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Following the Cloud: On Changes in my Life and at Mere-O

July 6th, 2009 | 2 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

It’s been a long time since I have posted consistently here at Mere-O, or anywhere else for that matter.  The new position at Evangelical Outpost and my day job have conspired to sap nearly all my intellectual energy. I simply did not have the time, or, more importantly, the motivation to contribute positively to any sort of conversation.

The last 18 months I have worked as a financial planner for a nationally known firm.  It has been an enormously difficult and stressful position for my wife and I that has provided innumerable rewards.  There is no time in the last 20 years that I would have rather been in that position:  working in the industry during the economic crisis gave me experience and knowledge that it would have taken years to gain otherwise.  

However, the last few weeks I have begun to discern that the cloud had started to move, and that it was my time to follow it.  Sermons, comments from friends, an opportunity to publish an additional essay, a timely job offer–each contributed to a growing sense that my heart was no longer in financial planning, but was turning toward cultivating what intellectual gifts I have for service in the Kingdom.  Financial planning, at least for young advisers, is not a job–it is a lifestyle, and it became abundantly clear that I could not serve two masters.  My clients (and their money) deserved someone who would be focused on them with their whole hearts and minds.

For that reason, I resigned from my position with the intent of improving my applications to go to graduate school.  It was an enormously difficult decision, and one that with particularly bad timing.  The dissatisfaction with financial professionals has made this the single best opportunity for financial advisers to grow their business that we have seen in decades.  Leaving the industry right now–especially for the uncertainty of academics and the impoverishment of graduate school–seems like terrible timing.

But the obstacles seem minor compared to the excitement and enthusiasm my wife and I have for our future. And not only that, but we have an enormous amount of confidence in the Lord’s concern and provision for us.  We are, as best we can, taking this step in joyful faith.  As the cloud moves, so we follow.

All of this means that I hope to have more to say about “mere orthodoxy” in the next few months.  My hope is (once again) to make this a place of intelligent, reasoned discourse on all things pertaining to faith and culture.  

To that end, it is with an enormous amount of joy that I introduce to our small community here a new writer, Gary Hartenburg.  Gary is a long-time reader of Mere-O and a Ph.D. candidate in ancient philosophy at UC Irvine.  I will let him introduce himself more fully, but there are few people for whom I have more respect. His incisive critique of my article on evangelicalism is a model for what we hope to do here at Mere-O–engage ideas in an honest, candid, and gracious way.   I am confident Gary will provide the sort of reflective, challenging insight that we strive for here.

In summary, as they say,  “If it’s half as good as the half we’ve known, here’s Hail! to the rest of the road.”