Everyone's doing a decade-end recap but most of these have no depth to them. So I turn to you the readers for help here. I'd like to compile a listing of the top 100 God Moments in the lives that have intersected with mine.
Now the obvious question is what's a "God Moment?"
Simply put the term comes from a book title written by our good friend Jeremy Langford. It means recognizing and remembering God's Presence in Your Life.
We all have moments where we are surprised by God, where we have an experience that transcends our very selves--not an out of body or near death experience necessarily--but something that takes us beyond our mere sense experience into the spiritual. It is there that we find God interacting with us--waking us up perhaps or simply tapping on our shoulder, reminding us of His presence in our lives.
For some of us it may be an experience with a person. For some, it may be an experience with nature helping us to realize that there is so much more beyond us. For others, it might be a book that awakened us to a new way of being. For many, it may in fact be a tragedy that helped us find God in that pain and brought us into healing.
I'd like to ask all of those here to send me your Top 3 God Moments of the Decade 2000-2010. You can send them all to email@example.com. We'll publish the best ones here over the course of this year as a celebration of the Holy Spirit working amongst us in 2010.
Here's one of mine to give you an example:
2009: I was considering leaving BustedHalo® a place I had come to love and cherish as a place of ministry and where I really loved ministering creatively for the past 9 years. In particular, I loved doing direct ministry--retreats and mission trips-- with young adults and had begun to felt that ministry growing lax as BustedHalo® grew, for the better into more on a solely online ministry entity.
I was encouraged to apply for a Campus Ministry position in Buffalo at St Joseph's University Parish. I wasn't sure if it was a place that I belonged. I didn't know much about Buffalo and while I had two friends who worked at the very parish that was interested in hiring me, I wasn't quite convinced that God was asking me to uproot my wife and dog and move towards the Western span of the State.
I took a quick flight to Buffalo from JFK and from the greeting of the smiling pastor who met me at the airport, to the hospitality that everyone showed my wife and I, to the wonderful arts community it was one engaging moment after another.
The jaded New Yorker in me remained skeptical. After all, my wife would need a job and we love taking our dog out for long walks in our neighborhood. We hoped for a dog-centric neighborhood and hoped that my wife would find a job that she liked--and in a bad economy, would she even be able to find a job?
However, my colleague Patty Spear offered to take my wife Marion and I to the Elmwood Arts Festival, (for New York City folk: think "glorified street fair with better arts and crafts for sale." It was there that Marion spotted a beautiful golden retriever. We love dogs and considering that we had spent the day with the pastor's huge english sheepdogs, we were comforted by the dog friendliness of the city.
Marion: "Hey! He's a cool dog! Oh he's a service dog! Oh he's a hearing dog!" Mike: "For deaf people?"
My wife happens to teach deaf children and is fluent in sign language.
Marion: "Yes." (She walked to the dog's owner and signed) "That's a beautiful dog!"
Owner signed back: "Thank you! Where are you from?"
Marion: "New York City"
Owner: "Oh! Me too! Where in NYC?"
Owner: "Me too! But my wife and I are moving here. Seems like a nice place so far!" (Turns out he lived just a few miles from our apartment.)
Marion: "Yeah we're thinking of moving here too! My husband was just offered a job but now I need to find a job if he accepts."
Owner: "Oh, yeah! Hope you find something. How do you know how to sign?"
Marion: "I teach deaf kids!"
Owner: "You teach deaf kids!? Hold on! Wait right here! Don't go away!"
The guy comes back with his wife and he signs to her the words: "She teaches deaf kids!"
His wife then hands her a business card that stated her name followed by "Principal: St Mary's School for the Deaf." She asked Marion to send her a resume and yes, that is where Marion works today.
My colleague Patty looked at me and said: "Um, do you need ANOTHER sign that you should move here?"
Indeed, I didn't. And we've loved living here ever since. Coincidence, you say? Perhaps...but I say it was God letting me know that Buffalo would be a place where we would be happy.
Your humble blogger is Mike Hayes, a well-known expert in the world of young adult ministry (20s and 30s) in the Catholic Church. Mike is the author of Googling God (Paulist, 2007) where he explores both the chaotic world that young people live in and their religious reactions to that world. He also explores the age of instant gratification and how churches can respond to the needs of the young adult age by using technology alongside more traditional ministry methods.
Mike founded the award winning BustedHalo.com® in 2001 and continues to contribute to it as the editor of their catechetical section appropriately named Googling God.
Recently, he left BustedHalo® to focus on more direct ministry with young people at St Joseph University Parish as a Campus Minister for the South Campus at the University at Buffalo.
He has only two loves: his adorable wife, Marion and a nine pound chihuahua named Haze, who still find him amusing enough to let them live in their home.