After three weeks of “blogging” nearly every day, perhaps some reflections on why am I doing this?
Several possible answers, all with a grain of truth:
1) Personal grandiosity and self-absorption. I want others to be as preoccupied with my thoughts as I am.
2) The blog creates structure and discipline that I need. I am helped by the daily obligation to compose some thoughts, because, maybe, just maybe, there are readers going to the trouble of checking the blog site to see if there are any new words from Jeff.
3) “Everybody else is doing it.” Somewhere I read there was a new blog created every minute. Better get on board this cultural lemmings parade.
4) I really DO love a good discussion about meaningful things. It has something to do with why I became a pastor. There isn’t enough opportunity in this world to converse on a deeper level regarding the meaning of it all. Too much wallpaper conversation. The blog creates such an opportunity.
Here are some things I’ve noticed along the way of writing my blog:
1) It’s turned me into a morning person. I’m motivated to get out of bed early before anybody else in my household in order to be alone in my daily encounter with the empty blog page.
2) I love hearing from readers, and the responses have in turn helped shape what I write about. (Incidently, suggestions for writing topics are welcome.)
3) There is this writing space I’m trying to find that avoids being some kind of boring stereotype of a “pastor” who says predictably preacherly things, while at the same time saying something that contributes to the life of the church. (If you’ve been reading my blog, by now you’ve picked up that I have this hang up about being perceived as “boring.”)
A) Locating this space is also related to finding the right balance between being self-revealing without going overboard and pouring my guts out, the same sort of balance I seek in preaching. (*see note below.)
B) I want the freedom to write in a variety of styles on a variety of topics. I don’t want to feel compelled to always discourse on the Lord (which is part of that preacherly stereotype I want to avoid) although I do believe the Holy Spirit is involved throughout. Thus far my blog has ranged from thoughts on what happens when we die and stand face to face with God, to descriptions of my animals and diatribes about boring newspaper photographs.
4) I find out what I think and feel in the process of writing. I don’t always know what I’m going to say when I sit down to write.
5) Though I worried some about this, there does in fact seem to be no end of stuff to write about, which is interesting since in certain settings I often come off as somebody who doesn’t have much to say at all.
6) As in preaching, I resist canned “sermon illustrations” which don’t arise out of my own life and thoughts.
7) Writing this blog provides me with a way to be (and feel) creative, which for me is directly connected to feeling alive.
*One of the inspirations for starting this blog came from a Baptist minister from San Antonio, Texas who for a number of years now has been blogging under the blog name of “Real Live Preacher”. (You might want to check him out.) For a couple of years he wrote annonymously, with the gimmick that drew people to his site being that he was, in fact, a real live preacher serving a church somewhere. With the cloak of annonymity, he pretty much wrote about anything that crossed his heart and mind. You find some pretty revealing stuff there, like his experience dealing with serious depression and of going on anti-depressants. The website became something of a phenomenon — he writes beautifully — thousands of people were reading him daily. Not surprisingly, somewhere along the way his identity was disclosed, and, of course, it changed his writing. Though still self-revealing, he holds back in ways he didn’t in what he refers to as “the old days.”