The BIG DECISION and other small matters

This week has found me “down with the sickness” (to use the words of the rock band Disturbed). I’ve “got the crud,” as Grandma DeeDee used to say — stuffy head and nose, weak and achy, tired, etc. I stay fairly healthy, as a general rule. This is the first time I’ve been illin’ in the last year or so; but gosh-oh-golly I’ve got it good.

Tamie and I have made the BIG DECISION. We have decided to move to Tempe, Arizona. Tempe is a part of the greater Phoenix metro area and home to Arizona State University. Tamie has many friends in Tempe (although where she previously lived in AZ was a few hours north in Flagstaff), and there is a very vibrant Episcopal community that I hope to be a part of as I pursue the discernment process for ordination.

We will greatly miss Kodiak. This is our type of town: a small, close community, the wild world all around, and people who know how to work hard. We will miss Marie and the other friends we have made on Kodiak, and we will miss Saint James the Fisherman Episcopal Church. When we are tempted to miss this place too much, Tamie and I remind ourselves that we might very well find our way back here. (Here is Tamie’s post on the subject.)

Life also finds me prepin’ for a sermon on Sunday. Saint James has an interim priest arriving for Palm Sunday; in the meantime, people are filling in as worship leaders and sermon readers. Tamie and I are scheduled on for the early service next week and the week after. I am preaching on Psalm 23, particularly concentrating on how the Psalm (and God) can “restore my soul.” What does it look like to restore the soul during times when we are pushed beyond our limits? Then I also wonder about the opposite use of the Psalm: how do we live each ordinary day being restored? How can we use this Psalm (and other scripture) to center ourselves and to bring to our remembrance the values that we most cherish.

Lastly, I have a film for you to add to your Netflix. It is Kinsey, a film based on the life of Alfred Kinsey, a biologist who approached sex as a scientist in the U.S. in the 1940s and 50s, an era where superstition and quasi-morality were the basis of sexuality. Kinsey interviewed people with the objective of discovering what people actually did sexually, how they really felt, and what kind of sexual activities they were engaged in.

I really enjoyed the film. It was well-made, and I particularly appreciated the message of difference in the film: that there is no one way to do sex, that sexuality is a result of many different factors. It is not at all simplistic. Toward the end of the film, Kinsey himself has to confront his own simplistic notions of sexuality that are driven by what may be an over emphasis on scientific method. (For those of you who are into the Enneagram, the film portrays Kinsey as a classic Type 5 Investigator, my type! Tamie really started cracking up at what she calls “such a typical Five comment.” Kinsey said at one point, full of exuberance, “I’ve found that talking to people yields much more information than I could have anticipated!”)

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

5 thoughts on “The BIG DECISION and other small matters”

  1. Congrats to you two on the Tempe decision! Next steps are so cool. I’m anxious to hear about the discernment and mentoring processes in your ministry pursuits.

    We did see the Kinsey Report years ago, and while I can’t remember specifics, I remember thinking the researchers and the participants were very brave.


    1. Thanks Lori!

      Yes, the participants were brave! I imagine it was also therapeutic to talk about sex.

      Sex is so personal, and we so rarely get to speak openly about it in an environment where someone is simply listening attentively. Most sex conversations are too awkward, personal, or get too moral for us to really open up about it.


  2. How is the state of your intestinal bacteria Jon? 🙂 If you ever give me a good phone number to call you on, I can give you some tips and tricks. Hope you feel better.


  3. Psalm 23. Sweet. Did you know Psalm 22, 23, & 24 come together as a story arc or journey? From wilderness and despair, through the valley, and into the exuberance of entering the gates of God’s kingdom. Yea, you prolly did. 🙂


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