i’ve been blogging (with sputtering regularity) for 2 1/4 years now, and it has been nothing if not an adventure. looking back, i really didn’t know what to expect when i started. blogging wasn’t something i had a burning desire to do. in fact, i undertook this venture at the urging of a friend. i had something to say, but my best ideas were exhausted after about two weeks. pat conroy (one of my favorite writers) described my feelings pretty well in “the lords of discipline”:
I wanted to become the seeker, the aroused and passionate explorer, and it was better to go at it knowing nothing at all, always choosing the unmarked bottle, always choosing your own unproven method, armed with nothing but faith and a belief in astonishment.
in this pursuit, i have stumbled upon a priceless and unexpected treasure: friends. over the past two years, i’ve been able to connect with a handful of kindred spirits that i adore and admire. i’ve had opportunity to contend and/or concur with them intellectually, philosophically, emotionally and theologically. i’m not saying that i have always agreed with my virtual friends, but i have always enjoyed the discourse.
one thing that is fascinating to me (and it did not occur to me until recently) is that no one has ever asked me about my religious denomination. and i can’t remember ever asking someone else. i’m aware of the background/training/persuasion of most of the guys i connect with, but for some reason it just doesn’t seem to matter. i am not disqualified because we come from different places. it seems to me that we are pursuing the things that connect us and ignoring the things that divide us.
i’d not been blogging very long when i heard from a guy in kentucky named john williams, and we have been fast friends ever since. in fact, in the difficult moments when blogging becomes tedious and i think i’ve got a lot more important things to do with my time, i recall some of the gracious and inspiring things john has said to me and i am compelled to continue. john has recommended (and even sent!) several books and i’ve enjoyed them all. a couple of weeks ago during our conversation about the state of the church, john suggested i read “quitting church” by julia duin which i did. duin doesn’t say anything i haven’t read somewhere else, but her perspective (she is religion editor for the washington times) is unique in that she is not “in the ministry” like so many others that i hear/read on this subject. “quitting church” was a quick and compelling read, but there are several powerful conclusions that i simply must disseminate in this space over the next few days. as always, my goal is to challenge conventional wisdom, my hope is to stimulate conversation, and my prayer is to inspire those who are fighting the good fight.
and, for once at least, i want to honor my internet friends and thank them for their encouragement.