Friday, November 05, 2010

Not as amazing as I thought I was

Since January 2005 I've been posting at Transforming Sermons. I've taken great pride, quietly, in being steadfast at keeping on, two posts per day, five days per week. During those five years many fellow bloggers have given up blogging for other priorities. But not me. Thirty-five hundred posts, brother. Eventually, I whispered to myself, more and more people would notice the excellence of my work, and one day something substantial (money, fame, maybe a staff writing gig) might come of it. Whenever events--job losses, moves, my father's death--challenged me to lay the blog aside for a time, I reminded myself that when it comes to blogging I'm The Man, the guy who doesn't seek fame or glory for himself, just shares the riches with others.

Not anymore. Yes, I still want to share the treasures I find online with preachers and other Christians. But these days I'm just not up to reading dozens of blogs every week, and so I don't have much to share. What's more, I'm tired of the vain undercurrent of ambition inherent in hoping for something bigger.

So I'm going to take the advice I've given more than one brother in blogdom: it's your blog, not your livelihood, and you never need to feel obligated to keep posting. So I quit, at least for regular blogging, at least for now. I hope to be back at it one day soon, but right now it's simply too much of an emotional burden. A voice in my heart says I might be shucking the blog one moment before some great opportunity was about to fall into my lap as a result of keeping it going. Another voice one tells me this confessional post might actually help get more attention for the blog. But the one I'm listening to says, "Who cares; it's time for a break."

Why now? Several reasons, I suspect. Tops among them is my father's death back in July. I guess I had always taken comfort in knowing--even as his own body and mind declined and I began to be the one taking care of him--that whatever came my way, my Daddy was still around to help. Walking the tightrope without that safety net takes some emotional adjustment.

After five years of sharing almost no personal information online, why am I now pouring out my heart for Google and the Wayback Machine and the whole world to access? Because even though my struggles are here exposed for malevolents and emotional voyeurs to delight in, I've learned something priceless in five years of blogging: Some of you reading this post are men and women of faith and prayer, and I am confident that the prayers you lift up on my behalf are far stronger than any shame or loss I experience from admitting my weakness. Thank you.

And to Christ alone be the glory. Amen.

Monday, November 01, 2010

On gospel doctrine & culture

Ray Ortlund offers a succinct description of how gospel doctrine shapes gospel culture. He also shares related thoughts on hermeneutics and church culture.

Reflections on gospel & religion

Philip Fletcher looks at the epistle of James and shares insights on gospel and religion. Here's a sample:
I used to think that the Gospel and Religion where opposed to one another. I learned the Gospel is God reaching down to man and religion is about man trying to reach God. . . .Whereas every man made religion has a motivation of works, a religion born of the Gospel is motivated by erupting love in response to God who gave himself to me.
That sounds right.