A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I would refrain from any further Facebook or blog posts while I focused on resolving the question of when, where, and in what capacity Shirley and I would reconnect with the church through identification with a new or existing local congregation or faith community. Exceptions to that communication blackout would be posts pertinent to that search.
My rationale for that decision was a growing perception that my critique of the church and the culture and my commentary about things religious, social, and political lacked an element of integrity apart from a foundation of experience in relating to a worshiping, serving, welcoming, loving community of mutually accountable fellow travelers.
One of my friends, a former student whom I genuinely respect, took me to task on that matter and kindly admonished me to rethink both the decision and the motivation behind it. With his permission, here is part of what he wrote.
I know you mean well, and I support your desire for integrity in all you do. God knows that quality is in short supply right now. But I wonder if you realize how many of us look forward to what you write. We know you, we trust you, and even if we don’t agree with you, we find your perspective helpful and often enlightening. If you are truly convinced you can’t write anything until you resolve the church question, I’ll respect that. But I hope you’ll be completely certain of your motives and not just making excuses or trying to avoid the hard work and the battle. I know you are tired. We all are. Please don’t give up, because if you do, some of us might do the same. If that happens, I think the work of the kingdom will suffer.
In light of that gentle admonition, and given that I have already undertaken some specific and concrete steps toward resolving the “church question,” I have decided to return to Facebook posting forthwith and to the blogosphere within the next week or two. Accordingly, here is the schedule I hope to maintain with a maximum of three blog posts per week.
Mondays: Personal reflections, observations, frustrations, aspirations, hopes, dreams, gripes, and complaints. I intend on Mondays to spill all the stuff I ought to be telling a psychotherapist, if I could afford to see one, which I probably should do for real, but I doubt if I ever will. In short, if you read my Monday posts, you’ll find out more about me and my life and the way my mind works than anybody really wants to know. If that kind of “honest sharing” doesn’t appeal to you, you can avoid it simply by skipping any post headlined “Personal Monday.”
Wednesdays: Social commentary and cultural observations. Politics, religion, and the interface between them. Practical implications of the gospel of the kingdom. The character of faithful discipleship. In short, serious consideration of what it means to be a “red letter Christian” who really wants to know what Jesus meant when he said “Follow me.” If this kind of content makes you uncomfortable, you’ll want to avoid all posts headlined “Issues Wednesday.”
Fridays: Book reviews and links to other blogs, journal articles, and podcasts that I am finding especially helpful, encouraging, informative, stimulating, life-affirming, and growth-producing. I published this kind of post exclusively during Lent this year, fourteen mini-reviews and recommendations (with varying degrees of enthusiasm) in a series I called “A Little Farther Down the Path.” That title comes from E. M. Forster—the British author of books such as A Room With a View, Howard’s End, and A Passage to India—who wrote,
I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, those which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.
If you’re interested in my take on books, articles, and other media products, you’ll want to look for the blog posts headlined “Library Friday.” I intend to devote the first few Library Fridays to books about the Bible by authors such as Rob Bell, Peter Enns, and Marcus Borg. I also plan to look at Rod Dreher’s bestseller called The Benedict Option and to compare/contrast it with a different perspective on the same general theme, Disarming Beauty: Essays on Faith, Truth, and Freedom by the Catholic author Julian Carron.
I probably won’t publish three blog posts every week. When I do publish, however, I will try to maintain the schedule and categories I described above. That way you’ll know what kind of content to expect on any given day from any particular post. In any event, let’s give it a try and see how it works. I think I’ll shoot for Monday, August 14, to kick off this experiment. If I find that I can’t be ready by then, I’ll let you know.
Peace and all good.