Starting Over

I have been blogging off and on for  almost 10 years on various sites, and during that time I have probably written over 3,000 posts.  This blog has been rather dormant of late, and so I figured it was time to either delete the thing or start over.  As you can see, I decided to do the latter.

In addition to writing new content, I will also be posting some of my older writings that are still relevant or interesting (at least to me).  If there is a topic you would like to see me address, I am certainly open to doing so, just click on the contact link about and tell me about it.

Every now and then I think it’s good to get a fresh start, and so I begin to do just that here.  The header image of my blog is by a wonderful North Dakota artist Julie Neidlinger, who painted this for me many years ago. You can visit her blog here.  At one time this blog was titled “A Far Country,” and now it is again, and the Julie’s painting is both a reflection on that title and on the story of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15.  Everything old is new again.

Pastors and Blogging

In the past, some have wondered why I, as a pastor, blog.  This post is an attempt to answer that question.   The reasons are many, but allow me to list a few.

1. Over the almost four years I have blogged, my blogs have been viewed over 300,000 times.  Blogging allows me to reach a wide range of people, many of whom never attend church.  Some may come to read a personal reflection, a funny post, a movie review, or to view a photograph, but more than a few of these visitors stick around and read some of my writings on faith as well.  Blogging allows me to share my faith.

2. Besides being a committed follower of Jesus, I am a person with a wide range of interests and hobbies.  I am an amatuer photographer and potter.  I am also a voracious reader, lover of all types of music, and an avid film buff.  Blogging allows me to share my interests with others.  And very often I am able to find connections between these more cultural interestd and my own faith.  I am reminded of a phrase John Wesley used:  “plundering the Egyptians.” As Rich Tuttle writes on his blog (and I hope he doesn’t mind my pasting most of his post here:

One of the coolest concepts in Methodism is “plundering the Egyptians.”

The day Moses set the Israelites free, an ironic twist took place. The Israelites had the audacity to ask the Egyptians for jewelry and clothing…and the Egyptians obliged (Exodus 12:35-36). The last part of verse 36 is great: “so they (the Israelites) plundered the Egyptians.”

The father of Methodism, John Wesley, used this phrase as way to express the importance of using the best of what culture has to offer to grow in knowledge and faith. Wesley made himself aware of current events, recent scholarship, scientific discovery, medical breakthroughs, new technology and pop culture by reading, listening and being available. He thought it was essential to know what was going on around him so that he could grow in knowledge of God’s truth. Scripture was always primary and essential for Wesley and that’s why he was not afraid of “contamination” by the cultural “texts” in which he engagned. Wesley gleaned everything he could from the best of the culture around him because he believed God could speak in more than one way. Wesley “plundered the Egyptians” without fear, because he did not have to question the source of ultimate and timeless truth.

As a Methodist, I will proudly carry on Wesley’s practice of “plundering the Egyptians,” not just for the sake of relevance, but because I believe God can and does speak through the cultural “texts” of today.

3.  During my time blogging I have met many wonderful people and have developed more than a few friendships that would have never been possible without this particular form of communication.  While my friends and I may disagree on various issues and even faith (and who has friends that see eye to ey with them anyway),  my blog has allowed us to dialogue with one another and develop a sense of comaraderie that I value greatly.

Now I realize that not every visitor to my blogs will appreciate everything I write or post.  But as a Christian and a blogger, I have a few guidelines for myself.

  • Never break confidentiality when writing a post.  Nothiing ever told to me in confidence will ever be shared on my blogs.
  • I will try and expect any commenters on my blog to try to maintain a civil and courteous level of discourse.  This is especially true when dealing with more controversial issues.  While we may not agree on everything, we can certainly be civil in our disagreements.
  • While my blog reflects who I am in a larger context (after all it is about faith, culture, technology, photography and life), I always hope that my own faith in Christ is ultimately is visible in what I write.  This is not to say that every post will be religious in nature, but that when taken as a whole, it will be apparant that my blogs are written by someone with a deep commitment to my faith in Jesus.

So there you have it.  A few reasons why I blog and some guidelines for my own blogging.

To everyone who visits this blog, or one of my other blogs, I say “Welcome, and I hope you will find something of value here . . . perhaps something to deepen your own faith, or something to make you ponder an issue or concern, or maybe a little something to make you smile. ”