Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's Been a While ...

There are a whole lot of sayings about the apparently very human propensity to fail to keep up with our commitments:

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

"Never put off until tomorrow what you should have done two weeks ago."

It's even in the Bible:

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do ..."  (Romans 7:15)

My last posting here was on December 10th.  The one before that -- about a week earlier.  And before that?  Almost another month.  This despite my intention to write at least a little something every day.

I'm a busy guy.  Why would I want to write a blog post every day?  Narcissism?  A need to be noticed and affirmed?  Is it, in the words of shame researcher Bréne Brown, "the shame-based fear of being ordinary"?
I don't think so.  At least not entirely.  (I always leave open the possibility -- even the probability -- that I have motivations I'm not aware of and wouldn't like if I were.)  I think that there are some very good reasons for me, as a working pastor, to be a regular blogger, and maybe it'd help me to remind myself of them.

One of my collegial friends, the Rev. Scott Wells, in explaining on his blog -- Boy In The Bands -- why he does it makes reference to an old-time Southern Universalist (he thinks it was John C. Burruss) who "wrote and edited his newspaper because the printed word would go where 'the living evangel' could not go, and it would survive after he was long dead."  (Thanks for this, Scott.)

I am a preacher and a teacher by trade, vocation, and inclination.  Blogging provides a pulpit with a sanctuary that stretches as far and wide as the internet itself.  I know that all those "pews" will never be filled, but that's true in our brick and mortar sanctuaries as well.  And even if I simply look at the specific congregation I currently serve -- the wonderful Thomas Jefferson MemorialChurch - Unitarian Universalist in Charlottesville, Virginia -- I believe that my blogging serves them.  Not all of our members can come to Sunday services each week, and not everyone can attend our faith development programs, or take place in one of our Covenant Groups, yet I dare say that all of us are looking for something to chew on during the week.  To reflect on.  To meditate on.  And, yes, to think about.  I have no delusions that I am some fount of wisdom, yet I know that I have something to say and as a preacher and teacher for this congregation blogging provides a forum for me to reach out to people both more frequently and more effectively.

And why try to post daily?  I once knew a painter who, when she'd finished with a canvass would immediately start to paint a new image over the one she'd just completed.  And when that one was done she'd begin a third.  There were sometimes five or six images beneath whatever she called her "final" piece, the one that would remain on top when she finally set the canvass aside and began on a new one.  I asked her once why she did this and she said, "I have so many images in my head and I just have to get them out."  So, too, the thoughts, reflections, and observations in mine.

At the same time, too, there's the discipline of it.  Besides, or along with, my being a preacher and teacher, I'm a writer.  And writer's write.  The only way -- really, the only way -- to hone one's craft is to write.  A lot.  And many of the writers I most admire have said that that means at least some writing every day.  So yes, I write a sermon most every week, and a bulletin article and a report to the Board each month, but the discipline of daily writing?  That's where the blog can came in.

Will I do this?  Live into this intention to blog each day?  (Or, at least, each week day?)  I don't know.  We'll see.  At least I hope to be back before March.

Pax tecum,


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1 comment:

Danie Smallwood said...

Erik! As usual, your words are inspiring. I, for one, am one who only rarely gets to attend services at your congregation -- and I am SOOO happy you are at it again here!