As in, “what I’m aiming to do”.
Why keep a blog?
Almost from the beginning of my Christian walk, I’ve wanted to “preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2). I’ve never thought much about the skill or discipline of writing. Writing may be persuasive, but it’s not the same thing as preaching. However, good preaching requires that one be biblically thoughtful, logical, and impassioned. The practice of writing informs each of these areas. Improving one’s writing improves one’s preaching.
Furthermore, preaching is always public, which is why I find value in writing in public. Just as preaching opens you up to critique, public writing presents an opportunity to have your work exposed and evaluated, sometimes embarrassingly so. Many of my ideas are likely to emerge underdeveloped, underwhelming, or decidedly boneheaded. The hope is that they become less boneheaded as time goes on. Public writing ought to strengthen arguments and thicken skin.
Therefore, this blog is a strength exercise. One of the very few mantras that has stuck with me is “You overestimate what you can do in a day, and underestimate what you can do in a year”. I am notoriously guilty of overloading my daily agenda with unreasonable goals. I need to break myself of the illusion of perfectionism, and work on the habit of producing thought. This is an attempt to regularly “get to the gym”, even if it ain’t pretty.
Lastly, I find that when you write about something for longer than five minutes, it’s easier to find later. My hope is that I create a bit of a published index for myself, and can refer back, both for my own sake and when in conversation with others.
What am I going to write about?
I’d love to write about culture, that glorious amorphous entity, but honestly, I’m not cool enough. I watch the same shows over and over, I have zero engagement with the non-Christian music scene, and the most thought-provoking movie I’ve seen in the last year had Tom Cruise in it. I think that alone disqualifies me from the ministry of cultural commentary.
If I make comments about culture, it’s going to be Christian sub-culture (or counter-culture, depending on which of Niebuhr’s frameworks you prefer). I read Christian blogs and magazines, so that’s what I know. I also know that Christian intramural commentary can quickly become an icky echo chamber. Hopefully, I can keep the hot takes to a minimum, as we have more than enough snarky posts and snarkier ripostes within the church.
The bulk of my writing will likely be the fruit of seminary studies and personal reading. I read a lot of books, and writing will give me an opportunity to reflect, react, and rant about the material. Will I be repurposing coursework for blog material? Most definitely. Will I be repurposing blog posts for coursework. If I do, I’ll never say. My professors would probably be apoplectic.
Also, my aim in writing is to cultivate a discourse of hope and praise. There is a need in our world for excellence in Christian writing. There is a much greater need for doxology in Christian writing. I want to learn to communicate in a way that is both intellectually stimulating and persistently ardent, but I would take the latter over the former if pressed. To that end, some of the material will be devotional, meditative, and there will probably be some poetry (that all good and respectable people are free to overlook).
Who’s my Audience?
Carson Wentz runs a foundation called AO1, “Audience of One”. That theme captures not only my hope that I would be writing Coram Deo first and foremost, it is also my expectation for the average number of people that will ever publicly read this.
I expect I’ll make my wife read an occasional article. As I mentioned, this is mainly an exercise for myself. If thoughtful people see me sweating on the treadmill of an argument or trying hopelessly to bench a topic way outside my skill level, I welcome helpful suggestions or a spotter, so that I don’t kill myself.