Last night, I arrived at the church at 6:00 for a 7:00 session meeting. I had, in my work e-mail, a message that contained 8 documents that would be handy to have printed for this session meeting. 4 of these documents were PDFs, and 4 of these documents were Word Docs. How long do you think it took my little MacBook that could to print the materials?
If you guessed 45 minutes...you're close but you're wrong. I took 45 minutes to get the spinning pinwheel of death to print the 4 Word Documents, and gave up on the 4 PDFs that I was going to need, figuring that I could just look at them on my phone.
Now, this in and of itself can be infuriating. But what really spooked me was that I am now the #mediapastor at Westminster, which means I am just now in a season of lining up a bunch of different video projects (Three recurring series that I want to make, and one documentary I have floating around in my head). What are we to do when the primary machine for editing such films is a laptop that has an asthma attack when you try to open a two page PDF?
We go see the Church business administrator, that's what we do!
And so I'm happy to report that yesterday, March 21, was new computer day in J-Land. What did he go with you ask?
I went with the 15 inch MacBook pro Retina Display, sans touch bar. I'll tell you why I did this:
1) Have you seen how expensive the new MacBook Pros are?
2) I got really freaked out by the lack of ports. Yes, I know that in time everything will run on USB-C, and Mac is usually ahead of the game when it comes to these things, and blah blah blah. But things don't run on USB-C yet. In fact, 99.9% of the interactions I need to have with the Mac since I started doing church photography and video is with the SD card, and who wants to have a dongle between us every single time I have to do that?
3) Have you seen how expensive the new MacBook Pros are?
4) Looking at the tech specs, there wasn't a whole lot of bump in the new models. The processor is a little bit better, but not enough for me to notice I don't think. I DO however already extremely notice jumping from 8g of RAM to 16g. Like, immediately.
5) Have you seen how expensive the new MacBook Pros are?
6) Built in HDMI port? Yes please.
7) Have you seen how expensive the new MacBook Pros are?
It is, admittedly, still very early into my owning this machine, so I'm sure I'll have a full review when I've had some time to use it for something other than transferring files from the old machine. But other than the insanely loud fan on this machine, I've got to say I'm so far pretty impressed.
And this is all really good, because as I mentioned I have a few video projects in the pipeline, one of which I'm going to start shooting tomorrow, so I want a machine that's up to the task. Today was (as my Facebook followers know) a frustrating day for me. Nothing terrible happened (other than finding out that rather than getting a refund, Uncle Sam will be turning Sarah and I upside down and shaking us for our lunch money), but it was kind of frustrating in that there were no creative projects to work on. Today was all paperwork and meetings, which have their place and absolutely need to be done. But I wanted to work on something. I wanted to make something. I wanted to have something to show for my efforts at the end of the day.
Luckily, after the tax man dismissed us with fewer dollars in our pockets, I got a chance to live into that. We came home and I sat on the floor for a good while with the boys and played with them. It is remarkable how quickly such a simple act can reset my mood. We didn't even do anything special. Just a few hugs and a bunch of crawling around on the floor. But I was happy just to be with them. There may be a clue to life's greater mysteries here...
Then afterwards it was back to the church, where we had a meeting with a few dedicated parents who have been helping us think through how we can improve our program. I love that. I love that after 10 years in a single church, when any other youth pastor would have thought "Nailed it!" and just kept repeating the same old program again and again and again, we have decided that we need to change. We might end up as a result of these conversations doing some incredible new things. We might end up getting rid of some programs that have served us well at Veritas. We might even keep some of the old stuff. Who knows!? But what I do know about myself at least is that I thrive in the creative space. I love getting a group of people together around a whiteboard and saying "let's make it better." I love sitting down with a tool like a new laptop and thinking "I wonder how I could use this more efficiently. I love sitting down with a pen and paper, and start to write words that will eventually become sermons. I love the creative process, and part of living in to that is to make sure that no matter how long we've been at the same tasks again and again, we allow for creative space. We allow room for change. We allow room for the new idea.
My friends, embrace creativity. Even when it feels like there's no room for it, I almost promise you there is. Find the next way forward. Find the new idea. Share the new story. It's out there. We just have to find it.