It’s been an awfully long time since I actually wrote anything here other than posting sermons. I’m going to have to do something about that, soon. A part of my relative silence is that I’d decided when I started this site that I’d be as completely open and honest about my thoughts as possible. My intention for this site has been for it to be always be as transparent a reflection of who I really am, and what I really think, as is reasonably possible. People could read about me at my best, my worst, and in-between. That means that I would write what was really on my mind at a given time – even if it didn’t square with what people think I “should” be thinking or feeling; even if it was something I’d be embarrassed or ashamed of afterward, and no longer feel the same way just a few days later. The point was to show that no one is ever a perfectly predictable, or frankly, even rational, being. We’re all complex; we’re all full of contradictions; and you can only get a real feel for who a person is over time, seeing the larger patterns in their lives; while fully aware of the parts that don’t fit nicely into those larger patterns.
That’s why I’ve allowed myself to be as open as I have been here over the past several years. That’s why I’ll continue to be open and transparent and honest, not just saying what I want people to think about me, or what I think will please them.
That being said, a part of my relative quiet in recent times has been that I’ve been struggling with just how to do that now, given two new realities.
The first of these is that now, I’m in an installed pastor. I’ve been called to serve people across a wide swath of theological, ideological, and political beliefs, and I don’t want to do or say anything that would make it difficult for any of them to form a bond with their pastor. The members of my congregation certainly know where my theological and political thoughts lie, and they also know that those beliefs don’t keep me from being an effective and compassionate pastor to anyone, regardless of theology or politics. But the degree of personal openness that I’ve established as a baseline for the blog is greater than the one I set for my workplace, and I worry about that.
The second, and even more recent, concern about the level of openness that’s been the norm in the past here, is the “new normal” of our political landscape. It may sound paranoid, but I do have concerns about being completely open about my thoughts about what’s going on in this country on the national stage. I don’t know how, or if, something that I might say here could be used to single me out for some kind of unpleasantness by the current powers that be. I can’t believe that we’ve reached the point in our country where someone has to worry about that. It sounds much more like the fears of people living in totalitarian third world dictatorships. But like it or not, we’re there.
I still believe that there’s a way for me to continue to write and share here in an open and transparent way, without causing problems with the first situation. I’m just going to have to think a few things through, but since I’m getting getting settled in here now, and I’m getting the itch to write again, expect to see non-sermon things start cropping up here again in the near future. If I can find a way to be honest about my thoughts at work and still show people that it doesn’t affect how I relate to them, or them to me, then I suspect I can find a way to do the same thing here, too.
As for the second concern, I’m not sure what to do about that. Maybe the answer is to just say the hell with it, say what I think, and let the chips fall where they may – even if sometime down the road, that will be on my head. I suppose it’s time to tear off the tape.