A little more than an month ago, myself and my roommates held a Housewarming show to inaugurate our new presence in South Philadelphia. In all, we had six musical acts play, 32 songs performed, and almost 60 people attend. It was an amazing night. One of the best I had had in a long time. For all those that came, thank you again.
We also live recorded the music that night, and today, we are proud to officially release The Birdhouse Presents, Vol. 1: The Housewarming. Those recordings are now available for download for free (or donation, if you like). The album comes in two editions. The Color edition has the evening broken up by individual song; the Black & White edition contains each artists’ full sets, including the talking, joking, and intros between each song. Just click on the banner below and pick your edition:
The recordings themselves are a bit quiet, but are fine with headphones or external speakers. They came out really well. As a preview, here were some of the covers and songs everyone seemed to enjoy a lot that night from each of the performers:
As of a couple of weeks ago, I am an in-covenant member at Liberti Church: South Philly. One of the reasons I am writing this is to inform those at Epiphany that don’t know this yet. I thought a good number of people knew, but I’m getting more and more texts and messages from people that obviously don’t know this. Sorry for not communicating this to more people.
As many people know, ever since I first got to Philadelphia, I was an avid member of Epiphany Fellowship. In fact, it was a message by Eric Mason delivered at the Village Church in Dallas, Texas that sealed my decision to come to Philly in the first place. When every other seminarian was spending their first few months at school in that awkward period of looking for a church home, I already had mine. The apartment-hunting visits I had made prior to moving let me visit Epiphany months before I actually moved here and I was made to feel the warmth and hospitality of a community that lived in line with the amazing teaching they receive in and out of Sunday mornings.
I, Paul Burkhart, now have a real job.
Like, a real real one.
Yesterday, I was accepted for a position at a program called Project Transition as a “Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counselor” (assuming that my background checks clear, of course. Until then, I can’t actually say I’m “hired” per se, I’m still a “candidate”). In short, this is my dream job. I will have a case load of about 5 individuals recovering from various mental disorders who I will pour into their lives trying to help them reintegrate into society. I will teach classes to everyone in the program on various parts of living life healthily. I will be doing assessments and creating treatment plans for my case load. The people I will work with seem amazing. Benefits kick in after only a month. It’s really good pay (at least for an entry level job). I will even have my own office space (and desk!).
The philosophy of the organization is right in line with mine: that people are not defined by their disease. They are fundamentally healthy individuals struggling with a disorder, rather than the view that would treat them as primarily disordered individuals struggling for health. It was so exciting sitting there as they told me everything about the organization. That reminds me, the interview itself was strange too. It was one of those weird circumstances that seems to surreal and – for lack of a better word – supernatural. In the entire interview I didn’t say more than a couple of sentences. They didn’t really ask me many questions. It was more like “hey, this is who we are. Wanna join us?”. It was so strange. I have the weakest resume one could imagine. I have waiting tables at Applebee’s and tutoring elementary school students on there and that’s it. Hardly the resume to get someone a professional counseling job. But nevertheless, I walked in, and the founder of the organization had made one of his monthly visits to this particular site just to interview me. When I got there, everyone already knew my name and who I was. When the founder had to leave the interview early and leave me with the site coordinators, he had the secretary send down paperwork to hire me, even before the interview was actually over! (Running the risk of sounding overly charismatic or Osteen-ish) I felt like I was walking in “supernatural favor”. Or something like that.
So what does all this mean? Well firstly, even though I loved and adored my time in Richmond the past few weeks and really wanted to move back there, it seems that God has intended for me to have longer-term plans for Philly. This job really is something I’m going to want to stay at for awhile. The people I will be around, the experiences I’ll get, and the real-word education I’ll receive (all while still taking WTS counseling classes) will be invaluable to me. So I’m here to stay, it seems. This would probably have been a problem a couple months ago, but recently Philadelphia has opened up to me (specifically South Philly) and I have met so many people I really want to live life deeply with for a while longer before moving on (not to mention my biggest bromances are here and here. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you, you, and you).
So here’s to God for blessing me far more than I could ever imagine. I pray this drives me further to Him and doesn’t make me feel like I don’t need him now. Because I do. I’ve definitely been seeing that greatly the past few weeks, and this has been the first little ray of light to burst out from the haze I’ve been in.
Philly, here I stay.