James, you are the most confusing person. I think sharing your confusing life on a blog is doing more harm than good. I’ve seen you change more directions than the wind and I’m convinced you still don’t know where you’re going. My advice, do what I did, shut down the blog until you can get a grip on your own life before sharing with others. Or, stick with things your 100% sure of and write on that. You have a wide reader base and writing articles for FFOZ has gained you even more. This is the kind of stuff that causes confusion and arguments in MJ and frankly it’s embarrassing. Based upon this article (and forgive me if I am wrong), I would say, make sure you don’t keep the Sabbath. Go out and mow the grass just to make sure you’re not resting on that day. Also, eat pork at least twice a week, preferably in public, so you’re not keeping kosher. Go to church, keep your mouth shut and be a good christian. I’ve cut down my visits to your blog to about once a week. Now, I think I’ll be un-bookmarking this site and I’d suggest the same for others as well. I’m a very nice, easy-going guy, but somethings just light my fire. Sorry you were the match, James. Much love, my brother. Just think about it.
While I tried to take this comment in the spirit it was written, I have to admit, my first response was to want to “bite back” a little bit. I probably communicated some of that “sting” in my actual reply, which I regret, but my reaction must mean Keith has a valid point. After all, did I create this blog just to whine about what could be called first world problems in Christianity?
My reply (since I should be honest) to Keith was this:
I’m not “required reading,” Keith. People who think I don’t make sense (sometimes life and living don’t make sense and people experience dissonance and contradiction) and who are disturbed by that don’t have to read my blog. As of 2013, there were an estimated 152,000,000 blogs on the Internet. I’m only one of them.
It’s not my intention to do harm, it’s my intention to illustrate a real, lived experience as a person of faith. I’m not a textbook and I’m not the Bible. I don’t live a linear life and I’m not trying to say that I’ve got it all together. Clearly, I don’t.
However, I suspect most, real, live, human beings who are disciples of the Master (or anything else) don’t have life completely settled, either.
I appreciate that you are commenting for my sake, and maybe at some point, I’ll stop blogging, but when and if I do, that will be a decision I make in relation to my understanding of God and who I am in him.
I hope not. But I think I make a really valid point, too. Unlike most other, similar blogs, I didn’t create “Morning Meditations” to just be about my theological and doctrinal conclusions, but rather, about my theological and doctrinal journey.
A journey implies a changing landscape as one progresses in their travels. If I were to take a road trip from Boise to New York City, I’m sure the scenery, what I’d see and experience, would change, sometimes rather dramatically, as I was moving along down the road.
I believe that’s true of any journey in life, particularly one in the company of God and God’s (imperfect) people.
But I can see Keith’s point. I often toggle between some review or assessment of a theological “product,” such as a book, sermon series, lecture, article, whatever, and my personal reactions and responses to what it’s like being a “Messianic Gentile,” dealing with other people’s expectations, dealing with my own expectations, as well as just kvetching and complaining.
The downside to reading such a blog is that it can seem like I’m terribly inconsistent. The upside, or so I’ve been told, is that my writing can seem raw, authentic, real, and relatable by (many) others who are going through the same or similar experiences on the trail to “faithland”.
“You don’t need to be perfect to be impressive.”
That isn’t a direct quote. I derived it from something I read in an article by Marc Chernoff called 12 Common Lies Mentally Strong People Don’t Believe which was posted on Facebook. I generally avoid inspirational blogs, stories, and speakers because the effect they create is like eating a spoonful of sugar. You get an immediate boost but soon afterward, there’s a profound let down as well as the realization that what you’ve eaten is nutritionally deficient. I looked up the “About” page for the article’s source, Marc and Angel Hack Life, and the youthful appearance of the authors made me question if they’ve experienced enough life to qualify them to suggest how to “hack” it to others, especially “old guys” like me.
But if nothing else, I found several other quotes and “quasi-quotes” that were useful and applicable to my current situation and perhaps a new project.
In order to avoid the confusion Keith speaks of, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating two “environments” in which to write, one for more uplifting commentaries, reviews, and the like, and the other being more gritty and human, a place specifically designed for me to be able to “let my hair down,” so to speak, “tell it like it is,” and yes, to kvetch.
I have a couple of options in mind. The first is administratively the easiest. I can just create an additional page to “Morning Meditations” (It would appear as another navigation tab across the top) called something like “The Broken Saint” and write separate content in that venue. The other would take a greater investment in work and a few extra bucks but be more creative. I could make a second blog, solely for the purpose of expressing my humanity as a person of faith, and actually call that blog something like “The Broken Saint” (I’ve yet to settle on a final title). I could place “buttons” on each blog, linking to the other, so readers could navigate easily between them if they desired.
It’s still the middle of the week as I write this but approaching Shabbat, so I’ll give myself the weekend (maybe) to mull things over. What do you think? Would you visit two related blogs, reading uplifting and informative commentaries on “Morning Mediations” and pursuing my personal humanity in living faith day-by-day on “The Broken Saint”?
“If religion is a crutch, who isn’t limping?”