Hiatus or Something Like It

Walking outRabbi Meir Hagar of Viznitz related that one of the great chassidic rabbis was once praying with much enthusiasm. His evil inclination came to him at a moment he was praying with the height of fervor, and whispered in his ear, “How can you be so insolent as to pray in such a manner? Yesterday you did improper things. You are unworthy of such prayers.”

The righteous man was not thrown by the evil inclination and mentally replied, “It might be true that yesterday I have erred. Moreover, it is possible that tomorrow once again I might err. But right now I am in the middle of praying, so get away from me!”

-Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
“Make the Highs Even Higher”

It is said that for every descent spiritually, there is an ascent. This blog and a good many other things are going into hiatus, or at least a significant slow down, for an indeterminate period of time which may be a few days to a few weeks, or even longer. Frankly, I’ve recently been reminded of my humanity and my fallibility (I came to this conclusion before my recent Nanos blog post, but the mess I caused didn’t help). I’ve always been concerned about putting my thoughts, feelings, and opinions about God, the Bible and everything out on the Internet, since I am only human, when the rest of the religious people in my space (and in all other religious spaces) in the blogosphere seem to be so “perfect” (not that anyone is perfect, of course).

I’m far from perfect. Very far.

I’ll miss the daily writing. I really enjoy it. But discussing theological issues should be less about personal enjoyment and more about enlightenment and truth. I told a friend over coffee last Sunday that I was stuck on the level of content as far as my faith goes. I like reading and writing about “stuff,” about opinions, and doctrine, and information.

But that’s not all that a life of faith is made of. A life of faith must be lived faithfully.

For however long I’m away, or however infrequently I visit, I bequeath the religious blogosphere to those of you who want it or need it. I’m going to see what life is like without living it on a daily basis. At one point, I thought blogging was a way to get closer to God, but now I see that it has become a barrier between me and Hashem, like many other things I have in my life.

Oh, just in case the “apostasy police” or anyone else is “concerned” by what my decision means, no, I haven’t lost faith or walked away from Jesus. I’m walking away from a public online discussion of my faith right now, thank you very much.

When will I be back? I don’t know exactly. I still have one more episode of First Fruits of Zion’s television program A Promise of What is to Come to review, and I know I’m going to watch it, but when will I write the review and post it for all to read? Soon I hope.

Even if I return to this blog in a few days or a few weeks, it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll return to daily blogging.  It’s more likely, though nothing is decided yet, that I could just stop by every once in awhile and share a few thoughts or insights or even a review on an irregular basis. Just a brief, intermittent presence.

What will I be doing now that I’m not regularly writing online? Praying, reading, studying, pondering, meditating. Who knows what else? God knows what He wants of me. I just have to discover what that is and then do it.

Lord, Thou knowest that I am growing older.

Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject.

Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone’s affairs.

Keep me from the recital of endless detail. Give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains; they are increasing with the years and my love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by.

Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Make me thoughtful but not nosy; helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom and experience it does seem a pity not to use it all. But Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

-found at Aish.com
“A prayer for those growing older”

Blessings on all who have shared in my journey thus far. May it continue by the will and grace of God.

Good Shabbos and Good Night.

22 thoughts on “Hiatus or Something Like It”

  1. I can see where daily blogging is a lot of work and time-consuming. I don’t see where you created any conflict. People see things differently; that’s all. I hope you read some inspirational works and come back refreshed.

  2. I knew by mentioning the issue of conversion to Messianic Judaism I was potentially opening a can of worms. I could have kept silent. That said, I made the decision to back off from daily blogging before this for a quite a few reasons. In a way, it’s very liberating.

  3. You couldn’t just take a vacation, or even a sabbatical; you need maybe a full-fledged hiatus?! [:)] I shall miss the opportunities you’ve provided to discuss your questions and insights on the various readings that come your way. Nonetheless, you have my email address, should you ever feel that I might serve as a useful sounding-board for any topic whatsoever — though I’m sure you have more than enough friends with whom you can discuss significant matters of interest. Thanks for all that you’ve shared so far; and I still hope that your apparently native bent to think about things by means of blogging like this will win out and induce you to continue at whatever pace you find suitable.

    Shabbat Shalom v’aleicha shalom rav …

  4. James, even though I don’t comment very often it won’t be the same without you here. Each day I look to see if there is something from you and try to keep up with what your thinking about and how you’re dealing with issues we struggle with. Your blog has caused many of us to evaluate and search out our own beliefs and I know for myself your blog has served as a sort of sand paper to smooth off some of the sharpness I have felt towards the church. It has helped to allow me to see my own part in the wall I have built up towards ‘those’ people and there is much good in some of them.

    I wish you well on your next great adventure and hope we can catch glimpses of your progress here and there. We will miss you but how can we beg you to stay knowing HaShem is calling you into a bigger and more hands on interaction with HIM and those HE has called you to walk with. Maybe after the big thaw of spring comes we might just pop on over your way and check in on you!

    Take care my friend and be well.

  5. Your Morning Meditations have been a blessing to me…. Many of them I shared with my husband and other friends for the sake of discussion. I will miss their arrival and the prompting they gave me to think..do a little research…ask questions of myself…seek out answers based in Scripture…and perhaps most of all understand that G-d did not clone us! We do not think perfectly and the Whole Picture has certainly not been revealed! I can only wish you peace and joy and well deserved rest as you take ‘time off’. Do come back!

  6. I’ll miss your dailies, brother, but I understand why. It’ll give me a chance to catch up on the posts before I joined the list. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers! Shabbat Shalom & Blessings in Yeshua!

  7. Sounds like a good, reasonable call on your part, James. A wise one, although I will miss the dailies. Your blogging is a very positive provocation of good thought; my relationship with HaShem is a more thoughtful one due to your writing about your own relationship with HaShem.

    I, in a way, have the opposite dilemma: feeling guilty that I cannot publish more on the memory of Holocaust survivors, etc. There just isn’t time in the day. I have to prioritize my sons and my wife right now but it’s hard to not immerse in publishing more information, etc. My focus is my students and working on a new public presentation on the subject of the Holocaust and that’s my limit.

    Commenting on ‘Morning Meditations’ is one of the “extras” I’ve allowed myself… to “talk” with others who wrestle with the same issues I do. I look forward to your coming back even as I celebrate your decision to slow down and take time to ponder.

    May it be a great time of communing with HaShem and a blessing in every way. You’ll be in my prayers and my thoughts, behind you all the way.

    Shalom, brother,

    ~ Dan

  8. There just isn’t time in the day. I have to prioritize my sons and my wife right now but it’s hard to not immerse in publishing more information, etc. My focus is my students and working on a new public presentation on the subject of the Holocaust and that’s my limit.

    I’m seeking some balance myself and cutting back on the writing is part of that. Also, speaking of balance, I’ve gotten off kilter (if I was ever on kilter) and need to get on an even keel again in terms of life’s priorities. Need to spend less time on the computer and more time with other things and with people.

    I’ll be back. I crafted (and recrafted) this blog post many days ago and things have been evolving since that time. I’ll be around.

  9. As much as I like to write, I know I couldn’t publish as frequently as you do. I had at first assumed you were retired or had a government job 🙂 So, I don’t know how you find the time to do so much. I notice since the internet I don’t read as much, even though I am a voracious reader.

    I understand that in the Christian culture, conflict and unpleasant feelings are to be avoided at all costs. In my own culture, which I prefer but am not claiming is superior, there is the tradition of pilpul, of argument, debate and you better be able to back up your viewpoint. There is even conflict within ourselves, if we will be honest. If two Jews have three opinions, then (doing the math) one Jew has one and a half opinions. I would suggest learning to get comfortable with this dichotomy. Of course we all see as through a glass, but at least if you bring everything into the light, you can examine as best you can with limited vision.

  10. I had at first assumed you were retired or had a government job…

    LOL. I guess it would seem that way. No, I’m just good at doing something my wife says men can’t do: multitasking. Also, it doesn’t take as long to write a 2000 word blog post as you might imagine. If they were more scholarly requiring tons of research then yes, each missive would take a long time.

    It’s not dichotomy that bugs me so much as dissonance. There are so many different viewpoints to consider, and I don’t mind the variation, but each person comes across as if his or her opinion is the only possibly correct opinion (MacArthur comes to mind, but he’s hardly the only one).

    It gets a little wearing. Also, while I’ve been pushing and pushing on one front, I’ve been leaving a lot of other things on the back burner, things that I have come to realize are more important than I realized. I’ll be a better person and a more faithful disciple if I start balancing things out.

  11. I don’t always comment, but I do enjoy the reading of your blog, and the comments of others. Have a good Shabbat, however long it may be for you.

  12. I am moved to tears. I have never replied or made any comment (though I have had comments in my head). I will so miss the daily blog, the probing of the questions so sensitively teased out, the food for thought. You have so helped me in my own journey of struggling with the multitude of questions that have popped up over the past few years. I was so thrilled when you began to mention Nanos and the like. I had laboured alone on an Honours thesis on a particularly knotty Galatians passage for many months, and after crying out to HaShem for answers, I came across the work of Nanos. Then it all began to make sense. When you mentioned your attendance at the SBL conference I completely understood your comments. I too, was amazed that little old me…came to the conclusions “they” the scholars, had. It was particularly meaningful to me when recently you wrote of walking a path with very few fellow travellers. This is why your bolgs have been so important to me. I have had a fellow traveller when formerly I travelled alone. I understand your reasons for withdrawing some, but I am saddened to hear of it…for selfish reasons. I pray that our Abba will shine light on your path and that you will know that you have made the journey joyous to many more than you would know.

  13. Thanks James. I wish that you will be able to find what you are in need of right now. Yeshua has it for you. Just ask Him.

    I’ll be missing you and your meditations. On the other hand, your words “A life of faith must be lived faithfully” reminded me that instead of sitting here by myself in front of this computer, I should be going out and do something for my neighbour.

    Shabbat Shalom!

  14. Thanks, everyone. I’m touched by all the well-wishes. Fear not, I’m still around, just not writing as often and hopefully, being more thoughtful about what I do choose to put on the Internet.

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