Someone I know well gave me a knowing “yeah, right” when I shut down this blog. I could never last if I could not write.
Well, it turns out that person was correct. The yips and shakes I’ve had over the last several weeks of hiatus and then termination of this blog have been intense. (You’ll noticed I never deleted it despite my solemn words about moving on.)
But, here is the problem. I don’t have the stomach for the politics of United Methodism these days. I have some strong convictions about the issues that seize our attention, but I simply get sick in my soul when I get sucked into them. It kills my joy, even as I feel as if “someone needs to say something” to the arguments and antics that roil the denomination, to write about these things.
And as I mentioned on e-mail to a friend earlier today, writing about those things does not make me a better pastor of the two little congregations I am actually serving. It may contribute something to the “general conversation” in the denomination, but I don’t think it changes anything. I fear that silence let’s other voices dominate, but when I let that fear dictate what I write, it leaves me feeling like a pawn in a game being played by others.
So, I want to thank Bishop Ken Carter for an idea he has with his conference. He has invited Florida United Methodists — and the rest of us — to spent the year ahead reading Luke-Acts, one chapter per week.
And so, I am taking up my keyboard with some new ideas about what I am about and what I am writing.
First, a negative, I am going to avoid writing about the issues of the day in United Methodism. It is not because I think they are unimportant, but because I don’t see any way for what I write on these issues to change or help the conversation. Learning to let things be said and happen that I don’t agree with will be quite a challenge. As my son likes to kid me, I have a hard time shutting up when I think someone on the Internet is wrong about something. But these conversations by their very nature seem to be confrontational and combative. I’ve not figured out a way to enter them without taking sides and falling into “us vs. them” dynamics. Others can do such things without doing violence to their souls, perhaps. I find that I cannot.
Second, I am going to take up Bishop Carter’s invitation and blog reflections each week — sometimes each day — about the chapters in Luke-Acts.
Third, and building on that, I will do more lectionary blogging, writing thoughts, reactions, and responses to the texts that I will be preaching each week. I will also reflect some on worship and discipleship issues that I’m wrestling with.
Fourth, I will continue to write some about John Wesley, putting him in dialogue with contemporary writers and some theological and pastoral issues that press on my mind and heart.
Finally, I will share the questions and challenges I am encountering in my growth as a pastor, student, family member, and Christian. One of the hazards I have discovered while becoming an “influential” Methoblogger has been the seductive pull to write as if I am much more of an authority than I am. I repent of that. I’m working this all out and a long, long way from perfection.
I feel a bit like a tease for signing off from this blog and then coming back. Blame it on writing withdrawal. Help hold me accountable for staying out of the verbal violence in our denomination. Join me in reading Luke-Acts with Bishop Carter this year.