SPOOKY and… Seminary?

10 May


Rachel and I are in a very busy season of life right now– anyone with young children can attest to how they absorb one’s free time (in the best way)– but I also have several side projects now sponging up my spare minutes early in the morning before the kids get up and late at night after they go to bed.

For one thing, along with a friend of mine, the estimable Mr. Jose Cruz, I’ve started a literary magazine (as one does). For another, I’ve started back with my old habit of taking graduate level classes. Will I never learn?

A word about Jose: I met him in the strangest way, by taking his job. Wait. That doesn’t sound quite right. Hang on. Jose used to be the children’s librarian at the library where I work. He transitioned out of that position to work in public schools as a media specialist, kind of mirroring the way I transitioned out of schools to work in public libraries. So when he left, I was the guy they found to replace him. Thanks to my new colleagues, who were convinced Jose and I would hit it off, we met and hung out and found we had loads in common.

We’re both dudes who love to work with young kids (anomalies in a woman-dominated work environment). We’re both married with small children of our own (and their ages roughly coincide). And we’re both fans of a very specific, rather niche brand of horror fiction: the vintage stuff that’s high on drama and surprise but low on gore, campy black and white movies and crackling radio plays and weird tales from penny dreadfuls and yellowed pulp magazines. Most people who say they love horror generally mean the slasher-y stuff or the torture-y stuff (neither of which does much for me), so I was shocked and delighted to find that he knew and loved some of the same old short stories I do– and that his knowledge of genre classics even exceeds my own.

Since we like this stuff so much, and since no one else currently seemed to be doing it, we thought it would be fun to create a publication dedicated to telling new stories in that style. Thus, SPOOKY Magazine was born. SPOOKY is a twenty-first century revival of the classic, gentler style of horror fiction so near and dear to Jose and me, focused on PG-rated thrills and chills, packed with entertainingly eerie goodness. We’re different from pretty much every other horror magazine currently out there, and proud to be so. We just released our first issue last week, and we are pleased as punch with how it came out. If that sounds like your jam, you can order your own copy here.

As if coediting a magazine wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I’ve also begun taking online seminary classes from SBTS in Louisville, KY. (And if you think it’s weird that the same guy who works as a children’s librarian is the same guy who likes and writes horror fiction and is the same guy now enrolled in seminary… hi, I’m Josh. Glad to meet you.)

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, or know me well, it’s probably not a surprise that I love Jesus. I usually don’t make a big deal about my faith with my writing or work friends, but I am always happy to talk with anyone who has questions. I’ve always wanted my life to be primarily about serving and helping others, and I’m convinced that the best, most lasting way to help people is to bring them to Jesus, so that they can know His goodness and grace the way I do. I’m convinced that Jesus is the only hope for our dying world, (and if that sounds really churchy to you–  so be it, I guess. *shrugs.*  Again, I’m Josh. It’s good to meet you.)

Thus, as I stumble closer and closer to the dreaded 4-0, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want the second half of my life to be about: creativity, sure, but also service. I began to consider seminary as a means to better equip myself with knowledge to help other people know Jesus, to be better prepared to serve in the church, and simply for my own personal growth in faith. I mentioned the idea to my pastor, and he thought it was a great plan. So… I thought about it some more.

A couple months went by and my pastor brought it up to me again. “So, you doing this thing? Go apply now!” so, with that kind of encouragement (and with financial sponsorship from my church!) I’m back in school. Again.

Somebody, slap me.

This time around, though, it’s different. Without the pressure of needing a degree for any specific career goals, (I’m very happy in my current job and not currently planning on becoming a full-time pastor or anything like that), I can simply enjoy the learning process. Should I complete the whole course of study, I’ll wind up with an MDiv, but I’m only taking one class at a time (which is all I can handle with my current load of responsibilities), so it’s gonna take me a while. I’d like to focus my electives to earn a certificate in Counseling, but we’ll see how it goes. For now, I feel like a kid who’s gotten his Hogwarts letter and, although it’s a lot of work and a major time commitment, I’m just happy to be included.

So yeah. Busy.

Did I mention that Rachel and I also want to build a house? More on that as things unfold.

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Posted by on May 10, 2024 in Blog


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