On October 22, 2005, this blog was born. I had heard of blogging on a West Wing episode, was intrigued, did some playing around online, and came out with this.
At the time I felt like a bit of a bandwagon jumper and wondered how long the fad would last. Almost 200 posts later I find myself communicating with quite a few people this way, and though I feel like taking a hiatus now and again, I generally enjoy posting here once a week or so and taking whatever dialogue comes my way. I also check out about a dozen other blogs throughout the week and comment regularly on at least half of them. Though I have allowed it to distract me from "real life" at times, for the most part it has been really good.
As is common, this side of sunday began with an explanation for its existence, which went as follows:
This is my first blog so I'm still finding my way around. My intention here is to explore my passion for writing and to see where that takes me.
I plan to write mostly social commentary peices from a decidedly Christian perspective. However, I'm not so concerned about pushing religion as I am in authentically exploring the depths of this faith in a reasoned and empassioned manner.
Spirituality encompasses all of life, from doing dishes to talking philosophy, and so there will be very few topics I won't want to tackle. Unless of course they simply don't interest me at all.
Among the things which do interest me are reading, sports, culture, truth based spirituality, the church, music, movies, well-done television, and even politics to some degree. Although it is rare that my thoughts on the latter are anything less than frustrated.
I look forward to the possibilities this site might hold both for my own exploration of writing and for the potential dialogue that could ensue, whether that be among friends, family, colleagues, strangers or even enemies (should I have any out there or make any along the way)! See you soon.
I am pleasantly surprised to look back and find that this still pretty much describes what I'm doing here.
My first comment came from tonytanti, my brother, who continues to be one of my most vocal readers, along with matthew wilkinson. I often run into friends and acquaintances who tell me that they read but don't comment, and so I try to keep writing for a pretty general audience. However, it must be admitted that the conversations that ensue are often driven by the reactions of one of those two, which is more than fine with me since they are both people I like talking to. I really do welcome more comments though, even in disagreement. I think dialogue has become my number one reason to be in the blogosphere.
Anyway, I think in the next week or so I'm going to try to update my tags. I've always been sloppy with these and I figure it might be good to get them more accurate before this blog gets too big to handle. In the meantime, here is my first post, from October 29, 2005:
Blood is Hard to Ignore
On Sunday morning we went to church and sat near the back. The sermon was about Ruth, the singing was mostly hymns, and the pastoral prayer was given by the elder who also goes to our weekly Bible study. The pew bench was particularly hard this week, and there were more than a few empty spots in front of us. We weren't even all that far back either. It occurred to me that attendance was significantly lower this day. Probably some people away, or maybe it was Christian sleep-in day and nobody told me.
I noticed only part way through the service that the "elements" were out at the front of the church. The stale bread and the tart grape juice were all ready to be passed around at the end of the hour. Usually I'm pretty into this part of the service, but today it seemed so stiflingly normal.
Indeed, once we got to it, it went along like most of the rest. The eight elders gathered at the front, only one of them conspicuously wearing no suit jacket, and they took turns praying for "the bread and the cup." I started to wonder why we felt these little cubes of Safeway bread needed our petitions and these tiny glasses needed our prayers. I was also thinking about how we in evangelical circles like to call it "the cup" most likely because it sounds better than "the sacred grape juice" or the "wonderful Welch's." It all gave me a bit of a chuckle ... which of course I had to suppress.
As with most of our services around the Lord's Table, this one was pretty quick and painless and full of Christianese. Being so used to it, I never doubted our sincerity during this time though, in fact I quite appreciated that we were pausing to remember our debt to the Lord -- a debt that grows that much greater with each feeble attempt of ours to give him worship.
Once the bread started its rounds, I enjoyed watching all the people in front of me shuffle down the pew to make up for all the blank spaces, pass the plate, and then return to their places. They were sitting so far from one another! Of couse when it came my turn, I did the same.When the cups came by, I noticed they'd been jostled a bit, and while I tried to avoid taking a spilled one, I realized my failure to steer clear of the sticky little mess as I passed the tray over to my wife.
I saw a dot of grape juice on my finger, and to be honest, it kind of startled me.
When it caught my eye it looked like a prick of blood. Blood is hard to ignore. And with the elements passed now I looked and saw an even larger smear of it on my wife's hand, right in the middle of the palm. Right where the nails might have been. She tried to flick off the grape juice but it only streaked down one of her fingers and threatened one or two drips onto the floor. To avoid this, she closed her hand and clenched it repeatedly until all of it was rubbed into her palm. Moments later we "partook" together.
I have to say that despite my best efforts to notice everything but the sacred truth behind our tradition that morning, it had now become inescapably clear. Tucked away into our pathetic little ceremony was the amazing fact that the bread was as freely passed to us as was Christ's body, and this grape juice made a mess which paled in comparison to that of His blood.And these were just lame little attempts to encapsulate God's passion, as I am but a lame little attempt to encapsulate His Son. An attempt wrought with failure but met by the forgiveness His sacrifice won.
Well, there you go. Thanks for meeting me here.