I started blogging in 2006 to add my voice to the cries for reform. I believed the church needed reform in a number of areas, some doctrinal and some practical. I still do. I believed we especially needed reform in terms of congregation and minister relations. I saw the entire “professional minister” system as flawed from the hiring process, involving search committees, to the “hireling mentality” that gave preachers too much responsibility and very little authority, all for a highly inadequate pay and benefit package.
I wrote a series called “Before You Enter the Ministry” in the fall of 2006 to let young ministers know what they were getting themselves into. Many elders completely missed the point of these posts, assuming they were simply descriptive of “the nature of the beast.” But preachers who read it understood it as the call to reform that it was intended to spark. The beast needed killing.
I then did a series on prayer (“Can God Be Persuaded to Act?”) in early 2007 which resonated with many people and grew out of my personal frustrations in a difficult situation. When I did ‘”escape” the situation it was out of the frying pan and into the fire. From a short-lived and even less happy situation our family came to where we are now. We’ve been here six years and we love it here. We hope to stay many more years, Lord willing.
I also started blogging to hopefully expose the legalistic sectarianism that I perceived in the church (and still do). But readers’ comments to some early posts challenged me to change the whole approach I was taking. The original intent was to show parallels between “Pharisaical legalism” and a derailed “Restoration Movement,” with a large dose of the “law/grace” and “faith/works” contrast from an “old perspective” or “Lutheran” understanding of Scripture. Thanks to the comments of readers who pointed me to authors like N. T. Wright and to E. P. Sanders’ book “Paul and Palestinian Judaism” this blog has done one of its jobs. I hoped to learn from the give and take discussions found in the comments section and my readers sharpened me. I never intended to suppose I had the last word on anything, but expected to learn from others.
My reasons for blogging have evolved. I’m no longer writing from a place of frustration (at least not usually). I’ve also started to reframe the church’s ills in light of a more narrative and theological reading of Scripture I’ve been doing for the last six years. While spending over twenty years as an exegete of passages it was time to consider the metanarrative of Scripture. The past few years have seen my redefinition, or at least more robust nuances, of terms like gospel, kingdom, glory, liberation, redemption, and salvation. I’m currently tackling law and covenant, which aren’t synonymous by the way.
The blog has given me a platform to share some things that don’t always fit into my program of preaching and teaching. Many thoughts posted here were either still in the embryonic stages, a bit controversial, or at least not-yet-ready-for-prime-time.
The anniversary date of this blog is in May and I’m deciding if I should renew it or retire it when that date comes. Not only have some initial reasons for writing changed, but the comments and traffic have largely ceased as well. This could be because of the long hiatuses I’ve had between posts or series or it might just be because blogs are going the way of the dinosaur. Probably both.
Blogger Michael Hyatt recently wrote that most discussion forums have migrated to Facebook, which led him to shut down the comments on his still-popular blog. Other bloggers simply post articles on Facebook, but I cannot get excited about cluttering the newsfeed of friends who care nothing for this type of content. I’ve tried to steer clear of religion and politics on Facebook.
I do know that some blogs are still going strong with regular discussion, but I would have to really be committed to make that happen again. Moreover, not everyone who reads likes to comment. I read several blogs, but rarely comment.
So what to do, what to do?