new ebook reader (a Likebook P6). I set out to finish this book as soon as I possibly could with the intension of forming a new profusive reading habit that would move reading to the top of my list of daily activities (other than watching Youtube videos or television shows since there doesn’t seem to be enough of those to fill the day with – but there are more than enough books to do so). Just as a note, there will be spoilers in this post so be forewarned.
So, now that I just finished this book, let’s jump in and see what I thought of it…
It’s now been nearly 9 years since I started looking for a house on the coast. At the time I was running a family business and, given my minimalist (live like a college student) lifestyle, I had socked away a nice amount in a 401K I had set up for the business a few years before.
Unfortunately, the idea of trusting the government with that money scared me to death. I could not sleep well knowing that every time Obama didn’t get his way he started threatening to tap retirement savings. It was like his mantra (or maybe I was just overly sensitive).
This, and my conclusion that I wanted to live on the coast, retire on the coast, and ultimately breathe my last breath on the coast, prompted daily searches online, first for bare land and then, as a compromise, cheap land with a small, run down house on it.
Just a few months later, and a lot of looking at potential property, I hit upon the vin diagram where the price was under $50k and the owner would carry (two requirements).
Fast forward to today, and now I have to decide whether or not to just sell it or remodel first and then try to sell. So, with this post, lets look at what it would actually cost (rough estimate) to remodel and what the probability would be for me to get my money back on that secondary investment….
A few years ago, my job was thrown into an upheaval. The director of the company decided it was time for him to retire (he was actually pushed out by the board) and the company began shopping around for someone to replace him.
It was a time when I had no idea if I would have a job from one day to the next, simply because the job I do can realistically be replaced by a relatively inexpensive computer program or the tasks assigned to me could essentially be reassigned to a full time person with the stroke of a pen.
The reason I’m writing this post today, though, two years later, is I just got the word that the individual that had ultimately been given the job as director, well, he died yesterday. Now I didn’t know the man very well, I’ve really only spoke with him two times face to face (I work in the office during off hours and rarely see other employees), and only a half dozen times via email. Of course, its a tragedy when anyone dies, though he was rather ill so it might not be that much of a tragedy if he was suffering. But, I can’t help but find myself back there again, wondering, a little more anxious than I really care to be, about my own job prospects on the near horizon.
So, let’s jump in and see what calculous I’m looking at, how I will fair if I am let go in the future, and what’s next for me in this godforsaken world…
It does seem a bit odd, doesn’t it? How can I be writing a blog post about what I would want in a wife if I’m focused on the celibate life and am in the process of building a remote hermitage where I plan to spend the rest of my life in solitude?
Well, like most things that have to do with relationships and other people, it’s just a little complicated, right? Actually, if being honest, it’s less complicated than it is improbable. Given the state of the age and culture we are living in, the fact that secular people are having a difficult time finding someone they have a connection with, there is simply no way I would be able to find someone who could meet my expectations.
But, what does Paul say? “That which is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). So, I’m going to take this post to discuss a little bit about what has been going on in my personal life, where I see myself in the future, and what characteristics I would desire in a potential future mate.
Let’s jump into the impossible…..
Finally, after seven long months, I was able to return to the Eden Property to get a mental picture of what had happened (or not happened) over the winter, what if any damage was done to the temporary shelter, the deck, or the ramps or dock, and also so I could come away and make some decisions on what the future holds for Eden and also for myself.
So, let’s not fidget with our toes in the water. Let’s jump in and see what I discovered there, what will need to be done in the future, and what issues I’m currently wrestling with the are standing in the way of my ultimate goals for the property….
In this post I want to discuss my current vocational testing at the Eden Property, and provide a summary of what I was able to accomplish this last summer, what failures I suffered, and how I am planning to reorganize and try again.
I’ve read that monasticism in general and especially eremitic monasticism is really an arduous journey of successive failures with only brief punctuations of progress and success spread out along the way. I have to say, it really often does feel this way.
But, let’s jump in and work through these issues, and see where I came out after another season at Eden….
Lately I’ve been considering the future of the Eden Property and I’ve come to the conclusion that really what I’m striving for is developing a hermitage where I can work out my vocation as a solitary hermit, who lives under private vows (maybe even unprofessed or instinctive), not necessarily attached or affiliated with any order or denomination, but one who is submitted only to God’s call in prayer and solitude and meditation and living closely with nature and in the exercise of sanctification in anticipation of being revealed as a son of God.
It would be a place where I could do my studies for my Unschooled Master of Theology program, where I could live simply and purposefully and minimalistically and finish out my days in ecstasy and, be it his will, in good standing before my King.
Tonight when I got home I sketched out what I’m looking for in a hermitage. Let me show you the sketch and provide a little commentary on what I’m looking at….
Audio File Download: Episode 001
You can call me Isaac. And I have to say, I really don’t want to be doing a podcast. More importantly, I don’t want to be doing this podcast in particular. But, for a long time now, I’ve been compelled to reach out.
I’m not sure why.
In the famous words of Amos, “I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet.” Well, I can certainly tell you I’m also not an apostle or an evangelists, or an elder or a teacher. In fact, I would bet good money (not my own money, but) I would bet good money that the church – any church – would classify me best as heretic.
And, I would imagine it’s true to some extent.
But, more on that later.
Right now let me do a little bit of an introduction and what my aim is in starting this broadcast. So, grab a seat and let’s figure out why I’ll be talking into this empty room every week.….