7.25.2006

Comings and goings.

I’ve been silent here for so long that I don’t quite know where to start. A lot is going on in my life, and it’s occupied my day-to-day doings so completely that the thought of writing about it, mulling it over in print, is too daunting.

When things become so overwhelming, I resort to lists. Which is part of why I’m becoming a librarian. Which is one of those things I haven’t mentioned here (see “daunting”).

Hopefully I will be able to discuss each of these items in more detail in the future, but for now, a barebones outline of What’s Going On With My Life:

1. On June 28, I ended my job at Calvin College after working there for three years.

2. On August 13, my husband and I will move to Philadelphia.

3. Contrary to our original plans, Nate will be working full-time while I go to school full-time.

4. I’m going to school to become a librarian. Not sure what kind yet. Maybe public, specializing in young adult literature. Maybe a broadcast librarian, maintaining digital archives and doing research and reference work for journalists.

What’s pertinent in this forum is that I’m not sure what to do with Evangelical Expat. Part of the reason that I haven’t posted much, in addition to the Big Life Changes I named above, is that I’ve grown tired of deliberately filtering everything through my jaded-yet-hopeful expatriate lens. There have been things that I’ve wanted to write about here that I didn’t feel I could, because they didn’t fit topically with the stated purpose of this blog.

That’s frustrating, because the fact is, being an evangelical expatriate is no longer my primary identity. For a long time, largely because I was working at Calvin, I was wrestling with what it meant to be a Christian outside the mainstream, what it meant to be in the subculture but not of it, yet of the subculture and not in it. That took most of my energy, but I got the energy back from having conversations about the very things that drained me.

It’s not that I don’t wrestle anymore. It’s not that I’ve given up. It’s just that I’ve made peace. I’m an evangelical. I’m not content with that 99.9% of the time, but contentedness and peace are two different things.

The point is, I want and need to widen my focus. The expatriate identity has become stifling, because it’s not all there is to who I am or, more importantly, what trying to know and honor God is about. I just want to be myself, not a representative of a somewhat contrived movement.

That doesn’t mean I’ll never write about expatriotic issues anymore. I will, because they’re part of me. But I’ll have more energy for them if I can also tell you about the radio project a girlfriend and I have conceived that will revolutionize your car trips. If I can also muse over what happens when we move back to the east coast and try to reintegrate our Midwestern experience with our Yankee roots (and Nathan’s Southern ancestry, too). If I can just talk about what I’ve been listening to, what I’ve been reading, the television show I really like. If I can post links to my obsessive Flickring, documenting our new neighborhood and our best friends. If I can share my favorite recipes, because you know what? I really like to cook.

I haven’t felt free to do any of that before, and it’s time. I hope what I have to say will still be interesting to the people who occasionally stop by here. My guess is that it will be more interesting to me, if no one else, and right now that seems worth it.

At this point, I’m uncertain whether I should keep the Evangelical Expatriate name. It might be time to move to another address, one which doesn’t promise something it can no longer deliver. I won’t be hasty, but I’d appreciate your input on that. Should I stay or should I go?

8 Comments:

At 7/25/2006 3:50 PM, Blogger skoeze said...

please stay, kate! i want to hear about all things librarianship! and what you're reading/listening to, of course. :)

 
At 7/27/2006 3:36 AM, Anonymous rachel said...

holy cow! that is a big change! i can't wait to hear more about that! best wishes on the move and i guess i'll see you in pittsburgh on august 19? i'll have to hear more about that then! love you!

oh and HELLO sarah koeze! craziness.

 
At 7/30/2006 1:58 PM, Anonymous Lara said...

I read this because I want to know what Kate is thinking... not because I'm only interested in evangelical expatriatism (although there is that, too).

Stay stay! :)

 
At 8/05/2006 1:59 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Kate, I completely sympathize with you. It's the same reason I retired the Christian Retail blog.

While Evangelical Expat seems destined for retirement, I for one hope you will continue writing somewhere online about whatever you damn well please - from what you had for dinner to the Dewey decimal system to how overrated [random popular band] is.

p.s. Last time I checked, katebojo.blogspot.com was still available.

 
At 8/16/2006 3:47 PM, Blogger 4guys@14000ft said...

weary of beginning a comment with a disclaimer

but I didn’t know if it was a good idea to make my comment

a question really, and an honest one, but it seems impossible to phrase without stinking of sarcasm. But that’s not what I mean to happen at all, I wish you could hear my tone of voice, or that I was a more expressive writer. Neither seem possible in the near future so I put the disclaimer: what I am trying to say may not be very close to how this comment reads, particularly it’s tone


here goes
did you, at any point in the blog, think that it wouldn’t end with a post like this last one?

But that doesn’t say it either, I don’t want to talk about blogs.

Did you think you’re Evangelical Ex-Pat jounrey would end anywhere else? Now, I know you said it’s not over and you will continue thinking and writing on these issues. This will no doubt prove true, but allthesame

I think you said that because that’s what you had to say.

And here’s the real kicker, I am starting to think that that is what we all (EEP) eventually say to ourselves because we have to.

I’ll be damned if the inquiry into envangelical presuppositions from the inside out doesn’t bring anything at all except frustration edging toward anger, tears, snide laughter, or some equally miserable combination of the above. It’s physically, emotionally, psychologically and whatever-else-ally draining and offers shit in return. So to rephrase my question:

T or F Eventually the EEP just has to say, “Fuck it, this religion chose me, I didn´t chose it, and I can´t seem to shake it, so . . . well there it is, let´s move on.”

I think it’s beautiful what you’re doing: moving to Pennsylvania, a young mariage, school, a new career, cooking! I’m flat our envious really. These things should be taking over your identity and they’ll give alot more back too, I’d imagine.

I’m not even sure I want to hear you entertain mine question now, I’m honestly afraid here. That I might be coming across like I want you to feel guilty for what you’re doing – that I think you’re selling out, when - with all the goddamned honestly I can muster - I’d want to encourage you,


and take a lesson from you at that.

So I’ll just end with a boring blog related critique. You should start a new blog. And, at least for this reader, I half way wish this last entry on EEP site had been the first on your new site. You could have spread the news with a few mass emails and let the world wide web wildfire burn like it always does. Then readers like myself could have just seen the blog dwindle to the slender end of that hyperbolic fat-side-of-the-tuba shaped cone you studied in calculus class that never actually ends but just gets infintesimally small or something, we could have imagined our own ending. I personally would firgured

“It got to be be too much for Kate (this much, true – not that you couldn’t handle what you started or any character jabbing critique like that, but the ExPat thing is just an unsightly dead weight when compared to the other things you’ve got going now) and the existential angst and homeland hatred are so strong she can’t even bring herself to write on it anymore (this much, a projection of myself onto you). I bet she is sitting under a tree right now.”

While completely mistaken, at least I would have had some solidarity with the imaginary Kate. Instead, I’m feeling a little envy toward the real Kate.

best wishes

 
At 8/24/2006 9:25 AM, Blogger Sarah M. said...

Katie!

Proud of ya, excited for ya and can't wait to see you in October --- will definitely be coming to Phily - only 4/5 hours away girl and B wants to see some Amish (?)... yeah I know.

Besos,
Sarita

 
At 8/25/2006 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kate!

Do you still have that "hand-sharpied" Mindy Smith demo?? What songs are on it?

I'm a big Mindy fan and I'd love to hear it. I live in Philly too! Welcome!

-dave
"dm_spamnot" -at- yahoo -dot- com

 
At 8/28/2006 8:59 PM, Blogger kate said...

4guys - who are you? A Taylor dude, I assume, but I can't quite figure it out.

Your critique makes sense, and of course I probably did know it would end here. Don't we all, though we try to convince ourselves otherwise?

Anyway, sorry for disappointing you. But as you can see, perhaps things are going the way you think they ought to have. I don't know what to say here next, and I haven't written anywhere else, either. So there's your tuba-shaped cone!

I can't tell if you think marriage and cooking are actually more interesting than angsting over theology - I'm certainly not sure I do. But we'll see.

 

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