For more than a year now I have been blogging here, usually posting several times a week. I blog because I want to remain intellectually active in my retirement.
Blogging, though, is different.
I have some freedom as a blogger that I didn’t have as a pastor.
I don’t mean that I felt stifled as a pastor. I was able to pretty much say what I thought. People always understood that what I said was a means to start a conversation. I was never trying to say the final word or claim that I had a lock on truth.
The freedom of blogging comes from not caring much about relevance. I was, as a pastor, like a cook responsible for providing nutrition to many. Now I can just cook for the fun of it. I other words, I can blog about what interests me.
The Bible is what I know the most about. When I was trying to feed a congregation, I had to cast aside biblical and historical concerns that interested me in order to be a bit of a popularizer. An old time preacher advised young preachers that people don’t come to church eager to know what happened to the Jebusites. Right! People have hurts and confusions about their lives that you have to address on Sunday morning. But what happened to the Jebusites might be a pretty interesting thing to blog about.
The other thing that’s different about blogging is that it is writing. Most of my life I have been a public speaker. I seldom cared about how anything looked in writing. Before a eulogy I would check with someone to make sure I could pronounce all the names right. But I never worried about spelling or punctuation or paragraphs. People would ask me if I had a copy of my remarks. I would say “you had to have been there.”
A public speech is a living, oral event. The same thing laid out on paper is dead. Think about black preachers and what genius they use to create oral, dramatic and interactive preaching. You can’t really put that on paper. And even WASP preaching, if it is any good, shares some of that dynamic.
One congregation pressed me to produce written copies of all my sermons, because my predecessor had done so. It nearly ruined me.
So I am adjusting to a new medium. I only get asked to speak a few times a year anymore. But hundreds of time a year, I post something here.