11 December, 2009

out of hibernation?

A recent request by our diocesan communications department to link to various bloggers in the diocese made me realize that it's been almost a year since I wrote anything.

I started this blog in September, 2005, just two months after I began a new phase of life, employed as clergy and working as a congregational pastor. The first line of the first post was "hello, world," ironic when you consider the recent frenzy surrounding Tiger's life.

The thing that pushed me over into the blogisphere was that I was already publishing things on the internet. I was required, at my former parish, to write a monthly column for the printed newsletter. It was already published (deep down in the church's horrible web page, but out there nonetheless). And people started asking for copies of my sermons, and I learned as an airport consultant that once something leaves your hand, it should be treated as public knowledge.

So I figured, if I'm already publishing, I might as well write a blog. My rule was that I would post any newsletter article that might vaguely be interesting outside the parish, and any sermon that someone asked for a copy of. And to those entries I would add various other essays.
[side moment of true confession--there were a couple of people who asked for copies of sermons, and I thought it was not because they wanted to read it again for their own spiritual growth, but because I had said something controversial that had upset them... and I was afraid of them trying to use my words against me, so I lied (just a couple of times) and said that I hadn't written out a full manuscript.]

Over the last four years, several things have happened.
* My old friend Meeegan and new friend Tripp got me writing about the book Sabbath, which was a whole series in itself.
* My friend Gordon, aka Real Live Preacher, encouraged me to write and got me in on the ground floor of a network of bloggers for the Christian Century.
* We had a child, which completely sucked my brain clean of the ability to sit and write coherently for several months.
* I started thinking about who was reading, which led me to shut up where others were speaking up. You can read about that here:
* I finally got on Facebook, which changed the way I stay in touch with some friends. I still check my regular list of blogs, and wider church news, as has been my habit every Monday morning for 15 years. I'm not the only one who has slowed or ceased blogging when they found a new way to connect... the list of blogs I read regularly gets smaller and smaller as people quit writing.

But the biggest reason is that I'm at a new parish now, and they are not exactly technologically sophisticated. Note: that doesn't mean stupid, or ignorant. I have at least seven university professors and a dean in my congregation, and I'm working on the president. We just communicate differently. The patriarch of the congregation, a man universally loved in this little town, told me once he checks his email once a month, whether it needs it or not.
Yes, we have a parish newsletter, but (and there's layers of meaning in this) it is physically cut-and-pasted together by our editor. My articles for it tend to be announcements of upcoming events, giving detail, rather than meditations, or something else useful or interesting outside of Kingsville. (side note: Peter Gomes said once in my hearing "sermon-ettes make Christian-ettes," and I agree wholeheartedly. I absolutely despise trite little front-page newsletter offerings. I've tried for five years to learn to say something spiritually meaningful in three hundred words or less, and I can't do it. Maybe I need to take up poetry like my friend Gil...)

And not one time in a year have I been asked for a copy of a sermon. Either my sermons suck now, or people just don't ask. Not sure I want to know which is true.

In eleven months of living in Kingsville, I think I have six facebook friends in town--only four from the congregation, and they never contact me or post anything on their own facebook accounts.

(plus it's been a hectic year in a lot of ways.)

At the end of the day (one of my favorite phrases), I'm not sure who's reading this any more, and the original reason for writing the blog has gone away.

I still publish, and occasionally it's something useful outside of Kingsville. So there will be more posts to come--maybe as soon as later today. But if you're still reading... don't hold your breath in between.


Gil Franke said...

Well, Cristopher, my gmail blog reader popped up right away with a new posting from Ink Smudges! Glad to see you out of hibernation! And thanks for the 'nod' in your posting. They are not many words, but then my poems don't say much either!

Real Live Preacher said...

I still check in.

Cristopher said...

Miss you, Gordon! Got the books in the mail today--thank you! They look wonderful. Had to resist opening them before tomorrow's sermon and tomorrow night's Xmas party...

Captain Sunshine said...

I still check in too.