We’ve decided to relocate our family to Ohio. We’re putting our house on the market as soon as we can and, Lord willing, as soon as it sells we’ll move.

The red one is Ohio.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of factors that have played into this decision. We first began considering a move in September of last year and since then we’ve spent many nights talking, praying, outlining possibilities and discussing the idea with wise people whose opinion we value. I won’t bore you with the minutia of the decision making process, but I thought I might illuminate a few major considerations as a means of explanation for our family and friends.

Our new flag. Not a rectangle!

First, we’re having another baby. That means as of June we’ll have three boys under the age of four. Gretchen’s entire family lives in Ohio and we could really use their help with the boys. Moving will enable our boys to grow up in the same community with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I have a lot of respect for Gretchen’s parents and a lot of love for her sisters and their husbands. They’ve all been supportive of us in the past and the prospect of having closer relationships with them is valuable to us. Plus the free childcare. And one of my brothers-in-law drives a motorcycle, which is cool.

Our new state seal. Looks pretty "great" to me!

Second, I’m going back to school. We’ve been looking into a way for me to complete a theology degree for the last few years, but I’ve vacillated on the idea and we’ve never really seriously pursued it. My indecision, in part, was because of some serious doubts I’ve had about being called to ministry. There was a time when I was absolutely sure that I wanted to pursue pastoral ministry, but then Gretchen and I had a very negative experience with a ministry where we worked and my faith was shaken pretty severely. I spent the next 5 or 6 years kind of spinning my wheels, struggling through anger and bitterness about what we had experienced. A lot of that anger ended up directed at what I perceived to be failings of the Church and organized religion in general. I became very critical of churches and pastors, even to the point where I was just generally anti-vocational-ministry and anti-intellectual. I wanted to serve Christ, but I wanted to do it without the things that I perceived to be “fake”, like churches and formal educations.

I’d like to say that I’ve had some sort of major epiphany, but the truth is that God has just been graciously changing my heart over the last year or so. It’s been a slow process, and I think it was as much about me maturing and outgrowing some childishness as it was anything else. Time levels mountains, and I guess God uses it to humble foolish people like me in the same way. I’m ready to go back to school.

Five years ago we bought a crappy house in a crappy neighborhood. We’ve done a lot of work to our house and by God’s providence our entire neighborhood is significantly less crappy than it was when we moved in. Even estimating low, we can sell our house for a significant profit. So much so that we could actually live for a year with no income while I go to school full time. Folks in my position with families and responsibilities don’t get a lot of opportunities to take a year off from work, so we’re going to make the most of this one. I imagine it won’t happen again.

There are of course other reasons. We want to live in a larger city, we want a change of scenery, Ohio’s state fossil is the Trilobite, etc. The bottom line is, we’re moving to Dayton, Ohio as soon as we can. We’ve been working pretty hard on getting our house together and we’re planning to have it on the market by the end of the first of March. So, if you know anyone who is looking to buy a house in an up-and-coming historic (no longer crappy) neighborhood in Roanoke, VA, please let me know.

The fair city of Dayton. I hear it's a lot like Detroit in 1996!