Thursday, December 13, 2007

Submissions Concerning my Extended Adjournment

For the few people still out there who have been long-term readers of my blog, you may be wondering why I have been relatively quiet of late. I certainly feel as if an explanation is in order, especially since my lengthy absence was unannounced beforehand. I'd suggest that there has been no one critical determining factor, but rather a multitude of reasons, which I shall try to explain below.

Firstly, it is worth pointing out that I started a new job two days before I entered the blogosphere wilderness. On the most basic level, it has been an incredibly difficult (yet greatly rewarding) experience adjusting to the new responsibilities that this job entails. While I am certainly not working long hours, I am usually so busy during the day that I am often exhausted when I come home. In fact, on quite a few days I have gone to sleep soon after arriving back at my place. Putting a great deal of intellectual and emotional energy into a blog entry (which is almost invariably a feature of most of my writing) is not the first thing I have felt like doing.

Secondly, as I progress within the legal profession, I become increasingly more confused about where I stand in relation to "the system". Just eighteen months ago I was a student struggling just to make ends meet. Now I am earning a reasonable income and work in what is generally regarded as a respected profession. Having previously seen myself as someone on the edge of the system ministering to other marginalised people, I have found it rather difficult to come to terms with this paradigm shift. For the most part I can no longer claim this position - I am a well educated, well-connected and reasonably well paid professional and have bright prospects for the future. This being the case, I have had to reassess precisely where I stand and what I can and should contribute.

Thirdly, I regret to say that my spiritual life has been a struggle of late. As someone who believes that I have strong responsibilities both towards God and towards my fellow human beings, I believe I have failed somewhat to properly strive for these goals. While I might be tempted to point to the changing circumstances of my life and other related personal issues (both of which have adversely impacted upon my ability to even write, let alone write well), the fact is that I ultimately have to take responsibility for my behaviour. Even more importantly, these are issues which I must address (and am attempting to address) so that I can begin to be fruitful again in my Christian ministry, of which I include my writing pursuits.

Fourthly, along with a recurrence of my battle with depression, I have been feeling a sense of powerlessness. Having engaged with several Christian blogs, I have been continually disheartened by the sheer sense of nastiness I have seen on many of them, especially towards other Christians. I should make it clear that this is certainly not true of all Christian blogs that I have come across, but it certainly is a very common feature. Participating on these blogs, it has been quite distressing to see the way in which many respondents would simply pounce on someone expressing a minority view like a pack of wolves. It seems like people often took the view that the more times one said something and the more aggressively something is said, the more legitimate the position. Being someone who is often found on the minority side of a debate, it was quite frustratrating being drowned out in the noise. However, I was perhaps even more concerned about the way outsiders might perceivably look at these Christian conversations and what they might conclude from such interaction. Feeling that I would be unable to overturn this negative perception was greatly troubling for me.

Finally, as I became dragged (admittedly of my own volition) into these arguments, the agenda of my own blog started to change. I became convinced that the level of nastiness that I saw from many of these blogs needed to be forcefully confronted and portrayed for what it was. In so doing, I unwittingly gave up my conviction that the most powerful manner that someone can confront a cycle of ungrace is by acting graciously. Indeed, in doing so, the original aspirations of my blog became corrupted. While I have strong points of disagreement with these theological traditions, it was never my intention to attack evangelicalism and particularly Reformed Christianity. Indeed, it if is through Reformed Christianity that an individual finds a path to truly becoming a disciple of Jesus, then I actually celebrate this conversion. The original aims of my blog were twofold. Firstly, I wish to provide encouragement to those who found themselves on the theological fringes. Secondly, I wished to demonstrate to more orthodox Christians than even though I might be unorthodox, I have given great thought to what I believe, I love Jesus just as much as they do, and that I honestly wish to live my faith with integrity, however imperfectly this may be. To some degree this objective was relatively successful, considering that many Christians who are more conservative than myself have come to regard me as a brother in Christ, even if they believe I would be better off believing more of the things that they do. To the extent that my blog has strayed from these agenda, I shall have to bring things back into line with the original vision.

So there you go - I hope that provides a bit of context. I'm going to try to blog more regularly, though I certainly can't offer any promises. And if you are more conservative theologically than myself but find value I what I have to offer or even a question that I ask, then please link to me and if possible I shall try to return the favour.


CraigS said...

Will be praying for you, was good to catch up last night.

Emma said...

Welcome back from the "blogosphere wilderness" Dave - and thanks for your reflections. Emma