The season ahead

The season ahead

Anthony’s on a job right now, framing a basement, and he’s fighting the clock, for a number of reasons. Floating walls don’t go up easy, and I don’t expect to see him anytime soon. I’ve gotta say, though, that even though he’s busting his tail and the hard work shows, it’s good to see his SUV covered in sawdust, and to notice the nicks in his hands. Anyway, I’m not working as a contractor yet and so it’s up to me to say where we’ve been and what’s going on.

Long story short, some changes are coming to Mount Vigil. We’ll be terminating the subscription model and releasing our content for free. If you have any questions about those changes that I don’t answer below, please reach out.

Here’s the long story long.

It’s a season of risk, here in the Church. There is no way out of it. Anthony and I are working to put into practice everything we plan to share with you.

So far, that’s meant some pain. Anthony left his plush marketing position and scaled down his consulting agency. I left And Sons and moved to the country. We knew there’d be a financial squeeze, and we’ve embraced that pressure, firmly believing that Jesus is preparing his people for the work of salvation ahead.

In fact, just yesterday, I reconnected with an Anglican priest friend of mine. We hadn’t seen each other in years, but when Em and I lived in Vancouver, this man and his wife were among the few people to take us in, seat us at their table, and enter our story. He’s a really good guy, is the point, and as we reflected on the past few years he observed, “The Church is going to need resilient leaders in the years ahead, and Jesus is getting them ready.”

That’s right, and that’s well said.

Anthony and I are convinced that you all are some of those leaders. Together, we want to become the kinds of people who can help the Church in a difficult time. So we’ve embraced the pain. Teach to have grace under pressure, God.

It’s a good thing we have, because the pressure is here. We’ve got bills to pay and a nonprofit publishing platform does not for two households provide.

That being the case, Anthony has sought God’s provision, following a straightforward process: Find simple work. Find humble work. Find work that makes sense, like building walls for your neighbors, and do that.

Anthony's working as a general contractor now. It’s a mighty contrast to the walls of steel and glass and the digital environments in which he used to spend his time. He’s started a new business, and he’s working with a capable friend. The plan is for me to work for them in November, assuming I can finish an urgent book project first, also assuming this other guy doesn’t edge me out.

Honestly, this is the best research Mount Vigil could ask for. A practicum in lean times. What do we do in a pinch, when digital work is no longer an option? How do we find Jesus’s contentment in all things? How do we develop a new level of trust in God, and live there, and see his miracle-working power? How do we record a podcast on the way to the job site?

Not by staying in Ur, to be sure. Not by refusing the Passover. Not by refusing to go to the desert, and to fight the devil, and to face reality.

That being the case, we’re scaling down our promise here. We’re still going to blog. We’re still going to podcast. We’re especially going to respond to key current events. But we don’t know how often we’ll be able to connect in the next few months, and so we’re turning off the paid subscriptions. If you’d like to support the work even so, you can do that through the donations tab and set up a recurring donation. We’re still a 501(c)(3), and we’re still here. It goes without saying that everything that comes in to Mount Vigil goes directly to the work of Mount Vigil. Anthony and I have thus far done our work on a volunteer basis.

As for now, the deserts are in front of us, low and flat and foreboding.

And by us, I mean the followers of Jesus. This summer has been an interesting hiatus, but the world’s trajectory has not changed. It is more contrast, not less, between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world that lies ahead. What that means depends on who we think God is. If we think that God is good and that His way leads to life, then this is good news. The Church has always done its best work when it has been least like its surrounding culture. If we think that the world is good, with its fashion and coffee shops and free speech and manicured lawns and voting rights and human progress, then we’re in trouble, and Paul had it right: “we of all people are most to be pitied.”

But we are not wrong. Jesus is indeed the way. Our advice is the same as it’s been so far, and we did not invent it. We learned it from the saints, who have participated in God’s action in history for millennia. Do less, much less. Spend more time in stillness with God. Find a few people and go deep together. Study the story of God until it is imprinted on your soul and you don’t have to try to make it your grid of interpretation. Go low, not high. Throw down with evil in your daily prayer. Let God cultivate the garden of your heart, so that wherever you and Jesus are together, that will be Eden.

We look forward to shipping more content soon.

Blaine