For a number of reasons I have decided to start blogging again. It’s something I do with a little bit of fear. I know what I am an attention whore and I don’t want to fall back into my old patterns of seeking a bigger audience constantly. Fortunately, I think the blogging world has grown to the point where it will be almost impossible to be a “famous blogger,” again, and blogging is also passe in light of some of the newer social media technologies.
Secondly, let me apologize in advance for pulling a Brett Favre here – I wrote those dramatic posts a while back about how I was hanging up my blogging cleats, and oh, well looks like I must have been kidding. Actually, when I hung up the old typepad blog I did leave room for a return and that is why I opened up here at WordPress. I also hope I am in the process of dealing sufficiently with the things I had mentioned before that I will be able to blog for better reasons.
Also, and this will move me into a bit more of an explanation of why I am blogging again, I am doing so at least in part for the therapeutic value. My buddy Dan Phillips mentioned that as one of the reasons he blogs and I had a conversation today that got me thinking it could help me.
I went to see my shrink today and we talked a bit about goals. I didn’t say this to my shrink, but I despise the very idea of goal-setting, but that’s a personal thing for me. I’ve always been so-so at best in setting and seeing goals through, but several years ago I went through what I am confident was the best goal setting process of my life as we sought to “vision-cast” (a rotten phrase that is now banished to my own personal hall of loathsome shame) our plan for the church. Seriously, we did a great job. We had an executive coach, who is a guy I would recommend to anyone here in the Anne Arundel County Area, the plan was well thought out from beginning to end and unlike most of my plans we had clear and achievable implementation goals and plans complete with people to work them. In all seriousness I had a great deal of confidence because this was a plan where we had lots of people doing the work, though I was the leader I was not alone and we had plenty of things built in to make it work.
Then on the weekend we rolled out the plan I found out I had cancer. That was like a domino which started knocking down all the pieces of “the plan.” It has been a bitter pill to swallow. I still believe that God is good but I am having a hard time coping with His providence. Part of that difficulty is that I am afraid to make plans and set goals.
Still, I have a great relationship with my shrink and he is right on the value of having some goals to make my remaining days on earth productive and vibrant. Most of these have to do with preparing my family to cope with the difficult days ahead, but writing may be of some benefit also.
I don’t know if I want to write a book. For one thing I may not be able to. Writing a book takes sustained time and concentration and my energy is so up and down I hate to commit to long term projects. Still, I may be able to scratch out an outline and tackle it the way you eat an elephant – one bite at a time.
I also question the value of writing books. I’ve taken a curmudgeonly turn over the last couple of years and I really have gotten to where I really love older books, or newer books by more seasoned Christians. I remember when I was a kid I read a bio of Josh McDowell. He said he had heard of some saying in Japan that you shouldn’t write a book until you are over 50 because no one is wise enough to write a book until they get that old. He went on to explain why he was making an exception at the time and it was actually fine, I remember the book being a great thing for me as a new Christian.
Still, I think the advice is pretty good and it wouldn’t hurt any of us Christians to not write or read books by people under 50 years old. Of course I am going to get in trouble with that immediately – I’ve read good things about the book by Trevin Wax, I enjoy Jared Wilson and am chomping at the bit to read Matt Anderson’s new book, so maybe we give special dispensations to certain folks.
But this is why I want to be careful about writing a book. There’s just too many books being published these days for any single book to make much of an impact. And sadly, a lot of those books are being written by younger people who have had flashes of success but haven’t yet become seasoned Christians. I’m only 47 now – close enough I suppose to 50. Plus, I hope my soul has aged in the last couple of years. Still, in some ways I still don’t believe I’ve experienced enough of life to write wisely. While I may blog here for therapeutic purposes my intent to write a book will only be if I believe I can cobble something together sufficiently coherent on the theology of the cross to be of use to the church, if I have been seasoned sufficiently and I do believe the cancer itself has finally put me into the school of suffering which seasons a Christian (though I’m a sophomore at best) and if I believe I’ve dealt sufficiently with my own bitterness in my reaction to this most recent frowning providence.
I don’t consider myself bitter, yet at times I think I am. So much has gone so wrong over these last couple of years that my head still spins. At times I have joys I had never known and I see clearly that I have been uniquely blessed by God in my life. Other times I moan and mourn saying “why me God!!!” So, I don’t know what I’ll do – on the bad days it is only the theology of the cross that keeps me going and I commend it to you – read Carl Trueman’s article on it, then read any good Lutheran you can get your hands on about it.
As for blogging – it may simply give me something to do with down time. I don’t have as much anxiety about blogging as writing a book. Blogging is a conversation and is not generally thought of as a final product or an author’s last word on a subject. I don’t want it to take away from my family and church the way I used to with it. I also don’t expect my kids to want to read my blog but I do expect to be gone before too long and I am hoping that days may come when they will want to acquaint their kids with the grandfather they never knew, and if there is a way to preserve some thoughts through blogging that would be great.
So, please do pray for me. I don’t expect anyone to feel obligated to read, but if you do please leave comments. Pray for a few things. Pray for my health – it continues to rise and fall, but the long term pattern is one of decline so pray that God may give me more years with my family and church. Pray that I would resist the urge to get back into the blogging mainstream – that if I have this burning post that I just have to go write, right now – that I will first go spend some time with the family or call up someone from the church to check on how they are doing. Then, if there is time left, pray that I’ll write a post which will edify as many as possible. But then pray that, where blogging can serve as a good creative and therapeutic outlet I would use it as such.
Thank you, as always for the generosity of your time.