Because I’d like to thoughtfully contribute.
I blogged for 10 years and then decided to take a break in the summer of 2015. I felt stuck in a few ways. Not in the writer’s block sense but I needed to find my voice and purpose as it came to the blog again. Over that decade, my life had unfolded quite a bit, my ministry roles had expanded, my audiences had changed, and to put it mildly, there were many more factors to now consider before pushing “publish.”
My thinking also shifted. My cynicism evolved; less in certain areas, and perhaps more thoughtful in others. My faith in God and in people grew (well, some people). Unfortunately ten years of observing life around you gives you more stories of tragedy, of evil and of brokenness. Fortunately, that time awakens your heart for justice, hope and redemption as well. I’ve changed, and you have too.
Our culture was changing too. Blogging had once been a way of inviting others to read your thoughts in almost “real-time.” It was more about processing our raw feelings than about reaching a conclusion. Questions were more insightful and thus more valuable than answers. It felt communal, comments often said, “Me too!” and “Thanks for giving voice to my thoughts.” There were far fewer trolls and heresy/witch hunters. The disagreements felt more collaborative than combative. The good old days when everyone on the internet got along 😉
Then, seemingly, in these past few years, our social media culture has seen the evidence of our growing disunity and increasingly polarization of society. At least that’s what it felt like to me. The feeling of “you can’t say anything anymore without creating a firestorm” is an exaggeration that has lessened in hyperbole and sadly, grown in prudence.
At some point in the summer of 2015, I wondered if I was adding to the noise, I feared I was adding hurt, and I was had this both wonder and anxiety of how to best steward this platform. Was it a place to process, was it place for action, both? Maybe – but to what degree? Not to mention the time it took to craft thoughts, and the growing responsibilities of family and ministry life, a short break felt like a great idea. I just didn’t think it would be this long.
During the season of not blogging, I came to realize some of my blogger friends had also stopped putting their thoughts on blog-form. There were similar reasons, and unique ones. Some had gone through some painful situations. Some grew bored. But most felt something similar to what I was feeling. We’re not trying to go viral, or make money, we just want to add to the conversation, hopefully thoughtfully and in a way that was truly Christian.
I still laugh at the one friend who told me, “Dude, blogs aren’t cool anymore …” Can I be honest and tell you that after he said that I thought to myself, “I think I might resume blogging because it’s not fashionable any more.” Doing something that is meaningful and not trendy? That’s a fairly significant piece of my pastoral calling.
Here’s where I’m supposed to craft a wilderness story. I’m supposed to tell you about a time that life bottomed out, and then I had a “burning bush” experience where God told me or I heard a voice say, “Go to Facebook and tell them, ‘Free.Your.Minds.” (I did read through Exodus recently and often watch The Matrix).
But I don’t have that story. This blog is not a God-send. And I’m not your Moses. Or your Morpheus.
So why blog? And why now?
I feel compelled to blog as I see it as an extension of my personal pastoral ministry. As one who identifies with his Christian faith, I feel there is often a missing thoughtful Christian perspective that could add value to many of our meta-conversations, as in, the conversations that often connect our lives to what is going around us. I feel the Jesus narrative is often overlooked in our cultural engagement or at times poorly articulated, or characterized by others and sometimes the perceived silence is often misunderstood.
Further, I feel that I’m fortunate in a lot of ways. I get to be around some really amazing people, I get access to some insightful wisdom over lunch, coffee, and beers. I get to attend some really amazing lectures, seminars, conferences and various gatherings that shape my thought-life. I’m part of an incredible church (I really am). And between family life, community life, personal reading, praying, and a heart to share, it feels time to blog again.
I feel compelled to blog now because as I have been observing this past year, we have become so divisive, so polarized, and this has added to our bitterness, our anger and our confusion. Some of this is a reaction to our own hurt, and some of it is for the need for control, what we think is best for the other, for our nation, for our world, for the Church. And I know it’s all even more complicated than that.
I believe we are in need of listening, processing, choosing to acknowledge the perspective of the other. From there we there is need to adapt, clarify and hopefully articulate our own perspective on complicated matters. And all that takes nuance. And humility. And patience. And love. And much more. I’d like to be one of the mediators saying, “It’s some of this, it’s some of this too, and maybe some of this over here, but not all of it.”
So, thank you for reading these words. I know it’s time out of your day and I promise I’ll do my best to honor your time, and the trust you have extended me. I’d be super-grateful for your feedback along the way. Especially thoughtful critique, to know what has resonated and what you felt was worth sharing to your friends. Feel free to email me if you prefer and in some cases, that might be better for both of us 🙂
Perhaps you could consider liking the Facebook page once it’s created.
Again, thanks for reading this new project – may it be of help to others and if possible, bring glory to God.
– Grace and peace, Tim