Monday, July 18, 2016
Sunday, July 17, 2016
I had applied and was accepted to attend a continuing education event at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI. The seminar is titled, “Digital Pluralism and the Death and Resurrection of the Church.” Basically, we’ll be looking at the effects our pluralistic society has had on the church, looking at the things we have done to contribute to this, and what are some solutions/things-we-can-do to address the decline in attendance in traditional church and how can we move forward as an engaging and meaningful faith expression of the Christian church.
I will try to contribute daily to my blog (no promises!) and encourage responses and questions as I engage with the instructor and other participants in learning and discussion. I also had “homework” to prepare for this seminar. Two books: Preaching at the Crossroads by David Lose (who is leading the seminar) and Christianity After Religion by Diana Butler Bass. We were also asked to watch two movies before attending: Pleasantville and Big Fish. I commend them to you. They are very much on the creative side of film-making so don’t expect a “normal” movie experience. I would love to hear your impressions.
We’ll also be looking at fall lectionary texts to see how we might apply our learning to our preaching.
Just wanted to let everyone know what has been going on at the Isaacson house lately. As some of you may know, Kristen has been dealing with sever back pain for a number of years. She has been able to work but her pain has left her exhausted at the end of the day. She has been working with doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors through the years. Having had enough, she sought out more advanced relief and found the Laser Spine Institute. After initial consults, they offered her some laser surgical procedures that they believe will give her much relief.
So we left home on June 28 for Tampa, FL. She had some preliminary meetings, MRI, and pre-op blocking procedures that week. She had her first surgical procedure on Tuesday, July 5. Working on her lower lumbar spine she had a laser decompression, cleaned out a herniation, and laser section on a nerve in her L 4/5. After a few days of recovery, she had a second procedure on Monday, July 11. This time they focused on her neck, decompression, laser section of nerve, and removal of a bone spur on C 6/7 and C 5/6.
Her post-op appointments were very positive. These were minimally invasive procedures with just a few small incisions on her lower back and neck. Her recovery is simple – four weeks of walking, icing, and resting her back. Then gradual increases in exercise and movement. She still has difficulty sitting and standing for any period of time but we are seeing progress and are hopeful that these procedures will be the answer to helping get a more normal life back.
I took vacation time for these three weeks focused on Kristen’s health. While I seem to have some skills at care-giving, I am not a nurse. The procedures were basically out-patient so I saw to her needs as she recovered in our hotel room across the road from the Institute. Needless to say we are tired of living out of suitcases for three weeks but it seems that it has been well worth the effort.
Thank you for your prayers and concerns. Thanks to our parents who have been helpful and supportive through this time and for watching Karsten in our absence. Thanks to Ryan for mowing our yard and to Adrianne for watering plants. Thanks to the French’s for watching our dog Sweetie for part of this time. Thanks to Trinity’s staff for making things work in my absence. We move forward from here and the future looks promising.
I’m not quite back to work. We arrived back in Crookston on Thursday night, July 14. I had a wedding rehearsal on July 15, wedding on July 16 along with a premarriage consult for another couple getting married on July 23. I’m flying out Sunday, July 17 for a scheduled continuing education event in Grand Rapids, MI and am returning Friday, July 22. Karsten is home with Kristen and parents are stopping in daily. I’m performing the wedding on July 23 and planning to preach and lead worship on July 24. I’ll be back in the office on July 26. I plan to be home and working the entire month of August!